Thursday, 11 May 2017

Fly-tipping point

This is where we sit to watch the night come in
ever since Trumputin bombed our English towns.
We emptied freezers, ate our neighbours pets.
Now in the bird-settling, when we once sat down

to be tamed by tv shows we can't recall,
we recline here and watch the weeds approach
knowing soon their rope will be a ligature
that tightly winds itself around our throats.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017


Dagan the fish-god was an important god of the maritime Canaanites, the Phoenicians.

"Who has not seen the scarus rise, decoyed and killed by fraudulent flies"
Marcus Valerius Martialis, Roman poet, fisherman and source of this first description of fly fishing.

Where the Teign descends from withy moorland,
quick under sloe and red berried rowan,
scrapes over grit into fly-whirling pools,
and slivers of brownies waggle and flit -

Martial the poet took twelve foot of silk,
a Hare's Ear nymph tied with feathers from Rome;
and with a neat flick put a hook in the lip
of the fish god Dagan - Dew of the Land -

a Merman in azure and olive scales
burnished as bright as a Lazio noon,
crowned with cassiterite, cloaked in the moon.

Swiftly unhanded he slipped the God back
into hollow water. Cold western winds
sucked up the sea into chough-feather clouds.

First published in The Broadsheet 10/2016


That was the year the apparitions came,
cold ember phantoms, arising each dawn
to trail through ash groves and wild country lanes.

Ghosts in the wheat fields were shaking the grain
and children's voices called over bright lawns -
that was the year the apparitions came.

High in the elm trees the rooks cawed their claim.
The sweat of the river lay in long shrouds
dripping round ash groves and wild country lanes.

Bone-leaves tumbled to earth. The Autumn rain
drummed on the rusty sheds housing the cows.
That was the year the apparitions came.

Something was taken I won't have again.
The wind rattled into the ripened copse,
dropping the hazels down wild country lanes.

Death plays Hangman, like a child at it's game
completing the scaffold, drawing the corpse.
That was the year my apparitions came,
blowing the ashes down wild country lanes.

First published in Three Drops From A Cauldron  10/2016

Thursday, 23 March 2017


i)  Time

Picture a pendulum;
             the moon's patinated dial,
with each long sweep shifting

              the ocean back and forth,
scraping seashell dust along
                  a mahogany floor.

ii)  Rhythm

Sea-tugged boats swing on their moorings,
rotating to a lunar beat.

Tethered to knotty trots regatta dinghies
founder and rise, levitating with the tide.

The ferry plies its trade across the harbour;
small queues grow and vanish on opposing shores.

Anglers arc bass lures overarm
then reel them back in, tangled with weed.

Returning house martins feel another pull
- that of a slower seasonal migration,

like the coach loads of summer tourists
who swell the bars in this seaside town

eating a cardiac of cod and chips,
banging empty pints on waspy tables.

Over the river the wealthy retired
shuttle from village shop to pharmacy,

until flashing blues block the street
while a doctor gently seeks a pulse.

iii)  Repeat

A sea so calm it holds the stars
               in yellow stains. And nearer,
on the cooling sand: two starfish,
              in a lovers' kiss, left by the change.

The new tide unclutters the beach.
              Morning wipes the stars from the sea.

These planes and circles mirror and repeat.
The grit of stars and shells grinds at our feet.

Published in Acumen, January 2017


Friday, 20 January 2017

News January 2017

It's always a thrill to have work accepted and I'm delighted to have had recent work chosen by Acumen, Prole, The Clearing, Visual Verse, Clear Poetry, Lakeview International Journal  and the new Vancouver based art and literature magazine Chroma.

I'm now looking forward to opening Teignmouth Poetry Festival with Dr Andy Brown reading from our collaborative collection "The Tin Lodes".
Thursday 16th March 2017 details at the Teignmouth Poetry Festival website.

