Poetry Blog by Neil West

Recent Comments

Stu Buck on What Monster? (Fri, 19 Jun 2015 03:10 pm)

Jeff Dawson on a list of last things (Mon, 17 Mar 2014 07:54 pm)

Rose Casserley on a list of last things (Sat, 15 Mar 2014 07:57 pm)

Dave Bradley on snow (Wed, 5 Mar 2014 10:43 pm)

Yvonne Brunton on feeling the pinch (Sun, 20 Jan 2013 12:36 pm)

Margaret Holbrook on ghost trains - reposted (Sun, 5 Aug 2012 09:07 am)

Margaret Holbrook on Ghost Train (Tue, 17 Jul 2012 09:08 pm)

Chris Co on Tough Love (Wed, 28 Dec 2011 05:43 pm)

Dave Bradley on Tough Love (Wed, 21 Dec 2011 09:03 pm)

Shirley Smothers on I Couldn't Care Less (Wed, 21 Dec 2011 03:27 pm)

the wordsmith

wild words he grasps

plucked from the air

thrust in the forge

he holds them there

 white with heat

as beat on beat

thought and perspiration meet

 quenched with ink

and fixed in lines

they once ran wild

but now combine

to tell tall tales

at hearts they tug

they soar and sail

and hate and love

hold a mirror

light the dark

tell the truth

make thei...

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What Monster?

Just a bit of fun, these poems are used in my work as part of a project using monsters as a way of inspiring young people to share an enthusiasm for writing. Can you identify the six mystery monsters?


More than just the sum of his parts

this monster stole another's heart

and his hands and feet as well

not much is his as you can tell

his head is screwed on firmly

by the bolts...

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children's poetrymonstersNeil Westyouth

the lost property paradox (true story)

just before the lesson
to the horror of the youth
he discovered his shorts were missing
to the master should he tell the truth?
to come to school without full kit
the boy knew all too well
would leave him deeply in the…er…teacher’s bad books
and more than just a bit!
a flash of inspiration struck
‘I’ve lost my shorts, ’ he ‘fessed
‘in lost property can I look?’
his teacher feigned distr...

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a list of last things

last man standing
last year I gave you my heart
save the last waltz for me
a bit last season
(already in the bargain bin)
last stop
(everybody off)
last orders at the bar
in the last chance saloon
(time gentlemen please)
the last long goodbye
last will and testament
last rights
for a dying man
struggling to utter
make sense of the clutter
among the gathering shadows
in the attic o...

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moonlight on white snow settled

Thanks Dave for your ideas, I've worked the original up into more of a finished piece but still welcome advice. I'll let you know after the event on Friday how the young people responded to the challenge...

in soft  silvery silence
fresh footsteps show in the glow
animals shelter in cosy homes
beneath branches crystal encrusted

who has left their trail
on this pristine path of piping

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I'm leading a poetry workshop for young people aged 7-11 soon and they have asked for snow as a theme. I wanted to encourage some more ambitious writing and avoid too many of the clichés often associated with this subject. I thought I might use the following lines to encourage discussion about when and where their poems may be set and from what point of view the landscape may be onseved. I would w...

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feeling the pinch

inspired by a brilliant accidental radio remark



families living in poverty?

no one lives in poverty now

me dad was killed in the mines in ‘49

me mum had to bring up seven of us on next to nowt

I was talking with another old boy

about how tough it was in our day

how easy these young folks ‘ave it now

‘I know, ‘ ‘e says, ‘if you was cold when I w...

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ghost trains - reposted

Thanks Margaret and especially Anthony for your kind words of support and helpful advice. Please find the revised version of ghost trains posted below...


break the seal of brick built tombs

musty, dusty, rust filled rooms

stand vacant now

workshop clock stopped

on some distant afternoon

no longer marking minutes




they slip by stil...

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Ghost Train

I hope to use this (and other poems to come) as part of a heritage project with youngsters. This particular poem will be used to inspire an exploration of the history of Horwich Loco Works. I would appreciate a bit of critical feedback before I unleash it on an unsuspecting public! Thanks.


The long, brick built workshop

Stands empty now

The full arched windows stare blankly


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It's not poetry but I thought you might like to know what I've been up to for the last few months...

Since September 3 Bolton schools and 1 from Wigan  have been participating in Artspeak, an exciting combined arts project inspired by my novel ‘Holly the Freak’. In addition to enriching the literacy curriculum in these schools the project has empowered young people, developed their ta...

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Tough Love


He might be dirty and he might smell bad

He begs for your money and it makes you mad

But who is the better of the two?

