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We smash your kitchen drawer units,

find the decaying corpse of a mouse;

a piece of the wallpaper of our childhood

still on the wall behind causes

your daughters to cry with nostalgia.

I find your breadboard

and it’s that that brings my tears.


                 from Breadboard  by Noel King











Father Dances

Little Mestor


Taller Trees

The Beginning of the Next Day

Winter Beach




Noel King


Noel King was born and lives in Tralee. His poems, haiku, short stories, reviews and articles have appeared in magazines and journals in thirty-seven countries. His poetry collections are published by Salmon Poetry: Prophesying the Past, (2010), The Stern Wave (2013) and Sons (forthcoming in 2015). He has edited more than fifty books of work by others. Anthology publications include The Second Genesis: An Anthology of Contemporary World Poetry (AR.A.W.,India, 2014).







We chipped together,

the boys in his class,

to buy him a Meccano set,

to help to rebuild his life

after his Mam, Dad and sister

were blown up.


He hung his head, mumbled

a thanks and a goodbye

and headed off on a train

to be brought up by an auntie

or someone, somewhere.





We recycle as much as possible:

paper into green sacks, 

wooden goods to be broken up for firewood;

your clothes my sisters sort for charity shops,

resale or recycling. The WEE agreement ensures

electrical goods can be recycled for free.

We smash your kitchen drawer units,

find the decaying corpse of a mouse;

a piece of the wallpaper of our childhood

still on the wall behind causes

your daughters to cry with nostalgia.

I find your breadboard

and it’s that that brings my tears.

I make my fingertips cross its cuts and scratches;

you knifed all bread, home-made or shop bought,

bread to go with soup, bread for our sandwiches

for school and football matches,

all sorts of breads for all sorts of trips.

Your heart always fretted for us wherever we went,

as your knife sliced fat slices on this board.

But I can’t keep it, I have my mementos, no need

for another, will watch it burn in my stove.





Through the harp strings,

your face a study

in adoration for him.


My jealous juices begin to flow

and as my breath breezes

near your breasts,

the music intrudes.


Could you ever love any mortal

as you do him,

your namesake?


*Turlough O’ Carolan – 17th century Irish Harpist & Composer.





Hear now, I hated to leave too, but here

we are, go back into your shells,

the moon is blue this evening;

you know that is bad for your complexion.

Remember how your forefathers fought earth,

what happened earth. Go into your shuttles now

make love to your woman, woo her again; feel alive.


Hear now my prayer, there is a God after all

and he has saved us from hell-earth. You see it, 

it’s just a little blob left there, here! See!

Smaller than my hand! We can prod it,

almost play table-tennis with it. It’s a lesson,

a capsule. A great star stronger than ours

came and made earth melt and shrink, but God

was merciful. Remember that gentlemen.

We will set forth now and find ourselves

a place where we can be, close to God,

where there will be no fighting armies.

Hear now. Let us come. Let us pray.




Father Dances


My mother has left my father

– she says he’s a dick-head.


I still feel Dad close around me,

my head on his chest, his smell,


his hot left-hand closed on mine,

his right in the small of my back


as we swoop, sway, sally – dancing

proud at the town ballroom classes


mother had no interest in; his steps

a trust deed to twelve-year-old confidence. 


They make me live with her, listen

to her tongue, smell her smoke,


watch her TV aimlessly, live her lies;

but I can put on a record, close my eyes,


and dream Daddy and me across the floor

in the special shoes he bought me,


they will wear out and I will grow older but

those swooping steps will carry me   along    aloft    always.




Little Mestor


Little Mestors were a legion of skilled cutlery and tool-making craftsmen

founded in Sheffield in the mid-1800s. A few survive to this day.


Every morning he makes shapes that break,

but amid those are ones that get finished;


some scrap he can discard, some reuse;

he fights the 21st century competition


from the Chinese and Woodies DIY.

Trev (or Trevor as his mother christened him)


is proud to follow his craft, follow

a long, long, pocket-knife tradition.


Trev’s knives come in three styles –

the three-and-a-quarter inch, three-and-a-half inch


and the four inch, but the blade shapes are more startling –

the lambfoot, the farmer, the pruner, the clip point, the spear point and so on…


He buys in his raw materials –

springs, linings, ivory, carbon steel (we’d have to bring carbon into it);


brass, rosewoods, buffalo and stag horns

(for the handles you understand) –


wonders when the day will come

that people will turn away from mass production;


knows that in the greatest houses and palaces

of the world his craftsmanship holds.






In this photograph

my grandfather took

me out in a boat;

see the fishing tackle

between us.


I dunno if we caught much

that day or who took the snap;

but it was the last day we fished.

I haven’t been in a boat since


until you take me today,

making me wear an orange lifejacket;

I’m proud of you, my grandson.




Taller Trees


Visiting my then-life;

the cottage fails to view.


I shoulder bushes

to find the door,


rust flies from the keyhole,

a mouse ducks out between my feet

taking flight back to the field.


I knee the bolt and in I go,

Grandmother’s armchair is there,


Out of it grows ivy and other greens.

Smashed windows have trees growing in.


Birds are on the beams, nesting, shitting


and where the crib was cornered

rats nest, raising their little ones.




The Beginning of The Next Day


Words pour in the rain

as Miss Kenton tells

Mr Stevens she loves him

and he tells her he loves her too.

They kiss.

                           * After Kazuo Ishiguro’s, The Remains of the Day, Faber & Faber, 1989



Winter Beach


I write haiku on the backs of my hands

while you, mother, walk one way,

and you, father, the other,

across this beach with seaweed frozen,


black ice on rocks and pebbles.

A stream that flowed away time is frozen,

an electric fence that lost its power

leans Piza tower-like towards the ground.


Weak sun from a McGillycuddy Reek

blesses the going-silver hairs of my head,

the white hairs of yours, father,

and dyed-brown of yours, mother.


Having walked enough to content your exercise,

you both begin the walk back towards me.

Lounging on a rock, I turn my head right for father,

left for mother; watching you from dots to your full sizes.


We all sit not speaking, till the sun

wraps itself back behind the reek,

then with me at the wheel, headlights on,

we drive for home.






Blitz  Published in South Bank Poetry (UK)

Breadboard  Published in Orbis (UK, 2015) shortlisted in Poetry Kit , Fosseway & Norwich Poetry Competitions

Carolyn  Published in Decanto (UK), Poem (USA)

Countrymen Published in Eastern Rainbow (UK), Labour of Love (Canada), The Mentor (New Zealand)

Father Dances  Published in Carillon (UK), Crannog (Ireland), Mobius (USA)

Little Mestor  Published in Orbis (UK)

Minnows  Published in Graffiti (UK)

Taller Trees  Published in Brittle Star (UK)

The Beginning of The Next Day Published in Bard (UK)

Winter Beach Published in Countryside Tales (UK), Boyne Berries (Ireland)



4 - Afterword

Email Poetry Kit - info@poetrykit.org    - if you would like to tell us what you think. 

We are looking for other poets to feature in this series, and are open to submissions.  Please send one poem and a short bio to - info@poetrykit.org

Thank you for taking the time to read Caught in the Net.  Our other magazine s are Transparent Words ands Poetry Kit Magazine, which are webzines on the Poetry Kit site and this can be found at -