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Not every couple has the luxury
of being in the same place, at the same time,
in the same room, or even in the same timezone sometimes;
not every two people who are meant to be together
can get together when they want;
not every couple can be in each others arms
and look into each other’s beautiful eyes-
but that doesn’t matter,
because they are still and will always be together
in one way or another forever,
and can talk and laugh and cry together,
and do lots of things, and share lots of things,
and even though they may not be face to face
that doesn’t mean that they can’t share things between themselves.

A message can be a god-send;
a note or a letter can be the most beautiful thing you have ever read;
a picture with the words ‘I love you’ attached to it
can fill you with joy, energy, and love,
of which there is no end;
a phone-call, the sound of the voice of the one you love
echoing in your ear, no matter what they say,
can be to you the most amazing and beautiful thing anyone ever said.

Connections are precious;
a ringtone can sound like a heart beating;
thought means so much;
a particular voice can be healing.
A well-timed call can be life-saving;
a fateful call can be life-changing;
a single sentence of connected words
spoken in a particular way
can open up infinite possibilities;
someone’s laugh can sound like the melody to a song-
no matter if that voice has said a billion words in their lifetime,
or the voice of that of someone with a limited vocabulary in their twenties.

The great thing about the miraculous technology of the 21st Century
is that it has brought people who live vast distances apart
within touching distance of each other,
and it has connected lives and spirits,
and forged new and lasting relationships.
and love for life,
for so many people who may never have met otherwise;
technology is a stepping-stone to the future,
and it is one of the most valuable tools and gifts
of creating, making, and sustaining, unbreakable ties.

A phone-call from someone can be an invitation;
a phone-call in the morning or late at night
can bring you back home;
a phone-call that you were not expecting can be a revelation;
a phone-call can be enough for a while,
but then there comes a time
when all you want to do is find a way
to come through the phone.

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The colour of the fields of my home,
the colour of a four-leafed clover,
the colour of the clothes of a leprechaun,
the colour today on St. Patrick’s Day of the Chicago River,
the colour of luck,
the colour of nature,
the colour of the monster in someone’s envious look,
the colour of the screen text of a 1980’s computer,
the colour of the leaves of Summer trees,
the colour of the city in the Wizard of Oz,
the colour of an Apple martini,
the colour of some beer bottles,
the colour we think about when we think of a frog,
the colour of a Hairstreak butterfly,
the background colour of the sign
and the colour of the aprons that they wear at Starbucks,
the colour of ivy that climbs,
the colour of an emerald,
the colour of the aurora Australis,
the colour of choice for so many people today,
the one and only, the serene, green.

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I asked a friend who I should write about next,
and they said that I should write about me-
and then I started to think about what people know about me,
what my friends know about me, what those who I have loved,
and who love and have loved me, know about me,
and what I know about myself,
that I haven’t told anyone else before
that still remains a mystery.

My family know the day I was born,
where I was born, and where I grew up;
my friends know where I went to school,
who my teachers were,
and who I was in my developing years;
my close friends know what I like, what I love;
my best friend knows what I am thinking about all the time,
and knows the road I walk every day,
and knows the direction I am going,
and knows what makes me smile, and what brings me to tears;
my muse, my love, the voice I hear all the time in my head,
the one I dream of every night, knows me better than anyone
and knows my heart’s desires, and is with me every second
of every day, and who wants everything to turn out for the best
for both of us, and is my inspiration, strength,
and my future, every step of the way.

I was born on the 21st of April, 1981,
on the maternity ward of a village called ‘Marston Green’.
I grew up and still live in a village called ‘Meriden’
in the Centre of England, and surrounded by the most beautiful
and inspiring scenery, fields, and forrests, I have ever seen.
I went to high school at ‘Heart of England’ school
in ‘Balsall Common’, where I first fell in love with English
and literature, and where I had my first crush
on a girl called ‘Helen’.

When I left school, like most of my friends
and like anyone of the age of 16, braving the undiscovered
and new horizons of an unknown and scary bi wide world,
I didn’t know what I wanted to do, nor who I wanted to be-
I had no definitive direction to go in but forward,
but where that would take me I did not know,
but I knew that only one person would be the only one
to give me what I needed and who would be the key-
and that person was me.

I could never have predicted what would happen in my life.
No one could ever have told me what I would see,
what I would feel, what I would write.
I could never have wished, or ever have guessed,
that I would have been truly blessed every day
by something, or someone, that was both my day
and my night light.

So, is there more to say about me?
Is there a secret that has yet to be uncovered
and admitted to the world?
Why of course there is!
But what that is, both you and I will have to wait and see.

