People who like this sort of thing (may) find that this is the sort of thing they like.

Abraham Lincoln (as literary critic)

The author became acquainted with the work of cowboy poets after reading an article in The Independent in 1995: ‘Poets and Cowboys’ is the response. The next three poems were about significant things happening in California, then leading to the central block based on the Castroville Artichoke Festival. The last section continues as a record of interesting events mostly in California, but some in New England.

The Cowboy is the modern equivalent of the wandering minstrel, and cowboy poetry festivals/competitions have become cherished features of life in the American West. The driving rhythm of the horse and the constant sense of journeying lends itself to the longer narrative poetic forms, but may also account for the fact that these poets have no regard for so-called free verse.

Poets and cowboys

Listen to the cowboy poet;

what is his dream?

His dream is

that, one day,

his words will escape

and thunder away

and he shall be seen

bold on the skyline

heading them off.

But listen to the cowboy poet.

What does he know?

He knows this,

he knows the wide plains

where the meter and rhyme

is the beat of the hooves,

and he knows the corral

where all must be reigned in.

Dust rises and swirls

as he turns

and without

breaking his rhythm,


In the sweep of his stop

is his loss of momentum,

his point of unease.

So what is his fear?

His fear is

(betraying his manly prowess)

that his heart may hold feelings

his word’s can’t express.

The showdown’s approaching,

so what do you see?

He takes his position and starts to expound.

If that drawl is a clue to the speed of his thought,

that swagger, bravado,

that raw laid-back stance,

will not help him now;

this man is a loser,

he hasn’t a chance!

Yet his face is so open

It’s hard to take in.

Is he tough or benign?

Does he smile?

Does he grin?

But louche is the word;

he’s exciting the crowd.

Though they don’t understand him

they root for their man.

You stand side by side,

each prepared for the test,

but he’s quick on the draw,

right enough and before

you can say

‘’Howdy do!’

he has winged you

and drives home his point

with four deadly lines

in a fine rhyming cadence


in one languid gesture,


‘Well I’ll be darned!

Those fine city ways

were unable to save you.’

The mystery spot in Santa Cruz (California) does not disappoint. Two people of identical height stand two metres apart on a demonstrably level board. Both individuals and the onlookers see the one at the southern  end as at least six inches taller than the one at the northern end. This and many other illusions at the site are said to be due to a strong gravitational anomaly. It seems more probable that some optical artefact is distorting the perception of verticality, but there is no photographic evidence for any such feature.

The mystery spot

In places such as this,

the laws

of physics and of sense

do not apply,

don’t ask me why.

We have heard sage and prophet,

doctor and saint,

although with rule and line,

about it and about

make argument

but then came out

less wise

than in they went.

Something has distorted gravity

and bent



are other places where the such forces act,

and, we are confident that excavation

would disclose

a piece of rock so weird,

its properties could never be explained

by science. On

the other hand,

about that stellar Jay you saw when you arrived;

When you are gone from here

you’ll find

the mind’s eye

cannot recreate

that iridescent blue.

Hearst Castle is one of the major tourist attractions on the west coast of California. William Randolf Hearst’s hospitality was legendary. The guest were not told how long they were expected to stay, but took the hint from the seating arrangements at the magnificent dining table. As each in turn found themselves seated uncomfortably close to the fire, they understood that it was time to leave.

Things ancient and modern

Here the Pacific plate

slides under continental crust,

and melts

to lubricate the flow of land, north along the coast,

and here

William Randolf Hearst

built his castle.

This explains how land becomes,

not a barren waste on the sea floor,

but makes the continents,

our permanent inheritance.

He accumulated art and established an oasis

of continental debris on the hilltop.

In its hey-day, guests passed through

and down along the table,

until, seated near the fire, realised

that it was time to go.

He too, eventually, found that it was time to leave.

The castle, floating on its quake-proof concrete raft

sails past on billowing hills and could last forever,

if we were to reconstruct his will

in perpetuity,

this Wonder of the World

deriving (as it does)

from things that he could buy, or not,

the Sphinx,

the Pillars of Stonehenge, or Carnac,

Noah’s Ark,

the Alexandrian Lighthouse,

Colossus of Rhodes restored from the sea bed,

and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

From Santa Fe  with Laughing Eyes

People said,

the one place you must see,

while you are here,

is Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Next day

in the restaurant

we sat next to this pair.

They said Good day!

