Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Written on Slate

Now that I am embarking on my PhD on cultural memory in the African diaspora I enclose my poem which I originally wrote on slates. For reference, the sankofa bird is an image representing a bird flying forward but forever looking back to its roots.

kyrie eleison -
as the sun melts
and darkness slides in

the heartbeat of the eath stills
and oceans spill
on the tilt

rocks crumble and cry

and particles colouyr the breath
of the

and the sankofa bird flies forward
forever looking back

to when the rainbow itself was

Monday, 17 February 2014

poetry evening

I am looking forward to taking a new poetry class at HannaCherries teashop this evening. We are starting obviously just after Valentine's day with a look at romantic imagery - poems such as Donne's "A Valediction forbidding mourning"which has the famous image of the twin compasses; and of course Burns and Shakespeare, Shelley and Rossetti! So nice to spend time with words in the company of other wordsmiths and tea and cake! A perfect Monday night!

Monday, 27 January 2014

"A Bright Nowhere"

Watching a recent programme on Seamus Heaney I realised that I had been shutting out reading and writing poetry whilst I studied and that this was what was making me feel unsettled. His lyrical poetry is so powerful and beautiful and as the Nobel Prize acknowledged, he took the local and made it global. I have no right to put my name on the same page as his, but listening to his words has inspired me, finally, to start writing again so I present my latest poem following  Heaney’s “Kite for Christopher and Michael”

somewhere between here and there
ebullient kites skirl lightly above us
strings aching with every wind blown
twist and turn
to pull us upwards 
into the blue mirrored horizons.

floating ribboned tails flick
the last stripped tree branches
caressing their nakedness
and in this high, privileged space
the coloured canvasses sketch our unknown sequels
in an aura of bright imagination.

and now, as late shadows start to cross the sand
it is our turn to stand with planted feet and take the strain,
where before us, elders hands wrapped around the cords
severed by our own births.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

I return!

Five months have passed - really where does time go! I now only have 6 more weeks until I complete my Masters dissertation and submit - fingers crossed.PhD after that I hope!  Naturally I have not written much poetry during this time - hopefully my pen will start to flow creatively after January. In the meantime, I post a poem I wrote last year on a visit to Surgeons Hall.

stifled breath,
conscious yet of the flow of ideas, waiting
to flood blank pages;
desire to capture the light behind glass
but distracted by frozen foetal forms,
gruesome in beauty;
heartbeats halt in hesitant lives
watched by blood red eyes,
embalmed in language.
such diverse images flutter between troubled breaths,
yet now are grounded by pen and ink.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Another 6 months has gone by!

It is becoming a habit that I seem to update every 6 months! That is because I am writing my Masters dissertation - so enjoying Louise Bennett, the Jamaican poet who writes in the Creole. So much to research. In the meanwhile I post up a  poem which I wrote 3 months ago about out historical roots.

the path that lies beneath our feet

consequently, the glittering scales of today rest
critically tipped towards a white future.    
precious silence lives only in the shallow spaces -
  in the slipstream
            of technologically high velocities of noise.

because, we have forgotten to breathe, to inhale,
to momentarily halt the relentless momentum
to stand still and recall slower, measured moments
and feel the power of the living, long fingered  roots beneath us

insistent, curious roots that probe layer upon layer
of hidden, vital strata,
spreading into the crushed, compacted bones of lost generations
whose memories create a solid path for us to walk ahead.
our fresh exciting footsteps, cutting  into soft virgin soil,
mimic those imprints from another era
which are  pressed out deep
deep below –
 their paths of  knowledge
mesmerising magnets
for our over anxious feet.

as the years drip through porous rock
it is in the silence that we will hear their voices
guiding us,
only if we choose to pause
and listen..

Saturday, 17 November 2012


I see that it has been 6 months since I last posted! I have , in that time, launched two poetry collections - "the spaces in between" and "the present tense", and am just working on my last EMA for the Masters before the dissertation stage. I missed posting this for Remembrance day but i think it is still worth putting it up, as we should be aware not just on one day of the sacrifices of war.

I went to the quiet fields of Flanders -
row upon row upon row upon row
the blankness of those faceless graves
strangely mocking of this weary world of words.

No name
How do we know who lies here?
Whose mother’s tears should wash this pure white stone clean?

It could be you -
It could be me who lies below -
our white bones are the same as his.
Yet with cold lips he kissed our mouths
his dying breath our living air.

The guns are silent now
no birdsong fills the space

No name
No name
No words
And we ourselves become mute.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Ephemeral History

Clearly I have been very distracted working on my next TMA on oral, printed and post colonial texts - ie the Bushmen, Robinson Crusoe and Derek Walcott. I have got another obsession for  Walcott's poetry. What a find! Here is a token poem to keep the spark alive but I look forward to the summer when I have a break from studying and can think creatively.

Ephemeral history

On the other side of the world
shaded by a canopy of thick green palms
another man sits,
watching  the history of his Caribbean  island
unfold around  him
mirrored on the shifting stage of the sea. 

While the searing sun throws
deceptive shadows over the cloudy waters
and sudden rain stitches stars in the sand
he catches images in his hand and
writes, pressing past into present.

For today, Carnival comes,
bringing history to life;
 it’s chaotic noise echoing down the years
 the chanting , the drumming, the singers,
the dancers, whose bodies move with ancient memory,
the vibrant colours which paint the sun soaked ground
with living graffiti.

And now it is gone
its essence lost to the annals of time,
only to be captured fleetingly in the poetry
of the solitary man
who writes its voice.