This is the last page of the last chapter
of this edition of my book, before I begin a brand new chapter
of a brand new book, and on the first page I will begin
the first poem of the next chapter of my life
and my journey-
I already know that it will be filled with so much
of what and who is in my life now, and always will be;
but I also know that my new book will be full, infused,
inspired, interlaced, with new muses, and new musings,
new dreams, new experiences, that could only have been possible
because of everything that has always been and is constant,
and will never change-
but I know with complete certainty that what is to come
and what I am going to write about
will be about things beyond my imagining,
and, unlike this poem, wont be all about me.

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There are times when you feel you have to get away;
there are times when you need to have a change of scenery;
there are times when the weight of reality
can feel too heavy;
there are times when there is only one thing
you can do, and one place you can go,
to bring you back down to Earth,
and which has always been and always will be
your sanctuary for reasons you could never
share or ever say.

For some people their escape can be a dream
that they imagine and remember;
for some people their escape can be somewhere
filled with people, music, intensity,
and outward displays of freedom and emotion;
for some people their escape can be a place
they have been coming back to ever since they were a kid,
and would go back to every day of the year-
from the 1st of January to the 31st of December;
for some people their escape can be somewhere quiet
that they go to by themselves when they are alone,
or somewhere they go to with someone else
who feels the same about the place as you do
and is the only other person in the world
who can understand why your heart beats so fast,
because they too have been spiked with the same love potion.

The escape can be you home.
The escape can be a holiday you have been waiting to go on.
The escape can be a song or an album that makes you feel
more hopeful and more amazing the more you replay it
and the more you listen.
The escape can be a person who knows you
and who loves everything about you,
just as much as you love everything about them.

Your escape can have a plan.
Your escape can be a point on a map.
Your escape can and should be something that makes you happy,
and not somewhere you want to escape to forever-
your escape shouldn’t ever feel like a trap.
Your escape can be a life-long journey,
or a mission to fulfill something primal, or instinctive,
and could see you jumping from an airplane,
jumping off a ravine, travelling over many bridges,
and through many tunnels, just so that when you reach the ground,
or you finally feel the light you have been chasing,
you achieved something you wanted,
and you did something you needed to do,
and your reason and your mantra the whole time was
‘I am doing this because I can.’

Choosing to escape is not a mistake.
Choosing to escape is a choice everyone has to make.
Choosing to escape can be slow at first
and then accelerate into the speed of a chase.
Choosing to escape can be the first thing
you think about when you look in the mirror
and you see you own face-
everyone has a place to go to for what they need
and for what always makes them feel better,
and for me right now this is my escape.

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“So what are you thinking and feeling right now
whilst you’re out there amongst Nature?”

I feel free! I feel open! I feel hopeful! I feel me!
I feel like I could touch the sky with my finger
just like I am touching the muddy ground with my booted feet.
I feel warm! I feel energized!
I feel home! I feel blessed
as the beautiful and golden sunlight touches my eyes!

As I walk through the forest though it is cooler
because the sun is radiating and being absorbed by the surrounding trees.
I can hear birds and the rustling of unseen animals all around me,
but they are so high and fast they are the dwellers
of this fertile land and sky that I cannot see.

Coming back here brings back so many memories!
Coming back here reminds me of so many happy times,
and it is like they are still there to be remembered
and felt by the touch of the cool but magical breeze.

Walking the fields, walking over the crisp brown leaves
and sumptuous green grass,
I have this sensation of feeling like an animal feels,
I have this urge to walk and run and forge my own path.

Everything is bright, everything looks new.
Everything I see is bathed in light,
and even that which is in the shadow cast by something else
retains it’s beautiful natural colour and hue.

The country lanes I walk have no natural footpath,
so I must walk on the road.
Cars and 4×4’s race past me and create a splash
as they drive through the puddles I too pass through-
out here there is no such thing as a Highway Code.

Out here where I walk there are little oasis’s
of rarely seen and hardly touched patches of Earth
that resemble my kind of heaven.
Out here you can hear nothing but your own heart beating in your chest,
sweet birdsong in the trees, and the faint sound of an airplane
flying high above in the sky that is skirting and almost touching
the atmosphere and making dreams a reality
and the passengers on it feel as if they are light as a feather.

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Not every Father can be a Dad,
not every Dad can be a Father,
not every son can have a father,
or a dad to look up to,
not every son, no other son,
has a hero, a role-model, a giant,
a great, honest, kind-hearted, and caring,
man as their Father, like I do-
and that is why I am so lucky to have a Dad
who is as special as you.

