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Listen to larks rising, 

pulling scent of thyme from earth,

their song falling like water.

Should you ever get bored with tormentil,

Meadow Browns or harebells, raise your eyes,

look at horses on the horizon.


                 from; Limestone outcrop, Birkrigg  by Geraldine Green







Salt Road into the Bay

Limestone outcrop, Birkrigg

me and janine

We just drove

Crossing the Prairie

Prayer from the Flint Hills

Skiathos Old Port

Smelling of blue gum

Extract from Poem of a Mole Catcher’s Daughter

In all that wide ocean



1 – BIOGRAPHY:  Geraldine Green


UK poet Dr. Geraldine Green is a writer, freelance creative writing tutor and mentor and visiting lecturer at The University of Cumbria.


She has had four collections published. The Skin and Passio Flarestack Pubications, Poems of a Mole Catcher’s Daughter under the pseudonym of Katie A Coyle by Palores Publications. Her latest collection, The Other Side of the Bridge by Indigo Dreams, formed part of her PhD in Creative Writing: “An Exploration of Identity and Environment through Poetry.” Geraldine was a contributor to a book on therapeutic writing - Writing Works. Her next collection Salt Road will be published summer 2013, also by Indigo Dreams. www.indigodreamsbookshop.com/#/geraldine-green/4565286878 


Geraldine’s poetry has been widely anthologised in the UK, US and Italy and translated into German and Romanian. She has recently given a talk at the Lawrence Durrell Centenary Celebrations in Corfu and presented a Paper on the works of John Clare and Aldo Leopold at The South West Texas Conference, Albuquerque. Geraldine, who frequently performs her poetry in the US, read at WoodyFest, www.woodyguthrie.com/ on an extended poetry trip to Oklahoma and Kansas, July 2012.  


You can listen to her reading on www.kpfa.org/archive/id/81889 She is an Associate Editor of Poetry Bay www.poetrybay.com Geraldine lives in South Cumbria, on the shores of Morecambe Bay, where she grew up. Her twin passions are nature study and poetry.  Read her blog at http://geraldinegreensaltroad.blogspot.co.uk







Salt Road into the Bay


Late afternoon, I walk

alongside the mud flats

of Morecambe Bay -

             the bay           

the flats

the tide that swings

its way in and out -

different! Different.

I walk out into wind,

salt & flat-caked mud

baked white in the sun,

tread among samphire,

spiked as yet unplumped

shoots of bright green

small pockets of prayer

parcels of ozone and ask:

are you really samphire,

that bright jewel of


picked, plucked,

remembered from Lear?


And into the salt and the sea

and into the tide and the flats

I follow the footprints: trainers,

knobbled patterns in salt,

horse's hooves

branding sky

into flesh,

salt into sand,

me into them,

us into us all.


A caterpillar tyre

a shrimper’s tractor

curving round and out -

I curve like that

eating samphire

as if I'm its juice

as if I'm its flesh

as if I'm crushed  

into samphire



I pause.

take breath

take in the sweep and sway

before the next wash of tide.




Limestone outcrop, Birkrigg


You can sit on any

of these limestone outcrops

watching Meadow Browns land on

harebells Alpine ladies slippers

or tormentil, listen to the wind

shushing bracken

as you sit sheltered, dog to one side

panting, waiting for a stick

to be thrown.


Listen to larks rising, 

pulling scent of thyme from earth,

their song falling like water.

Should you ever get bored with tormentil,

Meadow Browns or harebells, raise your eyes,

look at horses on the horizon.

Sea-Jay or shire mare, Annelise,

or white ones

folding over mudflats and marram

as the tide licks its way

into gulleys and channels.


Don’t be fooled,

it may look as though it’s creeping -

each wave searching

for a foothold

but underneath lies its venom,

quicksand and currents.


Watch it

rush in under the viaduct at Plumpton,

or sit near the hide at the south end of Walney

when it empties the Bay,

returns to the Irish Sea.




me and janine


vickers shipyard, barrow-in-furness, 1973


legs swinging and us licking ice creams

on the submarine dock our platform shoes

cool and wonderful and the men whistling

and shouting hey love, gi'e us a lick!

and when we turned and gave them you know a

sidelong look they laughed but me and janine

we knew they didn't mean anything by it they

were just joshing so anyhow we sat there

with our ice creams trickling down the side

of the cones golden and crisp the flakes falling

onto our mini skirts and we knew we'd have to

go back in soon but the day was warm it was warm

it was summer we were seventeen and we looked good

and we knew it and we loved it when the sailors came --

foreign submariners from argentina israel the middle east

and russia and us listening to their funny accents
and they came here to vickers to board their subs

and our own being built alongside revenge

and resolution and them going on patrol

in the baltic or the pacific and me and janine 

dreaming of smuggling ourselves on board

to wake up in a foreign port somewhere --

which was just about when the hooter would go

and we had to go back in to our dusty offices
on the sub dock with the sun blocked out

and snopake and pens and a deep pile of papers

with typos to correct.




We just drove


It was a night of no moon

a night of fresh earth

it was night

and we just drove.


You pointed out Scotland

under a thin strip of light

we could see Criffel

across the Solway.


We just drove

there was mist

there was silence

there was fruitfulness in the silence

we drove through it all

the sheep, the night of no moon, the grasses


we drove through it

turned the fells into commons of prayer

turned them into our road home

turned the headlights off

bumped over the cattlegrid

over the little white road across the fells.




