beautiful women

Beautiful and Smart

She was a city lawyer,

Beautiful and smart, she was all that the city holds up as prime.

She killed herself.

Her body was found in the trees behind her house, a thick group of trees

Where people go to sniff paint and dump rubbish.

Her body was found by a man involved in the search,

She was in the tree where she took an overdose of some drug.

She was found folded over a branch, her beautiful long blonde hair hanging down like gold

But her skin was turning purple.

They suggested she killed herself

Because some foolish man had ended a relationship with her,

And she was so upset she could see no over way.

But she was so beautiful

And smart.

Perhaps things were too much for her

Perhaps the pressure was too much

And the bolts came out, letting the cold water flood in. I think she was tired,

And so she ended it all.

I knew a girl once who said

You shouldn’t write about beautiful girls

Because it’s so clichéd; but I’ll write about beautiful girls all I want.

She was beautiful and smart

And she killed herself.


That Queen, The Moon.

She started to stay away,

That beautiful woman,

And she didn’t share with me those sweet secrets she used to,

So the terrible feeling crept in like winter wind under the door.

I set out to a friend’s farm to keep away for a while.

I would lay awake in the morning, watching the sun arrive

Pressing against my open window, putting a foot inside warming what he touched.

Early, early, I would set out across the dew-wet grass,

toward the mountains, toward the pine forests.

Even as the sun rose, the moon still sat in the sky,

Like a queen, not moving, not being told to leave,

But pleased herself to walk in night dripping with diamonds

And to stay in the day, watching over that fool, the sun.

Slowly she would leave, unhurried, in her own time

To sleep in her private chambers over the hills.

In the forests, I could breathe, rest alone and witness the forest animals,

Like spirits

Dancing across the fallen logs and up the sides of ancient trees.

I listened to the silent streams and watched for fish.

I knew that without her life continued,

And no one is irreplaceable. 

Except for the moon, the moon alone is unique.

A childhood love


I stood knee deep in the water

Looking at the brown body half submerged before me.

Its skin like dry paper

Or the skin of a well-cooked chicken.

I watched fascinated by the death,

The water playfully lapping about it

While I felt terrified to be near it.

‘Not so near, not so near,’

I whispered to myself.

The river had the brown colour of chocolate and the smell

Was of swamp, fish and now death.

My shorts were wet; I was not supposed to be swimming

But the temperature of the day increased

Until the river sand burned my feet and I needed to stand in the cool of the water.

The strong current, the smooth stones under my feet made me feel so good.

The animal’s horns were white and clean, the only things, apart from its teeth

That were not rotting, falling away. A part of its rib cage poked through its hide

The cow must have come from a farm nearby, or perhaps a farmer had dumped it.

None the less I was frozen, knee deep and fascinated.

Someone from the bank called my name, a woman,

I turned and saw her coming over the sand toward me,

Her yells, high and forceful.

She was not from here; she came to this town to study

My parents paid her to take care of me.

I wanted her in the water with me,

I wanted her confronted with this death and this life.

I was only young, but I was fascinated by her,

She would let me watch her dry her hair after the shower.

I would sit quietly, watching her face,

That gentle smile, the movement of her eyes as they flashed behind her blown hair

That soft brown blown hair that danced like fires on the sun.

She stood by the river, not screaming, just speaking to me

Asking me if I were to swim.

So kindly, so gently.

She had shown me pictures of her time in Africa

She had shown me pictures of her boyfriend.

His dark black skin shone like precious stones, his smile

His confident look, challenging the camera.

He had been run over by a truck

She told me

They had been together on the street and he had stepped out

She saw him

Pushed along the ground as a boot would do to a banana.

She had held me to her as she told the story

I hugged her and listened to her heartbeat

She smelled of honey and spice

‘What is that there?” she asked

We both stood in the heat, the sound of the river like a crowd’s murmur

And pondered the mystery of this death.


anvilsoul fb cover

The heart opens to failure



There are no words

No poems

Sad enough to describe

This change she said.

It is true

I am too sensitive

I am too full of self-doubt

My joy is secret, untouched, unshared

She does not want to be seen with me.

But I still have legs to go on with

Eyes to see by

And I thank God.

Someone more confident, certain of themselves

With a brighter face and keener wit

Would suit her.

Someone who never doubts, never worries

Happiness is different depending on the person

It has to be this way, so everyone gets some

At least once.

Wounded and dying

Do not add tears to parting

What good is crying?

There are women who inspire poems

And those who stay to see you write them.


anvilsoul fb cover

Leaving home


She was, I suppose is, my best friend.

