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 at the end of the summer 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.

Please watch this space for details of readings and other events.



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.

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. Years ago, when my wife and I bought the house we now live in, I carried a young sapling birch tree home from the nearby woods and planted it below our upstairs window.

    Since then, it has grown up to the rooftop, and each morning and every night, it fills our room with birdsong and the music of its leaves.

    I see your poems as that tree.


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