Peter Knight's Web Site
Things for me, friends, family... and passers by

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Some of Peter's old, old Poems: 
If you don't like them, don't read them! One day I'll make a page with some new, new poems.


Peckwater Quad. January

A bench seat on the window ledge, recessed in thick old walls.
We watch through small square panes with wood cross frames
As darkness falls.

Down across the raindamp twilight of the square
Horses shuffle, sack-sheath shod, 
Scuffle shiny cobbles.
Peckwater Quad.

Breath snorts up through heavy air. 
Mermaid: take your chances.

Light from library windows pales the mist and glances
Sparkling ships. Captains wait. 
Ready straining sails.
Canterbury Gate.

Above the secret harbour, in our room, we think we guide
Through textures of a heart that touches stars
A life long tide. 

January 1983, Christ Church, Oxford. I returned early after Christmas, and, staying with a friend, it seemed as though we had the whole of Christ Church to ourselves. We looked out of an upstairs window in Peckwater Quad and we saw ships in the quadrangle.

Arctic water

Sadness settles 
Like a fine slow rain of silt.
Hearts fold away
With the sound of a falling leaf.

Cuts scar burns char death tests faith.
Anonym, Anima, Fatwah, Fate, Fatality.

Life soars
On snowflake wings; life
Like a flower
Draws colour from strange dark things.


Then were the curious dream when has 
      break black sad place.
Mischievous cat give must soon come from
      care sense of grace.
Suffer how beautiful
       here cool best wonderful
Quiet like everything
      sleep feel is light. 
Feline be.



Here are the bones of the Earth laid bare
Swept sheer strike by the slant of frozen snow.
Each thing turns to the centre at the end
Returns from the flesh to the heart and the life below.

And here is man dissociate from space
Between opposing prayers for solitude and grace.

Lord protect us, bring us near
The time when all things shall be clear.



Northern Lights, Greenland

Ice burns with a pale green flame
Rising with a whisper to carve its name
In the fast flowing fluid of the sky.

Light falls with a long soft sweep
Through a star-strewn ocean dark and deep
To the ice-covered earth where we lie.

Geese turn to the false-lit dawn
Like hopes and prayers and secrets sworn
To be kept in the heart till we die.



Goose Street Car Park

I live near the Goose Street car park.
Where the gas works used to be.
This is rain country, with short, cool summers.
We don’t grow oranges here.

Before people, a glacier a mile deep
Covered everything for a thousand miles.

Snow fell last night.
When it felt the first, soft, silent, falling flakes
Did the ground remember the mile-deep ice?
Those prison years must have started the same way.

Oranges don’t have fears as old
Or memories as long and cold as that.

(This was "prompted writing"...
follow this link to see the context!)







The Lottery Ticket


Bought it
Before I thought it

My wife smiled, too.

Didn’t want to win it
Then never know which friends were true.


Almeria, Venice and Long Island

It doesn't rain a lot
In southern Spain there's not
Much fear of rust
But Almerian dust
Is salty like the sea and must
Eventually rot
Your buried dreams.
Ephemerality and climate change are major themes.

Not so much preoccupied with health 
As terrified of death (debts)
The agents at the Lido hedge their bets 
Against their wealth
And mortgage summer lets (yes, let's) 
Against their rentals at the coast.
The equities look solid but the pension fund is toast.


The Belgians on their bicycles
Ride quickly through the woods.
The Frenchmen with their frying pans
Make tempting sweets and puds.
Italians with their ink pads
Stamp passports with great glee, 
But Jews from Nazi Germany
In terror had to flee.

The Russians in their furry hats
Bring snow in on their boots.
The English, staying quite aloof,
Take tea in pinstriped suits.
The Welshmen in their valleys
Dig coal and round up sheep,
But kids in Northern Ireland
Are too afraid to sleep.

These are the songs 
That I sing to my girls,
As I tie pretty ribbons
Into their curls.

These are the stories 
I tell to my sons,
When they play with toy soldiers 
and rubber-band guns.



Broken pieces
As the world expands
Fall from the sky
Into my hands.

Bits of places 
From different lands
All held together
With rubber bands.





Words, like bricks,
(De)construct image(ination) into form;
(Re)create constructive inclination
As the norm.


