Monday, 16 May 2011


I've said this before: I really don't regard myself as a poet. Honestly, I don't. And yet, since I began writing in earnest at the beginning of this year, poetry seems to be what comes more naturally than anything else, and poetry seems to be the thing towards which I'm being inexorably drawn, almost against my will!

This is a poem I wrote a while ago, which I have recently re-worked. It was inspired by a trip my husband and I were lucky enough to make to Turkey in 2006, to witness a solar eclipse. I'm convinced that I could spend a life-time trying to put the experience into words and failing. So this poem might be seen as something of a work in progress! I hope you enjoy it.

This is another of the pieces I recently recorded for listenupnorth. com, an exciting spoken word website run from here in Northumberland. All the work I recorded for the site should be available in the next few weeks.


Yes, I can describe what happened
as our tiny Moon, audacious,
crept across the scorching springtime Sun,
stealing the light from the Earth,
cooling the air and casting steel-sharp shadows.

Yes, I can tell you I saw planets –
Mercury and Venus tenderly suspended there –
strung across an eerie, sunset Turkish sky:
dusk at lunchtime,
on the Third Rock from the Sun.

You want to know about totality?
Let me tell you about a sparkling diamond ring,
too beautiful to comprehend -
cheers and applause from an appreciative audience -
and too-soon disappeared for good.

And let me tell you about the phantom Moon,
visible in its dark invisibility,
powerful and awesome, disc on disc,
void over blinding fire, setting a feathery corona free,
to reach out, exquisitely

as my yearning does, to turn the clock back,
and inhabit that rare moment, just once more.
You ask me how it felt? Then you ask me
how it feels to be human, to be humbled and bewitched,
looking upward, looking outward, looking in.


  1. Absolutely beautiful!

    If you write something that would fit well in my blog, please bring it there. You can guest post any time. I'd love to have posts by a person living in that area. And as beautifully written as you write.

    Also, Elizabeth Marshall has a blog for writers to bring their work to. She has asked me to tell my friends. Her blog starts out: "A very warm Scottish welcome to you all." I am writing a historical fiction in which the protagonist is a poetess. I dreaded trying poetry and nearly decided to not put any in the book, but managed one, which I posted on EMWrites.

  2. Thank you for your lovely comment, Debbie. Poetry is a funny thing, isn't it? I really love reading poetry, but feel awkward writing it! At the same time, I am finding more and more that poetry allows me a freedom of expression which other forms of fiction just wouldn't, so I suppose I just have to try my best and see what happens.

    Thank you for the invitation to post something on your blog - that is a real compliment, and I will have a good think about what I might contribute. Also thanks for the recommendation about EMWrites. I'll have a think about that too!

    Take care.


  3. That is so true! One could never express what you did about the eclipse in prose. Poetry is like something from the deepest soul. (And now for a poem about poetry- Hail Poetry!- Gilbert and Sullivan.)