Clapham Rick – Marc Woodward

Clapham Rick

When Clapham Rick stayed with us for a week
we hid our little silver knick-knacks,
those which could fall into pockets unmissed
until some days later when a lack of dust
would cough their absence from the mantelpiece.
We felt rotten – as if we’d breached his trust.
He said he’d dumped the junk and kicked the horse,
was clean as snow but for the booze, of course.

He said our farmhouse with its bird-pulled thatch
made him feel uncomfortable, spooked by bats
outside the window, the only night sound
the scrabble of house mice. He couldn’t rest
without a traffic lullaby to drown
out the darkness. It was probably best
he didn’t come to stay in January –
when vixens scream like injured babies.

Devon based poet and musician Marc Woodward’s recent collections include Hide Songs (Green Bottle 2018) and The Tin Lodes – co-written with Andy Brown (Indigo Dreams 2020). His new collection Shaking The Persimmon Tree will be published by Sea Crow Press in April 2022. Find more at: and  and @marcomando 

Rocks and Fish – Marc Woodward

Rocks and Fish
(after Cavatina by Andy Brown)

“…becoming someone else, like rocks in rising tides”
you say – but I wonder if the opposite’s true:
that actually we emerge from swilling waters,
the ocean receding to leave us bare, exposed
to weathering. The sun and ice, bake and shatter.

Mine is a more obvious metaphor of course,
and on reflection I think yours more accurate.
Are we ever more perfect than when we are young?
Newly cleaved, salt washed and as yet barnacle free.
What then follows is our gradual dissolution
in the hydrosphere of energy and nothing.

Steam swirls and condenses as I lie in the bath
shaving with my right hand, while my Parkinson’s left
flaps mindlessly – like a fish urgent for the sea


Marc Woodward is a poet and musician resident in rural Devon. He has been widely published and his recent collections include  A Fright Of Jays  (Maquette 2015), and Hide Songs (Green Bottle Press 2018).
and is on Facebook at 

Nether Stowey – Marc Woodward

Nether Stowey

The finches of the land stood sentinel
to grazing flocks of Suffolk Black Faced sheep.
They drove, top down, her hair tied back and capped,
past crumpled meadows strewn like lovers’ sheets.

They never kissed or held each other’s hands,
he didn’t shake and she forgot her ills,
instead they wound through undulating lands,
and headed north to hike the Quantock hills.

At Coleridge’s house they wondered where
he kept his laudanum; sat at his desk;
strolled knowing Sam and William once walked there…
A perfect day. The doctors ordered rest.


Marc Woodward is a musician and poet who has performed and taught internationally and been widely published.
A Fright Of Jays was published by Maquette in 2015 and he has just completed a full collection The Tin Lodes written in collaboration with renowned poet Andy Brown.
His blog is at
Facebook at: