Tracy Higgins

The Blue Bathroom

Mid-day in your flat,
alone trying on your world.
I turn the taps of your black and white bath,
the steam rises, hangs and runs down the walls.

Blue walls, vivid, dreamy, rich,
like the colour of the ocean in a cartoon, but deeper.
An aborigine playing a pipe, Mish Mash at the Rocket,
the old black and white picture of a horse and cart.

Sounds leak through the air vent above the taps,
a woman crying, pots and pans colliding, someone shouting.
Hello is there anybody there?
I start to sing when I am sure no-one is listening.

In love with a monk

I love you I said,
the words flowed from my heart,
a burning sun spinning on its axis,
I could feel its fire rise and fall in circular motion,
filling my whole being with warmth,
with light and your smile,
while my ears buzzed in confused resonance.
These words did not exist in my world,
not like this,
somehow you found them,
and tumbled an avalanche of emotions to spill
through the dust and cobwebs of my soul.
A lotus to you.

Biography: Hello, my name is Tracy Higgins, thank you for reading my poems, I hope you like them, here is my brief biog... I have lived in Canterbury since 2002 and really like it here. I was born in Scotland but moved to Yorkshire with my family in my early teens so have a mixed up hybrid accent, which says a lot about me. I have always had a love of writing and particularly enjoy reading and writing poetry. In my day job I work part-time as a Statistician. I also love films, music, dancing, walking in the woods and spending time with my family and friends.


Lynne Rees

4 Haiku

sunlit garden
when did my father grow
an old man’s neck?

(Frogpond - Fall 2006)

a black umbrella
blows inside out — too late
to say sorry

(written as part of the Umbrella Project, 2006)

the wind pushes
across an open field
the bleat of lambs

(from Haiku Calendar 2007 - published by Snapshot Press)

he stretches his legs into
all this space

(Blithe Spirit - 16/3/2006)

1 Haibun


Each drawer slides out in silence. First the gradations of white – snow, ivory, pearl – then the browns, greens, shades of fleck, all arranged on sheepskin, named, dated, and geographically placed in a fading scrawl. Clutches of plover, ptarmigan, shrike, and here, a golden eagle’s non-identical twins – feather-weights in my hands, no albumen or yolk, just cradles of air with tiny man-made holes. While around the room a weight of books: engraved and coloured plates, breeding times, conception, birth, flight. The histories of lives they never lived.

the room darkens
a scuttle of sparrows
in the eaves

(from Simply Haiku vol 4 no 4 (November 2006) and big sky (Red Moon Press 2007)

Biography: Lynne Rees was born and grew up in South Wales. She worked as a currency dealer in the Channel Islands and moved to Kent in 1985 where she ran her own second-hand and antiquarian bookshop for 12 years. She's the author of a novel, The Oven House (2004), a collection of poetry, Learning How to Fall (2005), and co-author of Messages (2006), a volume of experimental short prose. She founded and directs AppleHouse Poetry, an independent project supporting poets in the South East of England through a programme of workshops and masterclasses.

Lynne is the recipient of a Hawthornden Fellowship and the University of Kent's Faculty of Humanities Award for inspiring and imaginative teaching practices. In 2005/6 she represented Kent in 'Words Unbound', an international writers' exchange with France, Belgium and Ireland. It was during the visit to Ireland that she became interested in contemporary english haiku. Her first published haibun, 'Collection', was selected for the anthology big sky (Red Moon Press 2007), an annual publication celebrating the best in international english language haiku writing. www.lynnerees.co.uk

[editor's note: the Haibun is a combination of prose and haiku, invented by the Japanese monk Basho. The Haibun is concerned with 'showing', rather than 'telling'.]


Roger James


Six months, seminal
you spray out of the clouds
anything in your path
a form of prey

But here above Aynesford
one Sunday afternoon
still small
on a gauntlet

I see
you swivel your head
through 360 degrees
and stare at the sun
straight through me.


