Simon Potter’s award-winning poetry has been published in eight anthologies. It draws on the same startling imagination that surprises in his fiction, has mastery of form, from blank verse and sonnet to vers libre and haiku, and exhibits his usual control over word-choice and imagery.

“Dark Lines” is an extraordinary collection with themes as varied as demonic possession, abuse, OCD, punishment, adoration, compulsion, childhood whimsy, hauntings, ecology and black humour – what might be expected from the inchoate landscape of the worlds of dream and nightmare.


I marched under butterflies

with Snow White towards the Seven Frackers,

she with her placard: “Frack OFF!”

and her Friends of The Earth badge

mirrored exactly by her Prince’s.

In Ashdown Forest they

glowed with love and said,

‘Let us meet again and speak…’

‘….Oh! Oh….’

‘…of International Capitalism’s Rape

of the world.’

‘Yes, oh yes!’

I crouched with Ulanu

at the edge of the wilderness.

Hot, bewildered, we saw

the dark-grey gunboats nosing

past the wall of trees. Sometimes

a shell ventured into the canopy.

He sobbed, ‘Oh, our sweet land…’

I comforted him, lifting his

face so he could hear

the tiny ‘pop’ – just a little metal gun

squirting into Africa.

I see my own wrist

glowing under the sheet.

Just a strap of white where

my radioactivity protection

slipped on that awkward

night of sirens, leaping

gauges, vehicles tearing to

the coast, and 24 hour

TV news comfort phrases:

‘Acceptable limits’, ‘Under control’;

those government spokesmen being calm, calm.

On a Harley-Davidson motor-trike,

you don’t have to balance.

you sit up in the roar, noticing, relaxed.

Wow! That cat just made it to the

other side. What fragile limbs

that boy has; he waits and waits

with his toy scoot for the metal lava

to ebb for an instant so he

can cross. No chance caresses,

no swift smiles, no warm word –

just the enemy, girdled in plastic and fume –

and you, cynosure, apart from it.

Not many sparrows, not so many jaguars,

not many dragon-flies, not so many turtles –

yet all those new uncountable jelly-fish!

But they are alien to our plague of bipeds

on motor-trikes, glowing in the dark,

asking Africa’s forgiveness,

marching with Snow White

into the forests.


“Go on.”

Singing in the ocean wind

swept with gulls on blue, I bent

to find the sand parting

where the suck licks the weed.

Anti-volcanoes imploded into depths

and by my toes I saw a mouth.

It bit once, crunching

silica streaming over its abyss.

Then it closed and bubbles…..

“Thank you, Ms Carter, that’s very well put.

You have Oral Rage – more normal in men –

so you dream of things that eat.”

But the mouth, Doctor Samuda, was a human mouth

and rows of bright teeth snapped at me…..

“Hm. Go on.”

Far away down a tunnel my audience awaits.

between me and their faces are the down-path

of the stage and the drums.

Behind these I’ll have power as my sticks

batter skin that is safe to pound.

The cymbals are thunder clouds and

brass skies tingle rain notes.

You yearn for the drum stool. It’s like a car.

Pedals can be pushed to the floor.

The shiny drums are the men’s faces I hate,

the brother I love – like Karen Carpenter..…

“Thank you, Ms Carter, I’m most reassured.

You have Transferred Violence – more normal in apes –

so you dream of things that beat.”

Oh, the panic, Doctor Samuda, when I see the crowd.

They have upturned faces, yet my legs are lead

and I cannot reach the drums…..

“Aha. Go on.”

A porpoise in a cowl folds me snugly

into a japanned tin egg. Scissors frill

wings of flesh around my womb.

The albino with the tattooed tissue

where his eyes should be has a fist clutching

a banana which ends in a saw.

He is rasping the tongue from the flayed horse’s

carcass on the beach…..

“What are you doing, Ms Carter, with that knife?”

Ah, the knife, Doctor Samuda…..


Leonard’s stare shot up,

oh deep, deep into the

night sky over Tacoma.

To his right the Pleiades;

his left sucked in

that most gorgeous of

constellations – misty flame

a million light years across –

and all that was in between

was icy black.

Until that planetes, that

wandering light.

It took Leonard six seconds

to calculate something terrible:

it was growing and aimed at him!

A tiny instant beyond his

understanding of this – far too little

for his brain to command

neurons into avoidance –

it landed in his face.

Starting the size of a watermelon

out in the Van Allen belt,

the heat-defying iron was now

five centimetres across.

Leonard’s head, neck and chest

spurted into liquid so fast that

the patio awning was torn, and

a plastic chair tumbled over.

His meat-filled denims

stood alone in equipoise,

briefly Ozymandian,

until they tottered down

under the violent stars.


“The verse breathes; it’s alive. What an energy is here….it compels you to read on. Every word is poised: he has as fine an ear as any of the moderns.”

(Joe Winter)

ISBN: 978-1-9164295-3-6

Available from Witley Press Bookshop and Amazon (paperback £10, Kindle £5)



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