Stairs in metro station
Picture by igorovsyannykov via pixabay

For your own safety

Change here.

The next station

Will be exit only.

You have a vital role

to play,

beds, sofas and furniture


The station is Kentish Town.

A Northern Line train terminating at

High Barnet.


It feels like a lifetime ago that many of us who jostled through the London commute have done so. Instead of being restricted by movement in crowded carriages and crowded, interlinking corridors, we’ve been restricted to our homes and localities. Uncannily, in the continuing circumstances,

You have a vital role

beds, sofas and furniture


In the times of commuting, these were the siren images of posters advertising comfort and respite to our underslept selves.

This poem is from Jangle between Jangle, a collection of verse written while jangling to-and-fro across London during the commute.

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Find BQ’s books for sale via Blurb.

An update

Image by Judy Macdonald from Pixabay

I’ll get ‘round to sending you word
about this dream
I had again
about the house
that’s under renovation.
When it’s finished
I know you’ll love the surprise.
The bathroom’s to be
The kitchen redone.
A loft floor inserted
in the roof.
With all the interconnected doors
there are so many
people moving in and
out of the rooms.
Builders, the people
we loved and lost,
a strange swaddled baby I
can’t keep from
shrinking and dissolving.
But the renovations,
I know you’ll love.
Find me in the
newly done-up


This poem derives from a dream I had. The construction work on a house and the shrinking, dissolving baby are both recurring dream motifs, though they don’t usually feature together. On this occasion they did.

This poem is from Jangle between Jangle, a collection of verse written while jangling to-and-fro across London during the commute.

Follow BQ on the gram (@beadedquillwrites) and Facebook.
Find BQ’s books for sale via Blurb.

Expectations, agitations

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

You want it and you think you want it.
You say to yourself you are
making strides towards it and
you plan and scribble little plans
and more plans, goals and more
goals, why power and visualizing the
outcome. What else?
Porridge in a bowl, waiting
and seeds.

26 or 27/11/2018

I’ve started consuming a lot of YouTube content. Days’ worth. I’ll watch while I’m cooking, lolling in bed, over my coffee/ tea. Sometimes I treat it more like talk radio – just having it on in the background.

Yesterday, while washing my dishes, I watched/ listened to an interview between Ellie Lee and K-pop artist Jackson Wang. When asked what he would do if he had three days off, Jackson said he would use the time to produce songs. Because when you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work. This from a man who juggles two careers.

When I realized that 2020 would be a different sort of year, devoid of many of the distractions I usually schedule into my life (exhibitions, theatre and music, wild swimming), I decided that this would be the perfect time to focus on some substantial goals: making strides with the part-time studies, improve my language skills and practise the viola.

This last weekend, I didn’t listen to the German podcast episode I’d put on my to do list. Not because I didn’t have time – I had loads of that, and solely in my own company. But because somehow the lus for it escaped me.

There has been very little progress on the language front. I have to will myself to take out my viola, which I did for 40 minutes on Sunday, wondering – what is the point, I’ve been playing for years and second position still sounds atrocious.

I can (and did) find close to 13 hours, most late-night Saturday and early morning Sunday, to watch a full K-drama series.

I woke up this morning, poured out a bowl of muesli and sat down to an hour’s study work with my Zoom group. Then I prepared and scheduled this post before the workday began.

You think you want to accomplish things, but truly – how much do you give to making them happen.

The Ancient

The oak tree stands,

its trunk heavily burred,

still growing vigorously.


A beautiful exhibition of drawings of Britain’s ancient oak trees at Kew Gardens inspired this poem. The images were in black and white and the trees stark, shorn of their home landscapes and without leaves. I was struck by how despite the long years – centuries – these majestic, broad-trunked wise ones continued to grow. Some trunks had split, some were heavily burred, they have all seen so many seasons, weathered the wind and rain. Despite their solidity from eons of exposure, they had a vigour to them, which you too may notice in the reproductions of the images.

Adverbs, like adjectives, are considered a stylistic ear-sore in writing and a crutch for lazy poets. I have kept “vigorously” nonetheless. The trees sprout their bare branches this way and that without consideration for polite symmetry or topiary style.

In my notebook I wrote that on that Sunday morning I felt, “Rested and clear-headed in a way I don’t think I’ve felt for ages. A good feeling.”

The next morning, Monday 29th October 2018, I was back in the thick of the London commute.

“I had a terrifying thought on my walk from Bank station – the tall, concrete buildings around and up ahead, the bright blue sky, everyone charging to where they were supposed to be, still meant to be and at that moment I thought to myself – actually stopped on the pavement – looked up and thought: This could be it. This could be my life until the end of my days. And so it could be, though, unlikely because the only constant is change.”

