Bukowski: ‘air and light and time and space’

Lots of people want more time to write. Or more space. Or so they say. What is it that we really want?

Read Charles Bukowski’s down-to-earth and inspirational (or perhaps motivational) poem here:


air and light and time and space

by Charles Bukowski


“–you know, I’ve either had a family, a job, something
has always been in the
but now
I’ve sold my house, I’ve found this
place, a large studio, you should see the space and
the light.
for the first time in my life I’m going to have a place and
the time to
no baby, if you’re going to create
you’re going to create whether you work
16 hours a day in a coal mine
you’re going to create in a small room with 3 children
while you’re on
you’re going to create with part of your mind and your
body blown
you’re going to create blind
you’re going to create with a cat crawling up your
back while
the whole city trembles in earthquakes, bombardment,
flood and fire.
baby, air and light and time and space
have nothing to do with it
and don’t create anything
except maybe a longer life to find
new excuses


Poem taken from hellopoetry.com

Waiting in the Small Hours

Tonight’s Good Night Gift is admittedly a little self-indulgent.

The Barbican Young Filmmakers recently made a short film of my poem, ‘Waiting in the Small Hours’. It’s a poem about dreams and the space between waking and sleeping. (You can read the poem by itself if you want, as I’ve posted it underneath the video, but the film really brings it to life.)

The film itself is full of gorgeous shots, and is brilliantly put together. A magnificent job by Barbican Young Filmmakers. Much thanks and praise.

Enjoy, and sleep well.


Waiting in the Small Hours
by Katie Hale

In the underbelly of night, I count seconds
by the clock’s mechanical heartbeat,
hoping they will transmutate into a dream
of horses’ hooves on the cobblestones of a dead city,
with a soft cotton duvet swirling in the industrial smoke.
Any dream will do, so I hum to the metronome pulse
beating time into a line like a piano teacher’s ruler:

Tick.    Tick     – and every tock is a cross
disapproving my unshuttered eyes. And still I lie
awake. I strain to lighten the darkness, shade by shade,
as birdsong and train-rumbles summon the morning.

Only in the cobweb-grey hours of dust-bin men
and Canary Wharf commuters, only then
I slump into dawn, and dream of empty platforms.

Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass…

I recently took this photo of a squirrel:

And it reminded me of the W H Davies poem, ‘Leisure’, which I had on my tooth box as a child. It’s a beautiful poem, all about our hurried lifestyles, and how we ought to stop and look around us sometimes. A bit like the abstract on our new business cards:

If you could cradle a minute in your palm
and not weigh its value in coins…

Take a minute now, and listen to this wonderful recording of Davies reading his own poem: