About Me

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Bristol , United Kingdom
I'm co-director of the Leaping Word Poetry Consultancy, which provides advice for poets on writing, editing and publishing, as well as qualified counselling support for those exploring personal issues in their work - https://theleapingword.com. My fifth poetry collection, Learning Finity, is now available from Indigo Dreams or directly from me.

Saturday 18 August 2012

Ghost Month

The black spots which tell you which ring is which on my stove have worn away (probably from too much scrubbing, ha ha!)  So last night instead of stewing fruit for my breakfast today, I set fire to the bread board.

When our Chinese Takeaway arrived, the delivery man asked if I'd been burning incense.  I said no, although I did like to burn oil from time to time, and he said to make sure I did it for the next four weeks as that very day heralded the start of Ghost Month in the traditional Chinese calendar, when the Gates of Hell are sprung open to allow ghosts access to the world of the living. Apparently these spirits spend the month visiting their families, feasting and and seeking victims.

'It's the most dangerous time of the year,' he continued. 'Evil spirits are on the look-out for souls to capture.  The best way to get rid of them is to burn incense and light candles.  I've started doing it in the back of my shop, and already I can see black shapes streaming past from the corner of my eye.'

Yes, I know.  But I have had several encounters that defy reason, and I don't believe in turning down advice from the Universe in the form of our lovely delivery man who gives us a bamboo calendar at the start of every non Chinese New Year.   Plus, exercising my own demons has not worked.  Miles over Dartmoor and they nap in the footwell of the passenger seat on the way home, jumping out fully restored at the end of our journey while I collapse on the bench in the biscuit tin by the sea, good for nothing.  Maybe it's time for exorcism instead. Pass the matchbox, please.  


  1. The private spectre of a dream
    short savor
    another day's hollow earth vapors
    touch mine underground
    air-brushed fantasy
    elemental honey missed
    furniture found
    door unlocked next door
    basement industry young men sneakers
    secretive slow and sweeter
    sleepy looks wing it

  2. When I lived in Japan I learned that "Obon" happened during the month of August, it was when the souls of the dead would visit the earth again. I guess this is probably the same sort of festival that they would be having in China, since it's a Buddhist festival after all. I lived in a fishing village there and it was very hot at this time of year, but after the first of August no one would swim in the sea anymore... because of Obon the swimming season was over for the year, though the water remained warm as bath water into October.
    How lovely to get advice like this from a delivery man just stopping by!

    1. Ah yes, I read about that, it's so that evil spirits don't have the chance to drown you.

      Yes, he's a lovely man! Almost worth ordering takeaway for that reason alone!

  3. Your burning bread board must have given me the inspiration. That and a previous night's dream unravelling.

    I've again recommended you lovely blog and book on Tom Clark's fabulous poetry and photography blog, where poems much better than mine can be found daily.