It’s National Poetry Day today. I tend to have a book of poetry on the go for the pure enjoyment of reading poetry and because I find the imagery of poetry to be a useful reading experience in support of my own writing – poet’s really do have to think about getting the right words in the right order.

As a small contribution to the day I thought I might share a few thoughts on the last couple of poetry collections I enjoyed, plus the one I am currently reading:

  • John Siddique’s Full Blood is alive in the way only poetry is alive, full of passion (physical and emotional) and fearless in its revelations and questions about life. His poem ‘On becoming a writer’ is printed out in large type and pinned above my writing desk.
  • Nuala Ni Chonchúir’s The Juno Charm is an honest and often beautiful collection of intimate poems that explore themes of pregnancy, loss, and sensuality with vivid imagery and powerful, affecting voices. Her poem Guilt is also on my cork board as it speaks to the subject matter and a key theme of my novel in progress.
  • I am currently reading a copy of Sarah Salway’s You Do Not Need Another Self Help Book. While only part way through this collection (I like to take my time with poetry), what I have read so far is warm and lively with not a little sprinkling of humour.

Finally, here’s a poem I wrote a while back, while studying Creative writing with the OU, as part of a poetry writing unit. I don’t pretend to be a poet but thought a few of you might be interested to read one of the few attempts I have made:


A softer quiet tiptoes down the hall,
spreads from the king-size bed on which he lies
in nest of sheets and intravenous lines,
while deep inside him cancers growl and maul.
His once giant hand, now drawn and child small,
was strong enough to hold up falling skies.
Now withered, shrunk, his weakness a surprise,
each breath marks time, a shallow rise and fall.
The morphine drip, its steady ticking bleep,
draws out the minutes, seconds, as they slide.
My mother holds him, tries to help him sleep
but he drifts past, warmth washing out, a tide
that carries him into the dark and deep,
leaving a smaller room to sit inside.