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Posts Tagged ‘poetry’

Beautiful #Cornwall

Cornwall has long been my bolt hole from the world, where I come to switch off. I find myself back here for the second time in a week, spending this glorious Easter weekend with family.

One of my favourite pastimes here is walking the coast. There is a particular stretch I must have walked a hundred times over the years, between Portreath and Godrevy. Since my family moved to Illogan, I have turned it into a round walk, from the top of Park Bottom, through Tehidy Woods to the coast, past Hell’s Mouth and on to Godrevy Point, then back to Portreath.

I’ve yet to to do the full round walk on this trip, and might not, but I have made the trip to Godrevy and Hell’s Mouth a couple of times. Here are some photos from my walks over the last couple of weeks, including the seals basking on the beach. I’ve also thrown in a few of Holywell Bay that I only discovered, shamefully, last week.

Cornwall has also inspired a lot of writing, too. This is a piece from a few years ago that was inspired by a walk very similar to those I have enjoyed these past weeks.

A Cornish Walk

They sold ale here long ago, 

To miners and travellers,

This ancient kiddleywink

Maintaining a vigil over

The crossroad hedges.

I take a winding lane past

A slope of straggle-eared

Wheat, through a dark

Cathedral tunnel of oak,

Beech and elm, past the

Mining way where weary

Cousin Jacks once walked,

Dreaming of New World

Lives an ocean’s sail away.

On, then, down Green Lane,

Where golden corn meets

Blue water meets bluer sky,

To the cliffs that loom

Above the sand and rocks

That story-boarded my

Childhood adventures of

Wreckers and pirates,

And above the tunnels from

Caves to twisty cottages

Cradled in the granite.

On to the moor, high

Above the beaches

Where revenue men

Fought smugglers for kegs

Of rum and gin, and crates

Of tea and tobacco from

Magical lands, where shaggy

Ponies chew the grass and

Watch those passing by

With lazy curiosity.

Further on, sheep, beyond

The dips and climbs that

Drain lungs and legs

And test the heart, 

Smile furtively, before

Shuffling slowly cross the 

Meadow, a late August’s

Morning sun beating down

On wool-laden backs.

And by the crumbling path’s

Edge, a scent of low tide,

Of salt-crusted grass and

Fresh sea breezes, lifts

Me out of my thoughts

And causes me to smile:

Pleasure in such simplicity.

By the roadside Café  I

Pause, tea and frozen

Orange to slake a thirst, and

I think back on the years

I have walked these paths,

The company kept from 

Time to time, though,

Ruefully, I acknowledge,

More often alone than not.

And as I strike out on the

Final miles, I pass the vicious

Maw where once a foundered

Trawler’s bell tolled its haunting

Requiem for those that

Drowned one stormy night,

But, where rust and waves

Have silenced even that

Lonely memorial, all that

Remains are the memories

Of those of us that knew.

Through fields of cattle and

Over stiles, and on and on,

I climb the final headland

Until a gleaming jewel, 

The island lighthouse, presents

My exhausted journey’s end. 

Satisfied, I make my rest and

Wonder: why this walk, year

After year? Why this stretch

Of coast above all others?

Why the peace from so much

Toil? Is it just the promise of

The sea’s refreshing churn?

No matter why, I smile, and

Close my eyes to dream a while.

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Poetry collections

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In the years since publishing Fragments and Reflections, I have self-published two further collections of poetry: Nooks and Dark Corners and Sunsets and Long Shadows. Find them on Amazon or – if you want to support independent writing and publishing – Lulu.

Sea Mist

This mist makes ghosts of the drifting days,
Shrouding hill and cliff and cove with pale indifference;
On the shoreline, faint shadows gather in small worlds,
Framed by blank horizons and a white line of surf,
Just apparent in this strange eradication.
Somewhere, above and beyond the levelling murk,
A vain sun blazes at the creaking sea,
Taunting it with windborne lies of endless sunshine.