Solheimi’s house

This is his knife. This is his plate.
This is the table where he ate.
This is his chair. This is his bed.
These are the books that Solheimi read.

Solheimi’s brushes, Solheimi’s paint.
The oil is dry, the colours are faint.
Solheimi’s pictures on Solheimi’s walls.
Solheimi’s bird from the cliff-top calls.

This is the garden. This is the brook,
Where Solheimi wrote his famous book.
Late in the evening, when the wind is strong,
You can still hear the sound of Solheimi’s song.

Because this is Solheimi’s house.

The walls are high. The path is steep,
The lake is dark and the water is deep.
This is the room where visitors slept.
When their memories faded, Solheimi wept.

Here is the stone, small and round,
Like a flower-jewelled egg, that Solheimi found.
One of his guests had left it behind,
And Solheimi had kept it, to hold her in mind.

This is the moss that covers the stones,
This is the sun that picks at the bones, 
This is the rain that falls from the clouds,
That drape the hills like funeral shrouds. 

These are the tears that Solheimi shed,
This is the blood that Solheimi bled.
This is the hope that Solheimi lost;
Solheimi’s winter, Solheimi’s frost.

This is Solheimi’s house.


Starlight, snowflake, dewdrop, shower.
Sunshine, rainbow, lovely flower

Fridge Magnet Poems
(My set has 100 words for cat lovers (!))

Perfect affection,
Companion, friend,
Fat, soft, cunning cat.

Then were the curious dream when has 
      break black sad place.
Mischievous cat give must soon come from
      care sense of grace.
Suffer how beautiful
       here cool best wonderful
Quiet like everything
      sleep feel is light. 
Feline be.


Think about when grey fish leap and dream.
Can my bold stroke make more of life than this?
They break to chase black light with every sense
That calico night could colour by a kiss.

Think about Fish. Sleek fur.
Too long bold gift. They purr.
Or meow and kiss
And chase a life like this.


Other Poems


Kender du lyden af en knusende hjerte?
Det er som lyden af en blad, faldende i vand, 
Eller som en spurv pa sneen.
Do you know the sound of a heart breaking?
It is like the sound of a leaf falling into water,
Or like a sparrow on the snow




I caught a falling snowflake,
And put it in a box,
To keep with my collection
Of stamps and coins and rocks.
But when I went to look at it 
I found that it was gone.

In it’s place a tiny jewell
Like a teardrop shone.
But as I watched the teardrop shrank,
Dissolving in the air,
And by the time I shut the box,
There was nothing there.

I have a tiny fragment of tomorrow.
It’s like a long thin grape.
I keep it in a small blue box,
So it cannot escape
However much it twists and bends
And tries to change its shape.
I watch it.
Like a banana watches an ape.




Broken pieces, as the world expands,
Fall from the sky into my hands.
Bits of places from different lands,
All held together with old rubber bands.

The fabric of the sky is wearing thin.
The light of heaven twinkles 
Through a thousand tiny holes.
God builds clouds,
To keep his children warm,
But still the sound of starlight chills their souls.

Heaven bites,  Hell sings.
Life like a snowbird soars
On snowflake wings.
Life like a flower draws 
Colour from strange dark things.

The gates of Hell are wide,
And stand ajar to welcome passers by
Who may be unaware of what must lie inside.

The timely death that rescues from a savaging old age
Must bear the grief of witnesses.
The timely death that quenches life before it leaves the womb
Must bear the parents’ ignorance.

Cuts scar, 
Burns char, 
Death tests faith.
Anonym, Anima,
Fatwah, Fate, Fatality.
Death tests life.

Anne Donelly burned to death when she was five,
And only she was there.

Our loss is like the rain
On a cricket Sunday afternoon in late September
That sits on window panes, making them opaque,
Like a dead young child’s face
At the mercy of a love she can't control
Like an ocean at the mercy of the tide.

And then the years of  longing, 
Like a plague


Now you are gone

Now you are gone,
Sadness pours
Through every window in my heart,
Like an ocean
Rushing in to a sinking ship.

Longing overwhelms me
Like a flood. 

Now you are gone,
Sadness pours 
Through every window in my heart,
Like an ocean
Rushing in to a sinking ship.


It’s human nature to look back
With fondness down the winding track
That brought us here from long ago
And leads to somewhere we don’t know.

