Besides my artwork, I write. It's mainly poetry but I do write short stories and the odd essay too. I have been writing since my teens and my work is published.
My first critic was my mother, who, after reading an unedited poem of mine about adolescent love and schoolboy yearnings , commented, 'if that's the kind of thing you write, I just don't want to know.' It didn't put me off. So, onwards and upwards.
Some of my artwork now incorporates a poem or an extract from a poem - you will see this in the examples of my work.
I also have three more anthologies available all of which contain work by me and other excellent writers. 'Wild,' is the anthology of poetry by Fife Writes and 'Twenty Four by Four' volumes 1 and 2 are a mix of poetry and short stories by the Giffordtown Writers.
when hell exploded
and hammered her
the pain ringing in her ears
deadened all her senses
and a shroud of incomprehension
but it was the silence after the silence
then came the cries
and then came the crying
I cried she says
and the other women cried too
then we slept
wrapped in the dust
of our blankets
and in the morning
wailed our farewells
to those who went
in the night.
First published in the Heimat Review 2022
they wouldn’t let me out
to cut the grass
or prune the bushes
because that’s where
they hid their snipers.
what they did not destroy
they took forks and spoons
and then shoes
from the pensioners feet
and on these walls graffiti
the game is over
First published in The Alchemy Spoon 2022
In a Glim of Light
In a single glim of light
I see her likeness staring back,
reflected in the coal-black honesty
of a window in the night.
And for a wakeful moment,
searching the far horizons,
drifting on the waves and currents
of an endless sighing sea of memory,
I recognise what was,
and is so darkly crass.
And now, at last I know,
it is what it is,
and a glance is enough to see this
unbidden gift of life’s bloating.
The bulbous breasts and belly
bulging like a bowl of rising dough,
starkly limping towards me
through the past,
showing this painful apprehension
reflected in a sheet of glass.
Afraid to look too hard,
afraid to look too long,
the wistful look I give myself
from both sides of the mirror,
as age hums
and medication sings its song.
First published in Dreich Magazine 2022
The Eye of a Storm – a Sestina
An old French poetic form where each word that ends the first stanza of the poem is repeated as end words of the next stanza. It ends with a tercet, a three line stanza, where the last word in each of the three lines repeats the last words of the last three lines in stanza five. It is also usually written in iambic pentameter and relies, not on end rhymes but on its repetitive 'echo' for its effect,
As those who will prepare to take their leave
a large pantoum of flowers arrives for you.
The words, they say, ‘Can you forgive us all?’
I say, ‘It is the best thing you can do.’
We must not be afraid to speak our minds,
as I do now with you, my special love.
Sensations we recall from youthful love
affairs, they linger with us as we leave.
The memories of our kisses brush our minds
and when the sun can't reach us, please will you
become my light and do what you must do
to share the gold of autumn with us all.
Because it is this treasure binds us all
together, and as one, we call it love,
and clever as it is, we must still do
the giving of our gifts before we leave.
The task - to lay them out - now down to you.
And all the fury will become our mind’s
eye of a storm, and leaving clean their minds
when it has passed, fills me with joy for all.
And yet, I have to think that there is you
who may be left alone, without much love.
So, what will happen when there’s none to leave
and nothing more that I can hope to do?
Among the empty nests, what will you do?
You, in the dying breaths of love, two minds,
and see the compass steer your thoughts and leave
a lingering taste. The wind, bereft of all
but other people's sins, now cleansed of love,
an emptiness remaining cold with you.
So long has passed and I cannot see you,
when once we would have flown through clouds, so, do
please think upon the time when we knew love,
and next time tell me we’ve not been two minds
apart and dwelling with the angels all
the while. We dream away and so must leave.
It’s up to you if dreams can carry minds
as I do what I can to give you all
my love, and make it hard for you to leave.
First published in Fife Writes ‘Wild.’
At the Qing Summer Palace, Bejing, a Love Poem
as passers by
like echoes of themselves,
dissolve into silence.
The bowl of tea I hold
is empty and I think
how heavy that
emptiness would be
if it were not
First Published in Bindweed Anthology 2022
Huginn and Muninn
In Norse mythology, Huginn and Muninn are Odin's two ravens. Huginn is the old Norse word for thought and Muninn is the old Norse word for memory. Every morning at sunrise Odin sends them off to fly to gather information on what is happening in the world.
First published in Poetry Scotland 2023