Poetry Blog by Tim Ellis

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M.C. Newberry on No Deal (Wed, 7 Aug 2019 04:27 pm)

Don Matthews on No Deal (Wed, 7 Aug 2019 08:27 am)

Tim Ellis on No Deal (Wed, 7 Aug 2019 07:14 am)

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Tim Ellis on Nothing else matters (Wed, 23 Jan 2019 02:50 pm)

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Don Matthews on Dry January (Tue, 15 Jan 2019 02:55 pm)

Tim Ellis on One sandwich short (Tue, 6 Nov 2018 10:40 pm)

jennifer Malden on One sandwich short (Mon, 5 Nov 2018 06:18 pm)

No Deal

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Where does the buck stop when a backstop blocks the options in a break-up?

Haystack Haircut got the top slot, 

guns the juggernaut 

plum at the cliff-top.

Metal on metal, the brake shoes squeal.

An utter nut-job’s at the wheel,

no air-bag and no seat belts. 


No Deal.


The new Prime Minister Boris Johnson 

says the EU’s spouting nonsense,

digging in their ...

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Dry January

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I came to in a sickbed on January the 1st,

bowels on fire, tongue and tonsils stinking,

jackhammers splitting my skull. It was the worst

hangover on record in all history of drinking.


That agony was nothing to my suffering now

for in a fit of penance,  a superfluity

of over reaction, I swore a solemn vow

that the year will kick off with a dry January.


Dry January!...

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One sandwich short

he's one sandwich short of a picnic

he's two cards shy of a deck
he’s lost in the woods
he’ll never come good

he’s burnt out, a gibbering wreck

he's mostly away with the fairies

his ship is on the rocks
his nerves are shot
the man is not

the sharpest tool in the box

they say that he's not the full shilling

and he's got no gas in the tank
he's no flipping use
he's got a s...

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Nothing else matters

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Every single day I get a torrent in my inbox:

online communities that crave my support

with a signature, a letter, a donation to unlock

a Saudi prison cell; save turtles; alert

a smug politician to the suffering of the needy;

grant safe asylum to desperate refugees;

liberate wealth from the clutches of the greedy;

or restrict global warming to one point five degrees.

I wann...

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climateclimate change

Guisecliff Crag, August

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Where the fragrant heather moorland borders

wildwood, by the crags above the river,

the harebells and last fading heads of clover

nod themselves to sleep in drowsy August.

The ling is now full-on and tightly ordered

spikes of tiny flowers blanket over

the landscape like an Emperor’s purple toga

swathed across the heights, but thrice more gorgeous.

The fated grouse may look ...

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100 Reasons to Plant a Tree

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Add them up and there must be 
one hundred reasons to plant a tree: 

The buds of May inlaid with dew.           1 
The verdure of the summer leaves.       2 
Winter twigs -a filigree                           3 
against the sky’s gunmetal hue. 
Refreshing shade when days are hot,   4  
and autumn colours -red and gold.        5 
Rot down leaves to make leafmould      6 
and mulch it rou...

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Accidents Will Happen

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For all the aging punks . With apologies to Elvis Costello.


Oh I just don't know where to begin:

we don't want it forever

so it's now or never.

We should keep them hanging on

till the investors have gone

and make sure they can’t get in

without a police chaperone.




Because accidents will happen

if we let the frackers win

and we’ll all be the vi...

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elvis costelloEnvironmentfrackingspoof song


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all my troubles seemed so far away

then Third Energy came to say

that my house sits on Bowland Shale. 



mine’s not half the house it used to be.

There's an earthquake rolling under me

triggered by Third Energy.


How they messed up so 

I don’t know

they did not say.

They did something wrong 

now a pong 

comes from the mains.



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Where Are The Skydancers?

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I set off on a ramble through the Forest of Bowland

binoculars at the ready, a bird book to hand.

I hope to see some species that don't breed in the lowlands,

hen harriers and short eared owls, quartering the land.  

My list has pipits, crows and jackdaws,

grouse in surplus but no raptors.

