High Spirits over a Hot Weekend July 2018

at The Joy of Being Alive 5 rhythms dance weekend

Saturday night
the city’s mercantile strength shuddered
with football win excitement.
Clusters of unreconstructed males,
pumped up by gyms and beer,
shouted tribal songs and occasionally
committed random acts of violence.

Hen parties, dressed in more loud
attitude than clothing,
roamed in and out of clubs and bars.

Sunday morning
an orderly flow of sticky runners
pounded silently with intent
through clearly defined tarmac channels,
contained by orange bollards
and green-coated marshals,
to the finish and celebratory showers.

Tucked away behind the hospital,
in a beautiful quiet hall,
pale gold polished wooden floor,
a wall of north facing windows,
we danced the whole weekend, undisturbed.

Fifty men and women,
energies rising and falling,
bodies and hearts meeting and connecting.

Lovingly and precisely we were orchestrated
through Gabrielle’s five rhythms –
flowing, staccato, chaos, lyrical, stillness –
easily, sweatily, wildly, peacefully,
into community and self-knowledge.

Our workshop output,
a glorious unfolding
of abundant joy
in being alive.


Homesickness (mild)

Another day
in this beautifully cared-for place,
with friends,
no one else about.

Soft warmth,
bird‑of‑paradise plants,
banana plantations,

Breakfast on the terrace,
ripe nectarine, warm croissant,
local cheese drenched in passion fruit.

Sea views.


I long to water my tomatoes,
stir my porridge,
work through my to‑do list,
admire the dust.

But only a bit.



Penguins dot the incoming swell,
vertical, waiting in stillness till
the quick twist to flat horizontal,
throwing themselves along the chosen wave,
gliding into the shallows.
Or not.

Standing up, turning,
striding again towards the horizon,
board held high.

A repetitive dance,
soothing to watch.


Visiting London with my New Friend

Gone are the hard corners of my Android phone,
with its limited staccato moves,
obedient to its designers’ instructions,
not yielding to or anticipating
its user’s needs and whims.
A poor lover, friend.

Now, Apple in hand,
my finger glides silkily over screen,
selecting tube, bus, on foot,
for my next London moves,
alternative times helpfully set out.

Next I enjoy quiche and salad at Tate Britain.
No card.
I pass my phone lightly over the static pay terminal,
carry my tray to the members’ top floor river view.

Messages, emails, train times, photos,
tracking my daughters’ running exploits,
sharing pics, more to come…..
Whatever desire slips into my mind,
it can be done.

I glide now in softly soled slippers,
my sensible Android walking shoes cast off.

I am hooked,
the Apple eaten.

A laptop next.


What If, Summer 2018

The tree couldn’t move,
burnt down its beautiful side.

Nor could the stand of raspberry canes,
dissolved to a charred rectangle.

My orchard stood proud,
fifteen years in the planting,
tending, harvesting.
With him.

It watched the destruction
rush across the next allotment.

Water saved it,
and the neighbouring sheds,
fences, crops, lovingly parented acres.

A swift, effective containing.

How could the man on my boundary
have a bonfire,
weeks into the drought?


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