Valerie Morton was born in London, grew up in Kent and now lives by the River Lea in Hertfordshire.


Her love of poetry was triggered at an early age when her mother would recite poetry as a reward for her children finishing their homework.


Valerie cannot remember a time when she didn't write but family life took most of her time until a passion for poetry was revived about ten years ago. Since then she has been published in a number of magazines, online and has won and been placed in several poetry competitions.  


In 2011 she completed an OU degree which included creative writing and since then has run a CW workshop with a mental health charity.


Valerie is a member of Ver Poets.  Her first colliection, Mango Tree was published by Indigo Dreams in 2013.





ISBN 978-1-910834-02-2


Indigo Dreams Publishing




138 x 216mm


62 pages


£7.99 + P&P














More often now

I get the urge

to break down again;

to sit on the verge

of that motorway in Kent,

your oily prints

turning my white dress

into a finger painting,

hoping the rescuers

will take their time

to move us on.






She stood in the husk of the house,

its moss filled corners

a home for swallows that swooped

on her intrusion. And pigeons

whose spatter-trail she followed

where the land agent said

it wasn't safe to go. She went –

nothing could be worse


than where she'd come from.


The crippled staircase

wanted her, invited every step;

rewarded her with room to stand,

to turn round and see

bent heads grazing by the river

that snaked alongside the track

where she could watch the children

riding home for tea.






You've left me too much room.  

I go there wrapped  

in blankets to find you’ve been


before me, dropping a sock

in the corner

and adding your own touches


to the decor – a photograph you loved,  

smoothed on the wall,

a stick you liked the shape of propped


against the table in the hall.

And you’ve been eating here –

your crumbs stick to my feet.  


I should move on but stay,

tossing and turning

until I open my eyes to see


you’ve hung the blankets out to air,

and I lie naked –

watching them sway in the breeze.

1945 in Black and White


If I could slide into that snapshot

I'd sense the shadow between them;

a distance of disappointments –

I'd feel the rapid heartbeat


of my little brother stealing glances

from behind Mother's skirt, and me

with ribboned bunches crouched

by the open back door, fearful


of the stiff form, the tight lips –

this is not the father who went away.  

Perhaps we'd become numb

huddled for years in the cellar


but the camera had caught us

unawares – his midnight banging

on the door, khaki uniform soaked –

the longed-for welcome ruined


by our hollow response.




You'll have to go outside; your father's in the bath


Only need took me

through the green door, away

from the apple-pie kitchen

to a porch trellised by spiders.


Goosebumps rose on my skin

and mice scattered under

the wavering light of my torch.

Stray cats tapped across the roof


and from the coal-hole

came faint echoes of men

buried in airless places,

as lamps faded on sooted


faces. What I dreaded most

was the chain, its grab-handle

like a hanged man swinging

in the draught, snaring


my feet in shadows

on a cold floor, banging

on hollow walls like Marley's

ghost pleading to be set free.  






A pink umbrella floats

over Trafalgar Square,


its parrot-beak handle

pecking the Admiral’s hat.


The wind keeps

it high, safe


from bemused lions

on stone pedestals.


I imagine, as it kites  

over parliament and palaces,


that it matches a shiny

fuchsia raincoat worn


by a lady near

the fountain, who let go


and lost it when she caught

her lover kissing another.

Handprints is a powerful testament to

inter-connection and lasting legacy of family and friendships and how the prints of such  relationships are an ever-present reminder of who we are and the marks we leave on the lives of others.





"These skilful and thoughtful poems are expertly-taken snapshots from the poet's life: love, longing, jealousy, loss, all combustibly bound up in her psyche. An umbrella flies through the Trafalgar Square air, the handle pecks Nelson’s hat, but what Valerie Morton sees is the jilted lover that let it go. These little incidents and images are rarely explained, so they have a special, extra force. This might be the writer’s life. By the end of Handprints it will be yours as well."

Bill Greenwell


"Valerie Morton brings us enduring memories of family life and friendships, parents and grandparents now gone. She illuminates the legacy of war and the intimate spell of love, romance and birth. This collection, both wise and beautiful, mourns the passing of time whilst showing how it gifts us the space to remember and reassess the past's indelible handprints."

Karen Dennison





an exquisite architect


through the window


across our borders

and creates

a beaded shanty home

hung with dew.


But you shudder,

at such

perfect cunning,


the casement

on my rapture

and just like that

blow it away.






I came across my broken heart

under a dust-coated box

finger-scrawled with your name.


Untouched for twenty years

it shocks with its hardness,

its corkscrew shape and colour –


grey with the decay of wasted time.

Only now can I touch it, run

my fingers over its shrivelled


surface, feel a rhythmic pulse flutter

through each tiny capillary,

echoing long-forgotten music.





The Northern Line


Even now I forget

that north is the way home.


I still linger in between,

fingers folded in yours,

warm against the cold

of the empty platform.


And for a while it seems

anything is possible,

until the oncoming rush

of metallic air cuts us apart.

Handprints web