About Me

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Bristol , United Kingdom
I'm co-director of the Leaping Word Poetry Consultancy, which provides advice for poets on writing, editing and publishing, as well as qualified counselling support for those exploring personal issues in their work - https://theleapingword.com. My fifth poetry collection, Learning Finity, is now available from Indigo Dreams or directly from me.

Thursday 4 October 2018

Two Poems for National Poetry Day 2018

Today is National Poetry Day and the theme this year is Change, of which there has been a lot lately, and not all of it good. Nationally and internationally we've seen that progress is not linear, and change can set us back to a point where hard-won gains have to be fought for all over again. It's pretty dispiriting. 

A more welcome change for me recently was the annual observance of Flannelette Sheet Night, which always falls around this time and which is, I think, the best night of the year, when autumn starts to bite and the bedding becomes ever so slightly fuzzy.  

Here's a poem which mentions flannelette sheets, although the real changes in it are far more fundamental. It was partly inspired by the death of DJ Derek in 2015, and was highly commended in the International Welsh Poetry Competition 2018 earlier in the summer. 

where he lay undiscovered

In the never-quite-dark
of those first summer nights
I heard police helicopters sweep overhead
seeking the heat of suspects in hiding
trespassers, burglars, car thieves, murderers,
cannabis farmers.
It was blow flies that found me.
After the buzzing, lascivious squirms
the memory of rotting plums forgotten in a fruit bowl,
then squadrons of beetles homing in
the family of foxes that fed on my lungs,
the bone of my shin.
As for you lot driving past
after tiles for your bathroom, this week’s fashion
upgrades for last year’s mobile phone
who don’t notice me in elders and brambles
on your daily commute to your home,
there’s no need for guilt.              
You’ve not ignored insects crawling on windows
snowdrifted mail behind a glass door
and I like it here. Already
a second year is turning,
I wait for dead leaves to tuck me in, ground frosts
soft as flannelette               
                                 untongued, undone
I don’t call out.

Another poem of mine about change, 'A Pint at the Shifting Sky', is published today on the poetry and prose webzine, Ink Sweat & Tears. Thanks to Helen Ivory and Kate Birch for giving it a home.