City Boy

A couple of years ago I had nothing better to do than write some poems. (Apart from job hunting, that is.) Anyway, I started my PhD and lapsed somewhat. Before that, I wrote this, which I offer here because my thesis writing brain is currently incapable of reviewing. Do not take it too seriously.

City Boy

I wanted to be a nature poet,

But I don’t know enough about trees;

Nor flowers, nor meadows, or whose are those leaves

Lying there ready for a bonfire, no

Proper memorial.

John Clare I am not.

But does this blossom need a name, a lease

Of life from me? It seems quite happy

In obscurity, no label asked – quite free.

And Other Stories Short Story Competition

Publisher And Other Stories (Reviews: Swimming Home, Lightning Rods) ran a 500-word short story competition with the theme of ‘walking’ last month inspired by their release Zbinden’s Progress. I’m lucky to have been selected as one of two runners-up. The winner was Rishi Dastidar and my fellow runner-up was Nikesh Shukla. And Other Stories will post all three stories on their blog this week. I’m looking forward to reading the others. My story was the first thing I’ve written in a long time that wasn’t either philosophy or a review of some sort. I’m rather pleased.

Wednesday Poem – A Noble Brow

A Noble Brow


A lined spine is a beautiful thing.

Those ridges the textures of a literary

Consumption, standing proud testament

To past acts and present value,

Even as lustre fades.


Rest is the only cure for herniated

Leaves and sagging stitching, a simple case

Book for any surgeon in a binding

Agreement with Hippocrates.


Those floppy American things refuse

To wrinkle – a collagen of the cover –

Deny their very consummation in

A Hollywood of wholly insincere



Hardbacks have a rod up their arse.

Where is the fun in hiding beneath a

Jacket, inapt for rapt attention,

Wrapped in cloth and bored.

(Not to mention the price!)


Lines and liver spots and coffee rings

Memorialize a marriage of minds.

Shelved but not forgotten, communes

Of living words with a view, these sprightly

Raconteurs grow old in their fullness.

Friday Poem: Peat

The Aeolian Revue has published another one of my poems. Go and have a look at their other writers too.

This poem was written a couple of years ago in a small cottage in Baltimore on the South coast of Ireland. We used peat in the cast iron stove.


A slow burn bound in black

giving nothing away

save the stains on hands


anything you care

to name

nameless as flame is

as flames are


collapsing compressed bricks

processed as wild is

by staining hands and anything

we care to claim

Mysticism and Logic

The Aeolian Revue has published another one of my poems. Go and have a look at their other writers too. Now.

Mysticism and Logic

Metaphysics, or the attempt to conceive the world as a whole by means of thought, has been developed, from the first, by the union and conflict of two very different human impulses, the one urging men towards mysticism, the other urging them towards science.

— Bertrand Russell

A cracked glaze on a vase puzzles out

its reflections and refractions in

the only way it knows how: Silently

reconciling all contrary motion

beneath its fired and fissured skin, for fear

a bright moment might be its undoing.


Bright moments are many, so tensions run

high between jostling shoulder, neck and lip.

The quiet perseverance of oven sweat

contains a taut struggle of dust and clay.

Don’t Look Down

To celebrate our marvellous weather, a poem published at the rather lovely Æolian Revue.


Dizzied in the vertigo of clouds,

Falling through colours balanced in the air,

As the trees pay lip service to the wind.


Thoughtful rain.

Rain for thinking.

Swollen rain absorbing


The light, the colours, and splaying them on

Cracked-backed garden chairs, causing concussion

And bright spots before the eyes, soon rendering

Us Amnesiac, dry, until the sky stumbles again.