Poem: ‘Clothes’


These are my favourite clothes, I
wear them for days on end.
They retain their shape,
my shape,
even when I toss them
into wardrobes, or hang them from
skeletal frames, dis-
assembled, waiting for warm
odours of my living

So say you’ll never throw them
out, and resist all
temptation to wash. Simply
lay them on a chair or bed – though
mark the creases,
the bulges of cotton limbs, fleshy
legs which have moulded denim,
now hanging in threads. And make sure
to study the greasy collars, precious
oils of my skin. Then take
hold of this shirt, stretch the faded
fabric in your hands and breathe in
the smell of years. Remember
the walks and our talks, when
there was only time to kill. For these
things, which may be nothing now, are
still worthy of note, the relics of
a single life
and not without right

image and poem © copyright David F. Barker 2013

Poem: ‘Turning’


Is there a point where the tide
a moment that I could see, or touch?
I’ve been looking
at tables giving times, exact
minutes of apogee, and it was
just here I’m sure,
right here,
where I pointed
and watched
and saw nothing, except
the foam stretch ahead of me
like phantom silk, all
along the buff triassic sand, as far
as I could see or walk.
“That’s where the waves
stop,” you said, “where the tide
turns back to the sea – and me.”

image and poem © copyright David F. Barker

Poem: Blindfolds


There is no crisis
that’s never been made, no war
we’ve ever had to join. Why
don’t you stop! – look

at what you’re doing? Don’t
accept it,
turn off the TV and ignore
the paper headlines stacked

in front of you, they lead you into their
their pigeon-holes.
What are you? Can a jackass

stare back from the mirror? Even
gods call you sheep, creatures who
need to be brought in – whoever said

should be so? The more I say no, each
time you refuse to
toe the line, so much sooner
you and I become us

and then we

© copyright David F. Barker 2013

I am not a pacifist, but most conflict is avoidable.

Poem: Girl with a Cello


In a diamond city night we’re
taxied through floodlit streets

angled snow alabasters old facades
medieval histories beyond all guessing

Flanders is frozen outside this misted glass
the two of us sitting nose to nose

our tongues loosening aperitif smiles
white burgundy cutting through brie

making heads light and cheeks flush
and toe touch toe

Our eyes meet when bare soul strokes calf
kissing slim fingers one by one

plied each day to taut cello strings
sneak previews to plots and suites of night

image and poem © copyright David F. Barker

* sorry, but this is an oldie!


Poem: A Walk by the Sea

a walk by the sea

Without too much thought I took
to the beach,
followed the white lines of
leading me due north along that
fractured shore.

in no time at all the beach huts were
behind me,
removed by dunes and blurring
summer haze.

then suddenly
she was there
right in front of me, as if she’d
right out of the ether.

she was squatting down,
blonde haired and
quite young,
her blue-green dress hitched up a touch
showing small bare feet
half buried,
where the dry white sand
gave way to shingle.

I stopped
said hi
but she didn’t even look!
staring into that wide expanse
she could see
clear across the ocean.

looking down I admired her
gold-embroidered dress,
the delicate amber jewellery on
slim fingers,
her long hair matted by
the keen breeze.

then she looked up,
her eyes like cyan gems
and pointed to herself–
‘Elfhild’ I thought she said
sounding sort of German
or Dutch or maybe something
in between
but I didn’t speak a word.

not then.

she didn’t seem lost or in any distress
so I moved on,
giving her a faint wave,
after all, what business was it
of mine?
I carried on steadily
maybe half a mile or so,
felt the wind move round
south to south east.
I could’ve done with a jumper so I
turned back,
got up quite a pace in the end.
frankly I wanted to return
to see if she was alright –
but I saw only footprints
where she had been, where the shingle
gave way to sand.

walking to the shoreline something
caught my eye, a piece of amber
wet and shining.
I picked it up, held it
to the light
and smiled, looking out
to where the waves
were rolling in by the edge of
that German sea

poem and image © copyright Dave Barker 2012

‘And Then She Was Bad’ Milly Reynolds’ new ebook – out shortly!


Milly’s new ebook, ‘And Then She Was Bad’, will be out on kindle very shortly. I think it’s her best, with all the usual quirkiness, with the added spice of a bit of strange love and passion! This time the intrepid Detective Inspector Mike Malone is up against one of his most spiteful targets and crosses swords again with an old enemy…

image and words © copyright Dave Barker and Milly Reynolds 2012



I stood alone
with you,
like it was the end of our world, an
eerie glowing sky reflecting my heart, with
the solstice on its way. You
turned to look at me, that smile
I knew so well, your gracious nod
I’d never seen in real life. My hand
went through you – you were not
there anymore, just an echo like the
sonorous bells over pantiles, made
uniform by the morning rime. You said
I looked ‘frit!’ in the dialect
brought across to your city,
the voice of your
distinction. ‘Your life is not
your own,’ you said, ‘even the sun
never stands still, only seems to.’
So you told me not to worry, not
even care, to let it all go
now, that it’s better to die trying
than do nothing,
a short life
with meaning and all its
tortuous crosses borne, can become
a pilot light of inspiration. You
walked towards the sea, smiling
once more and unafraid, before vanishing
out of time into the
low glinting sun, a promise
of far off warmth
and the revelation to come

image and poem © copyright Dave Barker 2012