I’m sorry, it ain’t you

There goes the grace of God

And you are found wanting

You’re selfish, greedy and manipulating

Even though you’re rich and full to bursting

You still despise a man with nothing

Would you sooner see him starve?


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I Couldn't Care Less

I don’t give a damn about whales

Elephants? Not my prime concern

Pollution may be rising in the sea

And in the air

But I really don’t care


Where disease is rife

And children live on the streets

Squalid lives are spent

There’s war but no relief

But I really don’t care


Soon we’ll all be buried beneath

Piles of our own waste

Chasing the n...

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Danger Rides Abroad Tonight


All was black outside the inn

As night winds howled in pain

And rattled at the chimney pots

And whistled through the grate


Inside the inn all shut up tight

The fire had burned down low

And huddled by the candlelight

A few lost souls had yet to go


The night was foul, rain beat down

The wind lifted the eaves

It was a long walk into town


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Hearts of Darkness

There’s darkness at the heart of our society

An apple growing rotten from the core

A challenge to our middle class propriety

Our sense of self is changed for evermore

From tower blocks and city slums there crept

An underclass, the young and disaffected

While we in our complacency have slept

Thinking we were by the police protected

Like memories of the blitz our c...

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Ex Tenebris Lux *

 Oh let the Darkness sleep

For fear of that which lies

Beneath the earth so deep

Be still and hear its sighs

The hunger makes it yearn

To taste your very soul

Towards the light it turns

As doleful death knell tolls


Oh let the Darkness sleep

As it has for these long years

A harvest shall it reap

Drawn by cascading tears

The wheel of time stil...

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Nation in a State - free download

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Hi, I have just revised my collection 'Nation in a State' to include author's notes and some of my early work. It is available from www.lulu.com as a free download. If anyone has time to have a look I'd love to know what you think.

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It’s gone on for a while

The Punch and Judy politics

Of a long term relationship


Clearly I’m right

But still we debate the issues

Ever more public

And still poles apart

Opinion divided

Both want a fresh start

But down to the line

We settle the terms

And in coalition

Amity returns


But soon the cracks show…

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Never Strikes Twice

While making a cup of tea

And looking at the kettle

I was led to dwell on the magic of electricity

Factory farmed lightning

Caged in a flex

And remembered the advice

My mother always gave

To never stand under a tree

During a thunderstorm


With hindsight

I tend to think

She could have offered some advice

That would have been more useful

On a day to day basis


On the other hand


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The Ballade of David Keller

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(A bit of spooky fun for Halloween - whooooo!)








It was innocent youth he left behind

Grown up experience that he sought

To go and see the world was on his mind

Feeling that his time was growing short

The best way being, or so he thought

From Portsmouth harbour to set sail and so

An ageing merchant vessel was caught

Away he went to see his English home no more


He soo...

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Cry Me A River

Cry me a river

Sing me a song

Fire me an arrow

To the centre of the sun

Climb me a mountain

Make me a king

Grant me three wishes

And I'll do anything

From the deepest of oceans

A pearl you must bring

Be my inspiriation

Of your beauty I'll sing

Laugh when my jokes aren't funny

Find a dream we can share

Say you'll never leave me

That you'll always be there


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Mid Life Crisis


There comes a time in every life

When you take stock of what you have done

And decide what things make up your mind


You turn the lights up high

Dark corners are laid bare

No sleeping dog is allowed to lie


And each of you must confront

In no uncertain terms

Those things that you most fear


Thus will you see the chances are

The things you most dread

Are those you yourself set f...

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An Anti-Love Poem


An empty promise

An idle boast

These are the things

We hear the most

Yet we still hold each one dear

And keep them close to our hearts

Our emotional charade

Is an attempt to stay close

To those that we love

And would hope still love us

We don’t want the truth

Because the truth hurts

Rather fill our ears with platitudes

Than stare at us from shallow eyes

And tell us you don’t real...

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re poems about historical figures

I read the discussion about the lack of poems about historical figures started by dave with interest. I'll kick things off, I went through a bit of a historical phase at one time...

Nzinga Queen of Matamba


Oh glorious Nzinga, Ndongo’s royal princess

What indignity thou has suffered

Under Portugal’s cruel colonial rule

Yet you would not lie down nor be a slave

Instead building a new glorio...

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Home Front (part 4)

Thank you for sticking with me, if you read this it's going to be some time before I post anything new, from start to finish with a bit of a break this has taken quite a while! I would love to organise a performance but I've no idea how to go about it, I imagine a friendly pub on a winter's evening, log fire casting shadows on the walls, a pint, obviously, beyond that I've no idea - anyone help?


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Home Front (part 3)


Act 2

From the darkness...

