My Published Work (in Chronological Order)

The Peace of War

On a cold, snowing morn,

Two soldiers met at war.

As they faced each other weapons in hand,

Their footprints showed in the fresh strewn sleet.

One thought to himself

“I cannot kill him, he is my brother”.

This man believed in peace.

The other thought

“I must kill you, it is my duty”.

This man was true to his country.

They glared at each other through the snow,

Not knowing when and what to do.

Not knowing who was going to strike first.

The sharp edged air hung heavy

Like a steel blade before its fall.

The peaceful man lay down his gun, with baited breath.

In that brief moment the other struck,

His bayonet pierced the kindly heart.

The blade strove deep and true,

A perfection of the craftsman’s art.

On his last breath the man sighed,

He fell uncertain to the awaiting snow,

His blood stained the virginal whiteness.

The other man dropped to his knees,

By his side.

The snow fell gently around,

Resting on the other man’s wound,

And on the other man’s live skin.

For all the sorrows done by man to man,

For shame lodged deep within his heart,

He wept.

And the snow mingled with his tears.


A chair stands against a stone wall. Light from a stained glass windows falls across it.

This is the first poem I ever had published. It was published in a small Yorkshire Poet’s magazine and I was so proud – and very much encouraged by my English teacher at the time – Mr Ken Roberts – who sent it off for me to get it published.

PUBLISHED in the First Issue of ‘Northern Line’ (1) January 1978 p4

The round tower of a French castle surrounded by a moat

This one took very little time to write, as it was one of those where I get the first line or two in my head, and then the rest falls into place easily. I like it because it is short and to the point, even if all the metaphors do not quite match/add up at times. It is meant to represent a pantomime in the way it is read, and I think I achieved that. It has even been published in a Forward Poetry Collection for Love Poems.

PUBLISHED in Love is in the Air Vol II Forward Poetry 2015 (Ed Jenni Bannister) p52


In the castle of my heart,

You are the keep.

In the doorways of my mind,

You hold the key.

In the shadows of my memory,

You are the light.

In the temple of my soul,

You are the pillars.

In the pantomime of my life,

You are the finale.

Yes you are.

No I’m not.

Yes you are.

Yes you are!


Broken Lies

Too well I slaked my thirst

On truth untold.

(Alas) Too well.

A bitter potion, (of) salt and fire and acid,

That staked, then raked my heart,

Like dry leaves in wet grass.




Pinball in a machine without lights

To guide it from the then, to the now and beyond.

That truth untold,

has told on me.

And quenched,

I cannot now be unquenched.


And, if our past defines us,

What now for me

with past undone?

Crumbling, tumbling, crashing around me.

(Deep dark) muddied waters of uncertainty,

Uprooting family trees,

Diluting blood lines,

Dragging me to my knees.

Taunting, taunted.

Haunting, haunted.

The mocking mockery of genes that bore me this far,


Truth untold, which




And now knowing, I cannot now unknow,

This knowledge that

Implodes and implores me.

Unknows and unhinges me.


Lighting the darkness

PUBLISHED on Dec 22: Issue 20. Online December 1st 2022. Volume Ten print edition end of January 2023

PUBLISHED in Animal Antics 2015 Forward Poetry collection 2016 (Ed Allie Jones) p43

Our Tess

We had a dog that came free with a lead,

A young black puppy – a mix of a breed.

We called her Tess, and it seemed to suit her well –

For chasing sheep o’er hill and fell.

Though Grandma never got that he was a she,

And him was a her not a boy dog you see.

Our Tess was faithful, clever and loyal,

Worth so much more than the carpets she’d spoil.

She loved to play with us out in the sun,

Cricket and frisbee, oh we had fun.

She’d run with us, walk with us,

Even go biking.

A fast black streak,

With eyes that were striking.

But best of all, Tess loved the water,

Swimming and paddling wherever she could.

She understood all that we taught her,

Even if she did get covered in mud.

She hated a bath and all workmen too

Protecting our home, and barking at all

The postman in blue –

He knew not to call.

For fifteen happy years,

Tess was our friend.

A true companion,

Right to the end.

