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Not the famous novel by Sebastian Faulks but a tweet poem, the next in the series following on from last week’s post.










Can you work it out?

The poem is a mixture of morse code, short and long sounds and the type of conversation that might be heard when you open the door to a new world.

At the back of my mind when I was devising this was the fact that there is a village high in the Peleponnese where people communicate with bird whistles.

No Exit

‘No Exit’ is the final poem in the first section of my new collection. I hope you enjoy it.

An echo of footsteps
betrays each tread
as dust motes spiral
like a cloud of midges
in the musty air.

On the top stair
torchlight reveals
a tumble of boxes
matted with cobwebs
and mouse droppings.

Floorboards bend and bow
as I press a path
through the spill of
clothes, shoes, bags,
records and books.

A strip of wallpaper
peals from the wall,
like the bark of a birch,
failing to conceal
a forgotten door.

I fit the last key
into the lock,
turn the knob,
knock ‘rat a tat tat’

Morning Walks

Many writers advocate morning walks as a way of getting the creative juices flowing. I spent a pleasant few hours strolling around Fountains Abbey in Ripon this morning.
It is one of several places which I visit several times a year in search of peace, quiet and inspiration.
The following poem was written about an arboretum which dropped off my list of favourite escapes when it introduced a new attraction:

It all changed when the raptors moved in.

Not that I could see them,
but I could smell their stench,
could feel their blood red eyes
itching for the chance
to strip flesh from bone.

Pegged out by breed
and country of birth,
their eldritch screech lased
my mind, rattled my teeth,
shredded my walk
through the pine tree trail.

There was no more peace
in the old walled garden,
by the lily pad lake
or waterfall steps,
saturated by their carrion call.

It all changed when the raptors moved in.

I should add that the photograph was taken by my youngest daughter on a visit to the arboretum a few years ago.
We still visit occasionally but not as regularly as we used to.
I hope this poem will inspire you to think of places you visit to recharge your batteries and consider how those places and our responses to them change over time.


‘Songbird’ is the title of this week’s poem:

You were the first
to see me for what I was,
a canary in a cage.

You would take me out,
but a bird with broken wings
cannot learn to fly,

even in the arms of a lover
with enough free spirit for two.

You were my light,
my air, my insight
to the world outside.

The day you ceased to call
I fretted, lost my singing voice.

‘Songbird’ was inspired by a trip to Palau Guell in Barcelona and first published in ‘Masquerade’ which can be downloaded for free from

What happened next …

What happened next is encapsulated in the following poem:

It wasn’t murder
when you banished me
to my room,
nor manslaughter
when you grounded me
for a month,

just a slow suicide
until I dissolved
into the shadow
of a spectral self
which mirrored me
like a conjoined twin.

Nails bitten to the quick
I scratched ‘nadia’
into the frost
frozen on the inside
of the stained glass window -
‘aidan’ appeared in the pane.

This poem evolved in response to feedback about a previous poem.
The feedback was that the reader felt that there were two poems within the one offered for critique.
I took the sentence: ‘nails bitten to the quick’ from the first poem and wrote around it until I came up with the above verse, which serves as a response to the poem posted last week.
Perhaps you can take a line from a poem and develop a new piece of writing from it.

No Entry

‘No Entry’ is the title of the second poem in my sanctuary series. The poem was developed from a series of exercises on the theme of ‘home’ in Roselle Angwin’s Writing the bright moment (Fire in the Head:2005)

No Entry
Sliding home the bolt
I turned round to find
a flight of stone steps
descending into darkness,

fumbled for the switch
which flickered with a click,
flooding the cellar
with violet light,

inhaled the dank dust,
tiptoed to the bottom,
peeped around the corner
of the white-washed wall.

I did not intend to trespass
on your private world
but the door was unlocked
and I needed a place to hide.

As this collection has been written along a fantasy poetry plotline similar to those used in ‘Twisting in the Land of Light’ and ‘Masquerade’ (, next week’s post will reveal ‘what happened next’.

In the meantime, you might like to try the following process to generate new writing:
1. Free write on the theme of ‘home’
2. Review the piece and create a list of keywords from it
3. Look for complimentary and contrasting words
4. Look for connections between words
5. Decide what to add or remove from the list of keywords
6. Look for an angle on the theme
7. Use this to develop a first draft

Good luck!

New poetry collection

‘Fly Away Home’ is the title of my new poetry collection based on the theme of sanctuary. I will be releasing one poem a week for the next sixteen weeks.

The first is Out of Touch

No relic, no heirloom,

no record of birth,

no urn, no grave,

no memorial.

One red feather boa;

the single trace

of a life long-lived,

lost in the Silence.

This poem was written in response to a sepia photograph of a long lost relative. It was given to me while I was researching my family history for a previous poetry collection entitled ‘Land of my Ancestors’.
I studied the photo for a long time, hoping to learn something from the setting and costume but could not pin the character down.
That got me to thinking about what we leave behind when we move on in life, or into death, and how quickly we can be forgotten.
This is a link poem between my new collection and ‘Land of my Ancestors’ which is available as a free download from
n.b. There should be a line space between ‘memorial’ and ‘one’ but I can’t persuade the wordpress editor to include it!


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