calculated indefatigable and tentatively illimitable naïveté …

is she / looking at me?




                                              is she
                                looking at me?

                                several blinks
                and her hands in her lap
                fingers clasped loosely around the others
                                a free thumb brushes
                                              the finger joints






Brighton wormhole: tag cloud poem III – the journey to BEING and back again
girl wormhole: the retriever the daughter and the mother
hands wormhole: Batman#175
looking wormhole: oh-pen
muse wormhole: still waving!
pink wormhole: a cup of tea, gov
train wormhole: sniff


letters to Mum V – carrying on in duty and love





Dear Mum,

it was a shock to see you in hospital, overstretched just
                                living at home
                                and still I hadn’t admitted just
                                              how ill you are
                                and the meet to make the final arrangements
                for whenever they become and seeing you face up to this yourself
                                              has shown me dealing with icing and marzipan
                                                              and not a lot much courage

                it is almost guaranteed that we will not say goodbye as we would like
                                I’d like to say all the things that a Grand Goodbye at the End of a Life
                                              through the choke and early mourning wisp of times
                                                              we grew together in Genesta Road
                                that will always remain

                                              that you are coming to the end of your life
                                is so definitely sad, you said that
                                              you don’t want us to be too upset
                but I am going to be anyway, and already am
                                I will be losing a dear parent
                                I will be losing a dear friend
                                              and I have to be sad about that
(with Nan I came through the crying by learning the times we spent together
                like a lesson, sharing and doing
                                I wish I had shared this with her)
                                              I will be sad losing you
                but I won’t be sad because I am losing our lives together
                                these things which have already happened
                                              which cannot be lost
                                even when you die
                                even when I die:

                your fight to bring us up after Dad left
                                the sacrifices moving down from Eglington Hill
                                              a posh meal only on Sundays
                you said to me one day that we were only a paper delivery away
                                              from the standard of living as when Dad was there
                                as we crossed a road doing shopping for here and there
                the happy stores we had in for Christmas
                                you having to go to work every day
and making the best of it coming home
                                              to the sparse meal to help with the diet
                                                                                    hundreds of times
                hundreds of times which I cannot remember and never experienced
but stay in my heart
                it wasn’t effort in vain
                it wasn’t not noticed
                it wasn’t not valued

Thank you.   I was aware

                                from quite early that
                                I was one of very few children
                                whose parent had left them in the 1960s
                your bringing me up is one of the most treasured things in my life
                                              you taught me this
                                although I still haven’t mastered
                or even learnt it very well: carrying on in duty and love
                                you have had much to be bitter about
                                but I have seen you – visibly – emerge
                                like a Phoenix “come on, this is no good …”
                (I am a depressive and a self – indulger and “aren’t you ever going to smile again …?”
                                              that child still does it – far too serious when there is anything to do
                                with him) and I treasure the laughs we had when younger
                                              I will learn to have them in my own family
                because I will miss you when you go
                                and every time I miss you I will have silly time with them
                I remember aching stomach at times
                                I remember you squealing with laughter
                                              I remember Nan’s joy at seeing you laugh so much when you did;
                                I know you hadn’t perfected it yourself
                                I know I only remember the times when it just happened
                                              but it is a valuable lesson

                the magic of Eglington Hill
                                with its many rooms, its endless floors
                                              become a symbol
of possibilities of life, the ‘scene’ of your providing and care
                the magic of Genesta Road
                                where I grew to learn how to see
                                the bedroom decorated orange and yellow
                                then black and white because you asked us
                with shelves to put my comics and books
                                the kitchen to study with the smell of meal
                                              the lounge to book and write and type …
                                                              flavours of my life
                my development now the space which you clothed me in
                                you are those flavours and
                                as I ‘develop’ into the future
                                you are always here
                                              (you always started from what I was
                                               and letting me do what I needed whether you liked it or not
                I try the same with my own kids
                but only remember when I fail
                                yet another lesson, Mum,
                                you have been so wise
                                              and neither you nor I have
                                              fully appreciated it)

