Hand-Feeding Robins

Over the last couple of months, on our morning dog walk, we slowly became aware of the robin by the churchyard and patiently developed a two way relationship with him – we provide food and he sings for us.

Jon Young talks of the cords of connection between us and nature, if we notice nature we create a thread and the more we notice and pay attention to nature the thicker the thread. We watch the robin and the robin watches us and the thread becomes a cord and the cord becomes a rope and we are growing a strong nature connection. And the best part is coming home and sharing the story with you.


The Journey

‘Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?’

Mary Oliver asks of us in her poem ‘The Summer Day’. In a little over a month I’ll be heading back to Embercombe to volunteer on their ‘Journey’ programme and this question will once again be forefront in my mind.

“One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began”, again Mary Oliver guides us in her poem ‘The Journey’

A new circle will be drawn and thirty or so inquisitive, nervous, bemused and perhaps bewildered individuals will begin their Journey into themselves, and as in the ancient story of Iron John, they will serve their time in the forest, the ashes and the kitchens before finally coming triumphantly home to their own truths.

“You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting”, Mary Oliver’s Wild Geese advises us. Of course, you can if you want to, we all seek redemption in our own ways but it doesn’t have to be that way.

The work has already started for me and for them, it started before I signed up, it continued as I made the space and time to participate in March and as I made the plans to leave my life here for a week, and it’s still happening now. A place and a time that had faded from my everyday thoughts was now back in them, the names, the places, the experiences. The breakdowns and breakthroughs I had taken part in, those I had witnessed and those that will take place in March.

The lake will be beckoning me, to sample its icy waters as it warms itself from its winter dreaming, the forest will call to me as it thrusts new green shoots into the coming spring, the stones will remember me, as they remember everybody. One day they may remember you as an old friend too.

And once again I will share a last goodbye before gathering up my experiences and memories of my week in the real world and taking them out there, out here, and finding my place in the world again.

“And when the sun rose

That, this morning

In your blue eyed sky

I knew my, our ending had come.

All that was left

Was to say goodbye.”





Aye, aye, aye


Bee, aye, aye

Sea, sea, bee, be

Dee, sea, sea

Dea, see, bee


Aye, bee, sea

Dee, E

Dee, E, eff

Eff, gee

Aitch, Haitch, aitch

Eye, Jay, Kay




Oh pea queue

Pea queue

Argh estuary

Double you

You you




It Must Have Been Ritual

That’s what the future archaeologists will say about my fireplace. 

Once, fire was the centre of the house and the centre of our lives. We tamed it, trained it and built chimneys take the smoke away. We celebrated our achievements and decorated the place of the fire, or fireplace, with a mantelpiece. Now the fire has gone and the mantelpiece becomes the place of the TV, rather like Roman temples replaced Neolithic sacred places and were later replaced themselves by Christian churches. TV is the centre of the household now. Praise be to TV.

And now, after the TV has gone, there just remains a bracket bolted to the wall. It is the clue but not the reason, the tantalising glimpse into what was. The archaeologists will say it was ‘ritual’, why else would we have suspended something above our very special fireplaces?

She Would

“She would die or him, despite the fact he would arrive late at her funeral, if at all” – Nick Lovell

She would try for him, despite the fact he clearly wasn’t interested, or even very tall,

She would lie for him, despite the fact he would be the first to shout ‘Perjury!’ at her trial, if called,

She would buy for him, despite the fact he would ignore her beautifully wrapped gift of John Lewis smalls,

She would sigh for him, despite the fact he couldn’t hear her slow exhalations of air through the bathroom stall,

She would cry for him, despite the fact he would ignore her gin-soaked prone form propped against ns the kitchen wall.


The inspiration for this – whatever it is – came from the one line quoted at the top from Swindon based poet Nick Lovell.

Nick Lovell is a part time van driver, full time romantic, half arsed anarchist, eternal optimist and sometime poet.  He currently holds 4 poetry slam titles from Nantwich to Hereford and enjoys writing for both page and performance!




Summer Dreaming

Doombar, get in the van, drive to Rock, see what’s there. The sea crashing waves over there. The field, green grass. Tent, van, boiling potatoes. Chick peas soaking, hummus for supper. Where next? Drive down the road. New site, new sounds new places, new faces. The summer invites me and together we roll by.

Interview With The Gloucester Poetry Society

Interview With The Gloucester Poetry Society


What is your name?

James Laurie aka Shadow The Poet

Can you give a unique fact about yourself?

I swam in the River Sow on Christmas Day and the Usk on New Years Day.

When did you start writing poetry?

Around 2012.

What kind of poetry do you like to write?

I just like to write about life, either in a free verse or prose style stream of consciousness type of thing. I also like to dabble in Haikus and other syllable counting styles.

What are your inspirations?

Anything at all, although looking at the stuff Ive written it majors on personal themes, divorce, death, depression that sort of thing.

Who are your favourite poets / artists?

I love music and could tell you hundreds of bands I enjoy, some of the most influential in my work include the driving rhythms of Johnny Cash and the storytelling of Martha Tilston. Closer to home I enjoy Dave Dunwell’s poems and wish I could write like him, Hannah Teasdale, Tim Vosper, Tim King, Robert Garnham and Luke Wright are definitely worth seeing if you can.

What makes you smile?

Seeing the Malverns, the Welsh Mountains, walking into the woods and jumping in rivers.


I touched on an idea there for a moment
Of possession and repossession
Of dispossession and time
I reached out into the world
To lay the claim
And smooth my way through the pain
And yet still they lie
Coiled across the path
Taking away my life
And turning it into a tale
Of two halves.
Patience, my friend