I tick off golden plover, curlew and wheatear

but where are the skydancers? 


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Mercedes Benz

with apologies to Janis Joplin


Oh Lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz.

Ma friends are all truck drivers ah must make amends

by blowin' clouds of black smoke from ma supercharged back end.

Oh Lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz.


Oh Lord won't you fiddle me the exhaust test readin's down

so ah can poison ma neighbors as ah drive around,

belchin' nitrous oxide all a...

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Janis JoplinMercedes BenzPollution

The End of May

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June will be the end of May!

The 9th will be a celebration day.

We'll dance in the streets of the whole U.K.

Let's make June the end of May!


When she came no one expected

she'd hit us with a rock hard Brexit,

so show the lady to the exit.

Let's make June the end of May!


June will be the end of May!

We'll halt the NHS decay

and give the nurses proper pay.


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The Happiest Place

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I scan the paper and I'm smitten
by a headline: someone's written
"The happiest place to live in Britain
is here in Harrogate."

I sip my fresh brewed Yorkshire Tea,
gaze at the Stray where glorious trees
ripple sedately in the breeze
and I wonder "What's so great?"

Every town surely has beds filled with flowers,
a grand Turkish Bath with a dome and towers,
mineral springs and clean w...

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A Call To Peace

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Let's unite in peace and make a plan:
a wily plan of mutual respect
to counteract the hatred in this man.
Let's do everything he won't expect!

We won't let goads and bigotry divide us
- let's evoke what World War II has taught us.
Don't let's patronise - let women guide us
when he slights our mothers, sisters, daughters.

And when he flays the vulnerable with derision 
let's answer bac...

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President Trump has control of the nuclear trigger

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They're building a wall on the border.
They question which God you revere.
The military men have their orders
to weed out the liberals and queers.
The nation is ravaged with violence.
His critics are seeking asylum.

The U.S. lies in ruin - go figure 
why the wider world is gripped with fear:
President Trump has control of the nuclear trigger.

He's ripped up the free trade agreements...

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donald trumpnuclear war

Why Do Poets Like Autumn?

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For Andy Humphrey, with respect.


Because there's poignant glory in decay.
Because each burst of light may be the last.
Because the rusting hasp on dwindling days
grants access to new treasures from the past.

Because of gold and rubies on the boughs.
Because the bitter apple crop has sweetened.
Because we broke our backs in June but now
the leeks we broke our backs for may be eaten...

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Let the Bone-Fire Burn!

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I'm speaking and performing some poems tomorrow in Manchester after a march as part of both the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos, and 100 Thousand Poets for Change. If you'd like to take part we're assembling in All Saints Park, Manchester at 11.30am. Or look on the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos website, and there may be something going on in a city near where you are. I've written th...

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A Message to the New Government

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The nation needs renewables now!
The nation needs renewables now!

As Once-great Britain takes a bow
and we leave the stage of the European Union,
the quintessential issue's the quandary how
we accommodate the suck of an economy consuming 
two thousand million megawatt hours 
of climate wrecking energy by the year
when there's finite reserves of fossil fuel power.
I spurn the allegation ...

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Last Night

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Last night was more than anyone could bear.
Last night they plunged a dagger into Yorkshire,
approving plans to poison land, to fracture 
the ground beneath our feet, to choke the air.

Four thousand people sent in their objections.
A hundred speakers warned what could occur.
But seven County Councillors didn't care
and kicked North Yorkshire in the wrong direction:

a course that leads ...

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climate changefrackingPollutionYorkshire

Following the Money

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From the North Sea, wild and grey
the horde bore down on Scarborough Bay.
I overheard one of them say 
"We're following the money."

Like a Viking raiding force
they'd moved their enterprise onshore
to probe beneath the Yorkshire moors
for oil and gas and money.

A mighty fleet of high power cars
overran the Scarborough Spa.
I heard them, wassailing at the bar
thirsty for the money.


