Writer and storyteller

Bear by Rima Staines


Sometimes a Wild God

The background

This poem is proabably the reason you're here. If you'd like to skip straight to the poem, click here.

I wrote it a few years ago now, after the first few lines had been going around my head for months. I thought they were someone else's lines - I kept looking for who'd written the poem and it seems that it didn't yet exist, so I thought I should finish the poem, see what happened after those lines.

The poem is now available as a book or a poster and even an mp3 from Hedgespoken Press, with beautiful black-and-white ink illustrations by my partner, Rima Staines.


Between stones, over hill,
I am stretched out fully,
To a great and impossible height.

My fingers touch the horizon;
My face presses heaven;
My back is all green grass and rock.

This is my rite of night-surrender
To this moorland Earth and the dark, dark sky:

I am insubstantial and immense,
Like a cloud or a wish or a song.

The sky is a bear’s mouth.
It is blacker than ink or oil, or
A pool of dead water in a dream.

This poem originally appeared in 2017 in the journal, Fiddler’s Green. It was published here on National Poetry Day, 2017. If you like it, do This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Lapwing Stars

The lapwings have it, no doubt;
Seen across the field, their green-black
Backs are the measure of mystery
For every colour as yet unseen by the boy.

The thin seam of coal by the brook,
Beneath a humpbacked bridge
Of brick and moss over a slow lap
Of water: that has it;
He mines in tan clay with a spoon,
Slick with rain, as sure of riches
As an oil-baron or a king.
The coal has it, but it is not black.

Black Mountain River

Autumn begins.
It doesn’t take much;
One tug at my feet by
Autumn’s grey strangers
And I’m away
Or rather, perhaps,

Milk and Stars

I forget.
I remember and forget
and remember again.

One day,
When all the mystique of idiocy
Has rubbed off life
Like gold lacquer from oak,
I’ll forget so wholeheartedly
(Or remember so completely)
That I will forget to not dance
And remember my home
Beyond memory and forgetting
– the place where you are waiting
With your hands of milk and stars.

Tom's work available from Hedgespoken Press

Sign up for a very occasional newsletter about Tom's work