WAR:                       Though I think big in truth I have

                                The eye of an artist so it is said

                                An eater of worlds I can be

                                Or a death of flies instead


                                No conflict is too small

                                To attract my foul int...

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Home Front (part 2)

STRONGARM:       This man is from the East? Bravo I say

                                A lesson shall be learned from this! Hooray!

                                He should have fled our country long ago

                                We must allow our youth time to play

                                Before they enter into battle’s fray

                                Let them enjoy thei...

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Home Front (part 1)

 First of all Iwould like to apologise for the length of this entry, in print it runs to over 30 pages so I understand if you don't want to read it. I've only been able to post the first part herebut if people want to read the rest I can publish it in parts I guess. I confess that the poems I have posted here so far are older poems. I wanted to get a feel for the material on the site and build a f...

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I do apologise, I seem to be having something of an identity crisis.

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Happy is the Bride on Whom the Sun Shines

She, a shimmering vision of pearl and ivory

With grace walked up the aisle most dignified

To place her hand in mine and lift the veil

She radiated beauty warm and pure

Her smiles, like sun kissed rays, were heaven sent

To drive away the clouds of apprehension

With vows expressed and rings exchanged

We two embraced on this our wedding day

And in her hand she held the brittle shell

That is ...

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Et Vera Incessu Patuit Dea*


It was with such passion I was touched
And ran headlong into such lands
The like of which I'd never known
Emotions strong rose forth unbridled
An immature, impetuous youth
Thought long confined took flight once more
Caring not for truth, nor what was real
Rather seeing what he would, and hearing
What was never said, at least outside the confines
Of some beautiful envisioned realm.

A perfect jewel unflawe...

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The Crimson King


The Crimson King with cloak of blood

Struts across the killing floor

His face a mask of agony

His flesh much scarred and smeared with gore

His broken bones bleached by the sun

Protrude through skin now parchment thin

His eyes are sunken and gone black

He pays eternal for his sin


He once was young and once was fair

Stood tall and smart in glinting gold

A godlike man with power to wi...

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The Fantom Locusta


Something a bit different...


Into the realms of Fear and Hate
A hooded horseman rode alone
To face a foe more terrible
Than any he had known before

Soaked to the skin by driving rain
And chilled right to his bones
hunched he clung onto his steed
Held in his hand a mighty bow

Across a landscape lightning lit
Lamenting peals of thunder rolled
Striking terror in a hero's heart
And with each step he grew ...

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The Last Ham Sandwich


He rode home filled with silent apprehension
Not knowing what he was supposed to feel
They'd broke the news without consideration
He found it hard believing all was real
'Your mother's dead boy,' rang the master's voice,
'Go home, you're needed by your family.'
And so he went, it seemed he had no choice
A journey home, made not so happily
As those he'd made on other ordinary days
He stared through hollo...

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Dignum Laude Virum Musa Vetat Mori*



The first rays of light crept hopefully about

Casting their prying fingers in and out

Of long night time shadows, forcing them

To slink like nocturnal beasts revealed

Into remote corners and crevices unseen

As day followed night the light fell full length

Upon a dusty window pane shut tight

Made grimy by neglect and marching time

It struggled and yet finally did pass through

To cut ...

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Et vera icessu patuit dea

I have recently stated how difficult I think it is to write effectively about beautiful things. Perhaps this is my best effort.
"Et vera icessu patuit dea"*
It was with such passion I was touched
And ran headlong into such lands
The like of which I'd never known
Emotions strong rose forth unbridled
An immature, impetuous youth
Thought long confined took flight once more
Caring not for truth, nor ...

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Two Sides to Every Story

I saw you the first time

My heart skipped a beat

First love from a distance

I knew we must meet


I brought you fine diamonds

Rubies and pearls

To light up your smile

Was all my heart yearned


You took all I gave you

To me you gave nought

Tenderness and love

From others you sought


And so broken hearted

I'm left on the shelf

By a cold hearted ice queen

Obsessed with herself



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The Mask of Unity

The Mask of Anarchy rides out once more

And leads his troops to clear the killing floor

His crocodile tears are shed from glassy screens

And fall like neon gemstones, subtly guided

To dash out the brains of fleeing refugees

'We are the agents of peace!' twisted words are cried

'This action will not cease!' bombs fall from the sky

In this slaughter of the innocents who must die

In order tha...

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Hold me in your fragile arms once more

A tear, a touch, a kind word

softly spoken

And then, with you,

My love passed away

Into a dark envelope

Of stillness

Of silence

The world flickered past

Uncaring and unfeeling

Hazy and dreamlike

Not real to me until

I lay you gently down to rest

And I yearn for you

To hold me in your fragile arms

Once more.

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