Ancrene Wisse (commended poem: 2016 competition)

                                                                                         for homeless women everywhere OUTER RULE I : Of Devotions They have shaggy quads and, down inside their cowboy boots at least one cloven hoof, and, under silk that …

Colonsay (commended poem: 2016 competition)

From a certain    position it is possible to see a strange          agitation of light as sliding          frames and the slight adjustments of         falling rain assumed into the sea …

The Bittern (2nd prize: 2016 competition)

Mate-less marginal screened by reeds the other side of the marsh terrestrial averse to flight shy of light, never seen but guessed the buff barred breast-plumage wry neck angled heavenwards …

The Self-Made Man (1st prize: 2016 competition)

after The Abominable Dr Phibes Once you’ve redone your face – sat before the bloody canvas flinching under glass, stitched the quilt of jowls, broken in the nose, napkinned the …

House and Field

When Granny and Grandpa sold the old farmhouse and gave up their subscription to The Field, boxes of junk arrived for Dad to house and soon mildewed editions of The …

Fretwork

What comes moors itself like a claw or core. A child’s shoe built into a wall, dressmaker’s dummy mute and white among the trees. What comes knuckles sulfur and ulcers …

sloe

what was this, as blue as autumn evenings or black as the bible? hanging, in october’s showers, in the mists, so dry it shrivelled everything to bitterness? the sloe. we …

No More Mr Nice Guy

This then, what you actually witness here, before your very eyelids, is an actual blooming waste of time, in action, in real time. I squid you not, certain shall we …

The Poets

poem beginning with a line of John Clare   Poets love nature and themselves are love. Imagine an out-of-the-way cottage Close to dunes, the marram grass whispering Above technicolour snails …

Television Knows No Night

Oh open window, oh immobility of Nature, oh spectacle of emotional magniloquence, oh error about life entirely necessary, oh Miltonic angels of the subchannel, oh aspect ratio I’d love you …

I’ll trade you (commended poem: 2015 competition)

For the prayers you learned from your mother, kneeling together in childhood’s extended Nativity scene I’ll trade you a coral-bound missal once owned by a queen.   For the motherly …

Domestic (commended poem: 2015 competition)

Glass as day-blooming flower, television as mortar shell. Television as volleyball against white sun. Sun as broken glass, in fragments, glass as crazy paving on street below. Power cord as …

A Room in the City (3rd prize: 2015 competition)

My hands know every nubble of the wallpaper. The wind still shuffles about behind the fireplace. On better days, I go downstairs for dinner; tomorrow we shall have paper hats …

The Static (2nd prize: 2015 competition)

After ‘The Horses’, Edwin Muir Some listened on after the broadcasts ended, winding their radios at dusk for the static to earth their sleep. At dawn, barely a twelvemonth after, …

from ‘My Love Don’t Cost a Thing’

It is easy to say nothing. Nearly every song I’ve ever heard says nothing, whether by accident or intention. In ‘Welcome to New York’, which often plays on the radio …