Stars of the Sea read by Lesley Curwen (published by The Storms Journal 2023)

FINIS     (published by Broken Sleep in ‘Footprints’ 2022)

moonshine in a hot november sky

pigeons shuffle to a sheltering wall

tide rises like a white-ruffed arm

anointing the land with bitter wrack

blotting all prints that came before

wiping lines and edges back to blank

there is no body to watch over us

since the milky way became unplugged

electric light forgets how to flow

voices fade and cars roll uncontrolled

books are shut once and for keeps

all the words inside close their eyes

Incandescence     (short listed for the Dai Fry Award,  published by Black Bough in ‘The Sun Tipped Pillars of our Hearts’ 2022)

a rain of stars flies towards tomorrow

     illuminating heart’s red soil

blackbird blows reveille in night’s ear

           dawn has rolled the sea away from land

hedges wave a continent of blossom

                   poplars rustle ballads to the light

stratospheric winds sketch paisley patterns    

                         smacking boats through blue-dazzle deep

morning-fire ignites the world to rapture 

                                       conjured by galactic alchemy

Swimming with Octogenarians, Batten beach  (published by Literature Works in Quay Voices, 2022)

We change at the sea wall. Shiver as we grope

and wriggle into costumes, flailing on one leg.

Comical in Mickey Mouse gloves, baggy flesh.

Some swimmers are deaf; I cup hands, yell against

the wind or lean close. Six feet apart is hard to do.

One recent widow (eighty-three) wants a solid arm

to lean on, wading over pebbles, bladderwrack.

We trudge in like ancient crabs, accept the pain

of entry calm, unstunned. Then feet kick free

we are seals soaring through our own domain.

Years fall away, death and shore recede.

Skin stretched salt-tight, hearts unsore,

nothing exists but body and freezing sea.

Stars of the sea      (published by The Storms Journal number 2, 2023)

          Vitrine flash throws shade on stars

  embalmed in jars of not-the-sea.

Colours drained, all arms spread out

   in frozen rays, each astral form

        named in Linnean copperplate.

    Necklace and Pincushion

                                                Brittle and Ochre, Reef-stars

and Blue-stars, Icons and Bats

                                              Giants and Indians

   Fat-armed and Brittle 


     Floor to ceiling the constellation

blinks in low museum light.

                                                     And If I smash its glass to knives

                                                          discharge a suffocating spill

                                                              on soft flesh of rucksack crowd

will we end up preserved on shelves

    exhibits from a scene of crime?