Two poems appearing at Nine Muses Poetry

Very happy indeed to have two of my poems up today at the wonderful Nine Muses Poetry website. My thanks to editor Annest Gwilym for taking these poems.

Follow the link here and you’ll find “Barn Owl” and “High Burney, late winter” – High Burney being a small hill with a big view in the English Lake District.

Best wishes to all.

January

This particular poem first appeared here in 2018. Seems like a good time to give it another outing.

JANUARY

January

 

Scraping back the steady,

now matted, accumulation of

leaf-fall from three darkening

 

months, and surfaced today

with a softly-glazed frosting,

reveals the yellow-green

 

points of galanthus, crocus,

narcissus, in a silent, cloaked

gathering of the faithful,

 

staking their futures on a

promised spring, still more

than a moon’s cycle away.

 

first published in Blue Heron Review, issue 7, 2017

Remembrance Day

Remembrance

 

Remembrance Day

 

When they silence the radio show at eleven,

leaving empty, unimprinted airwaves to spill

 

sideways from the set, I’m cupping rosehip tea

in two wounded hands. But there’s no peace.

 

The crumpled ringing of a ceremonial cannon-shot

slaps around the mile-away harbour,

 

while in another room, the washing machine

grinds on, waterfalling, buttons and zips

 

drilling at the glass porthole as they circulate.

Children – innocent as wind – shriek outside,

 

their insensitivity frightening off death, if only

for a moment. Settled in the mug, my over-stewed

 

brew exhales, wine-like. When I finally drink,

its flood over the ploughed field of my tongue

 

is fruit-red, blood-warm and unapologetic,

each mouthful a release of winter from its prison.

 

 

first published in The High Window, 2019

Putting back the clocks

IMG_0651

Feels appropriate to re-post this today….

 

Putting back the clocks

 

It catches us by surprise every time.

We never manage to be ready for it,

even though the slowly-paling days

have already shrunken down so much

they barely even fit into their boxes,

and complain fiercely to everyone

about the lack of themselves.

 

Without any clear reason or instructions,

we’ve started eating porridge again.

Taking herbal supplements. Regular showers

of leaves spray from the parade of trees

lining the wet streets uptown. Certain

bolder ones – poplars, you decide –

are the first to go fully, brazenly naked.

 

Trying to ignore the wheezy darkness,

we roam the house, digging out timepieces,

stealing hours, pushing buttons, twirling dials

on the heater controls. It all adds up

to so little. But always there will be one

we’ve missed, will discover mid-January,

clinging quietly to last year’s summer.

 

 

first published in Northampton Poetry Review, issue 2, 2018

October

IMG_0668 (2)

October

Your apologetic square of
buttercups and grass is already
rationed a pitiful allowance of sunlight,
barely enough to shrug away
the dew, let alone warm bones.

The shadows across it are now
of the sharpened, blood-drawing kind.

I stare, flat-eyed, at the dereliction
from your window for longer and longer
each morning, catch myself way adrift
from the presence of only moments ago.

Unnamed promises have slipped away,
irretrievably, flowers become seed-heads.

And it’s happening to you. I watch you,
in time-lapse, physically recede,
disappearing around a corner,
beyond sight, out of reach;

folding in on yourself like a balled-up sock,
a puzzle without solution, ruminating.
Dark wheels of thought hinder
every laboured movement, as you
rehearse another long, inner winter.

 

first published in Northampton Poetry Review, 2017

Putting back the clocks

IMG_0651

 

Putting back the clocks

 

It catches us by surprise every time.

We never manage to be ready for it,

even though the slowly-paling days

have already shrunken down so much

they barely even fit into their boxes,

and complain fiercely to everyone

about the lack of themselves.

 

Without any clear reason or instructions,

we’ve started eating porridge again.

Taking herbal supplements. Regular showers

of leaves spray from the parade of trees

lining the wet streets uptown. Certain

bolder ones – poplars, you decide –

are the first to go fully, brazenly naked.

 

Trying to ignore the wheezy darkness,

we roam the house, digging out timepieces,

stealing hours, pushing buttons, twirling dials

on the heater controls. It all adds up

to so little. But always there will be one

we’ve missed, will discover mid-January,

clinging quietly to last year’s summer.

 

 

first published in Northampton Poetry Review, issue 2, 2018

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

Featured Poet in Northampton Poetry Review, Issue 2

NPR2It’s a real honour to be part of the second issue of the Northampton Poetry Review, and in particular to have been chosen as Featured Poet for this issue.

I’m very grateful to editors Tom and Philippa Harding for finding space to include five of my poems – Winter Fire, October, Sunshine, Holly and Putting back the clocks.

This issue is a fine collection of work from a very talented group of writers, and I’m sure  NPR will become a well-established and admired publication over the next few years.

January

JANUARY


January

 

Scraping back the steady,

now matted, accumulation of

leaf-fall from three darkening

 

months, and surfaced today

with a softly-glazed frosting,

reveals the yellow-green

 

points of galanthus, crocus,

narcissus, in a silent, cloaked

gathering of the faithful,

 

staking their futures on a

promised spring, still more

than a moon’s cycle away.

 

first published in Blue Heron Review, issue 7, 2017