Thursday, 31 December 2015

What I Read In 2015

In The Blood - Andrew Motion

Poor White: A Novel - Sherwood Anderson

My Name Is Aram - William Saroyan

Her Fearful Symmetry - Audrey Niffenegger

Selected Poems 1976-1997 - Andrew Motion

The Jungle - Upton Sinclair

Spring Chronograph - Red Shuttleworth

Barrels In Babylon - Red Shuttleworth

The Uninhabitable City - Aidan Andrew Dun

The Idylls Of The King - Alfred, Lord Tennyson

White Wings - John Freeman

An Extra Blue Mile - Red Shuttleworth

Nampa Lights - Red Shuttleworth

Stand Magazine, Volume 1, Number 2 June 1999

Amulet - Red Shuttleworth

No Time To Cut My Hair - William Michaelian

Mr Mercedes - Stephen King

Jack’s Porch - A Chapbook Anthology

Morning Poems - Robert Bly

Rose Madder - Stephen King

Complete Poems - Alfred, Lord Tennyson

The Four Quartets - T.S. Eliot

Final Light Of Day - Red Shuttleworth

Cider With Rosie - Laurie Lee

What’s It Like? - Dave Kelly

Collected Poems 1909-1962 - T.S. Eliot

Campsites Of Ghosts - Red Shuttleworth

Friday, 25 December 2015


It might have been The Who: their original name was The Detours and it seems to me that sometimes you can learn a lot from a band’s name.

With hours of festive freedom ahead of me I take a few detours of my own and drive along an unfamiliar road that leads to a churchyard. I park up on a patch of gravel in a green grotto of yews with  blood red berries that shine in the gloom. I share the space with a burgundy car belonging to an old couple placing flowers on a grave in the rain. I am in an expansive mood like Scrooge after the visit of the third ghost and feel like saying hello although it doesn’t seem right to break the silence so I don’t. 

Instead, I lift the latch on the churchyard gate expecting someone to leap out from behind a grave and challenge me at any moment. 

They are impressive graves, especially the great white sarcophagus that seems to glow in the grass next to a moss coated cross with fast fading Celtic knot work. 

I come to a wrought-iron lamppost in an early twentieth century style: it seems like the perfect place to wait for Mr Tumnus except that there’s plenty of rain instead of snow. 

Then, feeling like a burglar, I try the handle on the sombre church door. It’s locked and there’s nothing more to be done except to keep on walking in the rain looking and not looking for the next detour.

Thursday, 17 December 2015


Shadow of a seal
in the myriad shapes 
of the waves. 
An optical illusion 
that snaps self absorption 
to a tottering upright 
is that really… do you see what I see?

Wednesday, 16 December 2015


Full load of ballast at the half hour. 
Sends the boat down a river 
that flows through a sweep of rain. 

News from the west: 
storms, more holes in the roof. 

We count our good fortune

for this city has sheer sides
and all ways out 
follow steep declines.

Monday, 14 December 2015

At The Tomb Of The Unknown Coffee Cup (Or The Product Placement Poem)

With a wave of a plastic wand the garden fills with peacock bubbles 

they float across the churchyard, a grave marked by a discarded Costa cup.

Ironwork balconies:

a white moustache soaks up tea from a red mug.

Smokes a cigarette watches the worlds roll by.

One by one, they pop.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Carry On Henry

She skulls 
constellations of dust
entrapped in
water that clothes
a single 

yellow plum 

with the music of crossbows
the no framed doors 
open on a one fire chamber
where the messenger arrives 
all crackles and feathers: 
a beard of crystals. 

Saturday, 5 December 2015

The Crab Apple Tree

A drawer 
in a dresser 
half open: 
a silver box, 
two false eye lashes.

A stream gurgles 
in a low place of the forest 

a lone crab apple tree scratches the air. 

Thursday, 3 December 2015

The Gravy Boat

In memory of a gravy boat shaped like a cow - a macabre idea if there ever was one - that lived in a glass cabinet and never, to my knowledge, got used for its intended purpose

A mirror makes a meadow for a lolling tongued Jersey cow that stands four-square and hollow backed waiting for the gravy that never and probably won’t ever arrive. 

Empty as a cave, she gazes on Sunday’s picturesque puzzle. The elaborate social ritual, moves orchestrated so that each segment joins another although someone always contrives to step on someone else’s toes in a claustrophobic timeless time bomb where the talk eventually explodes.

She snuffs up steam from the swell of cabbage water - hears the snap of ring pulls and the rounding up of chairs from all four corners as the table grows wings.

The front door left open 
to let in sun 
that spreads 
through the swirls 
of dust motes.


Morlock Oil

Morlock Oil
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The Quest Of Great Celtic Mystery

The Quest Of Great Celtic Mystery
New Chapbook Available (email for details)


Bunchgrass Press

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