Crossing the Prairie


There goes green corn

fierce as tornadoes

her cougar skin rippled

her bright eyes dazed with

dust-storms and headlights

she crosses the prairie on

her greencorn song of misery

upright as telegraph poles

lining the freeways.


Boy whistles wind

wind comes running

wind combs her back

of greengold corn

for a hundred miles

combs greencorn hair.


Nightstars crackle

moonwafer breaks open.


At dawn, a deluge of buffalo

at dawn, their ghosts cross the plain

at dawn, their notorious herd of steam

their outrageous breath

their sweat and blood

their sinews and bones.


These ghosts of buffalo.

These man-haunting bison.


Ghost bison pound earth

their hooves the pestle

this land their mortar.


Look! a city catapults

itself across the sky:


a wave of cities

a deluge of buffalo

a rivering of ghosts.


Grass cracked moons

grass tricky as coyote

grass spilling greengold

handsome as cougar


moon mirror cracks

buffalo stampede

into dust

into headlights.




Prayer from the Flint Hills


You are the prairie at sunset

the crackle of tree crickets

drawing heat into sky


the prickle of corn

swift beating of hawkwings

you are the distant horizon

the deer that pauses

white tail flicking

its fawn by its side.


You are the hush of dusk

as it falls onto tall grass

the buffalo's steady gait

is you beating heart

you are the prairie fire


licking edges

of pasture, making sweet

the new grass.


You are the badger

below ground

the stars that gave

the Kaw their dances

the sacred water hidden

in the folds of these hills.


You are the breath of the Prairie

breathing its way into night

distant snort of buffalo


over there

on the horizon

sharp screech

of a night bird

embers of sumac


like the Kansas sunflower

you live in the movement

of the south wind

that calls Kansas its home.




Skiathos Old Port


Wherever I turn, wherever I stand,
You will kindle in me only one desire:
to return to Greece.

- ‘The Soil of Greece’ George Drosinis 


The whole village pours itself

its families fishing nets its hunger 

poets and hope into the sea.

Farmers carry their meagre

loads down to the boatmen

by the harbour, where

the Aegean sings itself to sleep

where stars’ phosphorescence

lightens the horizon.

Morning pulls itself open

cats slink uphill

to the churchyard.

In the village square 

the fountain murmurs

its prayer to old women


clothed in black -

their hands clutched

by grandchildren, who

dip their fingers

into the pool

around the fountain


as though into the font

of holy water

beside the church door


before their grandmothers

drop a coin into the box

for offerings, light a candle to






sniff the incense

and kiss the glass

that hides the Saints.

Gulls preen themselves

ready for evening

when they'll flock to the harbour


perch on wings and silver-

painted railings, wait for scraps

thrown overboard from boats.

Old men beat kalamari against

rocks, their faded denims rolled

their tough, brown hands


and arms still strong enough

to pull on oars, they sit

outside the Cafeneion, listen


to the soft click clack of their

amber kombolois

remember themselves as boys


remember sons and grandsons

gone to the mainland

gone to America,


gone, like the picture brides

who, in nineteen twenty five

left Skiathos and landed


on New York’s Ellis Island.

Blood of this place gone now

fish through torn nets.





Smelling of blue gum


That smell when a Eucalyptus tree is cut;

when a ladder is propped against it,

when a saw is blading through barked flesh

and blue gum trickles down.


Two hands pull on the new white rope,

blue gum sticks to air. I can see it.

Today the sky has been asleep,

tomorrow the moon will be full of blue gum.




Extract from Poem of a Mole Catcher’s Daughter


If I       stand   here    

hearing       only


the       wind

blown  in

on the


of the


Irish Sea.


If I      

close my     eyes

hold my           breath

count to           ten


will I see Granda’ Fitz’s

brother,    Joe?


Hear him

making up       poems

as he    strode

along   the       lane

to         St Bees?


An old top hat

he’d found

in the hedgerow

pushed back

on his forehead

a whistle

in his hand

his eyes mad

as a blackbird’s

caught in the rain.


His hands fluttering

like birds

his hair listening

to the wind his mouth

opening and closing

like a baby bird’s.


His worms are words

his caterpillars are

rhymes and starlings

his poems a way

of letting jackdaws

in his head

out for a while


before they

lock him up again

in the workhouse.



Whose fingers are these typing?

Whose words?




In all that wide ocean




In all that wide ocean    arms were outstretched            to embrace

the stones                    we read        were polished black        oblong shapes


were on them


we wanted to read       the shapes       &         tried   so   hard

but       couldn’t                       


once        when stones had no shape                and we had no shape

we could read                    them the oblong          polished black


stones     and we tried    so very hard


golden fish        large as dolphins        swam    in the sea    that had no shape

when we had no shape        and the stones oblonged


a golden fish swam    rescued by a pelican                 raised

by a pelican's beak    dropped into the wide               wide    ocean


two golden fish swam    together                   wove strange oblong shapes

into songs                    and we cried      together.




In the cathedral, the cathedral I visited last night in my dream

in the cathedral it was dark.


I remember only the grounds that wandered with me in my dream.


Did i dream the grounds?

Did i dream the cathedral?


But the golden fish were real

and the stones        with the oblong shapes            polished black

at the edge of the wide ocean


and I write this down because once we were the stones

and once we can be the cathedral

and once we are the two golden fish

rescued in a pelican's beak


we will know what the shapes mean.



4 - Afterword

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