We said,

where are you from?

and they replied,

New Mexico, from Santa Fe.

We said

that is the place we have been told to see,

they said,


it's good

not least it lies

at seven thousand feet into the sky.

Unique enough,

we thought,

and later both agreed,

that he had laughing eyes

and also, should we go there,

never say, We know nobody here

but once we met a man

with laughing eyes

I wonder do you know him?


he lives across the street

but do not think that he

will not know grief.

When it comes

his sorrow will be

poignant, just because of this,

though lighter for the rest of us to bear.

Artichoke culture

Cultivation of the globe artichoke, Cynara cardunculus was taken to America by French settlers in Louisiana, but arrived in California with Spanish migrants. This mixed origin is clearly shown in the name of the town Castroville, held to be the capital of American artichoke production. It also claims to host the World’s second largest artichoke festival. One commentary, avoiding invidious comparison, has the following to say about it:-

First, you watch the parade, an eclectic mix of local high school marching bands, medieval enthusiasts, and Aztec dancers gracing tiny Castroville's main drag. Wandering into the Artichoke Festival, you'll find classic cars, ferret legalization advocates etc.. You might enter an artichoke eating contest or observe animal sculptures made entirely of artichokes. But the food was what brought you here, whether it's an artichoke burrito or the more unusual artichoke cupcake.

Each year they ’crown’ an Artichoke Queen, the very first being Norma Jeane Mortenson (Baker), later to be known as Marylin Monroe.

There are records of two other artichoke festivals, one in Sicily at Cerda near Palermo and one in Benicarlo on the coast between Barcelona and Valencia, but neither claims to be the number one.


Globe Artichoke: a perennial thistle, originating around the Mediterranean. The edible portion of the flower buds consists primarily of the fleshy lower portions of the involucral bracts and the base, known as the heart.

Bract: a modified or specialized leaf, especially one associated with a reproductive structure such as a flower,  Bracts are often different from foliage leaves, for example being smaller, larger, or of a different colour or texture. Bracts that appear in a whorl subtending an inflorescence are collectively called an involucre.

El Chicano is a Latin R&B/brown-eyed soul band from Los Angeles, California, whose influences can be found in rock, funk, soul, blues, jazz, and salsa. It is also the name for any Mexican-American.

Burrito: a flour tortilla wrapped or folded around a filling such as Mexican rice, beans, lettuce, salsa, meat, avocado, cheese, and sour cream lightly grilled or steamed. From the Spanish ‘burrito’, a little donkey, possibly derives from the appearance of a rolled up wheat tortilla, because it resembles either a donkey’s ear or else the bedrolls and packs that donkeys carried.

Enchilada: the past participle (f) of Spanish enchilar, "to add chili pepper to," literally to "season (or decorate) with chili.

Hombredad: manliness

Demasiado:  too, too much

Injerto, Corrupción: Words corresponding to the English ‘graft‘.

Sleeping beauty

Fair Castroville,

city of the plain,

victim of the uninvited one

whose gift became the hedge of thistles

that enclose

and bind you in,

where now the guests return

to wake,

by sword or kiss,

their youthful dream.

The entrance fee

We, the Pilgrims at the Wicket Gate,

are not deterred by prohibitions. No!

No weapons, loitering in groups

pets cans and bottles

ice chests horseplay bikes and skates and scooters. Violators

will be rapidly escorted out, their entrance fee


On the plus side

field tours,


ABC of artichoke cuisine.

Showcase festival

Special memories (of artichokes)  

country hoe down,

Bubble the Clown,

comedian and juggling jokes.

The Main Event,

today and yesterday, tomorrow.

morning and afternoon.

Artichokes past,

present and to come. Do not miss


Charleston, Tap,

Belly, Hip Hop

Square and line dance

Salsa Rueda,


just to show who

does the work here,

at the ending,

El Chicano.

Catherine de Medici (1519-1589), married to King Henry II (1519-1559), of France at the age of 14, is credited with making artichokes famous. She is said to have introduced them to France when she married King Henry II in the mid 16th century, and was quoted as saying, "If one of us had eaten artichokes, we would have been pointed out on the street. Today young women are more forward than pages at the court."   This rather opaque statement is claimed to be evidence in support of the contention that the artichoke is a powerful aphrodisiac.

Compensatory eating

In the country of the artichoke

burgers and fries

were, as far as we could see,

the uncrowned King.

