Tuesday, 20 August 2013

They Shot all Our Horses -- review

Book Review: They Shot All Our Horses 
poetry collection by Harry Rogers. 

THERE is a strong rhythm to the work of poet and songwriter Harry Rogers, who has just published his first collection of poetry.

‘They Shot all Our Horses’ contains 50 poems, which were written between 1981 and this year.

Harry is one half of the performance poetry duo The Chilly Dogz (with Marc Gordon) and he is also lead singer with the west Wales band Scene Red.

It is not surprising that Harry’s words resonate with a recognisable rhythm as he spends much of his time songwriting and performing his music as well as reading his poetry at live events. He’s a regular at the Cellar Bards evenings in Cardigan.

These song-like qualities are real strengths of his poetry.

He also uses repetition to great effect, much as he might in a song lyric. And rhyme, perhaps not a particularly fashionable attribute of poetry these days, is used in a way that helps create and sustain the rhythm.

A short example from the poem ‘Cathy Come Home Again’:

Harry Rogers

‘Just when I thought the world had moved on
Suddenly it seems that I got it all wrong
Like a recurring nightmare it’s all back on top
Unemployed evictions whilst the wages drop.
Now it’s Cathy come home again
Yes it’s Cathy come home again.’

Most of the poetry in ‘They Shot all Our Horses’ is politically driven and is often campaigning in its stance, raising issues around war, socialism, Toryism, homelessness, the Middle East and more. But it is all personal too, based on the writer’s experiences in earlier years in London and more recently in west Wales.

It’s certainly worth a look as this poetry works on the page as well as in performance.

Price is £7.50.  The collection is available to order online from lulu: 

This review first appeared in the Tivy-Side Advertiser

Monday, 19 August 2013


Wonder at all life,
look up without seeing; so 
no clear path appears

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Where women wait

This poem has been inspired by two things. One was the launch in August 2013 of the first single by The Fishwives Choir, many of whom have lost husbands, sons, fathers or brothers at sea. I am proud to call some of them my friends.  The other inspiration is a beautiful painting, 'Flotsam', by Judith Hickling, which at the time of writing was hanging in the Pendre Art Gallery in Cardigan. There are links to information about both of these below. And there is more to come from me on the 'Flotsam' theme.
For now, this is for the Fishwives Choir.
Where women wait

Cottage windows look out
on the calming sea
as the slow tide settles;
and tiny lights shine misty
through the glass, all the long night.

Figures are hardened,
like standing stones,
and rocks unmoving by the shore.
Weary eyes search this scene,
where women wait.

Three boats cast off last night
on the full moon tide.
Fishermen fought for footholds
on heaving, slipping decks
as the sudden storm thundered.

Two boats return in the grey dawn.
All day alarms sound,
radios hiss. But the only reply
is the loud beating of hearts
where women wait.

Frail threads of faith
lie buried as deep
as the coldest fathoms.
The Fishwives Choir
Salt licks hair and stings eyes
as they watch from the wall.

As moonrise brings a higher tide
three men are lost tonight.
As hopes rise and fall
waves swell in dull yellow light,
minds reach out to lost souls
where women wait.