Tied to the 90s – Ben Banyard

Tied to the 90s

She’s kept all her tapes, CD singles, scratched vinyl.
The t-shirts she bought at gigs at toilet venues
where sweat poured from the walls and tangled her hair.
Refuses MP3 players, iTunes, cloud content
which she cannot hoard, keep safe, archive.

She remembers personal stereos slowing to sludge
when the batteries wore out, cassettes unspooled, devoured 
by the mechanism, tape heads which muffled sound, 
had to be cleaned gently with a cotton bud.

It’s a small rented house in a town you don’t visit.
She has young kids, a son and daughter who share a room.
They know Oasis, Pulp, Manics, Ride, Neds,
Carter USM, Pop Will Eat Itself, The Wonder Stuff.

Know too that their mum draws strength from those bands,
comes alive when they ask her about those years;
there was a brief moment in the spring of 1997
when the world caught fire and possibility shone through.
She likes to stay there some days, doesn’t go in to work.

Ben Banyard lives in Portishead on the Severn Estuary. He has published two collections of poetry, Communing (Indigo Dreams, 2016) and We Are All Lucky (Indigo Dreams, 2018) with a third, Hi-Viz, due out from YAFFLE in Spring 2021. He blogs at https://benbanyard.wordpress.com

Autobiopic – Ben Banyard


Opening credits, your first screams.
Exterior: the Midlands, mid-70s
orange and brown.
Filthy yellow buses pass the Rotunda;
happy-sad place.

Montage of the usual growing-up,
grandparents and cousins,
you decline invitations to classmates’ parties,
shrink in terror at the museum T-Rex.

At the posh school your Brummie
is scoffed at by the toffs.
You make the best of it for seven years
then sprint for the Devon coast
where your accent blows away
on the salt breeze of sea and estuary.

This is the low point of the narrative arc,
but it picks up when you meet the girl
who makes this a love story,
dusts you off, helps you grow up,
makes you a proud father,
writes you the happiest of endings.


Ben Banyard lives in Portishead, on the Severn Estuary near Bristol. He followed up his debut pamphlet, ‘Communing’ (Indigo Dreams, 2016), with a full collection, ‘We Are All Lucky’ (Indigo Dreams, 2018), and he’s currently putting the finishing touches to a new book. You can follow Ben’s blog at https://benbanyard.wordpress.com

Featured Publication – We Are All Lucky by Ben Banyard

Our featured publication for August is We Are All Lucky by Ben Banyard, published by Indigo Dreams Publishing.

We Are All Lucky is an uplifting collection which carefully examines the joys and sorrows of modern life, from the cradle to the grave and everything in between.

What strikes me most about Banyard’s poems is his affection for humanity, grounded by his wry humour. His imagination allows him to empathise with people he encounters. He has the gift of finding pleasure in the everyday, in all its seediness and tawdry beauty. He has the true poet’s gift of noticing details others miss.’ Angela Topping

Ben Banyard writes accessible poems about the real world, with its triumphs and disasters, tragedies and comedies. I like them for their humanity and warmth, for their sense of humour, and for the way Banyard often pins down just the right details to bring a piece vividly to life. This is an enjoyable collection.’ Geoff Hattersley

There is an impressive range here and, whether writing about childhood memories, being a father, cataracts, spit hoods or Birmingham, this poet displays a sureness of touch and an ability to precisely capture a vanished world or the exact tone of a voice. Ben Banyard is a poet with a sharp-eyed yet affectionate view of the world. I very much enjoyed this confident and varied collection.’ Carole Bromley

WAAL cover

Use By 

It started with tea bags left in the sink
which bobbed and swirled as the kettle filled.
They were eaten inside out with blue blooms.

Sometimes I would find the fruit bowl layered
with apples, pears, oranges, all on the turn,
sitting on top of a guilty banana’s mush.

There were loaves of bread kept unopened,
mouldy slices sweating inside the bag.
Feed it to the ducks, you said.

I wasn’t sure whether the fridge gave up in protest
or you broke it to advance your efforts.
You admired the chunks of milk.