Here we are in 2020.

Read other BQ poems inspired by art

“The Ancient” is a poem from Jangle between Jangle, a slim collection of verse written while jangling to-and-fro across London.

Follow BQ on the gram (@beadedquillwrites), Facebook and, when out and about (so unlikely in 2020), Twitter.

BQ’s books are for sale via Blurb.

I could do with a harvest moon

Full moon in sky
Image by Duncan Miller from Pixabay

The harvest moon
shines for itself
and the corn
we no longer
reap or sow,
We cultivate
the blue screens.


With a turn towards the autumnal, the sense of harvest comes into the air. This poem from 2018 echoes ideas about work in the modern age in contrast with a more agrarian past that are explored in greater fiery depth in an earlier poem, Listen to me, you golden beauty. Do read it. It’s one of my favourites.

As the temperatures drop and the light changes, autumn is a natural time for a poet to reflect. Autumn’s ripened harvest store describes a city changing with the season, now anecdotal as we find ourselves in the changed times of 2020.

After spending an autumn in Poland, I have come to love the colours and textures of a proper Northern autumn. Walking through the local woods and green spaces in London, witness to the oranged leaves and trees collared with fungi, I have been reminded again of this season’s visual gifts.

Autumn first makes itself known to me through the earth. My feet feel the change in temperature, which this year happened in September. Yet, the air and sun rebelled and we still enjoyed a warm spell. Now the change suggests to be more permanent. I have pulled out my thicker socks, even the full woolen ones. I know it is autumn when sock-layering begins. The thicker pair with pink and white harlequin squares, alternating with the partner pair of pink and white stripes, is worn over the standard, daily black sock.

When real winter hits, I will be wearing two under-pairs of the daily sock.

This poem is from Jangle between Jangle, a collection of verse written while jangling to-and-fro across London during the commute.

Follow BQ on the gram (@beadedquillwrites), Facebook and, when out and about (so unlikely in 2020), Twitter.

BQ’s books are for sale via Blurb.

What to share?

Blue sky courtesy of Mike C. S. @mikecs on Unsplash

What to share?

A truck on the High Road

Is a rumble away. Fresh breeze,

cold noise, morning cloud.

A white morning is smaller

than usual. Less time.

The garden’s recovering,

sucking the soil. Where is the



This almost early autumn morning was probably the opposite of today.

Today, outside, the sky is blue, blue, blue. It is, indeed, three blues: a greyer, lighter one near the horizon, a firmer one arcing over us and above, at the cupola of today’s summer sky, it’s London summer blue.

London summer blue, so welcome;
rare in your cloudless expanse.

I trust that the sun will warm the day as it goes along. There was still (even) a chill as I took my morning walk at 8.30am. After ten years I still struggle to gauge the weather from the London sky – if there is blue sky, it might not be hot, if it’s overcast it might not be as cold as I think it could be. Yesterday, it was very grey and rained until after 10.30am. I was reluctant to head out for the day’s walk. I stalled (phone scrolling, Whatsapp calls) and lingered (taking my time to make a coffee in the cafetiere, decant and take along). When I finally set off, I had to stop at the first bench on the Bishops Avenue to remove the pullover, long-sleeved top and rain-jacket I had on.

It was warmer than
my reading of the sky.

Why am I writing about the weather? I am also talking about the sky. My neighbour in the loft is this changing scape – clouds, rain, wind, rainbows and man’s fireworks. My other neighbours are birds. The large crows that survey their realm from the end of the ridge-board and the magpies stomping on my roof. They make a determined noise.

“What to share?” is from a slim new volume that I compiled during lockdown. Most of the poems are from 2018, a time – like many before commuting stalled – when I used to write on London transport. The micro-collection is titled Jangle between Jangle and I’ll share more poems from it in the months ahead.

So, to, this is enough sharing
for today.

Update: There are now small clouds edging up from the horizon.

Three poems to end the year


write poems

I wrote on my week’s to-dos.
It’s 8:58PM on SUNDAY.
The radiator’s cranking up;
Counting down to the bedtime
routine. This isn’t a poem: it’s
a snapshot.

write poems

The idea was to help me
See each output as a ‘1’;
As a single entity achievable;
As a level in a game. To produce
this isn’t a poem: it’s
an item done.

write poem

All the things I had to do before I
could write a poem

Rise from bed by leaving warm duvet.
Eat breakfast, take meds.
Clean plug, thoroughly. Pull out
the hairs.
Dress for gym; catch bus; get there.
Take a class; do some more; stretch. Energy flags.
Buy almonds from Poundland and
have a coffee, write some notes.
Feel ready to do part two:

Buy lots of food. Have heavy bags. Wait for bus
to take them home. Carry the bags,
unpack, cook and eat.
Feel tired; have a shower and wash
hair; juggle doing laundry between – two

Now late. Make tea with mint
and give up to the day, now
Too late to start a poem.

