Brandy Black and tan, contentious colours, your panting flanks and eager eye. A questing snout quivers to defend; loyalty is your nature, not a means to an end. Drunk, I named you for a drink, But Fido, that tired  joke, is your ideal: faithful, trustworthy, except, perhaps, around a meal. Your greed was your doom, […]

John, Joanne, Andrew No ghosts trouble me; Gone for good, oh, gone. Three years, five months, Four bairns, three gone, One left: one. If I could Gather up the days, go back, To that summer afternoon, Our Mark up ahead, wee Jo on her bike and Baby Andrew, oh, my babies. John just catching on […]

Samuel Winter still, the earth brown between wet lanes and the hedges bare like bones. My thumbs, stiff and rough yet twitch for spring, for nature to swing into its well-worn path. The blush of green will creep as always over the Sperrins, the daylight unbend as the dew retreats to misty morns. More than […]

Brian “Watch our Brian,” our ma shouted from the kitchen, elbow deep in peelings. “No bother” I called, plumping down my bag and coat. But when I made a mug of tea, he’d slipped away for a wee dander on the street. I let him have his play, Not wanting to bother our ma. “Your […]

Rosemary It’s the thirteenth today; touch wood. So long I’ve waited, and it has to be this day? Still, I’m doing what I longed for this last three years. But here’s me, crouched in a toilet, fiddling with wires, and I’m to be a teacher! But the cause is right, and casualties regrettable. Touch wood. […]

Linda Her da would sing to her; two years gone now, but loyalty, that widow maker, lingers. His name, etched in stone and statistics troubles her. So she gives it a shot, puts on the serge green, walks the beat; patrols her home town, still a teen. Green, she sticks her neck out, and the song […]

Murals, Belfast, 2016

I’ve previously written about my failed experiment with NaNoWriMo and why writing a 50,000 word novel to order in 30 days wasn’t for me. And yet, in a moment of madness and inspiration (I’ve just discovered Northern Irish poet John Hewitt), I’ve made a commitment to write a poem a day for the 30 days of April […]

Helen's Bay, County Down, Northern Ireland

I’ve just discovered the poetry of Belfast-born writer John Hewitt, which is a shocking oversight for someone writing a novel based in Belfast during the Troubles.  But then his name is somewhat overshadowed by those other dazzling Northern Irish luminaries:  Seamus Heaney, Louis MacNeice, CS Lewis and Frank Ormsby. I read the poem below and […]

I’ve been thinking about beginnings a lot, since, well, the beginning of this new year.  I’m currently reviewing my manuscript for And The Buntings Flew, having put it away for a few months; that distance allowed me to clean up what I’ve written to date, and forge on with the story. I’ve now got 35,000 […]

This month’s poem of the month came to me during a work meeting recently; it was a somewhat attenuated review of some annual targets, and the use of jargon and corporate buzz words led my gaze to fall from the screen and out of the window to the street below. Students from the nearby university […]