Skip to content

The Moors

September 15, 2011
View of Baildon Moor from Sconce Lane.

Baildon Moor from Sconce Lane.

Although I’ve been writing a lot of micro-poetry over the past couple of years, it’s very rare that I attempt anything longer.   I was lured out of my complacency by a local poetry competition, Sounds of Science, which coincided with the British Science Festival coming to Bradford.   You’ll find the winners here – I’m not among them, but I thought I might as well let mine loose into the world anyway. 

The Moors


Roaming Bradford moors

With a scientific lens

Exploring new worlds

In familiar places,

A deep topography.


Call of the Peewit

Or Vanellus vanellus

Red list species

With a green tinge,

Moorland ecology.


Rough Rock outcrops

Of Yeadonian sandstone

Deltaic deposits

Smoothed by the rain,

Moorland geology.


Sphagnum and sedges

Blanket over the bog

Cation exchange

In acidic sludge,

Moorland chemistry.


Crunchy rust bracken

On a dark autumn night

Showered by Leonids

At 72 km/s,

Moorland astronomy.


Tracing fingers

Through cups and rings

Bronze Age carvings

Resist interrogation.

Moorland mystery.


Immersed in place

Triangulated by data

Curled in my own geocache

Secret co-ordinates.

A local positioning.


The Light and the Dark

March 31, 2011

My office window overlooks our university peace garden, which contains a sculpture/fountain in the design of the taijtu (yin yang) symbol. 

Yesterday I watched two crows hop into the fountain (see picture above), which set off a chain of thought about the ripples of this extra input of ‘dark’  (yin) into the balance.

in the peace garden ~ two crows ~ step into ~ taijtu fountain ~ ripples

I’ve found myself playing with this theme in poems written on my bus journeys home over the past couple of days, so I thought I’d collate them here.

bright sun and strong wind ~ so much energy about ~ shadow trees ripple

regal head ~ carved ~ in stone ~ casts ~ a deep shadow

bus traveling north ~ face half warmed by western sun ~ east is my shadow

where the sun ~ meets my shadow ~ I am


Journey Through the Pennines

March 15, 2011

I had another of my work rail journeys today, on the Little North Western over to Lancaster and back.  Although it was a foggy day, there was enough visibility to stimulate a Twitter micropoetry travelogue, which I’ve brought together here.


From Shipley to Lancaster


sheep tracks ~ carved ~ through tussocks


lambs ~ lying down ~ with the crows


brought Basho along ~ on this journey through the North ~ the fog will lift soon


awaiting first glimpse ~ of broad bay between mountains ~ the tide may be out


long curve of the track ~ to join the west coast main line ~ flanges lean squealing


having reached the coast ~ I find the sea ~ is out ~ next time ~ I’ll call ahead


waves ~ of mud ~ shore ~ to shore ~ treacherous bay


the train ~ jumped over ~ the Lune


In Lancaster


walking ~ down alleys ~ looking ~ for ghosts ~ familar cobbles


playground constructed ~ where I used to play football ~ childrens’ enclosure


From Lancaster to Shipley


grey heron ~ still ~ the river flows


running deer ~ looks back ~ passing train


somewhere near here ~ Lancashire ~ meets Yorkshire ~ all I see ~ is the North


six lambs ~ three ewes ~ busy mothers




To London and Back in Ten Poems

March 13, 2011

A day trip to London on the train provides ample opportunity for window gazing, and for composing small poems.  Here’s a sequence that I tweeted as I travelled down and back on Monday 7th March, 2011.

From Shipley to London


horses ~ defrosting pasture ~ with their breath ~ mist ~ thickens


frosted tussocks ~ camouflage ~ rabbit’s ~ white tail ~ furred grass


broken cloud ~ raining light ~ heavy shower


bare winter trees ~ wrapped ~ ivy mufflers


eyes closed ~ sun warmed ~ face ~ each bridge ~ a shadow



In London


cherry blossom square ~ man of peace sits serenely ~ shades of light and dark



From London to Shipley


slicing north ~ through a deep cutting ~ setting sun ~ bleeding ~ into my eyes


undulating fields ~ sun sets rises sets rises ~ enough for a month


starlings swooping dance ~ across pale orange backcloth ~ lit by crescent moon


playground ~ at dusk ~ the wind ~ takes its turn ~ on the swing



February 3, 2011

I occasionally draft a short sequence of poems, often when I’m travelling.  This evening’s sequence, comprising two haiku, two gogyohka and a senryu, was inspired by the rain, and was written directly into Twitter on my bus journey home.


