There are some words…

•April 10, 2017 • 7 Comments

I wrote this poem during a month’s writing fellowship at a Scottish castle. It was commended in the 2017 YorkMix poetry competition.



Grief needs feeding.

At first we feed it sweet and boneless things:

memories, halva, meringue,

the songs the gone used to sing.

We feed it whole boxes of Cornish fudge,

honey spooned straight from the jar,

cold custard sucked from the carton


and for a while, we appease it

until it starts begging for blood

and then we turn to the dead things

and though we’ve not touched flesh for years

we find ourselves in the supermarket

filling our trolleys with meat-

the reddest, most visceral kind:

packs of mince and liver,

black pudding, knotty hearts,

plump kidneys, slabs of beef and livid steaks-

things that leak and mourn in colour

in their polystyrene trays


and though we cook without tears

our lonely kitchens smell of dying.

Our garish fridges

stink of butchers’ gutters,

drift-tide rot, things on the turn,

gashes on the brink of gangrene.

Each meal is a little wound. (every meal’s a little wound)

Our plates are holes

we cannot fill.

Like grief, our hunger’s



Kummerspeck is a German word to describe the excess weight gained from emotional overeating. Literally translated it means ‘grief bacon’.





December, Orkney: A poem

•June 2, 2016 • 2 Comments

December: Orkney

Now the nights
are thick and heavy.
They leave their indentations
on our thinning days.

With no trees
to chaperone the darkness
they are wild, brutal,
seething with stars.

They bruise the windows
and kerb-stones of Balfour,
do not knock
before they enter
our houses,
outstay the welcome
of our winter fires.

Eyesight, a poem by A.R Ammons

•June 2, 2016 • 1 Comment

I was walking around Ogden Waters last week with my friend and he recited this poem:


It was May before my
attention came
to spring and

my word I said
to the southern slopes

missed it, it
came and went before
I got right to see:

don’t worry, said the mountain,
try the later northern slopes
or if

you can climb, climb
into spring: but
said the mountain

it’s not that way
with all things, some
that go are gone


Themes For Dreamers

•January 5, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Themes For Dreamers is a fortnightly show on Phoenix FM, Calderdale’s local radio station. The show is packed full of poets, poetry and music. You can listen to podcasts of recent shows by clicking on this link

The Great Fogginzo’s Cobweb

•January 5, 2015 • Leave a Comment

John  Foggin’s latest post on his rich web (blog) features one of my poems, ‘The Light Bearer’.fireflyuntitled

‘Igniting The Spark’ creative writing workshops in Halifax

•January 5, 2015 • Leave a Comment

ITS poster 2015 3

‘Themes For Dreamers’ radio show on Phoenix FM

•January 30, 2013 • Leave a Comment

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‘Themes For Dreamers’ is a fortnightly show (sundays 4-6pm) on Phoenix FM (Calderdale’s community radio station) hosted by me, William Thirsk Gaskill and Dave Higginson and featuring a flavorsome blend of music, poetry and other literary things. Often we give away prizes; broken kettles, muses and poetry books. Often we press the wrong buttons or say the wrong things. Sometimes we have guests so if you’re interested in being on the show then please get in touch. You can listen to podcasts of the show by clicking HERE