Poetry

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, Runcible Spoon 

 

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 ]

Folly

 

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 ]

The Cloud

 

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 ]

Release

 

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 ]

No Goodbye

  

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 ]

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