                                the magic of reading:
                                the mere presence of books
                                the unfold of opening paper
                                the rocky uphill of snatched syntax
                the scent of travel the pride of cover
                                I try to have the same for my kids
                so that even if they never read them
                                              they will line their walls with book
                (Joe has satire and sci-fi and atlas
                                Jon has earth and struggle and revolution
                                              Charlotte has stacks and stacks of comic)
                                I will be satisfied with that and I hope you had a similar hope
                                              and yes, Mum, it worked
                                                              and it was valuable
                                                                                    another job well done, I think

                                invigoration of sheets over ourselves and haunting the Common one morning
                putting all the milk bottles from the street on the doorstep of one house a few doors down
                                              planning the front room when you won some money, allowing ourselves gift of ideas on wheels
                letting me go hitch – hiking when I suddenly said I needed to go – I still don’t know how you did that
                                friendship of strolling the park, the ruined Abbey, wandering Woolwich on a Saturday morning
                                                              Mother and Son strolling

                and yes, I can agree with you, you have had a good life
                wherever you go we will meet again in some way
                and these specks of our lives will intrigue us
                                              in some form familiar but unrecognisable
I am very sad to be losing you but comforted with what we have shared
                it is probably only now that I realise how much I love you
                                              and how closely we lived

                I shall miss the Mum who taught me a life
                                but I shall always be breathing the lesson

love from,


Mum died 20th March 1999; I wrote this letter but hesitated sending it – a regret of my life; I ‘send’ it now hoping she’ll read it somewhere.   Having marked her would-be 81st birthday the day before yesterday, I thought it high time …




part of the ongoing life and page of … Mum
bedroom wormhole: sitting up in bed s i m u l t a n e o u s l y
black wormhole: capes flying
books wormhole: Tulips by Sylvia Plath – How Far To Step Before You Raise The Other Foot
breathing wormhole: whirlpool
child & Christmas & Dad & Eglinton Hill & Genesta Road & mother & Mum & talking wormhole: letters to Mum IV – healing comes in smiling
comics wormhole: introducing / the stranger
death wormhole: we’re born // to die
kitchen wormhole: sounds // suddenly / stop
life wormhole & writing time: no exit
living wormhole: letters to Mum III – ongoing-term // eventually
love wormhole: a cup of tea, gov
morning & streets wormhole: oh-pen too
Nan & work wormhole: letters to mum II – family // like a grate
orange wormhole: the precision // the gentleness // and / the letting go
reading wormhole: stuck free to move within
roads wormhole: I could step / more open
Saturday wormhole: letters to Mum I – a walk / and talk
speech wormhole: we’re all the same age really
Sunday wormhole: zazen in everyday life
white wormhole: Bat-Shadow
Woolwich wormhole: ‘like a piece of ice on a hot stove / the poem must ride on its own melting’
yellow wormhole: on sitting / in front of / a hedge


mlewisredford is now THREEEEEEE! – and he’s getting tired and middle aged

so, now; three years old today – ‘I thougt it was longer’ said C, and it does feel like longer … blogging has a tendency to rather collapse the ticking of time (‘… has anyone looked at my last post yet; what about now; what about now?’).

Over these years I have noticed bloggers who just disappear from the scene (i.e. they take their blogs down – Linda Redwine, Sarah Jane Prosetry …), those who just stop blogging (assailed teacher, Earthslang, dizzy yet?, Misfits Miscellany, omrum), and those who just go private (Emina Redzic).   Is three years a long time for a blog – is mlewisredford getting way into middle age … I am feeling tired, but I don’t think I want to go just yet …