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A poem for Ashraf Fayadh

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Saudi courts, your rule of fear is finished
- the sentence on this poet negates your faith.
Your hollow incantation "God Is Great"
is plainly false if God can be diminished
by lines of verse. Should murder be admonished
to Ashraf Fayadh, forevermore his fate
will hold as evidence that you're afraid 
of poetry. Frankly I'm astonished:

astonished that a land so steeped in culture,
in li...

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Ashraf Fayadhatheismexecutionfree speechpoetpoetryreligionSaudi Arabia

God The Banana on Harrogate Alternative Radio

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You can listen to me reading the first hour of my epic sonnet-novel "God The Banana" on this internet radio show. It's in 3 sections interspersed with some very good music. Enjoy!


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Lagoons of sadness

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Cracked mud.  Black trees.  Dead grasslands.

Vast lagoons reduced to puddles.

Jungle Babblers scuff  beside the pathways.

A few ducks dabble.


But I remember Bharatpur before,

in ‘89 - the wetlands shimmering.

A haunt of Sarus Crane and Painted Stork

where duck counts peaked in millions,


and how a young man stood here once,  bedazzled

by dancing cranes and divin...

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Tom's last poem

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I’m sheltering in the hole made by a tree 
which must have been knocked down sometime today. 
Its torn-up roots are angled over me, 
keeping off the force-ten gale’s melee. 
It’s sixteen weeks now since my gruesome sighting 
-a de-horned unicorn with pecked-out eyes 
beside a road. The poems I was writing 
I printed off and posted for a prize, 
and now I rove and doss down in the dark 

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Rhino swansong

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Stuff yourselves you rakish apes, carousing, 
smashed on greenhouse gases, with your gross 
physiques ensconced on barstools turned from trees 
that we’d depended on for shade and browsing. 

You looked on us as merchandise. A horn. 
Mindless hulks. You gunned us down, despising 
I rhinos for existing whilst espousing 
reverence for the fabled unicorn. 

Mince us up! We’d make your quart...

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carbonclimate changeextinctionrhino

Access weekend

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iPod plugged, young Victor’s 
muttered not a word since my divorce. 
Grace is up front. She carps, 
“Dad, why d’you drive this Chelsea Tractor?” 
Thinks she’s going to save the world of course 
since reading a bit of ecology for GCSE. 
I hang a left and bark, 
“You think I never cared? You’ll see!” 

My big Land Cruiser cruises 
country lanes through blizzards of thistle-down. 
The car-...

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Noah was a modern man

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When oceans rose and ice-caps ran 
like rain, Old Noah made a plan. 
-a cunning plan you’d marvel at 
which could’ve saved the world, save that 
Noah was a modern man. 

His ark’s small size compelled a ban 
on lions and tigers. Of that clan 
he rescued just his pussy-cat, 
when oceans rose. 

And when the global flush began, 
Old Noah was nature’s daftest fan. 
He gave deck-space to ...

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I’ve left my clomping prints on every shore 
since Africa was Eden in my youth. 
The sand will bear my dent for evermore. 

I chewed-up gum-trees with my baby jaw 
and bit the dry red heart with my first tooth. 
I’ve left my clomping prints on every shore. 

Europe roused my growing thirst for war. 
Her spirit fired me up, one hundred proof. 
The sand will bear my dent for evermore. 


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climateEarthenvironmentHomo sapienshumanityplanetvillanelle

The frog maker

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There’s gift-stalls galore outside the wild and hilly

Monteverde Forest. I buy a saffron

amphibian, sculpted in glass, from the guy that crafts them.

“What species is it?” I ask. His smile goes chilly.

“Is Golden Toad. He no more around.”

He knew them as a boy and recounts the thrilling

jackpot glitter of frogs in the fern-leaf frilly

puddles of April that made their spawning ...

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climate changecloud forestCosta Ricaextinctionfroggolden toadMonteverde


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Buy this planet!  *slightly damaged

When it’s gone it’s gone.


It’s a massive,  one-off sale sensation.

Conservation?  Don’t be conned!

We’ve got the whole world for exploitation!

When it’s gone it’s gone.


Buy this beautiful hardwood foot-rest!

