When a Password is Unloved

Today I'm delighted to host this poem from Owen Townend.  

When a Password is Unloved

When a password is unloved
it becomes unfathomable.
A mist descends over its digits,
letters de-capitalise,
symbols shift,
losing all character(s).

A password feels unloved
when log-in is extended,
taken for granted,
security abandoned
in steady broadband.
Left for dead.

When a password is unloved,
its user must be reminded
to verify their care,/
protect the connection
and to never forget
the error of their ways.

For when a password feels loved
it's strength knows no limit.

Owen Townend is a writer of primarily short speculative fiction inspired by thought experiment and wordplay. He lives in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, UK and is a member of the Huddersfield Authors’ Circle. Owen is currently working on a series of Western novella.

Website: https://huddersfieldauthorscircle.co.uk/portfolio/owen/

Twitter: @mrpondersome

Laptop pic@ mikemacmarketing. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0,

Visit my Blog

As readers of this blog will know, I like to host other people’s work alongside my own poetry, prose and news. I’ve decided it’s time to put out one of my periodic invitations for guest pieces.

If you would like to share a poem, a piece of flash fiction (up to 500 words) or an extract from a novel (again, up to 500 words) on this page, send me an e-mail to tim.e.taylor@talk21.com.

I prefer to avoid explicitly promotional posts, but of course you should also provide the readers with some information (preferably in the 3rd person) about yourself and your work, and let them know of any recent publications and/or forthcoming events (up to a further 200 words). Links to websites, bookshops and social media are also welcome. Finally, it would be good if you could provide a picture to accompany the piece – could be an image that illustrates it, a book cover, or a picture of you (or both).

I’m happy to host up two two guest pieces a month, alternating with my own. First come, first served. I look forward to hearing from you!

Golden Boy

Today I thought I’d share this little poem.

Golden Boy

He was the best of us, we thought:
there was a glint of magic in his eyes.
While we would hide our hopes
in veils of self-effacement
he was serene in certainty.
His words would glisten as he spoke them.
Upon the finely sculpted features of his face
there bloomed a sheen of destiny.

It was too much for him. When he was found
there was no lamentation, only disbelief.
His face, despite its stillness
wore that same gleam of promise even now.
How strange, unsettling to discover
he was a shell,
polished shiny by the sand
and sucked empty by the ebbing tide.

This Falling Rain

I’m delighted to post this rondeau redouble from Vincent Johnson today. The poem made it to the second round (top 12%) of the prestigious Bridport Prize last year.

This Falling Rain

Could I love you like I love so much this falling rain,

or like the gentle earth, or sun now clothed in cloud,

and could I love you like this summer wind, again

unveiling Phoebus’ splendours hid beneath his shroud?


My furnace, stoked with passion, sings your name out loud

and burnishes a gilded banner that acclaims

your radiant beauty coursing through my blood.

Could I love you like I love so much this falling rain?


It seems I could … but first I must be sure we could sustain

this love, and understand what lies beneath this flood

of all you seem to be, to feed our roots ingrained,

and fed by gentle earth, and sun now clothed in cloud,


to grow into some great tree, standing high and proud

enduring for centuries, whose branches maintain

shade for all who need protection between our boughs,

where they could love us like the summer wind, again


seeking shelter from life’s storms in this, love’s domain,

while tempest gales are raging though our steadfast crown;

and as the clouds are swept away, the dying winds again

unveil your many splendours hid beneath your shroud.


Is who I see the real you revealed? … a shining crowd

of qualities that makes me swoon? I take my pen

and write this dedication, so now avowed,

our loves my twine together, and you then might claim

that you will love me just as I love falling rain.


I’m conscious that it’s been a while since I posted any news about my own writing – time to rectify that! I am currently studying for an MA in Creative Writing at Lancaster University, focusing on my science fiction project, which is taking up most of my time and energy at present. I’m enjoying it a lot, but there isn’t anything significant to report at present – all the assessment is on a single project at the end of the course. You can read a taster of my project here, though: https://timwordsblog.wordpress.com/2022/10/09/light/

However, I am still writing poetry and sending it off, and there are a few bits of news to report. Firstly, I thought I’d post this poem, which recently won a small competition on the Poetry Nook site:


The station was too far to walk.  Too late!
I curse the cold and ask why Waterloo
in March is such a hostile place.
The rain is stronger now; it traps
the neon glare and brings these dirty
streets an unaccustomed sheen.  I huddle
in my coat and think of home: hot food
and soft sheets cosseting my skin.

Two sentries guard the road ahead;
two old men, hunched and withered,
hurling riddles at imagined foes.
Words tumble formless from their broken
mouths; I hear them smash like raindrops
on the path and wonder who threw out
the shells of these rain-blasted minds
and called them sane.

Finding no coin, I brave the crossfire
of their bleak, reproachful stares.
The rain rebukes me, angry wind
assails and savages my limbs.
They watch me pass, eyes vacant, lifeless
and through I hundred wounds I bleed
my shame
– that I have somewhere warm to sleep tonight.

