Learning The Ropes

This was one of the first poems I wrote and it kind of puts all its cards on the table. Nonetheless, it was recently selected for the weirdly excellent Moor Poets iv anthology. I say weirdly, because it is ‘just’ a local anthology, but the talent on display is quite astounding. Must be something in the moorland spring water.

Learning The Ropes

My ebay seller had no teeth in

when I got to the bungalow.

She demonstrated teddies

every neat stitch identical,

got the singer machine nattering

showed me the ropes. So easy

for her, so hard for me this

regularity, this hushed life

n a moorland town with all the

power of a sewing machine

totally under her control

while the stitches only


away from me.



I rollerskate in

but am soon seduced

into the fog-slow unrolling

of a day stretched out and sleepy in front of your black and white telly.


Always drawn

to the hearth and its tracklements,

lulled orange by the coals, I stay to see

the little couple come out the clock as the barometer clicks to rain.



drip by, awaiting

kettle whistle, ice-cream van chime

waiting for you to leave the room so I can shake the bell in the brass lady’s dress.


You shake the tin

of Nestles for three languid minutes,

ease off the lid with liver-spotted hands

and sliding the cream over Coop pear or peach halves, smile at me


and these afternoons last forever

until they don’t.


St Davids

I enjoy the occasional bit of found poetry.

Here’s a found poem I had published in The Broadsheet in 2017. This year’s Broadsheet has some cracking poems from the likes of Emily Berry. There are still some copies available for purchase here.

It’s been interesting to hear feedback on this poem. Some people have seen it as a sort of ‘commuter’s prayer’, while others simply liked the absurd juxtaposition of secular and spiritual.

St Davids

Our father who art in heaven,

Newton Abbot, Totnes and Plymouth

Hallowed be thy name

this is Dave your station manager speaking

Thy kingdom come

on platform 5

is the delayed 15.23 service to Bristol Temple Meads and

Thy will be done

On earth as it is in heaven

first class is located at the front of the train

Give us this day our daily bread

the buffet car serving snacks and light refreshments is located in coach E

And forgive us our trespasses

trespassing on the tracks is strictly prohibited

As we forgive those who trespass against us

any suspicious behaviour will be reported to the authorities

Lead us not into temptation

customers are reminded that smoking is strictly prohibited within the station

But deliver us from evil


For thine is the Kingdom

Windsor Lego Land

The power and the glory

London Waterloo

ladies and gentlemen, the 15.23 service to Bristol Temple Meads is now delayed

For ever and ever

customers seeking a refund are advised to speak to one of