This Creative Life

There were holes in

This one wonderful creative life

It had got a little threadbare

Over the years

In need of darning


A light had dimmed

And now, I’m adding threads

Wild snatches of music

Experienced from the inside

Part of a circle of people playing

For themselves and for each other

Sharing tunes and memories

And weaving a richer life

The warp and weft of friendships


Stories, rhythms, rhymes

And the hills of the Lake District

My hills

And a scattering of colour, paint on canvas,

Feeling the lines and texture flow from the brush in my hand

The peace of deep, relaxed movement

Taking time to reconnect

The wake of a canoe across the lake

Adding a silvery thread

All combining

All absolutely necessary

Now I know what I’ve been missing

All of this is what I need

Now there are no threadbare patches left

In the tapestry that is

This creative life


A blessing and a curse

this vivid imagination

conjuring up so many pleasant daydream worlds,

and paintings, stories, poems, music.

Allowing me to put myself in another’s shoes,

to empathise.

Enabling me to imagine the worse possible catastrophic outcome

for any situation I find myself in.

My body doesn’t know

that the stories in my head are not real,

and responds with pleasure, excitement, fear, dread, anxiety,

feeling it all, deeply.

And it takes a strong rational act of will to calm down,

to find a way back into the here and now.

Leaving the world of the imagination is not easy.

A blessing, and a curse.

Monkey Mind

‘I think’

said the monkey mind

‘that I think too much’.

And he scampers off busily

up thought trees tangled

with stories.

Narratives twisting towards the light

thrusting up strange blooms,

every shade of the emotional rainbow.

Curious to know more,

the monkey scampers on.

Always restless,

the voice chattering away

in the jungle of my mind.

Does that monkey ever sleep!

Lighten Up

Those small things that you deny yourself,

The movie, or book,

Night out with friends,

Or bunch of flowers

That you think you don’t deserve.

Leading on to more denial,

The kind words you would bestow on a stranger

But wouldn’t consider saying to yourself,

Preferring instead the harshness

Of an inner critic

The chances not taken

By the likes of you,

Missed opportunities,

Paths left unwalked,

A life half lived.

You can’t deny

You need to lighten up.

Be kind to yourself and

Open up

To the joy in this world.

Duddon Estuary

The clouds dispersed to reveal the estuary

domed with blue.

A cold north wind blowing

but in the shelter of a hedge

the sun felt warm, springlike

with birdsong

and the first frogspawn in a ditch.

The rising, full moon high tide paused

at the outer edge of the saltmarshes

where the birds gathered;

curlew, oystercatcher, redshank.

Then the sea quietly,

relentlessly, marched on over the marshes

scattering birds, forming islands of green

that gradually disappeared underwater.

A stream of sea pushed in past our feet

to the railway embankment

signalling the time to leave

this inbetween place

to the sea and sky

and the birds.

Stillness in movement

Can you find the stillness in movement?

Not by searching, but by the experience

Of becoming aware of your body

As you move through this world.

Not by trying, but by doing.

Progress through space,

Present within your body,

Aware of what is inside, and what is outside

And then do nothing but the movement;

Hiking, running, tai chi, yoga,

Or simply strolling leisurely through your day,

Washing the dishes, cleaning the house,

Even, perhaps, tapping at a keyboard.

At home within yourself.

Not striving, not searching,

Not analysing, not judging,

Not doing.

Just moving

Until you sense the stillness within.