About …

I am a writer who spent most of my working life as a journalist. I used to write offbeat commentary pages for the Eastern Daily Press, based in Norwich, England, and earlier a weekly piece called Square One for the Church of England Newspaper – hence the title of this site. I am also a poet, a walker, a chess player, a driver, a husband, a father, a grandparent, a guitar player, a reader, a TV watcher, a pensioner and a Christian, among other things. I love Norfolk, Scotland, the coast, deserts, rivers, mountains and almost everywhere I find myself, though not necessarily in that order. I like to look at things sideways, wherever possible. I have published seven  poetry books: Mist and Fire (2003), Off the Map (2007), Running with Scissors (2011), Stillness lies Deep (with Joy McCall, 2014), Iona: The Road Ends (2015), Waving from a Distance (2017) and Under Cover of Day (see below). I have been a member of the poetry group Chronicle and edited a book on the Pastons in Norwich, which contains directions for a walk, a bit of history and some poems by myself and others. It’s called In the Footprints of the Pastons. Click here for more information on the Pastons.

I also enjoy photography, without being in any way an expert. Some of my pictures can be found on Flickr, and some are included in Stillness Lies Deep and Iona: The Road Ends.

Poems under cover

My most recent poetry book, Under Cover of Day, has been published by Paul Dickson Books. It is available from pauldicksonbooks.co.uk or from Amazon, priced competitively at £6.


Latest article

Peace and love in Israel: is it possible?

When I visited Israel at the beginning of 2020, everything seemed fairly peaceful, although there was a rumour going round that a nasty new virus was becoming a threat. At the airport they asked us if we had been to China. We hadn’t.

We stayed in Tiberias, on the Sea of Galilee, from where we visited Caesarea Philippi. It was the furthest north we went, and according to the Bible, the furthest north Jesus took his disciples. From there we could see into Syria and Lebanon, and we were told that the area was closely monitored because of the latent threat from across the borders. 

Later we sailed on the Sea of Galilee. It was a moment of memorable calm and beauty. 

Eventually we travelled further south and stayed in Bethlehem, where we met – unsurprisingly – many Palestinians. If we had stayed in Bethlehem another couple of days, we would not have been able to leave easily, because it was locked down. Covid had arrived.

From then on we had our own problems, but the problem within Israel/Palestine was ongoing. And it will remain ongoing because men of violence want it to be. The history of the land is complicated, and no-one is completely innocent. It is undeniable that many Jews and Arabs would happily live side by side – and have done so over the years. Many would be happy with a two-state solution, but this is rejected by Arab leaders even though the projected Palestinian portion of the country has always been much larger. 

In the end this is a typical case of wanting it all, and in order to get it all, generating hate and violence, not caring whether your own people suffer in the process. Few people are happy with the current relationship between Israelis and Palestinians, but the military readiness and restrictions have been forced on the Israelis because they have been repeatedly under attack. Undoubtedly some Israelis have taken advantage of this, but most just want to live in peace. 

And how do you live in peace with someone who hates you? The obvious way is by showing strength in defence. Watch the usual spaces. 

But I suppose that as a Christian my answer – much, much easier said than done – is to show them love. Of course we know what happens then. Jesus was a Jew, after all. He was also a Palestinian. Someone could get crucified. The question is, do we believe in resurrection? 

Latest poem


There was a hotel here:
grand it was

before the ground slipped away
from under its feet,
leaving doll’s house rooms
open to larger eyes
before reaching the tipping point,
doors sliding into dust

Now tree roots bind its remains
into packed bunches below the surface:
a kind of room service or picnic
for the dead

And above ground
camouflage in shades of green
hides the truth:
the murder, or accidental death

Grass grows on fingerprints
and covers the evidence,
taking steps too

All down the cliff 
deceitful flowers bloom