Welcome to a marathon: National/Global Poetry Writing Month

A poem a day for the month! And as raw as you might imagine…more like notes for poems (!) Usually, a poem’s gestation is much longer than a day…

(WordPress playing April Fools with the format!)




In 30 days (XXX)


A visit to Northern Ireland.

Two poetry workshops, the funeral

Of a much beloved aunt…


Tyres on an asbestos roof.

Easter horror in Sri Lanka.

A happy wedding, & birthday.


A Yorkshire Pudding burning, aflame.

Groundswell London & Gaia 2020

A poetry reading in Cheltenham Playhouse 


A first time helicopter flight 

With my son, the pilot…

followed by stories of Stone People… 




Verisimilitude (XXIX)


I may not have found the words exactly,

but I flew in a helicopter, 

my son at the controls, skyward,

and I shared a reading of truth and fiction,

of breakdown and recovery,

with Derek and Roy

and a very lovely audience. 




Jellychopper (XXVIII)


We’re going up in your

little red helicopter –

countdown, engine on!





Groundswell London (XXVII)


I never would’ve believed

I could be here. Twenty Years later.

The resurrection 

Of a dream. 


And to share Gaia 2020

to applause.

It can happen.

There can be change…




Speak (XXVI)


Is a silent voice

no voice at all?




Penguin (XXV)


Treading on thin ice, Emperor,

Climate Change underfoot,

thousands of your chicks died,

populations unstable.


P-p-pick up a penguin, donate now –

stem the rising tide, with a flood of action –

keep those feet happy!

Stay in touch with little Fairy…


World Penguin Day 2019




Youth (XXIV)


Imagine you have a boyfriend

Imagine he rests his hand

on your slight breast at night

Imagine you fit tight together

Imagine you share your dreams

Imagine you imagine you may die young.




Sri Lanka, Easter 2019 (XXIII)


The whole planet has heard the news,

and cries with God in grief – 

hundreds dead in churches and hotels,

this ignition of explosive, a mortal sin.


How can so many  young lives be taken?

Our question vacuous, lost beginnings –

a world with an all too sudden end –

if there were only some way to ease the pain.




Earth Day (XXII)


Tell me what I can do to heal the Earth

I know we’ve treated it like shit

but what have I done wrong?


Let’s open the eye of the satellite

to see what lives and what decays.

As you sleep and as you snore, the world dies.




Resurrection? (XXI)


In the event of my death

naturally, the world will carry on


the TV will keep churning ads

the radio talking


and playing music, into the ether,

dear family, friends, relations, living


and my words, my words, what of…




Tim (XX)


Yesterday was your birthday,

five days ago you gave me

a VW Beetle Dinky Toy

in memory of childhood

of lives lived…




Our Lady Burns (XIX)


Millions of bank notes

go up in flames

while the homeless

hold out their hands

for loose change.




Grandparent (XVIII)


I’ve reached that age –

the possibilities of life

seem real again…




Robot kills (XVII)
It pushed the nose down, down, down
the machine knew it was right
nobody else understood
or seemed to care.
Given a software update, the plane
Will be one of the safest in flight.




It’s a Sin (XVI)


My Dad loved the song, by The Pet Shop Boys,

tho’ hardly contemporaries, When I look back

upon my life, it’s always with a sense of shame…’


What regrets did he have? Why would I want

to guess? Strange perhaps, but I wish there’d been

more moments to engage, and to embrace.


Of course, we have his poems, no longer

the depth of the man, and yet his words exhale

like a forest of bluebells on a Spring morning.




Anniversary (XV)


My birthday, the anniversary 

of your death, is due her wedding day. 


And that is how you’d want it –

her on your knee, not long in England.


A granddaughter, not a grandson,

Together a lasting connection…




Easter Bunny (XIV)


Approaching Easter – the weekend 

seven years ago, when you began to let go.


And we couldn’t reclaim you – wrecked

by chemo – there was no way back.




One for the road (XIII)


I take a drink – self-medication,

and fall asleep ‘til three.


