Poem: Unbeatable

I thought a wall had gone up between us. But now I realise

We are just different heights. You sat there. Me standing here.

Each time I bend down to hug you, the world turns upside down

And my stomach churns. But there’s nothing I can do about that.

Sentences spoken as if written in circles on the page. No end

No beginning. Repeated again and again. Words juggling forever in mid-air.

Thin. Lost. Crumpled. Drained of colour. You look like laundry lain across a chair.

But then you come alive. As if shocked into fight. A last almighty stand

In the face of fate and fading. I want to punch the air. With the thrill of it.

I am a child again, on your shoulders. The two of us unbeatable.

Simon Denegri

24 January 2018




A poem for #NationalPoetryDay 2017 – ‘Whitstable (A day at the seaside)’

Whitstable (A day at the seaside)

Today we woke up and the day had nowhere to go. 
No ready plan. No significant event. 
To see us through.

So we set off before lunch, on a hunch.
Just as a starfish sun
Prised apart stubborn clouds 
Lolling overhead – 
Lazy teenagers in unmade beds. 

We set off on a whim and a prayer,
With little heart and low expectation.
Joining the lines of sticky traffic 
Running clammy roads 
Over every hill.

On and on we went until we reached 
The muggy shore.
There to be greeted by a landlady, 
Shaping vowels and dropping aitches, 
Her mouth a net trawling for alphabet fish.

She gathered us up in her arms
To eat crab and chips in the cool shade 
Of a canopy. So vast 
I wondered if we were about 
To set sail.

Then, after lunch, we lingered on the beach
Awhile. To swim and skim
Flat stones towards
Skiffs skidding,
Just beyond our reach.

And lean against an old 
Timber groyne that lay resting in the midday sun.
A giant minute-hand
Of a disused clock,
Pebbles piled against it, seconds past.

We talked and laughed beneath
Swooping, squawking gulls
And a lone balloon trailing
A pigtail string of silver tears.
All purpose left behind.

Until it was time for us to go
The sea fizzing like pop
Around white marble feet,
The sand passing
Between our toes.

I am glad we had no plan today.

Simon Denegri
September 2017

Poem: Folds


Soon we will have to gather the bed linen from outdoors,
Or it will be blown over on the old maid 
Which stands on crooked feet, trembling in the wind. 

We will collect it in our arms like airborne troops,
Clearing up their parachutes from the drop zone.
Then rendezvous indoors.

There, we will hold opposite ends of the sheets, stretch and fold them,
In a strange married ritual we have made ours.
Part tug-of-war, part line-dance.

As we do, I will imagine an eighteenth century dance on a country estate,
Ballroom dresses flowing like sails filling in the wind,
While gallant men fight the spume to join their wives.

When we meet in the middle that last time, we will kiss
And hold the sheet between us.
Like something sacred.
Knowing that, with each day, our love is folded more deeply
Into eachother’s hearts.

5th May 2017

It’s #NationalPoetryDay 2016. On the theme of ‘Messages.’ Here’s my poem to celebrate the day.

The stagecoach racing through snow and rain. 
The Pony Express with flowing mane. 
The telegraph poles raised high, 
Post boxes forged,
Proud and defiant. 

The signallers’ lamp across the harbour 
The carrier pigeon over Ypres and Flanders.
Beacons on coasts and bells in belfries, 
Stopping invasions, heralding truces.

The telephone wire 
That carried her sighs
That called in the wind 
Which hung in sorrow. 

Tapping on bars, knocking on walls
Soul mates, prison-mates
Yoghurt pots

Night trains and airplanes 
Juggernauts and vans. 
Doing the rounds
Letters in hand. 

Snail mail, email 
Twitter and text 
Heaven knows what will come next.

These are the ways we have passed on messages.
The monuments
The architecture 
The technology and devices. 

But they all begin 
With you and I
A desire 
To say….

Simon Denegri
October 2016

For more about National Poetry Day 2016 click here: http://poetrysociety.org.uk/projects/national-poetry-day/ 

Poems before bedtime: ‘Where does the wind go?’ and ‘Coffee and crumbs’

Where does the wind go?

Where does the wind go,
When all blown out,
Do you know?

Does it run out of breath and lean red-faced,
Against the bended trunk of a winded tree?
Or haunt the stooping widow, by slamming doors
And snuffing out ‘the old man’s’ absence candle?

Does it lie on its tummy by the open fire
And flick the pages of a good book?
Or plump up the sofa cushions and ask,
‘Who’s been sitting in my chair?’

Does it howl like a child with the terrible twos
Stamp its feet, then fall asleep?
Or kick dry leaves in circles in the yard
Then beneath an upturned bucket, sulk and weep?

