Posts tagged ‘mortality’



Loneliness is a companion as tangible as a veil. It shrouds the world of interaction, of closeness and of companionship, leaving nothing but truth for the lonely to face.

On the moors, with the wind blowing in strong from the west, rain showers gusting through you, it is possible to feel vulnerable, isolated with your frailties laid bare. But loneliness… loneliness is something you carry within. The towns and villages, teeming with summer tourists, are as lonely a place as the wildest peak.

Many of the characters in my tales, both living and passed, are lonely. They live their lives alone, and understand that we all die our own death, and face it alone. The circumstances that bring each character to their loneliness may differ, but it is how they face that realization that, to a lesser or greater extent, defines them.

In “Annabel” (the opening story of The Wedding Invitation: Vol. 3 of Ghosts and Other Tales), loneliness is the central theme. For the narrator, the fact that Alice – the main protagonist – lives on her own, without (obvious) friends or family, in a remote cottage is the very definition of loneliness. The narrator sees it as a common problem for many older people in such a rural community, as indeed it is. For Alice, though, loneliness is not defined by isolation. Loneliness for her is being separated from that which she loves. It is the division of the soul.

You are alone, in a forest on the darkest night of the year. All around you are the sounds of creatures in amongst the branches. You cannot see the path in front of you clearly. You slip on the tree roots. You are alone.

You wake, and the sounds you thought were creatures in the night, were the beeping of the life support machines all around you, and the sounds of the nurses and doctors, trying their best for you. They are out there.

You are alone.

(Photographs copyright Gavin Jones)


The One Consoling Beauty


The one consoling beauty is

These words will fade and pass away.

The sun will dim, the moon will fall,

And everything will cease to be.


We’re one: we’re all just one alone.

The earth and sky, the walls of stone,

The foals and horses running free,

Yes, everything will cease to be.


I touch your hair, and know its flow.

There is a tear beneath the smile,

And after all, it had to come,

For everything must cease to be.


I breath the air: it reeks of pasts,

Of love which came and meant so much.




A Week in Slovenia (Part 1 – Flight Path)


1. Terminal Three


How many nations can I see?

The beautiful and elegant,

The tattooed men and sleeping girls,

The drone of talk, the hum of planes,


(An aircon migraine coming on),

An altered world of wait-then-move,

A place where hats are worn indoors.

There is no smell. We wait, we move.


The people twitch and spark with life,

They watch for signs, they read the eyes:

An underscore of doubt and fear,

An overtone of joys postponed.


Here sound and light have coalesced.

Here everyone seems somewhere else.



2. In Flight


We know outside this metal skin

We’d die before we took a breath.

A wind beyond our earth-tied ken

Would rip our lungs and heart apart.


The red and green of near sleep,

Of drifting in a patterned haze.

A droning engine lulls our eyes,

Our senses mingle with the skies.


We plunge, we sleep, whichever comes.

We roll and tip out from the edge.

Adrift are certainties and hopes:

Out there the heedless rush of clouds.


The end of everything is air:

Just half a foot and we’ll be there.



3. Air Flow


Beneath us now there may be sea,

There may be history, may be land.

We are above, we are beyond:

A netherworld of curvatures.


We are the Europe – light on wings –

Where sun and moon are never dimmed,

A floating swirl of immigrants,

Where every heart is foreign born.


The clouds stretch on to Belarus

In fragile mountains, streams of breath.

Beneath are curious, earthbound things

With buried feet and downward eyes.


Our continent is shrinking fast,

It’s upside down, it never lasts.


4. Turbulence


It stopped

……………..and for an instant




a sound not far frOM God rang out

it COULD have been my heart or



………….have been a passing

it could                                           breath


a rainbow MADE of solid air

a story told by broken WINGS


….thought of


………………………………….something missed

or mayBE just my final spark


The sky had claimed another prayer

Another slip in time again

The fraud

…………….of flight EXPOSED by clouds


a                      enemy of



I quickly learnt the simple


I’m made for walking on the Earth.


Lost for Words/Words for Loss


The words will cease one summer night:

Just midway through an opening line

A poem stops and calm descends.

They drain my veins these awful words.


The words have worth I never knew.

Their meanings hide in other minds,

They find their ways to pool their tricks,

They carve their tracks through broken hearts.


And I will stare at stars that night,

And see them just as points of light.

And I will feel the wordless dew:

Just notice it and know it’s true.


The words will mourn me in my void:

You’ll find the words despairing there.




The Primrose Bank


The primrose bank was April sun.

Beneath a hawthorn, robin rich,

With sad, sweet, dappled songs of light,

The primrose bank was every spring.


And every spring the petals poured

Their golden cadence gleaned from years,

From melodies of pastel tints,

From wood, to beck, to changing skies.


The verses flick rebirths of time,

Their delicate and shuttling lines

Which called on rains to fill their voice:

And voices filled, and sun rejoined.


The primrose bank is life to you,

The robin’s song is always new.






We’ll waste our few remaining nights,

Enjoy the pointlessness of sleep,

Then call on friends we’d lost to time,

On days we should be fighting for.


We’ll make our pacts we know we’ll break.

We’ll tell our loved ones nothing new:

Revealing any more would just

Leave them with more questions.


And then we’ll turn our faces up

To sun or clouds, to stars or snow.

We’ll kiss the rain and know it’s true.

As if we had one moment more.


We’ll run the emerald fronds of plants

Through fingers touched by magic.


Under the Tree


So let’s not say that time will end,

Instead let’s watch the summer light

Come pouring through the valley leaves,

As if there were no other place.


And let’s not say it passed us by.

The earth beneath our feet is firm:

It stays the same – it doesn’t change –

We touch it, know it, share its pull.


So yes, we’ll simply linger on,

And take our shelter from the rain.

We’ll wait until the wind has calmed.

We’ll wait until the sun returns.


These moments, here beneath this tree,

Mean everything to you and me.




A Simple Song of Silence


This emptiness we fill with song,

And flowers, birds and loving words.

But in our night the void returns,

And even tears are simply spent.


The days and weeks each add their lines

Which call the cold to take its toll,

And silence haunts the smiles we form,

Our tears won’t slow the passing time.


I cannot bear the joy you missed.

So here we sit and watch the glow,

Of embers slipping into ash.

The music dies and we are left


With nothing but tranquility,

And tears which well but never fall.


On Hedges and Lawns


I’ve struggled through this thicket hedge,

Its brambles bleed my grasping fists.

Then once again I’m looking round

And facing yet another lawn.


A thousand houses all the same:

I’ve lost the dream to see them all,

For what they once held out for me.

I see them all as dust and loss.


The lawns are free of weeds and moss

Those hours of hope and joy they took.

Their mystery stands: what led to this?

How empty had that world become?


I push on through the next thick hedge,

Abandoned up to prayers and fears.


Still Morning in Ioannina


The Pindos Mountains melt and fade

In morning haze across the lake.

On Ali Pasha’s flowered tomb

There lands a copper butterfly.


The crumbling stones which smell of sun

Are carved with verse from the Qur’an

And warm a lizard’s fretful skin.

It trembles as the air is still.


Before this rock became a Mosque,

Before this town became a town,

The mountains rose and shrank away,

The people came and built their graves.


The shadow of the minaret,

The silence of the fortress walls.