A Poem by Bob Woodroofe


You could only just edge round the door,
lose yourself in the maze,
the accumulation of ages piled head high,
with narrow corridors between.

Wreaths of blue smoke hung
under the anglepoise lamp
that hovered over the workbench.
In its shaft of light they wafted
with the cough that punched
a hole through the haze.

He was hunched over the workbench
engrossed in his latest creation,
I call it that, creation, because
they weren’t conventional
but they always did the job.

From pieces of metal, wood, plastic
he would fashion whatever was required.
No drawing, he just created it.

In his warren he knew where everything was,
could lay his hands on it, given time for thought.
All those things that lay undisturbed for years
after they disappeared into the maw of his cave
with the words “ Don’t throw that away,
it’ll come in useful sometime”.

The room is empty now, bare boards
rise up, freed from the weight they carried,
contents spread around families,
passed on to future generations.

In front of where the workbench used to be
there is a worn patch on the floorboards
and somewhere hanging in the air
a hint of woodbine.


Born and bred and still living in the Vale of Evesham Bob is scientifically trained and has worked in the engineering, computing and environmental fields. His poems have appeared in many poetry magazines and are performed at various local venues. He is self-published by the Greenwood Press. Inspired by the natural world, the landscape and its ancient mysteries he is intrigued by the crossover between art and science and attempts to bring the magic of nature and its restorative and healing qualities to a wider audience. For further details please go to http://www.greenwoodpress.co.uk

Easter Special Edition

See the page at this link Good Dadhood Easter Special Edition for poems celebrating fathers – Dads loved,  Dads missed.

Poems and Poets in the special edition:

Changed – by Sarah J Bryson

Christmas Day 1941 – Angi Holden

Teasmade – Angi Holden

The Great Design – by Roger Turner

29.3.2011–Worcester   – by Sue Johnson

Snow in a Changed Light – by Nicky Phillips

That Year – by Nicky Phillips

Father’s Day – by Mandy Macdonald

cornered – by Mandy Macdonald

Daddy Gone – by Annie Ellis

What Passes Between – by Sharon Larkin

Two poems by Carl Tomlinson


I left you behind with your just-become Mum
in the screamy stewed air of the ward.

I walked through the white,
through the cold and the wet.
I stood by the side of the road.

Huddled, elated,
befuddled, completed,
I stopped a step longer
and looked out for danger,
felt your tiny curled hand on my shoulder.

Dupuytren’s: your hand in mine

For my Grandfather, Joseph Tomlinson, 1908-1986

The doctor sets my hand down and he says,
“That lump is Dupuytren’s,
a thickening of soft tissue
which can leave the finger bent.”

I’m back with Grandad on Tandle Hill.
Holding his hand, I look down on the farm,
see him swing that four-stone weight,
the one he used for spuds,
with only his little finger!

His hands – great mud-scored tubers –
wrestled pens to form his name
and cuffed me just the once
for scaring fish down at the cut
then lay milk-cold and udder-pink
across his empty chest.

Years later I learnt that the super-strong finger
was stiff with Dupuytren’s.
Today I feel that hand in mine.
and know we’re bound
not by the strength I thought I saw
not by the name he gave to me
but by shared frailty.

Carl Tomlinson lives with his wife on their Oxfordshire smallholding. They have two children at University. He is a businessman, linguist and writer. His poetry explores the intensity of our physical experience of the world and celebrates his love of words. Carl reads his work regularly at open-mic events and is a member of local writing groups

Two poems by Mat Riches

Shed Door

Paint kettles and brushes dried solid
next to bags of nails, extension cords and screwdriver sets.
Pushed to the back and gummed in the works,
mixed in with a video recorder minus its flex.

A silenced orchestra of saws up on hooks, and
strings holding up Olympic rings of masking tape.
Each chisel nestled in its own guard and box;
waiting to chip through, and step up to the plate.

No recordings exist of the swearing and banged fingers;
caught up in the debate betwixt or between
the precision of hand drills, the silence of clamps
or the power tools’ arguments for speed.

I don’t want to open it a single micron
for fear of letting out a millilitre of your breath
stuck in jam-jars of screws, mixed in the marrow
in the bones of a mouse caught in the cobwebs.

Palm Reading

We followed the sweep of his hands,
the one with the missing fingertip.
“There are not enough apprentices.” He said,
as my brother and I helped with
the bricks and mortar of the conservatory,
watching as he chiselled a lock in a door.
“Not enough trades to go around”.

The fingers as strong as arms
from a billion tight corners and hammers.
Neither of us fit to follow,
having chosen the bars or codes
of custodians or marketing;
the swivel chair over the bevelled edge.

