Michael Curtis grew up in Liverpool, attended Oxford and Sheffield universities, and has worked in library and cultural services and events management, including international poetry tours. He lives in Kent. He is widely published in magazines and anthologies and has given readings and workshops in England, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Belgium, France, Finland, Germany, Latvia, and the UN Buffer Zone, Cyprus.


He was Writer in Residence for the Arts Council, England Great Expectations conference, the Metropole Arts Centre, Folkestone, the Maison de Poesie, Nord/Pas de Calais in France, and the Writers and Translators House, Ventspils, Latvia. His work has been studied and translated at the Universities of Liege, Bucharest and the Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich and broadcast on radio in England, Ireland, Romania and Latvia. He has also assisted in translation from French, Finnish and Latvian.


His tenth poetry collection, In the Affirmative, was published in 2008 by Redbeck Press, Walking Water, an English/French sequence by Editions des Vanneux, appeared in 2009 and Melnais suns, Latvian translations of his poetry and prose was published in 2010.  Horizon, a collection of poems set on the Isle of Man, was launched at the first Manx Litfest in 2012 and his previous collection, The Fire in Me Now, was published by Cultured Llama in 2014.    

Michael Curtis


Lullaby Days


ISBN 978-1-909357-87-7


Indigo Dreams Publishing




138 x 216mm


34 pages


£6.00 + P&P UK


PUB: August 2015












When did this happen?


I lived for departure, travelled

in front of myself, anticipation

personified. Fantasies ran ahead

and if I didn’t catch up, so what?

Another twist of fate waited

round the next corner. But now!


How do I look forward if you’re

left behind, dragging my feet

till they home straight back again?

Why take off, fly to faraway heat

on high ambition when I’d rather

make a sideways move and plateau

my career right here, with you?






but you’re in a different place

whole being doing what you are doing

yet to know the meaning of distraction


so you dismiss attempts by daddy

to put a card in your hand, flick it away

and insist on the book you’re studying


after all you’ve just learned to walk, soon

you will talk, and such things demand

a man’s full attention


but then you notice a face looking down

and, on the instant, drop everything

to bring your world to us  


smile with all your new teeth

bob your head from side to side

wave both hands and touch the screen


to wish me the happiest of birthdays

anyone could believe -

intently, visibly, incomparably.






I’ll be here to hold your hand

along the sunset beach, share it

to the furthest reach where rocks wait

for the tide to return.


I’ll even join the bunch

around the ice cream van, loom up

above bubbling children, a small talisman

tugging on my arm.


On these and such occasions

we’ll let your fingers settle

into mine, interlocking

warm familiar palms


as we walk back to the bench

where they’ll sit talking

about times past, passers-by,

what has changed and what’s the same


and we’ll take time to perfect the skills

of single-handed cone rotation

and sideways licking, my

dextrous apprentice, before the sun


goes down and colours slip

across the melting sky

and you and I make our goodbyes

with suddenly colder hands.



An invisible signal

carries your laughter

across the planet


brings another world

to radiate ours,

a megahertz first sight


mapped by Shamala

and scanning global.

Your centimetred height


sleeps horizontal

snug between the rafters

of your mother’s heart


astonishes by detail –

real face, real shoulder

briefly bathed in light


quite oblivious to all

the pencilled-in hereafters

your dimensions start


in us outside, where

waves of unconditional

receiving love wait.






Now I know why the house was waiting

how space is found to fit you in

why the kitchen shifts to take your chair

and curtains meet to let you sleep

why the toys tumble the carpet to play

how games grow new rules every day

why the bath delights in lengths you swim

and music dances to your rocking rhythm

why horses whinny to be fed by hand

how sheep disperse at your command

why books open themselves unstintingly

and smiles invent new faces for me

why the body learns tricks overnight

and the world agrees to put things right.






on your bicycle of air you smile

and ascend from the sprung floor

towards your next sporting pinnacle,

tip momentarily, regain your grip

between gasps and laughter,

change down a gear, rise giddily  

on the coffee table crossbar, rear

back to show off your best wheelie,

free the brake, bounce the tyres,

stabilise, steer a bevelled circuit till,

suddenly perfecting circling steps,

you learn to pedal light, and, all

momentum, ring an unstoppable bell

round velodromes of cambered laps.

Lullaby Days evokes the relationship between a grandfather and his new grandson. It describes the impact of a new life, its promise of altered futures, and its reshaping of time past. Most of all, it recognises the shift from looking back to looking forward and how the arrival of a child can engender the growth of love.










And now you ascend the steps

to the high board, white rails

slide through easy palms,

feet barely touch the metal


until you reach the summit,

stride to the giddy edge

of open futures, rise on toes,

spring effortlessly into air


dive, accommodate time

and enter a year of wonders

with the slightest ripple, dip

under, emerge to bathe in light


as our admiration echoes

round the chambers of your heart.  






The drum of your ear beats

a rhythm for my heart. Arms

fold supplication. Your heat

blankets my chest, begs

questions of love – limits

we’ll never touch. Legs ascend

to circle me as small alarms

rock the cradle of your spine.


Fingers clench, chord dreams

for orchestras to rehearse

under spotlight stars. Driven

forward, each day discovers

continents, crosses oceans.


I sit at your perfect feet

Untitled 3amend Curtis