The cat was the final straw.

You tried to explain once, as we walked
along the beach, but most of it was lost
in the roar of the wind. I heard:



Unsung Lullabies

Donʹt forget the ones who flinch
as you wave printouts of your scan at work.

They wouldnʹt want you to feel guilty
for broadcasting what seems as simple as A to B.

You can post snaps of family holidays on Facebook;
they donʹt mind, really, but wonʹt look too closely.

Sometimes they have photos of
freshly painted spare rooms,
smiles cradling their bumps,
might tend a small grave.

We mustnʹt moan too loudly about parenthood
when they long for allergies and tantrums.

They reconcile reasons to be cheerful,
stay away from catchment areas.

A deep and blameless longing
past greed or jealousy
to a place they know but canʹt reach.


Cataract Clinic 

This is a production line, in a good way;
every half‐hour a patient is prepared.

This is your new lens; 
These eye drops have got an anaesthetic in them; 
just a little swab of iodine… there, all done. 

A Character in jazzy braces
broadcasts his life story in Bristolian burr:
I been a widower sixteen year now, mind; 
it were the breast cancer what took her. 

He puts on a papery blue theatre cap,
a rustling robe: welcome distractions.
Don’t I look bonny in this get‐up! 

One by one they creep out on a nurse’s arm.
We look at our watches, sip at teacups,
remember we have a Bourbon left,
go to work on 17 across.
At least that rain’s held off, touch wood. 

We’re surprised when they come back after 15 minutes.
Some look like they suspect a practical joke,
most stare around with wide open pupils.

Something catches in our throats each time
we see that part of them is reborn:
they’re so touched by this everyday miracle
they can barely concentrate on the nurse’s advice:

take one eye drop every four hours; 
don’t bend over or go down on all fours; 
total loss of vision definitely isn’t normal; 
ring the helpline if anything worries you.



Cheery bell on the paint‐blistered door,
I find myself in a dark space made of ages:

chipped Charles and Diana mugs
bowl of tarnished medals
Welsh dresser crammed with
trinkets from Dawlish, Cromer, Tenby.

I want the framed sepia photographs
of a long‐forgotten family.

There are no price tags.
The owner’s propped behind the counter,
blowing into his cup‐a‐soup.

Tells me heʹs been here forty years.
Where did it all come from?
He shrugs.

This was once a going concern
now itʹs a rock pool
restocked by the cityʹs tide.

He leaves the door open
for an hour each morning,
greets these damaged memories
with hands behind his back
as they tumble into his shop.


Ben Banyard lives in Portishead, near Bristol, with his wife and two young children. His
work has appeared in many journals, both in print and online, including Prole, Under the Radar, The Interpreter’s House, Atrium, And Other Poems and Proletarian Poetry. His debut pamphlet, Communing, was published by Indigo Dreams in 2016. Ben was formerly the editor of the popular online journal Clear Poetry, which he closed at the end of 2017 to devote more time to his writing.
Blog: https://benbanyard.wordpress.com
Facebook page: https://facebook.com/benbanyardpoet
Twitter: https://twitter.com/bbanyard

We Are All Lucky is available to buy from the Indigo Dreams website, here. Signed copies are available directly from the author, here.

Brum – Ben Banyard


Here there’s no up or down,
we’re in the middle, centred.

We see missiles hurtle overhead
from north to south and back again.

We grew up in the Bull Ring,
flaunt our bab, bostin’, deaf it,
on the way to the outdoor
for a bottle of pop.

We are Julie Walters, Jasper Carrott,
UB40, Ozzy Osborne.

We’ve seen and made it all;
two centuries of sweat and beer,

Spaghetti Junction hearts.


Ben Banyard grew up in Birmingham but now lives near Bristol. His pamphlet, ‘Communing’, was published by Indigo Dreams in 2016, and his first full collection, ‘We Are All Lucky’, is due out early in 2018. Ben also edits Clear Poetry: https://clearpoetry. wordpress.com and blogs at https://benbanyard. wordpress.com