Are you there?

All the things that matter to me, mattered to us,

Matter so little to anyone else

If they even matter at all. It’s all so intimate. Small.

No-one but you could ever remember how we sat in that bar.

I can try and explain, paint a picture, tell the tale of our joy and the blight on our stars,

But really, why should anyone care?

No-one but you can know or remember that one special night

When we met in a world that was flooded with lights.

We were there. We were present. We were so very there.  

No-one but you can remind me of words even I have forgotten past reasonable trace.

I have to scrape every shadowy cave of my brain just to recall the shape of your face.

A face I so loved. A beautiful face.

No-one but you could make me keep looking, hoping to see you around every corner, through a window, in a crowd, alone on a bench, out with your kids (assuming you had some), walking through galleries, buying fruit at the market.  Do you still play guitar and sing in the street? Do you visit our favourite tree in the park? You’re far older for sure. So am I. Have we passed in the street? Maybe you can’t even walk anymore. I don’t care as long as you’re there. Somewhere, still there.

I’m so frustrated looking for you,

when I know in my heart that you’re already gone.

How can I ever know if that’s true?    



It took her a while to know again who she was. That was because she was sleeping and names aren’t needed in dreams.

Her name is Loveday. She was named after the street where she was born. She shortened it to Daisy, but she had never felt it belonged to her. Luke shortened it to Lovely. She liked that. Who wouldn’t? It sounded so nice and warm when he said it.

His name doesn’t matter anymore. It’s just something to write on a headstone. If he even has one.

She has been searching for him in her sleep every night. He is Luke, the sweet boy she had loved long ago. Her whole life she has never forgotten him. And now he looks just the same as he did back then. He knew when she started to look for him, but it had taken him a long time to reach her. They are both still a little confused about how they did it or where they are now but it’s all oddly familiar. She has decided to question nothing. In her dream they reminisce, observe, regret, celebrate, miss things, have opinions, wander, laugh, share their love and shed tears and they haven’t discovered everything yet.

‘I suppose we’ll have to move on eventually, but I can’t see where we should go,’ she said, taking his hand.

She was surprised his hand still felt alive to her touch. He felt the same as he always had as he leaned against her. She rubbed his palm, running her finger across the generous Mount of Venus at the base of his thumb. She looked at the lifeline that crossed his palm and recalled that it wasn’t the first time she had noticed it was shorter than hers.

He gripped her hand firmly. ‘I’m happy to be stuck here. If we move on, we might lose each other. We might cease to exist as ourselves. We might not exist at all. Have you thought of that? It’s not like getting up and catching a train and knowing your destination.’

‘No.’ She held his hand in both of hers now, for safety. ‘That’s a scary thought. I don’t like thinking about it.’ She paused. ‘Do you think everyone who dies is still around somewhere?’

Luke shrugged. ‘I don’t know. And I don’t really care. Maybe they didn’t wait around. I’ve waited around for you, I think. It’s made me feel alive. But perhaps the dead can dream in their coffins, and this is all only a dream we’re sharing.’

‘I don’t want to wake up. But I’m sure I’m not in a coffin. I remember going to bed.’ She was sure she was only asleep.

Luke smiled. ‘I’m dead. That’s certain. Though I can’t see my coffin walls anymore. I’m sure I’m usually up in the open air somewhere now. I think I’m still real. I feel as if I’m alive. But I might not be here at all if you didn’t dream of me. I wonder if I will ever understand what death is.’

‘Maybe we could catch a train if I believe we can, and if this is all only a dream?’

‘If that’s what you really want to do you have to promise never to let go of me if we enter the tunnel. And don’t wake up, Lovely. Please don’t wake up. If you wake you’ll be gone again.’

‘I promise. I won’t wake up.’

A chill breeze made the autumn leaves swirl around their feet.

‘We could stay here longer couldn’t we?’ he said, putting an arm around her. ‘I should never have mentioned the trains. It was always better arriving than it was departing.’

‘Yes, and it’s such a lovely, brisk, sunny day. Let’s just stay here a while. I don’t mind the cold. Let’s watch the people passing by like we used to, and we can visit some of our favourite places before we go.’

He nodded. ‘Whatever you like. You decide. I’ve lost all sense of time.’


When I’m bound to the clock

I can’t stretch my limbs or my mind.

I’d rather know months by the change in the leaves

and the hours by the sun and the inaccessible hidden stars.

They’re masked by the streetlamps here.

Once in ten years, I have seen constellations shine clear.

They signify the loss of old loves

who pointed above and told me their names.

By this I can tell I am old

and the world is not what it was.

