Poetry

I write poems which are to be read and performed about all sorts of things. Here are a couple of my favourite, keep an eye out for new ones.

 

Mary Berry’s Lashes (September 2012)

This poem has been published by the brilliant Amy Key and Charlotte Runcie on their Great British Bard Off blog alongside poems from Tim Wells, Micheal Rosen, Jody Porter and Roddy Lumsden. Let’s hope it gets turned into a book!

Too rich, for one so well baked
Unexpectedly caked in tarry crumbs
Of carbon black, Mary Berry’s lashes
Framing twinkles, glimmer cherries
Of ancient dried fruit wisdom,
Steal the show
Bat-wings of approbation semaphore
Flashes of hot-scone glamour,
Glimmering treacle tart memories
Of how it was done in the 50s
Bake, rattle and roll
On her dancefloor of an Aga
A second golden age, more
Home counties than Hollywood
Kitchen Aid your prop of choice
No call for hearing aids
To achieve the perfect bakers’ plait
Damask dimpled cheeks,
Choux buns steamed to perfection
Dusted with powder, a fine icing
Creased with disappointment
My buns have sunk
My sweetbreads are salted
Pastry as underbaked and wet as her mascara
And yet, through my dripping sweat
I see pity shining from her tiny eyes
A twitch of the neck, a shudder of pride
And she concedes that at least I’ve tried
Many have failed where you succeed Mary
Ghost of kitchens past, queen of cakes
A bit of love, a little smile from you
And I’m baked.
We’d All Melt (2009)
This poem was shortlisted for the Forward 2009 Poetry Rivals prize. It didn’t win, but I like performing it lots anyway.

The night you said beautiful,
I laughed my ribs out
In great bowers of bent roped bone,
Which broke from me
Choking my fears with calcified smiles
Beaching at last on the ashen fireside tiles.

I thought it was all a tremendous joke.

That night,
We built a table from the marble arcs,
Dressed it in the lace of ancient brides
And the pink silk of pig’s ears,
Which pricked up to hear you laugh.
That thick,  rich mirth
Stoppered all my wounds
With a liniment of tumbling decibels.

That night,
Your generosity could have tempted retiring icebergs
Into the sweltering gulf,
Eased them into the shallows
Where mottled starfish
Would petrify in the aching melt water (not sure this line works – but a lot here
that does)

That night,
Your generosity could have begged a pause from
A determined coal train’s heaving snort and mass
Better than a horizon of red flags
Held up by the hands of 29 boiler-suited protestors.

Tonight,
You wear your generosity stitched around your neck
In a cravat of courtesy.

I search for a caveat of infidelity
In the arrows of the print
Pointing to me, me, me.

But you,
You smooth the edges of her sadness.
Her night fears balk at you.
They bolt with the tight-sprung release of so many spring lambs,
Those boundless leaping mutes bleating soundlessly into the dawn

And I,
I breathe alone,
And leave you
With a gift of seven lemons.
Strung up to dry in the August heat,
They have lost their bitterness,
Tanned by the sun
They are almost sweet.

You palm the fruit carefully,
As if its blanched skin
Would bleach the humanity from your fingers
But the fruit is innocent
And I,
I will wait for years
For the ears of your eyes to awake and
The eyes of your ears to open.

Until then,
I am forbidden.
I will malign the feast,
And, as an un-bloodied Banquo,
I will sit between you,
Freezing the air
I will make time still.

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