Anyway, celebrations: 1323 poems, 47 poeviews, 15 892 views, 1 566 followers (followers going crazy since I got freshly pressed over a year ago, but most of them I don’t hear from again, they’re just looking for a little advertising …) and I am gradually reincorporating my work on teaching matters; and lookit …

mlr stats 2014

… and then …

mlr world 2014

… and look at this bunch of sweeties (johnnycrabcakes – a fine pond skater; Liana – an hour of soft light; Rhino House – better than an elephant in a room; John – a Reader living life; Jilanne Hoffman a writer with stacks of books; Bonnie Marshall – a superb Reader – like pouring water into a cup; (and a special mention to Jana White – an appreciator of evenings) …

mlr commenters 2014

… these seem to be pretty popular:

me – 497 hits
Moebius strip – 447 hits
index – 208 hits; some of my best work here
poeviews – 124 hits
Batman: Year One (1987) – 95 hits, quite an old’n
one lovely blog award – 85 hits … sheesh
wormholes – 72 hits; and I’ve barely started writing this one …
others – 69 hits; which I’m pleased about
the Last Day of Morecambe Illuminations – 60 hits; which I’m surprised about
thought-provoking blog – 46 hits; well, who’d’ve thought
the Dragon’s Loyalty Award – 41 hits; ‘fume’
here is a / whiney accumulation of / wisdom – 41 hits, entered a Poem of the Month competition – didn’t win
my life / of others – 38 hits, surprised, because its a long bugger
Shine On Award – 34 hits
Bob 1995-2012 – 33 hits, sweet cat
I offered you ignored – 33 hits
“I / am Spartacus” – 31 hits
“don’t move / just die / over and over … / be true to / yourself / and don’t move” / – Suzuki Roshi – 30 hits
‘like a piece of ice on a hot stove / the poem must ride on its own melting’ – 29 hits
‘I can write …’ – 29 hits
the early morning of the sixties – 29 hits
‘I am a secret / superhero …’ – 28 hits …

and so on; I’m often surprised which pieces are more popular, and often disappointed with the response to others which I am really excited about; and most of these top hits are old posts anyway …

And, as ever, on this day also, my dear Mum would have been 81 today.

no exit




no exit

                it’s because I accede
to the davidbowiemusiccamebackafternineyears
                that it stays in my head
                like a soundtrack

                it is because I accede
                to the replay of the meeting
where I should have come back with the line that scythes all possible points silent with a single swathe
                that it keeps repeating
                soap opera-variable
                like an omnibus

                                that I find great difficulty
                                              finding the end of this sentence





Bowie wormhole: aladdin sane
life wormhole: we’re born // to die
music wormhole: tune up // baton taptaptap
samsara wormhole: sunny day
teaching wormhole: poessay IX – … just saying, is all II
time wormhole: we’re all the same age really
writing wormhole: oh-pen too







                I’ve fallen into a whirlpool
                created by an oil-dark tornado
                whiplashed through the haemoglobin sky

                I will spread my cape
                and throw my arms wide
                reaching allwhere with still fingers
                my utility belt is useless
                I need to think deeply in my cowl
                that the ears stick up to no avail

                                of course
                that’s the answer, it’s easy when you know how
                my eyes look downwards
                                and I travel down through the whirl
                                and remember to hold my breath


originally published in the Poetry Jar 310513; with thanks to Bruce Ruston



attention wormhole: day off
Batman wormhole: Bat-Shadow
breathing wormhole: oh-pen too
identity & letting go & red & thinking wormhole: I could step / more open
sky wormhole: oh-pen


we’re all the same age really




                                can I help you Old Man
                                with a tri-footed walking stick in one hand
                                and a loved walking cane in the other
                                step by slow step up the ramp
                                from the taxi to the Health Centre
                                that’s very nice of you sonny

                ah but you used to be my age once and could move at a walk,
                                and anyway I’m 53,
                                we’re all the same age really,

                                I’m 37 years older than you,

                                we’re all the same age really





compassion wormhole: Tulips by Sylvia Plath – How Far To Step Before You Raise The Other Foot
speech wormhole: poessay IX – … just saying, is all II
talking to myself wormhole: stuck free to move within
time wormhole: oh-pen too


poessay IX – … just saying, is all II




                poessay IX – … just saying, is all II

                to a teacher delivering to his group: “… them’s the rules and regulations … it is vital that … looking smart …”
                                … something about school uniform
                                                              I guess

