“Human presence is a creative and turbulent sacrament, a visible sign of invisible grace”. John O'Donohue

Stories, Poems and other Scribblings


22 October 2017
For my work on Rhetoric as part of my MA in Creative Writing,  I have been thinking about and playing with the  narrative and structure of the Catholic and Anglican Mass.  (No doubt if this was the middle ages, I would be cinders by now!)  The Latin parts of the sung Mass kept repeating in my mind. I first encountered them as a young musician:
  • Kyrie
  • Glora
  • Credo
  • Sanctus 
  • Agnus Dei

Credo (the Creed) means I believe. There are three "official" church creeds The Nicene Creed, the Apostles' Creed and the Athanasian Creed.  This is my reworking of the Apostles' Creed.

A Radical Creed

I believe in in a vast source of Love greater than we can possibly understand.
A Love that is the creative force at the centre of the Universe,
who exists with and in and through and throughout creation.
This force exists in every molecule and cell and grain of sand.
In every human and every animal and every rock.
 In every river and every mountain and every leaf.
And in every beating heart.

I believe there was a man who was born a long time ago in the Palestine,
to an innocent young woman who intimately knew the depth of this Love.
The man grew up to be an amazing healer and  radical teacher.
He wanted us to better understand the vastness of this Love and to encourage us to live lives of compassion, peace and justice for all living beings.
His radical mission caused him to be tortured and brutally murdered
on a cross, by the Romans who were occupying his land.
After he died, he appeared in Spirit to his followers to give them the news
that his message of Love lives on. He taught that his death was a sacrifice for Love
so that we might always be reminded of his life and message.

I believe with all my heart in this message of Love.
That we can all share this better by working together in communities of hope.
That there are many great teachers of all faiths who have shared, and continue to share this message.
That we are always deeply loved without judgement.
That in faith we will continue to know the source of Love,
Even after we die.

The Apostles' Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty,

creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.


From 3 til 5 
I wait for dawn

I lie, and gauge 
the slowly rising 

Of tweets
and twirps
and barks
and Cock-a-doodle-doos
and distant thunder over the sea

For signs of morning

The sky flows through hues
of black eye
and bruised peach

From 3 til 5 
I wait for dawn

And tea

And sanity



I feel 

I feel around
the still raw edges 
of my heart 

The still raw edges
of the mending 
but yet unmended 
open wound of my heart

That place 

The place where 
the love seeps 
and weeps
and stains

But no longer pours

It no longer flows

Not while there is 
still you in there
While there is still 
a part of you

In there

Where is the space?

Where is the space 
that will allow 
the love to flow
towards another?


You are enough.

Despite what the scars of your heart

Are telling you about what it means to be a man.

You are enough.

Despite what the weight of your fear

Is telling you about what it means to know a woman.

You are enough.

Despite what the pain of your disappointment

Is telling you about what it means to offer yourself to love.

You are enough.

More than enough.

Always enough. 

For me.


What is true?
How can we know?
We can only guess
As we bear witness
To this big, beautiful, messy, divine unfolding 

Of life and lives
Of loves and hurts. 

We can only carry ourselves
And our hearts
(Or kicking and screaming)
Towards an ever deepening knowing
(But never really knowing)
What that truth might be.
My guess is,
It looks a lot like Love.


Let me love you.

Let me offer you my heart
My body
My presence.

Let me hold you in my heart
As we move gently
Into that place
Of knowing
And not knowing.

Let me bear witness
To your hurt
Your anger
Your confusion. 

Let Love transform it.

Let us trust in this
And in God.

Under The Bed

The blank page. A blinking cursor on the screen. Awaiting inspiration.

Sometimes it feels like the words need to be dragged from their cerebral hiding places, syllable by syllable. Like a nervous dog that knows it is being taken to the vet, and hides under the bed.

I know they are there. I can feel their presence, right on the edge of my ability to capture them.

I know there is poetry in the crevices of my imagination. And of course it spews forth in dreams. On walks. In the shower.

Until the white space appears. And the words hide under the bed.


Today, this day of Samhain

When the veil between this world and other worlds is gossamer thin.

I honour all those who have gone before me and acknowledge their presence in my life.

I nod to their wisdom and I hear their voices. Those voices that continue to speak to me when I choose to listen (And sometimes even when I don’t)

I feel their gentle nudges and less gentle pushes towards the things that are good for me, and try to notice when they pull me away from the things that are not.
I channel their wisdom and their understanding. Their anger and their poetry.
I laugh at their jokes.
I feel their love.



Is present

Stands strongly and vulnerably in his masculinity

Breathes deeply into what is moving through

Feels it 

All of it.


Is present.

Sees the shadow and the light
And the shadows in the light

Knows that part of this path is protector
And that part of his path is to surrender
And that part of his path is simply to step up

That this is the best way to honour himself
The best way to honour his woman
The best way to honour his God.

No More Masks - a submission to the Scottish Book Trust's "Journeys" project

Mallorcian Sounsdcape

Cicadas. Dogs, large and small, bark a call and response. Territories claimed for another day. A goat bleats in the dark. Church bells chime each quarter. A baby cries. A man sings. Maybe he's singing to the baby? Tourists on a terrace, laugh. Their children playing, giggling, well past their bedtime. Sometime in the wee hours the dogs will stop barking and howling, the goat will stop bleating, and the cockerel will start crowing and continue most of the day. The cicadas will keep going. They don't sleep... or maybe they work shifts?

Ferry Journey

Sea spray gathers in droplets on the greasy window pane.

The sky, grey, heavy with cloud,

is reflected in gentle estuarine waves

blown in the direction of home.

The boat skims through them,

towards a horizon promising sun.


Massaging Tony's hand.
Listening to him telling me,
through the morphine haze,
how he's "not having such a great time today."

His other hand grasps
at shadows I can't see.
The sunshine smiles through the window,

touching his thin frame,
glinting in eyes that seek
knowing of the "what now?"

I think of how this,
This is real.
Our hands, separated
by the required thin blue surgical glove,

touching the heart of how we,
he and I, and all of us,
are in this together.

This journey towards our own dying,

towards our own meeting point.

Empty House
A week of anger and despair, of frustration, of arguing - seemingly pointlessly - for the truth. Of shouting to be heard. I find my solace today in cleaning my empty house. I burn out the Dyson in an act of over zealous vacuuming. Welcoming the silence it leaves for me to choose the sounds I want to hear, the space I want to inhabit. I drink too much tea. Later, I find my voice in writing. I don't like the words, they are clumsy and they don't flow like I would like, but they're the ones I have for now.


My mindful moments often happen in the moments of waiting. Waiting for the train. Waiting for people to arrive. Waiting for the kettle to boil. Waiting mindfully, if not patiently. Mindfully impatient. Impatiently mindful.


When the alarm rings, I have already been up for an hour. Its melody is gentle - piano and birdsong - a sound, so unlike harsh alarm bells, that is meant to soothe my dream bound body awake. My summer body awakens early to the sunlight and the sound of traffic. I'm in the kitchen, stirring sugar into tea when I hear the its gentle, happy little tones floating out from the bedroom, telling me that it's 7 am. I tell it to fuck off!


The train is late.

A warm fetid breeze wafts through the tunnel.

A man reaches a hungry fist into a bag of chips, the smell making me gag.

Four young Japanese men in shorts and trendy shoes, laugh at a joke I don't understand.

The train is late.