Over 2022 to 2023, I wrote a sonnet a week for 54 weeks. This collection, Love’s Sonnets (a celebration of different types of love), is now available in print.
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Love is as multidimensional as the multiverse.
I’m writing a sonnet every week (for a year) to explore a few facets.
Read, hear and read about each sonnet at lovessonnets.com.
Axel is Free
My new novel ‘Axel is Free‘ is now available exclusively on Amazon.
It will be free to download on the weekend of 30 April / 01 May 2022.
KILLER RELEASED FROM PRISON
Axel Williams, 32, is released from prison 20 years after murdering a schoolmate. He moves to the mountainous Brecon Beacons in Wales – hoping an isolated existence will remove the temptation to kill again.
Axel’s dream of living life as a hermit is burst by interfering farmer Emrys Evans, stoner Hywel and the mysterious Librarian. Even the mountains want to manipulate him.
TRAINED AS EXECUTIONER
When Axel distances himself from Hywel, Emrys Evans tightens his grip. The overbearing farmer belongs to an occult group that plans to trigger a new world order using child sacrifice… with Axel as executioner.
WILL HE KILL AGAIN?
As Axel is drawn deeper into the sect’s murderous scheme (and his research suggests this supernatural plan could work) will Axel be able to resist killing again?
Did supernatural powers draw Axel to The Brecons?
Can we change who we are?
And will Axel kill again? . . .
Not every fallen statue frowns,
embittered by the lust for crowns
that knocks all empires to their knees
then stamps them flat, like combed-out fleas.
Not every fossil died in vain
attacked by monsters, racked with pain
contorted to a tortured form
like flimsy branches in a storm.
Not every old car is a wreck
made obsolete by new car tech
then left to rust in a backyard
with other crap that we discard.
Age isn’t always punishment
some cruel final torment sent
to bring the sharp pain of hindsight
to those who’ve sung the sun in flight.
Age does not weary every head
make all the old wish they were dead,
it does not shake all fragile frames –
a gust upon weak candle flames.
Yes Time can wound and turn and twist –
its mastery we can’t resist.
That doesn’t mean we are its slaves
to be pushed into waiting graves.
The years that pass like falling leaves
are not lost moments to be grieved
but chance to dance in changing woods
to live a while, to feel what’s good.
Taken from my free e-book Up The Old Road.
The monster in the wood
The monster in the wood is dead
they slew it with a thousand blades
its thousand wounds turned their hands red –
stained gloves they wore on their parades.
The crows refused to pick its hide
the rats declined an easy meal
no beast could savour genocide –
eat flesh infused with murd’rous zeal.
At first some took the wand’ring path
to see the monstrous corpse prostrate
a demon deprived of its wrath
an empty shell that once oozed hate.
But others in the town had fright
the creature would come back to life
so barred the journeys to the site
where pelt was pierced with sword and knife.
The band that cut the monster down
protested that the fiend was gone
raised their red hands around the town
but were outvoted ten to one.
“We must raise up a forest wall,”
the worried and the fearful cried,
“It must be thick, it must be tall,
with spikes to keep us safe inside.”
A seer railed against the horde
“The wood is not our worry now!”
But he was mocked, and then ignored,
and then cast out with furrowed brow.
They built the wall, they built it high
they added spikes and molten tar
they added flares that bronzed the sky
and mighty bells heard near and far.
Beyond the wall they dug a ditch
Their bows could fill with arrow fire.
They said a critic was a witch
and flung her on a blazing pyre.
When finally their task was done,
Townsfolk took turns to keep lookout.
No living thing could crawl or run
from out the wood or there abouts.
They shot down birds, hurled rocks at deer,
trapped boars and bears and snakes and toads
at each new death they’d raise a cheer
that echoed round their streets and roads.
No monster could come from the wood
to kill their kin, to make folk shake
but their defences were no good
when monsters rose out of the lake.
Time is the slowest poison known to man
it turns tall frames to wrecks and rocks to sand,
sends muscles lame and shapes stiff clubs from hands,
shifts fertile beds to lonely, barren lands.
It overtightens joints and senses dulls –
a Jupiter-sized storm that never lulls,
contaminating youthful hopes and dreams
unpicking comfort cushions at the seams.
Time trips the lively brain, cuts vital wires,
transforms the bright to dull as tongues misfire,
it breaks us down like nails rust in rain
consumes our flesh till only bones remain.
But what choice we – whose pulse must race along?
Our need to breathe to be is that so wrong?
Is our desire to feel a dreadful crime?
The punishment to drink hemlock of time.
Well if to see my child’s resting breath
I must this toxin take that leads to death
this venom that my form and mind erodes
I’ll gladly sip until my heart explodes.
Toys us are
We are the playroom toys
of gods that will not fight
we are set up by boys
of transcendental might.
Our purpose is to serve
to strike the enemy
give them what they deserve
so blind they cannot see.
The other figures stand
for other little men
a homicidal band
who ask not why but when.
We must not back away
we must defend our god,
so we stand fast and pray
a brave and faithful squad.
They line us up in rows,
they form us into squares,
then knock us down with blows
cause carnage without cares.
When we flinch at the bombs
they whisper in our ears,
“You are my special ones
and victory is near.”
Make heavy chains
First they pretend there is no Beast at all
that learning from a list will stop your fall
into a den of thieves and vagabonds
who skipped the classes teaching rights from wrongs.
Then priests profess The Beast will lead astray
those too weak to resist its call to play
with horn of sin that sounds above the lord’s
infecting the pure thoughts of praying hordes.
History’s next to claim to know The Beast
a creature drawn to drink warm blood and feast
when gangs of men in white fleece uniforms
are sprayed with stripes then led to kill in swarms.
Let’s not forget the scientists of race
whose only source of wisdom is the face
who see the brooding Beast beneath strange skin
that doesn’t match the mirror they look in.
But these portrayals of The Beast are lies
attempts to blame the rot upon the flies
attempts to blame the wound upon the blade
ignoring how the knife and thrust are made.
The truth’s The Beast’s inside us from day one
and prowls until our final pulse has gone.
Try to evict or kill and it remains.
Restraint’s your only hope. Make heavy chains.
(Taken from my free poetry ebook ‘Up the Old Road‘.)
It sickens me to waste my breath on you
but yellow fever strikes if I do not
spare a few strokes of my too-flimsy pen
to blast a sentry’s trumpet at the flock
and with mixed metaphors and alarm calls
warn that the brazen wolf is no more than
an angry dog on an elastic leash
avoided easily with simple steps,
or lupine brute in woollen onesie is…
a clear imposter to the watchful eye.
More breath I’ll waste to blow with all my might
a caution song to all the goodly beasts;
the greatest threat in the enclosure is
the lamb of selfish ram and mother born
whose feeble legs beguile its wolfish heart.
Axel is Free: opening chapters
The opening chapters to my latest novel, ‘Axel is Free,’ can be found in the Bath Spa creative writing MA anthology. This new work is the sequel to my first novel, ‘The Titans.’
‘The Titans,’ ended with protagonist Axel committing a terrible crime. ‘Axel is Free,’ begins twenty years later when he is released from prison.