All Poems

Excerpts of all poems on the site are arranged alphabetically by title below. To read the full poem click the excerpt title or the “Read whole entry” link.
For an alphabetical list of titles of these poems subdivided into categories Click here

04. Eairy Dam

The Eairy Dam lies chill, its surface flecked

Into sharp ripples by the breeze.  Reeds sway

Ever so slightly where ...

09. Curlew

Curlew in the night

Take me in your flight

Over dark restless waves

To the resonant caves

Where the tide ...

13. Nocturne

Here, where the bees are droning

Athwart the fuchsia bush,

All, all, save their intoning

Is wrapped in evening hush;...

18. Folklore

In the oil-lamp’s mellow light

Fears and fancies crowd in sight,

While outside the waiting night

Draws in eerily;

From ...

20. Two Worlds

Two worlds exist.  The one, a place of light

All coloured, bright and glittering; of time

That stretches limitless in ...

24. Wood Smoke

Tonight I smelt the smoke

Of a woodland fire.

Sudden, bitter-sweet it came,

Creating the desire

Leaping like the dead ...

29. Awake

Awake to life and feel its pulse

Beating from the heart to brain,

Teeming in the earth,

Streaming out from ...

31. Delight

Warriors win renown

And seek a victor’s crown:

They strain and strive

To keep alive

The spark that in them ...

34. Orrisdale

The silver sea, the golden sand,

The smiling meadows green and fair;

The beaming sun, the azure sky,

The charmed ...

42. Deserted Beach

Moon-green shingle, pallid sand.

The sea in molten metal sleeping;

A roving filament, bright band,

From distant lighthouse thinly creeping....

A Brown Song

The brown leaves fall in umber woods,

The trees shake off their gowns;

And all the hues of summer’s moods...

A Last Wish

When I will die
Bury me nigh
My mountains high,
Near to the sky
Where breezes sigh.

Bee’s lullaby,
Bird’s ...

A Summer Vision

Where Santon’s stream winds through its gorge

And little waterfalls

Make music in the humid air

A subtle presence everywhere...

A Wedding

Oh, Freddie on the fiddle
And I on the piano
With others in the middle
A-drinking champiano.
We’ll make the ...

A Wet Day

There is rain on the window and rain on the door,
The garden is swimming in yellows and greens;
Whoever ...


I’m out me knees thinnin turmits,
An the soil’s turble coul on the hans,
An I’m thinkin about them swell ...


Lower Ballagreiney AerystainThe lonely lime-washed farmsteads are a string

Of pearls that lie encircling the green throat

Of one of Mona’s lesser ...


Moored to the wall my little boat

Sits on the harbour bed

Inert, forlorn;

Like some outworn

And shabby garment ...

Air Hostess

Trim on the tarmac, shapelier than the plane,

Sleek, streamlined for the job, with tapping heels

She walks, hat cocked, ...


Niarbyl BeachWhere can you go if you would be alone?

Into the forest?  There you will not lack

For company; nature ...


Let me lean over
Soothingly, tenderly,
Thou wast my lover,
Fashioned so slenderly;
Angel wings hover,
Home is the rover....

Anna Moyra

There is music in the field
Where the reapers keen scythes wield
In the corn stalks half-concealed:
“Anna Moyra!”
Who ...

April Fool

On with the motley, cap and bells, for March

That bold and boist’rous fellow now has gone

And taken with ...


Their burnished scales flash golden through the glass

As leisurely they glide in water clear,

Gazing in mild surprise, their ...


Well may we marvel at titanic thrust

That drives a projectile into the skies,

Defying gravity to quit the earth...

Auldyn Cuckoo

O harbinger of more expansive days,

Your double fluting falls upon my ears

With all the sudden magic of lost ...

Away beyond

Away beyond the seething foam

Where curlews call with plaintive cries

I seem to hear the whisper, “Come”

And see ...


There comes into my mind, recalling folk

With whom we spent ten happy summer days,

Oblivious to each measured pruning ...


What do you see in the glen of Ballure,

You who walk through it so casually

Your mind full of ...

