The Forgotten Man

frayed around the edges
       and collecting dust
            his origami life 
                  is static
                       folds dulling 
                             into uncertainty 
                                  he occupies the space
between existing and 	
                  fading 
              into 
        the  
background.

Hey, thanks for reading my poem today. I hope you’re doing well.

If you liked this poem, why not check out some of my other work on the website?

Take It Easy

Paul

Bobby’s Wake

The pitmen gather around the empty hearse,
standing like Davids around Goliath,
some with roll-up cigs burning,
a glowing tobacco-fuelled pyre for,
another brother lost to history.

The colliery band are gearing up,
it’s good to see them still looking strong,
a shame some of the brass looks dull,
but the sapphire and gold thread of the banner,
is still resplendent in the tender summer drizzle.

Bobby’s family give their thanks to the vicar,
with a handshake and bottle of whisky;
his widow unsteady from grief
– and a brandy she’d drank for his honour and her nerves –
is weightless in the arms of her daughters,
the sorrow they’re carrying is a heavy enough burden.

Some of his friends from the village,
wander around the nearby graves,
hunching over the headstones and fading flowerheads,
making empty apologies they aren’t there more often.


Everyone congregates at the roadside when the band begins,
ready for the march to the pub;
tubas and trumpets blowing out the tune to
‘The Bonny Pit Laddie’
a reminder of the man,
just returned to the earth;
close to the coal he used to dig.


At the pub – we all raise a ‘Percy Special’ in toast,
and the tales and tankards come thick and fast;
like pick-axes on silver-black mine walls,
did only a couple of years ago;
the only hush comes from the opening of the buffet table.


These ageing men who’ve fought the police and government;
legends in their own lifetimes;
know that they’ll be together again soon enough,
wondering if they’ll be the missing face, lying in the dirt;
some have a fleeting sadness on their hard faces,
quickly burnt away by the furnace behind their eyes,
and then songs break out with soft smiles

this is a celebration.

Thanks for taking the time to read this poem.

I really appreciate all your support.

Take It Easy

Paul

BIG NEWS!!!

Hi everyone, I would like to share some big news.

A few weeks ago, I was asked by the amazingly talented poet Damien B. Donnelly, who also runs Eat the Storms poetry podcast to join him to read some of my poems on his show.
Finally, I was able to free up some time and join him on the podcast (making my podcast debut, no less!) and the episode came out on Saturday October 9th at 5pm GMT. (I have just finished listening to the podcast thats why this is coming out at just after 6pm!)

The episode is Season 3, ep 14 and there are some incredible poets reading some outstanding work. You can listen on Spotify and most other podcast platforms. Why not get stuck into all the previous episodes as well?!

The Eat The Storms website can be found here: https://eatthestorms.com/

A direct link to the episode featuring me is here: https://open.spotify.com/show/0mOECCAcx0kMXg25S0aywi

Thanks for reading and hopefully listening,

Paul 🙂

Celebrating Being Published in Daily Drunk!!!

I’m so happy to share my news!!!

I have been lucky to be selected to be published in the Daily Drunk for my poem ‘The Off-Vengers’. It’s a poem based on if the characters from The US Office were cast in the roles of some of The Avengers.

Check it out using the link below;

Hope You Like It,

Paul

Thunderstruck

One evening in the Scottish Borders
during a break away with youth club
when the air was glue-thick and soup-warm
and the sky bruised purple-black

we sat telling ghost stories
– not scary in the slightest –
while the youth workers and chaperones
drank cheap lambrusco from mugs
until we witnessed the awesome temper of the sky
as death-white splinters thrashed from cloud to meadow
cracks booming louder than screams of tweens and young teens
most of the lads and lasses ran for shelter in the bunkhouse
sharing safety in numbers
and the comfort of cuddles from terrified friends.

I stayed out until the last of us were told to go in
– once the adults had took the last long draws of their roll-ups and regal king-size
so i went and watched by the window
mesmerised in the maelstrom of pines and ferns
getting whipped in the nearby wood.

It took me a while to hear a young lass
screaming and shrilling
‘we’re all gonna die’ repeatedly
between sobs and falling tears
as heavy as the rain outside
I felt bad for enjoying myself
while she was terrified.

