About my poetry

I have written a great deal of poetry over the years, going back to when I was still at my Steiner school. All of my juvenilia I threw away years ago, however, which is probably a good thing, as most of those poems were truly terrible. I have only really kept poems from when I began writing poetry again, years ago.

100 Haikus is exactly what it sounds like, a collection of a hundred haikus. I think that these were the first ever haikus which I committed to paper. For those who don’t know what a haiku is, it is a poem of Japanese origin, featuring three lines, of five, seven, and five syllables. In traditional haikus there is supposed to be a theme suggesting one of the seasons; and the whole should be more than just the sum pf its parts.

Haikus 101-169 comprises the haikus which I wrote following my first hundred haikus. there is not really much more to say about this collection.

Haikus and Tankas is a collection of haikus and tankas, and a few double haikus. A tanka, for those not aware of the form, is Japanese poem, of lines of five, seven, five, seven and seven syllables.

Haikus is yet another collection of haikus. Although this was the first collection of haikus which I published on Amazon, the poems were written later than the haikus in the above collections.

Haikus, Too is, you’ve guessed it, yet another collection of haikus. I have written more haikus than any other poetic form, in search of those seventeen perfect syllables. Eventually I will get that perfect haiku, just like those monkeys typing out Shakespeare.

The Last Haikus comprise some of the last haikus which I wrote, hence the title. I still write the occasional haiku, but I have no plans for any more collections specifically of this poetic form.

Dead Bird Song is, I think, the first collection of poems which I selected to put together. When I did so, I considered these poems to be the most representative examples of my work. Like a lot of my poems, these tend to be pretty dark and depressing, as, for me, writing poetry is a way of dealing with emotional distress, and I tend to compose poems when I am upset. Poetry, for me, is very much on the emotional level, and is not an intellectual exercise. There has to be passion. The name of the collection is supposed to reflect the darkness of some of the work.

Gazing into the Abyss was the second collection of poems which I put together. Again I went for a really depressing title. The title comes, of course, from that famous quote from Friedrich Nietzsche.

Fragments of Arcana is a collection of my poetry (surprise, surprise). The title refers obliquely to a magazine which I used to self-publish called kryptophilia, from which most of these poems have been taken.

New Songs for Old Ears was, at the time, new poetry which I had written, hence the title. I think that I had in mind a riff on the saying that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. As all poets do, I enjoy playing around with words and meanings.

Other Voices is more of the same, really. If you have liked my other poetry collections you will, hopefully, enjoy this one, as well. The poem featured here is one of my own favourite poems.

The Heart of the City / Green was an attempt to do a themed collection of poems, part of the collection dealing with the ugly beauty of the urban environment, the other half dealing with nature.

Bingo Bongo Boo was an attempt to do a collection of humorous verse – or, at least, verse which is droll. I am, perhaps, not the best equipped person to write comic lyrics, and I am certainly no Edward Lear. Some of these poems do bring a smile to my lips, though, so I hope that other people will find them amusing. Most of the poems in this collection are quite short in length. Some of them are nursery rhymes which have been ‘adjusted’ in some manner: I hesitate to say improved.

Terse is a collection of some very short poem. I don’t think that any of these poems is more than six lines long.

Ditto the Nothing is a throwaway title, suggesting the pointlessness of existence. Ditto the nothing, etc.

Necrologue is another work in which some of the verse deals with death – hence the title Necrologue.

Really Depressing Title (Insert Later) is another collection of my later poems. The title is a joke, of course, supposed to suggest that I have forgotten to entitle my work. Well, it makes me smile. Again, a lot of the poems, I’m afraid, deal with my personal darkness. The poem featured here is actually quite an early poem, but one which, for some reason, did nit find its way into my other collections.

The Last Poems is a collection of some of the last poems which I wrote. it is supposed to serve as a coda to my work, as I doubt whether I will do much in the way of verse in the future, preferring to work on my novels instead.

Words Were Weeds is another latter collection, assembled from notebooks as I was beginning to put my work on Amazon. I wanted a title with three Ws, to reflect the worldwide web onto which my work was being launched. Again, I wanted something which sounded a little miserable.