Bel Abbey Glen

The dear worn face of Ellan Vannin holds

For me an ever-growing loveliness.

Tender in leas and stern in wilderness,...


Beyond the sun is an immeasurable void;

Beyond the laughter is a gulf of tears.

The bright facade of living ...


Beyond the sun is the immeasurable void;

Beyond the laughter is a gulf of tears.

The bright facade of living ...

Birthday Ode

All hail this gladsome day !

Whereon was born a little girl

With smiling eyes and clustering curl,

As precious ...


For joy a smile,

For sorrow tears,

For friendship an unburdened heart

‘Tis not worthwhile

To count the years;

Time ...


Swart as the eyes of gypsies, indigo

Clusters of droplets on the trailing vines,

The wild fruit of the bramble ...

Blind Beauty

(After Rabindranath Tagore)

One morning I was walking in the park

Amongst the flowers that were lifting high

Their faces ...

Bonfire Night

What new-made comets climb the murky skies

And each in lurid light their transient rune,

Ephemeral as a whim that ...

Broken Bell

(Translated from the French of Charles Baudelaire)

‘Tis bitter-sweet on cold and wintry nights
To sit beside a fire that ...


Fluttering beside
The dusty hedge,
Beauty espied,
Summer’s pledge.
Settling now –
What are thou?
Silent, unheard,
Insect or bird?...


To utter pious hopes is not enough !

No unctuous platitudes can heal the sores

That corruscate the leprous hide ...


Between two ranks of craning necks they come,

The cavalcade of grim determined cheer

In all its panoply of colours ...


There is a carnival in Peel to-night,
And joyous laughter rings through starry dark.
Confetti falls in showers, a rainbow ...

Castle Rushen

See where the mighty keep its form uprears
In lofty grandeur to the pondering sky.
See the majestic pile there ...


Eyes golden in the morning sun he sat

Hunched on the garden wall, his smoky fur

Vibrant with leashed energy, ...

Chances Missed

Oh, where were you going in such great haste?

Seeing nothing around you, your eyes straight ahead?

Was it something ...


Upon a board of squares the pieces stand

Neatly in rows, opposed for skilful war;

The infantry in front, the ...

Child in Hospital

The yellow sunlight mocks her tangled hair,

Threading with callous gold disordered curls,

And with derisive finger strokes her cheek....

Close of Day

Tranquil mere in sunset light,
Mirror of gold:
On thy breast doth radiance pour,
Shady trees thine edge embower,
All ...

Cobbler Cain

(Apologies to Coleridge)

AT Kerrowhdhoo did Cobbler Cain
A splendid pleasure ground decree,
Where Ballacottier’s river ran
Through valleys beautiful ...

Colby Glen

A glinting stream

Frets over the stones in the chine,

Murmurs its way through the pebbles,

Curling and swirling

And ...


The rock is smooth.  It faintly shines,

Containing in itself some residue of light

That down the ages suns

Succeeding ...


Like some great submarine it marks the bay,

This hulk of rock awash when tide is high,

Lurking below the ...


YE sons that are going to fight for your country,
Stout be your hearts as ye march on your way;...


The last low hillock of the land is here;

The last lone rampart of the pasturage;

The farthest flung of ...

Crogga Glen

There are, for those who seek retreat

From the hard-pressing demons of the city street,

From the insistent clamour of ...

Cronk Sumark

Here in past days a hilltop fortress stood

When life was insecure, and lawless greed

Stalked through this Island as ...


An open boat upon an open sea;
The sky, a canopy of million stars o’erhead;
The only occupant a broken ...

Death of Mary

The Catholic Mary now draws near her end,
Her end unmourned by England, riven sore
By enmities and strife, for ...


Now last of all here comes cold proud December;
Last lies it on the calendar, not least.
Glowing alone, the ...


I do not know a sweeter sound

Than rain upon the thirsty ground;

A lovelier sight I’ll never see

Than ...


King of the flowers, in royal robes attired,

Tall in border raise your noble height,

Bringing the blue of summer ...


A rift within twin cliffs precipitous

Splits the grim granite to the eastern sea

And a thin fringe of shelving ...


