My Poetry

 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.

One of the things about publishers is that they seldom accept work that has already been published elsewhere. That usually includes social media and personal websites like this. I have included half a dozen poems here which have been published. I retain the copyright so I'm able do this.

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.

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when hell exploded

and hammered her

into darkness

the pain ringing in her ears

deadened all her senses

and a shroud of incomprehension

smothered everything

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.


Ian Ledward

First published in the Heimat Review 2022


Kharkiv Words

they wouldn’t let me out

to cut the grass

says Anna

or prune the bushes

because that’s where

they hid their snipers.


what they did not destroy

they stole

they took forks and spoons

and then shoes

from the pensioners feet

in Kharkiv


and on these walls graffiti

in Russian


the game is over



Ian Ledward

First published in The Alchemy Spoon 2022


In a Glim of Light

In a single glim of light

I see her likeness staring back,

Willendorf Venus,

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.

Ian Ledward

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.

Ian Ledward

First published in Fife Writes ‘Wild.’


At the Qing Summer Palace, Bejing, a Love Poem

Circling, avoiding,

skilfully holding,

each memory

overlaps another.


Words linger,

voices disappear

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

for you.

Ian Ledward

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.  

Odin’s Ravens

appear dishevelled

this morning

wind beaten

time worn

feathers awry

a couple

sticking out

some grey

the odd

bald patch

they perch

by me

near enough

for me

to feel

them part

of me

but truly

isn’t that

the way

with ravens?

Ian Ledward

First published in Poetry Scotland 2023