Featured poet

Tony Roberts

Tony Roberts was born in the Wirral, where he spent the first five years of his life, and which he still regards as his spiritual home. Moving to the Home Counties, he spent ten years in a boarding school in Sussex.

As a graduate in Natural Sciences, he spent six years teaching chemistry. Following this, he trained as a doctor, spending the substantive part of his career working in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

Tony started writing poetry in 1985. In the last couple of years he has been a member of the local U3A writers’ group, and has developed an interest in writing short stories. He is also currently administering the FPAA poetry group and enjoys the fellowship and friendship of the group members.
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Tony talks about his poetry...

The seven poems appearing here constitute a ‘retrospective’. Each poem was written on a particular ‘bank and shoal of time’, and reflects the emotions felt and the ideas thought at that particular instant.

I have (hopefully) avoided the 'let-it-all-hang-out' confessional style of poetry; however, writing poetry (and some short stories) is an ongoing attempt to find a discreet narrative and a working-through of particular issues. As such, my poetry constitutes part of a personal manifesto and is more or less self-revealing.

There are no definitive answers: all the poetry is malleable and needs be seen as ‘work in progress’. Hopefully, as a poet, I am malleable and ‘work in progress’ too!

My only request is for readers to “Tread softly for you tread on my poems (and my dreams).”


The last temptation of Jesus

This poem is in exploration of some of the aspects of romantic love as might be experienced by a man who has achieved enlightenment. I have made allusion to Molly Bloom’s soliloquy from James Joyce’s Ulysses: “...and O that awful deepdown torrent O and the sea the sea crimson sometimes like fire.” I question where the boundary is between the secular and the sacred; indeed, is such a distinction meaningful?

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Warkton Village

This poem, written a number of years ago, eventually insisted on expressing itself in the form of a prayer. I also wish to thank the muse, with whom a brief encounter led to inspiration for this poem.

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Sleeping Beauty

Warning: this poem is shocking. And so it should be. I wrote Sleeping Beauty in 2006; sadly, things haven’t changed. Re-reading this poem nearly a decade later, I am reminded of the words of George Sand: “Humanity is outraged in me and with me. We must not dissimulate nor try to forget this indignation, which is one of the most passionate forms of love.

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Judgement Day

This poem is dedicated to the premise that love, in its various manifestations, is the ‘only game in town’. I have alluded to Plato’s Phaedrus with his celebration of a particular kind of madness, and his metaphor of the Charioteer. The phrase ‘beyond all reason’ in connection with love occurs in a particularly poignant passage in Iris Murdoch’s novel The Bell, about a call to love “…impetuously and devotedly and beyond all reason.

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For some we loved: on visiting the Key West AIDS Memorial

This poem is an attempt to find meaning in an overwhelming tragedy. The title is taken from Edward Fitzgerald’s Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam v. XXII:
For some we loved, the loveliest and the best
That from his Vintage rolling Time hath prest,
Have drunk their Cup a Round or two before,
And one by one crept silently to rest.
I have recently read Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning, which vindicates the need to find, and attempt to find, meaning in seemingly meaningless situations.

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Scattered Leaves

The poetic form the Cinquain was invented by Adelaide Crapsey (1878-1914), an American academic and poet. The distinctive feature of the Cinquain lies in the syllable count: 2-4-6-8-2. Some of these Cinquains are complete in themselves, others form part of a loose concatenation of ideas, awaiting extension or resolution in the future. This poem is certainly ‘work in progress’ (like life!).

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Before I Sleep

I wrote this in July 2006, and my sentiments have not changed. This is another poem written in the form of a prayer.

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