Poetry Blog by Ian Whiteley

The Song Of Trees

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The Song Of Trees


They sat here,

back in nineteen seventeen,

beneath my caring arms.

I kept the August sun

from their fevered brows

as piece by piece

they pulled themselves



Their stories made me weep


from sy...

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Safety Off

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Safety Off


The FBI and the CIA got ‘em

Good ‘ol boys in the KKK got ‘em

Even Doris Day got ‘em

But it don’t make ‘em safe


Kids in their daddies cars got ‘em

Rednecks in Dallas bars got ‘em

Sheriffs with tin stars got ‘em

But it don’t make ‘em safe


The white and black and brown got’ em

Old folks in mid-west town’s got ‘em

Even the Whitehouse clown got...

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gun lawright to bear armsshootingusa


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fat man

has an apple

picks a worm

from its flesh

and sticks it

on a hook


hangs the rod

over the river

casts the line

into the water

tugs a little



the bait

glints in sunlight


in the water

silver sliver

whispers “feed”


all the little fishes



round the worm

in the swirling


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The Devil Don't Own Me

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The Devil Don’t Own Me


He may have saluted the corrupted cross

In Hitler’s Germany,

or whispered to Judas Iscariot,

hanging from a tree,

he could have pulled the trigger finger

back in nineteen sixty three,

he may own the soul of rock and roll

but the Devil don’t own me.


He may pollute the air we breath

or the raging, deep blue, sea.

He may breath on pola...

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DevilpoliticsSelling Your SoulSoulTory

Today's News Game

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Today’s News Game


The woman who read the news smiled

and got excited by the prospect

of what was to come.


He proudly watched over

the seeds that he had sewn

in the name of his culture.


She said

“Don’t point that thing at me,

I had enough of it last time”.


They watched on with blank faces

and clapped in the right places

and some were secretly ...

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After The Storm

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After The Storm


Not long after the downpour,

steam dragged itself

from the sheen of cobbles

in an effort to reach

the tiny rainbows

bouncing for the sun.


There was a wet smell in the air,

like the heaving body of a wolf

dying on a riverbank,

choking on its own blood

after the arrow

had pierced its throat.


The deep rumble of thunder


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climaxhotlove metaphorstormwet

Passchendaele (RE-POST)

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[Here's a poem I originally blogged in 2014 with a link to the audio I produced for it on Soundcloud - it is a collection of 8 haikus]


Blind, wide open, eyes.

Dripping poppy petal tears.

Crimson rivers flow.


Fields transformed to mud.

Deep cut trenches scar the earth.

Wounds that will not heal.


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Next Years Model

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Next Years Model


She smiled a permanent beguiling smile

And welcomed me with open arms

I kissed her cold red lips

And stared deep into her black eyes

Ran my fingers over perfect curves

Licked her and prayed she wouldn’t rust


I felt the steady pulse of her beat

Charged to the max

Until her age

Caused her to drain away

More quickly than I wanted

And she ...

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Lost & Found (And Other Myths)

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Lost & Found (And Other Myths)


She couldn’t bloody find it

To fund the NHS

She swore that it was mythical

When the schools were in a mess


She claimed it was a commie myth

And we would all be broke

If we continued looking for it

And believed that beardy bloke.


She laughed at those economists

Who said we should fund community

If the country just believ...

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Dark Tower

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Dark Tower


Like something from a gothic horror

This is not the way it’s meant to be

Pain and hurt crumbling from unsafe structures

And falling on the governments neglect

Because they’re poor

Because they’re vulnerable

Because they’re ‘not like us’


Souls lost to the flames

That crawled over short cuts

Or worse – over incompetence

Licked around the money ma...

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This Flower

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This Flower


We were alive

And how we blazed

With youthful potential

You will never forget our scent

The way the sunlight caught us growing

The way we settled together

With your messages of hope and strength

Writ large and defiant with remembrance

The way the dew fell from us

Like teardrops on a northern street

Each of us unique

Drawn together

Into a sing...

