paper moon

A celebration of the work of all writers who have attended Half Moon workshops.

A Poem by Lissy, aged 5




It is winter.

Winter is a cold place.

I have been outside

with mummy’s friends

and my friends.

The snowdrops are covered

in a frosty dew.

Two poems by Sam Hunt



Blunt-axed limestone;

Swimming deeper than

ridged shadows.

Exposing bitter mustard undertones like

cold air meeting flushed cheeks,

Coming closer still.




Caves hide whispers of blusher

In mist across hills that could be mistaken

for a curve, mound made for teeth.

All this flesh

bites back with acid green.

If twigs bend too far;

They break.

When eyeliner curls in branches overhead,

It’s only a trick

of light.


A Poem by David Calcutt




The ground’s hard. Frost on the grass.

Both crack under  my boot

Taking the track to the top

And a long ridged back of sunlit milky mist horizon

Where ghosts of hills haunt their distances

And a stilled finger’s pressed against the lips.

The bank falls away

Steep drop to shadow and dark

Tangled woodland of bared nerves –

Each nerve a sharp thorn to stab out the eyes –

The ruined cottage

Your secret den.

Trapped woman of tree

Your soul is crooked

Twisted with curse

And your own bad medicine.

Light is trying to heal you

Revive the dead children curled in your arms

Those hidden songbirds.

You root down resistant in cloven rock.

My ears search for meaningful sounds

Only the cackle of your black lightning registers

That other language, the old chant.

The crow has stolen your voice.

I can do nothing to help.

Step back. Gaze

To where the sun lifts its weight

The fields steam

Land leans to its heat.


A Poem by Andy Delmege


Light Shed


Horizontal sun

crosses hills and quarries

on, over the light shed,

through trees onto dale

rolling into haze.

Here, at the top of the climb

in pause of looking

that question of inward

and outward journeys

echoes combine.

Winter dark

trudged out

Gift of light

at darkest time of year

that moment

something glimpsed for now

beckon deep

beauty cold severe.

Three poems by Penny Hewlett



At one point the river goes two ways,
a moment’s indecision stirring the flow;
a girl sculls among geese who move
with their protesting two-toned voice
loud in the air. The willows are shaved
overhead, smeared with first green;
blossom scatters along the muddy path,
the white noise of the weir hides
the roadsound, the half occluded sun
drops pale warmth into the day,
and for a moment there is not one thing
I would change.



You laughed, as babies do, smiled,
held up your arms, cried for food,
discomfort, pain.

You grew fat on milk, brown eyed
or blue, crawled, hauled upright.
You had names.

Along the church wall in stale beds:
last year’s rhodedendrons, where no
other flowers range.

In the graveyard, words inscribed
on stone slabs are masked by lichen’s
green-white stains.

Now unremembered, surely you
are more than just a footnote
over your remains.



A grubby sign says ‘Ferry, 50p’,
beside a slipway across the river
where the path turns to the theatre,
or bears away to Holy Trinity.

There is no boat moored here;
it is a ghost, a memory, like the green
grass circle over last year’s fairy ring,
a thought of how things disappear

in our own lifetimes, how they drift
into museums, local library collections,
old folks’ unheard recollections,
gone like unwanted birthday gifts.

Maybe the chain’s still there, unmarked,
like lovers’ initials carved in bark.


A Poem by Ray




a tree

once mighty, strength it’s best virtue


supine and helpless

lying in drunken confusion

brought low by elements

genus anatidae cruise by unconcerned

another fallen leviathan

it does little harm

in its final bedclothes

broken branches

mouldy duck feathers

and castaway banana skins

A Poem by Anna Maris


Willow’s a solitary goose

casting her curtains far and wide against a tide of objections not seeing the jewels in her curtained mystery

can love really lie bleeding into darkened pools and ripple tickles concentric move

without thoughts being pushed far abroad through winding streets

and far away arches

and gates



a bleeding far cry and a promise of a stop


A Poem by Saba




The barbed sun shines

stars from within the clutch

of mud; I stick angels,

like time in the glue of moss,

green heavens on bark.

I come unstuck;

the rough persuasion

of waters that flow both ways.

Sun and Moon. Sun and Moon.

Maybe you’re scared of boats?

Courage! A free night,

of mooring amongst

the power of leaning

and this place of trusting;

we shall not fail.


A Poem by Peter Cox


Blue Pig Farmers.


We met in Coalbrookdale

To walk for inspiration

And off we went.

Oh Wow!

Those steps,

The incline,

Enough to tire the youngest limbs.

And yet I made it

Though lungs and knees

Cried mercy.

And yet I made it

To compare my fatigue,

For there was some respite,

To that suffered

By workers

In those early years

For whom a rest

Was governed

By another.


A Poem by Charles Worth


War Memorial, Coalbrookdale


Down the dale from the foundry

past the iron master’s house

at the  corner of Paradise

stands the  war memorial

recording on black iron panels

the Davies brothers and the Millwards,

both the Owens, through the roll call

to Ward, Watson, Webb, Whitehead,

Wilde, Wilkes, Wilton, Wright and Yapp,

lest we forget,

killed by mud and patriotism

and iron.



A Poem by Steve Harrison


Poem for the Darbys  of Ironbridge…

You filled the quiet Coalbrookdale valley with spluttering steam and pumping engines

And a million kitchens with precious iron pots and clanking pans..

And puzzled  my imagination with cartoon cannibal cauldrons..taken in trows down a wintry Severn

To cannibal cartoon capers..

And you probably invented rust  along the way.

You changed the world  to Coke and hooked on  a single element made the first iron structure

To hang its own see through banner on,

The coracle underneath wobbled under a stolen sky..

I wonder what fires light your furnaces to start that vertical steel stretch upwards to scrape the sky.

And as the school parties attracted like iron filings around your magnetic bridge,

Is there another material to set the world on fire..but be careful young Darby :

As the D and T GCSE syllabus clearly states.

‘Must use a variety of materials ‘ and your obsession with a single element,

Despite  creating  a structural paradigm that would last..

In today’s schools iron-rigid system,

I’m  afraid young Darby, you haven’t passed.

A Poem by Nadia Kingsley


To see what is front of ones nose needs a constant struggle


above Ironbridge

where  cast-iron pillars were dragged


from Master Reynolds’ furnace

and from that fire

fumes and dust

formed into a long-gone rotunda

I look down

to the now clear river Severn

breathe in aromas

of pollen and fresh green

hear the er-teach er-teach er-teach of great tits

and try to imagine that hellish age


a  motorcyclist screams

through gears that pierce

my pastoral bubble

to expose

the ever-present road drone

flaunt pollution

and remind me of Orwell’s words

which make me swear

that nothing changes unless I do so.


If you wish to submit to Paper Moon, please send your poem with the date and location of the workshop you attended to


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