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Category: poetry (Page 1 of 10)

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Latest volume Grass Clouds Poems 2002-22

A selection of published and self-published volumes 1992-2022…30 years! I will be reading poems from these various collections tonight at The Organ Grinder with Neil Fulwood.

Here my CV 🙂

A NEW YEAR GREETING

****
(poem here)

Addenda: What I am not.

Shaun Belcher is the author of one out of print slim volume that disappeared into the virtual ether before it was printed via lightning strikes/amazon so qualifies as a work of fiction.
He did not edit any anthology of obscure, unacknowledged legislators nor did he win any prizes, nor should we be specific did he enter any competitions.
He has held no official tenures as a creative writer at any top end nor third rate provincial university and has never reviewed other poets he dislikes for the simple reason of building a profile to get published.
He has never been recommended by friends in the poetry world as he has none and has studiously avoided anything to do with poets or poetry for over two decades.
He is member of no group who look after his publishing and reading interests when his work over time slides into fabulous irrelevancy or simply becomes so bad it an embarrassment.
He has no agenda nor minority axe to grind and has never played on his working class beginnings for pity or favour.
He regards his lifelong devotion to obscurity and keeping some semblance of sanity in a world over-run with poets like a corpse covered in flies that he should not add to other’s suffering by maintaining a steady output of academic poetry which simply done to fulfil research departmental targets.
His earnings from poetry over 40 years accrues to £70 he once got paid for being given a slot at Ledbury Festival by a friend and a commission again via a friend for £500 which works out to roughly £14.25 per annum which a living wage in the poetry world these days.

He is however still a poet if being a poet is none of the above.

He is still alive at time of writing and doesn’t expect things to change radically.

It all depends on a red wheelbarrow apparently and he does not have one.

Happy New Year.

THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED

Which one’s Trotsky?

After twenty years chez Nottingham I finally been invited to share my thoughts at a reading.

So if you wish to listen to a couple of bolshy poets tearing down the walls of heartache now’s your chance…

Neil Fulwood been around a bit has some books and generally a good egg….

He will be promoting his new Smokestack Press publication and generally taking the piss out of the Tories which in current climes no bad thing.

I will be ranting as usual……at everything.

I will be reading from this book available until August 2nd as a free pdf download below.

GRASS CLOUDS : 20 years on the poetry bench.

Armitage has been run ragged at left back let’s see what the new boy can do…

I will be offering this as a free download from this evening as it Bastille day.
GRASS CLOUDS contains everything I have written as ‘poetry’ since I arrived in Nottingham in 2002 so about 20 years worth

Contains 80 poems and some illustrations. I will be reading from it on Tuesday August 2nd at the Organ Grinder Canning Circus with Neil Fulwood who celebrating his new Smokestack Press publication.

Includes the following pamphlets and projects:

Drifting Village Poems 2001-2011

Edwin Smith Commission 2014

Burning Books and Buying time 2017 – 2018

My Father’s Things (illustrated) 2019

At the Organ Grinder I shall also be reading from the new volume ‘Substitute’ which due in Fall 2022.





PRIVILEGE

Privilege

Is mine and always will be it is my birth-right
I am born to this and never shall let it slip
I am the world king and God’s chosen one
To let go of power is to betray you all

I will make the problems disappear
All it takes is character as my masters told me
Drilled with a sense of purpose and entitlement
From a young age to handle the reins of power

The ethos at Eton and Oxford is always to be right
even if found out never let the mask slip
For that is a sign of weakness and I am not weak
I am the firm hand, the strong voice, the liar

Who can not ever be found out to lie
The philanderer who can buy secrecy
The fool who cannot be judged wrong
For there is no other King

This morning the cloak of privilege
Is torn and stained but still wraps me round
With banker friends and people of high birth
who will take me in and bathe my wounds

I will return to the battle with my Excalibur
Smite my enemies and ride again into battle
This county needs me in its darkest hour
I watch re-runs of Churchill in a darkened room

This is my right my destiny
I am alone A King of no country

Collateral

COLLATERAL

(for D.D.)

Windows shake, tyres screech

Litter blows across the estate

Gunshots ricochet as sound

The Divis Flats, Brixton Market

Beirut, Jerusalem, Sarajevo

A baby cries, a baby cries

The broadcast stops, the helicopter hovers

There’s a smell of cordite, a cold wind

A face you have seen before on the news

Staring to dissolve in a pall of smoke

Gravestones, a line of mourners, a hearse

More tracking shots, more candles to light

The post-war peace has been noisy

All night the rain streaking the vans

As another round up begins

Difference is a slogan, tolerance fades

Hope drifts downstream like radium

Whitewashing concrete stained with blood

We can carry on, we can care even more

The trains will run, the tide will turn

The supremacists will make everything alright

The same arguments start again and again

Tube trains fill with dust and smoke

Collateral damage drips through the door

You choose what to believe, what to see

As another herd of innocents die in a cellar

The missing migrant is pushed into the sea

Sixty years of peace in Europe a lie

From the Balkans to Ukraine this is total war

An iron curtain swinging in the breeze

In the morning a cold silent light

A white horse streaked with blood and lame

Dragging itself to a poisoned stream

The crusaders horse is then shot full of holes

Its body carried away on a torrent of pain.

Collateral: The ghost in the Western dream.

The Function of Criticism

I have spent the afternoon reading the beginning of Yvor Winters ‘The Function of Criticism’ which I acquired about 30 years ago.

I also read a couple of interesting articles online.

