Thursday, 8 June 2017


I'm delighted to have had work popping up in a variety of places recently including Acumen, Clear Poetry, Popshot Magazine, The Clearing,  Prole and in anthologies from Picaroon (Troubadour) and OWF Press (Poetry about Pubs) - my thanks to all the editors.

I'm now looking forward to performing some music and poetry at Moreton Music Day and Port Eliot Festival over the next few weeks where I'll be joined by my brother Andrew on hammered dulcimer. Should be a lot of fun - come and say hello.

Check out their websites for further details set times etc - or follow my Facebook page

Beyond Broadwoodwidger

Let us suppose your car packs up
out here. Beyond Broadwoodwidger,
St Giles On The Heath, Virginstow.
It is night - a justice of darkness
that lives on these shapeless acres.
You walk the twisted lane a mile
then, seeing lights, you cut across.
Fields, hedges, a dark shadowed copse.
Fields, gates, the woodland edge.

What do you feel?
You feel the brief breath of an owl;
silence after the fox's cough.
What do you hear?
You hear the weight of condensation
on a vast ocean of bending blades.
A hundred rabbits knew your sound
through the earth, long before the air
announced your voice or waved your scent.

Here there is nothing to save you.
If you lie down now, this wet ditch
may be your decomposing place.
Who will find you? Only strangers.
Still the dark world will keep moving,
eating, weatherbound, star stared.
Out here, in the twitch of spiders,
the fright of jays, the quick knee-jerk
of a cricket's ear -  a moment
considered, passing, forgotten.
The only trace: a disturbance
in the scent blown down from the wood;
an imprint on the retina
of a cow's large soft eye, fading.

Originally published in Otter New Devon Poetry  C.1989
and included in A Fright Of Jays published by Maquette Press 2015

Monday, 29 May 2017

Nether Stowey

The finches of the land stood sentinel
to grazing flocks of Suffolk Black Faced sheep.
They drove, top down, her hair tied back and capped,
past crumpled meadows strewn like lover's sheets.

They never kissed or held each other's hands,
he didn't shake and she forgot her ills,
instead they wound through undulating lands,
and headed north to hike the Quantock hills.

At Coleridge's house they pondered where
he kept his laudanum; sat at his desk;
strolled knowing Sam and William once walked there.
A perfect day. The doctors ordered rest.

First published at Atrium Poetry

The Green Shall Inherit

Put the sky behind you and clamber down
from the wind harried ridge to the deep coombe.

The air becomes still, the trees exhausting.
June the third and these plants would consume you

if such was their nature. Turn and turn back:
the weeds sprout even while you look away.

Drop to the bridle track, shrink to the beads
of dew, cuckoo spit froth, blackberry spike,

stick, splinter and mould. Ant, aphid, woodlouse,
and all the catastrophic underworld

are attending to their chores, chopping up
flags of leaves; new buds bulging in their spoil.

Careless, instinctual, organic - they're all
just a plague away from taking over.

Now shrink smaller still, down to the crazy
ommatidia of a beetle's eye,

gaze through a foliage kaleidoscope
- observatory to a mushroom sky.

First published in Popshot Magazine no. 17 Summer 2017

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!