As poetry collections go, my book Stone Witness has sold well and continues to do so.
Who knows, some discerning friend may buy it for you at Christmas, if you don't already have a well-thumbed copy on your bookshelf.
I'm currently working towards my next collection.
Its working title is The Granite Ship and central to it will be the poem featured below.
THE GRANITE SHIP
Waves crash around the granite ship,
and though the sturdy structure holds
the vessel is increasingly
at peril from the hungry whip
of breakers while the ocean scolds
as we, poor mariners, steadfast,
stand resolute beneath the mast.
Our shipmates, hardy island men,
crew of the granite ship, respect
the awesome hunger of the sea,
its rage, were it to go unchecked,
might rise and inundate again
the living land, our sanctuary.
Our ship sails on, we pray that day
may never come, wish it away.
One day, not in our lifetime, no,
the sea will overcome and spill
across this deck of leafy lanes,
into the hold where secrets still
lie undisturbed: a grim cargo
of wartime crimes, unwholesome gains,
to drown the shining steeples, tall,
and finance houses, one and all.
Beleaguered Guernsey, ship of stone,
sea-salt encrusts abandoned cars,
coats ancient wells, old walls, those trees
that still remain like jutting spars;
encrusts greenhouses, overgrown,
their old vines riddled with disease,
while, constantly, relentless waves
thrust deeper into coast and caves.
We watch the fierce tide fall and rise.
Secure on deck, our granite ship
implants its staunchness in our hearts,
embeds in us a coarse-grained chip.
We mariners would be unwise,
however, to rely on charts:
that unrelenting enemy
will sink us yet, the sea, the sea.