Saturday 5 December 2009


A free to download and print selection of 20 poems to celebrate the year 2010 from: Joan Cairns, Gwilym Williams, Annie Kerr, Zaina Anwar, R K Singh, Gordon Mason, Pat Thistlethwaite, Rachel Fox, Alan Morrison, Evelyn Holloway, Pat Jourdan, Marja Blom and Dominic Rivron. Copyright remains with the authors.


Fog, this morning,
laying its single dimension
over my ears
presses me
to a single page,
folds me smaller,
tiny pieces
to stow away
out of sight.

I know that somewhere
voices are calling
I struggle to hear
what they are trying
to tell me.
c-2010 Joan Cairns

Old Fox

Old fox, hard as nails,
thin, arthritic, rheumatic,
septic eruptions on sore feet,
keen nose and sorry bag of effluvium and entrails,
up for the erectile, hard frost, and somewhere to go.

Lakeside path, snowdrop, primrose,
daffodil, an early bee,
an ermine's fur turning brown,
an effusive gushing of butterflies,
gold-finches, flycatchers.

Two seasons in equilibrium.

The rest is fusion.
c-2010 Gwilym Williams

Summer's End

wrecked fence
razor wire

glass cut
meadow den

insect haze
heat rub

oak gall
ink bleed

dew lipped
web shroud

black thorn
sloe stain

lace heads
stick dry

nettled kiss
summer's end
c-2010 Annie Kerr

At a Loss for Words

Sometimes, words don't come to me
of their own volition.
They insist on being chased after,
bright and elusive,
like butterflies' wings.
I twist and bend
through narrow gullies,
shielding my eyes from the sun.
They hide in corollas,
warm and sticky with pollen
and fiercely protected
by honey-drunk bees.
I try to catch them,
but they disappear
in the blink of an eye,
like an eagle's fluid wing
in an open summer sky.
c-2010 Zaina Anwar

The Hardy Thistle

Why have I fallen down from grace
to be maligned
and harried, place to place,
where once I earned respect?
Chopped, sprayed and hassled, felt
the viper's tongue -
still I stand bravely upright.
It is wrong
to fell me with a slash
and let me lie.
But where one spike stood firm
I will put out
another twenty spikes -
or thereabout.
Not for nothing
do the Scots admire my hardiness.
When you're all gone
I'll still be here
in my proud Thistleness!
c-2010 Pat Thistlethwaite

In cozy illusions

Before the ant-eaten roots
yield to storm and the roof cracks
I must find a new shelter
to escape the full collapse:

the facade of specious house
and dead wood midst dust and green
have propped up myths of ages
academics recycle

holding gods in the hand
in cozy illusions
perpetuate newer
games of convenience
c-2010 R K Singh


Does a tree feel pain when it loses a leaf?
Does a flower mourn the loss of its fragrance?
Does it count its petals as they float away,
gently upon the summer breeze?
Last night a nightingale revealed
the secrets of existence to me.
I drowned in a sea
of unfathomable sorrow;
the moon echoing my lament, sent a beam
to wipe away
my inconsolable tears.
c-2010 Zaina Anwar


I stand on the step
and look across
to where the snow
has scraped the field threadbare.

Blackened lines delineate the rig.
Snow lies deep in the furrows;
snow, that temporary mortar for drystone walls
that surround this little world.

Here the foundations of a house -
small rooms, thick walls,
sited in the hollow of a hill
that reveals its skeleton past.

Harsh the conditions where men
shaped this landscape. Narrow the graves
where their bones lie now.
c-2010 Pat Thistlethwaite


The March winds knife me, yet
in bushes curdled with blackthorn
birds shift about
trying on songs for size.
Soon hawthorn tips
will butter the hedges
salmon pink.

After that vacant, hollow year
they're back -
electric lambs
pronking stiff-legged,
butting their shabby
bundled-up mothers,
Kings of the Castle on every tiny tump.

The new Spring
stretches itself awake,
forgetting the bruised voices
in last year's wind.
c-2010 Joan Cairns


This place returns to me
from lost childhood.
The valley,
dark as an empty sack,
coughs out a waterfall.
Pleated hills
bear down
with unimaginable weight,
tilting folk
out of the vertical.

I walk the stone flags
where once I could run,
remembering their damp sweat,
the ringworm lichen.