She left home last week. She moved to the city.

Our last night together she made me bring over all my art books and she put on The Smiths and we listened to the music and we went through the art together. My favorite was a picture of Icarus (see pic) her favorite was a Van Gogh but I am not going to tell you which one because that is my special memory and I feel it would make it worth less if I shared it. (not worthless but of less worth).

We were in her room and she told me all the things she would do in the city, she was so excited. She would be studying art and going to the theatre and working part time in a place that sends out a lot of internet orders and she would be in the office doing the paper work.

She asked me if I would come and see her, I will of course, but I don’t know when. I said I would send her a copy of my novel when it comes out next week. (I haven’t any hard copies yet) and I told her I would come up and see King Lear at the theatre in December with her.

She cried a little and put on an old Neil Young album called Harvest and we sat in the dark and spoke about life and literature.

“I think I’ll pack it in and buy a pick up, take it down to LA…”

The next day I came early and helped her to the train station. We sat on the platform and waited and it was a grey dark day. The clouds came rushing over like a tempest being born. We sat side by side, looking out at the birds in the farms nearby. The track was long and cold, we spoke little but there was a peace over us. Her bag beside me, separating our legs. I looked down at her poor little knees, she wore a yellow dress and a denim jacket.

“How do I look?” she asked.

“I mean for my first day in the city?”
“Good, you’ll fit right in.”
“I hope I fit in, but I hope I stay myself you know?”
“I know,” I answered but I didn’t know. “You’ll have a great experience. You’ll be seeing everything for the first time, with fresh eyes. Use it in your art.”
“I want to. I can’t wait to meet all the artists. The school I am going to is really good.”
The train came around the corner and we watched it roll in. It’s blue engine pulling quietly down the track.

“This is it,” I said.
“It is.” she hugged me, and she was warm and soft. I felt so sad.

“I have something for you,” I said. I gave her a copy of The Great Gatsby.

“Thank you,” she said. I liked her, she never overdid anything. You could give her something or say something to her and she didn’t get all mushy or fake about it.

When she climbed on I saw her only one more time out the window as she waved to me over the top of some old women. I waved back and watched the train pull away and disappear down the long straight line. She was gone and I was alone and the wind, as if knowing I was alone blew cold and the first drops of rain began to fall, I hurried home.

She called me that night, her first night in the city.

“I can access the roof and I can see right over the city,” she said. “It is a beautiful view, but I can’t see the stars.”
“No,” I said.

“I hate not seeing the stars.”
“How is the apartment.”
“It’s okay, it’s small but at least I have it to myself. There are so many people on this floor. The art school is only just down the street so I can walk there easy.”
“Be careful if you walk about at night,”
“I will be. I miss you.”
“I miss you,” I said.


My debut novel The Bomber comes out 24th of June. Have a look at it in the links on my page.

I can’t wait to send my friend a copy.


How to describe a beautiful woman in your writing

One thing I struggle with and devote an inordinate amount of time to, is the description of beautiful woman in my fiction. How do I convey to my readers that one of my characters is in love?

For thousands of years writers have struggled with love and romance in writing. It is one of the most visited themes. Love interests are exciting and necessary. Necessary because it is real. People fall in love, falling in love is a major event in any persons life.

Helen of Troy is one of the most beautiful women in literature. She was described in the 1600’s by Christopher Marlowe:

“Was this the face that launch’d a thousand ships
And burnt the topless towers of Ilium”

This is a powerful way to describe a persons beauty without actually describing them. Could a woman be so beautiful that the Navy is launched and a city destroyed?

J D Salinger described a woman in the following way:

“She wasn’t doing a thing that I could see, except standing there leaning on the balcony railing, holding the universe together.”

So it is not necessary to gush over someones nose or eyes or to describe their face at all.

“He stepped down, trying not to look long at her, as if she were the sun, yet he saw her, like the sun, even without looking.”

― Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

To achieve an effect in literature it is necessary only to create a feeling in the reader. You do not have to hammer or repeat each point. You are not drilling out a cavity you are planting a seed. All these descriptions are powerful and give the readers hints so they create the appropriate images,

I will leave with W B Yeats. He is hoping his daughter will grow up to be a wonderful person. He does so with precision and lyrical majesty:

May she be granted beauty and yet not
Beauty to make a stranger’s eye distraught,
Or hers before a looking-glass, for such,
Being made beautiful overmuch,
Consider beauty a sufficient end,
Lose natural kindness and maybe
The heart-revealing intimacy
That chooses right, and never find a friend.

– A prayer for my daughter