For a moment, I feel my mouth

will not quite articulate


the shape of a poem, imagine

one day, I may not be able


to use my voice. How many in care

homes are bound up in fear?




Groundswell (XII)


A deep wave, created by shifting ground

a global movement, to be awakened.

Our mission: to awaken and unite

spiritual concern for the Earth and its people.

It has begun, with the children striking from school

the wake-up call: climate change!

I rediscover an email folder in his name,

how much they would have wanted this uprising.




The Hen Night (XI)

The Engineer, Primrose Hill, one of your

Old locals, a corner of London

My brother introduced me to,

Remembering his basement flat

The colour of the door in the crescent

This is your night, may you be surrounded

With countless blessings, everlasting love.




The Stag Night (X)

Brewdog Camden – Google knows!

A small, packed and cosy bar,

Amy’s night but she’s not here,

this is for the men, and here we are.




Anniversary (IX)

My birthday, the anniversary

of your death, is due her wedding day.

And that is how you’d want it –

her on your knee, not long in England.

A granddaughter, not a grandson,

together a lasting connection…




It’s a Sin (VIII)

My Dad loved the song, by The Pet Shop Boys,

tho’ hardly contemporaries: When I look back

upon my life, it’s always with a sense of shame…’

I never shared regrets – why would I?




The day after the Stag Night (VII)

Brewdog Camden – Google knows!
A small, packed and cosy bar,
Amy’s night but she’s not here,
This is for the men, and here we are.




The day after the funeral (VI)

She is not here any more, and yet she is…



The day of the funeral (V)
A crematorium near Milnthorpe,
my brother is here, remembering
roads we’d all cycle together.
Our dear cousins, our Aunt Jenny’s
inspiration, they’d decked out Bec’s
car with local greenery – the hearse.
Jo and Bec saw a swallow, on the way
and nearly crashed the car…Bob had seen
two different pairs of goldfinches!
Jenny in a cardboard box. A weight, lifted,
the weight of spirit, before moving on.
And yet somehow she is still with us.
Memories of an open window at Loop
Cottage at dawn, listening to curlews.




Leaving Belfast (IV)

It’s as if  they’d flattened the original

International airport

and replaced it with a shack:

a WH Smith, a cafe of sorts and two

brightly coloured children’s rides.

But there is WiFi, and the cafe sells beer;

Heineken on draught. I’m earlier

than expected, but have to wait,

no hop-on hop-off planes likely

to be introduced. I leave no one

behind, except for a friendly

facilities manager, and a bunch

of acquaintances. If I had the choice

I would’ve visited The Giant’s Causeway.




Jenny (III)

You slipped away this morning

without me knowing –

last week I held your hand.

Good to have family with you

to witness your final breath,

help ease your passing.

Always you had an eye for detail:

the subtle, the delicate, beauty,

found so much in everything of life.

The love you have for your

husband, children, friends, relations,

for the future of planet Earth,

will remain forever.




Letter from Belfast (II)

Back then, my friend was from Castlereagh.

One New Year’s Eve, we drove with his sister

and another friend to Sligo – to catch salmon!

We slept in the car, penniless, a noisy pub

party, nearby, and at dawn we caught nothing

all morning, we left the frozen river bank

for cliffs overlooking the atlantic, New York

a land of which we could but dream

not knowing: would I really visit three times?




April 1st (I)

There are signs everywhere – watch out for them!

Signs, telling you what to do: blue and white

mandatory; fire door keep shut; what to wear –

personal protective equipment, ear defenders

protective footwear, goggles, hi-vis, hard hat

or what speed not to exceed, where not to park,

there are even signs from God, tho’ more subtle,

less obvious, they appear unannounced

mixed in with circumstance, coincidence,

synchronicity, serendipity, often a blessing.

Until somebody dies, when the signs become

jumbled, uncertain, confused, at least

that’s how it seems losing a loved one,

the air sucked out of the moment

to leave an empty, spiralling wormhole.



April 2019 – 30 poems in 30 days (XXX)