Helping people with choice, or
gauging the plumb line of public opinion.
Prediction may be our game and
protection our bread and butter,
but those hands; they built our future.


Mat Riches lives in Beckenham, Kent, but will always have Norfolk in his heart. He is a father to Florence and a husband to Rachael, and by day he is a mild-mannered researcher in the TV industry. He has previously been published in And Other Poems, Ink, Sweat & Tears and Snakeskin Press. He is a recent graduate of The Poetry School’s Lyric iPod course. He is about yea high.
Blog: https://matriches76.wordpress.com Twitter: @matriches

Two poems by Angi Holden


It was summer then and hot, July perhaps –
the sky bright and cloudless blue,
the tarmac sticky-soft beneath our feet.
And I was young, eight or maybe nine,
my hair not thick, no, never thick,
but densely black and loose about my shoulders.
No wonder then, that separated from their queen
the sun-dazed bees should be confused
and swarming round my head should settle.
‘Be still,’ my father said. ‘Be still and calm
and they’ll not sting.’
Even now I feel their tiny feet against my scalp,
the motor of their hum, the rhythm of their wings;
my father’s fingers firm and sure, gently parting
strands of hair and lifting free each bee.
Even now I hear the soothing cadence of his voice:
‘Be still and calm. Be still and calm.
Be still. Be calm.’

Her Father’s Hands

She remembered his hands, smooth, unwrinkled
even in mottled old age, his nails perfect, square cut.
Hands which had led and taught and steadied,
had planted seeds, cut dahlias and gathered pears,
had warmed nest-fallen chicks, now stilled.

A cousin called to mind her father’s written word,
exquisite letters, balanced on the page:
foreign correspondence airmailed tissue-thin,
documents signed off by rolled-gold Parker pen.

Neighbours recollected clashes with his obstinacy,
polite smiles and quiet condolences masking
memories of bloody-minded tussles: disputed hedges,
the deaf man’s radio turned up a touch too loud.

Weeks later, grieving, she recalled a lover telling her
that rainbows were illusionary. They are, he’d said,
merely a function of angles: from eye, to rain, to sun.
Move, and the drizzle prism splits different rays
from different droplets, creates another mirage.

Back then she’d argued, wanting the colours
to be real, strung across the sky for all to see.
But now she knew her lover had been right.
My rainbow, she thought, is mine alone,
a function of these angles: from eye, to rain, to sun.
Soothed, she recognised this singular view of him,
and slept, cradled by the memory of his hands.


Angi Holden is a freelance writer, whose work includes prizewinning adult and children’s poetry, short stories and flash fictions, published in online and print anthologies. She brings a wide range of personal experience to her writing, alongside a passion for lifelong learning, Her family are central to her life and her research into family history is a significant influence on her work. She was the winner of the inaugural Mother’s Milk Books Pamphlet Prize and her pamphlet, Spools of Thread will be published by Mother’s Milk Books in 2017. Twitter: @josephsyard

DIY – by Carole Bromley

Don’t fret about the damp patch
under the window; the baby won’t mind.

She’ll not bother her head
about the lagging in the roof-space.

The bare floorboards that bring
the sound of your footsteps

will do her just fine, that crack
in the ceiling will be her first pattern.

She won’t lose any sleep over
the missing loft ladder,

the crazed toilet bowl, the stubborn cold tap,
that creosote spilling through the fence.

Listen. Already she outgrows her prison,
drums her heels against its walls,

turns turtle, butts her head, blinks,
opens and closes her mouth.

Sit down, pick up your guitar
and sing to her.

First published in A Guided Tour of the Ice House (Smith/Doorstop). 

See also Carole Bromley’s poems ‘Dads’ and ‘South Bank and Eston Rotary Club, 1951’

Carole Bromley
lives in York and has two collections from Smith/Doorstop, the most recent being The Stonegate Devil which won the York Culture Award 2016. Her poem DIY was first published in the collection A Guided Tour of the Ice House. She has a collection of poems for children coming out in June 2017. Websit
e www.carolebromleypoetry.co.uk

Daddy – by Sharon Larkin


d-c-g-jones-and-s-c-a-jonesHere I am, aged 5, with my Dad kneeling alongside me on a country walk. The photo would have been taken by mother; the camera was his. Later he would buy me my first camera and we would go for long walks with a succession of border collies, him teaching me the names of wild flowers and trees, us trying to learn the names of birds together. Small wonder that, half a century later,  when not writing, I’m outside with my camera.

Sharon Lakin