The Poetry Lounge hosts John Hegley and Ian McEwen

I’m so thrilled to be hosting two wonderful poets at The Poetry Lounge in September!  The Sitting Room at The Blue Boar is a wonderful poetry venue, combining that challenge of a quiet, quirky space – with ready access to a bar…  Tickets have to be limited, this will be an intimate reading – so if you want one, or lots, rush to The Blue Boar, who have an allocation, or contact me quick!

#5_The Poetry Lounge John H Ian McE 1 Sept 2015 poster

A couple of photos of The Blue Boar.  If you haven’t been yet, it’s very nice.

Blue Boar sun deer in pearls


‘The Crow House’ at Ludlow Library

I just spent a wonderful morning with ten creative kids and two taxidermied crows.

Crow House Ludlow Library + crows mrWe read extracts from ‘The Crow House’, invented ways for household objects to transport innocents to other times and places, told stories, inspected the lovely dangerous crows, drew them and wrote about them.  Thank you Iran Morris and Ludlow Library!

Matthew + poem + crow Crow House Ludlow Library crow drawing 5 Ben Crow House Ludlow Library crow drawing 6 Crow House Ludlow Library crow drawing 3 Crow House Ludlow Library crow drawing 2

How we returned the wheelbarrow #LittleMuseumofLudlow

All good things must come to an end: Kate Morgan-Clare and I packed up the last of The Little Museum of Ludlow yesterday, returning lent objects to their owners, and gathering into the fabulous wheelbarrow (I love that wheelbarrow, unacquisitively) a selection of our found objects to return them to the town…

Dismantling Little Museum of Ludlow7And then we pushed it back across Ludlow, from Ludlow Library, along Tower Street, across the Bull Ring, up King Street, and back to the derelict garden where the wheelbarrow has rested for decades.  In the hot sun, kneeling on weeds turned crackly with drought, Kate slowly placed the objects we’d brought at the foot of a crumbling old wall.

I wrote a poem.
Dismantling Little Museum of Ludlow10

Returning the Wheelbarrow Behind the Gate

You will crashsqueak on dry earth.  Lurch
this weedy, sudden garden to the space
the barrow had.
Put down your burden.  Breathe.
Kneel in dry leaves.
Be slow.

Place a bone to an ivy root.
a paper flower pinkly by the wall.
Thread a tattered feather
past a root-loop.
A labelled rip of rubber spun
off a tyre on Old Street leans
on a twig not native to this place.
a luckless scratchcard
to a knuckle bone sucked dry by dogs.
Hear rook-caw.
reverent confetti.  Rain its petals
on the footings
of this limey, head-high wall.
Let ring
a rolling quarter-chime of church bells.

Labels dangle.  Stir.  Feather
quivers in a swell of air.
Wheelbarrow Tag No. 9891
has gone
to rest among the nettles.

Dismantling Little Museum of Ludlow12

The Little Museum of Ludlow: wheelbarrow & wood bust

For a fortnight The Little Museum of Ludlow (part of Ludlow Fringe) has welcomed in a strange and marvellous collection of objects, lent to us by the public, and scavenged from around the town by artists from London-based Paradox of Order and more locally, from Hereford College of Art, plus poets Martin Evans and myself.
Little Mus Lud wood headHere’s my poem about the hardwood bust, lent by a Ludlow resident.

Head & shoulders, in hardwood 

so much heavier than you think & smooth
as the hand you long to hold
(It’s what she held when she was tiring)

age & gender don’t seem to matter much,
though this must be about a kind of youth or essence
of who we are at heart

head slightly turned to the left and tilted, just
a hint of question; the lips stay softly closed.
(It’s what I hold in my hands to remember her hands)

ears only an indication, eyes are blanks
or eyelids: this is all about
the power of touch on our mortality

& only the one small blemish
underneath to say
it’s human

Little Mus Lud Wheelbarrow 3And a poem I wrote for a scavenged, hard-worked wheelbarrow.

a barrow that’s gone to ground, front tyre worn
to cloth, almost, & weaves
when pushed & shrieks & cries,
draws Broad Street to the Buttercross
in its labour

this hard-used metal pocked with rust
& caked cement & folded, what is more,
this barrow is upcycled,
someone has kept
the frame & fashioned it a fresh bed
from sheet metal, cut straight
as cloth but bent to shape,
wrapped round perhaps the worn original
to get it right, then pinned
spot-welded on the metal band
that holds it still

wheelbarrow carries its haul of ivy
dried to a frill of veinous brown,
its fading elderflower confetti,
some pigeon’s lost white feather
& a long-dead stick, light as a shell
& faint
with crumples of grey lichen

& from someone’s house, bright chips
of royal blue paint

‘Eglwyseg Day’ published on The Clearing

I’m hugely pleased to have my poem ‘Eglwyseg Day’ published on The Clearing.  The Clearing is an online magazine published by Little Toller Books that offers writers and artists a dedicated space in which to explore and celebrate the landscapes we live in.  I’m very proud to be in the company of writers and poets like Katrina Porteous, Tim Dee, Paul Kingsnorth, Nick Groom, Ken Worpole, Lucy Wood, Robert Crawford, Philip Gross, Neil Ansell, and Eleanor Rees.

2  Eglwyseg[11.09 am]

path up through windclipped gorse, wind in the eye
& such yellow splashes through the heather

sheep-cropped mounds & sink-holes of the mines
all smooth as china cups & saucers stacked up

at the table edge
& shelved up there, the purple hills,
here, bilberries & our purple fingers.


share coffee from the Thermos.  Perch
on springy bones of heather root & watch

across the gorge, a nursery
of dark firs gathered quiet
& good by the cliff’s white knee

we listen to the shush
of a sheep through whinberries

& hum of a bee-line into warm air.

for the rest of the poem, please click the link here.

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