Tuesday, 30 November 2010

The Bay At The Back Of The Ocean


               At the Bay-at-the-back-of-the-ocean
               a boy wrote his name in white sand
               and drew a rude picture of mummy
               whilst his brother picked at the grains
               and bottom-shuffled towards the blue

               Hidden behind the cow-climbed Dun
               beyond the sheep-trodden tees and greens,
               at the Bay-at-the-back-of-the-ocean
               where the machair stretches smooth and clean
               a man and wife looked toward more distant isles

               At the Bay-at-the-back-of-the-ocean
               a boy cried out to the warming wind
               and waved at the royal Atlantic
               whilst his brother crawled towards daddy,
               sand penetrating nappy, caking face

               Whilst others ascended to the Abbey
               one walked, one buggied, with parents trekked
               to the Bay-at-the-back-of-the-ocean
               searching for colours in rocks hiding pools
               and crevices where pink flowers grew

              © GERALD ENGLAND

Composed: Fionnphort, 30th July 1984


1985 Period Piece & Paperback (UK)
1986 FUTURES (Ipswich, Magic Pen Press)
1998 Conspire (Internet)

Monday, 29 November 2010

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Night in the Caravan

              CARAVAN: NIGHT

              Outside we may be surrounded
              by near-parked vans on a rainy
              car-park of hard macadam,
              or alone by a polecat haunted wood
              a field away from the line to Crewe -
              up to our corner-steadies in mud
              on a wind-lashed coastal strip,
              or locked in behind the railings
              of Knowlsey Safari Park -
              But wherever we are
              when the sun has sunk
              and the last cup of coffee's been drunk

              Curtained from the world
              Inside the inside
              All life -

              breaths speak

              before the dawn babble breaks!

              © GERALD ENGLAND

Composed: Heckmondwike, 1st May 1984


Friday, 26 November 2010

Program Out The Window


               Shadows of interest

               Lights reveal
               shiver-sending shape
               enticing the unwary
               to change of orientation

               The user-friendly
               would understand,
               request continuation,
               but basic desires
               are not computer commands

               There is no compatibility
               between soft longings
               and hard-worn peripherals

               Memory contents
               peek at forgotten designs

               Fulfilment is a forbidden run


Composed: Oldham, 12th February 1984


1985 Bradford Poetry Quarterly (UK)
1986 ANWUC (UK)
1989 The Old Police Station (UK)

Thursday, 25 November 2010

First Morning


having woken, coffeed,
walked the dog -
overcoat over pyjamas -,
we draw curtains
to a girl riding by
where the bridle path
skirts our field;
the wind blows
from the motorway;
the rain comes
over the railway line;
here we wait
to hitch ourselves
onto the new year


Composed: Ackworth, 1st January 1984


1988 QUADRA PROJECT: TEN POSTCARDS (Detroit Art Workshops)
1994 Green's Magazine (Canada)
1998 Black Creek Review (USA)
1998 Black Creek Review (Internet)

Wednesday, 24 November 2010



                   red rubber duck-
                   dudley moore with
                   long grey hair
                   and salford speech

                   - geriatric teenager
                   inciting lasciviousness
                   in an iridescence
                   of irreverant irrelevance

                   turning duckless diners
                   into toetapping dancers
                   gyrating girdles squeezing
                   on an uncarpeted square

                   while wedged waitresses
                   edge alcoholic trays
                   towards tipsy tables
                   atmosphered by candles;

                   the inside warmth
                   permeates poorly
                   to outside pavements
                   from which rain rebounds

                  ©  GERALD ENGLAND

Composed: Ashton under Lyne, 20th December 1983


1987 National Convention Magazine (UK)



               The inner tube of a tyre
               rescued from the rocks
               of a west coast shore -
               bouying the waves
               stringed to a boy
               paddling east coast water -
               drifters don't always
               travel with the tide;
               they get unscheduled lifts
               find new uses
               before being dumped
               in a garden shed
               forgotten for at least
               a season.