Tess Sleeps forever now,

Her spirit to roam,

But she’ll always be with us,

She’s part of our home.

Sleep well in the garden Tess,

A well-deserved rest,

Sleep well our Tessy,

The best of the best.


Green is for Remembrance

So now green is for remembrance,

And yellow roses too.

And the slippers in the hall

That lie and wait here still, for you.


You’re everywhere in my home,

And in my garden too.

And yet nowhere in my life,

And I don’t know what to do.


From, the pegs on the washing line,

To your special china cup,

Form pictures on the walls,

To London in a book.


And what will I do now on Sundays

When it gets to our 8 o’clock call?

Who shall I phone to wish goodnight

Now that you’re no place I can call.


Oh I’ve cried a river alright,

And all of its tributaries too.

Because it’s hard not think of what might have been,

When memories can’t yet pull me through.

Because everywhere there is you,

And yet nowhere is there you.

PUBLISHED in Light Up the Dark A collection of Poetry Forward Poetry 2014 (Ed Shobhna Patel) p214

Work in progress

PUBLISHED in Mind Matters Part II by Forward Poetry 2017 (Ed Sarah Washer) p 54

Work In Progress

And the noise, the noise,

It’s all white in my head.

And all I want,

Is to go back to bed.

Endless lists within lists of things I must do,

The priorities of others, rising like a tide,

Wave after wave of them locked in a queue.

And I’m drowning, not waving.

And the noise, the noise,

It’s all white in my head.

And all I want,

Is my big cosy bed.

Emails bounce in, a chiming jamboree,

Pinging on my desk like an alarm,

With the knoll of a bell that is tolling for me.

And I’m grinning not bearing.

And the noise, the noise,

It’s all white in my head.

And all I want,

Is to go back to bed.

Meetings after meetings every day,

Agendas and actions that must be obeyed.

All to be done in time that’s waylaid.

And there’s madness not method.

And the noise, the noise,

It’s all white in my head.

And all I want,

Is my big cosy bed.

My work-life balance has flown out the door,

An angel with wings that have been charred,

From the milieu of tasks that are a chore,

And I’m working not living.

And the noise, the noise,

It’s all white in my head.

And all I want,

Is to stay in my bed.



Competing Religion: From the window of a train

All across the flat lands,

The scattered stoic stone spires of English churches,

reach towards the sky,

in tribute to their god,

Crying to be heard,

A testament to the toil of their beliefs.

And in the fields of gold,

The withered wooden limbs of lightening trees,

reach towards it too,

in honour of their gods.

Dying to be seen,

A testament to the toil of the believed.

And all the while, the black-backed crows

Sit silently stretched along the wires.

Straining to see whose god answers first.



PUBLISHED on Dec 22: Issue 20. Online December 1st 2022. Volume Ten print edition end of January 2023

Rage against cancer

PUBLISHED on Causley Trust, October 2023

A Rage For Cancer

I am RAGE!
And rage is ME.
Blinding, bubbling,
Burning, broiling,
Erupts from me,
like lava from some
vehement, vengeful, violent volcano,
bent on disruption.

I am FEAR (too).
FEAR, festers inside me,
A savage scar,
and I can’t see past the C
FEAR has blinded me,
lives with me.
An unwanted house guest,
that follows you everywhere,
an invasion.
Like an army of ants
with a mission to destroy.

Carer not lover,
Nurse not wife,
always friend.



The Corona Quiet

So quiet the land –
the lanes, the paths
the leafy glades.
Where in the air
viral shadow evades
surgeon scalpel blades.
Corona cripples cursed confused countries,
Crying out for medicine and medicals.
Rage against a parasite
That Earth itself has sent.
Covid 19 coursing, carousing, carelessly carefree
through the blood of this us –
This dominant species.
Powerless to prevent
As we carelessly collectively collect on corners.
Will we die of ignorance?
Or heedlessness ?
And as smoke rises from the ashes
of what is left of us
like a
mad mocking double helix
of the virus
that claimed
How we will move on?


