Guest Feature – Tim Taylor

I’m visititing Patricia M Osborne’s blog today to talk about writing poetry (and share a poem).

Patricia M Osborne

My guest today is novelist and poet, Tim Taylor, who has come along today to talk about poetry. So without further ado, it’s over to Tim.

Talking Poetry

Tim Taylor

Thank you very much for hosting me today, Patricia. Like you, I write both fiction and poetry. I find the process of writing very different between the two forms. For me, writing a novel is a bit like making a sculpture out of clay – you have an idea of what you’re after and you build towards it steadily, piece by piece, sometimes surprising yourself along the way. There’s a lot of shaping and editing to be done, of course, but what results from it will be a recognisable descendant of the original vision.

Writing poetry is much more haphazard. There is no certainty about what, if anything, will emerge – or when. I can often come up with…

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Today I’m delighted to host a poem from John Gohorry, author of fourteen poetry collections and fellow member of Poetry-ID. This piece is from his latest book, A Coventry Crucible, co-written with John Lane. You can hear more of John’s work – and mine – at the online launch of the Poetry-ID anthology Beyond the Walls on Thursday 1 July at 7.30 pm. E-mail me at if you’d like to come along.


(Remembering McAlpine, Gale, Higgs and Hill, 1961 -1969)

				That summer, one labourer sang
				We all lived in a yellow submarine
				as concrete poured into the footings, hoists rose,
				and a stage at a time one small part
				of the blitzed centre became a department store.
				From the third floor, across town, you could see
				the spire of the new cathedral
				and in the street below the décolleté of girls,
				as Murphy said, All the way down to their breakfast. 
				Scarface and Lumpy were sent into sewers
				to fetch out the rats but every Friday
				the gangerman emptied the honeybucket
				and my shovel burst into sweet song
				as I mixed three and one, my paypacket
				bulging with big notes a welcome burden. 
				Taking five for a smoke, Murphy said
				You know Rome wasn’t built in a day, then added
				That’s because they didn’t give us the contract,
				a quip I came over many summers to learn
				was a standard part of the craic, and shared
				once myself, at McAlpine’s, with a young lad
				on a brownfield site, just before losing time. 

				Love’s house, once loud with children, fills now
				with reflective music. Calendars track dates
				of their visits, of grandchildren’s birthdays,
				where talk scaffolds what have long since become
				the ripest of friendships, and laughter, late
				into the night, sets the roof ringing.
				They come and go in the great Metropolis
				of Work, from which we are at last pensioned,
				its schools, offices, cost centres, virtual
				learning resources the flawed construction
                                of a failing plutocracy within which
				amazingly, on the best days, discourse
				is craic, and learning’s foundation is love. 	
				Through all this, the labour of versing. The light push
				of a thought opens the door everything is
				onto space where, a course at a time, the word
				building which is my observatory inches
				its way upwards.  Its walls echo with music,
				philosophy, mirth, conversation of friends. 
				There’s time left. The building’s not finished. 

John Gohorry

was born Donald Smith in Coventry in 1943 and lived there until going to UCL in 1961. Since 1970 he has lived in North Hertfordshire, where since retirement he has been Poet in Residence at David’s Bookshop, Letchworth Garden City. He still returns regularly to Coventry. So far he has published fourteen collections of poetry, details of which can be found on his website at 

Together with his old friend John Lane he has compiled a collection of poems and prose pieces celebrating the continuing influence of Coventry on their lives and imaginations over the years. Their book, A Coventry Crucible, from which Buildings is taken, is a contribution to Coventry’s role as 2021 UK City of Culture. 

A Coventry Crucible is published price £10.00 by Lapwing Publications, Belfast. You can buy copies for £8.00 (UK post free) direct from John Gohorry via his mobile  – text or call 07900 645357 to sort details.

pic: Anselm Schüler 2020. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0

News and a Poem

A couple of pieces of news for you today. Firstly, I’m delighted to have four poems in this fine anthology, Beyond the Walls, published by Poetry-ID, the North Hertfordshire stanza of the Poetry Society. If you’re interested, copies are available at £5 plus £1.50 p&p from David Smith (

The anthology will be launched at a Zoom event on Thursday 1 July at 7.30pm. Please e-mail me on if you would like to come along. There will also be at least one live launch event later in the year – details still tba.

Here's a short poem from the collection to whet your appetite:


As I am in this place
so it is within me. 
Its mountains are my bones
their streams flow through my veins
these trees pump air into my lungs.

So easy to forget, this symbiosis,
its whispered song drowned out
by modern life’s cacophony.
Return unpacks, folds out the spirit
reconnects me with myself.

This place, so strong, yet fragile: 
when the trees turn brown,
the streams are poisoned, every death 
of some small corner of this place
will kill a piece of me.  

Secondly, another date for your diary. On Friday 2 July at 7pm my good friend Anne Steward will be holding an online launch for her second poetry collection, The Colour of Light, published by Maytree Press. The event is free, but you need to register by emailing with the work LIGHT in the title field. I’m honoured to have been invited to read some of my own work at the event. Looking forward to it!


Today I’m delighted to host a pantoum poem by Vincent Johnson, a fellow member of Holmfirth Writers Group.

Numbland  (pronounced Numland)

England is dead, long live Numbland the New
where folk now live their virtual lives
devolving the sum of all that they knew
to vast and inaccessible archives

where folk now live their virtual lives
consigning their essence, at terrible cost,
to vast and inaccessible archives
where context and meaning  are all but lost

consigning their essence at terrible cost
with smartphones and tablets now in control
so context and meaning  are all but lost
dumbing their culture, and numbing their souls

with smartphones and tablets now in control
of all that they think of and all that they do
dumbing their culture, and numbing their souls
and shrinking from things they knew to be true

of all that they think of and all that they do
devolving the sum of all that they knew
and shrinking from things they knew to be true.
England is dead, long live Numbland the New.

Here, Vincent discusses the origin of the poem:

I just listened to Radio 3 play called ‘Folk’ by Nell Leyshon set in 1903 in Somerset, about Cecil Sharpe’s song-collecting, and the provenance of the oral tradition. One of the most moving plays I have ever listened to

I was sad to be reminded of the disappearing England of my childhood, crowded with memories of pastures, hedgerows and lanes, and we children innocently playing games in carless streets. There were no computers, no smartphones, and somehow it seemed we were happily more connected to the here and the now…I know that life changes and moves on, and it’s perhaps morbid to hang on to the past, but, without being blind to the many advantages of technology, it feels like we have lost so much and are in danger of losing more.

In response, I wrote this Lament as a Pantoum (a poem where the 2nd and 4th lines of the 1st verse become the 1st and 3rd lines of the second stanza, and finally the first lines are repeated as a conclusion), in (more or less) iambic pentameter. It begins with a proclamation adapted from “The king is dead, long live the king!” usually made following the accession of a new monarch. The epanalepsis (paradoxical repetition) subliminally invokes the spirit of the pantoum.


Vincent is a well-travelled agronomist, and science writer/editor supporting international agricultural research for a food-secure future. Aside from performing and singing with early music ensembles, and getting his fingers dirty in the garden, he nurtures a passion for sharing philosophical perspectives through poetry, but is still searching for his contemporary voice that can provoke and amuse. He lives in the Troubadour cradle, near Montpellier in the Languedoc, South France.