A tiny solar panel, four centimetres wide
Drives seven coloured cogwheels
All arranged inside.
A see-through globe of Perspex
From which a brazen rod
Supports a crystal hexagon
To catch the eye of God.

The machine clings tightly suckered
To a southward windowpane
And when the sky is cloud free
And doesn’t threaten rain
The panel catches sun rays;
The cogwheels slowly move,
Driving round the crystal;
Then rainbows start to rove –

Around the walls and ceiling
Dappling my eyes
Splashing seven colours
With a Rainbow Room Surprise!

Bedford, 2002


Swan – and Edgar

Moorhens, coots scattered from reeds and weeds
Cygnets glided placidly in line,shepherded by bookend parents Dragonflies darted, helicoptered in the humid July air.
Thunder threatened as I paddled downstream
Rounding a willow-hung bend, a long straight reach opened out, Deserted except for a pair of swans…
Spotting me, an instant reaction from the male
Sudden explosion of wing-thrashing, torpedo-necked fury
Rocketing straight at me, gaining speed and terrifying decibels… I swerved to avoid, digging deep with my paddle
Speed, momentum made him miss!
I arrowed on downstream. Escape my only aim.
But wrong move. The female lay ahead.
Quick glance over scared shoulder
A beating whirlwind of mean menace
A second attack – wild white weapon wings
Churning water. The battering ram head – gaping beak
And the awful noise…

One lash with my paltry paddle. Smash into the neck
Of the irate swan – and crash – I was over
Under water…
Surfacing, pulse racing, cowering beside the upturned canoe
I waited, helpless, vulnerable
Swans seem to swell, seen from water-level..
I waded bank wards, shielding craft between me and the enemy, A slough of despond dragging my shoes.
I clambered out, exhausted.
My smug assailant watched, satisfied,
River-rage abated.

Great Ouse. July 2002