This handbook remains out of print
Swimming uphill with a snow suit on
Is not recommended for beginners.
It can be vexing to find oneself
Trailing in a stickleback wake.
The safest approach is to lie on your back
Letting the current take over.
In time you will note the point
Between silt and shore.
Intermediate persons may jump
From the bridge in order
To determine the size of their splash.
An instructor may be bankside
To offer assistance.
(This poem appears in ‘The Journal’ #40)
I’m jinking a knife between the studs of a boot
I tell myself there’s pleasure in patience rewarded,
the slow reveal, a job complete.
My son has not yet learned this;
too young to wait, he leaves the dirty work to me.
When I look up I see my mother holding boots.
She smiles and winks,
nodding down to the ground,
where, spread before her,
is every shoe I ever wore,
polished, dubbed and gleaming.
(This poem was shortlisted in the 2014 Wells Literature Festival Poetry Prize).
This poems appears in ‘Codes of Conduct’ my pamphlet available from Cinnamon Press
“A big stick is what you need.”
I remember saying that as he hacked about
the garden of our first home,
armed with just a pair of shears.
The house had stood so long deserted
it was hard to know just where to start;
inside or out, back or front?
Wherever we began, the work was hard and wearing.
Every evening we collapsed into each other’s company,
and spoke of where the paths we made would lead.
Well, I had just remarked about the stick
when he then shouted “Snake!”
From under the compost heap it came,
two foot in length at least;
a green brown blur that slid beneath the shed.
“There’s more life in this garden
than we had dreamt,” he said.
And so we left an area to grow wild
and shifted our attention to the rest.
(This poems is featured on Abegail Morley’s Poems From The Shed website).
On my return the fox was gone;
replaced by sand.
The mother and child had left
as well, taking
souvenirs of fear.
A man from the council
must lift weight into a van.
but why not us?
Load him up,
throw down some sand,
sling him out the other end
and turn the burners on.
(This poem appears in Prole Poetry and Prose #12)
We pack our paperbacks away,
wet towels and costumes too.
The sky is now the colour
of the seals we watched
this morning in the bay.
The weather is broken:
jacketed we huddle,
rockpooled in silence,
rueing the change.
Dark coins pit the sand.
If we sit here long enough
we’ll be washed away.
The gulls know what is coming
and fly inland.
(This poem appeared in The Journal #40)
Like My Daughter Says
If, like my daughter says,
you are now a million particles orbiting in space,
may you keep on spinning.
Or else as I look out tonight,
I hope you fall like snow
and settle for a while.
(First appeared in Cake Magazine – # 1, the Battenberg Issue)