Tag Archives: poem

The Tidal Man


There was life, it seemed, in the Estuary
the flats blistered bubbles that rose and burst like gasps
brackish pools guarded poking razor clams
and whispering whelks
gulls paddled respectfully around the lumpy porpoise
I shielded my eyes
tapped a stone in time with their crys
saw the lumpy porpoise nudged by rising tide
like wrung and twisted Estuary birds afloat by fruitless oyster beds
or upturned silver bellied fish staring at rusty trawler hulls

Men lamented and called it monster
their rage and blame lay with it
some claimed to have seen the thing
named it Reaper of the Seas or The Tidal Man
I waited and watched
tapped a stone upon another
listened beyond crying gulls and reluctant waters
listened, watched and waited for the roar of The Tidal Man
because monsters roar and scream
as men believe they can

Inky horizon swallowed the day
home awaited my bucket of clams
with a fury fuelled by fears and another empty table
My footsteps dragged, rolling brine tagged my heel
these shoes would be wet again
A hollow vessel hauled in slow
it creaked and crunched upon the shore
I faltered, toppled
something held my ankles fast
shingle pits sunk my feet
struggling whirlpools swept me down and soaked in foamy wash
I prayed
beneath salty cascades and translucent gaze
of the monster men called
The Tidal Man

Ankles shook free, my courage came angry

“Our waters have gone quiet, our rivers choked and clogged
we have no food, no livelihood, we beg you please, just stop!”

Dredged in silence
garlanded in knotted lines and lost lives
The Tidal Man crashed a mangled fist upon the shore and was silent no more

“I am your thoughtlessness, your negligence, your naivety
I am the discarded, the blind eye, I am your complacency
I am your offspring, your discovery, your ingenuity
I am as human as I am human-made
But I am strong; stronger than you
I will travel a billion tides; grow through the oceans I wade
I will live on this earth for hundreds of years
Your alien.  Your fate.  Your hunger.  Your tears.”

Cascading salty, The Tidal Man drew up to a terrible height
my wide eyes feared the sight
for every cell was made by man
I scrambled for my bucket, crawled upon my knees
fled for home to fury fuelled by fears

“It comes!  It comes!
The Tidal Man will destroy the land
the oceans and seas
and destroy Man
we must do something, we must be afraid
because this is the monster that we have made!”

A rabble, an army, marched into the dusk
sirens and floodlights, battalions and arms
to rage at the giant, destruction in mind
a squabble of fists, flamed torches held high
Dredged in menace, The Tidal Man rose

“Burn me down and your disease will be great.
Bury me deep and the poison will seep
Pull me asunder, the world cannot wait
Scatter me far, and all is too late.”

Too sorry to say it, too ashamed to admit it
the rabble drove the giant back to the water
and in the squabble of fists and waving of flames
I rushed through, my clam knife drawn ready
waded deep to my thighs; tore my voice from my throat

“This is the monster that we have made
find me at dawn, do not delay
we must do something, we must be afraid!”

I caught hold of the giant, dragged myself onto its back
floated far from land and out of sight
lungs burst, blood rushed
my clam knife worked in earnest
we travelled the tides
The Tidal Man and me
without a word
without knowing the other’s victory


A mangled fist served as my raft
by the time the trawlers found me
nets cast wide across the sea
they thought their task would be easy
I was hailed champion, a brave boy
with each piece they hauled in
and there’s life, it seems, in the Estuary
the flats blister bubbles that rise and burst like gasps
brackish pools guard poking razor clams and whispering whelks
I go collecting clams, my bucket nearly full
and every day I find, translucent on the shoreline
pieces of the monster that men call
The Tidal Man


words Anna Ghislena 2017


New video for ‘We Are The Mums’


Hello everyone and Happy Mother’s Day to all us mums  (despite the clocks going forwards and loosing the lie in today!! – Conspiracy!)

Here’s my video poem for mothers everywhere – so if (due to the clocks changing) you have forgotten to give yourself time to nip out and get a bunch of flowers – send this link to mum instead.

Have a great day!