A twisting road beneath an arch of trees

Leads northwards out of Ramsey to the Dhoor.

The seeker after peace.  ...


All morning while the fingers of the clock

Their leisured way,

Their awful, tantalizing, terrifying way,

Have moved, as if ...

Douglas Harbour

The black water chuckles in the night

Furtively caressing concrete piers,

Winking with yellow eyes at each lone light,

Smacking ...


The smoke curled lazily

To sky that seemed asleep,

In still air hazily

The far hills melted deep,

Blurred with ...


The Eairy Dam lies chill, its surface flecked

Into ripples by the breeze.  Reeds sway

Ever so slightly where they ...

Eairy Dam

The Eairy Dam lies chill, its surface flecked
Into sharp ripples by the breeze. Reeds sway
Ever so slightly where ...

Eleven Days

ELEVEN days from now I’ll be
From homestead putting out to sea,
And as the vessel shapes her course
What ...

Elfin Glen

She who took such delight

In all God’s creatures, all His flowers,

Was with us then,

Her eyes filled with ...


Cold ashen light in the valley,

Rose-pink above it and grey,

Pale with the advent of twilight,

Sad with the ...


A ship sailed out into the golden west,
Her sails were set and bellied in the breeze.
But battered she ...

Fallen Tree

O mammoth trunk,

To earth you’ve sunk,

Your roots flung in the air;

Your leafy crown

In weeds brought down...

Fallen Tree

O mammoth trunk,
To earth you’ve sunk,
Your roots flung in the air;
Your leafy crown
In weeds brought down...

Fern Glen

There is a glen whose lichened boles

Straight as cathedral columns stand;

A place wherein the humbler souls,

Barred from ...


Let pagan mistletoe hang in the hall,

And holly with its prickles and its bright

Vermilion berries grace the festive ...


Let pagan mistletoe hang in the hall

And holly with its prickles and its bright

Vermilion berries grace the festive ...

Fire Fancies

The fire grows low, the embers fall apart,
The room grows dark and shadows steal around;
I gaze and gaze ...

First Snow

The snow lies thick on twig and branch,
A feathery foliage, white and rare.
Beneath this gradual avalanche
The features ...


The fishermen when evening falls put out

In their small craft to grace the open sea

And leave the safety ...


Oh, they who live in Fistard now have not

The urgent need as once upon a time

To seek protection ...


In the oil-lamp’s mellow light
Fear and fancies crowd in sight,
While outside the waiting night
Draws in eerily!
In ...

Foxdale Eve

I seem to hear the rallying call
When daylight fades and shadows fall
And dusk is creeping up the glen,...

Foxdale Stream



O singing stream, I take one tender look
At thy clear crystal depths in childish speed
Dancing ...

From the Lowliest

Of commonplace things and commonplace life we dream.
In commonplace homes and commonplace streets we live.
Humble and poor and ...

Full Tide

THE wearying shore
Fought inch by inch,
Back to the cliff
Against the advancing sea.
And more and more,
Yet ...


Let me address the shade of Walter Scott !

Oh, great romantic heart, were you indeed

A visitor to this ...

Glen Helen

The gentle slopes of Manxland’s hills descend

Into no lovelier glen than this, I ween,

With plunging falls and fir-treed ...

Glen Lough

Glen Lough

Just in off the high road,

Through a sagging gate,

Serpentine the pathway

Winds where tall trees wait....

Glen Spell

Over the hushed glen

A quiet spirit broods;

Far from haunts of men

Is its solitudes.

Gaunt trees stand on ...

Glen Wyllin

The lovely glens of this green isle

Were one-time avenues of delight,

Where Nature at her work could smile

Before ...

Good Friday

They then inscribed the legend “King of Jews”

Where He was hanging from a wooden cross,

Crucified on a hill ...

Good Friday

Yet still one more Good Friday dawns! ‘Tis fair,
That is the striking fact, ‘tis bright and clear;
No fairer ...

Goodbye to the Ward

Little pale face crowned by auburn hair,

Gazing and gazing with sorrowful air;

Lying so wistful, pathetic, there —

Goodbye,goodbye ...


