This blog contains nearly all the verse of mine that has been published. Well, all that I can lay hands on, which may be a good thing (in that it might have been more…) Even my fans (how are you both?) are unlikely to miss the stuff that got published in the school magazine or various college publications. (A grudging tip of the hat to Len Ford here, who actually dug up something published in the school magazine that I have no intention of reproducing here. That one actually won a competition: what were they thinking???) What is here is organized by publication, apart from the previously unpublished stuff, which I plan to build up in due course. But I’ll be a lot more discriminating about what I include in that section.

The blog theme photograph has nothing to do with The Charge of the Light Brigade. It was actually part of a medal ceremony in Wiltshire.

Here are the pages that link to the individual poems for each publication (or lack of it), though the same pages are accessible from the top menu on each page:

  • Chaff – a publication spearheaded by the London performance poet/songwriter Bernard Puckett
  • First Time – a small press run in Sussex by Josephine Austin, a considerable poet herself and organizer of the Hastings Poetry Festival
  • Suite in Four Flats (and a Maisonette) – a self-published collection
  • Survivor’s Poetry – contributions to two of the anthologies published by Survivor’s Press
  • Vertical Images – contributions to a long-running periodical published in North London
  • Unpublished – verses not submitted to or published in any publication to date. As far as I remember… I’m not going to be hunting for places to be published at my time of life – some would say I’ve been published quite enough for one lifetime – but since Small Blue-Green World was originally envisaged as including publishing services, maybe there will be some kind of publication at some point.
  • One or two of these pieces are also on my music site, by the way: David Harley’s Songs. Sometimes the distinction between poem and song lyric isn’t always clear. In my head, at least.

Here are a couple of my favourites: if you don’t like them, maybe you won’t like the others, either. 🙂


Well you did it, all by yourself:
you selected a particularly fine piece of elm
and sawed, planed, moulded, mitred, sanded and French-polished it
into an impeccable frame: then you climbed into it.

It’s no use at all
hanging there at eye-level
and waiting for me to smash the glass:
what makes you think this is an emergency?

What I will do for you
is leave the room
so that you can just

(Exit, singing:

“You always hurt the one you love…”


Or maybe “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the dumbest of them all?”  Published in “From Dark to Light” (Survivors’ Press 1992) and Chaff 3 (1986). Copyright remains with the author.

Photograph by David Harley (a manipulated street scene detail from Krems, Austria, May 2011).

Song of Chivalry

When M’Lord returned
To his sheets of silk
And his gentle lady
Of musk and milk

The minstrels sang
In the gallery
Their songs of slaughter
And chivalry

The rafters roared
With laughter and boasting
Beakers were raised and drained
In toasting

The heroes of Crécy
And Agincourt
Or the madness
Of some holy war

The hawk is at rest
On the gauntlet once more
Savage of eye
And bloody of claw

Famine and fever
Are all the yield
Of the burnt-out barns
And wasted fields

The sun grins coldly
Through the trees
The children shiver
The widows grieve

And beg their bread
At the monastery door
Tell me then
Who won the war?

David Harley, copyright 1986. Published in Vertical Images 2, 1987. Also on my song site, since it was always intended to be a song lyric rather than a stand-alone poem, and a tune finally turned up recently.

David Harley 
Small Blue-Green World

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