Category Archives: Thoughts

Thoughts, ideas, rants, etc…

There is a light. How poetry is helping us find hope this week in Manchester

I teach English in an inner-city Manchester school. It’s been a tough week. Monday night’s terrorist attack created a backdrop of sirens, questions and uncertainty. Our school is as diverse as the wider city, we have a palette of pupils from … Continue reading

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Fourth Generation Verbs

A poem about ancestry and the distances between us, inspired by Tony Walsh I never really thought about my own Irish ancestry, growing up in Manchester. You didn’t really have to. It was everywhere; from the surnames in the register … Continue reading

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For the love of Love On The Dole: A love-letter to Walter Greenwood, via my granddad. And Morrissey

I’m a firm believer that books wait for you. Like fishing in reverse, they let you pick them, pull them down from the shelf, let you start them, let you in, sometimes let you devour them in a single sitting; … Continue reading

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Syrian Snow

Syrian snow lands on homes, roofless bones of brick. It lands on barbed wire fences, photographed in yesterday’s news. Syrian snow falls on the boats of those whose only chance is to go. It lands in Greece, in Munich, in … Continue reading

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Butterfly Stitch

Manchester, 1987. It’s December, last day of term. We’re in the bathroom. My mother has me in a loving headlock and is brushing my teeth ferociously. I am seven. My older brother sits on the edge of the bath, awaiting … Continue reading

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Fantastico: In Praise of Longfella and Project-Based Learning

Poetry, as I explained to the class, was never a real thing for me, as a schoolkid. For us, poets didn’t exist. They lived only in dusty books on that shelf of the library that nobody could reach. So, to … Continue reading

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Calcium 

Today is Manchester Day. This is a poem I wrote about the way the city stays with you, even (as in this case) as you leave it, it will draw you back.    

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