Thursday, 28 July 2016

sunswept funeral:
nobody knows the tune to
the departing hymn

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Listening to Warpaint

at Field Day, Victoria Park 

The bassline slinks deeper with the dusk,
sinks deep into the vein.

after Thom Gunn

Tuesday, 26 July 2016


On Capability's visit
to this fine, well-tempered estate,

he plumped for deeds over advice.
Espaliers of rarities

of pear trees otherwise extinct
were trained up every wall of brick

for newer markets' sakes, he said.
An upthrusting artichoke head,

whose outer bracts formed interlaced
patterns around the heart's embrace,

resembled a scarecrow's birdbrain;
framed nostalgia's aubergine-veined

chroma of green to waylay us.
Capability bricked archways,

so now there's no path in or out.
Two commas pair to punctuate.

Monday, 25 July 2016

the blithe tartness
of High Lane raspberries—
bloody cranesbill

Thursday, 21 July 2016

scissoring low
between lamb and ewe:
the heatwave swallows

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

today's specials
the same as yesterday's . . .
summer heat

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

all the hottest day
the hay baler's up and down—
flight of a ringlet

On Stanage Edge

The skip of cumulus shadows
from High Neb across the bracken.
Her skirt blustered around her ears.
The moorland waving bog cotton.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

The 120

When the bus bowled up
the Birley Moor Road,
it was just about
halfway to Halfway.

The Best New British and Irish Poets 2016

This anthology, which includes my poem 'The Skip', is now on sale at the bargain price of £4.99.

Friday, 15 July 2016

summer breeze
propels Leg of Mutton Pond
towards its reedbed . . .
the eye spots of small heaths
gazing from the grassland

Thursday, 14 July 2016

between trains
the tinkle of goldfinch
from rail to rail

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Clattern Bridge Blues

O quick quick cats’ meat
the teasel-lined chalkstream gallops from oakwood
                                              lollops out of swallow-holes
                                              laughing over riffles
a piebald thoroughbred unseating its jockey

Reach over the nettlebed
                                         reach over burdock bracts
                                         seedheads packed like sunflowers
pluck ripe blackberries
balm your forearm stung to bits

Upstream girls cast their thoughts
                listen for the silky slosh

The chalkstream disappears reappears

Moorhen chicks stumble
parents flick tail feathers
                                        squeaking alarm
tiptoe from reeds onto stepping-stones
vanish like mumbled anecdotes
                                                   up a backwater channel

                                                   Be blue-eyed be blotto
plod like a heron from stone to stone

Sand martins torpedo into their nest-hole
                                                                  two walls painted duck-egg blue
two enriched by jewel-swirled indigo wallpaper
enclosing Bamako beats
                                        creating a home from home

O quick quick cats’ meat flows the chalkstream
               towards its confluence its end not end

Watch the heron deliberate
                                            stretch its neck tilt its head
wait wait wait for the moment
                                                 to stab and grab the dawn

                                                                                           Hear the river decelerate
          over stone over stone over woad-glaze earthenware fragments
thunder-blue water mussel-blue water the brown of caramelised pear
                                                             strobed by bulleting kingfisher
                                                             strobed by grey-wagtail yellow
                                                    into climaxing vortices under arches
                                       the clattered-over Clattern Bridge triple arch

It will never again possess such
                                                   synchronised clarities
                                                                                      of ware of water
                                                                                      of stone of summer
                                                                                      of murmur
                                                                                      of memory

O quick quick cats’ meat goes the chalkstream

Monday, 11 July 2016

Interview on Boatwhistle Books website

To highlight my involvement as one of the 12 writers in Off the Beaten Track, there's an interview with me on the Boatwhistle site.