Derek Adams p.1

Derek Adams

Replacing The Glass

Brownie Six-20 camera model F

Coup de Foudre, Paris 1937

A newcomer to the Suffolk poetry scene, having moved here in 2013, I started attending Poetry Aloud in September 2014. I was born in London and lived in Essex for 25 years. I had been writing poetry since seeing Roger McGough and Brian Patten perform at a music gig in Walthamstow when I was 15, but it didn’t occur to me to show it to anyone until I joined the Southend Poetry group in 1986.

In 1999 I joined a poetry workshop led by Matthew Sweeney and Maurice Riordan at Morley Collage. From 2001 to 2004 I attended the late Michael Donaghy’s workshop at City University.

I have been helping organise the Essex Poetry Festival since 2001.

My first pamphlet Postcards to Olympus was published when it won the Poetry Monthly Book Award in 2004. My first collection ‘ EverydayObjects, Chance Remarks‘ was published by the Littoral Press in 2005. A second pamphletunconcerned but not indifferent: The life of Man Ray.was published by the Ninth Arrondissement Press in 2006, and I was fortunate to asked to take part in a launch reading at Shakespeare and Co. in Paris for this.

In 2014 I completed an MA in Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths College.

If all this hasn’t bored you, you can find out more at

Replacing the Glass

Using an old knife to spread putty like butter
along the window frame,
the oily aroma does that thing again;
conjures ‘White Lodge’ where
we spent two weeks each June,
the conservatory, glass replaced
after the last Winter storm.
We would sit in the evening
Granddad with his Guinness,
Mum with her Pyms
and me with a bottle of Fanta,
looking out across the sea,
watching the lights of ships
bound for Calais or Dover.
And on nights when the fog rolled in
listening to the beached whale cry
from the new lighthouse at Dungeness
as its fresnel lens swung round
its yellowed beam
spreading slowly like butter
along the window frame.

Copyright © 2015 Derek Adams
Replacing the Glass read by Derek Adams
Brownie Six-20 camera model F

Hold it like this says Dad
then hands me the box,
its light brown leatherette surface,
a thin skin, organic
alive to my fingertips.
He points to a deep ruby port hole
Turn the knob till a number appears
I do and it does.
Now look in here

and that is when it happens;
the small, convex, rectangular finder
is a magic prism, Alice’s looking glass
a window to frame another world:
turn chaos to order, select patterns,
define light and shadow.
And when you are ready press here
a dull click, that echoes in my head
as the final piece falls into place,
in my hands I have a Tardis
that traps light, space and time.

Copyright © 2015 Derek Adams
Brownie Six-20 camera model F read by Derek Adams
Coup de Foudre, Paris 1937
Roland '..felt as if he had been struck by lightning, the Surrealists' prized coup de foudre.'

Was it your eyes sparkle;
that defracting prism break
reflected on my retina,
impulses sparking morse
along the optic nerve,
moving my magneto brain,
spinning kaleidoscope thoughts
to set my pulse racing.

Or did immortal Eros fire
a quantum tipped arrow
into my heart, splitting
one of its atoms
releasing electrons and protons
bounding and rebounding
through a multiverse of possibles
each revolving round
your gravitational pull.

Or was it simply lightning
striking my head
sending positives and negatives
to trip synapses like a fuse board,
frizzing my hair and melting
my soles against the earth.

Copyright © 2016 Derek Adams
Coup de Foudre, Paris 1937 read by Derek Adams

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