Who wants to stem the flow of man’s ideas

With all their consequences, new and strange,

Must take their leave ...


Is there a bush more commonplace than gorse,

So undemanding in its humble way,

So sturdy and compact, but with ...

Gorse Buds

The day was hot, the balls were white;
We slammed them round with main and might;
Cared not a whit ...


(Apologies to R.W. Emerson)

Being the Twenty First of the Black Hole Ballads

IF the Grammarian thinks he speaks
The ...

Grandfather Clock

Grandfather clock, grandfather clock!
Tick, tock! Tick tock!
Weighing out seconds, and minutes, and hours,
Clipping off time with merciless ...


A medal pinned upon the breast

Is heroism self-confessed

For all the world to see;

No thoughts of meekness animate...

Hale’s Fire

The cry went echoing wide,
Down the deserted street
In the gray light of dawn
That dread word was ...


They touch, they grasp, they clench, they open wide;

They clap, they wave, they spread in gesture mute;

They clasp ...


Tendrils that cunningly twist on the tree,

Threading in sinuous curls in the leaves;

Clasping in breathless abandon to be...

Horses at Dusk

How huge are horses in the dusk.  They loom

Tremendous where they stand against the sky,

Etched like great statues, ...

House Fever

(The sixth of the Black Hole Ballads)
(With apologies to Walter Scott)

Breathes there a boy with soul so dead...


They cling like limpets to the rocky steep

These cottages that flank the winding road

Climbing the Mull; or like ...

In Glen Maye

The ribboned water falls with gentle sound

From mossy stone to darkly limpid pool,

Which boils and bubbles to the ...

In Glen Roy

If you should, in some frantic grief, revile

The hand of fate, and at the Godhead scream,

Not understanding the ...


Injebreck Glen

A secret lies within this heart ; the hills

Conceal the knowledge with self-conscious air,

As an old man remembers ...


A silhouette against the evening sky
He stands pensive and still;
The twilight fades, the breezes sigh
O’er all the ...

Iowemma: Canto I

AT the head of Douglas harbour
Stands the Douglas Railway Station
In its late-Victorian splendour,
Red of brick, with iron ...

Iowemma: Canto III

NOW a word about the stations,
Little wayside country stations;
Some with platforms, some without them;
Some with buildings, some ...

Isle of Man

Green-mantled isle of rock-bound coast and hills,
Of smiling fields and hedgerows bright with flowers,
Of happy memories of leisured ...


The cliffs of Jurby stand out in the sun,

Clear and erect up-rising from the shore

Like walls of a ...


Was it the name ?  We always laughed to hear

It mentioned, and we voiced the hoary joke

Times without ...


Old Snaefell lifts his mighty brow and looks

With calm demeanour o’er his realm of brooks,

Circled with his attendant ...


How still and peaceful is the Sabbath eve!
A spiral of blue smoke is wandering
Into the air, and that ...


When on my books I cast affectionate eye

And see them patient in their ordered ranks,

Waiting to serve me ...

Lifted from Bed

Sleepy and rosy, Heather is here,

Fresh from her cot; she’s so precious and dear!

Little eyes blinking, nodding her ...


The world is asleep!
A mantle covers up its face, its changeful voice is still;
The earth is cold and ...

Lost Friend

(From the French of Georges Jamin)

I am distraught under a grievous blow.
Each moment teems with mem’ries of the ...

Lux Domi

The mountain is a yawning gulf, a well

Of blackest night that opens on the sky

To swallow all the ...

Mary Ann

Mary Ann, Mary Ann,

From the little Isle of Mann,

She’s the sweetest of her clan,

She’s a darling!

She’s ...


Here to the holy well on pilgrimage

Came on an August Sunday the devout,

The youthful and decrepit, those about...

Milkmaid Liza

Liza sits upon the milking stool,

Her bent head pressed against the cow;

Between her fingers, deft and cool,

The ...

Mill-Wheel Hunt

ALONG the dusty highroad rolled two panting youths and hot;
The sweat streamed from each shining face, there iciness was ...


