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Praise God for Humble Moss

This poem was written in response to an article in the Guardian entitled ‘All Hail the Humble Moss‘, with a measure of inspiration from Gerald Manley Hopkins’ poem ‘Pied Beauty‘.

moss sonnet

Praise God for humble moss, without whom we,
Who live and breathe and leap and laugh and praise,
Could no more do such things. Praise God for days
Long past when mosses spread from sea to sea
A continental carpet breathing fresh
New life into the oxygen starved air.
Praise God for lungs which found that they could bear
To breathe this atmosphere. Praise God for flesh
Which crept and crawled and leapt and breathed and moved
Among the lichens, liverworts and ferns.
Praise God for life’s tenacity across
The ages as it gradually improved,
Evolved, developed hopes, dreams and concerns.
For all of this, praise God for humble moss.

(c) Rich Clarkson 2016


“Why we have so many leftovers”

My friend Josh suggested writing a poem about leftovers, today’s poem (which is more or less a transcript of most of our mealtimes) is entitled “why we have so many leftovers!”


“Not ’til you’ve finished your dinner”
Is the constant refrain on our lips
“Can I watch something?” “Can I get down?” “Can I play?”
“Not ’til you’ve finished your chips!”

“Can we go outside?” “Can we have a bath?”
“Can we put on our superman clothes?”
“when you’ve eaten what’s left on your plate first!”
“Oh, but that will take ages” “I KNOW!”

“Fine, just have four more then you can stop”
“Just have three more and then you are done”
“Just have two more big mouthfuls and then you can go”
“Come on open wide, here’s the last one…”

© Rich Clarkson 2016

Natural History Museum

Inspired by a trip to the natural history museum, a foray into the world of blank verse.

The queue is long, the sun is shining down
upon the gathered hoards.  With cameras primed
and guidebooks open ready for the day
they wait, though some more patiently than others.
Then, urged on by the bells, the great beast moves,
slithering its way towards the doors
like some vast prehistoric serpentine.

Transitioning from warm to cool, from light
to dark they make their way into the hall –
presided over by that well known frame,
which once inspired great fear, but now brings joy,
delight upon the faces of both young
and old, as Dippy watches over all.

Then from the central chamber’s beating heart
the crowds, like blood, are pumped around the whole:
through corridors, round galleries, up stairs.
And as its hushed tones rise towards a roar
the dormant building slowly comes to life.

This ancient silver-speckled behemoth
stands proudly as a creature in its prime
Sharing its age-old wisdom with the world
Revealing the secrets of another time.

© Rich Clarkson 2016



Scudding across the sky like a gleefully skimmed stone
The little cloud made her way speedily home
Back towards the mountain where her journey began
In the gully on the hillside where the little stream ran

But the gully on the hillside seemed deeper than before
And the stream a little quicker to the valley floor
And the journey to the river and the river to the sea
Wasn’t quite what the cloud remembered it to be

Then the waves in the ocean and the pull of the sun
Reminded the cloud why she found this ride such fun
And as she got ready to turn back into rain
She cried out to her friends “Come on let’s do that again!”

Mind The Gap

Today’s poem: “Mind The Gap” (can you tell I’ve been on a lot of trains recently?!)


I wonder what mysteries lie in the gap
‘twixt platform edge and train.
A place where lost footings and favourite toys go,
never to be seen again.

I wonder what creatures lie in the shadows
awaiting the opening door,
Looking for ankles that misjudge the leap
From carriage to station floor.

I wonder what pressure makes platforms recoil
When the train rolls to a stop
Turning slit into canyon, crack into rift,
Groove into bottomless drop.

But do not fear the looming gap
Nor mind the impending height,
For the dark may be conquered with one simple step
So take care as you alight.


(c) Rich Clarkson 2016

Belle the Beagle

​Today’s poem is for Deborah who asked for a poem about “My stubborn beagle Belle who likes to pull me off my feet when she’s sniffing things!”


There once was a Beagle called Belle

Who on catching a hint of a smell

Would pull on her lead

Until she was freed

Or at least until her owner fell!


A poem about going on holiday.  I tried to play around with the metre so that the rhythm of the poem reflects the different parts of the journey.


The train is crowded with people and bags.
Some off on holiday, some off to work,
Some are just wearily journeying home.
3 hours of travelling, hot stuffy trains,
And stations, and benches, and no room for knees.
I’d give anything for a breeze.

Shotton, Flint, Prestatyn, Rhyl,
All doing nothing to ease the congestion
As more and more bodies and cases and bikes
Optimistically seek just the hint of a space.
Then, gripping my bag, I head for the door.
A traveller no more.

I’d hoped for a breeze.
A breath of fresh air.
And for a moment on the platform it was there.

Then stepping out from the station’s shelter into the helter-skelter of a howling gale I see clouds, pale with fright, taking flight and even the sand tries to flee from the land and I wonder what danger lies over the hills…

Shoulders. hunched. Pressing. On.
Every. step. hard. won.

As I make my way along the shore,
Steadily gaining ground against the wind
In the distance caravans lie, pinned
Like specimens in some museum drawer,
Neatly lined and labeled. That is where
I’m heading, if the air allows me through.
A sanctuary. A haven. Overdue
Respite from the burdens of elsewhere.

Into the sea the sun quietly slides
And, for a moment, I see its treasure glinting on the tide.

(c) Rich Clarkson 2016