This place would wring your neck
if you let it.
Here, where the wind
splinters your bones
I see a harebell,
too frail to shatter.
c-2010 Joan Cairns


A diamond of a star
has scratched the sky.
The hills are dark blue.
Ignorant of jewellery

and old emotions.
Emotions which boarded
the luminous caterpillar
of a night train

and left behind memories.
Warm as the whisky
in my hand.
Quarantined in peace.

I roll the unused rail ticket
between my fingers.
A telescope
to isolate the diamond.
c-2010 Gordon Mason


Night is at a crossroads
fleeing over the horizon.
My neighbour takes his road

stepping on stones
across a stream.
He is saying goodbye

in another country:
an unreliable map
and an old passport.

I remember old times
when the world was new,
opaque, awake.

The vision is gone,
nothing to lose;
pleasure will come.

My own witness,
I take my road
never knowing how.
c-2010 Gordon Mason

Our voices break too

Teenage girls want to sing
But mostly they want to look just right
Be in tune with fashion
Just enough, not too much

Their voices are awkward
They stammer out 'who am I?
The pretty one? The clever one?
The one no one really likes?'

They wobble and warble
And cautious ears listen
For any answers
That might be coming

'Am I girl now? Or am I...'
They can't even say the word
Are they women now, already
And finished so soon?
c-2010 Rachel Fox


Down - down - the apple-bough ladle dingle
You crab-apple child, sward-wader of words;
Loud soul a-tumble the dancing Daedelustream -
Anthracite, anthracite, horse-shadow a-hoof,
Night-green in dressing gown grass;

Tremens all a-tremble and dumb-bell thumbs.
Hamlets a-starlit in damson-bruised dark, farms
Obese as black-milk sows, blackberry-ripe;
Muggy-eyed town drunk in holey jumper;
Ambler in absentia, boozy abroad verbs'
Snapdragons; flushed cherub, all ram-curl and cloud.
c-2010 Alan Morrison

It took a long time

It took a long time
to be younger

to slip into the present

the coat
you had disregarded

because it protected you
from nothing


swallowed by the sea
were still footprints

you couldn't stay
without leaving

nor leave
without staying

but sometimes

in the night
we seemed to see

the way
c-2010 Evelyn Holloway


I was there always,
creeping across.
See there, the blurred off-centre image
trying to make a sound, a speaking part.
Never anywhere right but always there.
So many scenes.
Each night I turn quite bright.
They do not find me.
Being ignored is safe, (the heroes die)
while bit-part actresses walk away.
c-2010 Pat Jourdan

the echo of stillness

tactfully tugging the reins
she signals to set off -
her heart bouncing in harmony
with the pounding of the hoofs
the echo of stillness
bounces off the emptiness of the tundra
a skyline moving forwards
at the speed of the horse and its shadow
glued to the black mane
piercing space and time
putting wind in motion which
brushes the body with a fresh soft touch
the mind of the woman dissolves
in her surrounding of peace
- until disturbed by reality
c-2010 Marja Blom

Indulgence In Dance

Lifted into wonder of a mystical night
wakened by crying violins
moonlight illuminates untouchable feet
of a swirling beauty who calls the one
with a bitter song so sweet.

Flaming black eyes enter the magic
fuelled by thundering clapping
awakening the spirit of romance
of two silhouettes who understand
the language of a gypsy dance.

During the embrace of two souls
the rhythm and the beat slows down
the stillness of the night returns
but in the heart of the dancers
an eternal fir burns.

As the shimmering veil of dawn rises
bouncing hoofs announce a departure
the cloud of dust cloaks the horse and the man.
c-2010 Marja Blom

The Last Days

One day the river drained away
leaving only the stones behind.

The birds stopped singing
and the trees fell silent.

The spider in the bathroom
curled up its legs and died.

In the orchard, a man with a gun
was seen skulking among the trees.

Next day the anonymous letters
began to arrive and not only that

I began to notice how each night
the stars got fewer
c-2010 Dominic Rivron

Tangerine Season

The leaf, the flower and the raven
share inevitable death with me.
All around an endless cycle
of decay and emergence
unfolds itself
in tangerine colours,
through the branches of my ancient tree.

I walk through a landscape nourished
by the same sun that nurtures me.
From deep in the woods, I hear piercing cries
of birds lamenting and frogs croaking in wild joy
over this maddening tumult
of grief and beatitude
that we call life.
c-2010 Zaina Anwar

Contributors are entitled to a reviewed copy of a poetry book. Please send an e-mail to gwil'at' with your name and address and the subject line 'poetry2010book'.
Thank you all for these wonderful poems. GW