It’s human nature to take fright 
At every dimming of the light
That speaks to us of time run short
And bids us give each day more thought.

And when the moment duly comes,
When we each hear our marching drums,
Let no one say we were not warned
That each day lost is one day mourned.


A Question

Are we invested with some special power
Some fragment of that shining hour
When we were first conceived
When God first drew us on some cosmic board
People of whom He would be Lord
If we believed?


The Angel that God sent

The fabric of the sky is wearing thin.
The light of heaven twinkles 
Through a thousand tiny holes.
God weaves clouds,
To keep his children warm,
But still the sound of starlight chills their souls.

“We’re really very sorry,
But I’m sure you understand. 
We simply didn’t know that you were here.
I can see that you  exist,
But the guidelines do insist,
That those who are not listed live in fear.”





Ice like fire bites.
Ice like a bluebird sings.
Ice like a snowbird soars
On snowflake wings.

Ice like starlight burns.
Ice like an ocean sighs.
Ice like a flower draws 
Colour from arctic skies.

Ice like tears melts.
Ice  like a mountain dreams.
Ice like an angel scorns
Our human schemes.



This is Solheimi’s house (alternative).

These are his spoons, this is his plate,
This is the table where he ate.
This is his chair.  This is his bed. 
These are the birds that Solheimi fed.

This is his toilet, grubby and bare
These are the socks that he used to wear.
These are the biscuits he used to eat, 
And this is the smell of Solheimi’s feet.

Out in the garden, Solheimi’s sheep,
A look-out on the cliff-top keep.
And there is the lake where Solheimi sat.
He picked his nose, but rarely spat.

This is the rain that falls from the sky,
Preventing the guests from remaining dry.
And this is the river, smelly and deep,
Preventing the people from falling asleep.


Be careful with my heart.
It has been broken
And the thread that binds it is not strong. 

This way sadness lies
like snow
inside my heart.

The frost is hard
and inside hers. 



Here is a man of long ago places,
Here is a  man of far away times;
A man who has longings 
   outweighed by his fears,
And virtues
   outweighed by his crimes. 


St. George's Day Off

The pale flag forgets
Until tomorrow damsels in distress.
The burning land
Covers me for once.
I am the earth
That will not burn
And that can wait
Until tomorrow
Dragons have their day.



The very first time I  heared your name
It flickered in the air like a candle flame
And it burned our lips as we passed it around like a game.

The very first time I heared you speak, 
My head felt dizzy and my knees went weak,
You were saying you were leaving, and the rest of my life seemed bleak.

The very first time I  saw your face 
It was a poor little copy in a crowded place 
Pretending to be cow-hide when really it was lace, 
Shouting “hey, look at me, I’m part of the human race”.

Then I saw the ocean for the every first time,
And accused the world’s authors of a terrible crime,
I caught my first snowflake falling from the sky,
And told the world’s photographers they all deserved to die.

The very first time you looked at me, 
My heart beat faster and I spilled my tea,
I bought myself a drink and decided that I’d better have three.

The very first time you held my hand,
I knew that I was dreaming but began to understand,
I would wake upon the ocean, and would never again see land.


He likes to believe
He’s a man of the wilds,
A man of the mountains and trees.

He likes to believe
He’s a man with a vision,
Who sees what no one else sees.

In fact he’s a man
just like any other,
A man with a father and mother.

He’s a man with a heart,
And a head full of dreams,
That he likes to believe he can smother. 


Anne Donelly burned to death when she was five,
And only she was there.

Sadness settles 
Like a fine slow rain of silt.
Hearts fold away
With the sound of a falling leaf.
We are creatures of the sea floor. 
Birds swim
Like dolphins through the sky.
Sadness pours 
Through every window in my heart
Like an ocean 
Rushing in to a sinking ship.

Longing overwhelms me like a flood. 

Cuts scar burns char death tests faith.
Anonym, Anima, Fatwah, Fate, Fatality.
Life soars 
On snowflake wings
Life, like a flower,
Draws colour from strange, dark things.
Timely deaths quench; bear ignorance and grief.
Weighed down with locks and chains 
In a vault won’t float. 
Like an anchor.

And the ocean howls when it dreams.


Some micropoems - mainly from twitter @petergknight

You asked me why the sky was blue / I said it was because it loved the sea but knew / The sea, like me, loved you.