Bright as marbles
small eyes stared back at me
as I lashed walkways aboard
and settled stalls against the storm

and afterwards, looking back over
the old country
my memories echoing
over stone black waters

I never imagined how
I would bring them all ashore
and how these elderly hands
would give birth one by one
to all we had saved.

Mattie’s Birthday

I strap twelve chambers of dynamite
on the washing line, dig a rocket in the soil
secure pots in wooden posts
and garden the fireworks

I am Mattie's magician.
I set the spell that dims the night sky
and spark the ceremony
that startles the horses.

In the silence afterwards smoke drifts over the house
and small faces look up at me.
I say, ‘I don't know where it comes from,
this obsession with stars.’

You say, ‘Sit down, you seem cold.’

(Roger's biography will appear here shortly)


Fran Addison


I live with a silent man, wait on his words.
When they come each staccato stab
slices the silence, lingers in my hearing.

Later, he tells me.
Will there be time enough to squander
on later, I wonder?

Words pruned hard to bloody stumps
sentences culled from reedy echoes
dissolve in the void.

In the dark I feel his body tense.
We do not sleep. Unarticulated
conversations crackle behind the headboard.

He is the master of rack and thumbscrew
unmoved by the creak of parched bird-bones,
muted roars from the box room.


We stuck together
you and me
jammed into a compartment
sharing a seat, feeling the heat
of our first adventure.

Black clad brigands
wouldn’t budge, shrugged
as we protested
flapping our tickets
causing a mild commotion.

Somehow, we ended up apologising.

Stranded. Crash landed
in Salonika seeking direction.
Armed police circled the station
barking into two-way radios
snarling at anything in denim.

The hotel porter yawned
as we placed a zillion crumpled
Drachma on the counter
for one night, buckled
on a sweat-stained mattress.

In a waterfront bar, a fisherman choking
on the last of our cigarettes
said the man in the moon was a magic trick
dreamed up by the CIA
filmed on a back-lot in Hollywood.

Only God travels the universe.

We clung together
you and me
dozing, one eye on the rucksacks,
held together by a fragile connection
stretching back to Bayswater.

You bought me a string of wooden beads
to seal our engagement.

Biography: Fran Addison is currently a part-time student of English Literature and Creative Writing at University of Kent. Her work has appeared in Nightrain, Logos, Folkestone Creative and the anthology Statement for the Prosecution. She lives quietly in Folkestone under the guise of a middle-aged administrator and is partial to a gin and tonic.


Luigi Marchini

A Renaissance Kind of Cool

Geometry governs the arc of her smile;
spheres, circles, parabolas fuse with cubes,
squares and polyhedrons. Pyramidal lines
corroborate images.
Her folded hands, bust, neck, face-
a pyramid. A golden triangle.
Leonardo drew her face and body from neck
to hands in the golden rectangle.

The horizon split in two,
left side higher
than the right. Undulating rivers,
winding paths, abundant hills
beckon. An escape
from this anaesthetizing pose.

Leonardo’s sfumato technique renders
outlines weak, merges forms,
mellows colours, mixes light
and shade so we never know
the time of day.
Forget the golden ratio,
Euclid’s elements,
and Fibonacci’s sequence,
she should turn around
and run.

- Winner of the Canterbury Writers Poetry Prize 2006

Gnocchi and Barolo

I made gnocchi yesterday.

It wasn’t easy, my hands more adept at
holding pens, making love than kneading
one kilogram of potatoes, five hundred
grams of plain flour together, beating,
squashing the mixture – King Kong
and the citizens of New York or me exacting
revenge on my brother via his perfectly formed blue
plasticine models of a Spitfire or the Titanic.

I made gnocchi yesterday.

Later the family sat down to dinner -
Bolognese sauce, a 1998 Barolo standing guard;
the gnocchi could have been better:
the dumplings weren’t smooth, my hands not powerful
enough to do the deed; the Barolo, however, tasted like
the scent of Dolce Gabbana Light Blue
pierced by the early morning sunlight, and its
colour was red gold.

I made gnocchi yesterday.