All those folk

who made their way around

the straw bale maze,

ignoring cries of

“Lovely artichokes,

fried, baked, or grilled,”

perhaps, starting early,

had their fill before we came.


breaking their fast,

sucking the soft-fleshed bracts,

experienced the same sensation

that shucking oysters by the dozen gives.


finding themselves overcome by lust,

feared that any passer by

would see

and point it out,

and so contrived to seek

a lesser sin.

Honey trap

Yes, it was the food that called them.

Three short piping notes so sweet,


A, the host and guest

speaks for itself.

B, Burritos, little donkey rolls.

No donkeys here;

considering their taste for thistles,

they might find these spineless dishes

too insipid.

C, cynara cupcakes, bakers choice,

but where’s the queue?

Lipservice yes,

but not hombredad!

D, deep fried in batter

E, for enchilada from the Spanish enchilar,

a useful verb we do not have that means ‘to

coat in chili’ and enables you to shout out

to the waiter,

Demasiado enchilado!

Quickly, bring a glass of water!

F for fried again and

G for grilled.

At this point we have had enough,

choked to the gills

we need a break.

We’ll go to find an eating contest.

H for heavy weights who honed their skills;

the grab and push,

how much they put away,

and how long

hold it down.

An acquired taste

Bring on the dancing girls;

four lively ladies of that certain age,

(which pays in spades with flavour)

decked in scarlet-trimmed black fabric.

Had we chanced upon the Moulin Rouge,

The Can Can starts.

Eyes strain to see the involucral bracts,

the petal-pleated skin-tone petticoats.

Tongues yearn to sense

the succulent forbidden leaves.

The pack is closing in.

Burnt-out hippies;

cowboys down to earth.

Oh Grandpa,

what big teeth you’ve got!

Are they your own?

But no!

The ladies grin,

they’ve seen it all before.

The teeth are drawn,

the rams

have been dehorned;

an audience of sheep

in wolves’ clothing.

Gang violence

(A fractal outline)

This island form confirms our darkest dreams.

An outline that contains

itself within itself

and on such things

the gods have built a Universe.

Seeing this

and filled with mounting hubris,

gangs of rival architects conspire

to put together

archetypal forms, and starting with

a range off artichoke designs for fighting cocks


if allowed in, drag

the whole profession downward

into disrepute.


Picture of success

The last event!

We’ve come to this

the winning bid for poster artwork.

Don’t expect fair competition!

Local artists,

highly practised,

each awaiting one decision,

modestly refrain from boasting,

it won’t be me,

you must be joking.

Only the very best can hope

to win the supreme accolade,

First Past the Post.

A coveted award awaits success,

believe me this

that no backhanders

will be passed.

Hard graft,

injerto not corrupción

will mark the one

who can persuade the judge

he has the edge

in mastery

of vegetable arts



artichoke work.

An artichoke-based liquor ranks amongst the top one hundred spirit brands in the world. It is a versatile and social drink.(quote). There is no doubt that this is a classic case of an acquired taste. The recipe is a closely guarded secret, and of the thirteen herbs it contains, the only one named is the artichoke itself.

Numero uno

Before you go,

the coup de grace,

liqueur of artichoke,

distilled cynara,

noted, and voted on

among the world’s one hundred best.

Do not be misled by shade or pungency

that hints at ‘veterinary medicine’,

or recall the horse with bothered anguish,

lips pulled over toothy grin,

because it finds the taste astringent,

but glugs it down anticipating sugar lumps.

Those whose night is not yet done,

swallow and cough, then think,

we’ll keep a sample

just in case at dawn

some dipstick indicates the need

to take the morning-after pill.

But, thinking back to rustic night-time chivalry

when gentlemen would say,

‘pray, after you’, and she

grateful for that, might think

although the maid has, as instructed,

smeared the porcelain with oily essences

obtained from twelve most fragrant herbs,

it would be hard to name them after this.

Experts trained in chasing flavours round the tongue,

might, from the rare bouquet, conclude,

this has it all,

from twelve good men and true,

to Judas.

Our thing

And now unfinished business,

where the code of honour holds;

no silence speaks.

The number one?

No mention of it in the finer print!

Either no-one knew,

or nobody would tell,

as what it celebrates

it keeps,

be warned of this:

its reach

does not exceed

its legendary grasp,

and that is why

these people

young or old

claim that this plant

and all its works

is their one thing;





of course,

they must say that

because, although,

each artichoke

is very like the next,

there could be,

(they may think there is)

lurking amongst them,


whose kiss is life,

or death.


lurking there amongst them,

The Big Cheese!

