My first Poetry Collection, Sea Without a Shore, was published by Maytree Press in June 2019.
Poems of mine have also been published in the following magazines and webzines:
Acumen, Orbis, Pennine Platform, The Lake, Pulsar, Kishboo, Focus, Link, The Poetry Village, Amaryllis, Picaroon, Pennine Ink, Whistling Shade
And the following collections:
Reflections of Holme (Holmfirth Writers' Press 2010)
Pennine Reflections (Holmfirth Writers' Press 2011)
In the Company of Poets (Holmfirth Writers' Press 2016)
The Write Path 2016 (National Association of Writers' Groups)
Precious (Hammond House 2018)
Wolverhampton Literature Festival Poetry Anthology 2019
What the Peacock Replied (Dempsey and Windle 2019)
The Cotton Grass Appreciation Society (Maytree Press 2019)
Here is a selection of my previously published poems.
In a Tube Train
Forgive me; weight of numbers, not my will
imposed this man upon your private space.
My eyes have little choice but rest upon
this woman’s face that fills my whole perception.
I feel I know you: hollow cheeks and lines
too deep for one your age all speak to me
of sleepless nights and proud hopes long eroded
into sand. Upon the breath we share
I taste the sad perfume of love decaying.
I am a part of you; imprisoned, thumbnail
size, I stare back from your fishbowl eyes
that hold without possessing.
At last the train
sets free its captives, flesh recoils and lungs
receive the air denied them for so long.
You leave in haste, but at the door you stop
look back, you realise. We were more close
than lovers. I was in your eyes ..
... and you in mine.
[ First published in Orbis ]
This is the place.
The gentle mound beside the reservoir,
the wall of ivy-eaten stone
that separates nothing from no one,
the tower on which no soldier ever stood.
Once, there were dragons here;
with my plastic sword I stormed the castle,
saving princesses from evil kings.
I was a fool to think
these walls would sing to me
the magic of that distant time.
There is no place for chivalry
among the condoms and the empty cans.
I trudge back from the silent stones,
stubbing my toes
upon the bones of dragons.
[ First published in Pulsar ]
He carried a cloud with him, so thick
that if we tried to pierce it
with little spears of laughter
they came back blunted, broken.
There was no evading it.
Inside that house
the cloud pervaded everything:
made raindrops on my mother’s cheeks,
brought shadows into sunlit space.
We crept around as if through fog,
afraid of what we might stumble into,
or hid from it in upstairs rooms
that slowly filled with cloudlets of our own.
If he went out, the cloud and I would follow.
There was a hill on which, after a while
you might just see a little sun upon his face.
There is nothing like the wind, for shifting clouds.
[ First published in The Lake ]
You question me with patient tenderness.
“I’m fine”, I lie: my leaden undertones
reveal what language struggles to express.
This sullen murk that seeps into my bones:
I have no name for it, nor has it shape
or substance. Stagnant, undefined, it sits
in hidden pools from which there’s no escape.
It is my prisoner, as I am its.
But do not cease to ask: for you, each day
I try once more to picture it in words.
If I could make it concrete, find some way
to form it in the semblance of a bird
and, through the gift of wings, to set it free
then it would lift its cold embrace from me.
[ First published in Pulsar ]
The Ballad of Bilberry Reservoir
Stranger, as you walk my shore
and think my home a tranquil place,
look closer: do you see a frown
within the ripples of my face?
These were not always quiet waters.
When first the moor gave birth to me
this valley echoed with my laughter,
unfettered, I ran wild and free.
Men looked in envy and desired
to bend my labour to their wills.
They made an earthen dam to bind me,
pipes to bleed me for their mills.
But I was strong, and with a storm
conspired to burst my prison walls
and through the breach my righteous anger
surged in furious waterfalls.
That happy night! How I did dance
among the streets and houses, free
to vent my power and forge anew
my ancient pathway to the sea.
That time is gone: men learned to fear
and built for me a stronger cage
in which I languish, left to brood
on memories of a better age.
What else to do but plot revenge
with my old friends, the wind and rain.
You who think me tamed, beware:
I sleep, but I shall wake again.
Inspired by the great Holmfirth flood of 1852, caused when Bilberry reservoir burst its dam.
[ First published in Pennine Reflections ]
We are enmeshed together, you and I,
our roots and branches coil and intertwine.
So do not say that futile word, goodbye
as if these knots were easy to untie.
Your threads cannot be unpicked from mine:
we are enmeshed together, you and I.
Do you forget, or worse, do you defy
the vow we made that binds us for all time?
Do not say that faithless word, goodbye.
This tapestry of love we crafted, why
would you destroy what touched on the sublime?
We are enmeshed together, you and I:
two such as us, if torn apart, must die
or shamble on in pitiful decline.
Do not pronounce that fatal word, goodbye.
All this has been for nothing: in your eye
I see the web beginning to unwind.
We were enmeshed together, you and I;
go now, spare me that final word, goodbye.
[ First published in In the Company of Poets ]