Torches and Sparks

Torches and Sparks: Responses to the poetry of the First World War is now available to order.

These writings, critical and poetic, have come during the years between 2014 and 2018 and mark a very specific time period, from when the centenary commemorations of the First World War began, to the present day.

Torches and Sparks full cover

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Piano’s Lament

Piano’s Lament

We spent years together, your knees tucked
into me; I in your lap.
We didn’t quite make the right noises,
so often in touch.

Your fingertips could make me sing;
and I made you sing.
We enjoyed that we annoyed the rest;
at Christmas let them in.

A decade of darkness as if light itself had left.
I was cold and mute,
gathering dust that muffled my broad heart,
slackened my strings,

until our strange reunion. Now we share the house.
You don’t come near
although your little ones do – I love it when they play,
its effect on you.


Sprouts, my first pamphlet of poetry, is now available to order.

Rebecca Goss says: Alexandra Davis takes a magnifying glass to familial encounters, describing what she sees there with an honest and unsentimental eye. Her poems explore the fragility of being human, recognising the affection and hurt we can inflict upon each other, but there is such wiseness here, such tender detail, it left me feeling I had read something affirming, and hopeful.

Sprouts by Alfie

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Perhaps it is the framing of the view,
the sharp clean edges of the window,
that reframes a point as art.

Curved tufts of uncut grass fringe
the greenish pond. This morning black
but heat and sun have catalysed

some underworld reaction –
all has thickened. Palette leaves,
like solar panels, tilt themselves up

and proud of the surface, their stalks
like the slender heels of wide green shoes
while there, nesting, a dinosaur egg, a bud.

Three years after digging, filling, planting,
three years of waiting, right now right there,
huge as an upturned pike’s mouth, basking in sun

unconcerned with the water snails, the scum,
the amniotic soup in which it sits.
This is no Monet lily. Soon it will roar.

National Writing Day, 21st June 2017 

In Remembrance

In Remembrance
of Edward Thomas who died on this day, 1917

Sitting in the Adlestrop bus shelter
the sky is cloudless, the sun warm.
It could almost be late June
but for the trees just coming into green,
white blossom falling in the breeze
that raises ghosts of dust from the road.

There are cars parked along grassy verges
and wordless birds clamour from hidden places.
Somewhere a horse signals its whinny.
A clouded yellow butterfly tints the air.
Fourteen Harleys rumble through the village;
bikers and hikers going on their ways.

The train, even on this Sunday, toots
once in the distance, nowhere near this sign –
the sign you noticed, noted down, caught.
And not a moment’s silence is observed
by nature, the magnolia’s heavy petals
dropping on the shining road.


from #NaPoWriMo @poetryschool Prompt 9


Grandad’s Names

Grandad’s Names

My mother, Brenda, is never Brenda
but Debbie-Bren, or Debbrenda.
Her younger sister is rarely Deborah;
she answers to Ellie-Debs and Edna.
My mother knows my aunt works harder,
but hates being mistaken by her father.

My cousin is hardly ever Eleanor:
Debbren-Ellie or Ed-Eleanor;
and, though I’m christened Alexandra,
I’m El-Alex and Brendebsedna.
My cousin says that I’m still the golden child
as we drink prosecco together.

We laugh, knowing too, that the golden ghost
in our grandad’s mind is Edna –
his wife, their mother, and our grandma.
None of us minds being Edna.


from #NaPoWriMo @poetryschool Prompt 3



This year I shall try to live with the seasons.
The earth lives effortlessly, knows its urges,
its limitations. The earth listens to itself,
its needs. It listens, heeds a patient voice;
Not yet, or Wait and see, as a grown-up
counsels a child, or inner child, or fool.
To trust in an unheard rhythm, while laid inert
by stones in pockets or slow, retreating sap,
is an act of faith. Yet slow green shoots come
even to the faithless; the stone may be moved
by heat beneath; colonies mobilise, synchronise.
Energy is constant: passed from heat, to movement,
to the brain. So fingers move, then make,
waking to their Spring, after long dark.


from #NaPoWriMo @poetryschool Prompt 1