Valentines Poem


From this grey moon-dust
I see my home rise
as a child’s marble –
the games, tunes of childhood,
my mother singing “Hey Jude”

or thinking of your ring;
a cabochon fire opal
catching sunshine
as we kissed when we danced
to Oasis as morning broke.

Castaway with no way back
I watch for home to rise
from jet night, ribbon stars
firework comet tails threading orbits,

think of you asleep beneath
the water blanket encasing
the home we knew and loved before

I left for this desert. No island
no disc, no luxury but only
my thoughts, memories and love
to hold until they rescue or air expires.

Carolyn O’Connell

Published Reach Poetry 197 January 2015


Memoirs of a Selkie Child by Joanne Key

Brilliant rilliant evocation of loss and the power of the Selkie Joanne. Have reblogged


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Brilliant evocation of the power of this spirit

I am not a silent poet

Windswept, Mam walked the shore

with her offerings: a chest full of gulls,

a numbness deeper than all sleep.

Wading into the roar

until she was up to her neck in it,

she’d slip off her feet,

shed her heavy sense of emptiness.

She’d wait forever for a glimpse of seal

despite the north wind slapping her backwards

and the fella who stole her skin

waiting up on the dunes.

Even moonlight died on him.

A man full to the brim with drink.

Most nights he’d beat the tides out of us

and threaten to carve his name on her,

button my lip with a fishhook.

After the storms,

we’d wander the beach or she’d reel me up

from sleep in the small hours to float me

in the gentle rise and fall of her grief.

Many a night I found her calling out

to the water in the same…

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The Poet and The Artist – R.S. Thomas and Elsi

The Poet and The Artist – R.S. Thomas and Elsi

Seren Books Blog

As the Eglwys Fach R.S. Thomas Literary Festival approaches, we look at the poet’s relationship with his first wife, the artist Mildred ‘Elsi’ Elridge.

R.S. Thomas has long been considered one of the greats of Welsh poetry with his bleak but masterful verse. His relationship with his first wife, Elsi, has been one of his most profound subjects – but it has also been one of the least understood, and commented upon, by readers of his poetry.

Elsi was a brilliant and accomplished artist, who moved from the illustrious worlds of the Wimbledon and Royal Colleges of art to the Welsh borders of Oswestry where she met Thomas, a young curate at the time. The couple soon married in 1940. Their partnership briefly mixed with artistic collaboration when she illustrated the dust jacket of his first poetry collection, ‘Stones of the Field.’ Apart from this, however, her once prolific outpouring of artwork…

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Christmas Poem by Frances Ridley

BLAZE: Mid Cheshire Stanza

I am delighted to publish this poem by Frances Ridley, a fairly new member of our Stanza group. This poem was written as a result of my workshop on writing Christmas poems suitable to send to friends. We looked at some of U.A Fanthorpe’s, and the Candlestick Press’ lovely Christmas pamphlets, then wrote our own poems.

20171211_145907.jpgA Christmas Spell


Mistletoe and warm mince pies,

Evenings sitting round the fire,

Ringing bells and jingling sleighs,

Robins brighten winter days:

Yes, it’s Christmas time again!


Carols sung by candlelight

Herald happy holidays;

Red and green, the holly wreath

Invites our friends and family in.

Sparkling lights and tinsel shine,

Twisted round the tree’s rough boughs;

Merry children laugh and shout

And merry adults drink mulled wine.

So have yourself a starlit

Merry Christmas!

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Poem by Maureen Weldon

BLAZE: Mid Cheshire Stanza


The bus I am sitting in has a full belly.

Bursting thoughts float like ghosts.

The man next to me nods in his book

a bottle peeps from his jacket.

Ruffled mother, pram-deep in plastic bags

and rolls of Christmas paper

gives her baby some sticky drink.

Hush now.

While tinselled teenagers like mosquitoes

giggle in the rear.

We pass the cemetery, slowly;

eighteenth century I have read on the stones;

for their day, clip-clop, clip-clop.

Hollied logs. Braziers popping chestnuts.

Mulled-wine. And the goose is getting fat

Clipity-clop, clipity-clop.

Horse-dung, carriages, carts.

Now rain drips through trees

I rub the misty window

see between the lip of a cloud

a sickle moon.

Nothing much changes… except

the traffic lights are on green.

Maureen Weldon

First Published, Poetry Scotland


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Susan Jordan and ‘A House of Empty Rooms’

Rebecca Gethin

Susan Jordan is the new Featured Writer with her first collection, A House of Empty Rooms, published by Indigo Dreams. It was delightful to hear Susan read some of her poems in Exeter at Uncut Poets last month, I think it was.  I was particularly impressed with ‘Gertrude by Alice’ with its witty refrain She was a genius, you know. I think we all gasped!   The poems about family members misusing words are humorous as well as being poignant.  Susan has this gift for probing insights delivered with irony and tenderness at the same time.  She creates atmosphere with a few words, focuses on detail on something someone says to reveal hidden truths.

….the front door loomed incomprehensibly blue

Its smell of polish lingering like stale cake

These poems always know when to finish and you hear their quiet notes falling away so you need to read…

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Nothing but Rain

Angela Topping


Edward Thomas joined up to fight of his own free will. He was just starting to come into his own as a poet when he was killed. This poem of mine refers to two of his poems, ‘Rain’ and ‘Words’, two poems I have loved for years.

In this poem, from The Five Petals of Elderflower, I have wishes for him but for every other person killed in war. World War One, like all wars, was indiscriminate in its killing: ‘poets and painters and musicians,
labourers and farm hands, thinkers and doers’ all perished, along with those killed by their own side who had become too traumatised to fight, conscientious objectors, who deserve to be admired for taking a stand, but who also suffered from poor treatment and even imprisonment in many cases.

The great war deprived me of three great uncles. Two were killed in France: Nicholas Lawler…

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