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He hears a mill-race drown the name he chose

and summers from his twenties, stretch beyond

stuffed pastures, orchards falling in a glut

or cracks in farmyard plaster. Dark as veins,


                 from Losing The Habit by Will Daunt







Mist Over Eigg

A Lancashire Glen


Northern Cords

July, 2006

No Network

Bag Of Bones

Munich Airport, 1958-2008

Graduation Day

Losing The Habit




1 Ė BIOGRAPHY: Will Daunt


Will Daunt lives in Ormskirk. His first two chapbooks were published by C.P.R. on the Isle of Lewis at the turn of the Millennium. Since then, he has published six poetry collections, including Running Out Of England (Oversteps), The Good Is Abroad, Distant Close and Landed (all Lapwing). Powerless, published by Indigo Dreams, was a winner in their 2009 Collections Competition.

Will has previously reviewed for Envoi and New Hope International.










Enough has come to come away,

a smokescreen holds the hill.

Roofs will rust and stoves can blaze

with brambles. Sedge and heather

come like a cloud below the outcrop,

low enough to soak a living.


Nowhere to drive. The outlines of van

and trailer last, where Gaelic

marks the summit, headlands, lochs,


every signpost now awry.


Visitors largely the want the way

to sands that sing. Enough have come

to flush out history:


mist over land, becoming enough.






Summerís an odd clough, as dark as they numb,

or a peel of blue

wrung from sponge-slopes. Cold heaven.


Summerís the stone path, pebbled to mulch point

or inside a lee

of forgotten fields, buried here.


Summerís those hogweed, cut loose in the dogmire

and waving aloft

like a standard, that routed earth.


Summerís the moss, flaking out of the sand-side

and every lit icon

of somewhere undrowned, or its sound


in this summer -shorn niche out of water.

I hear where it hurls

as it widens for winter, the same grid


and ground,

unfound by the map-gang.





A patch of days brings all they ordered here:

warped signs, a straggled line of cones

and noise to keep abreast of great machines.

A lava road, or lolling tongue of heat

rolls up before each slim, pathetic drive,

where homes have hardened, flat against

Lancastrian plumes of sky. Hard up

and sheer, in its new bonding gleam,

the tarmac seals our fifty homes again,

as close as they were hardly far apart.








I can see myself lost on a northerly shore,

with fishing boats hung on the swell, lifting breeze

and a sense of what our tiny lives might be for.


And winter's a stint on the work-blasted moor.

In its clung-over scrub, trudging up to our knees,

I can see myself lost on a northerly shore.


Those low crofts and becks' gravitational draw

stitch peat-scapes of hope, colliding with trees

and a sense of what our tiny lives might be for.


Far from beach caves and stalled by a different roar

in the concrete dunes, swept with petroleum wheeze,

we see ourselves lost on a northerly shore.


With our eyes wet with wind, and ears smugly sore,

itís easy to dream we could weather the freeze,

with a sense of what our tiny lives might be for.


Whereís winter best spent: at the cold, Celtic core,

or scrawled in some urban parentheses?

Better losing the self on a northerly shore,

with a sense of what this tiny life might be for.


JULY, 2006



Those days unpicked the days

when roads were molten, smelt like flesh


and wizened stuff fell out of trees.

Home-timbers swelled and shrank as tides

in far, imagined seas


and many drew their own equator.

Undogs rolled in hard-caught shade

where hoses snaked about


and coarse lawns grilled to tinder.

Evenings stalked tough afternoons

becoming homes of languid fun


where offices were gardens, and

likewise, air-conditioned lives

turned up the dial, cooled down


and turned it higher. Always higher.







There is an instant of panic and bliss

when the migrant in more of us checks

their pouch, unslides a screen or keypad

and reveals a sudden signal loss.


It'll go in the strobing underground

or stutter in stony cells or squares

and give up the most in a hole of hills,

but worst and best of all is at dusk


by a quayside of texted, loud goodbyes:

some gangway which hauls our partied pairs

at diagonals to their everyday -

that nattered, flattering froth, and then


clouds clear and seas turn cream. Stern first,

these peeling ferries face recurring

islets, headlands, inlets, peaks and lochs

that silence such pathetic phones, and fuss.





