Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Reclaim the land

Apparently three million more people are making valuable use of their gardens to grow fruit and veg, thanks to lockdown. (Royal Horticultural Society figures).

Here's a poem I wrote early last year, a simple little poem that I hope says a lot. There's a link at the bottom to some easy planet-friendly tips for gardeners from the RHS.

Reclaim the land  

Grow things,

prepare compost, rich and deep

get your hands in the soil

feel the goodness there

breathe the warm scent of it.

Set seeds and take cuttings

nurture your earth

plant trees

make orchards of apples, plums and pears

raise fruit and veg for your table,

and for your neighbours,

grow things, just grow things,


This poem appears in this 40-page book of poems and pictures, 'In the Garden' which was produced this summer by a group of poets in south west Wales. Copies are available direct from me for £5 inc p&p.

Here are 10 simple planet friendly tips for gardeners from the RHS ... 



Sunday, 25 July 2021

Poetry of a sandwich

This poem can be performed while eating a sandwich made of mixed green leaves

(or not, in which case you have to imagine that I have a sandwich ...)

Poetry of a sandwich

So many wonderful words in this sandwich …

lollo rosso, a flamenco dancer

 with deep red frilly edges

tatsoi, the crunchy Chinese leaf

frisee, robust and strong

names to get your tongue around…

mizuna, mild, serrated edges

escarole, pale-hearted but substantial

romaine, deeply green and strong

lollo verde, lighter than its red cousin

bataria, more frilly

little gem, compact and beautiful

oak leaf, green or red, and sweet

chard, in many colours.

Add zest and spice with spiky rocket

(protects against cancers)

pungent watercress

(the Greeks say it brightens the intellect)

a bitter kick of radicchio.

Add a few leaves of nasturtium

for a real bite! …

a peppery flavour, and a natural antibiotic.

(Also said to be a remedy for hair loss,

and good for circulation)

A pansy flower or two will purify the blood.

It’s an anti-rheumatic and laxative too.

(Don’t eat too many!)

for texture, taste, health benefits,

put your greens in your sandwich,

savour all the flavour…

              eat all the words!


Thursday, 22 July 2021

Aurelia aurita

Quite a lot of these around in Cardigan Bay just now. These moon jellies are harmless and quite beautiful.

Aurelia aurita

Moon jellies bump gently

against my body


as I float in flooding tide

early morning, late spring.


Creatures without brain

blood, eyes, or heart


yet beautiful free swimmers

pulsing movers


alive in their own light, iridescent silk,

with violet ornaments, carnal signals.


We let the sea swallow us

and drift together


while they murmur untold stories,

older than dinosaurs.


First published in Words for the Wild, 2020,

and in  'Before we Breathe' my third poetry collection (Littoral Press 2021)



Thursday, 10 June 2021

The Dublin Bay rose

Naming the rose

I never understood why the red rose

grows so well

in that small corner.


Or why it was called ‘Dublin Bay’.

I planted it where the big fern used to be.

You had to help me dig out


that massive old root.

You made the work seem easy.


Afterwards we sat in early evening sun

eating luscious olives and drinking

cold white Pinot Grigio

while we watched swallows scoop the hayfield


and we listened to jazz,

maybe Thelonius Monk, or Charlie Parker,

and I made some simple supper,


probably risotto.

And now when I look at those

deep red furled flowers as they open


I think of you, and I remember.


when you gave me those

golden grasses in the little black pots.


They need potting up, or planting out,

but there’s no room for them

in my small garden.


They are beautiful,

waving like unkempt hair in the breeze


and every time

I look at them I hope

they will survive.


And I think of you


and remember

you gave me that elaeagnus

for my birthday in winter.


It is still in a pot

because I thought I would move house


and take it with me, a gift

I didn’t want to leave behind.

But I didn’t move house


and now it’s huge and

outgrowing the big tub

that I can’t even shift


and there’s no space  to  plant it out.

Every time I look at it I think

I should have potted it up again


and I remember that garden centre trip

in the freezing wind


and I think of you


and hope the evergreen will survive.

And every time I look

at the rose


I remember that evening

with the jazz and the swallows

when you said you also have


a Dublin Bay rose in your garden.

Another of those coincidences

that we have discovered from


our too-long-separate lives.


Whenever I look at those unfurling flowers

I think of you and

I wonder at the naming of the rose.