You have always been there to hold my hand,
you have always been there to pick me up,
you have always been there to guide me home
like a plane coming in to land,
you have always been there for me,
and I have always looked at you and said to myself
‘that is and you are the man who I want to be
when I grow up’.

There is only one of each of us in this world, in this life,
and there can only be love and respect between two people
if it is proven time and again that what binds them
has been present since birth and will always be there.
I have always known that you and I were more
than just father and son;
I have always felt that you and I were like the Earth to the Sun,
and when I look at you I feel like I am looking at the best
and the most incredible man I have ever known in my entire life,
who has given me everything he could and more,
and who I sometimes look at when you are sleeping,
just like you used to look at me when I was a boy,
and I marvel in wonder at who you are,
and I remember all the places we have been to together,
and all the things we have shared.

I remember you teaching me how to ride a bike.
I remember you teaching me how to fire an arrow with a bow.
I remember you and I putting together a home-made glider
and spending an entire Saturday afternoon watching the glider
soar into the air and then return to Earth,
and then return to the air by your hand-
just as my imagination too became sky-bound and took flight.

I will never forget what you have taught me,
what you do for me every day,
and every moment with you has been the greatest gift a son,
a boy, a man, anyone and I have ever had.
I wouldn’t be the man I am, I wouldn’t have done what I have done,
nor seen what I have seen, or been where I have been, without you,
and that is why I am the luckiest son there has ever been,
because you are my Dad.

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As I look out my bedroom window,
as I watch the wind displace the leaves
as it gusts through the branches of the trees
and makes telephone cables
and power-lines sway from side to side with every blow,
as it seems as if every leaf is now well on the way
to changing colour for the season,
I look down to the street below
and I see a little boy riding his bike
on the pavement outside my house
wearing a big coat and a bobble-hat;
and instantly I feel a wave of something come over me,
as if the winds of time were blowing in unison
with the winds of the world outside, and taking me back
to a time, to an autumn day like this one, when I was a kid-
a time when I loved to play outside with my friends,
and my sister Clare,
and play a ‘catch me if you can-type of game’ called “tag”
in which I never minded being the one who was “it”.

I used to love riding my bike;
I used to love exploring the great place where I lived;
I used to love looking out my window
on a dark, rainy night, and being in awe of the sound of thunder,
and energized by the sight of a lightning-strike;
I used to love playing hide and seek-
and I swear no one could ever find me,
nor think of the right place where I was hid.

I had a very happy childhood;
I had everything a child could ever want;
I had so much love bestowed upon me,
and I was taught so many lessons and I learned so many skills
from my Mum and Dad- from appreciating the value
of the smallest of things, and the briefest of moments,
to the importance of hard work,
and knowing the best way to cut wood.

I remember smiling a lot when I was a child,
I remember laughing, creating, watching,
constantly asking questions, and learning from everyone,
I remember times when I used to sit quietly,
I remember times when I used to run wild,
I remember having so much fun.
I remember the good times, and the bad;
I remember the people I knew and who knew me who just suddenly died,
I remember the times when I had to say goodbye.
I remember all the times when I felt so happy
I thought my heart was going to explode;
I remember the tears that came after a fall,
and the times when I didn’t know what was going on,
and I felt sad.

The world has changed.
I have slowly, but surely, grown up.
The home I have known all my life
feels like a picture that is constantly being reframed.
I am outwardly very different from the boy I was-
from my shoe-size, to my likes and dislikes,
to my hair colour, and hair cut.
Inside I am still the same-
I feel and I know that, even now.
Inside I am under no illusion in my belief
that in everything I do, and to everyone I meet, I make a difference;
I don’t always know why, in what way, or how,
but I do feel, and I have always felt,
like everything that I was doing had a purpose and meant something-
even if I was writing a story, or painting a picture,
even as a child I knew that there was so much more to be seen
than could ever be seen, and that no matter the dark clouds
that sometimes swirled around above your head
there would always be something to have hope for,
that there is always a silver-lining to everything,
and that there would one day be a great,
beautiful, and bright future.

Looking at my own reflection in the glass of my window,
as the sun shines on my face,
I look into my own eyes-
the eyes that have seen thousands of sunrises,
the eyes that have seen so much beauty, hope, and inspiration,
in their time, and which have imprinted on them images
that I will take to the grave,
of sights and faces that nothing could ever erase.
I look at my own reflection,
and I see the boy that I was,
and the joy and the hope in his eyes, in my eyes;
I look at my own reflection, and I see the man who I am,
the boy who I am always going to be,
who still lives in the place, the house, the home,
with the memories he treasures,
and will always remember and return to,
in the middle house of three, on Fair field rise.

