CHECK IT OUT – Michael has been long-listed to win the prestigious Montreal International Poetry Prize – a prize awarded for one poem.

There are 70 on the long list, a truly International list of poets. The judge, Eavan Boland, will make her decision from the long list. the winner will receive a cash prize of Ca$20,000.

Every day this month, 3 of the poems (in alphabetical order of title) are released to be read on line.

Michael’s poem, The Lost School of Botany, was released today, 11th August. However, you can read it below…..

The Lost School of Botany

She held the Peter Rabbit tray
with Lucozade and tonic water
in which a lozenge fizzed saffron pollen.

Then brought out her medical instruments:
an auriscope, cone-headed, with a gaud
of bright light to peer, tunnel-eyed,
into the hanging gardens of my ear;

and her spatula, bird’s foot light,
to depress my tongue and see a lost school
of botany: stamens, anthers, pistils,
the seed-box of my larynx.

There was a glint of white in her chestnut hair
as if she were transmuting into
her own silverware; half a halo
or the speculum on a bird’s wing.

She shook her Fahrenheit thermometer,
the glass broke in an unhappy accident;
balls of mercury rolled down
the fragile lifeline of her hand

and onto my receptive palm.
I caught them, as many as I could,
little balls on a hand-held bagatelle.


The Book of Love and Loss

Michael’s poem, Funeral Kiss, appears in The Book of Love and Loss

There are numerous readings and ‘launches’ of this book happening in late 2014-2015 – watch out for them.


A custom, I thought, more honoured

in the breach than in the observance.

A custom for Russian presidents lying in state.

A custom for the bones of the beatified

whose very deadness might spark some life.


I wanted to isolate you in the privacy

of death and said No to Mrs Taetz,

our children’s carer, who asked to pay her respects

and No to Les Corness who asked

if he could take photographs of you dead.


I viewed you but didn’t want to kiss you.

I didn’t want to feel the Ding an sich of death

as if that final funeral kiss

might undo all those other kisses:

before, during, after, first, best.


And yet now I feel I should have kissed you,

a tiny peck perhaps, a tiny brush with death

to show I was your brave boy grown into a man.