Spirits of Annwn fly over reaped fields

Spurned birds circle
fields weeping
for all that is good
in the world

dry harvest
all the legions of the dead
strewn fallen scattered
let them seed
this world in the arms of their loved ones

the circles begin again
hearts cut in twain

by the reapers’ blades
hear them come
softly sweeping bare-footed
with the silence of a love song

pile straw into carts

the hallowed dead
ascending in a cloud of wings

spirits of Annwn fly over reaped fields

then down and under
circling circling

Reaping Moon published on Moon Books Blog

Link to my poem ‘Reaping Moon’ on Moon Books blog accompanied by a an atmospheric and fitting photograph by Stephen Chapman, well chosen by Moon blog editor Nimue Brown. This was a piece I wrote last year, following scything The Friends of Greencroft Valley’s wildflower meadow.


The Unicorn

The unicorn looks out on a world that is dreamless.
The unicorn turns its cold rage inwards.
The unicorn treads through stardust to where the stars lie broken.
The unicorn knows caverns of stalactites where shaped was its horn.
The unicorn runs to the end of the world.
The unicorn runs back again.
The unicorn is the only horse who can make dreams real.

Scything our Wildflower Meadow


Last week, the Friends of Greencroft Valley scythed our wildflower meadow with a pair of Austrian scythes bought through funds remaining from South Ribble Transition Towns.

During the process we found a number of creatures including frogs and a nest of harvest mice, which made us realise how valuable meadow habitats are for providing homes for wildlife that would not exist under a mowing regime as well as flowers for for bees and butterflies.


Last week, the Friends of Greencroft Valley (currently Peter Dillon and I) scythed our wildflower meadow.

Meadow Before

A few months ago South Ribble Transition Towns shut down and we were granted some of the remaining funds to buy a very smart pair of Australian scythes.

Australian Scythes

Last year we had some basic training from John Lamb of Lancashire Wildlife Trust, which we put to use in cutting the grasses and sharpening the scythes.


Admittedly, due to the toughness of grasses, and our unfamiliarity with the exercise it was pretty tough going. It took us eight hours together in total to do this tiny bit of meadow.

Finished Meadow

As sections of the meadow where we had planted purple loosestrife, lesser knapweed, ox-eye daisies and devil’s bit scabious were still in flower we decided to leave them until they went to seed.

GCV Scything and Creatures 020 - Copy

Purple loosestrife and lesser knapweed

Ox-eye daisies and devil's bit scabious

Ox-eye daisies and devil’s bit scabious

During the…

View original 111 more words

In the carparks

we still hear them weeping
a woman in white with a bright bouquet
is on her knees amongst graves
whose steeple shadows
lie unseen amongst cars
who drive away without care

in the carparks
we still hear them weeping
a man who gave all to the mills
wants to turn back time
at his family’s crypt
hear the voices of children
run wild over paving stones

in the carparks
we still hear them weeping
the living and dead walk the streets
there’s no telling who’s who now
the graveyards are gone
and the shadows of steeples
put no-one at rest

St Wilfrid Street Carpark

St Wilfrd Street Carpark, Preston


Site of RC Graveyard

Site of graveyard prior to St Wilfrid Street Carpark, courtesy of Mario Maps

Seeing a Red Admiral before visiting St Walburge’s

This butterfly was an espionage;
coal-black, amber, whiteness
the celestial gaps
letting in light
through leaded windows
where painted saints stand in line.

It did not flutter in the tower’s centrifuge
where the bell tolls no longer
and the staircase
eternally revolves
into a hole in the sky.

It did not fly up there,
breathlessly gasping for a vantage point
because it contains a cathedral in its arms.

It is the spy who knows all, will tell all
with dotted antennae so fragile
they could pinpoint
a star, a sun
on a tabernacle,

a revelation in wings unfolding

and flying away
before I can grasp
what this stained glass
and its coloured picture-stories mean.


This poem was written after reading the following article by Brian Taylor http://animistjottings.wordpress.com/2014/08/28/as-summer-fades-memory-image-and-symbol/ then seeing a Red Admiral butterfly outside my house before going to visit St Walburge’s.

As I continue to explore the relationships between the gods and spirits of the land of Britain and the physical, social and religious structures of Christianity I find myself pondering more and more deeply how this place became a home of these strange, fascinating and often brutal Middle Eastern stories, of the stories of saints from across the world. How religion became relocated from the land into these grand edifices. How it all became doctrine and God became the only real and only god.

I’m grateful to live in a time where it’s considered valid to view nature as alive and inspirited, containing its own instrinsic purpose and meaning, to believe in and commune with its many gods. At a time when such questions can be posed and addressed.

I’d be interested to hear your opinions on these complex relationships.

Red Admiral, Guardian 004 - CopySt Walburge'sSt Walburge'sSt Walburge'sGCV Scything and St Walburge's 048 - Copy


What a web of suspense
you weave, oh spider!
with your footsteps light
upon my windowsill,
binding into place
all the floating strands.
How softly you tread
toward your trembling victims,
one bite is all it takes
and they are still,
wrapped up
in cottony parcels
that shine and glimmer.
How dare I look you in the eyes?
One touch is all it would take
to tear apart your parlour,
cast your work adrift
in glistening tresses
into the ether into the emptiness
where unlike you
I curl terrified
into a hard, round ball.
What a web of suspense
you weave, oh spider!
how you choose
your victims slowly
and I dare not look you in the eyes.