Sunday, November 4, 2012


Someone once observed that each animal, large or small, has about the same number of heartbeats over its lifetime.  Animals with shorter lifespans have hearts that beat very quickly, 450 times a minute in the case of a hamster. Hamsters don't usually make it past 3 years. Sorry hamster lovers.  Long lived animals like whales, than can live to 80, have hearts that only beat around 20 times a minute.  A lifetime can be measured in a lot of ways, but it's about a billion heartbeats for most of the animals on the planet.

The exception to this rule of thumb is us.  About a billion heart beats would take us to 31 years of age.  We get around 2.2 billion heartbeats.  So think how lucky you are and don't waste them. And think how many of us are living on borrowed time.

I've posted this before but it'll stand posting again.

This has been kicking around for ages in my head so I thought I'd try and get it down on paper.  Possibly a waste of everyone's heatbeats.


Only so many heartbeats,

Leaking like water from a drum.

Strewn like confetti over damp cobbles,

Or carried like blossom on the breeze.

Stamped into the brickwork of that midnight doorway,

Scorched into the table by the unfinished drinks,

Spinning like leaves in the rain-tide of the river,

caught in the station’s eaves with pigeons and announcements.

Yours and yours and yours all mixed with mine,

fading away until in a hundred years

all that’s left of us will be the echoes in your child’s breast.

David Millington
4th November 2012

Thursday, January 26, 2012

St Michael's Mount

I am planning on writing a series of blogs about various books but in the meantime I thought I'd post this as I'm quite pleased with it. 

Simon Armitage said that as a poet he looks for patterns and synchronicity.  I think I had that in somewhere in mind when the idea for this bubbled up to the surface when I was in Cornwall over Christmas.  At least it gave me something to think about as I walked by the sea in the hail!

St Michaels Mount         

A mile or more of Mounts Bay and the billowing wind
leave only a rain carved shadow in the mist.
I can’t see where the water meets the cliff
or the crag stiffens into wall.
Just grey on grey on grey.

But I can picture that sea-glistened causeway,
leading to that midnight island,
where we were the only people in the world.
It was as if the deeps had parted for us
and the path ahead was moonlight clear.

Now the years have piled up in front of me
like so many emptied glasses at a pub table.
The memories finger-smudged
and the paths we might have taken
are long since lost to the incoming tide.

The insistent hail at my back drives me along the promenade.
Storm hood tugged low to a letter box view of the world
hunch shouldered and fists stuffed into pockets.
The wind’s grip a tender doorman
escorting me firmly onwards.

David Millington
26th January 2012