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Shoogle Tide

Shoogle Tide, Earlyworks Press Poetry - cover pic

In lowland Scots, the verb ‘shoogle’ means to rock back and forth with small rapid movements.  From the late sixteenth century dialect noun ‘shog’, which John Donne would no doubt have recognised as meaning ‘trepidation’. 

In ‘Shoogle Tide’, Nigel Humphreys ponders the nature of luck whilst Margaret Eddershaw soars over Rio, Marianne Brown goes cycling in Hanoi and Sylvia Oldroyd attends a memorable funeral in Rome; meanwhile, Poul Webb takes a coffee break in everycity, Phil Powley takes a train to everywhere and David R Morgan waits on the edge of the city and the wilds.

Plant and planet, May queen and Eurovision wannabees, eclipses and omens in time and tide are considered as well as some never-ending human issues – and the result is a forecast to be considered with trepidation.

Margaret Eddershaw is the winner of the Earlyworks Press Open Poetry Competition 2007 and Phil Powley the winner of the WordArt competition. 




St. Peter’s By Night


Known constellations

cast their mesh

over an unfamiliar skyline; 


above the Vatican,

Ursa Major dangles

the bait of its tail-end star.


Bernini’s pillared colonnades

draw imperceptibly tighter; 

Seine net in stone.


The dome, wrapped in light 

the colour of a halo,

shelters the fisherman’s tomb; 


shoulders the universe.


Sylvia Oldroyd


Secret Windings

Twisting through eroded brick, petrified timbers and sand rock
narrow alleys, once the way of smugglers or fishermen,
steady sea-legs landlubbered by drink that robbed the table.     
Barefoot children ran among the windings
to escape a father’s blow or truncheon justice.
Ragged fishwives whispered across thresholds
the advent of another mouth to cry hunger.

The post-war visionaries cleared the slums,
tore out the entrails of an organism seven centuries old.
Vestiges give passage to artists, poets
chic newcomers and drunkards,
who grease the ancient footpaths with piss and vomit.


Victoria Seymour

For The Long Down Road

It comes like hallelujah, an evangelical chorus,
a beating of breasts in the red light of deep nights,
a commitment, the full bore, whole-hog embrace,
a snaking line of party hats and staccato elbows,
the speaking in tongues that comes by degree
rather than absolute shocking blue revelation.

It is the host, the revel, arms locked in arms,
the break of dance and palsied eye, the sleepless lids
and sallow skin that bids farewell poor innocence,
a learning of rules and words in cups, draughted
and drawn, the drinking down of the long road
that winds its easy path along the ways of lost days.

This is a serious dedication to alcohol in low light places,
chosen because your smile can’t be seen among so many
lunatic grins, where you become faceless among the beloved,
and so, in the company of those who gutter in the wind
like you do, you slowly wind on the clock, tripping dully
through the sag of years until you run out of geography.


 Clive Gilson


Smaller Magic


My home lay in the heart

of the angled forest,

far from rhyming pasture.


Honeysuckle swam like a fiery sea,

stags dipped their horned heads in welcome

and stayed still for me and silent.


Light as floss I soared through green heaven,

fast as dappled light

and in the oak cool dark birds fanned my hair.


Now I trace the smaller magic

on your city’s edges,

counting axe strokes through clouded years.


 David R Morgan


Review by Adam Hansen


Shoogle Tide

69 poems by 32 poets

Published by Earlyworks Press ISBN 9780955342974 

   £6.99 + £1 towards p&p to UK addresses

Cover photo by 

Catherine Edmunds



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