Drawing trees

Drawing Trees

Drawing trees


I thought I was doing them properly, the way

you’re supposed to, crayoning out raw shapes

that were, if not quite exactly lollipops, then

certainly something lickable, perhaps clouds

of candy floss wound onto sticks, or ice cream.

I filled them in with a pistachio green to avoid

any ambiguity, ticking in a circle of birds above,

a butterfly the size of a moose. A sun, smiling.


Those, she told me would lose their leaves

in the autumn, spend fingerbone winters naked

and heartless. She didn’t say why. I didn’t ask.

Hers were drilled brigades of triangles, isosceles,

getting smaller towards the top of the page

to suggest distance, within which you could

see each and every Starbucks needle, every

chocolate-coloured cone a dangling reproach.


first published in Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine Anthology, 2017


Two poems in issue 66 of Red River Review

I’m delighted to have two of my poems – “C” and “Last view of the island” – included in the February 2018 issue of Red River Review. You can read both these poems and a fine collection of others by clicking here, and following the link from the homepage.

My thanks to editors Bob McCranie and Michelle Hartman.

Clear Poetry Anthology 2017

A fine way to end the year would be reading through this year’s Clear Poetry Anthology, put together by CP editor Ben Banyard. It’s a bittersweet feeling this year, mind you, because although one of my poems is included for the second year running (Clapham Junction, which can be found on page 13), it comes with the knowledge that Ben has decided to call time on Clear Poetry.

Total respect, Ben, for all the hard work you’ve put in running such a great online venue for both aspiring and established poets. And best wishes with furthering your own poetry endeavours.


The third and final Clear Poetry Anthology is now available to download and read, free of charge.

via Clear Poetry Anthology 2017 — Clear Poetry

Peeking Cat Anthology 2017 Out Now! — Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine

I’m really grateful to Sam Rose, editor of Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine, for including my poem “Drawing trees” in the  Peeking Cat Anthology 2017. The Anthology is available in a variety of formats, and you can find out how to get hold of a copy by clicking on the link below.


The wait is over! Peeking Cat Anthology 2017 is now here:71 contributors65 poems9 photographs3 prose piecesand a clowder of catsBuy it in paperback or hardback on Lulu.com:Paperback: £9.99Hardback: £15.99You can also get it as an eBook on Kindle:Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk Get free mail or 50% off ground shipping until 16th October – use code ONESHIP at checkoutIf…

via Peeking Cat Anthology 2017 Out Now! — Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine

Wee Lachlan at five

Wee Lachlan

Wee Lachlan at five

You can’t imagine the time he’ll be an old man,
and spend warm evenings folded into park benches,

cursing the aches that crept up unannounced, wiping
a brow whose furrows grew when no-one was looking.

His face will have become an onion, cheeks weathered,
and his nose broadened, all skirmished with veins.

The mustard hair will long have turned bone-white,
but his eyes will have stayed the same giveaway blue

as his superhero cape. With luck, the smile will still be
written through him, like his name threading a stick of rock.


first published in Right Hand Pointing, issue 105, 2016





In my dreams last night he was cutting my hair for the first time,

as I sat bare-chested on a wooden stool at the centre of the kitchen.

He floated tight orbits around me, circling like a welterweight,


fixed with raw concentration. The insect buzz of the electric clippers

tailed my ears as divots of grey thatch tumbled over my shoulders

and rolled to the floor. Either he was trying to make me look like him,


or the other way round. I couldn’t know, and didn’t dare leave my

untethered hope alone – that he wouldn’t simply make a fuck-up

of it all; my hair, his life, and every tiny detail in between.


first published in Rat’s Ass Review, Fall-Winter 2016 issue






Confident of the waters bearing shelled fruit in abundance,

they nailed their scattering of tiny dice-like buildings to the

cheekbone hillsides spilling down towards the shore,


and made their sons and daughters out of smoke, in

one-up, one-down houses separated only by elbow-room,

and alleys that ran with fishguts, piss and piety.


Only to the chapel was the gift of breathing space granted;

a half-acre plot up where the land sloped more forgivingly,

its deeper soil ready to receive their own empty shells.


first published in Eunoia Review, 2016