From The Abyss, Staring Up is a riff on the title of Gazing into the Abyss, the idea being that the person has fallen into the abyss, but that he has not entirely given up hope, and that he (or she) is still staring upwards. To quote Oscar Wilde we are all in the gutter, but some of us are staring at the stars.

Here follows one poem selected from each of my poetry collections, as a free sample of my work.

Haiku # 100

The mayfly hovers

Over the pond’s still waters

While the sun beats down.

This is taken from 100 Haikus, available as an e-book on the Amazon Kindle store.

Haiku # 116

A single green shoot

Pushes up past the snow crust

Towards the new sun.

This is taken from Haikus 101-169, available as an e-book on the Amazon Kindle store.

Sheen

The mirror sheen lake

Reflects the mountains and sky

Revealing nothing.

Only when a stone

Is thrown, breaking ersatz glass,

Are the depths revealed.

This is taken from Haikus and Tankas, available as an e-book on the Amazon Kindle store.

Coffee

Bitter, black and cold;

Is it my mood? My feelings?

Or just my coffee?

This is taken from Haikus, available as an e-book on the Amazon Kindle store.

Blue Tit

The blue tit milk thief

Sits on the apple tree branch

Waiting for the float.

This is taken from Haikus, Too, available as an e-book on the Amazon Kindle store.

Smog

The grey smog rises

Turning trees into ghosts from

Out of the darkness.

This is taken from The Last Haikus, available as an e-book on the Amazon Kindle store.

London, Rain

London, rain

and Big Ben has stopped again

the escalator’s broken down

while the poster’s scream at you to buy, buy, buy

Outside it’s pouring down

your mascara runs

looking like a clown

car fumes and wet tarmac

taxi crawls through the streets

you’re bored you frown

when will the sun return?

Still raining on the way back

you laugh though it’s no laughing matter

the Underground anti-chatter

doors sliding shut like in that film

locking you into your destiny

and with a lurch you’re underway

and the weatherman says tomorrow it will rain again.

This is taken from Dead Bird Song, available as an e-book on the Amazon Kindle store.

St Kilda

Hirta

Abandoned, alone,

Undone by sea and Christian care,

Evangelised to the uncaring mainland,

The fulmar stacs unraided,

The eggs unclaimed,

Bare stone byres

Empty cottages

No one huddled around the winter fire

No Gaelic spoken in the kirk,

Even the memories are dying.

This is taken from Gazing into the Abyss, available as an e-book on the Amazon Kindle store.

Only Dust

Atomised like history

The way of everything

Dust on your fingertips

Grey snow from your paperbacks

The memory of sun’s long gone

Inheritance in fragments

A googol of particles

Each one with its own tale

Of ancient aeons past –

Only dust.

This is taken from Fragments of Arcana, available as an e-book on the Amazon Kindle store.

The Boxer

This is the hapless boxer’s lot;

A nose which bursts in blood and snot,

A broken jaw, two swollen ears,

And eyes that burn with bloody tears;

A cut above, a forehead scar,

A jagged tooth, for that Jack Tar.

Those are the prizes; the final purse

A victory tour by long black hearse.

This is taken from New Songs for Old Ears, available as an e-book on the Amazon Kindle store.

Atomic Exhibition

Paint the dead souls on the wall

They’re only shadows of the light

The thunder has silenced all

And dust hangs like fragments of the night.

The sun came down and kissed the earth,

The solar wind blew all away;

Now all around is screaming dearth,

A wordless cry, nuclear decay.

How many half-lives will we need,

To lose those shadows on our time?

Forgive the artists of this deed?

Expunge ourselves of this great crime?

Painted dead souls on a wall

Fragments in an exhibition

The silent crowds can view it all,

Unhealed wounds of their perdition.

This is taken from Other Voices, available as an e-book on the Amazon Kindle store.