New Age energy vortexes.

The Sedona National Park has been a fertile region for the growth of New Age culture and ideas. Among these latter is the concept of the energy vortex. Exactly what this means is hard to say, but the presence of such a vortex is revealed by its effect on the development of Juniper trees which are abundant in this part of the USA. The vortex causes the tree to twist into a helix as it grows and a map of trees showing this helical pattern should pinpoint the centre of the vortex. It is claimed that this reveals four energy vortexes in the region and that the most powerful of them touches ground on the south-western slopes of Bell Rock.

The short trip from the highway lead to a place of extraordinary beauty and growing amid the gently sloping curves of red rock were indeed many juniper trees with a strong helical bark pattern. The question now remains of whether other domains of sun-baked curving rocks would produce such a powerful feeling of calm, peace and such a sense of forgiveness.

Rebirth at Bell Rock

Tell me,

what is this force that twists itself into a vortex

and spins juniper trees

like sugar candy strands?

Tell me,

will it do the same to me,

re-energise my limbs

and fill my frame

as though a turning switch,

timed out,

has been reset?

Sleeper waves, often described as waves that come out of nowhere, are common in all oceans, but they are at their most dangerous on cold rocky coasts where people swept into the water rarely survive. The greatest risk is to onlookers standing on rocks, but they also take victims from beaches. Where these waves are a known hazard, the advice is’ Never turn your back on the Ocean’.

Sleeper wave

Never turn your back on the Ocean!

The sea people,

gifted with all that we have,

perhaps more,

but lacking only a soul,

seek any chance to acquire one.

Remember this,

there is no malice there.

The hard law of the sea

is taking its just chance

in a business transaction.

So never forget

that this is a market place

where the ebb and the flow

mount slowly enough,

but turn your back once

and you will be taken for all that you have;

where the first and the last intimation

of what is about to happen

is the cold hand

on your shoulder.

Death rock may be a real rock somewhere in the mid to northern part of the Californian coast. However although the hazard it presents  is frequently discussed in travel guides and non-specific warnings are issued at various points on the coast, we found no information about its exact location. The inference is that nobody who has discovered its location is in a position to pass the information on.

Death Rock

Everyone knows it exists.

It invites,

it suggests that this is a good place

to lie in the sun.

To spread out,

to look at the sea.

How it recedes,

before the waves rise,

then surge and disperse.


and this we can only surmise,

is that people before us have thought,

with surprise,

that this time

the sea is defeated

and fallen back

furthest of all.

Guerneville, on the Russian River, is a resort that is said to be favoured by the gay community.

Human Genetics  on the Russian River

All pairs were represented there,

mm ff fm,

like Mendel’s peas

some smooth,

some rough.

So we got chatting to this



She said,

fm ff mm,

they’re all the same.

The one thing they can never say,

is that alone which would release them. We

felt that we

were relatively


to hear all this;

of faults caused not by wickedness,

but something less invidious,

fm mm ff!

The land

lady, on the other hand, more down to earth,

when asked, in your establishment, what if a pair,

fm had found they were about to pass

the night where last

mm had been, she said,

mm ff fm,

forget about all that, it’s over-rated. We,

we yes,

we had this couple here and she

wrote, next morning in the guest book down,

in black and white,

if I could find it.

Yes yes, yes yes, yes yes, and thank

you! Thank you! Thank

you very much.

That was the first time we have done it

in three years!

To waken a sleeping giraffe


You are not going to believe this,

but some folk can waken sleeping animals

by telepathic means.

She could

for one,

and it helped out

so many times,

but this alone will do

to prove the point.

At San Diego zoo

(I think it was)

she turned up with a friend

whose long term aim had been to see giraffes

and find out all about their social life. So

what a shame then. When

they reached the compound,

one, or more of them,

was standing fast


It was then

these special powers

for use upon som-

nambulant giraffes

began to come in handy.

One small effort of the will;

the beast awoke

becoming, in that instant much

more interesting and much more fun.

It is hard not to think

that Adam had felt

exactly the same about Eve,

after the first bite of the apple.

Dégustation gratuite

Land of the free!

