Poetry By Clive Atkins

The Mist Rolled In


The mist rolled in from the Warwickshire hills

And Mollington was suspended in rain washed sepia still

No one ventured out that day

Not to work and not to play

The day was left under nature’s management

Visibility intermittently came and went

Not a time to be camping in a tent

Cobwebs formed and were adorned

With minute water crystals on the lawn

The thatch on cottage roofs was soaked

And the fires inside were repeatedly stoked

The spiralling rising smoke was suppressed

By the heavy dampened atmosphere

A dank charcoal smell filled the air

But no one ventured out to care

The slate roofs became glistening and black

Except where the moss had dared attack

Clinging for life wherever it could

Patches of green attached as if hooked

The rain water meandered down the hill

And collected in pockets and puddles it filled

And still the mist kept rolling in

Extra logs were roaring on the fire at the local inn

Hot toddies were preferred to gin

Warm and inviting the locals stay

Inside their houses on this day

Only a few brave souls ventured to the inn

And still the mist kept rolling in


(This poem finished in the Top 5 poems in The Forward Press competition)



The Rap



 Symbiotic relationship of drum and base

                 Intergalactic interpretation of time and space

                                    Rhythmic spoken lyrics of gender and race

                                                  Class structure of society that’s in your face


A ghetto version of a sixties protest song

                 A poetic but aggressive righting of wrongs

                                    Injustices and political overtones coming on so strong

                                                  Stereotyping and phobia do not belong


A protest rap worthy of a Dillon ode

                A culture shock following an Eminem code

                                  A mode, a form, a storm, a heavy load

                                              Outrageous, dynamic, but never middle of the road


Like it or not it has something to say

                It’s generated from the heart of the young person today

                                 From sub-culture and reality they effectively prey

                                          With naive, compulsive statements they have their say      



With naive, compulsive statements they have their say



( This poem won the Writer's Forum monthly poetry competition)




The Headless Rider of Edgehill

The mist developed on Edgehill
On the darkest of nights so still
As I snaked with Radway on my right
The mist swallowed up my lights
As I slowed to follow the white lines
And said to myself, I have plenty of time
I saw a glimmer and I stopped and stared
A distinctive shape of a white mare
With nostrils a flare and a haunting whinny
The vision was as clear as crystal as it passed the spinney
The rider sat upright as the light caught his sword
A rhythmical rising trot as stiff as a board
I admired his red tunic and his billowing coat
He has black breeches, polished boots
And shirt buttoned up to his throat
His hat had a wide brim
And his necktie was of Nottingham lace
But suddenly I realised he hadn’t a face
Swerving in panic I finally stopped
He was staring right through me
As he continued his trot
Rising in unison with his beautiful white mare
He followed the hedgerow as if he hadn’t a care
As he disappeared into the swirling mist
The headless rider of Edgehill I’d finally witnessed


( Writers' Forum Magazine prize winner)


A Distant Drum


The distant beat of a hollow drum

The copse is still and serene

Ghostly footsteps vaguely can be heard

Marching in a synchronised formation


There is no one in sight

On this darkest of winter nights

The pale moon is large and full

And plays peek-a-boo with the grey cumulus nimbus


And yet, I feel a presence

I feel cold and expectant

A lone owl hoots and swoops for prey

I can see tracks in the snow that come from nowhere and lead nowhere


I tread carefully

I tread quietly

And peer through thicket to open ground

And I see the shadow of a cloaked horseman on the hill


And still I hear a faint distant drum

As the horseman disappears into the hill top mist

He is followed by a troop of roundhead soldiers

Who walk purposefully and look so surreal


I pinch my goose bump skin

I blink and rub my eyes

And when they clear

The apparitions have disappeared


I challenge my intellectual reasoning

And dismiss the practical advice my eyes have given me

I have been taught things like this do not exist

But, then I hear the sound of a distant drum beat



Will We Ever Know if There’s Life on Mars


The Starman gave Mott the Hopple All the Young Dudes and the world Ziggy Stardust

He changed his persona frequently and delivered theatrical brilliance

The boyish Laughing Gnome with Anthony Newleyish show vocals transitioned into a unique and in your face Diamond Dog rock God

From humble Brixton beginnings he became a Young American, before being an adopted hero of Berliners


A lyrical genius, he was a man that fell to earth as an actor with a Labyrinth of quirky rolls

Benchmarked against the great songwriters he exceeded 50 years out-performing all his peers, his Golden Years

Different generations saw the chameleon of pop in different ways and in different genre

He moved through pop, rock, glam, soul, funk, dance, techno, drum and base and even jazz


Never standing still, always pushing the boundaries of music, collaborating and inspiring others

Without our hero there would not have been glam, new wave or punk

He broke down the stereotypical, the preconception, the taboo and the norm, opening the way for other innovators to flourish

And when they broke his sweet hands he had to break up the band


He like all good performers left us wanting more with the haunting Lazarus

And when the red curtain came down his fans called for a final encore that he duly delivered as Blackstar

Fortunately modern technology enables his legacy to linger on in our hearts and mind

And as Major Tom floating in his tin can disappears, will we ever know if there’s Life on Mars



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