From cargoes to wasteland.

The first poem that ever really grabbed me was Cargoes by John Masefield, I was about 7 years old. I think my dad could recite it off by heart and it sounded so delicious, the words were so lyrical and dripped off the page like honey and then there was the dirty British coaster and it made me so proud to be a northerner, whilst we didn’t have the opulence of the Orient, we played an important role in the world. This was when I started to write poetry but I struggled for a while as I preferred to write poems that didn’t rhyme and I didn’t know anything about structure either and had no-one to teach me.

As a teen I moved into the realms of The Wasteland and had a wonderful teacher who made the Thames maidens come alive- I can still hear the Weialala leia- and loved the references and the voices, the languages, and the tempo and timbre changes. I discovered Sylvia Plath and devoured Ted Hughes, he lived in Heptonstall for a while and I used to play there at the whit walks with the Brass Band and walk down the steep cobblestones playing my trombone. Then I stopped writing and only really started again in November 2016 as my 50th birthday present to myself, and I discovered d’Verse. I love the challenge and the words and the learning and the community. It has been a wonderful voyage of rediscovery and I love giving a voice to the past, then the stories can live on.

Winter storm

We take to the road

Spring’s adrift.

©Alison jean Hankinson

This is for d’Verse where we have been asked by Toni to explore where our inner poet was inspired and nurtured.


Dystopian grey….

It was a very grey holiday, there were some bits of bright blue sky and sunlight reflecting on the freshly fallen snow but the background theme and feeling was a dreary dismal dullness of the darkness felt too long,  and the sludge and slush of snow left to linger after a cold and brilliant winter.

We went to Leith -one of my dad’s favourite songs is sunshine on Leith by the Proclaimers and I wrote about it once in They Sing For Him. So we took a winter trip to see the sunshine in Leith. It is a suburb of Edinburgh on the coast and this is what mesmerised me most, the fact that it was on the coast. I had been to Edinburgh several times to the Castle and the sights and never really thought of it as being coastal. The architecture was grey and mesmerising, It was like waking up in a different time and a different place, a truly dystopian setting. It had its own unique beauty.

Shapeshifter sky

Solitary crocus speaks

Winter’s dirge recedes.

©Alison Jean Hankinson.

The Proclaimers version

2016 cup final version

Chortle- been away too long- forgot to add the link. This is for d’Verse haibun Monday. Love to all.



Refreshed and rejuvenated.

I took a short break from writing as it was important to regroup, reflect and re-energise. I return now for the onset of spring hopefully refreshed and rejuvenated.

It seems as if the world has gone mad in recent months, and I am not sure that at 51 my life has followed the path that seemed inevitable or appropriate. I do know that at 51 in the UK wisdom and experience count for very little in the current cut and thrust of an austere economic climate. I find myself overqualified and overlooked for less complex jobs and career options and “too expensive” in my own line of work. We were led to believe that if we worked hard and demonstrated dedication loyalty and good work ethic it would lead to justified rewards this appears not to be the case after the age of 50.

Anyway enough whingeing. I must cart on. I must continue to believe that somewhere someone will give me a break and continue to be thankful for the understanding and support of my two current employers for giving me the opportunity to contribute in a productive and meaningful way.

I did need to take a break though, and I have done jigsaw puzzles, walked briskly, read a book, played scrabble and gone for a winter wander in our little caravan. I return to find the crocuses blossoming and the fresh scent of spring on the doorstep. Life continues to astound in its ability to restore order through and after chaos. There is a natural order that somehow continues to exist, first there are the snowdrops, then the daffodils and crocuses, soon it will be the cherry blossom and the tulips.

Onward and upward. Tally-ho.


©Alison Jean Hankinson

New Year rises

It was a turbulent week just like the weather. We saw the wolf moon shining bright in the New Year sky and it brought tidal wrath to the coastline. There were forecast to be High tides and they arrived at the same time as storm Eleanor. Around Cumbria and the Furness peninsula storm surge brought debris and made some of the roads impassable.

As we return to work and tried to re-establish the pre-Christmas normalcy in patterns of life and leisure we know with certainty that we are walking forwards into a turbulent future likely to match the week and mayhem of the wonderful wolf moon. Two supermoons this month, I wonder what the next one will bring.

High tide storm rising

Whispers of windswept dreams fly

New Year, wolf moon chides.


©Alison Jean Hankinson

This is for d’Verse haibun monday.

Whilst I am here this is the wonderful d’Verse anthology that has recently been published and is available to purchase on Amazon.

  1. Chiaroscuro – Darkness and Light, dVerse Anthology, 2017.

This is a collaborative project between the dVerse poets and dVerse team.   Over 100 poets from around the world contributed to this anthology.   We selected not only the best poems but also those poems that take the reader through a journey from the darkest places to the brightest. From the deepest sorrow into happiness and love. From the darkest streets to woods in spring. Come enjoy our journey.

Now available at Amazon North America and Amazon Europe.

Ode to the town hall clock.

The town hall clock, hands of time

Counting the minutes, measuring the moments

Of our paltry lives.


We don’t look up enough

Sometimes we don’t see beyond our own story

Yet still the hands move round.


That same clock struck 11, sixteen years ago.

Same minute, same location, same season.

The leaves fell to the ground in remembrance.


Synchronicity in those hands

You were so small then in your red coat.

Time stood still for that one moment.


I captured your essence in early digital perfection.

The father, the child, the moment

Beneath the town hall clock, the hands that never stop.


©Alison Jean Hankinson

This is for d’Verse. It is my ode to the town hall clock which seems visible from just about everywhere in Lancaster. The theme and timing is appropriate as it will be Remembrance weekend. The feature image was taken after the service in 2001 where ironically my husband was in the remembrance parade before he became a veteran of war.






Shades of 50.

It is done, my fiftieth birthday year finally gone

Kicked the ass out of that, had a bit of fun

Moved house and home,

And now it is done.

Heartaches and happiness all in one.

What a year, glad to move on to 51.


© Alison Jean Hankinson

this is a bit cheesy but all I could muster for this week’s Quadrille at d’Verse. I celebrated my fiftieth birthday in hospital and it has been a roller-coaster of a year and I think some of the biggest dips were in the last week, so I was a bit quiet….So tomorrow I start a new day, and a new year… and I will be 51.

I miss my Ellen though and would love to have her home with me. XXXX

The Eve of Samhain.

I am crone, blackened, old bones creaking, hear me cackle,

Worldy wise, decrepit and dried-out hag

At Samhain Eve, edge of darkness.

Bring back to me immortality and the light of life.


I am curdling cauldron, spewing orange bile, seething vileness

Cosmic container, holy grail to the gods

I welcome Samhain, edge of darkness

As the sun sets, I descend into darkness, and my transformation begins.


Reborn, I am acorn, I am apple- five pointed star, pentagram

Wise woman, sentinel of soulful strength.

I rejoice at Samhain, beyond the edge of darkness

As day breaks I brush away fear with my birch besom.


It is a new day, new year, a new life.


©Alison Jean Hankinson

This is for d’Verse where the theme was monsters….I haven’t really got anything in me on monsters….so this is a tale from a witch.

I am away from home, I went out in the dark to collect some acorns for my photo, but the internet is a little weak here and they won’t load….so call back later and they might be here. I saw a tiny little mouse whilst I was out but hadn’t got my camera with me.

Acorns were seen as an amulet…it is seen as strong and protective, they only appear on mature trees and they are a symbol of perseverance and fertility.