Does it choke back the tears of hurt
Turn its back and run to the hills?
Or grow bored and soar, soar
Above the clouds, to where the astronaut snores?

Perhaps it shatters in pieces against the wall
Then scatters like mercury across
The floor? Or jumps off the cliff and follows
Its dreams out to sea?

Where does the wind go, do you know?

Coffee and crumbs

They stand like
Upended ocean liners
Clutched from the seas
And thrust like harpoons

Into the ground. Their cabin lights
Sinking into the whirlpool
City depths below.
From which a lone fellow

Spinning. Falls.
His coat-tails
Like broken wings.

A jumper.
On his way to a self-made grave
Who lost life’s footing,
Making headlines on the way.

Far from the prow
On which he once stood
So rich and proud
‘Beloved husband, son and father’

To those who knew him.
But not you.
Nor I.

Tomorrow we shall
Flick his story aside
With coffee and crumbs.


August 2016

New Poems for Spring by Simon Denegri: ‘Easter Weekend’ and ‘Daffodil’

Easter Weekend


I wake to see sun-bathed tree-tops
Reflected in the white, wardrobe doors
Like colour polaroids of my childhood garden.

And turn over to watch daylight
Run down the trees
Like honey on the breakfast jar.


Chatter in the wind,
Their excited bonnets bobbing and nodding,
Children dutifully waiting, at the church door.

While great clouds
Hunt winter from its den,
Galloping and charging over hill and glen
Their barrels skirting tree-tops along the way.

Long brush-like
Tales, trail behind them
Sweeping the last vestiges of autumn
From the garden path, mottled by passing showers.


A rainbow rises
Bright, promising, but not to be.
A sweet half-eaten, sucked
Then stuck like gum against the sky.

The first buds
Break open with worshipping hands
Called forth by each glimmer of an architect sun
Ready to build cathedrals by rule of thumb.


At night I go to sleep
With thoughts only for nature’s return
And know it is but a matter of time.

Before I fall for her
Before I fall for her
And all her summer fun and mid-riff trickery.




No daffodil should be alone
An orphaned child, pleasing
But bowed in sorrow.


February 2016

National Poetry Day 2015: ‘Lantern Fish’

It’s National Poetry day today, Thursday 8th October.  The theme is ‘Light.’  Here’s a poem that I submitted unsuccessfully to a ‘Poetry News’ competition a little while ago on the same theme.  Ah well!  It’s probably not quite ‘on theme.’

You may be interested to know that this poem was inspired by waking up in the middle of the night to see early morning flights emerge from the clouds on their way to landing at Gatwick.  I live right under the flight-path.

Lantern fish

I wake
To see lantern fish,
Emerge from the depths of the ocean sky,
Out of silty clouds where others hide.

Then fly
Towards me,
One, two, three, sometimes more,
Their lights before them.

I am
The night fisherman,
Trawling black heavens with my rod,
Reeling them in, hook, line and sinker.

I am
The passenger,
Fallen overboard from his sleep,
Thankful for their company in this expanse.

I am
The dreamer,
Searching for light, for life,
Their flight inspiring me with belief.

I watch
As they glide,
In phosphorescent procession and descend,
Into the shoal that glows beyond the reef.

Simon Denegri
October 2015

Lone Knight (Spitfire over Kent)

This summer – the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain – we have been treated to many sightings over Kent of the few remaining airworthy Spitfires, as they make their way to airshows and special events. I wanted to voice my own respect for this aircraft and those who flew it. I hope people get some sense of this from the following poem written over the month of August 2015.

Lone Knight (Spitfire over Kent)

What is it about you that makes me point and wave,
To rush to the open window with a child’s heart,
And hope that you will tip your wings to me alone,
As you make your gallant way?

Rolling over hills lined up like casks of warm ale.
High over the vale where ironed fields are laid
Like napkins at an ancient table,
Set for you to tell your hero’s tale.

For a moment, I lose you among puffed-cheeked clouds
That hang from the sky like washing from a line,
Among the swifts and swallows that swoop and dive.
But then your throaty song returns.

For this lone knight, no longer our chariot of fate,
Must continue on its way, for charity and the fete.
To thrill the crowds and cast its spell
To protect, to serve, to save the day again.

Simon Denegri, August 2015

Poem: This Cotton Reel

I felt a tug, and then a pull
And like the spider’s good night’s work in the morning wind
The cotton thread on which I hang, is reeled back in.

What I thought was infinite,
Is finite. No more party streamers
Or ensigns on Ocean liners.

I know I am lucky
To have got this far without snag or break.
Yet I can’t help, I can’t help but wonder….

This cotton reel. My life.
If only I could make it run and run,
I have so much more to weave til i am done.

Simon Denegri
1 May 2015