Small Worlds – Paul Waring

Small Worlds

Clearing his warden-assisted flat
days after the funeral,
this creased Box Brownie holiday photo
I find is enough to flood memory.
Sister and I, milk tooth smiles,
either side of Brylcreem-gloss father
in his prime on clifftops at Land’s End
and those words before we left:
we’re going to the end of the Earth.

Excited legs and feet in Woolworths’
plastic sandals behind the Zephyr’s bench seat.
White-hot beaches, sunburn, night scents
of calamine lotion, itching for Land’s End.
Mum saying cheese, and us, staring at nothing
but waves, folding and falling like skittles
behind the horizon. Father, I never did tell you –
when you said we’re at the end of the Earth,
for so long I believed you.

Paul’s poetry is published in Prole, Atrium, Obsessed With Pipework, Ink, Sweat & Tears, London Grip and elsewhere. Awarded second place in the 2019 Yaffle Prize, commended in the 2019 Welshpool Poetry Competition, his pamphlet ‘Quotidian’ is published by Yaffle. Twitter: @drpaulwaring

My Imaginary Mother – Paul Waring

My Imaginary Mother

My imaginary mother has eyes that clock all,
whispers down from lavender clouds, warns
me away from crocodiles with stapler mouths,
says never trust a taxi driver in a dicky bow –

speaks the language of local birds, gossips
about randy bees in flowerbeds, mouse-hunt
all-nighters frequented by cha-cha cats and
foxtrot foxes; shoplifting habits of squirrels.

Knows colour maths by rote – brown equals
yellow times red plus blue, plays late-night
cards with poker-faced crows, tells dirty jokes
to adolescent gulls; makes them laugh like drains
at the one about Shergar and rocking horse shite.

Paul Waring’s poetry is published in Prole, Atrium, Strix, Ink, Sweat & Tears, London Grip and elsewhere. Awarded second prize in the 2019 Yaffle Prize, commended in the 2019 Welshpool Poetry Competition, his pamphlet ‘Quotidian’ is published by Yaffle Press. www.waringwords.blogTwitter: @drpaulwaring

Let Us Be Lit – Paul Waring

Let Us Be Lit

like the party packed into bass-bin
headphones opposite; trip with fogey
friends, planets away from denture
feedback aboard arthritic charabancs;
Ibeefa and boggy field fests, mega-
decibels above this train carriage rave
where only ears go dancing; drop dj
god names like pain meds, cloud fluffy
white heads with house, schmooze
over tunes (not discs – ours are too
prone to slip); cut shapes from spare
skin and wings, make aged sacroiliacs
creak like back gates. Wear club gear,
ubiquitous beards, coiffured hair and
CK foofoo; call each other names
no-one’s heard before, tattooed backwards
in Mandarin or Hakka and, bible likely,
spells mad cow or monkey spanker –
but only to those in the know.


Paul Waring’s poems have been widely published in print journals and webzines. He was runner-up in the 2019 Yaffle Prize, commended in the 2019 Welshpool Poetry Competition and has a pamphlet ‘Quotidian’ (Yaffle Press, 2019).



Featured Publication – Quotidian by Paul Waring

Our featured publication for November is Quotidian by Paul Waring, published by Yaffle Press.

‘The quotidian remains exactly that until an artist, thinker, or in this case a poet of rare
observational skill decides to highlight its most mundane features or most camouflaged citizens and begins to explore them. On reading these poems one can only conclude that Waring is a voracious, and often carnivorous, people watcher with an admirable ability to balance empathy and wit. Should you ever suspect he’s watching you be aware or be blessed.’ Brett Evans

‘I love this aptly named collection of beautifully crafted and musical poetry. Here are the everyday lives of the lovers, the lost and the lonely, elevated by Waring’s profound empathy and tenderness. A gently humourous, minor key of a collection; not just the wind, but the whole city in my face’ Deborah Alma

‘Paul’s poetry is strikingly concise and muscular. Time and again he manages to compress themes and ideas that lesser poets would take pages to expound into simple looking stanzas. These poems will reward the reader who takes time with them, who unwraps their complexity one layer at a time. A rare talent whose work will stay with you.’ David J. Costello

‘Whether it’s shabby bedsits, people watching on the train or the sanctuary of an old man’s shed, this aptly titled collection reveals Waring’s knack of showing us the beauty and rueful humour of everyday life. The poems in Quotidian are sad, funny, wistful or tender; above all they are always kind and true.’ Ben Banyard




On Bedsits

Three flights up
threadbare arthritic stairs
in damp stale air
a vase-less jumble
of nicotined furniture
sepia-tinted peeling walls
and clogged lungs of carpet.

Ill-fitting dentures
of sash windows rattle
as shivering lips
of curtain beg warmth
from a one-bar electric fire
that eats fifty pence pieces.

Cracked elbows of PVC sofa
sprout corn-coloured foam
tangerine acrylic of seats
singed and stained by careless
ciggies and TV dinners.

On a stripped bed a sagging
mattress reads like a DNA history
of real and imagined sex.

‘Tomorrow’s World’ on a grainy
black and white TV peddles
dreams of futures
in a language
we’ve yet to learn.