Meanwhile I'm off to do a guest reading and contribute to the feedback session at Woodleigh House Residential writing weekend in darkest mid-Devon. Expecting sheep, mud, frost and wine...

Thursday, 5 January 2017


An ekphrastic response poem to this image by Manon Bellet
published 3/1/17 at

Thursday, 24 November 2016


There will be unicorns.
For everyone.
Wonderful unicorns. It will be great.
And my unicorns are better.
I’ve made them better.
Let me tell you – white gets in a state.
So my unicorns are black.
I’m not racist. No, not me.
Some of my best ideas are black.
Or gold.
And here’s another fact:
They don’t have just one horn.
One-horns are for Democrats.
My unicorns have two horns.
They have two horns and they’re black.
They’re better.
I’ve made unicorns great again.

First published at 'I am not a silent poet' 9/11/16

Monday, 3 October 2016

Busy Autumn coming up!

I'm happy to be reading at the launch of The Broadsheet at Exeter Poetry Festival on Tuesday 4th October; then I'll be performing at Torbay Poetry Festival as part of 5 Amp Fuse on the 27th October at Torre Abbey.
Finally Professor Andy Brown and I will be reading from our forthcoming book at Plymouth Lit Festival on Friday 28th October at The Athenaeum, Plymouth.

If you're reading this and want to know more about gigs etc come to my Facebook page!

A couple of poems published last month on the US site Page & Spine


Thursday, 8 September 2016

The Bird Catcher

He chewed last year's mistletoe into paste
then, rolling it at length between his hands,
turned it to birdlime in long sticky strands.

He coated the wind strummed telephone wires
to catch the thieving swallows and martins
as they preened and readied for departing.

They were stuck there, like so many crotchets
on a sky-hung stave, twittering in vain
a woeful blues of frustration and pain.
Still the daylight hours grew shorter and cold.
Leaves fell as usual and Winter blew in.
The birds soon died from thirst and weathering.

If he could catch them all Summer would stay.
Birds, like madness, fly unexpected ways.

First published in Avis Magazine Spring 2016


Parked up by a wringing wood
on a crack-backed country road,
I shut down the lights and from the boot
took out a wrench: unflinching, cold.

I placed my mobile on the damp tarmac,
glinting in the light from the open car,
and laid savage into the bastard thing.
I watched its stupid face fragment and fly,
numbers flicking out across the road.
I kicked the remnants to the side.

Lying down on the ground, I saw moonlight
reflecting in the oily chippings;
felt gravel grit into my wet cheek.

If I could drive blindfold I could go,
avoiding all the places that I know.
Like driving in some foreign land
where all the signs are free of symbols;
faces are those of strangers,
undemanding and bland.

I wouldn't just drive slowly home,
my trousers muddy, face oil stained,
to quietly explain how I'd been mugged
and someone stole my phone.  Again.

Published in 'Making Contact', poetry anthology, Ravenshead Press, 12/ 2012
and included in 'A Fright Of Jays' from Maquette Press  7/15

Thursday, 25 August 2016


His first go at splicing Ape and Angel
was less than successful. Although smarter
the mutant lacked the Angel's wings and grace
and showed  more aggression and avarice.
He culled the lot, dumped the bones in a cave.

The second go was better. Still no wings
but at least they showed reduced body hair
and the females, especially, had increased
angelic traits of beauty and compassion.

He thought he might still have another try
but left them to it when distracted by
supernova bursts in far galaxies.
Adrift in the stars these ape-angels learned
to slaughter and skin, to speak and raise fire.

From: BBC News, 10 September 2015
Scientists have discovered a new human-like species in the Rising Star Cave system in South Africa.
The discovery of 15 partial skeletons is the largest ever discovery of primitive human remains in Africa.
The individuals are part human and part ape and researchers say that the species, called Homo Naledi 
(Naledi means Star in the local Sotho language), could be a "bridge" between the two.

First published in Prole no 19 April 2016