Poetry is meant to be encountered through the ear as well as the eye. Events such as Testify, Chester’s latest Poetry Open Mic Night (where this photo was taken), is a great opportunity to listen to other poets’ work as well as contribute one’s own. You can find out more about Testify and its inspiring, founding poet Debz Butler here

I was delighted to win the Outstanding Poem Award in the April 2019 edition of Bucks Mills Poetry Magazine, with In His Element, which you can read here  Editor LK Merlynda Robinson, is based in North Devon, where her Bucks Mills Poetry Gallery Bookshop hosts weekly poetry readings – indoors and out! – as well as its own Maytime Poetry Festival. Find out more here  .


The sonnet below was Highly Commended in the Poetry Space Competition 2013, and is in the Competition Anthology – Words that Signify – anthology, as well as subsequently in The INFJ Anthology (See Books page). You can find out more about Poetry Space’s work as a platform for contemporary poetry  here .

Early Flowering

 The blossom frothed upon the grainy bough – 

A cherry tree cascading bloom on bloom   

to fete us to our grand new home down south.

Pink petals danced the sky outside my room,  

till flower-flakes, all flecked with rain, descended.   

Trampled to mash, deserting dust-green leaves,

their dizzy glory days, like ours, soon ended.   

Four seasons on. Redundancy. We moved.  

We’d pass by our old home with angled necks  

to spy the Porsche parked upon the drive.    

An exile from the garden space out back,

each May I’d miss that shell-pink splash of life  

and sit in pale remembrance of its splendour,  

in a house boxed in and bullied by leylandi.  

© Julia D McGuinness 

Poet and Writing Practitioner Bethany Rivers’ online poetry magazine As Above So Below  explores themes of spirituality. I’m delighted to have two poems included in the first two editions: Setting up and On Walking A Labyrinth Backwards respectively. 

Below is one of three poems published online by Clear Poetry , a site publishing a wide range of poets’ accessible new work. It was edited by UK-based poet Ben Banyard .

Chocolate for an Old Man

A slab of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk

glued to the roof of his mouth, his tongue

nudged it into sweet lava flow, slowly

lapped the tablet to the size of a pea.

An afternoon’s work. But no rush for one

who would now eat nothing but chocolate.

Cannot the dying dine as they please?


Acolytes bore chocolate tributes to his bed:

Soft-brown coins and creamy ingots;

mint-crisped, honey-combed, cocoa-bean created

oranges, cherries, leaves, bunnies, kittens. Hearts.

Crackling plastic trays stacked chocolates

that rolled like marbles in the hand,

warmed to matt, smudging bleached sheets.


In his dreams, Toblerone mountains coat-hangered the sky;

chocolate plantations stretched to the edge of the earth.

He grazed, gorged, no ration save time’s wrapper

round a body light as Aero, heavy with pain.


They gave him two days in August.

He died in December, legs Matchmaker thin,

taste of heaven already on his lips.

© Julia D McGuinness 

I am grateful to these further sites listed below, where more of my poems can be found:

Eightieth Birthday Blues  and  Not Muriel  at Amaryllis.

My Mother’s Emerald Ring  at Silver Birch Press. 

The Dressing   at Riggwelter. (Issue 8) 

Whose Hermes?  at Picaroon (Issue 14)

A Stoic at Birmingham New Street at Spilling Cocoa Over Martin Amis. 

Learning Classical Greek and At the Spa  at Nutshells and Nuggets. 

Chester’s Ship Gate at Ink, Sweat and Tears

  • About Julia


    From writing stories for my younger brother, to penning poems for the School Magazine and filling a growing pile of personal journals, the written word has always been part of my life’s journey.

    I started out as an English Teacher and subsequently retrained as a Counsellor. I have counselled in a GP Surgery and worked with various Employee Assistance Schemes and Charitable Trusts alongside seeing private clients.

    Although I have done some freelance journalism and written four non-fiction books, creative writing has become my main focus in recent years.

    My poems have appeared online on sites including Amaryllis, Silver Birch Press, Clear Poetry, Spilling Cocoa Over Martin Amis, Riggwelter and Ink,Sweat and Tears. I have been published in Curlew and Bucks Mill Magazine, and anthologised in Our Hearts Still Sing. My first poetry collection, Chester City Walls, came out in 2015.

    Read more about Julia
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