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


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

Two poems at Allegro Poetry Magazine

Bird graffiti underpass

Issue 13 of Allegro Poetry Magazine has just been posted online, and includes two of my poems, both of which have bird elements to them, coincidentally. Many thanks to editor Sally Long for choosing to publish Going Home and Empty nest in this issue.

You can find both poems by clicking here and scrolling down to just before halfway (or alternatively, read them all – there’s some really great stuff there!).



Photograph used by kind permission of Phil Hinton


We caught the tail-end of their hurricane.
She was not yet fully spent, like a fading
soul diva, who may no longer rock the gowns
and dresses, but whose lungs still retain
the power to snatch anyone’s attention.

Her momentum had smuggled a tropical grenade
across the Atlantic. It strafed our skies for
half a day and an endless night. The old trees
largely shrugged it off. It was the younger ones
– their growth too tall, too close, too rapid –

who fell, though they were only upended,
pushed over, throwing up the underskirts of
their exposed roots in shame, not snapped
across their trunks and flung as shrapnel
at fields and villages tens of miles distant.

In the aftermath, we entered the woods again,
found ourselves arrested by exotic air, the remnant
of scents we couldn’t identify. And if we closed
our eyes, we heard them on the wind – now nothing
but a background stirring – those calypso rhythms.

first published in The Cannon’s Mouth, Issue  61, 2016