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Keith Jepson Poems – Shrewsbury 21/01/2021

The collection is available here…

With an interview with the BBC available on BBC Sounds @ approximately 7.15pm


1.The hollow man,

has shallow eyes,

gallows eyes, hung

in his head.

His face is fallow,

empty, sallow…grey.

Soon for the gallows,

forever hallowed.

KJ Aug 2018.


2.Wilfred’s Golden Meadow.

A wealth of golden buttercups, celebrated in spring sun.

Cattle lumber to Sabrina and slumber. Slow moving the raft of water filling hardened

hoof prints.

Wilfred walks from Spire to Iron Hill at a Swans pace.

He sits beneath an ancient oak at the town walls and memorises home.

English buttercup and Flanders poppy, burnt in his eyes. A mustard sting.

The soft leather of his childhood boots will become cracked and broken.

Following the giant meander…Wilfred sleeps in the long grass, entrenching himself in day-dreams…

the vanguard of poetry ready to go over the top!



3.TDF 2019.

Moving mass of muscle.

Chasing tricolores.

Like a line of stitches, through

a giant patchwork.



4.Plantation…March 2019

People bread…bred for another’s labour.

Blackamore, seeking refuge with the naturals.

People of the cash crop, whipped to bone and dust. Wiped.

Man of the book, enslaving in the pages.

The soul may not be owned, possessed or determined by the pale alien.

Milked flesh, expressed, opened like a peach…

Deep in the fields we smothered lives and cut away their history.

A blade cutting through land and time, like a blackened dead river.

Branded by the scarred in a scared plaintive land.

Tainted husk we are…empty.

A reckoning is coming, when the hunt is over, when the real value in the fields is


The dark cross stands above all.

Never go back.



  1. A & E.

The time wait.

Distant noises and feet shuffling…

Whistles, bells, pings…alarmed.

A waiting room of hopes and fears,

Automatic doors setting the pace at

Peters gate.

A place of devices, sucking time, all of

Us desperately looking for hope in the pixels

Of small screens.

A resolution place.

Waiting for your name to be called, waiting

For answers. Swift triage and then dead hot time, poised

To say it all again…while there is hope, there is light!

Darkness falls over my left eye, all those “rites of passage”


Life’s layers unfold and reveal another truth.


  1. Severn.


Set in collegiate skies, locked in the bend of the river.

September spiders invade the house, moving at the edge of

My vision.

Dark oil eye. Follow the twin spires from the Iron Hill.

Moon memory, a cold remote light leading the way.

Berwick cattle sit in wet meadow grass and walk from Welsh to English


Deep in Darwin’s seat the river evolves.

Sabrina of Roman old, cut’s through Wilfred’s golden meadow.

River requiem, sending forbidden texts down the flow as paper boats.

Current of fayres. Pengwern pools of light.

Welsh mountain sponge to western delta the Severn cascades, boring its way

To the sun.


  1. Sang Real


The constant flush of drains,

The blood of time remains.

The silent drip, suspended tackle

The cleat in my feet, on the floor

Of crackle.

A night of pieces, not peace, lost in the

Diseased bed, creased.

Home now walking, Salopian Hills,

No more blood…drains, fluids and pills!


  1. The Tower Block.

Tower syndrome,


Vertical sheep,

Fleeced of time.


  1. The Bread Boy – Jan 2020.


At this time of the morning, only the homeless

Are stirring.

Moving between alley ways and doorways. It’s the end

Of the moon, nights crust.

A town Fox keeps pace with my bicycle along the high street, then dives

Out of view. Yeast rises and with it, the delivery people, bringing

The dawn in parcels and crates.

The grains of life are seeded and presented in a tray, long before most are


9 bells and the bread boy is done. He is proven, baked and ready to rest…

Just as most people step into the day.



  1. Plastics. Sep 2019.

Plastics in my head.

Plastics in my bed.

Plastics…bled, shed!

Plastics in my lungs,

Plastics swallowed…


Plastics in my eyes.

Plastics in my cries.

Plastics in my meal.

Plastics are real.

We have dealt them…

Now we have to deal.




