A note from the author

Rhyme, I have been often told, is a danger in poetry since so many rhymes are obvious or banal and the poem itself can quickly become doggerel. I hope that what I have written does not fall into that category, except where I may have intended, mostly where it is hoped to be humorous. It is of course not essential to the medium, however something must define the difference between what is poetry and what is merely poetic. Great works of prose can be extremely poetic and very beautiful. Something more though is required to change prose, however poetic, fully into poetry.  That I think is the matter of rhythm.  Many forms have emerged over the years for rhythm, many with rhyming conventions but not all. Poetry is on the whole necessarily concise; telling a story, making a point, describing a situation or whatever the point of the verse, it is made in relatively few words compared to prose.

I hope that I have achieved this goal with this collection, with descriptions which are emotive, points which merit thought, and stories which move or at least interest.

In looking over my writings I found a disproportionate number are involved with the weather and the seasons. There are two reasons for this. Firstly I was asked by my sister-in-law to write sonnet for each season then later for each month: and secondly we have been living in the West of Scotland whose constantly varying weather makes so much of what we do dependent upon it. It is often when it is raining and the outdoors uninviting that I find myself behind the computer writing, and that shows. The summers you will notice are not always warm, nor the winter’s cold, and the rain is never far away.
The task of writing a sonnet for each season, my sister-in-law thought might take most of the year; but they did not take anything like that long: so she extended the request for a sonnet for each month.  That collection was incorporated into a calendar, and some of them appear in this anthology. It proved a popular calendar and so I repeated the idea, in 2008 this time not using sonnets and concerning myself far more with the looming financial crash of that year. In the poems I correctly predicted much of the carnage that was to occur.

For two or more years my wife and I looked after her ageing parents, and her father came to live with us. There are several poems which relate to this period, because the inevitability of old age and death were brought into sharp relief in my life.  On the 30 May 2000 just before my mother-in-law died at 91 years old, there was an almighty gale which tore leaves from the trees. In the poem which describes the day, ‘Age has its Season’, and in ‘The leaf on the Lane’ I express some of the feeling their age and presence brought home to me.

This is my second book of poems, the first was called ‘Lonely Places’.