Tag Archives: poem

23 Submarines Poetry Trail

photo of poem posterThe poetry trail is now up around the Medway towns and here is a photo of a section of my poem ‘Submarine Depths’ currently in the window of the Visitor Information Centre in Rochester!

Looking forward to following the trail and finding the other writers’ extracts.

There are two more open mics: 14 July at Rainham Library and 15 September at Chatham Library. See council website for bookings and more info. .


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Being a writer is…

I was going to write a blog about writing – but then it turned into a poem.


Being a writer is:

About being able to take rejection…

About being able to do something else to pay the bills…

Accepting that you are unlikely ever to pay the bills from your writing,

but carrying on with it anyway…


About being able to take criticism calmly and respond

with a crocodile’s smile when they take you apart…

Being able to realise that people often take the easiest way out of,

or into, your piece…

Which is often personal, or seems downright mean…


Being able to believe in yourself when others don’t…

Realising that you are not your characters – even

though everyone thinks you are.

It’s fictional. (Usually…)


Keeping going even when you don’t win that competition or

your mss is returned unread…

It’s brilliant, it’s true, they just don’t get it.


It’s not stopping for lunch

Because you are not at home, but in your head.


Being a writer is:

Thinking, I wish I’d written that,

When reading something glorious,

Looking for ways to make yours better after

Reading something glorious…


Being able to write through the tears…

Being able to write despite the tears…

Writing something good because of the tears.


Writing is:



Doing displacement activities.



Rewriting more…


Writing notes on any handy bit of paper,

The icy dread when you lose those notes,

The rush of exhilaration and relief when you find those notes.


Writing is:

A drive / a compulsion / being human.

Nothing else is real.

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Shadow poem

Beasticide (with apologies to L Carroll)

‘Twas an icy earn and the skully cross

Did shriek and bixter cross the waves:

All frosty were the Rodericks

Along with the smiling Maves.


Hast thou seen the Rochester Beast, my friend!

Dripping jaws and horrible teeth, scranning oysters on the beach!

Beware the Rochester Beast, my friend

Lest you should come to a horrible end!


“My ducks!” Their keeper then exclaimed.

“Oh how it crunches, yums and scoffs,

The empty nest, downy remains.

Will no one slay this termonious monst?”


And, whiles he stood in watery eye,

The Rochester Beast, of whom they sang,

Came flupping right out of the sky,

And landed with a bang!


We sought the beast, we found it here,

We took our sticky-things in hand

Bashed it, crashed it, slopped it in the ear!

Joyelous singalogue filled the land.

“The monst is slain?” “Yes in its brain.”

“ Fan-hoorah, fan-hooray, tovarisch moy,

Ducks once more I will regain”

He chortled in his joy.


‘Twas an icy earn and the skully cross

Did shriek and bixter cross the waves:

All frosty were the Rodericks

Along with the smiling Maves.

The shadow puppets in the film

The shadow puppets in the film

A little bit of fun for a cold Thursday in April. See the video! Part of the Medway Meanderings  poetry-writing-walking project.

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Meandering the Medway (2)

Keep Out sign

Keep Out

This poem is composed of found words from our second walk along the Medway, from Horrid Hill to The Strand in Gillingham. These were not the only signs forbidding us to do things, just a few of them. Read all about the journey here.

Little red circles

Little red circles with a line through the middle
Mark the passage of our walk

These hazards are present on this site:
Sudden drop / deep water / slippery surface / danger – deep mud /
ragged edges / subject to flash flooding / beware tidal conditions /

From youth the first word we hear
Is no,
You can’t hold the lead,
You will let it go.

If you fail to clear up after your dog you will be liable
to an on-the-spot fine. Please do not be selfish, think of others.

Don’t ride your bike there –
Careful boys, come away,
You’re going to fall.

Warning – deep water

Where’s your sister?

Any person caught damaging boats
Will be prosecuted

Clean it up

Warning. Keep Out.
Danger of being struck by golf balls.

Private Keep Out

Trespassers will be violated

This space is ours on sufferance
They won’t let us forget it is really theirs.

We negotiate this space

We forge our own lines of desire
But they’re not even our own
Scrubbed into the earth, just
Following those who went before us.

Please don’t light fires
Please don’t pick wildflowers
Please don’t disturb the wildlife
Please put your litter in the bin

Little red circles with a line through the middle
Mark the passage of the walk
Mark the passage of time.

Read more about this walk on The Estuary Monologues.

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Meandering the Medway (1)

Picture of a rusty boat

Horrid Hill abandoned vessel

I have been persuaded to do some walking along the River Medway. Phase one involved a walk from Otterham Creek  to Horrid Hill. And here is a poem that the walk inspired.

Interrogating the detritus

It is interesting to see what people throw into the river
/ or what falls from boats
/ or what people bring specifically to leave behind.

Though once they liked this thing
They don’t care about it anymore.

Abandoned and rotting hulls of vessels,
Poking up green and skeletal from the mud
Like the carcasses of mammoths, or more pertinently, whales.

We make up stories about
The smuggler, or the pyrate, or the asylum seeker,
Or Bonnie and Poppy’s dad,
Who sailed the boat, but

Though once they liked this thing
They don’t care about it anymore.

We see the trolley freed from its supermarket shackles,
Still pristine, made from some rustproof alloy,
Wallowing in the mud.
How many years before it sinks completely from view?
We see tyres, miles from any roads,
We see traffic cones (of course),
emerging primeval from the goo.
Plastic bags flutter in the trees,
in the breeze like grungy ghosts.

We see a rusted box the size of a small safe,
that fell from somewhere a long time ago.
No longer metal, just flaking green and red.
Weed latches onto its sides;
The salty water corrodes it;
And one day it will cease to exist.
Dissolving to be a part of the river.

And though its owners once liked it,
They don’t care about it anymore.


*You can find more info about the walk on The Estuary Monologues site.

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