In the Herbarium


Violet Sweet

Behind one violet there is another
See, what is sweet about that –
Or yellow,

Every star emits
Yellow lilac light

Thick violet walls
Raspberry love –

Sweet sandhills draw upwards,

Tooth white stars

Brown silhouetted stole,
Soundhills needle

That I am not
Writing about you at all.

Currents raging.
Violet: sweet as a ghost.


It feels like it was only yesterday, but the launch of the Herbarium poetry anthology was almost four years ago. Edited by James Wilkes, the anthology was launched at the Urban Physic Garden with readings from 36 poets in July 20ll. The anthology, viewable here, celebrates and explores the contemporary resonances of medicinal plants and herbs for the Urban Physic Garden.

Only Openings


‘clouds, mist find solace in the canyons of the Santa Catalina Mountains’

from ‘The Place Where Clouds Are Formed’, in Where Clouds Are Formed, by Ofellia Zepeda (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2008),  p.5.

‘You want I’ll be irreproachably/ tender no man but a cloud/ in trousers’

from ‘A Cloud In Trousers’, in Electric Iron, by Vladimir Myakovsky, trans. Jack Hirschman and Victor Erlich (Maya: Berkley, 1971), np.


‘Deers / on the main road: display solutions beyond STAR FURNISHINGS and all wildness ROCKED in/ Styrene LADIES of Honour with some ground…’

punk faun, by Redell Olsen, (Oakland: Subpress, 2012), p.11.

‘By his own scythe, the mower mown’

‘Damon the Mower’, in ‘The Selected Poetry of Marvell’, by Andrew Marvell, (New York, Signet Classics, 1967), p.80.

‘Lightly you lope, pale deer, lifting / A story from pages of snow’

‘Of Mule and Deer’, in This Isa Nice Neighborhood, by Farid Matuk (Chicago: Letter Machine Editions, 2010), p.1.


‘we are both swans in the same pond/ wrapping our long black necks around each other/ until it hurts.’

‘Magazine Stand’, in Fjords vol. 1, by Zachary Schomburg (Boston MA: Black Ocean, 2012),  p.12. Continue reading Only Openings

Where The Wild Flowers Are


Viper’s Bugloss

White pigs and horses on wet grass lay dead
When sun-lips pink in vivid blue descends
On mathematicians and the red stained bee
A cancer bloods this poem: Washington.

Dusk bugs with flailing arms invade despair
Suck bitten tails that arch to meet a tongue
That senses nothing but the voice’s shell
Which logic forms as flowers in a pun.

The arid roadsides of Ramallah watched
As we removed the poets from the shops
To plant black ovoid seeds in eyeless pots
For every optic nerve dissects from sight.

Long scales defect to pitch-bend through the weed
While pigs and horses cell death on night grass.


A note on the poem: I wrote this poem in June 2012 for A Wild Flower Anthology. The anthology, edited and concieved by Clare Whistler, was published to celebrate the ‘Where The Wild Flowers Are‘ event, commissioned by the City of London Festival.

I was one of sixteen poets and composers invited to take part in the project. Each poet wrote a poem about a wild flower of their choice, while each composer wrote a solo miniature for a single instrument, which was then performed alongside a dramatic reading of the poem in one of three city churches: St Mary-at-Hill, St Olave Hart St and St Stephen Walbrook.

For Viper’s Bugloss composer Jason Anderson wrote a solo miniature (performed on clarinet by Emily Heathcote) which was accompanied by a dramatic reading of ‘Viper’s Bugloss’ by Alice Roots.