  1. Summit flags.

Torn, ravaged by the weather,

Streaming like the tails of bait fish.

Celebratory, primary colours.

High altitude, lofty flags,

Strung from Nepalese peaks to

Salopian roofs.

The roof of our worlds.

Lockdown flags, now silent…

Zig zagging, making the passing

Of Corona Kings!



  1. The Harvested Summer.


Splintered trees and spires.

Gentle skies and fires.

Clubs and teas and fellowship…

Warm rains and rose hip.

My Elvin Queen leads the vanguard,

Her land of the west, she protects…

Barren and scarred.

Husks and mocking black crows on

Mustard fields. Deepest black against

Mirrored shields.


  1. Bullet Rain.

Bullet rain, lightning blankets the sky.

A storm, large, Genevan green, nestled between

Jura and Alpes.

Nature stamping her feet…enough is enough!

Supersonic trasers, lightning stabs the sky, followed

By the rumble of giants stomachs…or Gods?

The browns of Summer thrashed and vanished by rain.

The smell of the storm in the air and then gone…all that is left

Is the dark void with dogs barking and alarms tripped.


  1. Return of the Covid King…Sep 2020

Silently standing in the corner of a house party.

Everyone scared to address him.

R-rate spiked. Piked in battle, now head on an r-rate spike.

His giant thrown occupied by the ruling six.

He’s an absent king. Ambient. Standing in the corner, ready with his silent

And mean inflection.

His impressionistic blue shadow falls on the room, then he departs with a gentle cough.


  1. We hide – Oct 2020.


We hide beneath the flag,

Behind prayers.

In the vestiges of memory,

We hide in the dusty corners of rooms,

Behind gilded fames and in the appiture

Of stars. Burning in my eyes. We hide in the leaf of books,

In the pulp of humanity.


16, Autumn leaves.

Collecting in corners.

ragged like old memories,

layers of mulch, time scattered

in the wind.

Black spot, burns cold, in ancient forests,

Those who have gone wait for us.

Time leaps forward now, as we sweep up the leaves

For the pyre.

Clouds gather in my vision, they colour the cornea winter


Branches reach for the sky, desperately seeking the last of the

Light and warmth.

The dormant gutters fill.

Autumns last kiss, caresses the leaves that still hang, a honey

Light glazes them.

Frosts silver jewels celebrate the dawn. Our ghosts settle in for winter, nestled

Next to our fires.

  1. Norfolk, 2020.


Deer trail, cloven beneath vast skies.

Corn husks discarded, distant blasts,

a symphony for the carrion pests.

A blanket of weather rumbles in. Fleet of foot,

leap ancient hedgerows. The boundaries of huge fields,

set in time.

A vale approaches, time is piped, rivulets of smoke fall into

footprints. A patchwork of prints lead the walkers way, back and forth,

time and space meaning nothing.

Half buried crosses, mossed like discarded millstones. Primeval water,

mixed, separated and mixed again, pushed to the surface and then sinking


All relics have their time in the sun.

Vast, like empty echoes, blasts send distant birds

to the wing. Deer and crow take flight, autumn husks pressed into the mud, following cloven

trails at dusk.

Water collects again in this dormant land…seeping, seeds spread in the boom of time.

Debris deployed in the air, causalities of a gulfstream storm. Miles and miles of buried, flat memory, piled up with

a tapestry of crusty fields.

The old grumpy man that is the North Sea batters sentinel cliffs. The plunging of time, generations stand on the beach. Tide,

pushing and pulling at your feet, dragging you into the memory of this place.


  1. The Towers.


The towers have fallen. Sulphur smell settling south.

A cloud of my fathers shadow, like dust. Time travels along the river,

as we turn the logs of the fire…to release the flame.

The stars of Benthall Wood, shrouded.

The Towers fold, like a giants bed spread.

Pawns sacrificed when their usefulness has gone.

Enormous artefacts, mausoleum of time, trapped on the river

course. The logs have slipped on the log pile and the foreboding pillars are

massaged into the water.


  1. September Sun, September 2019.


Low golden light, sun flair through dappled trees.