Timber sourced from the Amazon:

the world’s grea...

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climate changeenvironmenthistoryplanetsale

One hundred reasons to plant a tree

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Add them up and there must be 
one hundred reasons to plant a tree: 

The buds of May inlaid with dew.           1 
The verdure of the summer leaves.       2 
Winter twigs -a filigree                           3 
against the sky’s gunmetal hue. 
Refreshing shade when days are hot,   4  
and autumn colours -red and gold.        5 
Rot down leaves to make leafmould      6 
and mulch it rou...

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This bird

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Look at this thing, this gruesome thing, this shake-off from the slick.

A car mechanic’s rag, a bag of bile, a doodling hand that drags

a biro clot of crudeness up the beach.

This foul-up. This bird. This broken component of our world.

Then look at that: a flesh gorged kite, circling

while cluster bombs slake a starving nation’s soil.

America’s pin puckered vein, the fight for th...

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C-R-A-P World Holidays

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I’m looking for a holiday. 
I’m surfing on the internet. 
I want a little getaway, 
a place I haven’t been yet. 
I hit on this site 
-‘s got lovely colour photos, 
the prices are all right, 
there’s lotsa countries you can go. 
It’s called: Culturerelaxationandadventurepackageworld.com. Culturerelaxationandadventurepackageworld.com 
That’s C-R-A-P-World dot com. 

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climate changeextinctionholidaysPollution

No Warning

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Chipper people,  old and young,
making the most of the evening sun,
sucking death into their lungs
beneath a high street awning:

Formerly sociable,  carousers and clubbers
but outcast now,  they croon one another
with raucous gurgles of bronchial slobber
and carcinomas forming.

A message made to catch the eye
is emblazoned on the packet’s side:
“Cigarettes gonna make you die!”
but t...

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Bankscarsclimate changeParis climate summitrecessionsmoking

Fracking Hell!

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North Yorkshire was a green and pleasant county 
with rolling hills and cricket on the green, 
and tourists by the score 
would come to see the moors, 
historic sites and charming rural scenes. 
And when they'd had their fill of nature's bounty 
they'd spend their cash at tearooms and hotels. 
But then some gas was found 
two miles beneath the ground; 
now Yorkshire has become a 


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climate changeFossil Energyfrackinggasyorkshire

Speak The Unspeakable

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Speak The Unspeakable


Hi, I'm called Tim. 

I’m writing this today

to make you all uncomfortable,

to rock your peace of mind.


I'm here to shock you,

here to mock your carbon hungry ways.

Expect no civil platitudes,

no reassuring lies.

I'm here to whack your attitudes,

dynamite your lassitude.

At times I'll be a little rude

- it's all for your own good!


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climate changeglobal warmingParis climate summit

How To Be A Denier

Claim yourself to be a fount of knowledge.
Claim that every scientist's a liar.
If you've done a course at any college 
you can be a certified denier.

Gather up those inconvenient facts
and twist them like they're bendy bits of wire.
Disseminating data needs great tact
but any fool can thrive as a denier.

Lobby for a mega corporation 
to push emission targets ever higher.
Easy work, ...

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climateclimate changeclimate change deniersdenial

Six Degrees

At one degree the western plains 
of the US will be starved of rain,
Bankrupted farmers will pack up and flee
as desert restakes its claim.
There'll be no ice cap on the Arctic,
we'll lose the rivers of Kilimanjaro,
and frost that keeps the Alps secure 
won't do it any more.
The Barrier Reef will bleach and die,
mountain animals will reach the sky
chasing the cool, and those that can't f...

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climate changeEarthEnvironmentFutureglobal warmingParis climate summit

God The Banana

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I've now published my epic verse-novel God The Banana. It's available in print on Amazon & on Kindle at http://www.amazon.co.uk/God-The-Banana-Tim-Ellis/dp/150317428X/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1417545504&sr=1-2

I posted the first two of the 437-sonnet story here a few weeks ago.  This is how it continues:


Many thousand sticks of incense smoulder

blueing the gloomy hall within t...