Proud morning came to wake us, cold and stark;
Her naked face was raw, her hand was chill;
She made ...


The ravages of winter seam her face

Where tears like mountain becks once coursed her cheek,

But still there lingers ...

Mother Island

Oh, Ellan Vannin calls to me

Across the intervening sea

With a seductive voice.

Where’er my labour turns my feet,...

Mount Strange

They shot Brown Willy here !  Now, why did they?

Could bullet singing home and tearing flesh

Atone for what ...


MUD, thick and black, heaves all around and hems
One little solid spot; and germs infest
Its slimy depths, with ...

Music at Night

When steals sweet music through the summer night,

All other noises hushed and men at rest,

Passion forgotten and all ...


The nettles grow thickly where man has been,

Lapping the walls with an ocean of green;

Nodding and rustling in ...


The highroad breasts the hill and climbing higher,

Runs on a level course where houses stand

In a grey terrace ...

No More

No more by the light of the harvest moon

Do they glean in the stubble fields;

No more in the ...

No Quick Way

Whether to cut the string and gain release

Quickly, or patiently undo the knots?

‘Tis a decision on which all ...


Here where the bees are droning
Around the fuchsia bush,
All, all save their intoning
Is wrapped in evening hush....


(Translation from the French of Th. Gautier)

The sky was dark, the earth was white,
And gaily rang the bells;...


Oh, month of withered leaves and leaping fires!
Oh, month of tossing seas and storms of hail;
When sun each ...


Oakhill Manor-Life is not three dimensional, nor four,

But five.  We do not just exist in space

And time, but have ...


One drowsy afternoon in summer heat

We came, footsore and weary, parched with thirst,

To where a tiny shop and ...


Now hath the summer gone and autumn come
And old October hath her raiment donned
And gathered tatters for her ...


(From the French of Henri de Regnier)

If I have Sunday
Of my love, ‘tis to the water slow
Which ...

Oil Well

Deep buried out of sight of men

Under the crust of ages lies

What can bring power and light to ...

Old Mill-Wheel

Glenfaba Water Mill282Old water mill, thy lumbering wheel

Still turns in heavy majesty;

Its measured movement may reveal

The sure approach of ...

On Tap

What is achieved without much effort fails,

Although it satisfy immediate needs,

To benefit for long man’s real desire.

We ...

On the Green

They stand in solemn little groups, the men

With large white hats upon their heads, and nurse

Their wooden piccaninnies ...


The silver sea, the golden sand,

The smiling meadows green and fair;

The beaming sun, the azure sky,

The charmed ...

Our Baby

(The third of the Black Hole Ballads)
(With apologies to a popular song)

Everybody loves our baby but our baby ...


TO Peel to-day
Not the O.K.
But in the car
Of Alan Parr.
A number went
With the intent
Of ...

Padjer (Prayer)

I set by meself in the outhouse
A-chewin’ a long birra straw;
An’ the averin’s drawin’ in mighty,
So wharram ...


Pain is a signal we cannot ignore,

In no uncertain terms it tells us of need,

And goads the will ...


Here, where the road below Slieuwhallian’s flank

Runs out to join the highway heading south

From Peel, we find a ...


The grey bones of the rose plants shiver now,

Stripped by the rough hands of the ruthless air,

Bearing of ...

Peel Castle

Older companion of thy southern friend,
Older by far of the Manx castles twain,
Thy pomp and splendour shall we ...

Peel Harbour

Red as a garnet in the setting sun

The old cathedral ringed by castle walls

Guards like a sentinel, when ...

Piano Rain

The piano notes fall through the air

Soft drops of rain that kiss

My soul and bathe my body

Wash ...

Plane at Night

Over my head, where boundless ages are,

A low-pitched droning threads the darkened sky,

Moving across the firmament from pole ...

Port Erin

Stern Bradda with its crowning tower

Stands sentinel

Towards the north,

And guards this westward looking shore;

And none may ...

Port St. Mary

From upland bourne I gaze

Down on the patchwork fields and scattered farms

To where, muffled in summer haze,

The ...


I said, “Let’s all do something dramatic!”
Another, “A play like we did in the attic.”
Then Tom, “Yes, quite ...


