Tag Archives: Anthony Costello

Dear Life by Ray Stearn

In October 2021 we shared our last workshop with Anthony Costello. After writing this poem we talked about how important a title can be. In this poem, without the title it is simply a travelog. Add the title “Dear Life” and a completely different piece emerges.


Dear Life


Driving North it is well hidden,

Until that final bend in the road

Where it dominates the view.

The Angel of the North.

Ugly slab of rusting metal

Or iconic, beautiful sculpture.

After all these years I still can’t decide which


That simple act of driving past

Takes us North,

Northumberland, Beadnell,


The Holy Island of Lindisfarne.

Here our dreams are met

In serenity, beauty, solitude.

For Northumbria is yet to be discovered,

Even through the pandemic,

By the Ibiza crowd.

Seals sing at Seahouses.

Buntings bathe at Bamborough,

Home of the famous Bamborough Banger,

Smoked, like the Craster kippers

And the Swallow Fish prawns.

The Angel, going North

A beacon for happiness,

Relaxation, rest, peace.


A week later

We travel South.

Southward, The Angel is visible

From a distance.

Growing reminder of the return

To daily tasks.

Living, breathing,

Paying bills mending ills.

Does The Angel frown as we pass,

That smooth, expressionless face

Above the monoplane wings

The car climbs the hill

The Angel disappears

Until the next time


Driving North

The Angel smiles again.


©Ray Stearn 7th October 2021


Dear Life by Val J Chapman


Dear Life


I awoke slowly today, carefully.

Yesterday still owned me.


I have sailed through my life

And all its choppy waters, rough.

Sinking sometimes, gasping breathlessly at others.


Love was always around, in all its many guises.

Sometimes it danced; sometimes it kicked,

And sometimes it left.


Left me, still loving, yet empty.

And the clock ticked, its fingers circling rapidly.


Until death touched me, sharply.


And the years ticked again, loudly.

Speaking to me then as friends.


Dear Life, you taught me severely.


Yet now I feel the peace, coming almost full circle, with love.


Complete, satiated.


And I heard what you taught me, with thanks.




© October 2021                                                                                                 Val J Chapman

December Workshop with Anthony Costello

December found us all busily writing plays, albeit short ones, as Anthony led us in a great workshop. Who would have thought we could produce so many different, unique takes on a play with just two characters – Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn.

Anthony also had copies of his latest pamphlet for sale, Picture Mirror Wall, a sequence of ten poems reimagining Rilke’s and Mahler’s great themes of love, death and time through the expansive reflections in John Ashbery’s convex mirror.

Look out of it, these poems are exquisite