Land of a thousand bookshops,

each with its coffee-place

cake-stall and.

writers tapping into laptops

hoping to replenish



sampled by the staff,

(in their spare time?)

lovingly outlined in wine-land language.

Opportunity to taste the Ginsberg,

not a wine I knew, though I

had heard of it. No note to guide.

What could

the untrained palate make of such

a complex structure?


then rolled around the tongue

and, smooth in parts,

started to reveal itself

until an aftertaste began

opaque and slightly bitter,


this is old now,

old as earth,

and slightly past its best.

An apple, a day



airplane food is not too good.

Take this.


said, do

you have

explosives, sharp things,

things like that, know what we mean,

and did you pack your bags yourselves?


checked out our

finger prints, retinal maps, baggage

collected from the carousel.


is this nice dog?

He seems to like us.


turn out your back-packs!

One green apple! Now we’ve got you!


‘Oh my gawd, that’s torn it.’

And, among the other things, we thought,


perjury, and,

will our story stand in court,


however does that little dog contain itself,

passing by the fruit

on its day off?

What is meant by ‘a rainy ‘ day? When the amount of rainfall on a certain day amounts to 0.01 inch or more, it is said to be a rainy day. From 1000 questions in General Knowledge  by Henry Smith.

The Anza-Borrego desert, which lies about 50 miles east of Los Angeles has a haunting beauty, but the overwhelming feeling it gives and leaves is one of unreality. It was ‘discovered’ by the Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza. Borrego is the Spanish word for sheep (here the bighorn sheep)  and also for white, fluffy, clouds.

A rainy day in the Anza Borrego desert?

Green below clouds,

mountain ridge

sucks the air dry

and, neither late, nor soon enough,

weather-worn diner,

pancakes, stacked high, cried out

for corn syrup. The proprietress serves, rough,

but, as they say, good

hearted her people were here before

Anza and his men came

ahead, the pass casts its long rain


Clean, away, deep, but under

a light haze

full five hundred miles of rough track

radiate about The Visitor Centre.

Avoid dehydration,

do not do this, etc., that. Note

no signs of bighorn sheep.

Those white clouds,

more than a mirage,


do not come here

that white skull is not unique.

The picture to take,

but you will not see one

to take, one

dollar each.

In this arid, but not waste, a small ad. leans

(pole with two old boards, nailed,

as in some comic strip)

does not say,

‘Deadman’s Gulch,

take care’, instead,

Sixty six

acres of prime

for real


(not where)

for sale.Here, perhaps, or

just good place to notify the passing trade.

Went on and found the  

ideal, for a lunch break spot,

not prime nor real.

Garden of our own

Eden, first things.


each plant and indeed

each part of every plant, in place.

We were not, then, called on to name them

and could not have done.

Ourselves, insect size on a great leaf,

a man could be lost here

sand, veined,

and, had we zoomed out

seen every branch and every stem

joining the main stream.

Then it began to rain; fine drops

hanging in the air, caressed the skin. The plants

reached out for this. We could not say, had it fallen

to the ground, though it soaked in,

would it have reached the notional depth

of one percent of an inch? But,

had it done, even

so, sheep would have found

nothing to drink here.

Sebastopol is a small town in the wineland north of San Francisco. The name comes from a grudge match between two local worthies in the time of the Crimean war, that lead to some intense infighting. The town is noted for the artistic works of a local (French born?) artist who makes extraordinary constructions from scrap metal and installs them in the gardens of his numerous friends. Among the many interesting shops is Copperfield’s, Books, a secondhand bookshop, which in a part of the world noted for them, is an outstanding example. Stocking weaving was perfected in France by the Huguenot sect.

The siege of Sebastopol

Number one


gather near the door

and chatter.

Fashionably dressed,

or ranked, like soldiers

blue and red,

some will survive the slaughter and return.

Among the not yet dead

(angels of mercy work)

‘Stockings and Suspender Belts’

a monogram,

labour of an actress in her so-called resting time and

in this brief acquaintance find that

seamless stocking weaving was

the product of a questing intellect,

Church of England curate

in the reign of Good Queen Bess,

man of the cloth,

who could not find fulfilment in his Sunday work.

She did not mention how, or when, the great

eureka moment came.

Could be, from the pulpit.

looking down, he saw some favoured one

sitting, and his mind

began illicit geometric machinations,

or it came to him

struggling with a turgid sermon:

snakes casting their skins,

Eve’s temptation and his own,

Despite design success,

his monarch would not grant

A Royal Patent.