               © GERALD ENGLAND

Composed: Cambo Sands, 10th July 1983


1984 Orbis (UK)
1990 Quickenings (USA)
2000 Breathe (UK)

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Ballade of Covenience


Whenever we hear an awful lot of talk
about the local council building something new
bringing lorry-loads of sand and stone and chalk,
we always wonder where on earth they'll site the loo;
some place them underground - rooms without a view -
others up four storeys high so you worry
if you'll get there before the muggers catch you!
Why is it we can't find one when we need one in a hurry ?

We know of some Edwardian holes in York
that only for rowdy gentlemen will do.
The lack of toilets for ladies on a walk
has often got my wife into a proper stew;
she gets steamed up if she ever has to queue
like she did at the Village Fete in Surrey;
we once searched hours the Cheshire town of Crewe -
Why is it we can't find one when we need one in a hurry ?

We've visited a green bog in County Cork
that earned good marks in a motorist's review
and one at the Upper Tyne village of Wark
that even our dear old friend Kilroy would eschew.
Clean-flushing facilities are far and few
but essential after a Bengal curry
or a glass of Uncle Cedric's home-made brew!
Why is it we can't find one when we need one in a hurry ?


Prince, have you been in the gardens down at Kew
or tried to spend a penny in Hungary ?
Have you walked the dog out in the morning dew ?
Why is it we can't find one when we need one in a hurry ?


Composed: Tarleton, 20th June 1983


1985 Periaktos (UK)
1995 Boggers All (UK)

Monday, 22 November 2010



They called the cat dog
berated her for barking loudly
despite her merely harsh meow
She tried to wag her tail in pleasure
chase cats run with the dogs
She couldn't cry fetch sticks
but tears swelled from time to time
Then someone called cat cat
taught her how to purr drink milk
run from dogs climb trees
Alone but happy she forsook the pack
took to catching mice
and chasing birds


Composed: Manchester, 5th May 1983


1990 Green's Magazine (Canada)
1990 Truly Fine (USA)
1998 LIMBO TIME (Hyde, New Hope International)
1998 Ygdrasil (Internet)

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Jodrell Bank Telescope


A white shadow shines through night cloud.
In the afternoon, distanced, a bowl
of quarried light hung against the horizon -
re-orientated in evening glimmer we
see it filled with gallon upon gallon
of water with fishes each clinging
to radios beamed on distant stars.
Night rain drowns sight under mist.
Morning brings a saucer of sunlicked milk
for the cat cowered by the dog-star.

© Gerald England

Composed: Swettenham, 20th March 1983


1989 Candelabrum (UK)
1995 Weyfarers (UK)
1998 THE RED CANDLE TREASURY (Wisbech, Red Candle Press)

Saturday, 20 November 2010

In Deep


there were several entrances
indeed there were several holes
some holes were inside other holes
possible exits were only ends
with little room for turning
or else they led to other holes
there were ways out
but only for the slim and fit
or the very fat and strong


Composed: Oldham, 12th February 1983


1989 Short Fuse (USA)
1990 Lizzengreasy Magazine (Japan)
1992 Odyssey (UK)
1994 Apostrophe (UK)
1998 LIMBO TIME (Hyde, New Hope International)
1998 NASA (USA)
1999 Black Creek Review (USA)

Friday, 19 November 2010


Me and my gran circa 1955.


Like those others whose grans
were growing old when they were
growing boys, I remember you
for your apple pies and golden pancakes, syrup-laden —
my elder brother often being sent
to bring me home from your bungalow
long after my own tea had grown cold.

That was the time when granddad sat
in the high-backed wooden chair
my mother set fire to when he died —
the sort of chair that claims
a fortune in antique shops today — but
my small, frail gran, I remember you much more
than that gaunt, great man who only sat.

You lived later in our council-house front room,
too weak to climb upstairs, too unsafe
to be left with your diabetes —
twice daily my mother tested your water —
and so that we could take a holiday
my sister and her husband came to stay
while I went with Mum and Dad
to a rented van at Thornwick Bay.

