Pressed for time……….

A short post this week. Three tantalising teasers before the launch next Tuesday of Pressed for Time (Calder Valley Poetry). Shortly there should be a link via the Menu (top of the page)to My Books which will hopefully take you to the PayPal facility. Once it’s up, check out the special offer, available up to may 14th. In the meantime, here are three more poems which I hope will balance the bleakness of some of the work………..If you’re one of those who understand the urge to collect fragments which we shore against our imagined ruins, then this brick is for you.


By the Tide of Humber


Here’s the brick I fetched

from the grit of a beach so hot

my feet were blistered


that day at Spurn where sometimes

clouds of goldcrest blown off-course

make landfall, exhausted, too weak to move,

are picked off by rats and gulls.


This brick, more pig-iron than clay,

a small cylinder block. Little pebbles  

wedged in four of its six holes,


picked up the day two dolphins came

rollercoasting up the muddy Humber   

while container ships sat top-heavy 

on the tightrope horizon, waiting for the tide.


Brittle marran, dusty thrift, rusted beer cans,

bits of glass at the end of the walked world.

Two dolphins, distant as birds

and blithe as birds. This brick.

The second poem is the title poem, and at the centre of a sequence exploring the astonishing processes of earthbuilding needed to take a man’s life in the underground of deep time. I don’t think WordPress will cope with the format, so I’ve had to use a screen grab.

And finally, out into the air, in a poem for my Dad and all the working people who knew how to see what the world had to offer if only you learned to look


Something Going On


Brick gable ends, gardens of dock and dandelion,

Privet, trodden clay and rusting prams. 

A beck that ran hot, ran yellow, red and indigo. 


The park and its ornamental lake

and fountains choked with mast and mulch,

and the ancient peacock clattering

the brittle sticks of its fan.


My father took himself to sewage beds,

marsh, canal banks. Dipper. Moorhen. Heron.

Gritstone moors, old quarries soft

with Yorkshire mist; curlew, lapwing, wagtails

were his familiars. Old woodlands; 

coal tits, blue tits, yellowhammers,

chaffinch, robin, wren. 


A poet in Hessle watched a man who pushed

a lawnmower down the cobbled street,

and wished him grass. He saw how a roofer’s trowel

makes diamonds of a slanting sun. Everywhere, 

they told me, there’s a view. Something going on.


Something definitely going on next Tuesday 7.00-9.00pm at Brighouse Library. Launch of Pressed for Time with a supporting cast of Calder Valley Poetry poets. It’ll be lovely, and I’d love to see you there. If you’re not sure how to get there, here’s a link.

See you then.

3 thoughts on “Pressed for time……….

  1. You are one impressive man, John. Output, perseverance, the lot! I tried to buy the new book but it’s not up yet. I’ll come back for it. Hope you can hear the cheering from south Down.


  2. Just now, PfT arrived in all its Calder Valley Press glory 😀. Immediately started reading and already delighted. Thanks John.


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