                                                              it is this corporate appearance-led rhetoric in education
                which I can no longer even pretend to back
                                because career-long I have not been able to engage any
                                              dialogue with it

                being ‘professional’ has ceased to be a practice
                                              it is now a conformity
                                                              it is now a consistency
                                                                                 no dialogue
                                                                                 just expectation
and we all know what happens to consistency when the lead shifts
                from value-led to outcomes-led
                                (yes … value-bled)

                                              I have not been able to work out a position
                                              behind the rhetoric because
                I have not been allowed the ‘give’ (of course the ‘take’ is ‘rivers deep mountains wide’)
                                              the ‘call’
                                and certainly the ‘response’
                                                              has been dodged and bluffed like a poker hand

                the exercise and practice of teaching professionalism
                                has been ‘chumped’ up down and sideways
                                                              never to be listened to again and again and again





career wormhole: first a mishap then clear vision
education wormhole: I could step / more open
managerialism wormhole: what I am about to say is true / what I just said was a lie
poessay wormhole: poessay VII: // true revolution
practice wormhole: should is good when / too used to cruise
professionalism wormhole: just saying, is all – III
speech wormhole: a cup of tea, gov
teaching wormhole: letters to Mum III – ongoing-term // eventually
value-led education wormhole: teaching: which is it going to be, procedure or nurture?


we’re born // to die




                           we’re born
                      we wriggle a bit
                      we find out bits
                      and dream and dream

                      and settle for consumption
                      making all form of clatter and noise
                      as the cakes and coffees arrive
                      in the corner of the supermarket
                      in the industrial estate

                           and later
                      we’ll look like we’re settled
                      on open cleared ground
                      amongst the drifted plastic and cans
                      like a seagull that’s lost its way and nesting
                           to die





coffee wormhole: sitting up in bed   s  i  m  u  l  t  a  n  e  o  u  s  l  y
death wormhole: Tulips by Sylvia Plath – How Far To Step Before You Raise The Other Foot
dream wormhole: consturnation …? // consternation
Have wormhole: I could step / more open
knowledge wormhole: constructalesson
life wormhole: Bat-Shadow
seagull wormhole: tune up // baton taptaptap


should is good when / too used to cruise




                                should is good when
                                too used to cruise

                                                      don’t like anxiety
                                                      don’t like doubt
                                                      can’t sit with it
                                                      and feel comfortable
                always want to get
                get up off the floor
                and sit on a sofa
                relaxed and cushioned
                                                      but there is bad posture
                                                      can’t think what to do
                                                      strong need to get up
                                                      and achieve something
                but I should sit with anxiety
                sit with the doubt and
                sit with good posture
                and ‘be thankful for it’
                                                      and leave what I like and leave
                                                      what I don’t on the sofa
                                                      slipped down the sides and lost
                                                      with the crumbs and pennies





anxiety & doing & settling & sitting wormhole: stuck free to move within
balance wormhole: Peeks at Castleton
doubt wormhole: tag cloud poem V – draft-ness
posture wormhole: contemplating my painted copy / of Vallejo’s Conan
practice wormhole: anti-depressants
voices wormhole: tune up // baton taptaptap


oh-pen too




                                                       oh-pen too

                                   the window in the morning
                                   breathe the occasional wave

                                   of constant bird-chatter then
                                   exhale down the street wet and

                                   painted fresh by the sun behind
                                   the heavy clouds the mist on the

                                   hedges and trees and the rain drops
                                   hanging from the telephone wires

                                   down through time





breathing & open & streets & time & windows & writing wormhole: oh-pen
clouds & morning & sun wormhole: stuck free to move within
hedge wormhole: on sitting / in front of / a hedge
mist wormhole: contemplating my painted copy / of Vallejo’s Conan
rain wormhole: tune up // baton taptaptap
trees wormhole: sitting up in bed s i m u l t a n e o u s l y



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