The Fire And The Teacup

It is a bit of a paradox. During the time of the year when we turn inward, we also turn outward, seeking light in the darkness. Every year, Heaton Park draws us in, on the 5th of November, following the trail of lights like breadcrumbs through the shadows, moving on like moths in thrall to a flame.


I had an aunt who claimed she could discern things just by looking into the fire. The fire and a teacup. I gazed into the flames and could see faces. If you gaze long enough you can see anything.

imageScreams and laughter; the clamour of the children. The fervour of the fair has a dirty, oily sheen to it. And an element of danger in the hungry eyes of strangers, drifting amongst the machinery with predatory stealth.

imageAmidst the smells of onions and burgers, a man lined up three cups of black peas on an illuminated shelf. They are not peas, of course. But who cares? Buffaloes don’t have wings.


Around and around the seasons change, the world turns, and we cling on, without getting dizzy. We left the fair behind, further into the night, further into the season, following the breadcrumb-light trail back out to the city street, the sky still fragmented by rogue rockets. Our clothes hung on to the stench of smoke.




The wind in hollows unfrequented,
gathering the detritus 
among bare-branched forms.
A copse; a corpse,
the land lies dead,
the grass sullen and yellow;
the day stunted and short.

We peel back the veneer
of discarded hours,
the gusts in our hair
and sombre halls,
confessing ageing sins
in rescinding echoes,
the shadows lengthen;
the evening falls.


Of Creeping Mind

I’ve been sat outside tonight reading ghost stories by the criminally forgotten 19th Century writer Sheridan Le Fanu, drinking coffee and watching both the night and the fog descend: a gradual, conspiratorial settling upon my conceding town.

Setting is everything.

The muffling atmosphere has put me in mind to watch Jack The Ripper with Michael Caine.

It may only be the first day of November, but winter evenings start here.