Monday, 1 February 2010


Hello again. I mentioned in an earlier post that Helen and I have some poems that are going to be used in a project relating to 'Women and Warfare'; we now have the details!

The exhibition as a whole is called 'Exploding Poetry' and runs from 9 February to 6 March 2010 (open Tues to Sat 10-5) at Bank Street Arts Centre in Sheffield. Our poems will be part of the 'Women and Warfare' audio installation: a four channel audio-visual project of 30 minutes delivered through four DVD players. The piece has been developed using Vaughan-William's 'Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis' as a structure, although it contains no actual music, as such. Instead, there are ambient sounds, resonant of war, which bind the four channels together and follow roughly the dynamics of the Vaughan-Williams piece.

As well as the audio piece, the exhibition occupies four other gallery spaces with fine art exhibits, digital poems, poetry objects to play with and a 'Poetry Lounge' which will have poetry filling the walls. The ideais to create a 'poetry environment' which stimulates people to write.

The exhibition is the 'brainchild' of Noel Williams, who, a year ago, was given a residency in creative writing (mainly poetry) by Bank Street Arts Centre.

We are looking forward to going and hope that some of you might make it too, at some point. If you do go, let us know what you think. We'll 'post' again when we've been!

Saturday, 19 December 2009


I don't know, these posts are like buses (or men - Wendy Cope), you wait for ages etc. Just thought it might be interesting for you to look at the poem I wrote when Helen and I were present at the scattering of her aunt Kitty's ashes (we didn't confer - honest!):

i.m. Kitty Harris

Cacophony of kittiwakes,
ink- tipped wings,
grey lost in sea and sky,
yet white survives,
a flurry of snowflakes;
perched on chalk ledges,
kiittee-wa-aaake squawk
drowning the trill of lark.

We scatter you,
to grey sea, grey sky,
to kittiwake, puffin, razorbill,
a rockful of gannets;
to sea campion, gorse:
in memory
of memory you lost:
your love of cliff, bird,
sea, sky.

Wind throws you back
in our faces:
we wear your mask -
laugh. You always said
you were a stubborn old bugger
and here you are,
mugging us at the last;
still there, when I grit my teeth.

Liz Loxley

For those of you into critical analysis, feel free to compare and contrast..... xx

Friday, 18 December 2009


Hello again. As promised last time, here is Helen's winning poem from this year's Flintshire poetry competition:


At Bempton Cliffs (For Kitty)

A ballet of gulls on our walk;
we watch their intricate movements
as they dance above the ocean,
wheel on waves of air,
miss each other by a wing tip
find footing on the cliff top,
shelter in grey-white chalk.

Here line of sea meets sky,
a sudden corner of infinity.

We point out the kittiwakes,
call them your namesakes
and scatter fast,
the wind blowing you back
in our faces, mixing ash
with tears, relief with unease.

You would have laughed;
awkward, alive to the last.

I am also pleased to say that she had the following poem commended:

Mining for Diamonds

Bombazine black,
not sure what it meant,
but she wore it
all weathers,
always in mourning,
my spinster aunt.

Other memories –
charred buildings open to the light,
like the shell of a doll’s house,
wallpaper still peeling,
the frayed edges of my nana’s ration book,
smog as thick as mustard,
blackout curtains blotting out the night.

Only you sparkled
in your black dress and diamonds,
when you kissed me goodnight,
left on the landing light
because I feared the dark.

We have some more news for you about poems of ours that are going to be used in a 'Women and Warfare' audio installation/exhibition in Sheffield in February 2010. More of that to follow!

Hope you all have a very happy Christmas

Tuesday, 8 December 2009


Long time no see! Helen was once again the winner in the Flintshire Poetry Competition (it was a different judge, by the way) and had another poem commended; I also had one commended. Mine was:


right over left, left over right
makes a knot both tidy and tight
(common mnemonic for tying a reef knot)

You – captain at tap end,
me on knot duty,
legs: right over left, left over right.

Reef knot

Ends slipped tight, snug
but one tug
could pull us apart.

Thief knot

We’d capsize,
spill like milk
or silk-shot moonlight.

Grief knot.

To keep you in suspense.....Helen's 2 poems will appear in the next blog!

Saturday, 16 May 2009


For those of you who live/work in Flintshire, the details for the annual poetry competition tend to be announced around now - so keep an eye open (or both eyes now, perhaps?). Helen won it last year with her poem 'Only the Moon' and I was second a couple of years ago with 'Angels'. Here are both poems:

Only the moon….

There is always an end
even though it is glossed over,
lipsticked into a smile,
a painted face.

Like wearers of Chinese masks,
we make quick changes -
no-one can spot
the difference at first.

In this fall- out
no blood is spilt,
no heart rent
or stars crushed.

Only the moon knows
how we changed our faces,
viewed the world from separate angles,
turned with the tide.

Helen Hill


Sorrow settles like snow
until his corrugated iron heart
breaks beneath the weight
of each unique flake
and he is flat on his back
concussed by starlight
yet finds the strength
to shift his limbs
and make angels in the snow.

Liz Loxley

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Welcome to Both Sides Now

Good morning! This blog has been set up to share the poetry and other literary pursuits of Helen Hill and Liz Loxley. We are both poets and civil partners who live in Flintshire, North Wales. Later this year we will be launching a joint book to be called 'Both Sides Now'. More news to follow...