Category Archives: Poems

For National Poetry Day 2021 – a poem & 2 books

It’s National Poetry Day here in the UK so here’s All, the opening poem in my collection The Things We Thought Were Beautiful, and a couple of poetry book recommendations.


And here’s the two fantastic independently published poetry books that I want to flag up, which both mean a great deal to me. With excerpts from my 5⭐ reviews of each, they are:

US poet Sherry Lazarus Ross’s Seeds of the Pomegranate:

“I loved ‘Touch Me’, in which the poet asks ‘How many times can the earth / withstand this ritual. The pain of being frozen / then thawed out.’ But as ever throughout this collection of dark and light, spring is the wake-up call coming ‘soft as the turn of earthworms.’ Just one more of the many stunning images in this wonderful book, already a favourite on my shelf.”


Scottish poet Barbara Lennox’s The Ghost in the Machine:

“It deals with themes of the natural world, myths, science and the human condition. There is a sense of living at a mid-point, a delicate balance of ‘trying to return, but never quite arriving.’ The poet has a beautiful turn of phrase, using alliterative language that reminds me of Seamus Heaney: ‘From every slope there rings/ a rush and purl of streams/ pocked by peat-dark tarns’.”

The best poetry has an almost magical power to transform our relationship with ourselves and the natural world. Please check out these collections by clicking the links below, where you can also read my full reviews. And just… read as many poems as you can today!

Let me know in the comments your favourite poems…

Jocelyn Merivale – a tribute to an inspiring artist

“It’s not just that Jocelyn was contrary, she loved a fight, and was a good sparring partner. It’s that she seemed to me the opposite of just about anybody else I ever met.” – John Merivale’s Eulogy for Jocelyn, 23 September 2014

I can’t tell you how stunned I was to receive this piece of treasure in the post the other day:

Jocelyn Merivale book, John Merivale

Jocelyn Merivale, as regular readers of this blog may know, was a painter and friend, whose fabulous work inspired some of my poems in Up in the Air.

I got to know Jocelyn through her husband, John, with whom I worked for several years in Wimbledon and Morden. She died in 2014, tragically young, but carried on working right up until the end.

John set about producing a book to collect all of the paintings, sketches, and sculptures produced by his lifelong partner. He worked with Matthew Hollow, an art photographer, Martin Holman, an art historian, and Brother, a brand design agency. It was a true labour of love, much of it carried out during the enforced solitude of the coronavirus lockdown.

And look at the result:

Garden at Night, Jocelyn Merivale artist

I had been so looking forward to seeing this book. And the icing on the cake was the use of several of my poems, produced after I visited an Open House exhibition of Jocelyn’s work in Merton.

Scroll down to see my poems and the paintings they relate to, as well as the painting Jocelyn did for my wife and me on our wedding day. (Click on the images of the poems to read them more easily).

Every Bird is Singing, Steve Griffin poem
Field of Birds, Jocelyn Merivale artist
The Sea, Steve Griffin poem
Lighthouse, Jocelyn Merivale artist
Dotty, Steve Griffin poem
Dotty, Jocelyn Merivale artist
Green Ghost Girl at No. 9, Steve Griffin poem
No.9, Jocelyn Merivale artist

And here’s the beautiful painting that Jocelyn produced for our wedding:

For Steve and Anna, Jocelyn Merivale artist

To buy a copy of the Jocelyn Merivale book (£45 plus P&P) please contact John Merivale: merivale@btinternet.com

To purchase a copy of my poetry book Up in the Air, click below:

Charlie Comes to the Mountain – a new poem for Easter

It’s been a while since I’ve done a poetry video for my blog so, with Easter and spring and a smidgen of hope in the air, here’s a new one – Charlie Comes to the Mountain. I wrote it last year when we went to the Brecon Beacons in South Wales and took a family hike up Hay Bluff. It was a gorgeous day, baking hot, and there was a boy racing up the mountain, leaving his anxious siblings behind. I’d had the last line of the poem in my head for a long time, but it found its home in Charlie. Have a good Easter.

This is a new poem, so not in any collection yet – but click below if you want to find out more about my previous poetry books:

A Poetry Playlist on National Poetry Day

OK, so technically National Poetry Day was yesterday and I missed doing this Poetry Playlist post due to juggling 101 other things!