My mother cooked gnocchi on my eighth
birthday - it was a different family that sat down
to dinner then: no more can I see my grandmother-
La Giaconda – at the head of the table, smiling,
or my aunt on my right, so close I could touch
her dreams; now there are daughters,
wives, nephews, but they were not there on
my eighth birthday.

I made gnocchi yesterday.

My grandmother and my aunt, did they
eat gnocchi on their eighth birthdays?

I made gnocchi yesterday.

Did Garibaldi and Mazzini taste gnocchi before
they spilled blood the colour of Barolo uniting
the country that bore my grandmother,
my aunt; did Mussolini devour gnocchi before
marching on Rome, or just before he got his
comeuppance: his body trussed up,
a bloody pig heart, not beating; and if
he did was it washed down with a glass
of Barolo, Chianti, or a crater full
of fear; did Verdi savour gnocchi as he composed
Macbeth, and planned Luisa Miller, Rigoletto,
while on the same continent the Irish
starved -no potatoes for them,
just grass and weeds for the lucky ones: those alive
herbivores now, like the mule deer, the prairie dog -
one wasteland is like any other.

I made gnocchi yesterday.

I can still taste the beef and tomatoes
of the sauce and if I squash my
tongue between my teeth I can squeeze out
little bits of potatoes; and I can still see my grandmother,
my aunt - only now they are dining with the Giuseppes
and Benito, company for potatoes
and the shells of deer and rodents.

Biography: Luigi Marchini was brought up in London where he spent many a happy maths and physics lesson at the Natinal Film Theatre.


Anne Kenny

Out of Darkness

Sometimes I pull you out of darkness
and try to see beyond that last night.
Clothing your bones in a new suit,
I listen once again to old stories:
the corpse who sprang to life at his wake;
a priest’s head rolling down to ditches.
You breathed life into a homeland
you left behind.

Another tug away from that old carapace
brings you blast-furnace red in dirty overalls,
a week’s wages your recompense
and one too many in the company of friends.

And then you call me to inspect the rows
of gleaming vegetables laid out upon a bench
and stand back always proud
of all you’ve made.

I hold you close before you fall back
shedding memories, leaving us behind
and walking through white walled rooms
where I appear as a stranger.

Like Bella

I barely press the pedal, yet glide smoothly
sweep around curves and flow alongside rivers.

Nothing can touch me here as mountains fold
around me and draw me into their deep crevices.

I’m careful to slow sometimes
to switch off the engine and listen

to gaze at jagged edges
crisp against a perfect sky.

I haven’t even thought of him – really
you have to leave the past behind.

My skin sticks to warm green leather
as climbing, the engine strains and sighs.

Yet I’m like Chagall’s Bella in Promenade
soaring high with arms outstretched and open

savouring buoyancy.

Biography: Anne Kenny stumbled into witing poetry whist living in Melbourne for a year. Her poems have been published in a range of journals including BlueDog: Australian Poetry and Equinox.


Vicky WIlson

Leaving home

Ten years on, and I’m leaving you
to the girl with the pierced tongue and pointed shoes.
I’ve watched her size you up,
stroke your mouldings with eager fingers,
lusting for vacant possession.

I hope you remember the parties
better than I do. Time and again
you’ve pulsed to Pink Floyd and David Bowie
breathed deep the spice of bought-in aloo gobi
absorbed more than your share of spilled red wine.
I hope you liked the way Jim and I rocked
the walls that night of the storm,
didn’t suffer too much from passive smoking.

I know your body as well as my own.
I know the exact spot where the condensation pools,
the click and gurgle of waking pipes on winter mornings.

I could have looked after you better.
Stripped bare now, your scars and lines reproach me
in the uncurtained light.


We’ve packed away for another year
strings of ruby beads and silver hearts
crystal globes etched with moons and stars
tassled lanterns from my parents’ tree.

We’ve swaddled in beds of tissue
the painted baby nestling in his walnut shell
gold-speckled eggs bought in Budapest
tinfoil crackers our daughter made at nursery.

