Richard Pierce

Life, Poetry

Day 271

T, a friend of mine who used to be Bumfrey’s producer on BBC Radio Norfolk, posted a lovely picture of a moss-covered tree on her Instagram feed yesterday, and called it the tree of dreams, and some words sprung into my head.


The tree of dreams
Vanishes in the green.
It’s not a disappearance,
More a disguise to keep
From imposing on you,
Just a gentle reminder
Of why it’s here, of why
Dreams are as real as
The moss that covers
Branches and trunk,
Roots and shoots,
As natural as waking
And sleeping, and breathing.
At the centre of existence,
At the periphery of sight,
Touch, and emotion.
Feel your arms around it
When the tree hugs you
Back, and its bark caresses
Your skin and your sleep,
Your breath and your being.
The tree of dreams, a
Solid reality in the life
You have yet to give.

R 27/09/2022

I have recently engaged in some self-censorship, because I had to have a screening colonoscopy this morning, and I didn’t really want to worry the children. But all well. The NHS staff were, as always, amazing and kind. I have been battling the last three weeks to implement Rule 3 of The 8 Laws of Therapy (I haven’t yet added the 9th I was going to add months ago) – There is no need to catastrophise – with partial success. But partial success is better than none. Those few friends I shared this (and my fears) with – and you know who you are, have been very very supportive and helped me not catastrophise. Like I said yesterday, people are a blessing.



‘What is it?’ Marion says, impatiently. ‘The room’s here.’ She kicks the door open with her right foot.

‘Cassandra. She says she wasn’t involved.’

‘And we’re meant to believe that?’

‘Does Hal know about her.’


‘Then get rid of him as soon as you can. He’ll just be doing political posturing.’

‘We need to stay close to the administration.’

‘There is no administration,’ Aggie says. ‘And what’s more important?’

‘He’ll want to talk till it’s light, at least.’

‘Then get me back to the airport, so I can go home and carry one working on this.’

‘That ain’t gonna happen, honey. Not with what’s just gone on. They’ll lock Washington down.’


‘Sure. Rest. I’ll see you in the morning. Nothing we can do now.’

‘If he goes soon, come and get me so we can discuss what’s what.’

‘Did you get any files?’

‘Tomorrow. When you’ve got your priorities right,’ Aggie says, steps into the room and closes the door in Marion’s face.

The room is neutral, understated colours, just a modern wooden bed, and plain wardrobe, a window out to the back where Aggie sees a garden bordered by trees. She sits down on the bed. Why should I believe you? She sends the message.

Because I’m telling the truth.

Where are you?

Can’t say.

That means nothing. I heard you were in Moscow.

No-one knows where I am.

Valentine is here. In the White House. Aggie gets up, paces round the room. She wants to go home. She wants to know about the AGATA project. Needs to know about it. All these people playing games. She feels like a pawn, just like she did when the mentor tried to control her, tried to turn her into a killer. Will they really have locked Washington down when they think they have the assassin. But then they’ll find out sooner or later that the girl didn’t have a brain, just one of Valentine’s black boxes. But that won’t matter, because God knows whom Valentine has in his pocket. The Speaker of the House of Representatives who is now the de facto President because the President and Vice-President are dead? She looks at the phone. Still no answer. I’m waiting, she types, and sends.

Why is he there? How did he get there?

How am I supposed to know? He’s the one who killed the two.

He’s supposed to be in Moscow.

No point discussing if I don’t know where you are. This is crisis point, and you know it.

No answer. Aggie hits the wall in frustration. She has to get out of here. Fly to Moscow herself. Or get back into the White House and get Valentine. Her cover’s as good as blown anyway. She sees the albino girl in her mind, the grey and red matter coming out of her nose. Is she one of them? Does she have nothing more than a black box in her skull? Is that what this is all about? She shakes her head, almost as if to listen for the knocking sound of a loose box. Impossible. She wouldn’t be able to do what she does, wouldn’t be able to stick to her principle of not killing anyone. If she were one of those robots, she’d be a killing machine. And she isn’t. And never will be. Her phone vibrates.

I am in Moscow. With Valentine.

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