A Night At The Astoria


The Astoria.  Image from http://www.urban75.org

By concrete honey-combed Centre Point
Briskly paced towards Soho
Passing illuminated tooting taxis
Striding down the Charing Cross Road
To join a queue of  alternatives
Outside the stuccoed dome crowned bay
Under the fretted signage board
Spelling the name of the band who’ll play
Tonight, at the Astoria

Earnest in Camden High Street fashion
Invested Kensington Market attire
Sticky carpet hugged our tread
Glued our shoes to a concert flyer
And another, and another
Patchouli on the dance floor
In the mosh pit, down the front
Cramming narrow stairs and crowded corridors
Tonight, at the Astoria

Black buckled winkle pickers
DMs, Converse, cowboy boots
Only those walls knew what we were
Dressed in t shirts ripped and loose
Painted leather on our backs
Tassled skirts and Celtic gods
My bloke’s hat, flour dusted like Carl’s
A new militia danced in clogs
Tonight, at the Astoria

No more the legend, the dirty old friend
No more thoughts of getting out alive
The heavy handed security ejection
Of devising a way to get back inside
Romance could not save you
The Mayor would not waiver or
Heed the petition that meant you were loved
But you made us legends, you were our saviour
Those nights, at the Astoria




Artwork from ‘Igniting the Volcano’ – Nancy Walker

I love that they scuff about in sarongs
That their hair is chestnuts and curls
Beads or gold string their necks
And they smell, strong
Of coffee and heat
Their women
Of lemons
Softly baked
Melanzane skin
I love their juggernaut tongue
Unbroken over cards and bambinos
All cinnamon eyed
And glitter
They strut taught
Or well met
Farfalle paid gut
I love that, only in Italy
Over Naples’ sprawl
The giant Vesuvio feels the tread
Of a woman in high heels
A crimson, sequined dress


No Through Road Trip


We were nearly there
You in the driving seat
Him with the map
denim shorts
patchwork patches
grandad cardies
Swan Vesta matches
Me in the back
with Giggly Sis
hippy frocks and
bright red socks
headscarves, dreads
and celtic art
all off to a festival
heard about on the vine
from a bloke down the pub
with a roll up
a nose ring
a quintessential
dog on string

We drove between hillsides
sussing the signs
followed the road cutting
Welsh weathered divides
Campervan motor
ticking along
like grit in the oil
was singing a song
“Next left!” He spied
tracing the route with a finger
no-one around
not a throng
not a crowd
were we sure this was right?
would we party tonight?

The engine whirred
in the steep of the climb
remembering its birth year
was ‘79
Giggly Sis
took a swig from her can
and pointed ahead
to a crusty with van
who followed an ambulance
with curtains
and buses
with chimneys atop
These weren’t our kind
but authentically
we had to admit
we were authentically

This crowd were like family
closed up and so tight
they wouldn’t want us
around for the night
and as for the music
the tents and sound systems
there was nothing but one bloke
on bongos with rhythm
You wound down your window
I held my breath
“Alrigh’ mate
anything going on
around here tonight?”
Mate, in his khaki
his earthy clad boots
rainbow woolley
a trench coat
hair matted like roots
didn’t smile
couldn’t beguile us
a gentrified nod…
Not wishing to appear
rude or unclear
we kept bumping along
the occupied track
You held the wheel
He held the map
relieved to discover
a route to get back
“Keep going ahead
then bear to the left!”

Jagged with rock
craters like pockmarks
far more minor
than a casual mistake
the “road” crossed the ridge
and melted away
“Oh for f**ks sake!”…
You put on the brake
and got out the Camper
twirling dreads with your hands
He took the map
and examined the land
Roman road
and maybe

I cannot believe
just what happened next
it was me in the driving seat
laughed at by Sis
sheep on both sides
sure footed and ruffled
the only way down
looked nothing but trouble
“Left a bit!”
“No Right!”
“Take it easy”
“Too tight”
“Hard! No! Gently”
“Oh God!”

Tyres puffed
under suspension’s lament
every scrape every crunch
echoed a dismal descent
palms spread
You braced the side
tin cans and pans
rattled inside
He with the map
flapping his hands
“Steady!  Keep steady!
I’ve got a plan!”
Locked on
white knuckled
I tried to sit happy
what felt like
a crumbling chassis
“I’m going over! Gonna roll!”