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The Mayfly Dance

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The Mayfly Dance


It snowed on Christmas Eve

Nineteen Seventy Six

But that was later.


Earlier we had all met up

In our favourite student pub

Everyone under age and eager


The girls in cheesecloth shirts

And tight fitting Levis

The boys sporting long hair and moustaches


We didn’t look Seventeen

As we chose the jukebox plays

Of Zeppelin, Skynyrd ...

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christmas kissfirst lovelessons learnedone night stand


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Went away one day


On the moors

Where every swell and dip

Looks like every other


Counted to ten

Over and over

And over again


They looked in ditches

In the bleak mist

Of northern hills


Black shadowed coppers

Bobbies with grim features

That would stay with them

A lifetime


My mother cried

Never stopped looking



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child murdermoors murderssaddleworth moorThe missing

The Last Laugh

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The Last Laugh


You got caught out once,

sitting on the top deck of the bus

and gripping the metal bar

that ran across the top

of the seat in front.


He was bragging to his mates

and, although you couldn’t see his face,

you could see the dirty straw hair

and the muck ingrained in his neck

and you imagined him winking.


He turned round slowly,

looked ...

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bullyingchildhoodgrowingpay backthe last laugh

The Father's Curse

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The Father’s Curse


I am not  the man you used to be


the acorn falling softly

in the shade of your tree

raising ungrateful sons

to their own prosperity

fighting a war

so that others could be free

the nurturing of potential

that you swore you couldn’t see

expected to take root

and share your ancient symmetry

being a loving father

when it wasn’t m...

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This Book Is Bound In Leather And Writ In Blood

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This Book Is Bound In Leather And Writ In Blood


this book

leather bound

once soft skin cover

now weathered and beaten

into cracked and ancient hide

that smells of cedar wood


once tightly bound

now coming apart

at the seams

its pages yellowing with age

some dog-eared

well worn

with a tracing finger

on the memories


stuck together


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a lifebiographydeedsdiarylibrary of heavenrecording a life

Returning Home

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Returning Home


Will the birds sing in the garden

Will we go down to the sea

Will we build our castles of sand

Will there still be scones for tea


Will my father still be smoking

Will he jog me on his knee

Will summer days still last forever

Will there still be scones for tea


Will we dream of great adventures

Will westerns still be on TV

Will we sit ar...

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familyheavenlast daysnostalgiareturn homewishing

Bag Of Bones

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Bag Of Bones


Please let me introduce myself -

my name is Billy Jones.

You might know me better

as that useless bag of bones

that gets under your feet

when you’re staring at your phones,

planning all your creature comforts

on extortionate pay day loans.

Well I was once like you my friend,

I haven’t always been alone

huddled up in corners

where the autumn lea...

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despairhomelessnessrichpixwe shall overcome

The Devil On My Right Shoulder

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The Devil On My Right Shoulder


it might be snowing outside

if I could be bothered

a girl with red lipstick

could be kissing my cheek

the sky could be filled

with ants on the wing

silver fish

darting in foam

at the foot of a black mountain

we could be counting stars

riding a Ferris wheel

licking sweat

from thighs of gold

the days could last

for week...

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Soldier's Box

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Soldier’s Box


Wooden box




Brass bullet casing


Flakes of tobacco



Grains of sand

Sepia tinted photograph


And pith helmets


Soldiers Service

And Pay book

Will unwritten

Will not needed


Nib encrusted

Fountain pen

Brass button

Coloured ribbon


Yellowed letters

Ink a faded blue


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ghost brother

ghost sister



two years before


unable to fight anymore

they gave up their tiny breath

to history


she never spoke of them

in anything but love and memory

of what could have

should have been


never tripping

over regrets

at what came after



my brother

our family


they had names for th...

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Old Romantic

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Old Romantic


The roses gave her hay fever,

the chocolates made her fat,

if I were to believe her

that would be the end of that.

She complained the wine was bitter

and the card was over priced,

my verse didn’t raise a titter

‘cos it wasn’t very nice.

