Merry Christmas from me

Merry-Christmas-from-LearnDashWishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

Here’s a bit of seasonal fun to welcome in the festivities.


Deck the Halls
by Emma van Woerkom

Just one day until Christmas
And the hours are whizzing by
While all about perfection
Glistens smugly on the eye.

Real trees dusted with frosting.
Crystal baubles, golden-round.
Posh shops hire Santa’s reindeer
To leave footprints on the ground.

The epic main attraction?
‘St. Nick’s grotto’, Lapland style.
A pricey Finnish import –
(Flat-packed dens – so versatile!)

Bright strings of things, flakes flashing,
Sets defying gravity –
I’m not so sure my home décor
Competes on an Argos tree.

My ‘Norway Spruce’ is nine years worn,
Tripod based, resting on two –
Shedding strange fake plastic needles,
Standing up-right, if askew.

I fight great nests of knotted lights
Which momentarily amuse –
Until that failing flicker
And I’m off to score a fuse.

Or it’s just a single  light bulb
That’s given up the Yuletide ghost.
Systematically I test them
Turning my retinas to toast.

Threadbare is also my tinsel –
The prey of a senseless crime,
For some reason, last season, I hacked it,
Something to do with mulled wine …

Broke ornaments, I’ve got hundreds.
Bought, stolen, re-gifted and begged
Even a nose-flashing Rudolph –
Like the tree he’s missing a leg.

I don’t skimp on handmade extras
Weird glittery bells, stars and balls –
Glued in grim, sweatshop-like classrooms
When Ofsted make unannounced calls.

Then sat as proud as a peacock
From her lofty station on top
My hand-me-down one eyed old fairy
With a wand that resembles a mop.

Holly, mistletoe are like gold dust
christmas tree deck the hallsThey’re sourced through an underground hub
A-friend-of-a-friend who’s a farmer,
Check your boot, 8pm, at the pub.

By Midnight mass, most presents wrapped –

Gift tape drives us all round the bend
Bet Good King Wenslas ground his teeth
When he lost the cellotape end!

But carols sung, cheered trek for home
Tree lights wave at me through the glass,
My winking one-eyed fairy beams
That Christmas has come at last.

So I’ll sit with a sigh for a moment
And forget all the rush that it’s been
My list’s all done, it’s been quite fun
Plus for weeks I won’t have to clean!

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Flocking To A Good Cause – Watch The Birdie Anthology Published

Watch The Birdie : Poems with something to squawk about.
For The 67 Birds On The R.S.P.B. Red List.


For those of you, like me, who have been gripped by the BBC Wildlife series Dynasties, it’s very difficult to ignore our species’ impact upon the natural world, even here in the UK.

Back in July the ever talented Rhiannon Hooson introduced me to an exciting poetry project from Beautiful Dragons Press; a new anthology highlighting the 67 birds on the R.S.P.B.’s red (endangered) list, the sale of which would raise funds to support the charity.


Not familiar with the Red List’s contents I googled it, expecting to find a peppering of rare-plumed wonders like merlins or corncrakes. But the reality made for some very uncomfortable reading. Birds from my childhood; sparrows, curlews, starlings, even herring gulls all highlighted in red ink, their numbers plummeting by more than 50% in the last 25 years. I couldn’t believe my ignorance.

My moment of reprieve appeared in the guise of an Artic Skua – the bird I was to write my poem about. Combating my nescience I sort information, discovering an exceptional bird possessing an array of unique,but not always the most pleasant of avian attributes.

Dark Morph Arctic Skua, Scousburgh Sands, Shetland

Arctic Skua, Scousburgh Sands, Shetland.

Also known as the Parasitic Jaeger (from the German meaning hunter) the Arctic Skua was once thought to eat the squirted in-flight excrement of other birds. Even their genus name,   Stercorarius is latin for “of dung”. We now know it as a Kleptoparasite.  It forces, by way of high pitched vocals and physically close wing-on-wing harassment, birds, usually terns to regurgitate the food they carry in their crop.

Had I seen one? Scanning back through my catalogue of Shetland photographs I came across an image of a dark bird which I’d seen in falcon-like flight skillfully pursuing arctic terns on Scousburgh Sands/Spiggie Beach. It wasn’t the archetypal example of an Arctic Skua, but something even more fascinating – an adult Artic Skua in the rare dark morph plumage. I remember it now – moving like a slim shadow over the waves, creeping up on where the terns were fishing. I’d spotted it, but the terns hadn’t, not until it was too late. Magnificent. A pirate in all but name!

I am sure the other 66 poets who’ve added their emotive words to this extraordinary anthology have their own stories to tell. Like me, I imagine they’ve discovered a new found regard for their endangered subjects and the tireless work conservation groups like the R.S.P.B. do.



Two weeks after the launch of the Watch The Birdie anthology Beautiful Dragons Press are already considering a reprint due to high sales! Well done Rebecca and all the team.

To order your copy you can buy via PayPal or email

Watch the Birdie –– £9.99 for one copy, £18.50 for two, £25 for three.
P&P £4 for 1 -3 copies £8 for 4-6.
Please pay via PayPal address



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Autumn and Creative Countryside

Autumn Bears Fruit.

Well, we’ve hit that perfect time of year when Autumn looks more burnished and bright than ever.

Today the sun is suddenly clear and warm, the wind has slightly eased, and all those abundant turning leaves shimmer and wave from their tree-top homes. By next week the weather and wind will have changed, angrily shaking them down in tumbling cascades, but today all is most glorious and golden!


I am delighted to share that my poem “Apple Moon” has been published in the latest issue of Creative Countryside.

My poem appears next to a stunning illustration by Lisa Holden – Lisa has also sent me a print of the original, which is already framed and gracing the mantelpiece.

A huge thank you to Poetry Editor, Rhiannon Hooson for its inclusion and to Editor in Chief, Eleanor Cheetham for paring my piece with such a perfect illustrator – it looks magical and I am utterly delighted.

If you haven’t heard of Creative Countryside, here’s a little synopsis, but you really need to get this magazine in your life – it’s filled with joy, nature and inspiration.

Countryside Creative:  “A quarterly magazine, seasonal gatherings and a membership community for wild and wholehearted folk. ”

For more details and to order your copy CLICK HERE


Enjoy the day what ever season you are in. Emma xxx

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Reading at the Launch of Rhiannon Hooson’s “Full Moon on Fish Street”.

I’ve had a bit of a busy year dotting from Cornwall, to Orkney, then on to Shetland, back to Hay-on-Wye, now in North Somerset and I’m ashamed to say my website slipped from my mind, so I’m going to make amends.

launch adLast weekend, under a steely-grey, rain-filled sky Rhiannon Hoosen launched her incredible new pamphlet, Full Moon on Fish Street published by Beautiful Dragons Press. A packed crowd thronged the wonderful gallery at the Radnorshire Arts and Crafts Foundation as rain thrummed above our heads; it seemed fitting background music.

I was absolutely delighted when Rhiannon offered me the opportunity to read with her selecting, for the most part nature poems and ones of local places. The audience responded in all the right places and I have to say, it was one of my favourite readings to date.

Then it was time for the main event!

Rhiannon read exclusively from her new Pamphlet which was polished and exciting.  Her first collection, The Other City, was shortlisted for the Wales Book of the Year, and was described by the judges as “Stunning… already at a pitch of achievement many of us will not reach across a career” and it is easy to see why. The superb black-out poems and narrative prose of Full Moon on Fish Street continue to show why she is such a remarkable poetical talent.

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Limited to an edition of just 100 signed and numbered copies I am positive Full Moon on Fish Street will be snapped up by discerning book collectors and poetry lovers alike. I also expect to see it listed as a serious nomination for a poetry prize when the award season lists open. It would be a crime not to.

To purchase your exclusive, signed copy of Full Moon on Fish Street please click HERE and to find out more about how this pamphlet came about, check out Rhiannon Hooson’s blog HERE

There’s a hidden twist in the tale/tail and you will only find out of you read this remarkable pamphlet.


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Brisons Veor – Artist Residency – February 2018

Brisons Veor – Cape of Cornwall.

I arrived for my artist in residence week to hail, sleet, wind and waves! Even the distant Long Ships lighthouse (I later found out I could see Wolf Rock Lighthouse too) became completely dissolved in the drenching low cloud. My journey along dark, busy motorways, over Bodmin with its biblical cloud formations towards howling gales and a sleepless sea – even the radio was playing Smetana’s Vltava which proved a fine accompaniment to the sound of the rolling deep!


Then, after a night of force 10 winds, more hail, sleet and crashing waves the Cape Cornwall morning was all sunshine and breakers. A high tide eagerly rolled in on white crested tops which the sun gilded in bright patches. Weightless foam and spume floated up and over the house towards town, while seagulls on jagged wings climbed and dipped in their multitudes.

Thus was the pattern of weather for my week, like the tides oscillating between extremes, but the elements became as inspiring as the landscape. I wrote, photographed, filmed, recorded sounds and wrote again. I walked the cliffs to the RLNI Watch Tower, saw incredible wildlife, watched the many forms of sea transport pass me by, wandered around old ruins, rock formations and felt their great weight of time upon my shoulders. Always though, night and day the sea was the primary focal point and back ground sound.

Brisons Veor is simply an incredible place which stimulates profound thinking and expression, giving artists space to contemplate and create in a comfortable house within an extraordinary landscape.

I wish to extend to the Trustees of Brisons Veor my sincere thanks for providing a special place where artists of all disciplines can thrive and for allowing me a week within it’s hallowed walls – in hindsight I only wish I’d stayed longer.



You too can help Brisons Veor continue their amazing work and support fellow artists too by becoming a Friend of Brisons Veor for £20 per year (or £30 for a couple or family). This will help us to maintain affordable charges, and even provide bursaries for artists who need additional help – Follow this link – Click Here


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Poetica Vol 1 and Artist in Residence

POETICA VOLUME 1 has arrived!

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I’m absolutely thrilled to receive my copy of @bymepoetry and @bymepoetica first publication here in #hayonwye (which includes my poem The Weaverbird’s Nest).

The weather may have been cold, dull, grey and misty, but this startling volume of  world wide poetry was like a ray of brilliant laser light cutting through the gloom. Well done to all my fellow poets from all over the planet and to the superb editing skills of Susan Llewellyn and her team. The photo shows the book positioned on the broodingly atmospheric steps of  Hay Castle.


Poetica Vol. 1 – “POETICA is the debut poetry collection by the Instagram global platform, By Me Poetry. This exquisite and thought provoking book features poems, microtales, interviews and prose from 200 of the most talented, popular and exciting new voices on Instagram today.” (228 Pages) It can be purchased via Amazon UK – please click here.

Artist in Residence at Brisons Veor.

brison-veor-home-newIn other news I am excitedly mid-preparation for my residency on the Cape of Cornwall.

My project is to write three poems and collect video and audio footage of the area to work on a poetry film when I get back home. Apart from packing clothes for weather of all eventualities, I’ll be lugging along my camera, tripod and audio equipment plus countless notebooks and my trusted old laptop.

Brison Veor is literally on the edge of the landscape and also on the edge of most telephone networks too. There is not a hint of wifi and so no excuse not to throw myself into a week of reading, writing, walking and absorbing everything this unique place has to offer.

I am extremely grateful to the board of Trustees for affording me this incredible opportunity and hope that they enjoy all my creative efforts.

For more information about Brisons Veor please click here


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Quirk Magazine Vol 9

QUIRK vol. 9 

Delighted to see my poem ‘Calves’ published in the newest edition of this quirky literature publication.

I wrote the poem a few years ago while on a holiday in Bakewell (yes, I love their tarts too).  We were staying on a dairy farm near Monsal Dale and, as luck would have it a beautiful pair of twin calves were born the night before we arrived. My window over-looked the small paddock where they stayed with their Friesian mother. It was one of those blissful rural sights which is always such a joy to remember. 

There are many fine writers in Quirk and if you are in Hay-on-Wye why not grab a copy from The Black Mountain Bindery or @addymanbooks – Just £5.00 per copy and worth every penny!

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