Tomorrow would be Thursday and I'd been promised
a trip on the Yorkshire Belle from Bridlington,
but Wednesday night we learnt that you had died.
That means I won't be able to go on the boat tomorrow!
the first reaction of a saddened twelve-year-old.
Dad attempted logically to explain, but all
unnecessarily — I knew that you deserved the sacrifice.

Twenty years on and I've finally made the trip
round Flamborough Head, past Thornwick Bay,
and back to Bridlington — with my own son
and his gran — his Mum's Mum like you.
Gran! — I never begrudged you dying on that day.
The waves remind me always of you, gran, because
the trip was well worth the waiting for!

© Gerald England

Composed: Ashton under Lyne, 2nd February 1983


1996 Green's Magazine (Canada)
1998 LIMBO TIME (Hyde, New Hope International)
2007 Ackworth born, gone West (Internet)

Thursday, 18 November 2010



Lost down country lanes
we come across roundabouts,
roadsigns with names
like Pimbo, Digmoor and
Town Centre - but which?

The precinct shops conform
to universal standards -
only the accents

This wet pre-Christmas
Saturday finds us
in the only town
with no bustle.

The picture of warships
in the coffee house
is hung slantwise
and off centre.

We leave the planners'
boom town, rainswept,
hidden somewhere beyond fields.

© Gerald England

Composed: Skelmersdale, 12th December 1982


War and ...

WAR AND ....

In the War of the Roses
at Hyde Horticultural Show,
Peace was beaten
by Red Devil, Grandpa Dickson and Bobby Charlton.


Composed: Hyde, 14th September 1982


1983 New Hope International (UK)
1984 Harvest (USA)
1986 International Journal on World Peace (USA)
1997 Stop Gap (UK)

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Fife Fire Tongue-twister


If five fit Fife firemen
fear fir fires,
can five fit Fife firemen
fight fir fires in Fife fir forests,
for four Forfar firemen
fear for five Fife firemen
fighting fir fires,
and when four Forfar firemen
find five fit Fife firemen
can fight fir fires,
will four Forfar firemen
find fighting Fife fir fires fearful ?


Composed: Hope Bowdler, 8th September 1982


1998 Poetry Scotland (UK)

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Moon Rising over the Shropshire Hills


               gently the brown hill slopes
               to forest of hard fir

               above the edge
               in cool, cloudless sky

               a tiny sliver of yellow light

               into a demon disc

               rests ready to roll
               earthly firs stand firm

               the moon
               rises to its rightful sky

              ©  GERALD ENGLAND

Composed: Hope Bowdler, 7th September 1982


1983 Folio (UK)
1986 FUTURES (Ipswich, Magic Pen Press)
1988 Quickenings (USA)
1992 California State Poetry Quarterly (USA)

Monday, 15 November 2010

Farmer Cornfield


Rounding Roseberry corner
driving his tractor like a TR7
making the landlord's Jaguar shudder
"It'll stop when we get to the top
of the Caradoc" he shouted
aiming over the steep fields
at the fifteen hundred foot hill
Over one of his pints in the "Plough"
he confessed to the fitting
of a super-charged gearbox
"You nearly gave the vicar
his fourth stroke" the landlord said
"Oh I've had more than that -
when I was at school -
but 'twas with a walking stick -
down here - " he says, "I reckon
that's what's made me what I am"


Composed: Hope Bowdler, 3rd September 1982


1992 Songs (UK)
1994 Boggers All (UK)
1996 PENNINE TRACKS (Heckmondwike, Fighting Cock Press)

Sunday, 14 November 2010

June 28th 1982

JUNE 28TH 1982

From by Ben Lawers
a rainbow spans Loch Tay

The day after the Last raft came first
and TV’s number 1 was last
Kenmore is again
just a place where the road changes sides,
shrouded in the mist
and drenched by the rain
that has nourished Fortingall’s Yew
since the time of Solomon.

A lonely youth of four
swings in the park at Killin.

He has seen eagle owls by the roadside,
deer, sheep, rabbits, cattle;
has sailed in a boat on Loch Tay
he likes little rivers!

Youth sees no history
and the future
only from a circle’s centre.

