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I love writing poetry and I have many poems published in anthologies edited by John Foster, David Orme, Gillian Clarke and others. I’m very grateful to John Foster in particular, who published so many of my poems that I was able to put them all together in a collection, Walking on Air, which now has its very own page.
(A poetry anthology is a book of poems by different authors; a collection is all the work of one author.)
This was created for the Sheffield Botanical Gardens.
The series of riddles consists of eight pieces of artwork, starting and finishing at the Gatehouse. I wrote the riddles in 1999 and the trail was completed and opened in 2005. I am very disappointed that the Botanical Gardens has refused to acknowledge the artists in any formal way, except on a leaflet, so here are the names of the artists:
Chris Campbell: Dinosaur footprints
Bryan Frisby, Sue Jenner: Timber bench
Nick Hunter: Carving on bench
Tracey Hayes: Ceramic leaves
Celia Kilner: Carved stone lettering
David Mayne: Bear sculpture
Jez Thompson: Glass sculpture
Corale Turpin: Mosaic
An iron rose, half-open gates,
Show where a secret garden waits.
Down in the woodland of whispering green
A quiet moment to sit and dream
Now follow a dinosaur, steady and slow
To a tree that lived millions of years ago.
Mice and birds and squirrels throng
Where the spirit of nature pipes his song
Find a circle of stone opened up to the stars,
Where huge animals lived in a cage without bars.
Summer in winter, the world in one place
Outside is inside the palace of glass.
Step your way to the great stone arch
Where the riddle circle ends and starts
My poem on The Moor, Sheffield
Sheffield Arts asked me to write a poem to be engraved into the pavement on The Moor, a pedestrianised shopping area.
This is what it says:
a city’s heart.
There in her hills lie
her green bones, quiet under
the clutter of houses and streets.
And there in her rivers run veins
that long ago powered her mills.
Her long limbs reach to the
moors. But here, here
lies her throbbing
In 2013 the poem on the pavement was replaced by a poem on a bench, also on The Moor in Sheffield. Pip Hall is the lettercarver.
My contribution to the Poems for the Wall project
One of my poems, Night Sounds, from Walking on Air, is part of the Poems for the Wall project, which produces poetry posters for schools, libraries, waiting rooms and other places. All the posters are decorated, and the service is free.
You may also be interested in my blog post on writing riddle rhymes and puzzle poems.
Out of print collection
Big Slimy Fat Black Slugs, published by Nelson