Dissertation Update // Kayak // Beloved

It’s been a while since I’ve updated this, so here are two poems – the first is a few months old, and the second a few minutes. I’m about to start work on a poetry dissertation (a short selection of poems with a critical essay) based around ideas on the relationship between poetry/people and landscape, and how it’s changed in the last couple of decades.


Not dead, as such; she was no longer here,
gone on, departed, headed up and out
to the blue yonder, or perhaps some heaven where
she would wear wings and dance with her mother –
he didn’t know, except it still seemed right
to bring flowers and talk solemnly
to the ground, to her – the nearness
still meant something, as it always had,
the nearness they’d shared for forty years of nights,
days tucked into her sleeve like discarded tissues.
And flowers seemed right. Perhaps the scent
would lift upwards to her star, or pearly seat,
and she’d stir, send the message he so wanted –
although her silence now was like her,
the solidness of her presence living
through forty years of silence.


Knee-deep, I tack
boots to the kayak’s straps
and wade,

spread skinny feet
taut to the skim floor

tack my weight against the pebbles shifting.
I’ve given stable ground
before –

given it to drunkenness,
easy tides I’ve pulled and called
for fun –

made ground for myself
in strange places,
stone-picked pebble beaches

for the kayak’s soft belly.
Now knee-under and still
I go on walking

waiting for a catch,
the water’s nod of permission,
blessed with the salt

drying on my arms,
my cheeks, my hair,
all tease

the salt says you cannot grip
the ocean
the boat lurches forward

says now

Underworld – UEA Undergraduate Anthology

A quick update on poetry stuff! I now have an author page on newwriting.net, and my poem ‘Body’ (published in the UEA Undergraduate Anthology) can be found on their site here

When I go back to university in a few weeks, I’ll be starting my dissertation. Hopefully I’ll be able to share bits with you now or later, but I need to check whether that’s legit with my tutor first, so possibly later. The plan is to write a sequence of poems exploring the relationship between poetry and landscape, with a focus on the physicality of the poem as reflection/in relation to landscape, using the poems as a way to discuss my ideas on the subject. I’m very excited to be starting it – I think I’ve come up with something which brings together a lot of my academic interests, the poets I’m reading at the moment and the direction I want to take my writing in, so this is a big thing for me. 

I don’t have much to share at the moment, but I do have this from a few weeks back. It’s a rough first draft of some thoughts on the archaeological dig I’ve been working on over the summer, which has been a great place to mull over thoughts on landscape and people. (Also swearing and blisters, but mostly deep thoughts. Mostly.)


No greater place than this:
to watch a topless squaddie flick
ash in absent lines down
his rooted hoe to ground,
and hear those few new human voices
call kestrel over the site:
tea’s up, diggers, come
from the spreading pit with aching arms,
share your spoils.
To her a pot-fragment;
it’s turned over, talked of like
a new baby. Here a coin,
here wall, here just sweat and tread
patting the new-turned earth back
to concrete, hoe’d, searched,
earthed again in the slag-barrow ride
to the pit where it’s dumped,
with the stony bores who tell
long dull stories of pressure,
time passing in fields’ lardy seams.

Call kestrel: in this pocket place
we’re jumbled together, old men
walking through the fields with girls
and soldiers, old diggers
and young hands all thumbs
and pinkness in the August sun,
swooping over dry trenches
between verdant swathes of barley,

and it’s in the looking, the place
we’ve seen on technical drawings,
in words and waves of knowing arms,
and yet

I don’t know where to look –

the stony ground, speckled with brick & tile,
the mud, the slag, the earth –

or aside, the old man’s scars from titanium knees,
the dusty shorts, the boots, the burns,
the squaddie smoking as he sieves for finds.