Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Leigh Folk

This poem was written exclusively for the Library of Aethers radio show on Ship Full of Bombs: the Thames Delta independent radio station.

The grass of the Library Gardens is
warm and springy underfoot,
the park is pregnant with
swelling families,
drunk-walking toddlers and
the first MC steps to the stage.
The bursting fizz-scack of an opened cider can,
as the musician tunes up.
Children beg for paper bags of fudge
that parents will find,
greasy and translucent in a kagoule pocket
in three months' time.
There is the hiss and pop of sausages on a grill,
burger buns and cups of tea,
a queue for ice creams, and sugar on the breeze.
A man in a suit with a
flowerpot on his head dances,
clutching a boom box;
confusing children and
amusing grown-ups.
Music fills the air; people wander,
sit on rugs,
and hardcore folkers stand with hands on hips
like teapots
with pewter tankards swinging from their belts.
Then, it's Sunday,
the punters have taken their sunkissed faces home
and refreshed overnight, ready to
sweep down the hill to the Old Town.
More folk-loving folk, and there's chips,
seagulls eating chips,
buggy wheels smashing over chips,
poets and fiddle players queuing for chips,
chips and cockles,
cider and clogs,
shanties and blues,
a procession and booze,
and music,
and music,
and music,
and music.
People fall in love with a new style,
there's noise and chatter, and all the while
there's dropped cornets,
and puppets,
a man dressed as a giant baby
but it's ok, it's ok,
on this day of the year it's ok.
And the Sunday evening rolls around,
and the tin-rattlers stop making their sound;
we vow to buy more records,
and not eat so many chips,
and not drink so much beer,
but we have a list as long as our arms of
new music to investigate,
and new pages to like on Facebook,
and it's only a matter of days before
we dust down our guitars or
ukuleles or
violins and
the folk is instilled in us all,
in our hearts and ears and
in our chippy tummies.
Until next year.

Sunday, May 5, 2013


These poems were written to perform at a Sundown Arts event featuring Birdwatchers' Wives, a performance piece by artist Caroline Smith.


A twitch of tweed hat
sneeps through wooden slat.
There are caws,
and carks outside,
and whispers of reedy grass.
The lid from a flask of tea drips
cold buttons of condensation that
flash like bird's eyes on the dusty floor.
There is no drama here,
but the snaps of beaks fighting
over slivers of fish,
or the minor horror
of a dog let loose
into the hide.


It is midnight.
I have literally just turned eleven.
My brain is fizzing with the sense of BIRTHDAY.
My feet kick impatiently as my sister slumbers,
and I wish the next seven hours away.
I know I'll get cards,
and bath pearls,
and a Friends video,
and hopefully new felt-tip pens
but most of all
I am getting
This is highly exciting.
This means my Dad and I can tramp through woods
with our own binoculars
and look for birds.
My favourites are jays,
pied wagtails,
and great tits.
My pre-teen mind does not think to find this funny.

In my first tutorial class
in my new secondary,
hyper intense school,
we have to write a list of Hobbies.
I write:
Writing stories
Playing guitar

We read them out. There is a
snick of laughter
coming from the girls who put

Very soon after,
the binoculars become my mum's
and I never go to Lee Valley with my Dad
to look for oystercatchers.
I go to the cinema instead.