Beware the Crocker!

Beware the Crocker

The wise man said.

Like a fool

I remember only now.

The storm cleaves sky from end to end

Sun turns murderous red.

Creaking, groaning, thrashing

Tree limbs, claw at anyone in reach.

The beck has burst

My way ahead unclear

Accursed errand, this.


Accursed errand, this.

My way ahead unclear

The beck has burst

Tree limbs claw at anyone in reach

Creaking, groaning, thrashing

Sun turns murderous red.

The storm cleaves sky from end to end

I remember only now

Like a fool

The wise man said

Beware the Crocker.


This is my first attempt at a specular poem that reads one way and then in reverse.  The crocker is something mentioned in a Derbyshire folk tale about a man who has to travel to the village of Cromford.  He ignores villagers’ warnings to turn back and gets caught in a terrible storm.  The crocker although never firmly identified, represents the power of nature on a superstitious mind.


The Drover’s Way

A burnished meld

Glints green, bronze, yellow.

Hedgerows bristle beneath the blue

Blackbirds forage for berries, red and ripe while

Bees lift into momentary clouds, before settling again on flowering ivy.

A butterfly suns itself.

Across the valley, sheep graze on fields that run up to the canopy

Pines edged by gold.

A vista so perfect, that in time to come

You would wish yourself, upon the drover’s way to Clun.


34 years, 4 months, 6 days
Severed with a short
I do.
You walked away
You flew to Italy
A honeymoon beginning.
Left behind, I struggled.
Stuck with you so long, I’d lost
All sense of me.
Just…. a maiden name now
When you write me
There is no moment’s reverie
For who you once were.



We shared a flat that fresher’s year

In truth we shared much more

Fledgling girls – unspoken pact between us

Bound so tight we were unassailable.

I shared your hopes, your fears, your dreams

A hundred late night shot fuelled schemes

For eighteen precious months

And then

A falling out, with just one

And I am nothing.

It is as if, I never was

Cast off, invisible

Days are spent searching for the sin

So great to warrant such a loss.

You don’t tell me. You don’t speak.

Indifference is total.

What hurts me most

Is that Iike all of you

I am fragile too,

But you will not remember

And I do not have the courage to ask you


Margot and the Armada Medal

Inside this velvet pouch

Is a medal – a memento mori

To salve the loss of someone dear.

When I hold it in my palm

I am a child again

Riding the funicular with foraged tickets

My hand is warm in hers.

As we descend, ascend and repeat again

The cars draw level and I hold my breath.  Mesmerised.

When I hold it in my palm

I remember the last visit.

There is no fire

Its absence makes the house feel chill

The radio tuned, or not

Is strangely silent.

I realise there will be no drawing today

No return for me, now Margot’s gone away.

When I hold it in my palm

I see her once again and my mind

Brims with memories

After all this time, she still imbues encouragement and calm.

The face on the medal

Rubbed to a soft sheen

Holds me in her gaze

Just one of many she has seen across the years

I am transported.  I am safe.

Poem about my childhood bedroom

Four flights up.  My room

Is bathed in light.

A school made shelf where rainbow spines jostle.

Each inscribed 606d

A gift to me.

Fairy tales reliant, on being good and kind.

A wooden maiden laid on its side

Whilst I drive

Inanimate friends fill the rungs

Following me

Never questioning our destination.

Pink Panther beams down, as beneath ridged blankets

I dream.  An only child then, but

Never alone.


Orange and blue

Halved the horizon

Down towards the steaming flow

A fragment of fire in the brightening sky.

I am stillness.

My breath

Patient, silent.

From the flow the glistening bird erupted

Climbed and turned

A dream

Kindling towards a memory.

Of Mice and Men (and Me)

It’s been a while since I’ve updated this blog, but I’ve got plans…..

Plans to make some plans! Yes – it is time to get organised!  Time to get the whiteboard and pens out; the calendar – the full shebang.

The prompt for this sudden flurry of activity?  Several missed competitions and submission deadlines which have annoyed me more than I expected.  Submission windows that only come round once a year which means that I will have to click my heels for another eleven months before I get another opportunity.

DontPanicThe problem is that while I have checked for upcoming opportunities I have not been checking websites regularly enough.  The chances that have interested me have then sneaked in under the wire. more.  I have set up reminders for at least two months before submission windows close.  Am I expecting raging success as a result? Truth be told, the answer to that is no, but there are benefits.  Competitions give me deadlines to work to and a framework for the coming year.  I am far more productive when I have defined goals.

On the whiteboard so far I have the following:

  • complete my piece for the anthology that my friends are compiling (the excellent group of people I met whilst at Lumb Bank at last year),
  • enter the Buxton Poetry competition (it would be rude not to as I live here),
  • complete five flash fiction pieces before the end of 2016,
  • finish my ghost story,
  • start my novel.

I am going public with the above because I know that I am far more likely to achieve my plans if you know about them, so thank you in advance for helping me.

I have already completed some short pieces this year, but cannot post them at the moment because of competition rules saying that entries must be unpublished (including on blogs), but watch this space and I will share in the future.

Robert Burns famously said, The best laid schemes of Mice and Men oft go awry.

Given the above just applies to rodents and men folk, does that mean I am exempt? A cheeky interpretation I know, but let’s see how I get on.





Great Expectations?

In September I went to lunch with a good friend and in addition to much laughter and putting the world to rights, we touched on the tricky topic of expectations and what they meant for us in the context of writing.

After we parted I found myself wanting to unpick what expectation means to me.  A quick look in the dictionary gave the following definitions – looking forward; anticipating; hoping – all positive.

Hold on I thought – are all my expectations positive?  The honest answer is no.  In the past I have set myself up to fail so many times mainly because I have set myself unrealistic goals or been trying to live up to other people’s expectations.

It has been a while since I updated this blog and in the past the rubber mallet would definitely have been deployed by now!  What is different this time, is that writing is something I really want to do – for me.

I haven’t written every day as I had pledged on the return trip from Lumb Bank, but I have thought about plots and stories every day and some of my better ideas will come to fruition one day.  Since my last post I have been to poetry readings – Carol Ann Duffy at Tideswell Arts Festival was a particular highlight.  I have been to a Spoken Words Evening where the group sat and read one another’s work aloud.  It was so good to hear writers bring their own interpretation to other’s work, including mine.

In December, I am looking forward to starting a fortnightly Play Writing workshop at the Royal Exchange in Manchester.  I also have the opportunity to volunteer at my local Museum as a digital hero for different collection pieces.  I have swapped ideas and encouragement with my nearest writing friend at Scarthin Books in Cromford.  They have an excellent cafe for when you need to stop browsing and re-hydrate!

Finally, next week I go to Halifax to see a play written by my tutor from Lumb Banks – Stephen May, before then meeting up with more writing friends the following day.

Could I be doing more writing?  Yes, absolutely, but I am finally embarking on a journey I have yearned for, for nearly all my adult life.

My expectations….. well, I see good times ahead, especially now the rubber mallet has been decommissioned!