Previously published on Amaryllis


Water Stories

Most days a name that coats tongues —
a conversation crumb, ever-present on lips,
that might be the story of whoosh-spray
and wiper blades, a child’s bank holiday
face pressed up against car window. Or
the desert wanderer, divining what never
arrives, thirst starved like a wished kiss.
Timpani summer thunder, flocked cloud
shot through, throats stung by gunsmoke —
rain brought down in fathomless language
verbed as mizzle, sile or pelt; steeped fabric
of mountainside sheep or stubborn seagull
on chimney duty, wings batoned tight. A
pell mell race past waterfall, church bell
volleys down to burble in lake and stream.
Or stampede: news of flood spewed from
reservoir bowl or swollen sea, its laughter
breaching promenade walls. Rain fists
you might see batter streets, bouncing
up in apostrophes. Or new snow; the child
in us clinging to its powder-silent ballet.

Short-listed in 2019 Welshpool Poetry Competition


The Lady Next Door Is Lost

again, summons me from sleep with
familiar bangs and shouts in early hours.
Stands stooped, confused half-smile
and pleads: where am I? Artist eyes
now fixed into haunted stares. They
say for some the brain stops knitting
neurons, instead starts to unpick itself
row by row, stitches and seams slowly
disconnected from the here and now
until all-that-matters is out of reach.
I escort her home and if, over tea,
ask, let’s say, about her wedding day
photo in a frame she’ll light up again,
paint fine brushstroke detail: pearl
white taffeta gown, father’s words
in the car, that first dance. But next,
another half-smile; she’s certain I’m
the son who never visits, laughs off
any suggestion I only live next door.

Previously published in Prole


Paul Waring’s poetry has been published in print journals and online magazines including Prole, Strix, Here Comes Everyone, Amaryllis, Algebra of Owls, Three Drops From A Cauldron, Clear Poetry and Atrium. His work has also appeared in poetry anthologies such as Watch The Birdie (Beautiful Dragons, 2018), Well Dam (Beautiful Dragons, 2019) and Whirlagust (Yaffle Press, 2019). He was runner-up in the 2019 Yaffle Prize and commended and shortlisted in the 2019 Welshpool Poetry Competition. As a planning team member of this year’s inaugural Wirral Poetry Festival, Paul created and co-facilitated several events and workshops. His debut pamphlet Quotidian was published this year by Yaffle Press.
‘Quotidian’ is available for purchase via Paul’s website:

Knockoff – Paul Waring


His 90’s vintage hawked gear around smoke-fogged
pubs. Uniform trackie, navy or black, baseball cap,

Leaned in like everyone’s best mate with a dead cert
bet to share. Wrist-queued dodgy designer watches
and Aladdin’s Cave sports bag booty:

CD’s/DVD’s, red-hot-must-haves filched
from assorted sources: shop, car, back of lorry,
warehouse, your house – and mine.

Picture him today. Evolved. On trend. Mocha-latte
smooth, model features, trademark beard, diamond
nose stud; ringer for a Hoxton fashionista,

Premiership footballer or Jesus in a sharp suit.
Mover and shaker in bespoke bars, messenger bag
loaded with wafer-light devices.

Still swearing it’s totally legit, one eye locked
on the exit, feet ticking over in runway brogues—
ready-get-set for take off.


Paul Waring is a retired clinical psychologist who once designed menswear and performed in Liverpool bands. His poems have appeared in print and online at Prole, Algebra of Owls, Strix, Amaryllis, The High Window, Here Comes Everyone and others.
Twitter: @drpaulwaring

Neighbourhood Watch – Paul Waring

Neighbourhood Watch

I’m not sure I should be telling you
but the man opposite comes and goes
at unsocial hours. Heavy-set, head-down
in hoodie and trainers, our eyes never
meet. And I’ve yet to see him in company
of elderly mother, girl or boyfriend.

Possibly a loner who doesn’t prefer a kill
to a kiss; isn’t a blood-mad butcher
on abattoir streets. For all I know
on-call electrician or night shift carer
who happens to drive a white van —
one I’ve had no opportunity to inspect

for tell-tale signs: knife, rope, tape or
DNA-trace mattress. And should it turn out
he has no dark side, I’d hate to be labelled
warped — Neighbourhood Watch peddler
of malicious gossip. Until I know more,
maybe best kept between ourselves.



Paul Waring, a clinical psychologist, once designed menswear and sang in Liverpool bands. Hispoems have appeared or are forthcoming at Prole, Clear Poetry, Algebra of Owls, Amaryllis, Ofi Press, High Window, Three Drops from a Cauldron, Riggwelter and others.
Twitter: @drpaulwaring

Shoes – Paul Waring


Delivered fresh in a box
like death in reverse
shoes are born
to walk from day one;

stay dog-loyal
if groomed, respond
to stroke of sponge
or bristle of brush

and attach – second skin
intimacy you can’t have
with coats; protect,
support and respect need

for time and space
to breathe, unlace, rest
eyes and tongue. Shoes
know to relax and wait

ever-ready for your return
from dreamworlds
and unexplained appeal
of anti-social slippers.


Paul Waring, a clinical psychologist, once designed menswear and sang in Liverpool bands. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming at Prole, Clear Poetry, Algebra of Owls, Amaryllis, Three Drops from a Cauldron, Riggwelter, Foxglove Journal and others.
Twitter: @drpaulwaring