Befriending the Horse

Feelings are like
A bucking horse
—You once read—
They pull you
This way and that,
But, says the author
You mustn’t shy away;
No, you should
Befriend the horse.

Something clicks
In your mind,
You want to reply,
That’s it!

Of course, we all get
Drowned in our emotions
At times,
And it’s hard when
You have no clarity,
When ambiguity and
Ambivalence rule.

The answer
—Your gut tells you—
Is not to simplify and
Paint the world in
Broad strokes of
Black and white,
So you can hide
Behind an illusion
Of safety;

The answer is
To see the world in all
Its treacherous colours,
Its pulsing ugliness
And its rare moments
Of shimmering beauty,
And to accept
Your shifting place in it,
As it spins ever on.

You just can’t bear
That excuse:
“Oh, I couldn’t help myself,
My emotions were too strong.”

You had at least a
Split moment
Where you chose

To beat that child
Purple, green and blue,
To cheat on
A faithful companion,
To denigrate, not praise,
To tear down instead
Of building up.

Our fleeting feelings are just
The surface of a vast ocean;
Below the heaving waters
Is where our immutable principles
Are meant to reside;
In the inky abyss is
Where our core character
Is shaped and honed.

If you blame
The child you crushed or
The lover you deceived,
If you’re looking
For reasons they
Deserved it;
Deep inside,
You know,
You just want
That pink card –
Get Out of Jail Free.

We often cannot choose
What ships travel
Across our waves,
Or what stones
Are hurled into
Our depths.

But we can choose
What we toss out
And discard on
The shoreline,
What we allow to grow
On the ocean floor,
In the ebb and flow
As our moods turn.

Our feelings may be
A stallion rearing back
In fear and pain,
They may be a gentle canter
Down a warm lane,
Or a gallop of
Unbridled passion;

But we are the riders
And it behooves us
To learn to steer
That horse.

The Loneliest Place on Earth

Is 3 a.m.
And still wide awake.

Broken Beautiful


The laughter and chatter of
a vibrant Spanish child,
Words shooting out like a
high-speed train
Hurtling into an uncertain future.


Careful silence and downcast eyes,
A cowed British teenager,
Words trapped in tar like
A fly caught fast but
Struggling to break free.


The unthinking arrogance of
That French twenty-something,
Words spewing forth
In vanity and agony,
Dancing with twisting shadows.


The beginnings of true understanding,
That German forthright clarity,
Words flowing at last
For they are welcomed,
Settling like birds in a nest.


That kamikaze approach
To life-changing decisions,
Leaping before looking,
Losing bits of self
Like glitter in a whirlwind,
Constantly taking on new shapes.


A hard-won knowledge of
a Polish heart,
With all its dark niches
And carefully constructed
Survivor’s guilt
And steel in your soul.


The need to be
Someone else.


A fierce pride,
Wearing scars like
Washed clean
In the rain,
Flowers growing now and
Leaning towards the sun,
Warm, surrounded,