A crispness returns to the air, vegetation dies back and pathways are once again


The leaves are drying, different hues begin to appear. Plants curl in an autumn defence.

The last dust of summer is in the air. Empty husks of crop, thrown up in the growing wind.

Long shadows guard everything.

Summers muse begins her sleep.

Her beauty slumber, shrouded in a blanket of crest fallen leaves.

Walking through webs, the blinding orbs of Septembers spiders…blinking.

The harvest hour is upon us, chapel songs welcomes a new term of life.

The sun backed up behind growing clouds. The last of the dry leaves celebrated on the wind…wet and damp ones,

packed into corners waiting for the black spot…rot.

The season of migration settles in.


  1. Manso Solivera, Spain, July 2019.


In the mountains of haze, the Swallows held my gaze. Pure diving in the pools, mirrored surface for deep reflection.


Trees of grey and green cast shadows dark and clean, like a collage of Miro.

Delicate flowers host a raft, a chorus of insects. A floral theatre.

Diving in pools of clarity, where the only noise is that which you bring.

Mr white, the Wagtail passes by, bobbing his head. He’s following the knee knocking of Crickets…breathing their noise.

Cyprus trees sway on the coastal breeze, Bamboo stands to attention,

hiding the night creatures.

Ancient Olive trees echo stories, the memories made and told on hot pink terraces.

The lizard line, hunt the Moths of the lamp. Pesky flies bight the white, Northern European…night time the feeding time and

warm space for dark drinks.


  1. The Hollow Man Returns. Feb 22, 2019.


The hollow man,

lips recede and reveal the mask.

The vale of death returns and falls,

like an invite to a last gasp party.

Eyes sunken, looking for answers to the final

questions? The summer of youth, the rains of autumn and the

long days of winter.

The small kindnesses that happen behind hospital closed doors.

The last smiles of life washed through veins.

He’s braved much, path now paved.

Shaved…no longer craved. Debt paid, on life’s lathe.

The hollow man departs.


  1. The lone / loan tree.


The loan tree, money made…

only borrowed, never owned.

Man sat in its veiled shade,

never clothed, he is only bone!


  1. Loumarin, Luberon, France. July 2017.


Azure skies dissected by jet streams.

Silence beneath the pool water,

life’s noise drowned.

Afternoon mistral rattling sun baked tiles.

Salted corn and Rose in the shadow of ancient olives.

A chorus of Crickets breathing, celebrating the sun. Long

afternoon shadows pushed by the wind as forest fires,

rage to the south, pushing their way to the Med.

Layers of life lifted like the onion skins of market food.

Drawing in the cobbled shade, with the children in bear feet.

Lavender wafts in the breeze. Stems of strength, presenting

delicate flowers. Bee’s harvesting, collected by the fragrant wind.

Blue shutters like welcome impressionistic shadows, defying the celebrated


Hidden terraces where jumbled thoughts find some order, if only for a short time.

Tailed butterflies reflect the sun, while bobbing for water.

Spire like conifers, guard the villas like old and loyal soldiers. A cathedral tree holds court

in the garden. Nestled in the Luberon, we watch fire planes drop their red chemical payload…

on the tinder box forest. Dormant chimneys, hide lizards in the midday sun.


Loumarin…seat of revolution.

The colours and smells of market, triumph in the shade.

Terraced garden, recluse of the Vaclause

Immigrant Koi Carp mouth for air in ancient pool.

Cold, wide, spiral steps lead the way through the ages as music glides through the air.

From the Salon, Lutheron Artworks glare at the pilgrim!

White poplars stand like a wedding arch.

Pollarded trees, like measures of time. Cobbled streets reach the sky, cut from white, blinding stone.

Ventoux looms, sleeping like a giant diamond, hit by Temeraire light. Sun setting on an old place and time…as we dance among the flowers.


  1. An upside down town.



Bereft of love. Void, a vacuum…just distant memory.

Lingering, as we enter the long years of life.

Dwindling, time slipping away.

Rousseau’s dark Tiger eyes turning dull, opaque and tired.

