For Gabriel, 22nd November 2018. (After 'Crowning' by Kevin Young)

The following poem is a response to the experience of listening to this episode of the New Yorker Poetry Podcast, while Silje was 8 months pregnant. The episode features Tracy K. Smith reading a beautiful and raw poem by Kevin Young called 'Crowning', then a wonderfully enveloping poem of hers called 'Alternative Take: Levon Helm'. I love both of these poets, and both of these poems have become particularly special to me. 

Smith's poem is inspired by the voice and rhythms of Levon Helm, someone who has been a big inspiration to me since, as a young teenager in my best mates conservatory, I first watched The Last Waltz. However, it was Kevin Young's poem of a loving father and husband's experience of childbirth, that brought me to tears the morning of the 22nd of November 2018, as I walked to work.  

It was one month before Gabriel's due date. Throughout the pregnancy we had already experienced so many trials, growing so much closer through them, but we bo…

The 2nd Christmas: Infant Glossolalia

You took on flesh, True flesh and grew With the same astonishing  Life-long quickness  Of my one-year-old son.
You had a first birthday,  Finding your feet, The Word, imitating language With sighs and groans, The Word of Life, so deep within, So clear and true, In unadulterated expression Of a conviction beyond Language.

On the 28th of December my son, Gabriel, will have his first birthday. The year has been indescribable. Yet throughout all the challenges, just revelling in the privilege of being with our little boy as he grows has brought such sheer joy. At this time of year I'm obviously thinking about the incarnation. But rather than Jesus' birth, I'm thinking of him at the same stage of life as our little boy, as a one-year-old. Gabriel has been walking for a couple of months now, and often makes long convicted speeches in sounds that no one else understands, waving his hands like he's teaching some essential truth to a captive audience of thousands. This inspired the thoughts …

Announcement: Heart of Flesh Literary Journal

I'm really pleased to announce that two of my poems have been published in Issue 2 of the Heart of Flesh Literary Journal.

Absolution was written while I was working for the Watford Homeless charity New Hope.   It is inspired by working with a homeless teenager with a particularly harrowing past, and explores the theme of redemption. To find more about the extremely important work of New Hope, please click here

Your Stare is inspired by my baby son, and how observing the beauty of an infant can reveal so much about humanity, communication and consciousness.
Click here for Issue 2Here to read issue 2 as a .PDFAnd here to go straight to my poems.
Heart of Flesh is a very exciting and unique new journal that seeks to publish poetry, fiction and art 'with a Christian element' though not necessarily explicitly Christian or by Christians, believing that 'God’s truth as written in the Bible can be found in both the secular and the non-secular, in nearly every work of literature…

The Storm

The storm raged on, Waves crashing through the hull,
The storm raged on, Sailors fearing death and hell.
The storm raged on, They feel death approaching now,
The storm raged on, But he was sleeping in the bow.

He was running from The Almighty  Who had spoken so clear. His calling, it was dangerous, But it was no that he feared. His anger burned hot and righteous, Like The Lord who'd said 'go!' But he did not have the same mercy For the Ninavites, so low.
And the storm raged on...

The storm raged on, Waves crashing through the hull,
The storm raged on, Fishermen fearing death and hell.
The storm raged on, They feel death approaching now,
The storm raged on, But he was sleeping in the bow.

He was the presence of The Almighty  So he did not mind the waves. He had no fear of man or nature, Whom he had come to save. His anger burned hot and righteous, But his mercy burned hotter still, And it's his blood that now cleanses The very hands that helped to kill,

Our Boy

It's been a while since I've posted any new poems, but let me assure you that I have been writing! I've been kept quite busy with work of different sorts, but that's not the only reason. It has actually been eight months since I last posted. It was the poem 'Her Fingers', a celebration of my amazing wife and her creativity. 
One of the reasons I have been so busy is that, for the last eight months, Silje and I have been preparing for the best of changes in our lives. We are expecting our first child, a baby boy, in time for Christmas!
As you can image this has inspired a great many poems about the prospect of fatherhood, the miracle of life, the impending responsibility,  of journeying through pregnancy with Silje, her courage and strength, our boys developing body, mind and soul, his kicking and jumping within the womb, the glimpses of his face at scans etc etc etc.
So I'm really excited to share with you one of the latest poems that I've written for our …

Her Fingers

Her fingers press the keys
With skilful muscle memory
Of adolescent compositions.

But now, her fingers are clothed
In the jewels of promise
And the band of union.
Her fingers press the keys With skilful memory.
A would be forgotten melody Is slowly remembered, Quickly played.
But her fingers have changed. They have reassembled the shards of me, They have studied my skin,
They are now clothed With the jewels of our promises, And the engraved band Of our union.

I wrote this poem in 2014 for my wife Silje soon after we were married as she played something she’d written years before. I was watching her, and struck by the simple image of her playing a piece she’d written with fingers that are now clothed with our wedding and engagement rings. 

When it snowed in Montpellier in February 2018 she was playing Prelude in C Major by J.S Bach. I thought the image of her playing with the snow outside would go well with this poem, so I recorded her without telling her. She can be very shy about her music. But don’t w…

Please Hear What I’m Not Saying

Hi everyone!

I’m really excited to announce that my poetry has been included in a collaborative anthology ‘Please Hear What I’m Not Saying’ being published to support the charity ‘Mind’... and it goes on sale TODAY!  My copy arrived yesterday and it’s a beautiful book with lots of amazing poems from 116 poets around the world. 

The book explores different aspects of mental health, and is designed to grow with positivity throughout its sections. My poem, which is about how recovery and redemption can beautify the scars and stains of our suffering, is therefore towards the end of the book. For me it’s really exciting to see my work published in a book (on real paper with an ISBN and everything!) but more so, to be part of such a wonderfully constructive project that will help people who struggle with their mental health. I had the privilege of working alongside ‘Mind’ during my years working for the Watford homeless charity ‘New Hope’ and can testify to their wonderful work.

The very talen…