Raining at the Bus Stop

exposed on three sides

 it’s raining at the bus stop

strangers huddle up


Braided Channels

   vertical rivers

  braided channels in the dust

 rain on the window


The Rain in Shipley

the rain

 in Shipley

 falls mainly

 on the bus





 on the canal

 barging in


Rain Poems


  in a flood

 of rain poems

 I write

 a boat

A River of Stones

January 31, 2011

Peat Stream, Burley Moor

For the past month I’ve been participating in a project curated by Fiona Robyn and Kaspa called A River of Stones. As Fiona explains, “a small stone is a polished moment of paying attention.” A River of Stones asks people to write a small stone each day during January 2011. The project appealed to me as I thought it meshed quite well with the micropoetry writing style that I’ve developed on Twitter, which tends to be initiated by a small observation from the world around me. It also concides with my embarking on a Blipfoto journal, which is similarly based around small observations. The sensory prompts for my observations tend to be predominantly visual or aural.

I’ve been tweeting and blipping my small stones since the beginning of January. This entry is just a convenient way of putting them all in one place, and seeing them as a whole.  Reflecting on the outcome, I’m not sure that I’ve adjusted my writing or observational style sufficiently to the AROS brief, but I do see a distinction between these as a group and some of my other poems where I more explicitly add some symbolism to the description.  I’ve focused on the aspect of paying attention, rather than looking for things that are necessarily of beauty.  The entries reflect my oscillation between the urban and the wild in my daily life – something enacted literally in my commute from the edge of the moor to the heart of the city.

01/01/11  –  Crows and Gulls

crows and gulls

 circling the moor

 changing places

same as always

 always different


02/01/01  –  Four Boots


brittle like glass

stamped on

by four

little boots


03/01/11  –  Cold Air

cold air

 fills the void

 left by the cat

 as I let him



04/01/11  –  Foraging


of long-tailed tits


 at the station

half-light silhouettes


05/01/11   –  Iceberg 



 next to the icebox


 to iceberg


06/01/11  –  Bradford Pagoda

church spire


layered planks

 and steel

 chinese pagoda


07/01/11 – Snow Gorse

snow falling softly

 impaled by gorse javelins

a golden flower


08/01/11 – Meltwater Pool



in a meltwater pool

grass grows through



09/01/11  –  Spiked Turf

spiked turf

cheesegrater pattern

rough fairway 


10/01/11  –  Black Ice

as my feet

sailed past my nose

I noticed

black ice



11/01/11  –  Half Moon

half moon

white sail

deep blue


of sky


12/01/11  –  Struggling to Notice


through tiredness

to notice something

my laptop and fridge



13/01/11  –  Winter Midges

fine rain


with the sunshine

a cloud

of midges


14/01/11  –  Syncopated

rhythmic sounds

of the city

at night

stars flicker



15/01/11  –  Gulls

black eyed gulls


 summer plumage


16/01/11  – Boiler

boiler flares

 pipes knock

hot water


17/01/11  –  Cutting Edge

cutting edge


slice the sky

in two

steel water light


18/01/11  –  Lunar Corona

translucent cloud

diffracting lunar light

rainbow rings


golden egg


19/01/11  – Contrail Comet


lit by a full moon


across the sky

like a comet


20/01/11  –  Ash Keys

cold night wind

ash keys

clink softly

deep inside

moonlight shadows


21/01/11  –  Cat Purring

cat purring

trilling voice

of a thousand crickets


22/01/11  –  Rest in Pieces

past lives


carved stone

gathering moss

rest in pieces


23/01/11  –  Hiss of Tyres

serpentine wind


hiss of tyres

on wet roads

into my ears


24/01/11  –  Brush Strokes



 on a blue canvas


25/01/11  –  Wet Stone

circle of wet stone

a mirror

to the sky

rain clouds



26/01/11  –  Walking at Night

walking at night

headlamps race up

from behind

my shadow

runs past


27/01/11  –  Shadow Tree II

shadow tree


arms aloft


with the sun


28/01/11  –  Walking at Night

walking at night

headlamps race up

from behind

my shadow

runs past


29/01/11  –  Bright Winter Day

bright winter day

 on the moor

 rich colours

 grass trees sky

 swaying together


30/01/11  –  Boots

on frozen ground

my boots



31/01/11  –  Frozen Vomit

monday morning street

 a pool of frozen vomit

 pigeons break their fast


A small beginning

January 3, 2011

This blog is something of a place marker at the moment. I’ve established it with good intentions to offer occasional posts that draw together elements of my pictures, poems, walks and thoughts, but at the moment it is mostly just set up as an aggregator of things that I’m doing elsewhere. You’ll find my tweets, which is where most of my poetry starts out; my Flickr page, which I’m slowly developing, and a link to my Blipfoto blog, which I’ve recently started.

Amongst the first few things that I’m working on for blog posts here are an account of my Flickr/Google Map mash up of my pictures of Baildon Moor; some collated examples of my micropoetry, and a couple of write-ups of walks on the moors that relate to particular photo sets.

I hope to get some of these up in the next month, so if you happen to stumble on me in the meantime, please call back.