The birds of our soul, migrated…we are in the last voyage…set…

like Puggy’s Temerarire…tugged toward a final sunset.


  1. Memory Prompts. 


The trinkets we keep, invested with memory.

Thoughts, wonderfully wild and incoherent.

Like a ghost horse, running across the sky,

Setting our monuments in the stars.


  1. Battlefield 1604.


Ancient sentinel oak. A raft of crows, black dancing

against stubble of gold.

Loves keen sting buried beneath fallowed field.

Shields, heralded, sunk in a cursed earth.

A vanguard of hedges, standing watch over the celebrated

and forgotten.

A youthful wind kissing the oak leaves. Trunk bleached in the sun. History

of nature and man, written in the tapestry of this field.

Husks on the dry Zephyr and liberty paid for

in blood.


  1. The spring ghost. – march 2018.


Meetings and partings.

That is the way of it.

Loves swiftness, deaths slow march.

Or Vice a versa.

The layers of life,

like Grandmas, best cake mix.


The dark eye,

spirits tread water.

the night watch, an Albion of men

They address the echo before the fire.


Hiding from the money chase.

Like the grinding of beans or the filtering of leaves

I am pressed.


  1. Life’s new phase. 2018.


So long it has slipped by, seamlessly.

Now it crashes through…the drip, drip, drip

injected swiftly.

Drugged and comfortable, sedentary but now coursing.

The generational leap has been taken, like time has been unleashed.

The speed stings, like the burning of inner cells.

An incorruptible mirror, it stares back at you, with a blinding truth.

Time squeezes the age out of us.


  1. Dartmouth…the Moon of Kingwear


Lines of sleeping boats rising on the lullaby tide.

A chorus of gulls fight on the wing for morsels.

Pastel palaces lined up like battle formations.

The hills plunge into a tidal dive.


Fisherman leave the habours nest, they must cast and pull and catch

with no rest.

Past the castle and out to sea, into my dreams they sail with me.

Golden light garnishes the sky, the masts salute on high.

The mariner searches for a hidden cove, his trove…where he lights a flotsam

and jetsam stove.

Mackerel fry by the 1000’s lie,

In golden pools, like natures jewels.

The waning moon peaks out, above azure sky, pink beneath

to the west it dies.

Water warm after a month of sun, dive down and become as one.


  1. The Girl Alone.


She is like pollarded branches with new growth reaching for the sun.

Fledgling bird on a wire.

Desperate, over-flowing, to scared to share.

Making the westerly walk alone. Bereft of the long years

looking for a friend in the sun.

Her own shadow has engulfed her…contaminated her.

An ancient sadness, silently waiting, patient as an Oyster.

Building, a slow burn attaches itself to her heart.

A purple cluster has latched onto her, a clot blotting her dreams.

They are still there, but she can’t see them, so she plummets.

We all carry this malice, this host of sadness, buried.

The veil falls, a flock of crows carry her away. “Remember me” they squeak.

The sky opens and her silhouette is lost in a sun flair. An empty Pan, like shadow remains,

separated from her, Not playful but still and silent.

This is memory. Residual memory, in time it becomes our ghosts.

The Girl Alone…


Lavender – Feb 2021.


French Lavender, ecclesiastical purple.

Worshipping in the cathedral sun.

A gentle pillow smell. Wafting on the mistral.

Sun spots, haze and heavenly gaze.

Crickets chatter, breathing at the knee, dust between

My toes as I nestle in their golden dirt.

Sitting in the shade of impressionistic, cool blue shadows.

Tracking the sun, falling behind warm Cezanne hills.

My thoughts, mirrored in the Azure.


  1. America the Grave. – Feb 2021.


America…I don’t get you, maybe I don’t have to?

Home of the brave, land of the free.

Chased to the grave in an ammunition spree.

Trying to out Trump each other!


A constitutional competition.

Democrat, Republican…black or White.

Does it matter, it’s the same fight.

Barracked, bunkered and barricaded on a Capitol Hill.

We all swallow the same pill.


Superbowl, 4 hours for 60 minutes sport,

America the Grave, missing on a Milk Quart.


