The Wood by Mark Hales


The Wood


by Mark Hales

There was a great wood

and in that wood a great tree

it was vast, old and strong

its boughs were broad.

A man lived in that wood

he built a house in that tree

it wasn’t big

it had a large window

looking over the wood


All his friends lived in the wood

Mr and Mrs Badger

the Foxes

in that tree over there, the Squirrels

He had no need for mobile phones

or internet or computers

all he ever needed

was in the wood

A hiker, a girl on her holidays

from the bustle of the city

walked through that wood

she came upon that tree

that house, and wondered

did anyone live there?

She found a spot and set up her tent

It was away from the tree

just outside the wood

She made a brew and stared at

that glorious view.

As night drew in

she snuggled in her bed

she felt at one,

happy and sleepy

She awoke with a start, it was wet and cold,

her brain raced,

The wind blew harder than she ever had known

how had this beautiful place become so wretched?

and in this carnage, she heard a voice,

a man’s voice, the man who lived in the tree.

In that house in the tree, the man made a brew,

it smelt and tasted strange,

but it was warm and comforting

and she drank it down quickly,

She opened her eyes

the man had gone,

it was morning the sun shining,

and she felt peace.

A full two weeks she spent

in that house in that tree

with that man

and then it was time,

she was sad and the man was sad

with every pace

she cried and cried,

her heart was torn to shreds

but she knew she must go

her house, her job, her friends,

her city life beckoning.


And as she sat at her desk

feeling more wretched than that night

she thought of that wood,

that tree, that man.


© Mark Hales 5th March 2021

DIY Disasters, Mark Hales

DIY Disasters


It was just a nail, standing slightly proud,

It was an evening Christmas 1967,

we had guests from New York.

dad thought, better deal with the nail,

it may injure someone he thought.

So, he got a hammer and drove it home,

satisfied it was flush he put his tools away

and the evening got underway

After dinner six of us sat at the table

I asked if I could get down, it was boring grown-up stuff

Permission was given and as I went through the hall

I noticed water running down the newly papered wall,

I said something, they checked it wasn’t some childish prank.

Sadly no, it was true, what a mess, dad said I’ll turn the water off

No let’s save some water first,

so, every pot and pan were filled,

our cousins rallying to the cause

And when the pans were filled, the water was turned off.

A plumber was summoned and dad had to confess.

It was just a nail, standing slightly proud.


© Mark Hales 4th March 2021


A Fishy Prose Poem, Ray Stearn


Love, A Fishy Prose Poem


When I first saw you I thought you were Brill

With your perfect, moist skin just out of the sea where you’d been swimming

I Floundered in the wake of your beauty

Dreaming that Salmon chanted evening you would come to me

Warm and comforting, steamy and hot

I Haddock feeling that you were a little distant

Like trawlers that pass in the night

I hoped you would be my Ray of sunshine

Skate over my imperfections, look deep into my Sole


I couldn’t Plaice the old Trout by your side

Surely not your mother? If I ever got to know you I might Winkle it out of you

Keep and Net you for myself without seeming Shellfish


I needed to think about that, Mullet over

”Kipper neye on the time,” I told myself, “But don’t rush things either”

Mind, I wasn’t Prawn yesterday, it might all be an act

Or you might be spoken for already, I shouldn’t Poach you

But thinking of your warm, light brown coat over you hot, white flesh

Got me Steamed up


The waiter approached

Large Cod , chips and mushy peas, bread and butter

He said

© Ray Stearn 10th February 2021

Fiddle, Ray Stearn




Fiddle de dee flibberty jibbet

Fiddle faddle kibosh

Pernickety poppycock

Pumpernickel eyewash

Shenanigans skewwhiff

Skulduggery baloney

Galivant britches

Hoodwink Mahoney

Confuzzled kerfuffle

Concoction thingamabob

Tomfoolery bodacious

Flim flam bibbety bob

Berserk periwinkle

Doohickie caterwauling

Beejeesus bejasus

Flummoxed West Malling

Knucklehead camaraderie

Rigmarole thunderation

This is the poetry

That’s going to sweep the nation


© Ray Stearn 2nd December 2020