Photos from Lisbon Workshop February 2019


Had  an amazing week in Lisbon with Ruth O’Callaghan on a workshop. Came away with lots of poems to work on, new people met, and a lovely experience

Had a Poem Published in Reach Poetry


A February day was drawing in,
called by the light of silver birches
guarding the garden; their branches
whispering the wind to evergreens.

They spoke of times almost forgotten
when the Manor House ruled over
acres of farm and woodland, only
one house remains to tell the history,

as I watched the skies shadowed
the sun sapped, suddenly
a bird flew over alone; a cloud
that swept the sky with shapes.

The birds signalled to each other
the safe way home to roosts
murmuring, diving, flying in formation
until they descended, covering trees with
black bird-leafs hanging on silver branches.

Carolyn O’Connell
12 February 2018

© Published issue 285 Jan 2019

The Quality of Mersey

Had the following poem in this anthology celebrating the river and its voices . It was inspired by Jon Gorman and edited by Barry Woods and is dedicated to the memory of the late Cheshire poet  Tonia Bevans.  Over 40 poets have poems in this celebratory anthology which was launched on National Poetry Day. Contact for a copy £3.99 including postage.

Carolyn O’ Connell

Your song beats beneath M60’s ring roads, Merseyway
bringing ballads of the Goyt and Tame, the colours
of long gone dyes, cloth woven, and the hint of heathers
held in water, murmurs from the moor’s high gorge.

Despite your ride beneath Stockport’s sixties concrete
here the drooping hands of urban trees catch your birth,
cradling you in industries track, concrete, rags of cotton
spun in the mills you and your daughters turned.

Your voice sings the strength of Mercia’s lost kings
Northumberland’s craving peaks and wild seas,
you hold strong the boundary trench between
Cheshire and Northumbria still.

Slim trace here of the anthems you’ll extol,
that rushing travellers hear – unmoved or
unheeding shoppers snub; Heaven’s Gift
begins its winding melody of life until

it rings abroad as your wide skirts dip the Atlantic
and Liverpool harmonizes your history with the sea  ©



New Poems Published and Update

I am now located in Cheshire and a member of the Vale Royal Writers Group and Blaze Mid-Cheshire Stanza. Hope to be posting more after being absent for some months.  Happy reading!



When they met she was in black –
her red lips a splash of hope –
and he caught her by the door:
she had stopped in the light,
named by the etched glass,

a kiss before he left for the boat.
It was one remembered by her
but was not spoken of until
she was forced to admit the truth.

Summer was the time we travelled
away from the city to new places
where sea scented the days mingling
with fruits from her orchard.

We gulped thyme, garlic that grew
wild on the hills above the bay,
broke the glass water as a pair
of eagles frolicked over the island.

Her cups were stacked carefully,
brought out for tea when guests came
together with cake stacked
neatly on stands above white cloths,
so the ceremony would always be perfect.

The city clouds, the moist heat had thrust
me inside. I found a photo of them
taken in that lost light.

Carolyn O’Connell
August 2017
Submitted to Reach Poetry September 2017
Published Reach 229 October 2017
and in Beneath the Blue Bridge Anthology VRWG 2018


Winter Beech

The beach trees were shining gold
suddenly the white flakes came
the dropping temperature plunging
the garden into silent white

but still the blackbirds flew
seeking sustenance among stalks
of newly planted shrubs peeking
from above the winter’s path.

I watch them from above
sealed by a screen of glass
remembering snow in another garden
far away in time and place.

Carolyn O’Connell
December 2017



Finding your love

Hidden in your briefcase I found this poem
I’d written it to you as a gift on our Silver Wedding Day
never knowing you’d kept it perhaps read it
as you travelled to work, I never knew!

When I found I cried, for you had died.
We will never celebrate another anniversary
for you are gone and I am packing memories
into the box, and the box of my heart.


Two dozen summers, springs and falls
each season’s change we’ve seen
their promise, glory; gleaning we have known
and winter’s chills did feel.

Where they went I do not know
they passed – as turning tides,
yet you have made the Maytime years
a chain of sparkling blossoms picked
morning fresh as for a bride.

Whether we reach a haven like that depicted here
or destined we remain
within the city’s hassle, its struggle or domain,
I have, with the dew dropped blossom
you’ve given with the years, a haven
secret in my heart to hold my love with you.

A tall strong son with manly grace
a daughter to enchant,
are blessings that we offer to
a future still in dark.
If no more we lie beneath bright stars
as in our courting days – it matters not
for creaking limbs need duvet’s down to play.

To Silver and Gold let go –
with courage and our love
may God’s grace keep us close my love
His blessings still to know.

So with me here beside you
let’s celebrate our date….This Anniversary of Our Wedding Day. Carolyn O’Connell
Submitted to Reach Poetry 5/9/2017 Published Reach Poetry 232 Jan 2018

Raised Hands

Over oceans of ideas, cultures, and countries
raised hands rise to support, supplant
the rulers whether democrats, dictators
oligarchs they face each other for a time
then time rolls on fading them into
sepia images rattling history.

They leave a thread of wounds and horror
littering the globe with tears, mourning hands
uplifted, pleading for justice, return of lands
even from long forgotten graves they rise:

but the hands unnoticed rise to comfort
from hearts torn in silent breasts
calling in deeds of kindness to the outcast
defying the power of the tyrant unopposed.

Carolyn O’Connell
March 2018

Published on the Be Zine .com 16 April 2018

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

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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