Prince William was named today.

No-one plays in the park with the boy
from whom rabbits run away;
he looks for the ducks
that come from the river begging bread.

From by Ben Lawers a rainbow spans Loch Tay.

© Gerald England

Composed: Killin, 28th June 1982


Saturday, 13 November 2010

Subject Matter


             having the resolve
             and discovering the time
             but lacking energy
             and being easily diverted

the rain beat steadily on his cottage that year
days of sunshine disappeared in grey cloud
red sunsets were only seen by other shepherds
Old Shep had fled with the flock

            getting to grips
            demanded determination
            concentrated effort
            to produce the finished article

the horns of the prize bull were not detachable
pieces of porcelain could be put back together
the cattle would be called at milking time
but no tractor can close the gate to the field


Composed: Oldham, 15th May 1981


1987 The Old Police Station (UK)
1990 Iota (UK)
1992 Alternative (USA)
1994 Indefinite Space (USA)

Friday, 12 November 2010


Composed: Ashton under Lyne, 5th May 1982


2005 World Haiku Review (Internet)

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Visitors to the Pub


They talk of those who do not talk
like what they do and of pedantry
though the word seems unknown to them.

They take affront at calling a biro
a biro pen - after all you do not call
a wellington a boot, by Jove - but
they might know if a bomber dropped one on them!

Another drink?
        a gin?
            o yes,
                 but it must be...
Do you think he'll have it here
o yes, good man, he has.

At home they have a black kitten
that has taken to visiting neighbour's houses
and hiding under cars in driveways.

At night they hunt it
shouting out its name for all to hear -
Gemini! Gem-i-niii!


Composed: Stratford on Avon, 4th April 1982


2000 Other Poetry (UK)

Wednesday, 10 November 2010



              Always I find
              the downstairs curtains
              partly drawn -
              tell-tale paw-marks
              on the glass;
              my son, rising five,
              early riser,
              finds his way
              down dark stairs;
              his family still sleeps;
              atop the settee,
              warmed by the radiator,
              he looks out at the street,
              searches the sky for planes
              Manchester-airport bound.
              I've been good, daddy,
              he says;
              it's nearly not dark, dad,
              it's nearly morning.

             ©  GERALD ENGLAND

Composed: Heckmondwike, 2nd February 1982


1983 Poetic Licence (UK)
1988 Pennine Ink (UK)

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Still Life


                 After the baby has gone
                 to bed    there remains
                 a bright square mat.
                 Beyond a jumbled rattle
                 of six chained bangles
                 a pink teddy bear lies
                 face down guarded by
                 a blue black-nosed dog
                 The guarded fire warms
                 the room in which
                 a television plays
                 moving colour to the air


Composed: Ashton under Lyne, 23rd December 1981


1988 Piddiddle (USA)
1988 Z Magazine (Isle of Man)
1994 Dandelion (UK)

Oldham December


           The wind that whistles over Oldham Edge,
           having crossed the town,
           the road, the railway and
           the demolished wastes of Glodwick,
           hits me full in the face on Hardy Street.
           I turn down Barlow, South Hill, Chief Streets,
           find the shelter of Bobbin Skewer Walk.
           Mr. Khan curses the weather in Urdu;
           he has cleared a path
           through to the local Mosque
           but snow still drifts
           threatening to engulf the Pentecostal Church,
           Ukranian Social Club and Old Folks' Flats.
           The lake in the park is frozen over.
           A lone van struggles to climb Park Road,
           wheels spinning in the salt-green slush.
           The winter isolates inhabitants;
           few venture out for fish and chips
           prawn foo yung or japatis and curry.
           The doors of the Waterloo Inn
           are open - just: four players
           huddled round the pool table
           discuss plans for summer holidays.