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I had forgotten the restorative powers
of nature, music, and walking, combined
as one entity in my heart and in my mind;
I had forgotten how much I love the intense colours,
the deep sounds, the meaningful lyrics,
until I see them, I hear them, I feel them again,
but as if it were for the first time.

Nature has always fascinated me.
Being outside and free,
you see things that no one else can see.
All worries become like islands that lie far-away,
all your fears feel like they are being exorcised
from your spirit, and you want to run, dream,
enjoy your surroundings, and play.

My home is always with me,
the village that I have lived in and grew up in
never stops inspiring and surprising me.
All is quiet. All is still.
I never get enough of trekking for miles on my own
on a beautiful morning-
sensing and knowing that I am carrying out the universe’ will.

This morning I awoke and I heard the voice of nature
calling to me and inviting me to see
something mystical, wonderful, to recall something,
and to find something truthful and beautiful
in the chorus of nature’s rhyme.
This morning I chose to believe that anything is possible,
and that life is capable of everything, as are people-
because this moment in time is an example of life at its prime.

Christmas Day is the pinnacle of my year;
Christmas Day is the day when I give gifts of my affection and love
to my family and friends-
something that I try to do every day of the year;
however, Christmas Day is special, Christmas Day is the day
when I get the opportunity to look my family in the eye
and give them all my time, attention,
and see their faces light-up
when they see the thought that I have taken in my preparation-
and the greatest gift that they could give me in return
is the overwhelming feeling of belonging, meaning, and love-
that is what drowns me in the atmosphere of the day,
that is what brings me to tears.

I am fortunate to have, to know,
and to appreciate, what I have in my life.
I have not always fully-understood
why the connections that we make
with a select group of people are so powerful;
but as I get older, and the more that I see of the world,
and the more that I understand our universe’s inner-workings,
the reality of truth that rules everything
cuts through the banality of our false-inventions like a knife.

Family is so much more than blood;
identity is so much more than a name;
our words and our intentions can sometimes be misunderstood,
but if something and someone means something to us
you have to share and express why-
it is not always an instant revelation,
most of the time it builds-up within us
until it is the right time for it to be expressed,
for reasons that we can’t always explain.

There are communities that live in parts of the world
in which their inter-dependency on each-other is their world,
it is all that matters to them:
families who have the respect, the strength,
and a connection to one-another-
and that to them is more than enough;
and I envy them, because every one of them knows the truth,
because, for them, life is about embracing what you have,
embracing every opportunity;
life is about what sustains and remains after we are all gone-
not the throw-away, trivial, material, stuff.

So, at Christmas dinner with my family, on a cold 25th of December,
as I enjoy the food, the company, the gifts that I have been blessed with-
and as I bask in the glow of the day
embodied in the dancing flames of the fire and in its embers-
I will take-in every moment with my eyes, my nose,
my finger-tips, and with my ears;
I will raise-up my glass in cheer
thinking about everyone who means something to me, and why;
and to everyone, everywhere, I will wish a very Merry Christmas,
and an amazing, and a Happy New Year!

As the sun rose over the fields of England,
I looked down on my home from a green hilltop high above
and I felt breathless, as I took in the view
of this peaceful and tranquil wonderland.

As far as my eyes could see, all that greeted me
was infinite hues of gold, green, blue, and white-
trees, farmland- apparent, and hidden life,
going on far beyond my sight.

I am by myself, but I do not feel alone-
this place is where poetry is seen and written about,
this place, this island of diversity and beauty, in all its forms,
is the place that I am proud to call my home.

I love my home, because it is everything to everyone-
it always has been this beacon for so many people over the years,
no matter where they have come from.

I love my home, because not only is it a beautiful
and an inspiring place to live;
but it is also somewhere that you can discover and rediscover,
it is a place with a heart and a spirit of its own,
it is a place that you can grow with.

Even though I have lived here my entire life,
I have not seen, and I do not know, everything about my country-
every new village, town, and city,
has a rich and a varied identity and history;
every person that you speak to for the first time,
only adds to our country’s charm, allure, magic, and mystery.

From above, England looks green, alive, thriving-
even in the majestic cities, that light-up the country from street to sky,
there is somewhere for everyone:
whether you want excitement, enlightenment, inspiration,
or just somewhere that you can take in as you roam-
England is the best country on the planet,
England is where I will always return to,
and it will always be my home.

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