In other news, I have two poems, Sphere and Star in issue 9 of WayWords (themed on Space) https://www.writersworkout.net/waywords

I also have two poems, Meeting my Guitar and Metamorphosis, in the forthcoming collection Changes, to be published by Hammond House at the end of this month. https://www.hammondhousepublishing.com/online-store

Finally, (slightly old news now!) my poem Celebrity was in the December issue of Lighten up Online

Watch this space for news of Village Voices, an anthology from Marsden Community Poetry, soon to be published by Maytree Press.

The Path

Today I am very pleased to host this fine poem by fellow Holmfirth Writer Bob Trewin.

The Path

The path ran down into a wood,
Or used to; now new close-packed houses crowd
Where once oak, ash and chestnut stood.
The mist was grey and hung low like a shroud.

I followed down a tarmac street
Where once a path had run in dappled shade;
The ground was hard beneath my feet
Where once soft earth and grass had clothed a glade

Beneath a canopy of leaves.
Now huddled shrubs in threadbare gardens stood,
And road names, counterfeit as thieves,
Proclaimed the vanished giants of the wood.

A chill wind stirred the winter’s day
But, as I walked, I fancied that a breeze
Came softly through the dismal grey
And seemed to be the spirits of the trees.

The wood’s no more, but if I try
I can see it still, and feel the air
That moved its leaves and hear the sigh
Of long-lost afternoons, gone who knows where?

Bob Trewin is a lapsed student of literature who graduated in 1970. He did not begin writing seriously until after retirement, following a career in IT during which his only creative output was in the form of functional specifications. He has had two pieces published in The Spectator’s weekly competition and won the 2022 NAWG Open Poetry Competition.

Meeting at Olympia

Today I’m very pleased to host a poem from fellow Holmfirth Writers’ Group member Peter Rudman.


Stone and dust, dust and stone 
A victor’s column, chiselled with honour,
Thrusts upward; there to tread, 
Among the remnants of temples raised
To the Gods, to the living, to the dead.

Black clouds convene above the Sanctuary
Of Olympia, the sun shimmers
As it takes its leave. Thunder warns us 
That we are trespassing, that we are 
Not alone; shadows kneel at the altar of Zeus.

We don’t imagine, we feel, preparations
For combat. Shades of the ancients flit by,
Time weaves around us, allows us to see
Into a past, which is also a present. We can sense
What was, and what will always be.

Someone has lost his glasses at the Temple of Hera, 
So we travel three millennia to look for them, 
Taking ghosts with us, a spindrift of dreams
That fades, time after time; the spectres withdraw  
And Olympia, again, is as it seems. 

pic:  Rabe! 2011. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International

Swan of Tuonela

Today I’m delighted to host a poem by fellow Holmfirth Writer Mary Lister, from her forthcoming collection, Trapezing in the Dark, published later this month. Mary’s piece is inspired by Finnish epic poem The Kalevala.

Swan of Tuonela

I longed to return to Suomi,
to the Finnish forests and lakes.
So I called aloud to the wild trees,
the Rowan, the Birch, and the Oak.
“Who will give me wood to make
a fine sledge, with a slicing edge, 
a sleigh to carry me on my way
that can double as flight, or float?
-A transport light as a swan’s feather
bound with elk and reindeer leather?”
The copper Rowan, whispered,
murmured in the wind, and sighed.
“Not I, not with my wood or copper berries,
I must watch over water and air.
The gold Oak shuddered its golden leaves,
“Nor I … I am too stern, too rooted firm,
with stout arms that reach the sky.”
But the silver Birch shivered, sighed and quivered,
“Take my wood, I’m one of many, many am I.
My roots are of Karelian chants, 
my rustling leaves Sibelian dance,
the Kantele my branches high.”
I made of her a fine long sleigh,
a flying sledge, light as a feather 
that soared like music in the wind.
And I was on my way
 to the lands of Sariola, of Pohjola, the Northern lands
where the sun can barely shine
one hour in every day.
I met with Vainamoinen then, inscrutable, a man of myth,
Spirit of Water, and frozen lakes,
with the Sampo in his hands.
“You only have a little time,
a moment here, a passing dream.
Your journey takes you on
to the darker lands of Tuonela,
the Shadowlands, the Isle of Death.
Your time is nearly done.”
Then Vainamoinen helped me search
for a snowshoe made of birch, a leather belt of reindeer hide,
the black feather of the sacred swan….

A perturbation on the lake,
a rippling shadow in blackness bleak.
The Swan of Tuonela flew down,
with a cello sound, a haunting horn,
and a swansong in its beak.
I clung around its downy neck,
cradled in its feathered wings.
We took flight among the scudding clouds,
billowing, torn as tattered shrouds.
Forests and frozen lakes below
seemed scattered as we flew.
We came at last to Tuonela,
Hel’s home, isle of bones,
of grey wraiths, and flitting ghosts
and jutting standing stones.
I have no Lemmenkainen tricks,
and no shape-shifting shaman power.
The light is taken from my eyes
approaching this, my final hour.
I write this tale, these thoughts, this note,
traced on snow, soon melted, gone.
-A message with no journey on -
with the black feather of that swan… The Swan of Tuonela.

