Poems from The Afterlife

After what feels like a very long wait since the publication of Riddance in 2012, I am delighted to be publishing a new collection of poems in 2019 with Worple Press.

To whet your appetite, here are some poems from The Afterlife. 

With thanks to Josephine Corcoran, Simon Parke, Michael McKimm and Peter Carpenter.


Teaching Writing Theory

On Tuesday I discovered if my cancer
had returned. Later I discussed teaching writing
to six-year-olds. We spun our arms
like windmills, then made chopstick-motions
with our fingers mirroring the motor control
functions we daily take for granted
even less think about as we stare at the page.
We looked at motivational theory. Taxonomies
and heuristics jammed the white-board,
a cacophony of formulations we all wanted
to witness taking flight. During self-study,
I watched students tap-tapping at mobiles
and tablets, all the while sustaining complex
discussions about pedagogy and dress codes
for their forthcoming Christmas parties.
If they were nervous of the outcome
of their assignments, none of them showed it.


First published at And Other Poems


Everything I Know of What I Want to Say

Talking with you I dream into being all I hold precious of words I discover
through your finding them in my saying.

When I am with you there is nowhere on earth I flow better or am more myself
breathing now with every cell I own.

I see steel in you but also the fragility of the snowflake transforming
the world around it with others similarly tenacious.

Take it into your heart that I believe in you fully and taste amazing possibility
in the riot of your laughter.

You are enough and are enough and will be enough.
I place you in the light and find you coming into being, the world fresh on your shoulders.

You stun me with your hope. It glows in the ache of your greeting, your morning eyes
thick with sleep and shining.


First published at simonparke.com


Poem of Leaves

I lie down in the leaves,
beneath me the earth.
I pull them over me
like a coat. I disappear
under the leaves
and sink into the earth
where I become one
with the place I am known
whose name has not forgotten
my name, place of rest,
place of leaves melting
into bone, the earth,
this earth, my coat,
with my name in it.


First published in The Tree Line: Poems for Trees, Woods and People, edited by Michael McKimm (Worple Press, 2017)


  1. Anthony, I love “Everything I Know of What I Want to Say”. Thank God for tenderness in the world. I want to repay you with a few words of my own…


    Everything you’ve touched has been beautiful
    Like those beadwork earrings you string together
    In the bright sunlight by our window; like them
    You are pearl and burgundy, violet, vermilion and gold.
    You and I both have witnessed morning when
    It is the gleam in a garter snake’s eye,
    We’ve seen blue and green and Lindt chocolate
    Hues in the iris blooms of our children.
    We were born at the seesaw time of year
    You and I, just ten days apart, pivoting
    Between the diamond abrasion of winter and
    Breezes smooth as Barbados rum. Colour for us
    Isn’t pigment on the tip of an artist’s brush, but childish
    Laughter, bird calls, sky, lake water. Always,
    I hold you up to the gleam in my window
    And I love you more each day.


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