Perhaps (and honi soit)

she never would admit,

a lack of finger skill in passing

buttons through the fixing hoop.

Whatever! He,

in desperation,

gave, or sold, it to the Hugenots, who,

with gallic cunning,

and a thriving silkworm business

stole the market, only as protestants themselves,

to suffer later retribution.

The mind, at siege,

grappled with the theme

to buy or not

and, in this agony of dreams and indecision,

not the price, five bucks or less,

but a kind of frozen automaton

watched the hand replace it in that sea of spines.

Nothing beside


the eye.

Home, and entered saucy title on the Internet

feeling exposed

but took no action, only

noting it was once,

and still


But, as this was not enough,

false memory changed the name by adding ‘silk’,

and now no sign remained,

all traces gone;



hopes of reading on


El Capitain, claimed to be the world’s largest granite monolith, presents a formidable face near the western entrance to Yosemite National Park. It rises abruptly from the valley floor and was presumably carved by glacial action. Once considered un-climbable, there are now many routes up and new ones are still being pioneered. Seemingly bare at first glance, as the eye accustoms itself, the face is seen to be sprinkled with climbers. Although the surface is relatively smooth, it is still hard to believe that every perfect slice through granite, or right through the earth’s rocky crust, would create a beautiful polished gem-like surface.

El Capitan

Hi there, I don’t know much about you,

except that I have heard them say

that once you had a better half who left you.

Again I don’t know much,

although I do know this,

that glaciation, which undid you,

can be fast or slow.

Between you both

not slow enough

to bring about a perfect cleavage.

Impatience, which,

from your sombre features

seems unlikely, ruled. Had it not

your face, a moss-free wall,

smooth as a kitchen work-place

would shine out above us,

and those young men and girls

who, testing different ways

to find the one to take them through,

would have no further need for boots

pitons and ropes. But equipped

with suction pads on feet and knees and hands

move up, down, or across,

to decorate

your perfect face.

Instead you stand there

with your frown

and wrinkled lip

and cold command.

Sequoia Giganta.

We have here, although, and we shall come on to that,

we will not say which one,

in terms of volume

and, of course, of weight, but not of height,

(does that surprise you?)

billed ‘The World’s Biggest Tree’.

Don’t get your hopes up.

It just could be we do not know ourselves,

so think of that! But if they ever came to know it,

folk would carve their name, or names,

and, framed and shameless,

stand beside to have their photo taken,

or, with gutless nerve, ask one of us to do it.

Then someone else and someone else,

and on, and on.

Let’s get right down to earth. This

is something you might not believe.

the wood is brittle.

Only good enough for pencil making.

Besides, when one falls

it shatters. Though the fragments cling

together, they have lost their ‘giant’ status,

but even then, remember this,

your once most favourite Aunt,

winks his right eye a little,

perfumed, who brought back from abroad

your special own sandal-scented wooden pencil box.

The product of just one such splinter

is more than what you’d need to fill it.

So think of that, together with a list of more amazing facts.

Now, there, or not too far away

we have the worlds tallest.

tall-most of the tall, let ‘s call it.

Coastal Redwood. We can’t

be too specific. Could you view from space,

you might be gratified to see them all so neatly stacked.

Sharp points almost perfectly displayed.

But, and here’s a thing we do not go for here,

should one stand out above the rest,

you could be fighting, in your limey leftist stance,

a dismal urge to push it back.

Landslip at the Tioga Pass

The King was in the restaurant

paying what he owed.

The Queen was in the restroom

powdering her nose.

The maid was on the doorstep

opening the door,

when she tripped across the threshold

and fell face-down on the floor.

The mother and her partner,

who had every good intent,

must have seen the situation

as life-changing event.

But what they may have taken

for a sorry twist of fate,

could not hide the fact that they

were rather overweight.

The partner took control

and asked her to explain

her needs and motivation

in case she fell again.

There has to be a reason

for everything we do,

but to find it we must learn to take

the time to talk things through.

Please remember, when you answer,

to look me in the eyes,

it creates a bond between us

that will strengthen family ties

and your every tribulation,

is a chance for us to make

direct communication.

We shall learn from your mistake!

But anyone could see,

that, had he fallen to his knees,

the line of sight was off by more

than ninety odd degrees.

A shrill piping of plenty

Abundance rules.