Composed: Ashton under Lyne, 21st December 1981


1983 True Thomas Poetry (UK)
1992 STEALING KISSES (Hyde, New Hope International)
1996 POET'S ENGLAND 18 - LANCASHIRE (West Kirby, Headland)
2001 Poetext (Internet)

Monday, 8 November 2010



Composed: Manchester, 19th December 1981


1992 Fat Chance (UK)
1993 FOUR SQUARE REPLAY (Leeds, Krax)

Sunday, 7 November 2010


dirty derelict
derricks - determination
decaying, dying

Composed: Wolverhampton, 19th December 1981


1987 Red Pagoda (USA)


kijuki tsui ni

Japanese translation by Sakuzo Takada


1987 Red Pagoda (USA)

Saturday, 6 November 2010


I have two children
and therefore have no need for
any alarm clock

Composed: Birmingham, 19th December 1981


1994 Thorny Locust (USA)

Friday, 5 November 2010


travelling towards
the thaw black mud and frozen
green thrust through the white

Composed: North Rode, 18th December 1981


1987 Red Pagoda (USA)
1990 Prophetic Voices (USA)


shiro no naka ni
midori oshidasu
yukige michi

Japanese translation by Sakuzo Takada


1987 Red Pagoda (USA)
1990 Prophetic Voices (USA)

Thursday, 4 November 2010


how the snow contours
branches; pockmarks furrows in fields
 the black stream cuts through

Composed: Prestbury 18th December 1981


1987 Red Pagoda (USA)
1990 Prophetic Voices (USA)
1992 Candelabrum (UK)
1998 LIMBO TIME (Hyde, New Hope International)
2000 HAIGA (London, Suekichi Book)

yuki oou
nohara wo wakete
kawa kuroshi

Japanese translation by Sakuzo Takada


1987 Red Pagoda (USA)
2000 HAIGA (London, Suekichi Book)

Wednesday, 3 November 2010



(for Edward Thomas)
Unrisen the early mower
only the all night lit windows
hint of humanity in gardens
where an indolent owl flies
sleepwalking in the misty joy
past the church by the green
to the highporched barn of a deserted farm
It alone gives life
to the doorless stables and cumbered stalls
The weathervane fox is rusted south
never telling of the hateful east
the rainy west or crude north wind
Luxuriant nettles, tall tansy
fleabane, dandelions, hawkweeds
testify to anxious labourers
leaning on plough or scythe or hoe
to watch the hounds or a carriage go by
Not fifty yards away
beyond a shadowy corner
seen in the broad halflight before sunrise
the crimson of uncountable poppies
enmeshed with thoughts of mist pearl
desirable as an Italian illusion
having the serene strange beauty
of a woman born of summer air

Yet half an hour
would have seen them reaped

To have come thus far
and know the distance less
to be less than the equal of a poppy
- how else retain the courage
still to voyage on ?

The poppies still shine
and from his tower of ivory
yet does the blackbird sing

Composed: Ashton under Lyne 14th December 1981


1988 Facet (USA)
1989 Quickenings (USA)
1992 STEALING KISSES (Hyde, New Hope International)
1992 Wildflower (USA)
1998 Ygdrasil (Internet)



my son builds with his Lego
powh, powh, powh, he shoots
daddy doesn't like guns, he says,
this is a radiator
powh, powh, powh.


Composed: Ashton under Lyne, 1st December 1981


1983 Literature (USA)
1983 Box of Rain (UK)
1990 Sword of Shahrazad (USA)
1992 STEALING KISSES (Hyde, New Hope International)
1998 Christian Poetry Review (UK)

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

When Teething



Composed: Ashton under Lyne, 11th November 1981


Monday, 1 November 2010

Friday Evening


               Sweltering under a September sun,
               doubting the wisdom of donning
               overcoat with hood,
               a sudden, drenching storm
               confirms advisability of choice.
               Walking round a wet corner,
               hood protectively up,
               sun still shining behind,
               a double rainbow invites -
               the lower bow, bright,
               arcing over fields;
               the higher, duller,
               blurring into clouds.

               The rain eases;
               the sun sets;
               the rainbow fades.

               © GERALD ENGLAND

Composed: Oldham, 30th September 1981


1983 True Thomas Poetry (UK)
1986 FUTURES (Ipswich, Magic Pen Press)
1993 The Frogmore Papers (UK)