Back in September I set myself the goal, which at that point seemed achievable, of writing 6 poems drawn from inspiration in my daily life. Since then I’ve written endless notes to myself in my weekly to-do lists in a quest to ‘optimize starting’, as they say in the productivity lingo. Some prompts included:

write – commute, 10 mins
poem = just 5 lines!
write just 5 mins!

My procrastination side-stepped all of these suggestions.

This last Sunday evening, I sat on my bed and decided – right, now, write.

Goal accomplished and just in time. The fireworks are going off outside my windows as I type this up on New Year’s Eve.

Thank you, dear reader, for another year of verse.
Wishing you a wonderful start to 2019.

Image courtesy of the Old Design Shop and is a detail is from from a small advertising booklet titled Franklin Sugar Candy Book.

Two voices

“Oh dear, G_d…”
You want it and it and you think you want it.
“Now what?”
You say to yourself, you’re making

“I was having a panic.”
strides towards it.
“My whole stomach’s turning over.”
You plan and scribble little plans,

and bigger plans, goals and more
“I was just having a complete
panic attack.”
goals, why power and visualizing the outcome.

“Just about wiped me out.” More.
Plan more goals.

For another poem about goals see Highest Priority and for resolutions Reviewing the Pursuit.

Image is courtesy of the Old Design Shop and is “a vintage magazine advertisement for The Brainerd & Armstrong Co.’s annual Embroidery Book for the year 1900. The ad features an image of a well-dressed lady, seated in a beautiful wooden chair, doing embroidery work. The advertisement is from the November 1899 issue of The Designer magazine.”

What I Ate Today

layer cake image, cake printable, vintage food clipart, old fashioned cake, desserts sweets graphics.

What I Ate Today

Porridge for breakfast, again at three.
Stirfry for lunch; in the evening aubergine.

Brown rice with lentils, bulgur stirred in,
With the stirfry and at supper again.

A pear, peanut butter, boiled egg for a snack;
To finish it all a piece of chocolate.

I’ve been finding myself down YouTube wormholes recently. Favourite defaults include meal prep videos which loop into the auto plays of ‘What I Eat In A Day.’ After watching other people prepare and present their day’s meals, I decided to document my own version. This was a sampling from Tuesday last week.

Some other poems I’ve written about food:
I can tell a half bowl of you about leftover Friday rice
Making soup again
all breakfast?

Image above courtesy of The Old Design Shop from the Ryzon Baking Book by Marion Harris Neil, 1917

Making letters

Muse, come to this blankness
and take my unrequited offer
to hold and stroke your shape to form.

Rest here where fingertips may take
their pleasured time with you. Today
we have all day

until 6pm when I’m due out.
Muse, come in and be
a while. My page is yours.

The poem above started with a warm-up line, “Making letters on a notepad making a swish and swirl that satisfies.” I simply love the action of writing. I live for picking up a pen and pressing it against a cushion of paper, whether in a notebook, or a notepad or just stacked up on my desk. My jotting time is consistently the best moment of my day.

It has been an absolute age since I have posted. Sometimes, offline, during this absence I have scribbled creative bits in fits and jerks. Yet almost every workday I write and write and write: emails, content, copy. The muse is not amused. Perfunctory craft is not an aphrodisiac. Or I haven’t yet found a way to tempt the muse with a subject line or ‘in 150 words outline your planned project’.

When I prepared to log in to the blog (like holding aside the overgrown vines to a long-forgotten treasure cave), an odd click-bait ‘ad’ confronted me:

After Seeing Why He Places
An Ice Cube On His Burger
When Grilling, I’ll Never
Make One Any Other Way

Below was a photo of an uncooked burger patty with a melting ice-cube in its centre. Is this what is supporting the online existence of the visits of my muse? It does not surprise me, this strange poetry.

I have been so self-conscious about returning on my rusty sea-legs and what was waiting for me were uncooked burger patties and melting ice-blocks in the virtual jungle. These were the psychological and virtual landscapes. While I prepared this post and poem, this was the atmosphere outside:

The grating of
a saw, a far off
siren cries over
the arrival of a breaking train.

And from there I implored, “Muse, come to this my blankness.”

The muse and I started where we were.

Thank you for being here, too. Hope to see you back here soon.