Whilst I love reading poetry on the page, it’s important to recognise that it developed from oral traditions, a means of passing down the values, wisdom and playfulness of humanity from one generation to the next before writing became common.

The Things We Thought Were Beautiful Poetry Book

So for me poetry exists in two very distinct states. The poem on the page, which emanates its power in a wonderful, still silence (if it’s good!) And then there’s the poem as read by the poet or avid reader, which can take on a wholly different feel. The pacing and the length of the end-of-line pause, the emphasis of certain words, the catching of the poem’s rhythm. All are shaped by the personal interpretation of the out-loud reader.

I’ve done quite a few poetry readings in the past – at festivals, schools, pubs and in such illustrious venues as the basement of the Troubador Cafe in Old Brompton Road, where Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones played (and Ed Sheeran and Laura Marling for you young folk!). But with Covid there’s much fewer chances of doing live readings, so why not take a look at this Poetry Playlist I’ve put together? In it, you’ll find me reading six of my favourite poems from my two collections, Up in the Air and The Things We Thought Were Beautiful.

And if they inspire you to read more, the books are available here:

All: poetry inspiration for lockdown

Into our seventh week of lockdown and I’m hoping to pass on some inspiration – so here’s a reading of ‘All’ from my new poetry book The Things We Thought Were Beautiful.

Find out more about The Things We Thought Were Beautiful here:

The Man who was Saved: A Poem for Lockdown

This poem from my first book Up in the Air was written a few years ago. I think it’s pertinent to our current coronavirus crisis, where once again we find ourselves reliant on brave and selfless public workers. It’s my first – and only – prose poem and I wrote it after watching a TV programme about the Marriott World Trade Centre hotel, which stood beside the Twin Towers. As you can imagine, the hotel was damaged beyond repair, and there was one guest who spoke in tears and amazement about how a firefighter saved his life. I can’t remember much more than that, but it showed how there’s something more important to us than money and power and status. It’s the ability to feel widely, to be open to everything and have empathy. We’re not talking about being wishy-washy, but about sensing the ‘drunkeness of things being various’, as the Northern Irish poet Louis MacNeice would put it. The world is amazing. What makes us special is the fact that we are able to sense and feel it, in all its fathomless complexity.

The man who was saved: poem

Up in the Air is available on Amazon:

Sorted: a poem for World Poetry Day 2020

I’m posting this poem from The Things We Thought Were Beautiful for World Poetry Day not because it’s a ‘happy’ poem, but because sharing our sadness can also help us to pull through.

Many people think of poetry as a sideline, or even worse, an irrelevance. But for many of us, poems are a source of inspiration and comfort. Losing the possibility to see and hug our close relatives is surely one of the hardest things for us all to deal with at the moment.

This poem, Sorted, heads up the ‘Without Love’ section of The Things We Thought Were Beautiful, and it was written about the frustration and emptiness we often feel when we’re not with a lover. But I think it works just as well in the context of being apart from anyone we love.

Take care and stay safe.

Sorted poem

For the First Time – Poems on Video

Here’s a video of me reading “For the First Time”, a poem about finding love. It comes from my new poetry book, The Things We Thought Were Beautiful – out now on Amazon.


If you enjoyed it, you can purchase a copy here:


The Things We Thought Were Beautiful poetry out now!

I’m excited to announce that The Things We Thought Were Beautiful is out now on Amazon!

The Things We Thought Were Beautiful is my second book of poetry. It includes poems on our changing feelings and connection to nature and the world around us, the beauty and strangeness of travel, and the places we look for meaning. Poems explore the challenges of living without love, as well as the redemption of home and family.

Here’s a taster:

The Things We Thought Were  Beautiful - Dandelion poem

These are some of the things readers said about Up in the Air, my first collection:

“Beautiful and thought-provoking collection of poems that speak of life, death, love and nature…” Amazon UK

“I love this book. I keep it at my bedside to read a passage or two before getting up to start my day or at night before the lights go out.” Amazon.com

Order your copy now:

Note – this link is to the paperback – you need to search in the Kindle store for the ebook as it takes a few days for the formats to link.