Looking for inspiration?

‘One red leaf, the last of its clan, That dances as often as dance it can, Hanging so light and hanging so high, From the topmost twig that looks up to the sky’ Samuel Taylor-Coleridge from ‘Christabel’.


Describing something simple and first hand and yet managing to get a hint of a deeper meaning,  here’s Andrew Hirst’s poem.


Had done nothing since the stroke,

stiff in his baize armchair, olive oil and rooted as the days.

Emptied eyed, sallow voice, wasted, nothing.

He hated me, stood solid by the kitchen door

pink and fresh faced.

“If I just did a morning… now and again.

Things ‘ll soon get cleared up”

I didn’t step any further, not wanting to tread the

carpet in my wellingtons.

Almost lost, he said nothing. He’d not agreed,

never agree.

“If I just did a morning.  Now and again.”


She kept on calling me Steve. I said nothing.

As things were, she said to do it anyway,

he’d come up later to have a look.

He never came.


The shed was unlocked and I was to get what I needed,

full of treasures of a rusted craftsman age.

Catalogues of a summer past.

Christmas hyacinths,

long since coloured in perfumed pots

Tins of paint with skins thick as crocodiles.

Cut string, uniform for stakes,

strimmer, spade, shears, forks, pruners, rotorvator even-

“To touch another mans tools…” I thought:

Here, where he’d lived out his secret life,

cloched in the green light.


Outside the regiments of leeks rotted.

She saddened, it’s all he could manage in soups and stews

she’d make with seeping pride.

“O for the pleasure of growing” he’d of said.

The stacked pots, emptied and fuelless as northern chimneys

blocked the sun from the greenhouse.

She’d taken a few cuttings,

they’d not seen water in months.

Yet she’d worry if nothing got done…

She brought me a coffee and picked off a few of the Brussels.


I went between the chrysanthemum: Purple Prince,

Ogmore Vale, Mrs Ballystead.

The frost had had them all.

I said nothing.

The soil still cold as a grave

and me with his dignity and chrysanths.


Copyright remains with the author.


Patient stories here also:-


Competition details here:-





Poetry Competition

Poems need to be typed and single spaced.

To mark the 70 th anniversary in July 2018 of the introduction
of the National Health Service( 1948-2013), new work is
invited for the content of a memorial book. Poems need to
be about the ‘human condition.’ Health or lack of it helps
define a person. Next to your life, is your health. Coping
with ill health, disability, comic, sad, reflective, all types of
work required.

1 st prize £200
2 nd prize £100
3 rd prize £50
And a film made of the winning
entry tbc


Wendy Cope “Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis”
Lachlan Mackinnon “ Small Hours ”

The book will include the winners and highly commended, and is to be launched as near to 5 th July 2018 as possible.
New poems must be submitted in English, from writers living in
England only.
Wales, Scotland and N.Ireland have different laws governing
their NHS so writers living in those regions are not eligible.
Poems can be in any form.

  • How to enter.
    Entries need to
    ● be about ‘The human condition’, plus medics, doctors, hospitals etc.
    ● be no more than 40 lines in the English language, single spaced.
    Entries need to be typed
    ● Closing date for receipt of entries
    17 March 2018: remember to leave time for the post to deliver!


  • Entrants need to be living in England,
  • Be 18 or over
  • Entries should be entirely the work of the entrant and must never
    have been published, self published, published on any website or
    online forum, broadcast, nor won or been placed in any other
  •    Entries should have a title, but no names, address, ‘phone or
    e-mail should be on the manuscript. These should be on a
    separate sheet.
    Name, postal address, e-mail address and title of poem/s MUST
    be on an sheet accompanying the poem/s. Entry is free.

By entering the competition you confirm you are over 18 and
agree to be contacted about crowdfund for publication and or
booklaunch if necessary.
The prizes have already been donated by a benefactor.


  • Poems need to be typed and single spaced.
  • Send entries, accompanying sheet with details and an SAE to:-
    Poetry Competition
    PO Box 345
    WF13 9EG
    Your details will never be shared
    or sold.
  • Poems which win and are highly commended (we are hoping for a lot!) will be published in the book, but after that, copyright will remain with their authors.
  • The organisers retain the right to extend the closing date or postpone the competition and will announce such a move on the website, if enough suitable work has not been entered by 17 March 2018.