Milk and honey




and other fruit,


in perfect

pyramidal mounds,

are constantly renewed.


jets of water

spray down

on green


Health foods abound.

No insects

dive or buzz.

No crawling things


but up there,

under the skylights,

some birds twitter and fret,

as though trying to escape.

New World

This is a land where a man might do anything,

it is so wide.

Here he could even let his soul expand.

Consider where he came from.


he was hemmed in,


a shepherd with his flock

streaming down a mountain path

and in winter playing on his pipes,

within a citadel of stone

and eyes that look along two thousand years,

But here are footprints dancing through the snow

and summer vastness

lifting up the skies.

Longfellow’s ‘Hiawatha’ was set on the southern shore of Lake Superior, a lake whose spectacular shoreline belies its sinister reputation. The ice-cold water, vicious squalls and undercurrents would deter all but the bravest from attempting to cross it in small boats or canoes. Large canoes, which might allow some to rest whilst others paddled, have been used on the great lakes

Big sea water

No breaking waves,

no signs of land.

Then waking braves

and lines of sand

Cadillac Mountain, the highest point in the Acadia National Park on Desert Island in the the state of Maine, is a rounded peak of beautiful pink-tinted rock and, in the winter months is the first point in the US to receive the rays of the rising sun. It is also subject to strict preservation laws.

On Cadillac Mountain

Some mountain!

Some car!

and some approach-road,

tar-macadamed to the top.

Sit and

through the windscreen

see the sun’s red rim

in winter, first.

In spring,

or summer, those same rays

fall on Mars Hill, where once

saluted fifty guardsmen to the

rising of the

fifty state star flag.

at four hours thirty three AM.

July the fourth,

one nine six oh.


you would not go there now,

unless you relish wind farms;

coursing vanes

extracting from the air

their fifteen megawatts

per year,

of power

per year.

The Pilgrim Fathers set out from Plymouth in 1620 and after the arduous three-month crossing of the Atlantic rounded Cape Cod and made landfall on its north-west shore. Sand bars on the ocean side of the Cape are an extreme hazard to shipping, but in calm weather this shore has an exceptional beauty. Of those who set out, two  died on the voyage, but half of the rest did not survive the first winter. Provincetown, a popular holiday resort built near the point of landfall, appears to lack the lofty purpose of its founders.

Vanity Fair was a half-way house in Pilgrim’s progress. Christian’s most ardent companion, Faithful, died there, and the journey continued with the less firey companion, Hopeful. .

Vanity Fair

Failing God’s grace,

His plan,

the founding fathers must have foundered

in this surf.

His lost sons, watchers on the cape

who saw, out of the east-north-east, His cargo, dark,

its hesitating speed, and not yet knowing

of the soul’s dire need, but fearing rumours

of disease, fled destruction

and wrath to come.

As art is true to life,

or life to art, the sacrifice required revealed itself,

and from this landing place

half of the faithful

took the shortest route

to heaven’s gate.

But now, as hope, replacing faith,

has seen the purpose of the Lord revealed,

men, free to choose, or not to choose,

built here a town

to summarize

to state,

to celebrate,

and yet,

behind this bright facade

a granite tower

casts its grey shadow

south into the light.

Listen to the cowboy poet















Coyote call




















1 Poets and cowboys

2 The mystery spot

3 Things ancient and modern

4 From Santa Fe  with Laughing Eyes

5 Artichoke culture

6 Sleeping beauty

7 The entrance fee

8 Compensatory eating

9 Honey trap

10 An acquired taste

11 Gang violence

12 Picture of success

13 Numero uno

14 Our thing

15 New Age Energy Vortexes

16 Rebirth at Bell Rock

17 Sleeper wave

18 Death Rock

19 Human Genetics  on the Russian River

20 To waken a sleeping giraffe

21 Dégustation gratuie

22 An apple, a day

23 A rainy day in the Anza Borrego desert?

24 The siege of Sebastopol

25 El Capitan

26 Landslip at the Tioga Pass

27 Sequoia Giganta

28 A shrill piping of plenty

29 New World

30 Big sea water

31 On Cadillac Mountain

32 Vanity Fair

33 Listen to the cowboy poet

Listen to the Cowboy Poet


Cowboy:- an animal herder who tends cattle on ranches in North America, traditionally on horseback, and often performs a multitude of other ranch-related tasks.


Cowboy:- someone in the skilled trades who operates without proper training or licenses.