The medic tends relations back at home

with sundry texts and files, three times a year.

She'll bring the usual clutch of plastic sacks

and disks and spines that slip and poke like limbs

and wait to come to light, littering the house.

She'll nurse the clan with tales of labs and lads.


This bag's a tipped out, resin skeleton

decapitated, maimed beyond repair

and that's the fun: which joint, called what, goes where?

One jawbone rattles oddly: 'It's for real!'

and it once ate and spoke and kissed, came from

a belly full of legs and arms, like her.







Planes, compact as Airfix, stall

while larger players jostle, roar

and run away everyway. We stop dead.


Fields as good as gone extend,

executed like an English park

and empty as a church yard.


A world at grass waits to cut loose,

aloft. And guess who's next:

a solid jolt, and steel and rubber


beat the tarmac. Breathe in diesel.

Distance glazed, this tilts and slides,

yet heaven's safe, and soon


the map of hamlets clears below.

In that happy space, recall

thin, hidden scars of Manchester


alive and lost beneath, for fifty springs.






It took six months to bury her

and on a day in that wet June

we drove towards the churchyard where

her villagers had scraped a tomb.


The village had not known her when

she scavenged up the 505

or poked around the Norwich road,

nor how she lived to keep alive.


A few would see her scurry up

the slip road, to its planted bank

and stoop towards the needled earth

which wandered to her frugal camp.


They found it that November, what

had grown into her home, but then

one summer dawn, became small news:

a dead room, shaped by shelves and tarp


and simple signs of how to eat

and read alone, where purring cars

would wake her days and help to brake

starvation, cold and creaking years.


And in that autumn den they found

a neat, dry shroud of bones, whose mould

was left in mulch and kindling  by

the form fillers and uniforms.


Time staggered through its rigmaroles

of looking up who Sally was,

but she had never bothered cops,

or registrars or dentistsí chairs.


We drove beyond the churchyard with

a child to see, degree to get,

and guessed her plan: a dugout, priest

and - none the wiser - local souls.





But if she quit tomorrow, would she miss

the valley rolled out like an underlay

of flood and fencing, herring gulls and calves,

pinned back through Lent and threadbare to the touch?


Or if today that poplar hem was scourged,

with its reluctant thickets, like her loved

but fraying faith, could she patch or revive

new slopes of primrose, aconites


and stranded snow,  which yesterday were sewn

up melting verges? Quickly now, they stain

with passing dust and debris, as she hears

more jeers from firmer journeys, short and sure.




He hears a mill-race drown the name he chose

and summers from his twenties, stretch beyond

stuffed pastures, orchards falling in a glut

or cracks in farmyard plaster. Dark as veins,


they seal and seethe with layered schemes of slug,

wood louse and ant swarms, distant as a vow

marked out in acne, but as close as draughts

that infiltrate the Chapel where he might


once deign to pray, to set aside or save

some relics from his mission: stunted buds

in pillbox ivy; churchyard garlands, limp

and large, or copses marred by mistletoe.





Lancashire Working (Kite Modern Poetry, 2003)

Running Out Of England (Oversteps, 2004)

The Good Is Abroad (Lapwing Publications, 2006)

Distant Close (Lapwing Publications, 2008)

Powerless (Indigo Dreams, 2010)

Landed (Lapwing Publications, 2013)




Houses Dim (C.P.R., 2000)

2000 Tales Of Love, Rewinding (C.P.R., 2001)

Town Criers/ Town Fliers (Self-published, 2015)


Poems have appeared in:

The Affectionate Punch, Anon, Assent, Avis, Bard, Carillon, Citizen 32, Sarasvati, Envoi, Iota, Krax, Links, Neon Highway,  A New Ulster, Orbis, Pennine Platform , Poetry Cornwall,         Poetry Monthly, Pulsar, Purple Patch, Sentinel Champions, Sepia, Smoke, Time Haiku              



4 - Afterword

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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

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