Your wild-horse heart vast beating, drumming open space across the ancient galloping sunshine storm-grass days in lightning herds, be calm.

Dreams I've not yet had / move slowly through the long queue. / Each must take its turn. //

Fix a glacier / With long, grey strands of fine thread / And small silver pins

Fix a broken sky / With butterflies and birdsong. / Leave holes for the rain.

The moon passes close / The ocean draws in its breath / and then we move on.

I cut the right palm / Of my ancient fear and press / It against your heart.

One drop, two drops, three. / And so we watch our lives pass. / Time for tea, I think.

Rains break the long drought / The sounds of your voice wake me / You, you are my day.

Fine strong silver thread // arcs dew across first sunlight. // Spider builds a home.

This paper thin skin / Hides my furtive bones but bleeds / where edges break through.

Single pale droplets / That break from this long soft rain / Sound like your footsteps

Take a rainbow. Light one end. Watch it burn across the sky like a 10-second fuse.

Your life was on fire. / Birds used to flock to your heart / To smother the flames.

Most wanted. Most lost. / Jet trail gold across the heart. / Sunset. Sleep now. Dream.

The dream-heaving sea // Turns to the wind and the tide // With most of its heart.

This one he he let go. That one did not work out well. Now these dreams are mine. (second hand dreams are mine)

Small bird to my left. A squirrel under the tree. They don't notice me.

ripples in the sky / from where our fingers touched it: / I still watch for them.

Celebrate the wind, Celebrate the trees, the sea, And the falling rain.

Silence. ... A leaf falls. / I wait, as echoes subside. / ...A second leaf falls.

Shape me the whole world - Shape me the turn of your heart - And write me five words.

I bathe in hot wine - And miss old fashioned goat’s milk. - Life goes on, of course…

This one is special. / It dreams. It knows how to love. / Give this one the Earth //

Unlock your dry heart - to let the haiku slip out - and tell your story.

Crows correct their flight / Each time Earth's heart skips a beat. / We do not notice.

White sky, falling snow / Seventeen blades of pale grass / Minimal design.

Ice burns, pale green flame, // Geese rise to the false-lit dawn. // Arctic aurora.

Let the ocean dream / Let the Earth compose the song / Close your eyes and wait

Last snow long since thawed / White flakes still cover the path / Carpet of petals

Lean, spare, ravaged heart; / icicles on last year’s crop. // Distant train whistle.

Snowflakes on water ~ Silence after a long search ~ A second heart breaks

No more chance today ~ Clouds fold up and steal away ~ Dry heart close your eyes

Beneath open sky / extraordinary rain. / Five drops now. No, six.

Chairs are in the hedge— Bird table is in the pond— We storm towards Spring

The stream meanders – the road alongside runs straight – three crows overhead. #haiku 52'59'08" N 2'14'50" W #geography sense of place

SaltWind in dry eyes~Rain obscures faraway hills~This is the 1st dream~These are the bones of the Earth~This is how we touch the sky

night time sky wears thin ~ tiny holes let light shine in ~ fabric tears at dawn

Sooner or later ~ Each of us loses our way ~ Then we can begin

Cold wind bringing rain ~ Early shoots regret their choice ~ This is not the spring.

Low slanting sunlight ~ overwrites cold memory ~ Promises of Spring

We learnt just one thing, for what it is worth: the people who lived here called it“The Earth”. 100word prompted text

Yesterday ~ I found gogyohka ~ Now ~ Everything I see ~ Is in five parts.

Petals in the air / March winds rake the avenue / Cherry blossom storm.

Is this dust, or seed? / Ash falling on stony ground. / Burning old notebooks.

Pausing to reflect / The dog calculates his age / In short human years. / Don't run, walk slowly. / Lie still, breathe deeply.

First hi-pitch then low/Gus comes hurtling past full tilt/Doppler-shifting dog/Panting puffs transition thru/shortwave red to slowpitch blue

Moments of quiet / Slow circulating eddies / Propagate down stream. [Wait by the stream. Listen hard.]

Cure this broken day / with shiny drops of birdsong / carried on the wind.

Your heart was my map / But lines bridged across in ink / Cannot reach you now.