Ruin Blue

Blue-bricked, slates holed, the ruin resides beside the road;

Ten thousand cars a day pass the dead house by

Without ever wondering why the garden is so overgrown

Why boys have stoned the windows, fragments

Of smog-dirtied panes stained with the detritus of time.

No wonders over who owns this desperate home,

Or if they’re waiting for the bricks to fall

For gravity to pull down the walls and turn to dust all things

But it will stand until our own homes crumble in the rain.

This is taken from The Heart of the City / Green, available as an e-book on the Amazon Kindle store.

Teddy

My Teddy has an Armalite

He’s going off to war

He says he has to join the fight

To free the Plush Toy Four

I blame Goldilocks…

This is taken from Bingo Bongo Boo, available as an e-book on the Amazon Kindle store.

Romance Couplet

If you don’t want romance to fail

You should not speak your love – use Braille.

This is taken from Terse, available as an e-book on the Amazon Kindle store.

Cost

The last battle is always lost,

Forgotten bones in Autumn frost,

A campaign paid in mortal cost.

However long the war has took,

Whatever lives are brought to brook,

Whatever citadels are shook,

There must come an end to death

When man takes stock of what is left

And knows no price is worth this theft.

This is taken from Ditto the Nothing, available as an e-book on the Amazon Kindle store.

Crow-Craw

The crow-craw

Bitter-tongued, aloe-tasted

Returned the gall of solemn defiers;

The ham-fisted shouters.

Craven on the wing, in the black skies.

Peck the good wet stuff out of your eyes.

Feather falls;

The cloud breaks apart into myriad specks

Swirling in an unseen gyre.

Ordered by an arcane call

The one mind of the flock above all

Crowing their victory on the field;

Scratting in the mud.

Give them a medal on their shiny black breasts.

This is taken from Necrologue, available as an e-book on the Amazon Kindle store.

Waiting For The Springtime

Below the ground life sleeps,

Below the snow so deep,

Waiting for the springtime.

The church calls out to us,

To come to Christmas mass,

It’s ringing out its chimes.

The pond is empty now,

The geese have flown due south,

They’ve gone to warmer climes.

The wind is bitter cold,

It cries of death foretold,

And whispers ancient rhymes.

Below the snow and frost,

Lie two children, now lost,

Victims of winter crimes.

They’ll rest until the thaw,

But sleep and dream no more,

Waiting for the springtime.

This is taken from Really Depressing Title (Insert Later), available as an e-book on the Amazon Kindle store.

Poppy Day

The paper poppy wearers

Who have never fought in a war

Give to a good cause

To assuage their guilt at being alive

While so many countrymen have died.

And what are we trying to say

With this poppy day?

That we honour the sacrifice

The men that the generals sent off to die

While they stayed behind the lines?

Is it a remembrance that war is Hell?

Or that war is worse

For the innocents suffer as well.

Or has it become just another date

We honour to make us feel good

While we still send off soldiers to their fate.

I’ll wear no poppy not ever

Just give me a plain white feather.

This is taken from The Last Poems, available as an e-book on the Amazon Kindle store.

Empire Of Unculture

It was the Sun wot won it

It was the scum what done it,

Headlines of denial and lies;

Rape reports and tits out on Page Three.

Satellites in the Sky,

The beady little eye,

And you’re watching on your tee vee.

(Don’t mention Wendy Deng)

Pay walls as the old man falls,

An empire of unculture teetering on the brink,

deng, deng, deng, deng, deng, deng

It’s the Scum what slummed it

And the Philistines know not their names…

This is taken from Words Were Weeds, available as an e-book on the Amazon Kindle store.

Patchwork

Jumble down, tumbledown

Take the patchwork words

And sew them in a new way.

Drowning in otherness

Escape this world

Left alone eternally.

They are found objects, not stolen;

Notebook graffiti,

Disinterred, and made anew.

In the mind of a fool,

Senile nursery rhymes

Laze around all day.

Almost complete, this quilt;

One final stanza

Of new discovered meanings.

Halo glows, neon lights

Hold nothing for me now

As the image slips.

This is taken from From The Abyss, Staring Up, available as an e-book on the Amazon Kindle store.

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