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product_thumbnailI am very excited to be able to say that I have finally published my collected poems in a single volume. Like my blog, it is also called ‘Fragments and Reflections’ and is available in hard copy, under my Lone Crow Publications label, direct from Lulu and also from Amazon. For those of you who prefer an eBook, you can buy Fragments and Reflections from Amazon, Barnes & Noble (nook), iBooks and Kobo. You can download the free sampler here.

What kind of poetry is it? I would describe it as a collection of modern verse for every facet of life and for every emotion. There are poems born out of love, of dreams, of wandering in the countryside, of working in the city and of generally raging against the world. Nature, the city, love, lust, betrayal, war, death, homelessness, spaniels… You will find them all inside.

If you take a peek inside, I hope you find something that speaks to you.

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The Funeral

The Funeral

We drove through the grey mist, wordless and blank-eyed,
The windscreen cracked and split by endless rain,
Our meter the rumble of tyres on tarmac
And an occasional sad sigh of rubber on glass.

Our hours were silent hours, lost in half-memories,
Each of us reflecting on a common private guilt:
Our promises to see more of one another
So casually made and then forgotten.

Once there, in throngs of strangers, we saw at once
We could have known her better than we now pretend, 
And offered solemn nods and awkward sympathies
As we sought those few we recognised and loved.

We embraced them and wept, smiling through our sadness, 
The warm handshakes of old friendships  undiluted 
By the years between, though fewer we counted, quietly,
Some borne away on the rivers of our seasons.

Then, after we had gathered and sung our life-filled hymns,
And drank to past times of happier communion,
We renewed our promises with easy earnestness
And, lastly, bid each other fond farewell and left.

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Hangover After A Late Spring Evening Drinking With Friends

Today, with heavy limbs and slamming head,
it is too much: too brash, too loud, too bright.
What seemed boundless and obtainable in
excited gabble, under canopies
with wine, the night refreshed by bursts of rain,
has fled with morning’s groan to higher ground.
Gone, the breathless swagger stalking our words,
banishing obstacle and barrier.
Gone, those gauche and brash pretensions, first born,
remember, when we hid far from the world;
years lived cloistered away from awkward truths,
homes made, briefly, in ivory towers
surrounded by moss-buttered quadrangles.
Now, in this yammering of city hours,
it seems unreal, a place that should not be,
where full breasts and naked legs are lit by
candlelight and fat lips drip Pinotage,
tempting the evening to finish in
rented rooms, making wild love to strangers.

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Poem: This Week’s Snow

This Week’s Snow

It buried all beneath a
blanket of little white lies,
each flake guilty of
momentarily erasing
all our broken truths – a
cracked road, a crumbled
wall, the spill of yesterday’s
life from an up-turned bin –
and in communion with
the great pretence of
all things clean and new.


And even as we danced like
mad and, with joy, like children,
made our own untruths – to
stay away and steal a day –
we knew our feet would scuff
and press and churn to ruin,
that brightest white would
turn to grey and, once more,
with sudden chill, we recalled
the lies we tell, how snow is
never liquid paper for the soul.

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Poem: A Drunk Lover Of Words

The Drunk Lover Of Words

 

I should write, in this fug of

alcohol and dreams and snow,

with words like ripe cherries

waiting to be plucked and eaten,

sweet and sour and stony-hearted.

 

This should be my Ulysses, my Emma,

my Don Quixote, my Scoop, my

Lolita, my Lucky Jim, my Austerlitz,

my Clarissa, my Catch-22, my Nausea, my

Jane Eyre, my Heart of Darkness.

 

I should write, in this haze of

bravura and need and dust,

with words like rare jewels

yearning to be shaped and polished,

bright and hard and beautiful.

 

This should be my Entirely, my Howl,

my Dover Beach, my V, my

Still I Rise, my Life Is Fine, my Brown Penny,

my America, my Dream Deferred, my Romance, my

Always, my Deaths and Entrances.

 

I will write, in this riot

of caffeine and lust and night,

with words like cut arrows

aching to be nocked and loosed,

straight and true and hitting home.

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