New shoots. Hopeful. Small. / Big world, wind and hail, hot sun. / Persevere. Blossom.

5-7-5 If these new avenues of pleasure start / To seem familiar to me they will become mundane / And then the long, slow fall begins.

Oh! Absolute sky. / Turbulent, opaque, sincere. / Hold back cold dark space.

We are given grace ~ To draw an image in sand ~ Between the long tides

Turn the Earth over./ Read the small sign on the back:/ "Use this planet well".

We are all broken./ We WAIT, each in our own way,/ Knowing it or not. // Snow falls like ash from the sky.

You gave me the world. / In the end I enjoyed some. / But most I wasted.

Possessive pronoun / adjective, adjective noun / verb (past tense) noun. End. (eg: My fat, old cat ate fish.)

One note. Then one more. / Then a complete symphony. / A rain storm at night. //

Unexposed image / Cool dark face of the new moon / Shadow on the sky

3 in the morning - finding again I can't sleep - the cat says "breakfast?" - I say: let's write #haiku, then - Cat: no, let's try #gogyohka

Drown once, but slowly. Year by year in such small sips. Slow water-filled breaths .

Six thirty sky light - Orange grading into blue - Sleep grades into life

That was the third day / Raise me from the sea floor now / Let me see the sky. / I must reply to the birds. / I must throw dust to the wind.

Comets trailing words, Interesting packages, tweets stream past like sparks

These are not Haiku, I learn to build the structure, But they have no heart.

I learn the fine words, To pour out over the page, But I have no point.

I learn the story, That would mend your breaking heart, But I’ve only words.

Worn thin like the sky, dark hearts cannot hold their hope. Fortune hides its face.

Fog worn down by rain // Wind breaks up the floating ice // Shore seems far away

Pearl, dressed down in blue ~ fading, sky seems far away. ~ Better, seen with you

Crows do not see us / As most of us do not see / Pieces of the wind.

Long hot summer day / tired frog, big pond, few lillies / a nice cup of tea

Unforgiving rain / Speaks a language we don’t know / But makes clear choices.

The sounds of long grass / are stretched thin across deep air / into which fish leap.

The ice has been wrapped up in sheets of sky that fold so tight against each sharp crevasse that clouds cry out

Bring me a glass jar / to keep my leftover dreams. / It will need no lid; / they don't fly or jump or climb. / They wait patiently for you.

Modest like light rain / You nevertheless persist / And in time prevail.

Flexible like time ~ Oceans are drawn by the tide ~ as my heart by yours. //

From dreams of falling / Trees wake with a sudden start. / We kick home through leaves /... & dream of sleeping.

Rain is its own dream /We cannot see the colours / This is not our sleep //

In dreams the frail sky / pulls taut across high mountains / and the stars shine through. //

Hearts dropped at anchor / Deny quick tides' ease and ebb. / Long love beats slowly.

Pale, flat, sharp-edged moon / embroiders lace in shadows. / Ancient trees, new snow.

Cloudfall, raindrop, stream / Variations on a theme / A dream in pale grey. //

We keep the wilderness behind these doors / and look at it through this small window, here. / We then write #haiku to define our fear.

How are we supposed to sleep against this crushing weight of words these waves of broken verse this storm of beating time in twos and fives?

Time stands still like rain. / The world rises up through it / With increasing haste.

Five mounds of fresh earth. / Stone wings knock on wooden skies. / Angels in boxes. //

Moon draws close the tide / Dolphin heart react with mine / Cresting the same wave

Th birds r like fish ~We, creatures of th seafloor ~Move slowly & blind ~at th mercy of th tide ~Th long slow tide of th heart

Lend me your stale tears / So I may shed them for you / And return them fresh. //

Eggshell dusk blue powder with a fine green mist of brittle silk between the grains, and sounds of water far below. Fresh flakes falling.

Raindrops fall quickly. Clouds remember the ocean. Oceans dream of skies.

Turtles count dark sheep. Sunrise waits while the moon sets. Slow, unlikely dreams.

One small broken dream / Three cups of sugar and dust. / Stir slowly and wait.

Half moon, tall grey sky. Six crooked fence posts, one tree. One more dream set down.

