Skip to main content


Wren Song

A piece prompted by the same little songbird that inspired the attached linocut, and tonight's (literally) inspiring livestreamed performance of "The Lost Words" by Spell Songs from the Natural History Museum, London. The concert is still free to view on the museum site, but is in aid of the museum’s Urban Nature Project. See My words pale beside the magical spells of Robert Macfarlane and my prints are crude in the extreme compared to Jackie Morris' wonderful watercolours, or indeed some of the children's artwork shown during the event, but they are my simple attempts to encapsulate some of wonder prompted by this wee bird, before it too becomes a lost word. ps the lack of punctuation is deliberate. With my untrained ear I couldn't pick out a "grammar" to the wren's breathless song. Reigning Rinn Tiny brown king crevice combing Stridently singing  Before taking wing  Sing a song of strident joy A ballad of t
Recent posts


I've been trying to separate my "work" from my private life, at least digitally, in recent days. It's hard to do when your "work" is vocational and intimately connected with who you are. But one of the problems over recent years has been my inability to healthily engage in creative writing projects that require longer periods of crafting, rather than the brief, and frequently unrefined pieces I often put up here, that may, or may not, be related to my "day job". This has especially been the case since I was keeping both work and personal material on the same computer, meaning that it was harder to devote time to personal writing projects on days off without seeing the mounds of unaddressed work piling up, creating the very stress that days off and creative engagement is supposed to alleviate. Hence I have turned my hand in a limited way to more visual artistic endeavours in recent months. But recently I took the plunge and replaced our "househ

The Sugar Museum

A strange confection, sparked by my own diabetes, a piece on the “Antiques Roadshow” about the shadow-side of some 18th century silver and Frank Skinner’s reading of poem 8 from Donna Stonecipher's “The Model City" in his Poetry Podcast. Each of her poems in that collection apparently answers the question “What was it like?” but refers in one to a diversion to a "Sugar Museum",  so that's where I start... What would it really be like To visit a sugar museum? Would it be a Wonka-world Fantasy focussed firmly on The sweet culinary creations  That come from those white crystals? Cakes and confections of all kinds, Candyfloss and caramels,  Sherbets and shortbread, Fizzy drinks and frozen lollies, Diverse desserts and Turkish delight, Indeed, delights from every nation Bringing joy to the tongue and heart  Of the child in all of us. Or would there also be Piles of pitted baby teeth, And fillings forged from All manner of metal and ceramic, Balancing the m

The Last Word

Two blogs on one day!? Two new poems from me in 2 days. How come this new spate of industriousness? Well, I couldn't leave you thinking I was in the depths of despair after yesterday's piece. And I will be large downing  tools for a wee bit, so this really is the last word for a while... The corrupt and cowardly politician Does not have the last word. The ruthless religious leaders Do not have the last word. The riotous crowd, whipped up By un-named shadowy voices, Does not have the last word. The soldiers, obeying their orders, Do not have the last word. Mocking cynics,  Sneering at another’s agony, Do not have the last word. Fearful followers, Ashamed of themselves Do not have the last word. Death  Does not have the last word. The Word made flesh Is the first and last. Selah

Lent Poems: Poem for Easter by Steve Turner

So Lent is over. Covid restrictions in Northern Ireland have reduced sufficiently to allow resumption of public worship, though rousing "Alleluias" and roof-raising singing is prohibited... we have to whisper our liturgical responses and sing the level of our speaking voices behind masks... with a through draft from open doors and windows... though perhaps that could be seen as symbolic of the open door of the tomb! Anyway, to finish what has been more of a sombre than solemn Lent, I want to finish this series of poem with something much lighter... Shalom

Unholy Saturday

I've been reading real poets' words over recent weeks, and frankly have been too busy, and perhaps to "emptied out" to put my own thoughts into words. But off the back of the attached Mark Rothko painting ("Black on Dark Sienna on Purple"  by Mark Rothko 1960 in the Museum of contemporary Art) that I posted as part of my #LentArt social media exercise, and local events recently these words bubbled up almost unsummoned. A beautiful sunshine filled day, But darkness reigns. Blossoms bursting with life, But hope is dead. Sabbath in an unholy week of chaos Without real rest. The mob has made their choices clear. The politician washes his hands, Incapable of comprehending  The very concept of truth. And the religious leaders, The men of God, Have sacrificed  Another young man  To the twin gods Of violence and self-interest. It’s a small group of women Who remained to the end. But that was yesterday; Today, nothing. We stay at home as commanded; Nothin

Lent Poems: Good Friday - The Dream of the Rood translated by Richard Hammer

I have previously given a shout out to Jim Deeds my fellow "Wonderful Wanderer" for the beautiful little hand cross he carved from cherry wood from my native east Belfast, (which I subsequently learned came from a tree colloquially named by after a fellow pupil in my eldest son's class at school by her family because it usually blossomed on her birthday - making it even more precious, reminding me of many different connections between family and friends.) It has subsequently inspired me to both write a poem and carve a linocut, and it is a constant source of grounding to me as I have grasped it in difficult Zoom meetings over the past month or so. It has spoken to me in many ways. Anglo-Saxon and medieval literature is peppered with pieces that give voice to all manner of creatures and inanimate objects in ways that seem almost surreal, but is probably grounded in the greater awareness then of people's connection with the physical world around them that we could do w