Sheep Spine

Posted: July 4, 2015 in nature poems

This is for the Flash 55 Challenge @ – a poem of exactly 55 words ..

Life and death,
bleached on to this peaty moonscape.
Here it is elemental.
Moor and sun,
a harsh unforgiving beauty.
Knuckle on knuckle.
Each notch etched clear
in its whiteness.
No wool.
No flesh.
No muscle.
Picked clean.
Simplicity of structure in
the chaos of wilderness.
This is where it all ends.
Bone and earth.

Trick of the Light

Posted: July 1, 2015 in default

To link up with The Platform at this is a poem from my debut collection, Fault Line, just published by Lapwing

You are looking at a lie I wanted to say. Puncturing this dark are
numberless stars that died oh how many million years ago and
yet here they are, diamonds in the river, lights in lovers eyes,
levers freeing a thousand poets’ lines.

Those bold bright dot-to-dot trillion megawatt pinprick beams
of Pleiades, The Plough and Sagittarius always steal the show,
but come with me. To some place so remote where no unnatural
light clouds the night. Maybe the Atacama, no neons there.

Then once your eyes adjust to the true reality of dark, a zillion
stars, a thousand constellations, nebulas, the Milky Way will
dazzle you into silence. So much light travelling from places that
had gone before we were.

A sea-change

Posted: June 28, 2015 in urban poems

Tonight Toads wants us to revisit one of 3 archived challenges from Imaginary Garden. I’ve chosen Kerry’s ‘Wednesday Challenge (Very) Old School’ from 2012 which involved a now popular phrase originally from a Shakespeare play at http://withrealtoads.

from Ariel’s song in The Tempest

Newspapers roared ‘sunbed slaughter’
but it was also the death of
a particular innocence.
Those seaside holidays
with their buckets and spades,
sandcastles, ice creams,
brightly coloured deck chairs,
children darting in and out
of ankle deep water.
The black world of terror
broke through to a level we
thought was cocooned.

It tainted every photo album
all the way back to 1953.
Mum riding a donkey on Rhyl
beach. Everything was
so black and white then.

The Fire Has Gone Out

Posted: June 26, 2015 in urban poems

Today Fireblossom wants us to write a poem of 60 words using some of the 23 ‘ultraconserved words’ that, in simple terms, are at the heart of 700 languages at http://withrealtoads.

The fire is black as night,
even the ashes give
nothing back. Embers
lie dead on cold ground.

We sit in quiet while
the spit and crackle
of bark is still alive
in our minds.

I want to hear anything,
but even mother’s voice
finds no resonance
in this dark silent air.

Pictures of Grey

Posted: June 19, 2015 in nature poems

Today Fireblossom wants us to write a poem with a title “Pictures of _____” at http://withrealtoads.

Beyond this mist
the valley is still talking.

Its voice is a river
breaking over rocks.

Its voice is a blackbird
whose song can’t be smothered.

Its voice is the leaves
that rustle in a breath.

Its voice is the sheep
crying on a hill.

Its voice is the traffic
surfing down a lane.

Its voice is the sun
haunting the edges of the mist.

Empty Space

Posted: June 1, 2015 in urban poems

What if there was no-one in your life
I mean


How would you fill those empty spaces
that crackle with tension?
Silence that really isn’t
because noise is always humming
from sources beyond you.
Until then you won’t realise that a clock
actually ticks somewhere in the house.
A metronome marking every vacant moment
as you sit watching the weather
shape shift beyond your sash window