Waiting quietly / listening for an echo / I hear your silence //

Trap sunlight in ice. Wait one hundred thousand years. Repeat twice, slowly

Seventeen black crows / Strung tight on telegraph wires / I present my woes //

Crossed wires, angry dawn / Sky pushes past in grey shards / The ground is frozen //  

One shelf, seven books / three thousand pages or more. / The dreams hide in here. //

Across the same sky / We all fly beneath the moon. / Awake but dreaming. photo:

Unlikely raindrop / One thousand miles of blue sky / Nazca teardrop dream! // Somebody wake me / Somebody wake me //

There is just water / When you melt it to release / the bird that ice was. //

Mown down by F sharps / Staccato from Marshall stacks. / Bullets of music. // Legato we fall.

I shouted in his face, the iambs fell away: "Anapaestic substitution! Tell me WHAT part of THAT do you NOT underSTAND?"

Small lights in the sky / Pretending to be the stars / Burn out silently

The truths are not out there, they are in here, with us; quietly behind that upturned box, or inbetween our tea time and our evening walk.

Both long ago & far away, but closer to me now as you approach the end & I begin, you pass me in the doorway with your eyes turned down.

My hands, far away, reach out for yours, further still. Dreaming straight and fast. //

Haiku Disorder/ Noticing crows in the snow/ Is the 1st symptom./ Next will come cherryblossom./ Finally frogs beneath reeds.

Higgs Boson ripples / Mass through a wide field moving / Like wind through deep corn.

Ah, rosy like the dawn while buzzards and a crow debate the merits of the day in yonder copse we steal across the hill

ACCÈS INTERDIT / mon cœur, c'est fermé / comme les yeux d'hiver

A crow calls three times. /. Frozen water makes no sound. / Midwinter story.

Searching for my (he)art / I fight off these rich visions / and wish for silence.

Are you in your box? / Heart closed, fists clenched, eyes tight shut? / Out here, it's still Spring.

hunch-winged birds shiver / water pauses in its flow / clouds black out the moon.

Here in my pale stone / Admirable gravity / Defeats your warm light...

Three clear insights / One butterfly net, woven too coarse. / Life slips away and we awake.

Does the ocean howl / When it leaves the sky behind / Falling, with eyes closed //

Careless fish weave gold / into my green tapestry / dappled by sunlight.

This is not my heart ~ onto which your cold tears splash. ~ Just my memory.

Guiding a small brook / stout beams recall the first ark. / Floods were something then.

Activity 2: // Repeat Activity 1. // This time, do it right!





Textures of the heart.
Simon wrote: I still watch the sky to see whether you have reached out to make it ripple. Hold tight to the wheel, and feel the wind. Remember that you are always loved whatever you do and wherever you go, regardless of whether it is earned or deserved. When you cry I taste your tears. As your heart beats so does mine. We are the same. Look at your hand, feel your heart. Touch your fingertip. Reach out with your heart and touch the sky: feel its weight and substance, feel its depth. See the ripples as they spread away from your fingers. Follow your own truth, and tell me what you see. I forgot to tell you the important thing about finding God. To find God, simply ask him to find you, and if you mean it, he will. You have only to ask. Hand inside hand. Heart inside heart. Fingerprint over fingerprint. We have the same fingerprints, you and me. Look at your hands. There I am. I look at mine. There you are. You said "Who are you to know such things about my soul?" I hold my two hands together and I can feel you. Do it now, hold your hands together. Here we are. One soul. Long strong branches each with a thousand shoots, each with a thousand leaves. And each leaf, each fruit, each blossom, each tiny rootlet has its own long tale to tell. Think, mermaid.  I must be all that is inside that is good and alive and I wish to learn and share and find my reflection and I hold one hand in the other and I know that I love you and that is enough, and that is everything. And we watch from the window, watching for ships, and we know the feel and the scent and the taste of each other hand inside hand, heart inside heart. Textures of the body, inside and out,and the taste and the scent, defy time. Textures of the heart defy life and death.

The Dust at the bottom of the page.

I dread  to sleep for fear I'll dream of you
In case my heart breaks over
and the threads pull through.
Who knows how to make love stay,
Or to return once turned away?
The tiny soul to heaven sent
With one wing broken, one foot bent?
The quiet heart that works its shift
With no great talent, no great gift?
And who knows how to make love end?

Tonight the sky will cry.
And the rain will sing its consolations to the sea.