The house is naked now and we sit in silence
staring at cracks we thought we’d forgotten.

Biography: Vicky Wilson fell in love with writing poetry while doing a Certificate in Creative Writing module at the University of Kent taught by Lynne Rees. Her poems have been accepted for publication in Equinox, Acumen, The Interpreter's House, Logos, Night Train 2 and the anthology My Mother Threw Knives (Second Light Publications, 2006). In 2005, with Bob Collman, she compiled the anti-war anthology Statement for the Prosecution, which was launched at the Orange Street club and raised over £250 for Amnesty International and CND. Favourite poetry sites: www.poems.com, which posts a different poem each day - a perfect bite-sized reminder that poetry is still there when the rest of life threatens to take over - and www.poetrypf.co.uk, on which you will soon be able to read more of her work.

Gary Studley

Range, One Thousand Metres and Closing

(Winner of the 2007 University of Kent T.S. Eliot award)

She’d just walked in
and I knew I was sunk.
That from the word Go
this would be a No, No.
An Abandon Ship with All Hope Lost, day –

for the fool I would become.

in the dark swell of a partying
tallow-ringed basement,
I clung to my king-sized bed,
an orange blanketed life-raft
in the sea of noise.

Her frame silhouetted
by the kitchen searchlight
down the stairs she swept,
hips swaying from board to board
hair foaming
the jib of her jaw
mine-sweeper sharp.

She tacked effortlessly onwards,
cutting through waves
of limbs and bass
towards my corner sanctuary,
from where I watched transfixed.
An air bubble rose in my throat,
to submerge,
so far up my larynx
that it was on my palate,
that I could taste it
yet not breathe.

And as she leant forward
closing in for the kill,
she lilted
Hi, Ya -

and I knew I was sunk.

The Way It Is

late night heating ticking pipes
and outside squealing
stutter heeled girls peeling tights

there’s a painting on her wall
but it’s telling me
nothing about this at all

take me far away from these
mechanical hands
lying whispers, paid for kiss

give me just one refreshing
bite of jean wiped plum
scrumped from orchard way back when

somehow try replenishing
full to tidemark brim
the heart that’s left the building

Blank Page

I have
these hands
set in place
bandaged white
wrappings tight
safe from snap
yet bound to bleed

raw hams
in gloves weighted
hanging limp
at belt-line
by rounds inglorious,
times of seepage
and stained twitchings
‘cross rumpled sheets,

Deep pause
short praying
for moments long sought

butterfly touches
to light up our world
brushings close to a Monet’ dawn
biddings to nail a web’s
shaking embrace
or skim a pond
all casual grace,
to catch your breath -

and beat perfection
into shape.

Hello. My name is Gary Studley and this is my brief biog...
Born: Hastings. Studied Fine Art in England and America.
Work: various, including caretaker, set-decorator, bar-man, and currently teacher.
Interests: Music, gigs, films, food, art and of course, writing.
Current Studies: Creative Writing and Literature at U.K.C.

I have sent three poems to canterburypoets.blogspot to support one of its founders, my mate Chris, a fellow member of the SaveAs writing group and joint member of the editorial team of Logos writing magazine. The three poems aren't meant to be showing off, but rather just as a few examples to say hi to anyone out there who's interested in writing.

Blank Page is alternatively named At the Sound of the Bell, and is about struggling to be anything other than ham-fisted and obvious with my words. I've included The Way It Is (alternatively named Haiku Abuse) as an example of how, although we are frequently told that we need to study respected writers seriously to know our place in the writing time-line and to improve our own work, once we have looked at form and appropriateness we can use it anyway we like, to our own ends. For me, the haiku idea doesn't have to lead to a clean, shiny, mystical epiphany when we live in England, 2006. Lastly, In God We Trust is included as an example of how I write quickly from the heart and gut when something like the shite world of politicians and war pisses me off. If anyone reads any of these poems and appreciates them, then I'll be pleased. And if anyone wants to send in some of their own to accompany me then I'll be chuffed.

Cheers for your time, G.M.S