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Updated: Aug 1, 2023

A closet life until my wife,

the cloister monk, set single sex,

11+ Grammar, Boys of course,

until Advanced, then year off course.

Gap YM, see a hostel year -

females banned beyond the stair -

thence to Cambridge, male college days.

There were no femmes, fatale or not,

except my sisters - didn’t count.

No such peerless amongst my peers,

nor lip service when unscene seen.

Free love sixties, or flower power

were more of Nam, house rising sun.

I wasn’t there, that Woodstock gen -

for I was Shakespeare, Kubla Khan,

and captivated Gerard Man.

What girl wants Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats,

which boy befriends the poet swot?

So hear, this nil return is mine,

for cannot write of what don’t know.

You think it strange, naïvety?

I count it blessing, no disguise.

So take me, others, as we are,

Judaeo-Christian, sheltered lives,

primed by poets, and so thought strange,

but pride in age, creatively.

Fiction is not my métier;

so please forgive my honesty.

Another failure to conform;

I only take me as I am.

28 views2 comments


Alison Blevins
Alison Blevins
Jul 30, 2023

Bravo Stephen, honest and beautifully written as usual.


Nigel Smith
Nigel Smith
Jul 30, 2023

Amongst my top Kingsnorth poems Stephen, un-phased by the common image associated with this title, you create without judgement an honest, deeply personal and unique piece any reader should be impressed by. We do not judge our work unless requested but if we did I would have to say challenge met and exceeded.

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