The lingerie was far too tight,

misunderstood agendas,

I looked a proper sight

in the stockings and suspender...

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commercialismloveold romanticover ratedvalentines day

Silenus In The Brewery Tap

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Silenus In The Brewery Tap


light fights its way

across a peeling window frame

and crashes lazily

upon a dark wooden table

where a man sits

stooped by work and alcohol

so that he seems

to stare for guidance in a pint pot

that stands half consumed

while froth slides down its sides


street noise scrabbles

to overcome the slow whumpwhump of a ceiling fan


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brewerydrinkingdrunkfriday afternoongod of beerlonely


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I’m a snowflake mate

if you like


beautiful crystal

joining others

in a blizzard

that will white out

your false politics

stop your momentum

as we drift

into insurmountable

impassable glaciers

and in an avalanche

of hope

bury you forever


I’m a snowflake mate

whether you like it or not


a few




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brexitclaim backprotestresistsnowflaketrump


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When we were young

we raged against the storm

biting at our hormones,

engulfing our senses

and our sensibilities.


The deep penetrating

oxblood on our

Doctor Martin boots


to an indignant sheen.


Pre-conditioner hair,

split ends and acne,

Shredded Wheat moustache.

A groove worn on the chin

by pondering fingers.


Myopic ...

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Gave Me Up To Tears

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Gave Me Up To Tears


"And all my mother came into mine eyes
And gave me up to tears."
— William Shakespeare, Henry V


The air tastes of mashed potatoes

When she looks into your eyes

And you look back at the fear and hurt

And she says she’s sorry for dragging you here

And you tell her it’s nothing

Even though you were complaining

That very same thing on the drive h...

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Saint Hate

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Saint Hate


The day he prayed to Saint Hate

was the day he lost his soul,

spat blood on the pavement,

pissed on the homeless,

broke bones for fun.


The day he prayed to Saint Hate

he surrendered his humanity,

lit a candle to the little god

who sat upon his shoulder

adding weight to the chip.


The day he prayed to Saint Hate

he put on the white hood,


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Down In The Hole

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Down In The Hole


I was sixteen, they threw me down the hole,

I stood in darkness, breathing in the dust

while learning who I could and couldn’t trust

in this black new empire of worm and mole.

My dad said it was this life or the dole -

if our family was to earn a crust

then I would have to work until I bust

and sacrifice ambition, heart and soul.

Years of hardship f...

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Forsaking Auld Lang Syne

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Forsaking Auld Lang Syne


The city centre puddles

reflect fireworks in the sky

whilst stripped

Christmas wrapping paper

soaks up the deluge

like a homeless sleeping bag.


Dustbins overflow with leftovers

oiled with greasy greed.


A bottle of wine splatters against

the multi-storey car park wall,

vomited from the throat

of opulence at midnight.



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Recent Comments

Simon King on The Song Of Trees (Mon, 23 Oct 2017 09:23 pm)

Frances Macaulay Forde on Safety Off (Fri, 20 Oct 2017 05:20 am)

Harry O'Neill on Safety Off (Mon, 16 Oct 2017 03:38 pm)

Graham Sherwood on Safety Off (Mon, 16 Oct 2017 01:49 pm)

ray on Safety Off (Mon, 16 Oct 2017 10:49 am)

Karen Ankers on Bait (Fri, 29 Sep 2017 10:05 am)

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Colin Hill on Bait (Wed, 27 Sep 2017 08:14 am)

Hannah Collins on Passchendaele (RE-POST) (Sun, 17 Sep 2017 12:09 pm)

M.C. Newberry on The Devil Don't Own Me (Tue, 12 Sep 2017 05:44 pm)

LEON STOLGARD on The Devil Don't Own Me (Mon, 11 Sep 2017 06:45 pm)

Hannah Collins on The Devil Don't Own Me (Mon, 11 Sep 2017 02:31 pm)

Mishael-Checed Michael- Sanda on Today's News Game (Mon, 4 Sep 2017 10:54 pm)


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