But as I swore
I couldn’t hold
another inch
another quiver
the valley below
grew clearer and nearer
He with the map
climbed back inside
“Now drive!  All the way
Down the hillside!”
Giggly Sis
and You got in
rocks became
mole hills
deep craters thinned
we flew all the way
racing inkspotted earth
realising just what
our lives were worth
retracing the route of
a Roman road
back through the woods
tearing through brambles
damp bark and moss
back to our roots
forgetting our loss
as a pathway wound
weaved and tangled
and we drove forth
spangled and mangled
Campervan motor
ticking along
like grit in the oil
was singing a song

The Cucumber Plot


I have a large knife in my hand
and I’m not afraid
to skin this mother
to sliver away at the
stiff upper lip of a
toughened epidermis
banish wrinkles, dents and prickly bits
and behold it
cleansed, stripped, unveiled

If you ask me again
I will plainly chop
the thing in two
while I wonder what I could be

This repast, the fourth of the day
mentally diarised between
broken blinds and fresh air
changing light bulbs and toilet bleach
interrupted by
pencil shavings
polka dancing
a stubbed toe for you and an ice pack for me…
will be ready when it’s ready

If you ask me again
I might lose my thread
while I wonder what I am

Where was I?
The uses of a cucumber
Well, it’s staggering
With a whole one
brought to room temperature
there’s no guilty sniff of an affair
grate it for tzatziki
slice it into Pimms
twist a piece to garnish
baton lengths to dip
pickle in a jar or two
refresh tired eyes
pack on shine
pack on an allergic reaction
like mine

This repast, the fourth of the day
mentally diarised between
identity cravings and learning to share
bathroom scum lines and out of reach
interrupted by
dead batteries
a melody for you, a harmony for me…
will be ready, when its ready

I have a large knife in my hand
and I’m not afraid
to dice this mother
expose jellied innards
vital organs
seeds of life
while I wonder what I was

And when you’re ready
I’ll see waves of laundry
finally dry up
breakfast and supper
mute on Sunday
the last marmite stain
wiped from the wall
that secret bogie stash cemented
to your bedroom shelf
I’ll post off to your house
cucumber cool
with a note that says, touché

Write Out Loud

I have recently joined the online writing platform, Write Out Loud and wondered if any of you, my friends, were already using this most excellent avenue for displaying and sharing your writing?

If you have not heard of this before, I would love to recommend joining.  It’s free and it takes no time at all to become a member, develop your profile and create your WoL blog space which can be read by all members, share comments etc, just like your own WordPress or other blog.

Write Out Loud describes itself as a national hub for participation in poetry, encouraging everyone who writes poetry to share their words with others in friendly, welcoming open-floor read-around, open-mic events and on-line on the site.  They support individual poets, poetry organisations and groups across the country, via a monthly newsletter and the website.

They champion performance poetry by providing a way in which poets can talk and listen to each other.  They explain that their approach has captured imaginations and enthusiasm of many people through both the website and events. The site gets over two million hits a month.  So, definitely worth joining!

Let me know if you are already there or if you plan to become a member.  I’d love to know.

Anna x



Backseat Driver on Soundcloud

Thanks for listening 🙂 xx

Piss Might Fly

Previously written for a friend heading to Sonisphere Festival 2014, this versatile poem instantly becomes a bespoke ditty for anyone heading to any music festival.  Just replace the name in the first verse with that of your own or a friend and subsequently the “she” to “he” if applicable and change the title of the festival to the one you are lucky enough to get time off work for and Bingo!  The verses are yours!

A nice pint of refreshing beer

A nice pint of refreshing beer

Kitty went to Glasto

to see her favourite bands.

She spied a flying pint of beer

which sprayed her hair and hands.

It was no beer, this was clear,

but toxic waste and human,

a frothy bevvie, she did fear,

brewed by a desperate fan.

The crowd then parted like the waves,

and Kitty gained some extra space.

She couldn’t damn that reckless man,

he’d really made the perfect land!

The stage was clear and in her sight;

now she needn’t push or fight.

Thanks to the fan who’d relieved his gear

(At least it wasn’t from his rear!)

Secondhand Merchandise on Soundcloud

Finally had some recordings done – hope you enjoy.  Feel free to comment.  Thanks for listening.

Anna x