My father worked with a horse-plough,
His shoulders globed like a full sail strung
Between the shafts and the furrow.
The horse strained at his clicking tongue.

An expert. He would set the wing
And fit the bright steel-pointed sock.
The sod rolled over without breaking.
At the headrig, with a single pluck

Of reins, the sweating team turned round
And back into the land. His eye
Narrowed and angled at the ground,
Mapping the furrow exactly.

I stumbled in his hob-nailed wake,
Fell sometimes on the polished sod;
Sometimes he rode me on his back
Dipping and rising to his plod.

I wanted to grow up and plough,
To close one eye, stiffen my arm.
All I ever did was follow
In his broad shadow round the farm.

I was a nuisance, tripping, falling,
Yapping always. But today
It is my father who keeps stumbling
Behind me, and will not go away.

<i>Digging</i>, Seamus Heaney

She saw my feelings were stunted and shamed
She swept me along in her brilliant cavalcade
When I close my eyes I can still feel
The feather-like touch of hands on my cheek
Searching for the chinks in my armour
Rarely has anyone crept into my heart
Overwhelming mydefences with pure spirit
Beauty burning into my eyelids in perpetuity
Yearning to move inside, close against my chest
Never again a stranger to feeling
My life dissolved in her arms.

I’ll thank her till the day I die.

Northern Light, Oakeswell, 2014.

We are all philosophers now,
Socratic in one-forty characters or less.
Diluted in thought and consequence
Words drip from our fingertips like venom from a viper’s fangs,
Immeasurably toxic.

No more delightful anticipation of human contact.
Substituted symbiosis through a three-and-a-half inch window to the soul.
Pennies in a wishing well without the goodwill,
Instant gratification, lust, avarice,
False idols reciprocated.

There is no need to be alone anymore.

Social Media, Oakeswell, 2013.