The ebb of the year sees me trying to find Jane Pugin.

I am wandering the area of The Grange and St Augustine’s, and wondering what she saw, and knew, this ‘Grand Old Lady of Ramsgate’ so sadly forgotten now, eclipsed, of course, by Augustus Pugin’s genius.

As we’ve just passed another winter solstice and the days begin to grow their light once more I am recalled of the day – 22nd September 2017 – when I watched the sun slide towards Pegwell, the autumn equinox.  I had a sense of her watching the watching.

Fanciful, yes. Poetry is.

So here’s a snippet of what is to become the poem ‘Equinox’ – as I try – want to  try – over the next few months – to bring Mrs Jane Pugin back to some sort of life amidst the difficult glory of her / our times ….


from ... equinox



Emin’s Bed

I have to confess it does fascinate me. And in my opinion now looks particularly magnificent with the three JMW Turner masterpieces on the wall behind it.


I saw it years ago, in London, and realise now that I hadn’t previously taken much notice of the chained and bound luggage. Apparently the distance of the luggage from the bed changes. When I saw it on Wednesday it was very obviously placed at a distance. I found it compelling.

On looking back at the photos I took  (and what a treat indeed to be able to take away some captured moments) I am particularly struck by the ‘accidental’ camera-shake effect of my attempted close-up shot of the bedside table ….


Perhaps there is something in the need to blur the whole, fuzz out and blend the doubled edges when seeing becomes too much. The unconsciously conscious, the narrowing-it-down when it’s all just too big to grasp, to care.


I cannot conceive of all this world

I dare not tarry near its edge
nor think the dawns to yet unfurl

I cannot conceive of all this world
where drowning nights lie yet uncurled

along the crumbling sea-swamped ledge
I cannot conceive of all this world

or dare to tarry near its edge


It’s only a draft …. but ….


There’s a prickling of thumbs
in this feel of snuffing day
the pumpkin’s sightless stare
and sliced-mouth dumbed-down shine
of emptied pity paid
to don the mask and bait the fool
to shake the nightmare’s hold with bites
of sneer and cheer
to laugh the mad the cruel the gone
with Poundland jibes to haunt
the profit-margined aisles,
the Primark’d fix for pining souls
to pour the pounds
to swell the propagandists’ purse
and ne’er to question why.

Alas poor Paul, I knew him.
Still had to kill him though,
an eye for an eye etcetera-ha-ha.

Blindingly obvious, don’t you think?

There’s a bright gallows smile
in this feel of dusted day,
the holes to fill with fear
and smear the pounce of dark
to rip the good we can’t believe
and glee the way
to mock the sad the broke the gone
with the paraphernalia’d scoff
to ghost the phantom light-parade,
the round-up call-up pied-pipe props
to grow the pumpkin miles
with cashed-up callous ego-wiles
and ne-er to question why.

Alas, poor Paul,
who only yearned for love
so I had, of course, to kill-the-joy
of party-pooping Paul who wouldn’t join
the freakshow curse

who dared to question why.



The Ramsgate Seadog likes Scallops

After the Seadog Festival, July, I put the Seadog poems away.

No doubt without my slashing pen and critical editing mind the Seadog has flourished. It is clear he knows our harbour so much better than I.

For example, when I’ve been looking at the gloriously reborn Pavilion building my eye was drawn to an iron post on the harbour wall that I’d never really even looked at closely, despite so many strolls past it. (And dogs, even Seadogs, I’m sure, do see far more uses for a post than I?)

It’s a beautiful post. And after taking some photo’s I walked home and took out the Seadogs poems again –  the time now feeling right for a reshuffle, an update, another song …. ?



I may wander down to the Belgian Bar again this weekend – a place for contemplation, more than a few lines of my poetry have been written there, including this, which is how I feel again now….

[ Publication credit to ‘Obsessed with Pipework’, No79, August 2017. ]



Sometimes I catch the corners

I recently had a trip to Lancashire, staying in Burnley. I lived there for 10 years. Now I am so rooted here, I love Ramsgate, have no wish to leave. But being back there … my thoughts on a part of me that I know still has a powerful influence on the way I live, and the way I write.


Mighty Pendle. Recalling the first time I saw it close-up, the November wind screeching across the moor  (cackles of Nutter and Demdike and fear) links me powerfully to a young self. A young self that loved poetry, and struggled with people. My thanks to Gillian for that first introduction. My thanks to Gillian for her friendship and courage, an open-ness and honesty that’s rare, resilience and persistence. And, of course, a love of the myth of the Pendle Witches’ curse that endures.


Perfugium Miseris

Apparently this weekend is ‘International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend.’  As a result of which I had the pleasure of attending a talk yesterday on Ramsgate Lighthouse (and many other Lighthouse and Lightship tales) at the Sailors’ Church.  Ted Borley is an absolute mine of information – I’d recommend a visit to Ramsgate Maritime Museum where his amazing knowledge of the exhibits on display certainly brings history to life.

The current Ramsgate Lighthouse – dating from 1842 – marks the seaward entrance to our wonderful harbour. There’s an inscription around the base – ‘Perfugium Miseris’ – indicative of this lighthouse’s very real role lighting out the passage to safe refuge from sea-spite, swell, and gale.

Ramsgate Lighthouse


Ramsgate Seadog

Truly stunning setting yesterday for sharing some of The Seadog Stanzas at the Sailors’ Church, Ramsgate.  Ramsgate Festival is in full swing here, the sun is out (and in) but mostly out – and the first ever Ramsgate Seadog Festival to boot. Life is good.

If you do get the chance you MUST go and see the amazing art work by Stacey Chapman (Art Sea Craft Sea) and Emily Tull – their FishFace2 is a wonderful collection.



Tools for Solidarity Poetry Competition Shortlist

Tools for Solidarity Poetry Competition 2017

I was absolutely thrilled to make it on to the Shortlist for this competition.

Just 5 of us Poet’s in the final shortlist, and what amazing company to keep indeed, an honour to see my poem alongside work by these fine poets.

A privilege indeed to see my poetry be put to such good use in the promotion of such a worthwhile cause.

Walpole Bay Tidal Pool – 80th Birthday


What a lovely idea to celebrate the ‘birthday’ of this much-loved local spot. Like so many before, and after, I’ve spent many a joyful time there.

     The children pointed.
    “Crabs. Crabs!” we said,
     as they chanted
     “Please, please!”
     stretching out uncertain fingers,
      juggling new treasure.

My poem ‘Hermit Crabs at Cliftonville, 1998’ was inspired by a walk by the pool, and a meeting there with a family from Kosovo.  The children were especially delighted by the crabs that we could see in the shallows. These are images that have stayed in my mind, and it’s a poem I read often locally when I’m performing my poetry here in Thanet. Hopefully it’s as a way of showing some of the more recent ‘waves’ of migrants to our beautiful corner – and my way of saying that I am proud to welcome them, and to celebrate their place in Walpole Bay Tidal Pool’s 80 years-young history.