Take Me Home a Thousand Times

8 04 2018

Poetry Day Ireland is March 21st 2018 and the micro-literature project Label-Lit has offered fifty poets around the globe the chance to share twenty verses.

Together with poets across Ireland, there will be contributors spreading from England and Scotland all the way to South Africa and Australia.  There will one thousand pieces of poetry stimulated this year by Belfast-based Maria Mcmanus.

Today, I made the twenty labels from Wales and began hanging them in Llanberis.  All the labels featured a quotation from a poem that will feature in my poetry collection to be published by The Lonely Press later this year.

For more details about Label-Lit and Maria Mcmanus, follow this link: Label-Lit  (https://labellit.wordpress.com/2018/03/04/take-me-home-a-thousand-times/).


Poems: Wales Arts Review and DNA

4 03 2018

Two Valentine’s Day poems of mine were hosted by the Wales Arts Review in February, together with a wonderfully framed poem in the DNA magazine. Please follow the links to read all three poems, and find a wealth of other wonderful literature on the websites.



The Birthday Waltz

6 12 2017

A piano accompaniment by my friend, Daniel Trevithick, of a poem featured in Issue 8 of The Lonely Crowd.  The poem was written during a ten day residency in the Dylan Thomas Boathouse and seeks to interpret the voice of Vernon Watkins as he searches for his friend Dylan Thomas in and around his Laugharne home.  The poems structure is based on Thomas’ The Birthday Walk.

Daniel is a guitarist and percussionist in the band Black Mountain Lights.

Shijiazhuang Education Seminar – 2015

15 10 2015

IMG_1575 Having taught English in China in 2004, when the opportunity to return to Shijiazhuang to deliver a speech at a seminar centred on reading and scientific literacy was presented to me, I was eager to accept.  Then, however, came the practicality of preparing for the speech, preparing for the convoluted route via Hing Kong and preparing to deliver to a room of five hundred teachers.  Shijiazhuang had me immediately nostalgic; the population had grown as much as the skyline but the streets were still quick to smile familiar structures at me and to wink temperate skies.

I stuck to the scriptnotes I had contrived for the translators to follow, referred to Keira Knightly more than anyone has done in literacy lecture and generally bluffed my way through thirty minutes of a twenty minute session by parrying applause-less moments with terrible Chinese.

A success, sort of.  I thought. A former pupil of mine at the school sat beside me, balancing on the arm rest of the chair.

‘It was hard to believe your Chinese could get any worse.  It was also very, very long; luckily, I think you were stood on the microphone wire for most of the second half.’


Retiring After the Shipwreck (Deganwy home of Commander Harold G. Lowe, 5th Officer RMS Titanic)

13 08 2015



Sometimes, when the last train brakes by the junction
it catches the track and sets off flares at the road crossing.
Lights search the sky then and I stir from my chair
by a cooled fire and go to hold the rattling window
to steady myself in the trembling room.


When the train pulls away, I stay there, stranded
in the same sinking darkness there was that night
the ship went down. The blind screams and muffled panic
of the desperate, the incoherent, the knowing, the gone.
All frozen and silenced by the sea.


Before the birds ring, I consort the pinkest horizon
and patrol the shore for survivors, mementos or something
that may anchor me to a fresh wreckage. But among
the chains that tie the boats to the beach
are balled-up bones of feathers and fish, burnt out campfires.


The chill seeps into my knees, I huddle into my coats
and hurry across the shore like some sandpiper,
picking over branches, broken pallets, crab lines
and wearied wood that has washed up here, as I,
and will, each night, be buried again in these tides.

High Tide (Borth and Ynyslas)

28 06 2015


I want us to stand on any two of the tree stumps,
branch our arms and knot hands,
to find this kingdom lost in the endless sands
and be submerged in a forest of imagination.

I want to show you how like shipwrecks they are–
racked ribs picked bare, beach bound, barnackled.
Or that they’re like pipes periscoping out on the horizon,
waiting to be windmills – reduced to rusting trunks.

The car is blown beyond Borth’s half-painted homes,
and past caravans that have slipped their footings
until a smugglers’ path between disinterested pubs
winds us into the gusty sea. Waves cloud the treeline

and the village is stormed in the swell.  A man leans
against the squall, the broadsheet under his arm
like a mainsail.  A girl in red coat flares out beside him.
They listen for the sunken bells of a drowned myth

though there is no Cantre Gwaelod under this white tide.
There is no kittiwake, no razorbill, no seal, no dolphin,
no spider crab, no dog whelk, no lobster pot, no tree stump,
just sea, sea and the endless meeting of the sky.

In a beachside café, the windows groan and the cold laps
at the uneasy, circular tables.  Leftovers are layered
on piled plates like sedimentary rocks.  Cutlery chimes
and sunken faces whisper litanies to the sea.


3 05 2015


When I’d weighed the prospect of a son,
I felt sure we would share our springtimes
combing these beaches, hinged around the tides,
harvesting what they’d left behind.

On the shattered shells and pebbles that mark the waves,
your mother weaves, body bent,
arm an egret’s neck, fingers a lean beak,
her eyes are greedy gems to feed you with.

And glistening in the mosaic, we find fish eggs,
all bubbled and burst, beetlebodied pouches
where sharks had shadowed, and burnt oak leaves,
tiny pine cones, clinging to the seaweed like castaways.

It is the brisker winds that make you shelter in my shoulders
and here you warm me with the discovery
of that man and boy I prayed would be
burying memories in these shifting sands.