Corona quiet rainbow

PUBLISHED at the Festival For Poetry, 18/06/2020

PUBLISHED online for an AHRC funded project run by the University of Plymouth and Nottingham Trent University

To Derek

I miss
The early morning kitchen cups of tea
Catching up on the news and gossip
I miss
Those conversations across the desk tops
Pretty much doing the same
I miss
Being summoned from afar
And taking my reading glasses – just in case
I miss
Being texted or called in boring meetings
Just to embarrass me and make me laugh
I miss
Those cheeky glances across a room
That tell me you’ve had enough
I miss
Teaching in class with you
And the way we run it like a double act
I miss
You jumping out at me
Or throwing things at me
I miss
The way you know just when to give me a hug
And ‘lend’ me my one tissue
I miss
My line manager
(zoom just isn’t the same)
But more than that
I miss my friend



Berries in the snow

Hidden in barren boughs
iced berries, like frosted rubies,
     await the raw sunshine warmth of the day.
They spatter the monochromatic blandscape
of a winter in post viral modernity,
     dancing and laughing in the breeze.
The gathering sun articulates their inevitable doom
as it arcs across a pale cerulean sky,
     cut glass crystal crowns trembling in sweet anticipation.
Ah, but they go out in a blaze of scarlet glory
long leaving remnants on our jaded retinas,
     a bright red smile to get us through to spring.
Crimson silent expectation of hope.



Bright red berries in the snow

PUBLISHED on Dec 22: Issue 20. Online December 1st 2022. Volume Ten print edition end of January 2023


PUBLISHED IN New Contexts 4 Cover Story Books (Ed Ian Gouge) Dec 2022 and see

Also PUBLISHED in a blog for the Sheffield Institute of Education . Dec 2022

Post Covid: Special Needs Kids

What happens to…
     the ‘rear’ kids?
the ones with the silent voices
(that) go unheard.
Their sound not travelling
     from the back
of the class.
Who listens out for them?
Are we so deaf now?
So immune?


Or the ‘fear’ kids?
     the ones with the hidden bruises
(that) go unseen.
Their marks not travelling
     from beneath
their low sleeves.
Who watches out for them?
Are we so blind now?
So immune?


Or the ‘beer’ kids
     the ones with the slurry excuses
(that) go unbound.
Their gaze not travelling
     from the front
of their face.
Who dares ask much of them?
Are we so scared now?
So immune?


Or the ‘tear’ kids?
     the ones with the cover stories
(that) go untold.
Their chairs not travelling
     from the door
of the room.
Who sits and talks with them?
Are we so numb now?
So immune?


Or the ‘peer’ kids?
     the ones with the fewer friends
(that) go alone.
Their appeal not travelling
     from the screens
of their phones.
Who inspires heart in them?
Are we so cold now?
So immune?


What happens now?
     now that they’ve missed
so much.
Who will pick up the pieces?
Will you?
Will I?


The Boy who grew a Mane

When Ben was ten,
he thought, for a while,
I’ll grow my hair long,
have a different style.
So Ben grew his hair, and nothing could stop him,
not wind, nor sun nor rain.
And it grew in big locks, right down his back,
just like he had grown a real mane.
Unlike his friends,
whose hair was cut short.
Ben kept his growing,
almost like it was a sport.
The other kids laughed,
at all of his curls.
They teased and they pointed,
both the boys and the girls.
Except for one boy,
who knew just how Ben felt.
For he too had been mocked,
for having hair like a pelt.
He stuck up for Ben,
as best friends will do.
And they learned how together,
They were stronger as two.
Two boys with a mane
different from others,
Two boys with a mane,
together like brothers.



PUBLISHED at Dirigible Balloon

PUBLISHED IN New Contexts 6

On a night so deep you can taste it

On a night so deep you can taste it,
I read your letter, aloud.
But I can’t make sense of the words.
As if somewhere,
between the page and my eyes,
they gave up the ghost.
Lost all meaning –
jettisoned any sense they might once have had,
on the journey to my brain.
The implausibility of your logic marooned on the way.
I hurt.
But is that you hurting me?
Or me hurting you?
Nerves stand naked and restless,
quivering outside my body,
anticipating the last line.
The final word.