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The Prophet Of Amanga

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I've published a new ebook, and you can get it for free at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/489438

It's the first part of a trilogy called God The Banana, an epic verse-novel written as a sequence of 437 sonnets. Here's the first one:


Picture a diamond spinning against the dark,
flinging back the brilliance of a sun.
Move a little closer - you’ll be stunned
how lakes and oceans ...

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A new video

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I've made this great new video of the title poem of my free ebook.



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Ellisian Fields

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Although we stare until our eyes go fuzzy
nothing stirs,  no whisker,  not a nostril.
The pond has want of life but we live hopeful:
the fringing sedge is dense,  the water scuzzy
and these impediments can well excuse the
absence of movement.  At least we have a photo,
a snap displaying capybara profiles,
unmistakable if somewhat muzzy.

A quarter hour ago the pair revealed
their forms i...

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Poem for Nelson Mandela.

I expect everybody’s read enough Nelson Mandela poems by now,  but here’s mine anyway...


“What’s it got to do with us?”  refrained
my father when his boys
spurned the bottle of Cape Red plonk
he’d serve with Sunday roast.  Despite how it stained,
he’d never grasp our umbrage at his choice,
but Nelson’s cell was like a sunken rock
to which our teenage optimism was chained.

There se...

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ApartheidNelson Mandelapoem

New poetry video

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Here's an updated version of my promo video for my e-book. It's only a couple of minutes long - why not give it a viewing and award it a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down?  I'm selling the book to raise money for rhino conservation.


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On The Verge is on Kindle

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Great news! I've re-published my e-book On The Verge on Amazon, so you can now buy it direct from the Kindle store. As before, all profits go towards saving the Black Rhino. It's still available on Smashwords, and from all the e-book retailers I know of. Enjoy!   



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Half-price book!

I am giving fellow write out loud members an opportunity to buy my e-book On The Verge at half price.  Just enter this voucher code: SP58T on the Smashwords checkout page.


I am donating all my profits from sales of this book to a rhino conservation charity.

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The Spirit of the Road

This is the first poem in my new e-book On The Verge, which I am selling to raise money for a Black Rhino conservation project in Africa.  You can buy the book for under £2 here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/317217  and it can then be downloaded onto just about any computer, smart-phone, tablet or e-reader.

The Spirit of the Road.


Everything’s got a soul you know.


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El condor no pasa.

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El condor no pasa.


Dawn was a slobber drooled from fangs of giants.

We willed the canyon clogging mist to shift.

The Colca River roiled beneath the silence,

muffed in cloud.  Snow-caps snarled.  We got shoved

about by tour groups,  guffawing and looking miffed

to see no condors.  Us,  we found some plusses,

hummingbirds,  sierra finch,  Andean swift,


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A gardener reminisces.

 A gardener reminisces.


A long-ago morning,  bright but biting cold,

I forked a client's border.  A sheen of frost

had silenced the robins,  silvered the cobwebs and glossed

a gorgeous Norway Maple's veils of gold.

One by one she dropped her leaves and tossed

playfully some of the sparkliest at my head,

laid the rest around me as a bed

and unabashed lolled ...

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Gringo on the Chickenbus.

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This is a plug for my Fringe show at the Ilkley Literature Festival.  It's called Gringo on the Chickenbus (ignore what the ILF has published in their program - they're idiots!),  and it's at the Ilkley Playhouse on Tuesday 6th October ,  9pm.  Admission free.  Look on the gig guide for a map.

It's a one-man show,  mostly poetry with a lot of  bouncing about and a song thrown in,  and some lovely...

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European Capital of wot?

Pier Head meets Manhattan:  very strange.

It's not my student sphere,  this Liverpool.

Only The Swan in Wood Street stays unchanged:

a haven for the chronically uncool.


A quarter century dies inside the door.

My nostrils drink a familiar Dettol whiff.

Same bikes outside,  same sticky plank floor,

long hair,  strong ale,  thundering Metal riffs.


My crowd didn't do opera with the toffs...

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