The dog in the canal and other stories

Dear Monty,


The dog sleeps with me
At the end of my bed
I snore
And so does he
We cancel each other out

Sue sleeps undisturbed in her bedchamber
Red and sunlit
View over the mountain

Toff and I walk the coal tip
We admire unintended artworks formed by dumped builders rubble
Brick and roof tile cairns
Like graves of ancients

We stroll around the old cemetery at the top of the hill
Graves subsumed by brambles and ash trees
We stop and watch the piglets in the field

I find the grave of a former neighbour
Laid to rest last year
She visited parts of this world I will never see
Now her remains lie here
In this damp plot
Already becoming entangled in brambles
We are soon forgotten

Ebola continues to kill the poor
I go out and rake up leaves
The clouds move fast
Sunlight hits the hills in the distance


29 years together

We strolled around through Herefordshire mists
The gentle rolling hills and vales revealing themselves slowly
The chocolate soil puddled and soft
We pick up leaves of varied hue
Red orange yellow lime and blue

Longhorn bullocks snort in the lower field
Webs glisten on the fences
Ravens follow us from Wales

We stroll around the farm
Entertaining the grandchildren
While lamb roasts


After a week of bad decisions
I console myself with Claire
'Walking Home'


Going over

Like the garden
I am slowly going over


The dog in the canal

The dog dives into the canal
Stuck in the mud
A two-tone whippet

The sluice shut
The canal almost dry

I'm dry like an autumn leaf
I wither
I need the softness of love
But produce thorns

I need berries
But produce spiked fruits

It is a mystery
One too hard to solve
Too painful perhaps
Seeing my own want of depth
I'm as shallow as the draining canal

What is blessing to one
Is a curse to another


Yours sincerely



  1. Ah, Paul, I love "unintended". And I love the humility of your very poetic work, that lets the reader follow you.
    Admitting dryness and spikiness is a sure sign of a fluidity and softness.
    It's the personal in your work that makes it so lovely.

    1. Thank you Faisal so very much - it is a true compliment coming from you.


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