You who want proof, on what do you rely?

Are you convinced by evidence of sight,

Or touch, or hearing?  ...


My father said “Why don’t you write
“A poem that I can recite
In the schoolroom next Thursday night
When ...

Puny Man

Upon a rugged promontry I stood,
And round the wheeling screaming seagulls flew.
The angry surf murmured and frothed below...


King Edward BridgeWhither, O drifting nations, tempest-tost?

Whither thy barques so frail, so uncontrolled?

Is it to reef and shipwreck?  Will mankind...


There is rain on the window and rain on the door;

The garden is swimming in yellows and greens.

Whoever ...

Reck We His Cat

(With apologies to Matthew Arnold)

Being the Twentieth of the Black Hole Ballads

STREW on it rubbish, rubbish,
But never ...


Red is the glory of the rising sun

That lifts its face upon the frosty morn,

And red the setting ...


“What can you say of Regaby?”  He smiled,

The old man who, with sickle swift and keen.

Shaved the high ...


(From the French of Victor Hugo)

All alone beside the waves

I stood one starry night,

A cloudless sky was ...


Amid the city’s bustle, haste and noise

In lecture room alone I sit, with hands

Upon my brow, and turn ...


(Entered for competition, D.S.S.)

Amid the city’s bustle, haste and noise
In office dark alone I sit, with hands
‘Pon ...

Rhenass Falls

When water falls,

Dropping headlong in abandonment,

Dashing on rocks in ecstasy,

Kissing and sliding on the impersonal walls,

It ...

Rock Pool

Held in the wrinkle of a giant’s skin

Motionless, blue, a port-hole on the sky

Reflecting the high light, a ...


Rosemary, Rosemary,
On the first day I saw thee,
Said I to meself, ‘Go wary
And she’ll be thy Ben-my-Chree!’...

Royal Birth

The bells ring out, the banners are unfurled,

Saluting  guns their acclamations fire;

Throughout the land a wave of feeling ...

Sad Eyes

Sad eyes of little furry creatures

Haunt the mind with an unease;

Life has many sombre features,

Few as harrowing ...


SandygateAlmost a score of years in hasty flight

Have winged their way into the treasured past,

Leaving but little in ...

Sea Call

Roar on and in thy roaring send to me
A breath of other days, O distant sea!
Throw up thy ...

Sea Spell

From the high brow of Snaefell one can see
The island like a ship from stem to stern.
There thrusts ...

Sea Spell

From the high brow of Snaefell one can see

The island like a ship from stem to stern.

There thrusts ...

Sea Vision

(From the French of John Antoine Nau).

The flat cold oceans a green mirror heave
Beneath the rocks that bord ...


That seagull, perched upon the lamp-post high,

Unconscious of his perfect form and grace,

Is of created things more noble ...


Seaward there is but light and the faint plume

Of distant ship low down.  Gales from the west

Have ceased ...


It is most good to feel

Flung salt-spray on the face,

For life becomes more real

When the pulse is ...

Shadow Falls

I have at last been to the Falls,
The Swallow Falls at Bettys-y-Coed.
We sailed upon the Mona’s Queen,
The ...


When stars are bright and lights are low

I hear at night the undertow.

The distant scream of pebbles round...


When stars are bright
And lights are low
I hear at night
The undertow.
The distant scream
Of pebbles round...


SilverdaleO glade of lapping water, rustling trees,

Of rich green grass, of ferns and gay bluebells

Pale primroses bejewelling tiny ...

Sly Treason

If I should speak and thereby cause a smile,

Secret, covert, to light the listener’s face,

Suspicion flames within me, ...



I love the scent of loamy soil, the smell
Of the cool earth when turned beneath the ...


Not for my eyes are Arcadia’s fountains
When I am tired and sore depressed.
Not for my feet are Alpine ...


Oh, the sun, the beauteous sun
When o’er dusky shade hath won,
Colouring where the flowers run,
Ripening the berry....


Oh, the sun, the glorious sun,

When o’er dusky shade hath won,

Colouring where the flowers run,

Ripening the berry;...