Everything’s changed.

Through the Fire

A Lady sat by a fireside in a warm and pleasant room.

The Lady was young, she was innocent of face and fair.

In the corner stood a harp, a mirror, a loom.

Deep and deeper into the heart of the glowing fire

She gazed seeing images flickering there

While she considered her hearts desire.

Her imagination set free, she wandered.

She saw pathways and forests and caves,

Fortunes won, lost and squandered,

Extravagant creatures with wings,

Battles, books and jewels and dark open graves,

Crowns and horses and rings.

Her heart beat fast and filled with desire

For all that she wanted from life.

She longed for adventure and never to tire,

Yearned for love and wealth and fame.

In a heartbeat, she forgot herself

And reached her hand into the flame.

She had passed through the fire,

Into the cave she had seen, encrusted with gems.

Diamonds, emeralds and rubies hung from the roof

Entwined and supported by golden stems,

She plucked them like fruit and hid them deep in her skirt..

She turned then toward the cave entrance,

When a sound she heard made her quickly alert.

She heard the song of a distant bird,

The like of which she had not heard before.

Having no plans or well-laid intentions

She decided to find the source of the song.

She stepped barefoot from the cave onto the mossy floor

Of a vast forest filled with the scent of flowers.

Looking about her she felt she didn’t walk long

But as the light fell she realised

She had been walking for hours and hours.

She saw a giant oak, gnarled, misshapen and ancient

In a clearing surrounded by lofty trees

And high in its leaves, on a far off branch, she saw the bird.

The bird continued to sing as if it intended to please.

The bird was unexceptional and grey of plumage

But its eye was very bright and in its beak it held a jewel.

She greeted the bird by instinct, feeling sure that it could speak

and then asked the question that burned in her heart

”Pray tell Sir Bird, what is that jewel you hold in your beak?”

The bird placed the stone beneath his feet

” Lady pray tell, what would you like it to be?”

She considered this question a while

Realising there was magic afoot

She answered, with what she hoped was an alluring smile,

”The Stone of Immortality”

”And why would you want such a thing?” said the Bird

”Surely this is what we all want” she replied.

The Bird cocked his head

”I can think of many things a girl such as you could want,

Happiness, peace, the joys of the bridal bed,

Knowledge, understanding, children, wealth…..?’’

”Yes I do want those things’ she said,

”But forever, in eternal good health!”

”You will have all else forever also” warned the Bird

”Grief, sorrow, loneliness, you may sometimes hunger or fear,

cruel words and dark thoughts are also a part of this dish.

Immortality is not a bed of roses, my dear.”

With that, he pushed the stone off the branch

To land at her feet. ”Pick it up, or not, as you wish.”

Without hesitation, the Lady stooped down and took it.

At first it dazzled and burned in her hand,

But finding herself in its possession she bid the Bird farewell

And set out smiling to further explore the land.

She gained fortune and fame

For she had long to develop her natural talents

And many came to revere her name.

She achieved every challenge to which she aspired.

Her fairness of face never changing

She found love and was much admired,

She fulfilled every one of her dreams.

But she also saw that with all these blessings

Immortality is not the gift it seems

And the Birds warning had been correct.

She saw all her loved ones pass on without her

And with this sorrow came the endless time to reflect

Upon her loss of all she had treasured most.

She watched her friends over aeons,

Numerous they were, a vast host,

One by one, in repeating pattern, pass away.

While she remained lovely and vibrant with health

They all seemed to go as if in a day.

She saw her lovers beauty and strength fade,

Her children grew old before her eyes.

She kept her fame, her knowledge, her wealth

But these are worth nothing when all we love dies.

Feeling tired, abandoned, alone, forlorn

She returned to the Forest, to seek the Bird.

She arrived at the clearing in the soft light of dawn.

The Bird sat as before high up in the Ancient Tree.

He no longer looked grey, unworthy of a glance.

This time she saw that he was a Dove.

The bird moved on his branch in a circular dance,

And then gently bowed to her. ”What is your desire?”

”I want to be mortal” she said ”and return through the fire

And accept my true fate, whatever is to become of me”

”I see” said the Dove, ”then I must ask you one question,

What is the greatest treasure anyone can possess?”

Without hesitation, the Lady answered, Love.”

”You have learned the greatest lesson my child”

The Bird bowed again, ”Now return through the fire,

Use this understanding well, for short and fleeting

Is your time in this world. Go now and find Love,

But most of all remember to nurture and live it.’’

”This will be the greatest gift you take from our meeting;

Love is not for the taking. Remember to give it.”