The first by the poet David Yezzi is interesting and makes a case for his continuing relevance. The second is a wider career over-view from the now defunct Contemporary Poetry Review.

I also mused upon the slow demise of the ‘Poet-Critic’ a sad reflection of the sorry state of contemporary poetry where popularity and social media profiles count for more than intellectual rigor. Even with Larkin, Heaney and Hughes there were solid publications of other writing. Can one imagine a serious book of Simon Armitage or Helen Mort criticism ..no because it too dangerous an occupation in the ‘blow-back’ noughties where any -expression of opinion is frowned upon. Books are reviewed but mostly to further mediocre careerist blogs but serious criticism that gone the way of decent classical music radio i.e. popularised out of existence.

So reading the opinionated Winters is refreshing. He was wrong as much as right but at least he expressed an opinion.

https://newcriterion.com/issues/1997/6/the-seriousness-of-yvor-winters

https://www.cprw.com/the-absolutist-the-poetry-and-criticism-of-yvor-winters

Talking of opinionated tody I also picked up this Further Requirements book by Larkin to add to Required Writing which again I had for over thirty years. I wonder how long before Larkin is ‘Decolonized’ from the local university stacks which considering his lifetime devotion to maintaining library collections is beyond sad.

Addenda after Auden

A NEW YEAR GREETING

****
(poem here)

Addenda: What I am not.

Shaun Belcher is the author of one out of print slim volume that disappeared into the virtual ether before it was printed via lightning strikes/amazon so qualifies as a work of fiction.
He did not edit any anthology of obscure, unacknowledged legislators nor did he win any prizes, nor should we be specific did he enter any competitions.
He has held no official tenures as a creative writer at any top end nor third rate provincial university and has never reviewed other poets he dislikes for the simple reason of building a profile to get published.
He has never been recommended by friends in the poetry world as he has none and has studiously avoided anything to do with poets or poetry for over two decades.
He is member of no group who look after his publishing and reading interests when his work over time slides into fabulous irrelevancy or simply becomes so bad it an embarrassment.
He has no agenda nor minority axe to grind and has never played on his working class beginnings for pity or favour.
He regards his lifelong devotion to obscurity and keeping some semblance of sanity in a world over-run with poets like a corpse covered in flies that he should not add to other’s suffering by maintaining a steady output of academic poetry which simply done to fulfil research departmental targets.
His earnings from poetry over 40 years accrues to £70 he once got paid for being given a slot at Ledbury Festival by a friend and a commission again via a friend for £500 which works out to roughly £14.25 per annum which a living wage in the poetry world these days.

He is however still a poet if being a poet is none of the above.

He is still alive at time of writing and doesn’t expect things to change radically.

It all depends on a red wheelbarrow apparently and he does not have one.

Happy New Year.

New Poems: Knowing my place

Doff your cap,
Toe the line,
Do a good job,
Know your place,
Speak when spoken to,
Don’t talk back, keep mum,
Be reliable
Hold your knife properly,
Don’t leave the table until told to,
Watch your step,
March in time,
Defer to your betters,
Salute the flag,
Be punctual,
Do a good job,
Never argue,
Be polite,
Bow,
Scrape,

Be invisible.

If you do not do as you are told you have…

A chip on your shoulder,
Are bitter,
Difficult
A maverick
A born troublemaker
An outsider
A thief

Or worse
Political

Working Class

A writer

2010 – White Van Town – Didcot Council Estate
Each van a different worker living on this road it a Sunday.. the Thatcherite Dream made reality.


New Poems: The Moon Turned Dark

Moon Turned Dark

June 1783 a balloon of hot air made of paper is launched
then a test of silk and hydrogen that travels 15 miles before crashing
into the minds of two peasants who attack the monster
despite the authorities appeal not to be scared of these globes
‘which resemble the moon turned dark’

Next a sheep, a cockerel, a duck are swung into orbit like Laika
Tethered to another hydrogen sphere to test the air at altitude
They survive crashing back to earth and are examined by Pilatre de Rozier
Who in October 1783 becomes the first man to leave the earth
The blue and gold balloon rising in a shower of burning straw

The 7th January 1785 and Blanchard and Jefferies attempt the first sea crossing
leaving Dover they head for Calais rising and falling dangerously
all weighty objects jettisoned they finally threw their clothes into the sea
and make landfall at Blanc-Nez where Blanchard throws letters into the wind
the final weight they let go are bladders containing their own urine

13th June 1784 and Pilatre attempts a sea crossing in the opposite direction
twenty-seven minutes later it is seen drifting back over land
the two aeronauts observed frantically trying to keep the vessel aloft
The hydrogen ignites sending the two men to their deaths
Pilatre leaves behind the first matches, gas masks and a museum of science

The means to start fires, protect and survive and a mausoleum of ideas.

13th June 2021 fires burn bright in the woods near Calais at night
Sea crossings are planned and wind and sea watched for calmer nights
Eyes turn upwards at the leviathans in the channel the monsters in the air
Some cross easily others fall to earth or drift on currents back to land
The best nights are those when the moon turns dark and the fires are out

We test the limits of our survival from Paris to Mars, seek safe harbour
But the straw burning under our feet both lifts us and destroys our world.
Under the blue and gold backdrop of the live television pictures two men
Dump what they can into the sea, pray that the fires will keep them afloat
But can see the moon turned dark, the sea turned black, the world on fire.

A sheep, a cockerel, a duck
Float on across the burnt forests, the flooded fields, drowning in hot air.


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