Bordeaux Bay

Bordeaux Bay
Bordeaux Bay by Guernsey-based artist Tony Taylor

Sunday 5 November 2023


I've can't remember which year I launched Bard at Bay but, according to the stats, I've posted just short of 1,000 poems or short stories since then. 

My approach to writing has changed over the years as has my published output and doubtless that evolution will continue so long as I continue to write.

Over the past three years I've moved towards lighthearted verse and currently I publish a daily poem, often humorous, sometimes topical, on my Facebook page. You'll find the link below. 

I've decided to 'retire' Bard at Bay so this is my last post. 

Land of Youth is a rhyming poem that first appeared on Facebook and seems to me to be a fitting choice to accompany the Bard's final bow.

My thanks to all those of you who sought out this blog and supported it over the years.


Rex was a jaded retiree

whose joie de vivre was history.

A faded fellow, seen by some

as dull and permanently glum.

He saw a ladder on a wall

that wasnt really there at all.

The wall itself was real enough,

full twelve feet tall, its finish rough.

The ladder, Rex could clearly see,

was unreal, purely fantasy,

and yet he scaled it, rung by rung,

with zest he had not felt since young.

Up, up he climbed, small, bony-kneed,

and felt his adulthood recede

with every step. A child again,

he climbed out of the world of men

into a realm where pains and aches

gave way to comic-books and cakes,

to conkers, roller-skates, balloons,

his old banjo, its tuneless tunes,

the games of tag, that Rex called tig,

that very first clandestine cig,

the kites that sailed, the dens that fell,

the battle-games, charge and repel,

the sticklebacks caught from the stream,

the ginger beer and Walls ice cream.

Rex, to his joy, saw Spike, his cat,

dead fifty years, grown sleek and fat,

and Jack, his terrier, alive,

who had been dead for fifty-five,

his cockatiel, long gone, named Blue,

live and unharmed, Rex saw her too.                        

Around him, like chess-pieces, ranged

his childhood friends, each hardly changed,

his mother, young and free from care,

his father with a head of hair,

a cricket bat, a brand new ball,

those battered stumps, Rex could recall

from countless summers long ago

with Father shouting “Bowl don’t throw!”

Rex slowly realised the truth:

this was, of course, the Land of Youth,

the Tír na hÓige, he’d learned about.

Again, he heard his father shout

“Who wants to climb this apple tree?”

Rejuvenated, Rex cried, “Me!”

Tuesday 31 October 2023


As the bloody ripples from conflict in the Middle East travel outward into all our lives, the media images grow more heartbreaking by the hour, so today's poem is presented without an accompanying picture.

THE SPARK          

Insistent broadcasters supply

grim images that horrify.

We look, aghast, then shrink away

from moving pictures that display

the carnage and brutality

that challenge our humanity.

As each hour escalates our fear,

from every tv set we hear,

young children, futures stolen, sob,

while angry voices of the mob

who, as the flames rage in the dark,

deplore the fire, forget the spark

that set alight this petrol-drum.

Preserve us and protect us from 

the wounded that wound in their turn

and celebrate as cities burn.

For verse of a different kind, why not visit:

Sunday 15 October 2023


This is an almost-sonnet, true enough to the form until the final couplet where, having fallen in love with the image of a child sleeping amidst the brightly coloured Lego pieces, I allowed myself a touch of poetic licence and failed to make a perfect rhyme. 


An old man, grey and gargoyle-faced, stares down 

from a cathedral armchair to the rug

where a grandson, his game played out, lies snug,

and sound asleep, his Lego spread around.

He marvels at how suddenly the child,

as though anaesthetised, laid down his head,

no bedtime tale required, the rug his bed.

Insomniac himself, he sits beguiled   

by this small child below him on the floor,

so innocent beside his slippered feet,

and, tearful, feels that life is incomplete

without this wordless moment of rapport

with the small sleeping boy, his soft fair hair

haloed by Lego pieces on the floor.

For verse of a different kind, why not visit:

Friday 6 October 2023


I daresay it's prudent to add a disclaimer to this sonnet, so I will. It's not autobiographical. And I don't dance. 

THE DANCE              

Some unexpected magic that first time

we met, a lively group of four or more,

drew us together, partners in some crime

not yet committed. While they took the floor,

your husband and my wife, we sat and spoke

of everything and nothing, time danced by.

It seemed that something, in us both, awoke 

and took control as we sat eye to eye.

It was as though we spoke in tongues unknown

to those around us. Suddenly we knew

that one day in the future we’d atone

for what we felt and what we’d choose to do.

The music rose and fell. We sat, entranced,

while, unsuspectingly, our partners danced.

For verse of a different kind, why not visit: 

Sunday 1 October 2023


Just back from a 3-week road trip in England, with brief forays into both Scotland and Wales, I find myself questioning the concept of home, a place where one feels one belongs. 
Born in Ireland, now thirty years resident in the Channel Islands, I don't regard either place a home: one was my birthplace, the other 'the place where I live now'.   
I wrote this poem, in sonnet-style although not properly a sonnet, a few months ago and think it aptly sums up my idea of home.



The Eskimo or Inuit,

it’s said, have many words for snow,

a lexicon describing it

in all it’s strange grandeur, although

they have no word for home, it seems.

For those who live nomadic lives,

home is a place beyond their dreams

and no concept of it survives 

amongst their harsh Arctic regimes.

A static man, I find the word

‘home’ one whose meaning subtly shifts:

a comfort but at times absurd,

a tombstone over which snow drifts.

For me, home is not here or there,

home is where love is. Anywhere.

For verse of a different kind, why not visit: 

Monday 11 September 2023


Fall means Autumn in American-English, it also relates to loss of innocence, as in the Biblical Fall, when Adam and Eve were cast out of Eden. 
Today, of course, is the anniversary of the fall of the Twin Towers, to which this short poem refers.


Rewind events and turn back time

as though to deconstruct a crime 

and then restore the broken lives

of fathers, mothers, husbands, wives.

Bring back to life the telephones,

computer screens, suppress the moans 

of the bereaved, of those who died

when there was nowhere left to hide.

Rebuild the towers, forgive the Cains

who weaponised the deadly planes.

Let hearts be changed and please let all

be as it was before the fall.

For verse of a different kind, why not visit:   

Monday 28 August 2023


The loneliness of old age, a feeling of life having slipped by unnoticed, the awareness that little time remains: these things preoccupy me and surface from time to time in my verses. 


MISS McCARTHY              

Miss McCarthy, at the window,

wonders where did all the gin go 

as she stands, forlorn and swaying,

watching, outside, children playing

games of hop-scotch with their young friends,

under street-lamps, as the day ends.

Starlings swirl beyond the house-tops,

lovers linger at the bus-stops.

Life is happening around her. 

It continues to astound her

that life causes such distress and

that the pain has never lessened.

Old, alone, she feels the starkness

of the fast descending darkness.

For verse of a different kind, why not visit: