Tony Earnshaw’s poetry

Tony has been writing poetry for all of his adult life. He has had a number of poems published in magazines, both haiku and longer poems. He was runner up in the Birds on The Wire collection competition with a collection which included Wood Pigeons and in 2017 his poem ‘Views’ was included in the anthology ‘Poems to Keep’ (Dempsey and Windle)

 He has published three collections, and is a member of the Poetry Society, the British Haiku Society and Mole Valley Poets.

Poetry collections

From Cradle to Grave, 1996, including:

Teen Love
Holmwood Common
Consider the Lilies
Five Senses

Bull Run, 2001, including:

Bull Run

Kenyan Journeys, 2004, including:

The Land of the Black Elephant

From Cradle to Grave, 1996

Tony’s first collection, From Cradle to Grave, reflected the fact that much of his writing was then focussed on life events, on ‘hatching, matching and dispatching’, but the collection also dealt with work, faith and a range of other subject matter. This collection included Holmwood Common.

Holmwood Common
A grey sky,
the ground soft underfoot,
head shielded from the wet
by last year’s cap.

The dog a flash of white among the trees,
bounding and scurrying after a squirrel.

The wind cold,
penetrating, persistent,
mild weather clothing inadequate
for a sharp, cold, snap.

The dog, whistle summoned, returns, panting,
droplets of moisture shaken from its coat.

Browns and golds
of autumn strew the path,
strut, pirouette, subside
onto the damp earth.

A rustling in the undergrowth,
clink collar accompanied, a rabbit gone to ground.

Pocketed hands
retain valued body heat,
booted feet stride firm across the turf.

Home to warmth and comfort,
the dog relaxed and exercised,
the man to run around, chasing his tail.

Bull Run, 2001

Tony’s second collection, Bull Run, continues with the sense of place found in Holmwood Common, and deals with matters of love, faith and whimsy. It also draws on the financial world within which Tony has spent his career, as seen in the title poem, Bull Run.

Bull Run
It’s a bull run
and power is in the air
as rising prices, top sliced gains
and wild eyed hope
free financial fantasies
and mere momentum moves us on
to that pinnacle where we start to slide
and what we knew, though some denied
hits with the force of insurrection.
The end of each red boom we name correction.
The values fall down out of sight
and shambling, happy, from his lair
self satisfied,
we see the bear.

Kenyan Journeys, 2004

The third collection was a departure, literally a departure for Kenya where Tony spent a week raising money for the charity New Ways by cycling the rift valley. The experiences of that week, including the visit to some of the projects supported by New Ways, are chronicled in a short collection which also features photos taken by another cyclist, David Wilkinson.

The Land of the Black Elephant
After the fertile fields and red earth further south
Turkana hits you with a blast of desert air
and yet this too was fertile country once.

From the air the paths of dried up rivers can be seen,
tree lined, with water holes along the way
for this land gave easier grazing once.

This is a lifestyle very hand to mouth,
animals need grazing, no-one with whom to trade;
yet this too was fertile country once.

And yet within this land there is a dream.
Drill for water, conserve, use and grow.
Use the run off as a place to plant and sew.

Build dams and use machinery
easy to maintain
until the land of the black elephant
shall see green grass again.

Wood Pigeons, 2008

In the Spring of 2009 he was runner up in the Birds on The Wire collection competition with a collection which included Wood Pigeons.

Wood Pigeons
Wood pigeons would cause havoc making love
in any confined space
the perpetuation of the race demanding
much beating of wings
much chasing, swooping and diving
much competing for the prime position
much batting of wings against foliage
so the trees shake
and the branches sway
and the race survives another day