  1. Left Eye Lost. Feb 2021.


½ Eye.

Eye drop stings, tinny taste in your mouth,

Like the licking of dried blood.

The cold drop falls, shock like broken ice.

A dark black bubble, coldly filling the retinal void.

Half dark eye.

Sucked into the pools of youth. An old wound, biding its time, then

Tearing through the fabric of the sun.


Lazy left side, filling in the blanks like crossword eyes.

My vision almost had it….now lost in a half clarity.

Eye split like a runny egg.

Stretched, ripped an empty orb filling with cold air.

Weeping, sleeping, my eye folds and slips under the blanket of


Veiled light at the eye edge, a vale of mirrors, signal flipped and lost.

Bumping doors and breaking cups, the comedy of the half dark.

Like a large black Raven permanently sat on my Shoulder, a mocking shadow…

Laughing at every trip, spill or dip.

Laser sharp, inverted stitch, lost eye lashes and an empty white cone.

Dye highlights the traces and tracks, mustard coloured, out of place and comical.

Time has caught up with my eye and dragged it scraping through grit.

Dark floaters now, teasing 50 % memory on the brightest days.

Bumping into things that I know are there, things that never move.

This is the ½ eye.


  1. Anger- Feb 2021.

Why so angry all the time?

Hot, guilty, like you have hidden a crime.

Rant and shame, bile rising, eyes aflame.


Trapped in your own space, bottled, devoid of your own grace.

Exploding, imploding, shouting at love ones, until they have gone.


Where are you now? …in a room all alone.


Trapped in your own thoughts…stripped by lighting in your own bones, a stranger

Now in your own home.


Prison, prisms and pillars of my mind

Columns of sand and blocks of ice for feet- contradictory.



Grinding my teeth, chewing my gums- fighting the tide, the pain of the numb.


What is left, seeded and set…only regret.



  1. The Shrewsbury Shutes – Feb 2021.


The Shrewsbury Shutes.

Monoprint dark alley ways,

Veins of coffee, milk and women.

Faded spaces of trade, compressed cobbles

Over-hung and leaned on by time.

Memory Mews, creases in the patchwork

Pavement, where layers of memory,

Form history.

Rites of passages, cutting and criss-crossing time.



  1. A little bit of what we love.


A little bit of what we love.

A small piece of chocolate, shared.

Dark drinks in the afternoon.

Tiny everyday kindnesses.

The seemingly insignificant gestures of eyes, hands and

At the corner of mouths.

Maturing moments, when you catch something of yourself in your

Children’s movement.

Happy prayers of health.


  1. Starling Lines.


Starling lines. Murmurations, ink blots mixing in the batique, barrier

Dark playful shapes. Mosaic breast colours, feathers reflecting in the sun,

Flickering and following the wind.

Formation, shaping from one playful perch to the next…Low in the sky, the full moon stares at the flock. It glares, cold…burning a hole in pockets like a new penny.

The birds promise change, a change in seasons, time and tides.


  1. The Ghost Dog Walker. March 2021.


The ghost dog walker. She silently moves through our neighbourhood.

Looping roads, gently dropping from curbs.

Lead, limp almost indiscernible. Between cars and sat in windows,

The long white face stares.

Slipping between street furniture like smoke.

Paws on pavement, claws long, moving too slowly now to clip them.

Tail drooping, eyes wet, nose dry and discoloured.

The ghost dog walker slips out again. Twice a day.


  1. The Severn Swan.


I’ll sing a song of the Severn Swan.

On Sabrina, there is time for every purpose. A time to leap, a time to sing.

A time to mourn and a time to sleep.

Wings boom as they trace the sun in the dawn landing.

A sitting sermon, the mother Swan waits warmly.

Her nest resting above high water, she knows the seasons, the pace, the time and tide,

She is the season. Marked, she is the monarch of the flow.

Sentinel of the river, its health marked by her whiteness.

Partner for life with the river, she guards her precious signet.

Graceful and stoic movement, she passes on her knowledge. White generational purity

Nestled in an ancient sand bank.

A timeless elegance, we should all copy.

I’ll sing a song of the Severn Swan






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