One of the older lads said we’d all look after her
and that – or the storebrand ovaltine the youth leader made –
seemed to calm her to sleep
and, as the thunder rolled back
the bruised horizon gave way
to star-flecked inky skies and a pure pearl moon
she slumbered soundly
while we told tales of nature
some more scary than others.

Thanks for taking the time to read Thunderstruck’. I hope you enjoyed it. While you’re here, feel free to check out some of my other work.

Take It Easy,

Paul

(photo courtesy of canva)

Great Grandad Grandstand

I remember the things I learned
watching Grandstand on Saturday afternoons
at my Great Grandad’s house
like the rules of snooker, darts
and horse racing
how to pick a winning horse out the newspaper (look at the jockey)
sound like Woody the Woodpecker
how to use a mangle to dry out clothes
still steaming from the old washing machine
I found that snuff tobacco was minty
and cured a sniffle
that I preferred my squash diluted
and scotch eggs and ‘black bullets
are the food of kings
The most important thing
he taught me and many others
           – was kindness.

Although Grandstand Saturdays came to an end
I still keep what I learnt
sacred in my mind and heart
except the food
I eat that.

Thanks for taking the time to read my poem. A little letter to my Great Grandad who used to have me round when I was a kid.

Take It Easy

Paul

Morning Fishing Trips

A September Saturday in 1995
the four a.m. sea air is salt-sour
silicate sand shimmers
under the after-midnight-blue canopy
the waning moon a spotlight
on discarded worm skins

I dig since I’m the youngest –
because even morning fishing trips have hierarchies –
success arrives after ten minutes
of shovel and scoop
we loot the fresh bait
they can wriggle all they want
we own them now

we march in early morning muteness
preserving our energy
until we can cast off
and pour ourselves a flask-coffee
topped with a nip of whisky

destination reached we pick our spots
wisely or not
our rods are set
with hands stained with dying worm-dye

waiting for the first ripple
or bend of pole
the craic is quiet
about the things men like to talk about
as dawn passes over us

an hour passes by
then three of five rods
begin to quiver
the ancient part of our hunter-brains
spike our natural instincts

we let our rods sway
luring in the line tenderly
then reel rapidly
drawing in a decent-sized pollock
the crack of the baton
gives me the first of a few fish
caught before the nearby B&B’s
serve their breakfasts.

After some further success
we head back to the van
our shoal are all fair sizes
my pollock glimmering longest in the bucket
but hierarchies exist
and I may get landed with a small plaice
but where there are hierarchies
there are rites of passage
and it’s the first fish i’ve caught
so I get to keep it

I also get to gut all the catch
my fumbling numb fingers
dyed crimson by dead fish
find their rhythm
and I’m proud to be
on the first
rung of the hunter’s hierarchy.

I used to go fishing in Northumberland regularly, this poem is about when i first started out, I was 12. One of our neighbours took me with his friends, it was always a great experience.

I hope you like it.

Take it easy

Paul

Birdsong

Instead of sleep
in the early hours
I sit and listen to the
siren song of the starlings and finches
at four am
they gather on the dew-kissed fencetops
when the delicate new day
is climbing from grey earth
to sherbet-pink sky
and I wonder what’s to come
in the next 19 hours
before my head hits the pillow
because – although most days are the same –
like the dawn chorus
everyday is different.

Thanks for taking the time to read my poem. If you want to read more, please explore the site.

Take it Easy

Paul

That Shirt

that thick cotton shirt
shade of  deep midnight
with moon-silver thread 
glistening ethereal under streetlights
wearing it
felt celestial
so I only wore it once
for our first date
drinks and pizza
looking at each other
over red gingham cloth
and flickering candle
wax dripping down
an empty bottle
of last week’s
house wine
conversation mostly answers
to silent questions
asked with eyes
and the curve of
nervous lips
I tried to be a gentleman
and pull out your chair
as we were leaving
the waiter saw it as an affront
for which I apologised
to show I was a gentleman
and when we hugged goodbye
I felt our cheeks touch
both warm with wine
and affection
so when I see
the same shirt
folded neatly in your drawer
close to the memory box
and wedding album
I catch a glimmer from
the moon-silver thread 
that helped stitch
our lives together
I believe in magic.

Thanks for taking the time to read this poem, dedicated to my beautiful wife.

Take it Easy,

Paul