Shelter from the storm



Rust grows its red beard aboard the ark.

A hedge-strimmer’s serrated blade leans

Up against the shack’s shelter

Among the planks with foot rot

And the plastic tarpaulin’s blue dimples

Filled with mosquito ponds.

From the crowded occupation of metal and wood,

Bags of cement or compost,

Unused rolls of chicken fence mesh breathing,

Obsolete workshop machinery in stasis,

Iron rakes and sharp nails protruding

From a slatted door that won’t stay shut,

Bins and broken boxes competing damply.

You have to squeeze in to find a place

Where you can stay dry and hold your cup steady

As you sip your smoke grey as the sky.

Green leaves drip down the bordering branches

And everything crowds in

As at a bus stop passengers press together

When the rain makes waterfalls on canopied edges

To curtain off the outside.

Here, webs multiply the tangled view

As angled drainpipes provide their anchor

And for five minutes or more

Respite allows a man his tea and cigarette

Before going back indoors to write this note.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

With rain in mind



That leaden rain slanting down, listen now;

Pencils of sound, a pointillist punctuation

Weighting the earth, grey lines, going outside

And feeling it on my hair, pitting my shoulders,

Something real, words that carry conviction

In each drop, in fact no longer is air above still

But it’s dancing now, the motion of an energy

That moves time stitching long wet curtains

Pulling down the clouds, anchoring them back

To ground to begin the cycle once more,

This turning and this dispelling of inertia,

A repetition where unlike myself, no heartbeat

Is necessary and yet the pulse starts, stops,

Starts again and goes away to come back

Another day. I just watch and wonder.

It is a voice when I have no company,

It is an idea in motion, one which when

I was barefoot and carefree saw me splash

In mud puddles, squelch toes in the grass,

Tilt back my throat and swallow the sky…

Posted in creative writing, escape, poetry, senses, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments







On the precarious rocks something so brave,

The lighthouse illumines the edge of chaos.

Out of darkness, this solitary sentinel shines.




Small thing is the firefly above the African vlei,

Hovering in defiance of the vast horizon

Defying the black continent’s immeasurable heart.




My cigarette, a singular coal, it also glows

Contrary to the emptiness, a sniper’s signal

But there is no war, just loneliness.




At the altar a candle-lit prayer,

One widow’s mourning skirts repeat

The evening missive. Silence remembers.


Posted in creative writing, existence, memory, musing, poetry, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

“Genius Loci” review

Genius Loci celebrates diversity of cultures and places.

I include the link for anyone who might be interested.…/genus…/paperback/product-22750818.html

“Bart Wolffe is a prolific poet and his work is designed to be read aloud. A test of good poetry is in the ear of the hearer and recorded samples of Wolffe’s oeuvre are available on Youtube, read in his own velvety voice. His work is highly accessible without being either pulpy or commonplace.
In Genius Loci the idea of immanence in the landscape and the atmosphere of various places and locations is explored.
Some of the locations are his own nostalgic vision of the exotic Africa where he has lived and worked for much of his life. These poems paint a powerful primal and colourful energetic force and an affinity with the lush landscape and its flora and fauna.
The names of creatures and places are invoked, often bringing the measure of another language to enrich the work: ‘Red Bishop birds, pin-tailed whydahs, yellow weavers/Perch on the tops of growth along the way/ Or a puff adder lies in a sleeping hollow…’ (African Footpaths). The indolence of heat rises up through the rich language- landscape of the poem Okavango: ‘Sleeping crocodiles, one –eyed/ Greenly dream invisibility…’
Such graceful language brings the verdancy and power of Africa as an empowering force leading the reader through an almost alien terrain of heat, strange creatures and vivid blooms.
This is not all; as Wolffe travels, so too does his pen. Experiences are often poignant or even painful.
In the difficult but haunting ‘Holocaust Memorial’ the uncomfortable and self-destructive side of human nature is wryly deprecated in our addictions as the poet also calls himself out;
‘And in this death/ I share the unnumbered stars/ That each one wore/ As I sense the way stale smoke clings/ About the conscience.’
This is a brave way to approach the unimaginable, by characterising the manifestations of indolence, indifference and genocide as part of a huge machinery of consumerism. This mechanistic paradigm is also invoked in the wonderfully sprawling poem ‘Völklinger Hütte’ . The largest ironworks in Europe rots and rusts in a lugubrious vision of hell pierced through with a reference to a more incandescent light, perhaps the empyrean fire of Milton and others.
The history of colonialism humorously and incisively referenced in ‘ You husband is envoy to the Queen’s colonies, after all’, where the dainty white veneer is manifested as a ‘Madonna in black Africa’.
Other more parochial places are sometimes excoriated by the poet’s wit and powerful observational skills; ‘ Art Café’ ruefully tilts at polite urbanism ‘ The murmur of piped jazz is ever so understated/ As to be almost inaudible…’
A much more pantheistic and pagan vision is exposed in ‘Tonight I am Caliban’, ‘Leaf Fall’ ‘Axed’, ‘The Pebble Hunters’ and others where Wolffe exposes both his own poetic bones and that of his now native, English soil.
What I like about this book is the veracity, the far range of the poems and the fact the poet is so unflinching in exposing his own life, dreams and dispossession. There is much to engage with, reflect upon and the language is rich and varied. Each line has something marked, unusual and cogent and luminous about it bringing us nearer to his vision. There is no overt over-elaboration or obfuscation in this poetic journey, relying as it does on a unique and unwavering dedication to a love of a sensory and sensual appreciation of the poet’s preoccupations with living in the moment as both a matter of survival and also of a manifest and grateful appreciation.”

Buy Genus Loci by Bart Wolffe (Paperback) online at Lulu IE. Visit the Lulu Marketplace for product details, ratings and reviews.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

It is not even the memory that was



Only that dead star reminding

This message goes out, a pulsed thought

Beneath the blind heaven whose walls are taller

Than loss.


Just the fingerless wind attempts to comfort

Stroking my temple, a touch on my brow.

Perhaps, this is it,

The one who stays with me now.


I would make love to the dead

For they are my company.

We share the silence; my lips, their past,

Coming together. Inevitability.


But how can I commune with those

Who no longer have a voice?

The colour of forgotten is black.

It is not even the memory that was.






Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment





Though flotsam flounders in the tide and no more bounds back

Leaping into the quivering ocean’s loins, some limp porpoise

Stranded on the shore needs a little help from a friend to guide it

To where the waves will once more embrace it like oil

About a skin so smooth as made for sliding through the currents


Just so I know the young girl’s pouted mouth speaks now

Of the fact there is no distance between her and desire

And as pods burst and the involuted buds erupt, unfurl,

Life is that immediate and ever urging need

To sow and seed itself and fill each niche and hole,


To swell again, a mind that overspills itself

Green as the glut of summer

I would lay upon the altar of remembrance

Offering up this knowledge as my prayer,

To drink and drown within the all-engulfing air.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment




Nightfall. The black heart where a man cannot measure

All that forgetfulness.


Is it that everything which went before

Has now been emptied, voided – all the uncountable

Loss of her love, unable to feel a touch now,

No face visible and even memory fading with the light

Of a torch which dims, its battery nearly dead?


Instead, the loneliness of an aircraft pulls distance

Towards a familiar haunting. A journey, perhaps,

Some want to go back, to feel again…


It is so vast, so vacuous without company

Other than a creature’s anonymity in the dark.


One cannot write but what one feels

And so we seek in blindness some sign,

A meteor above, a blinking star,

The far-off gunshot, the voice of God

Or talking to oneself in such confession

That writes this poem.

Posted in creative writing, poetry, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment