WILD NATURE POETRY AWARD competition now open.

Carl Griffin lives in Swansea, South Wales.


He has written extensively on Welsh poetry and poets, in the form of reviews and essays.


Though born in Stockton-on-Tees, he has spent most of his life living in each of the Welsh cities, and these are the places that inspire many of his poems.    


The collection was a winner of the Geoff Stevens Memorial Poetry Prize.




138 x 216mm


44 pages


£8.99+ P&P UK


ISBN 978-1-912876-18-1


PUB: 29/11/2019










Throat of Hawthorn


Carl Griffin



Throat of Hawthorn is Carl Griffin’s first collection of poetry. It travels the borders between the Welsh land and the Channel; along the open lure of sea, its deceptive beaches; along the claustrophobic safety of housing estates, and the knowing woods around them. It travels, too, the storms on the borders, trying to see through them, and beyond.




Cathedral of the Heart


Built on swampy ground,

the cathedral on the coast soils

uneven architecture,

not in its drunken pillars,

but in who the bishop

might spy in the pews,

who is susceptible to its grace.


Some kneel at a centuries-old font,

or hymns quicken

their heart at the choir stall.

Students – among the cloisters

and murals – are drawn

to designing majesty

on this god scale.


One bearded group protect tomb chests,

armed with dowsing rods,

Geiger counters, cheering

at cold spots on the timber

ceiling of the nave, infrasound

and ball lightning metamorphosing

into ghosts of saints.  


When the organ plays

seemingly by itself,

each archetype interprets

what is proffered. Except

the uneven cathedral

which wavers and sways but,

even while surveying its own foundation,


remains open.






You have to kneel

with the animal

to uncover which world


between the dog barking

at everything

and the everything

being barked at.


Whatever wisdom’s worth

learning, you learn

from kneeling:

you were not made to rule;

you can’t whitewash fear

instilled in you

that one day you will not stand;


you are smaller

than you ever dreamed possible.

You can smell the dog,

hear half of what it knows.

Not everything you can’t discern

is otherworldly.




Even the Landlocked


Opposed to the algal body

of seaweed, its leafy ruse,

flotation organs, splash

of brackish water, I was born

with a throat of hawthorn


so wade this grass

for my voyage of the briny –

sail a landlubber’s

condensed vapour.

No one has drowned in dew.

Good Murder


Winding driveway flanked

by screens of shadowy hedge;

the garden a fair few acres

to get buried in;


dogs, named after herbs

or spices more subtle than Arsenic,

greeting guests with barking.

I ghost-write crime novels,


I tell our host, a passive-

resistant elderly Christian

who neglects to invite me

beyond her reception room.


A fireplace in lieu of a television

heats a settee

a wealthy relative

might never wake up on.


I mentally conjure

endless rooms and dodgy

light bulbs, the antique wardrobes

with only space for skeletons.


I love a good murder, I elaborate.

Our host pours the assembled

our hot drinks, her face filling

with steam: What’s a good murder?




Briny C


These ground rupture cracks

on upland Santa Clarita roads

are chipped thick enough to wedge

sardines in. Conceptualist van Elk’s


big bang is a brine-coated school

marking the rived road  

a landlocked seine or rocky weir

whose by-catch look to fool


as we drive to white oil

and the canyons. The ocean

is bursting through the concrete

and here leaks the first shoal


of pelagic fish in a sunlit zone.  

But we can’t swim in aromas.

There’s no sea without water,

no splash of expectancy in stone.




Son Rise, Son Set


Footslogging the crosswind beside a boy

young enough to walk without walking,

the man who no more functions that way


is counterbalance to the weaving glove,

scarf and stinging cheek; is fastener

of awkward jerking coats. Roads can’t move


but fathers move roads with numbed feet.

The boy, though not publicly arresting,

to the man is bewitchingly unique.


They walk while they quarrel, while they brood.

They hold hands, akin to liaisons.

The son’s carried to see the odd mile through.


Up to their necks in potholes, roadwork,

if what looms ahead is not glorious

sunlight you wouldn’t sense it in their walk.


They are man and boy. Son and father.

On roads or off, they walk in collaboration.

The river paves the fall paves the river.






Boys are playing

at the America-Mexico border

when their ball rebounds

over a neighbour’s wall.