Category Archives: Poetry

Poem in Wales Arts Review Digithon


I was delighted to take part on Sunday 29th March in

Digithon Lit | Arcade Poets

Poetry In The Arcades is a project which puts poetry onto the walls in one of the busiest areas in Wales’s capital city – its network of Victorian and Edwardian shopping arcades which are a distinctive feature of Cardiff, the ‘City of Arcades‘.

The project commissioned several poets to write poems and later launched a competition to elicit more poems on the theme. The winning poem will be put on display. Continue reading Poem in Wales Arts Review Digithon

2 Poems in The Lonely Crowd #12

I am very pleased that two of my poems will be published in issue 12 of

The Lonely Crowd

They are from a series of poems on iconoclasm, the destruction of expressions of ideology other than one’s own. Thanks to Madeleine Gray for the photograph from Llanfair, Yr Wyddgrug/Mold.

One of the poems appears in ‘Heartland’, the anthology of the PENfro Festival Competition published by Parthian Books.

Heartland: PENfro Anthology

Poem in Places of Poetry anthology

My poem ADMISSION, ON LEAVING THE PORT OF BELFAST, 1988 has been selected for inclusion in the Northern Ireland section of  the anthology Places of Poetry: Mapping the Nation in Verse.

The book will comprise 180 poems arranged in 8 sections: Wales; England divided into 5 regions; Scotland and Northern Ireland. Each region will open with one or two famous (out of copyright) poems from that area, followed by poems from the Map. Continue reading Poem in Places of Poetry anthology

Poem in Community Arts Partnership Anthology

My poem ‘The Landing Window’ has been selected for inclusion in the Community Arts Partnership’s Poetry in Motion Anthology, entitled “20:20 Vision”.

The anthologised poems are eligible for the Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing.

Damian Smyth, Head of Literature and Drama at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, has stressed that, ‘The Seamus Heaney Awards, as offered by CAP, are the only awards in the world to carry his name.’ Continue reading Poem in Community Arts Partnership Anthology

Poem in #73 The Interpreter’s House

Woolworth’s Employee, Reid Street, Belfast, 1965

WOOLWORTH’S EMPLOYEE, REID STREET, BELFAST, 1965

My father — stockroom-man, Store Fifty-nine —
Knew how Christmas ought to look,
Loading emptied shelves afresh each day
With shiny things; with holly colours;
All that brought the outdoors safely in —
Electric stars, snow in a globe
And plastic icicles. He could afford
Red tape and Blanco whitening.
Voilà! A wintry window, many-paned,
Its left-hand corners blizzarded.
My father wanted us to feel secure.
Here we are, in the flash-photograph
He took through the window from outside; my teethy play-along
Bleached by the bulb-pop, my mother’s hair
Combed long for effect. His family. His idyll.
Some of it was fake. Not all.
At least he tried to make a Christmas for us.
His high-point, a Stewart’s grocery manager
But, pro-trade union and the wrong religion,
Soon purged. A Merchant Navy
Cook before that; formerly a steward, a cabin boy.
A life of feed, fetch, carry.
Coronary. Just short of fifty-nine.

Poem in The Ogham Stone 2019

The Ogham Stone

I am delighted to have a poem in this journal produced by students on the MA in English and MA in Creative Writing at the University of Limerick. The 2019 edition has a particularly thoughtful and coherent design which draws the contents together visually by simple and appropriate means. The foliage motif (below) combines with an on-page ogham-style vertical element in an elegant colour scheme. The 2020 edition is underway.

TWO AUTUMNS

Beyond the classroom window

The young tree burns, orange against drab,

Its loosened leaves drifting like languid fire-flakes.

I am ten and I try my hand at a Pearsean ennui,

Picked up from Palgrave’s ‘Anglo-Irish Supplement’:

O, the sorrow of the world is on me

And I’m tired with life…

I am as old as the wind that ferrets in the trees,

As the hidden sun and the pale and empty sky.

Today I’m sixty-one and beyond the window here

My acer shoots from its crown

The green stars of its year’s new growth

Skywards on arching scarlet rods.

Between trees – more than fifty years, the Irish Sea.

I could die now: spouse companioned through the turbulent years;

Children reared; grandparents in their graves.

 

Wasn’t it the solstice yesterday? A shortening of light

But, I predict, tonight we’ll be astonished once again

At the landing spotlit by a seven-eighths moon

Lancing through the toilet window.

 

What is it that I’ve learned? Windows are good and I

Should get out of my own light.