A Christmas Conspiracy?

A very merry Christmas to all my readers, and best wishes for 2023.

As a bit of festive fun I thought I’d post this little bit of fun I wrote at Holmfirth Writers a while ago. Eight year-old Josh blows the whistle on an alarming deception …

Dear Santa,

                        I hope you are well and all ready for Christmas. I am sorry to bother you at a busy time, specially after I sent you my Christmas list last week, but I have information that you need to know.  

I better start by saying thank you for all the presents you brought me last year – I’m sorry this is so late. They were ace, especially the Junior Dictionary, which has been very useful this year. I couldn’t of wrote this letter without it. Mrs Shepherd at school says I have a remarkable vocabulary, but it’s really just me looking at that book under the desk. And double especially the Sherlock Holmes Junior Detective Kit, which is my fave thing ever. I have used it every day and it is sort of the reason I’m writing to you now. It is a shame you couldn’t bring me the full size working tractor I asked for, but I spose there were problems fitting it in the sleigh.

Anyway, the main thing I’m writing to you about is that, with the help of my Sherlock Holmes Junior Detective Kit, I have uncovered a criminal conspiracy what you need to know about.

It started a week last Wednesday, when my Mum took me to see you at the shopping centre. Least, it was sposed to be you, and I got all excited about it. But when I went into the grotto and sat down, and the man that was sposed to be you said, “Ho, ho, ho, little boy, what’s your name?” he sounded a lot like Mr Warburton from the Post Office – he made that same funny sound when he said the letter ‘s’. I thought “it can’t be”, but then when he said “so what would you like for Christmas” it sounded like Mr Warburton even more. The Sherlock Holmes Junior Detective Kit tells you to look for evidence when you have a suspicion. So I whispered my answer and the man asked me to come closer. And when I did I could see his beard was attached to his ears with elastic. I didn’t want to say anything then, because sometimes Mr Warburton gives me a crème egg when I go into the Post Office, and he might stop doing that if he knew I’d exposed his crime, but when I got out I saw this woman who had a badge that said ‘Manager’ on it, so I went up to her and I said ‘Excuse me, Miss, I need to tell you that the man in your grotto is a impostor (that is a great word I got from the Junior Dictionary). He’s not Santa Claus, he’s Mr Warburton from the Post Office. I think you need to call the Police. 

Well, the woman laughed, and my Mum went all red in the face and dragged me away really fast and said “don’t you dare embarrass me like that again.” When we got home my Dad was there, and I said “Dad, Dad, there is a impostor pretending to be Santa Claus in the shopping centre. You need to call the Police.” And he said, “Oh dear, this sounds like a very serious matter, I see you’ve been making good use of your Sherlock Holmes Junior Detective Kit. I’m sure the Police will take action on it straight away.” And my Mum said “Oh, for God’s sake, Darren, don’t encourage him” and told me to go to my room.

Anyway, I started thinking, and I remembered what Sherlock Holmes said. “When you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth”. I have to face the fact that My Mum is probably involved in this conspiracy. I was going to go to the Police Station, but I thought they might not listen to me because I am only eight. But, I thought, they will believe it from Santa, and Santa needs to know anyway because he is the VICTIM of this conspiracy.

So that’s why I am writing to tell you that there is a man pretending to be you in the shopping centre. I am sorry to give bad news, but you need to tell the Police. They will take action straight away. My Dad says so, but I don’t think my Mum will let him ring them himself. I hope whoever takes over the Post Office when Mr Warburton is in prison will still give me crème eggs. The Junior Dictionary says there is a thing called Probation which means you get told off but don’t go to prison. I hope my Mum gets that. She is not as bad a criminal as Mr Warburton.

Merry Christmas, love from Josh

pic: vastateparkstaff. Licensed under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0


Today I’m delighted to host a poem from fellow Holmfirth (and Meltham) writer Anne Steward.


As beach walks go, it was a blast,
a leg-stinging, breath-taking hike.
Wind streamed from the sea so fast
it seemed to draw clouds in its wake,
painting them into estuary shallows,

My mind had no room to reflect on
anything more than my slowing pace,
as I turned back to rest eyes sore from
driven, salty, sandy grit in my face,
and saw in weathered stone, a hollow.

It’s shape was like so many there
but others, by water, soon reclaimed
from castles, moats and boats where
spades had dug and little feet waded…
that’s what I saw…as cast in tallow.

I knelt down to see more clearly,
run curious fingers in the shape.
Could I see what appears rarely
in our well-explored landscape?
I felt excitement bubble and grow.

Some little child had come this way
so many, many years ago, just here
and let fall a muddy trace in clay to stay
until the wind had blown me where
I found the past had cracked a window.

pic: Momotarou2012. Licensed under Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported