Not that they necessarily  have to rhyme— that’s not the modern way is it? I found some of the poetry I tried a few years back when researching my short stories. The highest accolade I ever got was for my short verse Iatrogenesis.* It came from the editor of a prestigious poetry journal and was terse and to the point:  ‘Sorry, not for me!’ To break you in gently, here’s a less controversial one:


Tyger tyger’s burning plight

Is thy feline end in sight

For our mortal hand and eye

Will see thee in the cimitrie

With apologies to William Blake, God rest him.


Tried Spanish too. Course I was young in those days, and maybe in love. This was a  verse published in The Weekly several years ago. in the Valentine’s Day jingles.

Un beso dulce

Por ti Nadia

Amor de mi corazon

The name has been changed to protect the (not so very) innocent.

The following is a poem inspired by Edward Hooper’s book, ‘The River’ : A journey back to the source of Aids.


 Dead chimps’ kidney, green monk thigh

‘ttenuated virus, doctor’s skilled eye.

Try it in the Congo for a few decades.

Hush now little children

Beware the spectre AIDS


What follows encapsulates the reply I got from the editor  of that poetry r/m/ag. It shows her reaction to the above,

Sad contributor

Sorry – not for me

Editor am I

Of prestigeous magazine

So kiss arse and try again.

Neither tanka, nor haiku, but don’t you think the above has a ‘nice’ touch of Japanese, simplicity, elegance and sophistication?

Any way, are you ready for this? More so, at least I hope, than the editor of that prestigeous magazine.


Needless to say, the bloody woman didn’t like it either!


 Amber sugared potion fed throughout the land

A million in the Congo saved by monkey gland

Unwind the polio spiral feed it safe to Man

But see, the simian helix inhabits monkey bran

Mobius strip of RNA, its purpose to survive

Its habitat is people now, though it is not alive

Dazzling efflorescence, starburst of mutation

Sparks of sub-life spiral down to wait in blood of nation

Amber sugared potion, fed to volunteers

A million in the Congo, unwitting cause of tears.

Unwind the polio spiral, feed it safe to Man

Let AIDS be GOD’s creation, not this how it began


What follows has reference to the Gypsy Model. See separate new posts.

On the Road

I must take to the road again, to the eternal whims of Fate,

And all I ask is my bow-top, and my patient vanner’s gait,

And the wheel’s kick and the bird song and the harnesses a shakin’,

And a chill mist on the barley, and a cool pink dawn a breakin’.


I must take to the road again, for the wanderlust of the Roma

Is a wild call and a clear call that never will be over.

And all I ask is a new day to bring its random treasures,

The pinto’s might, and the blown dust, and morning’s early pleasures.


I must take to the road again, to the vagrant gypsy life,

To the raven’s way and the pilgrim’s way, far from worldly strife.

And all I ask is a sweet song from my loving fellow-rover,

And a quiet sleep, and a sweet dream, when my final day is over.

With apologies to John Masefield.

My latest book, The Gypsy model, is a piece of faction based on 19C painter Frederick Sandys and his Gypsy Model Keomi Gray.

The Gypsy Model is now available on Kindle at 2.99 Stg. Also available in print through my books section in this blog.


Keomi Gray as Judith

Family myth has it that Keomi was a relation of my great grandmother Coralina Gray.

Just noticed that Jane Burden gets a mention opposite as one of the ‘stunners’. Here’s a short passage from The Gypsy Model: ‘The tall lady with the long neck and striking eyes (hm, so the paintings don’t lie) must be Jane Morris. She and Rossetti are studiously avoiding each other, but, from time to time they exchange lingering glances across the room. Not, I suppose conventionally beautiful, she is an imposing woman, strikingly intense. Touch of deep brooding class there, in spite of her humble origins. Now she is in the process of becoming Gabriel’s muse, model and (lover?)

When William Morris fell for Miss Jane Burden his family couldn’t find it in themselves to welcome the daughter of a stable hand into their midst. To this day the ladies who talk you round Kelmscote Manor find it hard to give her their approval. That whisper of an affair with Rossetti puts her beyond the pale for the acolytes of Arts and Crafts.

For more see the Post, The Gypsy Model.


Hmmm… To see more about me, try Bill Macfarlane’s main website. The links above take you to the same info. A couple of my published works are posted elsewhere. I will renew/add to these these from time to time. Meanwhile, while I hold my breath over the fate of ‘The Artist and the Gypsy Model’

One agent did read the whole text but, didn’t think he could ‘target it.’ The only offer of publication I had came to nothing because of the contract not allowing enough control of design etc. Pressure of mounting years makes me consider publishing in Cyprus under my own Gitano Logo.

Jan. 16 2011 Three proof readings now completed and the cover approved, the buk is on the printing presses and I expect to have copies by early February.

I now have the first copies in my possession. At present they in Kyriakou’s bookshop in Limassol at 15 Euros.* It is also in Limassol Library. Next week it will be in the main Nicosia Bookshops and in some shops in N Cyprus. I Aim to find out how to get it onto Amazon, but suspect that will be beyond my IT. In the meantime, a presentation is in prospect at the Five Fingers Restaurant in Ozankoy (near Kyrenia) and other presentations are planned leading up to the main Presentation at Easter. At this and other presentations, the book will be offered at a discounted price and deals will be on offer for my other books.

* The Gypsy Model and the Hunt for the Hassamboulia are now on Kindle or hard copies can be purchased for 8 Stg, including postage, using the PayPal buttons on my books page. Resonating Stones, a collection of Ghost stories set in Cyprus is being prepared for Kindle and can also be had in hard copy right now.

For more, see the post, The Gypsy Model.


MUSINGS or Guiding Principles.

‘Nothing matters much. And most things don’t matter at all.’

‘Excess in all things (except moderation) that’s the secret.’

When God/Man created Man/God in his own image, was it the ultimate case of galactic megalomania? According to Stephen Hawkins, any other megalomaniacs there might be out there, could prove to be a serious threat to our health! This is now the subject of a short story for which I have high hopes.

When somebody tells you in ‘no uncertain terms’ what they think of you, you learn quite a lot about them as well as about yourself. I have just finished a story on that theme. No immediate plans to publish it. It was written to clarify my thoughts and got a load off my shoulders. Title: ‘The Ancient Mariner had a plate of chips on his shoulder.’

My niece, Emma, visited Helen in Austria recently. I suspect her of purveying the following: Two birds sitting on a perch. One says to the other, ‘Can you smell something fishy?’

Statistics. 30% of road accidents involve alcohol consumption. Leaving 70% that involve sobriety (more if you count the probable sober participants in the first category. Should we, then, have a new approach to the breathalyser? Spot checks and on the spot fines should effect an immediate improvement in the statistics. ‘Excuse me sir, but you don’t seem to have had your regulation intake of alcohol today.’

What about this forty year old woman announcing on a chat show that she ‘satisfied’ 40 men on her 40th birthday? Can’t imagine that any of them from number two onwards would be anything less than exponentially puke-making.

Anyone who doesn’t agree with me that women are creatures of habit, just go into the nearest ladies’ clothing department and think again.

I love reading and am fairly ‘omniperusiverous’*. I think I came upon a bit of ‘chic lit’ the other day. Emphasis was added by the use of numbers: ‘a thousand conflicting thoughts came flooding in to my mind’ etc. The conflict revolved round the otherwise decent young husband’s ‘drinking’. The writer seemed to suffer from a split personality. Half of me found this irritating, but the other half found it vaguely intriguing! There was more, but the plot was wildly imaginative and I just HAD to find out what happened (apart from the poor sap giving up the booze).

* bibliophilous or bibliofagous might fit the Bill better.

(i) maybe, reading the above, you might think me not  very serious minded.                

(ii) Where is IT all leading  us? Is IT going to be the end of us? I’ve just sent off a story to this effect, and have high hopes for it. But then, I always do when I wave them goodbye at the Post Office. To date only a single, miserable little short listing has come from the efforts of the past months.

Nothing to do with the story, but still thinking about IT, privacy, and that THEY always know where you are these days, I had a philosophical moment the other day, when walking in the Limassol Forest. Nothing earth-shattering, just how good it was to be communing with nature (light wind in the trees, a few birds and the first flowers, even before the rains have come.) Anyway, I thought that even a paranoid old pillock like me would have to believe that THEY can’t possible know what we are thinking… at least …short of reading this.

(iii) The third thing came out of the Hash. Rememberance Sunday. Why do I feel uneasy about it? Well, for a start the World Wars are now approaching a hundred, and seventy years ago, respectively. Isn’t it time we tried to forget; or do we intend to keep it going for another three hundred and odd years like those who triumphed at Cath na Bionne  (at least, the bowler hats – and rolled umbrellas? – are not much in evidence still)

If we are incapable of forgetting, the idea of the White Poppy to commemorate all war dead (including at  Nagasaki and Hiroshima and at the Battle of Thermopolae if you like) holds more appeal to me, especially as Margaret Thatcher expressed her strong disapproval of it. I also shudder, with the White Poppyists at the militaristic emphasis on many such commemorations. I could quote instances, but will refrain from doing so.

Now it’s Christmas again and with my views on religion, I feel it incumbent on me to do something about it. Trouble is, I don’t like to miss out on a celebration and, with Helen coming to Cyprus about then, ideas of a Pagan Mid-winter Fest are starting to spawn in my head.

How about a party on the 21st Dec? We always celebrated the Solstices and the Equinoxes at the ‘Lakes’. There should be plenty to go on. Holly, mistletoe (available in Cy?) Yule log (not needed and nowhere to burn it, but Yule is a good old Germanic word and could be adapted by us Neopagans). Gold paper streamers and candles (de rigeur pour la belle Helene)

A Vegetarian Mid-winterfest menu – chestnut roast with trimmings and a puddin’ to follow (with plenty of brandy and white sauce. Decor? Red poinsettias, holly and mistletoe, but no bloody christmas tree, thank you very much. Booze, of course, and then all we need is a collection of like-minded people to set up a regular baccha-satur-nalia. Where’s me pencil and paper? Must start a list straight away!

Yeah, I been thinking again, but I find it hard to articulate. Is science ‘beating its head on a wall’ trying to find the start (and maybe the end) of infinity? It’s a contradiction in terms isn’t it? There’s more whirling about in my head – not about why we are here, the purpose of it all – the questions posed by the religious. I think they might be asking the wrong questions. Should the one question we ask, assuming free will,  be, what do we aim to do while we are here? Alternatively, assuming it is all pre-determined, or just a cosmic stasis through which we travel, like time-worms, we might prefer to sit back and observe what it is like in the bit where we find ourselves. Yes, I’m raving.