Sunday, 24 May 2015

Super Crazy Busy Week


As a freelance, every now and again, work and engagements seem to congregate in the same small corner of the calendar. This week is the culmination of so many months of diverse work and I share not to boast but to encourage those of you working freelance in the arts, that hard work does sometime pay off and offsets the rejections and failed bids for funding.


I am learning that finding partners is a key to finding successful projects and I am grateful to all of the partners and organisations that are helping me live the life I have always sought.


On Monday and Tuesday I have the privilege of performing at How The Light Gets In Festival at Hay on Wye. A solo show on Monday evening at 7pm and part of an all day Poetry event.



On Wednesday, I will be working at the Parks Trust helping to promote activities at the MK Rose (more later) and in the evening, I am delighted that one of my short theatre pieces “Walking on Bombshells” will receive its debut by the wonderful Carabosse Theatre Company at their Real Ale and Drama Shots night alongside six other new theatre pieces. There is a run from Wednesday to Saturday at the Buszy in Milton Keynes



On Thursday evening, I will be reading at the opening of an exhibition called Here I am at the chapel in Milton Keynes Hospital for Arts on Prescription. I have conducted workshops with a group from a retirement village around the theme of the five senses of memory and some of the poems will be part of the exhibition.



On Saturday evening, I will be singing with Heart and Music, the choir at a concert to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Newport Pagnell Methodist Chapel. I also do a short poetry set as part of the concert.



Finally, to round off a wonderfully varied week, I am reading a commissioned poem as part of the Motus Dance Company project Response. This is a site-specific dance project starting at the MK Gallery and finishing at the MK Rose in Campbell Park. As to whether I end up taking part in the Dance, you will just have to turn up and see!



Have a great week yourself and hopefully see you at an event.


Keep writin’ and recitin’


Mark x

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Fire: VE Day 70th anniversary poem

Written for VE Day’s 70th Anniversary Celebrations

This was the day the nation exhaled,
Loosened up, unstiffened its lip.
Shook free its hair and
Shook its hips as
Bands played from balconies
Turning squares into dance floors,
Bottles hidden for special occasions,
Are sprung from secret stores.

Joy unrestrained, black bordered with relief,
Class and other differences set aside,
The postponed shudders of grief
Lost in the communal pride
Of celebration. The endorphin rush of
Finding the hot spot crush at
The Palace, the Circus, or Trafalgar Square.
The day we’d dared

Hope for but never mentioned
Finally, tangibly, here.
So in true British style,
We raised and sank many beers,
Called our darkest fears, liars.
So tonight, we light fires
A symbol of returning light
On the day when the black and white

Of war gave way to the fresh colours of peace.
The Bells of St Paul’s sang treble to tug horn bass.
Strangers kissed anyone in uniform
Full in the face.
An end to that stage of conflict,
A start of recovery from all the hits.
That day when even our future Queen
Danced the conga in the Ritz.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

War poem / song

Soldiers True


Verse One

British summer, nineteen fourteen

War declared though not foreseen

From city centre and village greens

Came many soldiers true      



For King and Country we signed to serve

To strain each muscle, sinew and nerve

From faithful duty we will not swerve

For the red white and blue,

Yes we are soldiers true.


Verse Two

Sign up, sign up lads, by the bunch

Help us land that knockout punch

You’ll be back for Christmas lunch

Short-term soldiers true


Verse Three

For weeks we marched and fought and trained

In snow or sleet, sunshine or rain

Do as you’re told, don’t use your brain

To be soldiers true



For King and Country we signed to serve

To strain each muscle, sinew and nerve

From faithful duty we will not swerve

For the red white and blue,

Yes we are soldiers true.

Verse Four

Land in France under cover of dark

Trenches are grim and rather stark

This is far from the promised lark

Of being soldiers true.


Verse Five

Come on lads, one last offence

Over the top, let battle commence

Looking back, did it ever make sense

To be soldiers true?



For King and Country we signed to serve

To strain each muscle, sinew and nerve

From faithful duty we will not swerve

For the red white and blue,

Yes we are soldiers true.


Verse Six

One by one, to bullets we fell.

Amid the blood and gore and yells

On foreign fields we bid farewell

To being soldiers true


Final Refrain


For King and Country we signed to serve

To strain each muscle, sinew and nerve

From faithful duty….. we did not swerve

For the red white and blue,

Yes we died soldiers true.

We died soldiers true.



Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Latest poem: Wavebourne

To sail an ocean.
Take the old way,
the slow way
across the sphere.
Take in its scale,
unshrunk by flight,
sail for days and
not see another ship.
See the stars as
Columbus, Cook and Magellan
would have seen them,
distant candles
pinned in place by ancient orbits.
Feel the pull of the moon
in swell and tide,
translated through your feet.
Take a little salt in the lungs,
spray in the hair,
wonder in which key the waves sing.
Take breakfast at the table
nearest the sunrise
watching the wake of where you’ve been,
Think about how to start the next chapter
of your future history.


Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Latest poem: Lunatic Fringe

Lunatic Fringe
A mild night seduction,
walked the two miles home and 
made the mistake of looking up.
The three-quarter moon
winked it’s Betty Davis eye,
half misted in chiffon haze.
Something in that hypnotic opaque gaze,
not quite scorn, not quite madness
graffitied my spirit,

set me free.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Poem for Wenlock Poetry Festival

I have spent a lovely weekend performing and hosting events at the Wenlock Poetry Festival. Today's poem is a thank you to all the organisers, volunteers and everyone who contributed to the Festival

Wonderful Wenlock

Wenlock, thanks for another year
Of poetry lifted from the page.
For Readers, Buskers and Slammers
That have taken to the stage.
From Open Mic to Headline act
Audiences have made their choices
No other place in just three days has
Such a multiplicity of voices
Thanks to the stewards and volunteers
That have helped out in all weathers.
Thanks to producers and over seers
That put the programme together.
From an egg in the nest five years ago,
Now on the wing, fully fledged.
Yes, when it comes to Festivals
Wenlock has the edge.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Poem 24 /30 Table for Three

Table for Three

That bright, fresh April morning

where sunlight jimmies its way in

through the smallest fissure in the curtains,

making your alarm clock redundant.


Sunlight that won’t be ignored.  

Wakefulness floods in

no matter how deep your sleep,

it is now evicted from your body.


Drawn to the window to inspect the day,

my eye is drawn to movement on

garden table and chairs.

A blue tit, breath of feather and


coloured blaze, hops and twitches:

armrest, table, chairback, table,

different chair, table and so on.

a full inspection then in a blink, gone.


The absence saddens. Until…..

three of them alight, food in their tiny beaks.

Use the table for breakfast, though wild birds

they can still be civilised.


I like to think, Dad came in first,

scoped it out, ensured its quality.

Having satisfied his criteria,

made a reservation.