First poetry reading

On Thursday night I stood up in front of an audience and read some of my poems for the first time. I was in great company – fellow poetry students and established poets Lisa Kelly and Graham Clifford – but it’s a while since I’ve read any of my work in public and I’d forgotten how precious a warm reception is.

It made me think about Marty, one of Tidings’ two narrators, the singer in a band who worries about not being able to follow through on the promises of freedom his music makes to his fans.

But perhaps he shouldn’t have stressed so much. Maybe it’s not about giving and taking away. Maybe it’s about creating resonances, reminders of what’s already there.


Mother the weather is coming
slow skies I thought may pass us by
but no escape now, even if you wanted to

Waiting I will watch
till the cloud falls down
and joining up the shadows

makes a face of the ground with no creases
no eyebags, no furrows
no light and shade

And when they take you out
into this fallen world
you’ll be laughing

As you are carried to a place
that doesn’t matter
and dropped in ground that makes no sound

And when you’re gone I’ll mount the horse
and spur it on beyond the clouds
escaping if I want to

Always ever here


Where is the fireman?
He has gone back for water
Putting out the flames
Will take more than this this time
He will need love, and pity

Pouring words like milk
Softly coat the wounds
Touching hands as friends
Our flaming minds, our raw hearts
These are now what catches fire


orange yellow glow
fire buried deep under gold
love long laid, now lit