This blog's poems are from my published poetry book Star Steeds and Other Dreams: The Collected Poems (CFZ Press: Bideford, 2009) and are © Dr Karl P.N. Shuker, 2009. Except for author-credited review purposes, it is strictly forbidden to reproduce any of these poems elsewhere, either in part or in entirety, by any means, without my written permission.

How to purchase Star Steeds and Other Dreams

If you wish to buy this book, which is 230 pages long and is ISBN 978-1-905723-40-9, it is readily available online from its publisher, CFZ Press of Bideford, Devon, UK at and also from such major literary websites as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, W H Smith, and sellers on AbeBooks to name but a few. You can also purchase a signed copy directly from me, the author - please email me at for full details.

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Sunday 1 April 2018


Five years have gone by since the passing of my dear mother, Mary Shuker. Sometimes it seems like only moments ago, other times an eternity, a different life in a different world. How I miss you Mom, how I love you and wish with all my heart that you were still here with me, sharing my life, making it worth living again, a real life instead of a sham existence.


Five years ago today, Mom, you left my life, you left this world – and my life, my world, was left lifeless, worldless, without you. So it remains today, and so it will always remain, until we are together once more, all of us, our family, reunited at last and forever. Friends tell me that you have never left me, that you are still here, all about me, always. I am reminded by their words of other words - those attributed to Hakim Sanai, a 12th-Century Persian poet:

Unable to perceive the shape of you,
I find you all around me.
Your presence fills my eyes with your love,
It humbles my heart,
For you are everywhere.

How I wish, how I hope, how I pray that this is so, and, above all else, that even if only once ever, but at least just once, I could know this for certain, beyond any doubt, beyond any shadow or whisper or flicker of hesitation, know that you were indeed here still, filling my soul with your love that was always there for me when you lived beside me in my life, when you walked with me in my world.

Then again, perhaps it is a test, a test of faith - just like Orpheus faced when walking out of the Underworld in the fervent hope that his deceased bride Eurydice was indeed following behind him, but Orpheus failed to win her back when he finally gave in to the temptation of doubt and looked behind him to make sure that she really was there, and, in so doing, lost her a second time, and this time for all time. Perhaps my test is to draw upon and have faith in my memories of your love for me, upon my certain knowledge that as long as you are in any way able to stay close by, you will indeed do so, never leaving or abandoning me, but instead always here for me, watching over me, guiding me as ever, until my own time here is complete - and that as long as I believe this to be so, so shall it be. Only if my mortal doubts overcome me will I lose you here again, a second time, Mom.

So, on this day, of all days, I must overcome any doubts, any fears, and for all time, because I will not lose you again - never! - and henceforth I will continue, in whatever role God intends for me here on His Earth, until in His mercy I am finally at peace and at last restored to you, to all of us, in His Heaven, never more to be parted.

God bless you, Mom, may I always be worthy of you, as the son you loved so much when you lived beside me in this world, and as the son whose love for you lives on in this world, and always will do, through all the days of my own life here, however many or few those may be.

My mother Mary Shuker (© Dr Karl Shuker)

Wednesday 14 March 2018


For some, depression is a Black Dog that pads resolutely alongside them, a hound of shadow and sorrow relentlessly stalking their steps, unable to be shaken off or shooed away. For me, it is a Lady, a Lady of Dark Despair, whose great wings enfold me unexpectedly in their terrible shadows of doom and doubt.


My Lady of Dark Despair, why have you encompassed me once more
With your black-plumed wings of grim shadow and spirit-numbing gloom,
Their enveloping, all-embracing pinions of cool ebony extinguishing all light from my life,
All wisdom from my world, all memory from my mind, all salvation from my soul?

I feel your icy tears like disconsolate, dispassionate dewfall,
Trickling ever deeper into the warm, sunlit sanctuary of my heart,
To freeze it in crystalline cemetery night-chill,
Until its very beating seem stilled and silent.

Am I as pale, as pellucid now, as your own pallid complexion and reflection,
As isolated, as insular, as the sorrowful realm in which you reign supreme,
Alone, apart, aloof from the mortals whom you torment with your denying of hopes,
Your destruction of dreams, your despoiling of memories?

Or will I find the strength within my being to dismiss your dread visage,
To discount your intrusive murmurs of doubt, to disdain your grey forebodings of doom,
And turn away from your darkness, from the sadness that your presence imbues,
And step back into the laughter and the light of the world once more,

Where the sun still shines, the moon still shimmers, the stars still sparkle,
And my soul awakens anew, renewed and restored,
Raised up once more upon the bright wings of recalled, recollected, resurrected Hope,
To greet a new day's golden dawning, with all of its wonders awaiting me there?

Friday 13 October 2017



I have always been fascinated by the flamboyant beauty of a peacock's train, each feather proffering a veritable eye gazing down upon an adoring, venerating audience – an audience that equally would worship and has indeed worshipped in awe the aloof but ever-seductive entity of mystery and midnight that peruses the world through the golden eyes of a cat.
So when I encountered online this spectacular photo-manipulated composite of the pavonine and the feline reproduced here, what else could I do but compose a paean of praise in poetry to its esoteric extravagance?


The peacock cat purrs softly amid the fire of the firmament,
Its burnished plumes glowing and gleaming in blazing beauty
As its glorious train sweeps downward to trace across the face of the world.

Each eye, every ocellus, gazing forth from the splendour of its emerald feathers,
Peers with timeless stillness and silence upon the lands beneath,
All-knowing, all-seeing, all-dreaming, all-being.

The lands receive its hues, its light, its shades, and its shadows –
Multicoloured, varicoloured, parti-coloured, many-coloured.
A kaleidoscope of ever-shifting, ever-shaping patterns embellishing our world.

Life surges, satiated, inebriated, by polychromatic potions and elixirs
Cascading in torrents of tinctures from the prismatic palette of its exquisite soul,
As its train lies settled awhile, an ever-watchful extension of its feline being.

And then the peacock cat moves on, withdrawing its divine train of turquoise and topaz,
Of sapphire and sardonyx, carmine and cochineal, agate and amber,
Ultramarine, aquamarine, cobalt and emerald, drawn out and away from our world.

And what is left? No colour, no light, no subtle hues or vivid vibrancy.
Look around at all that is gone, all that is lifeless, listless, and lost,
Our grandiose achievements strewn in Ozymandian folly, unseen and unseeing.

The vast void of eternity encompasses us in its sable spider-webs of dreadful darkness,
Nothing but nothing remains, where, formerly, yet all too briefly, there was colour, and life.
The peacock cat is gone, and now, and forever, so too has what had once been our world.

Saturday 9 September 2017


A few moments ago, I felt like writing a poem about a sea slug, as you do, so I did, and here it is - you can thank me later.


I saw a sea slug, a sea slug I saw,
Known as a nudibranch on the sea floor,
Stolen nematocysts bristling and armed,
All those who touch them will truly be harmed.

So, sea slug, slither in safety, serene,
Dazzle with colours of orange and green,
Yellow and turquoise and violet and red,
Rainbowed molluscan upon the sea bed.

Monday 26 September 2016


When I saw the above image online, it immediately suggested to me the concept of an otherworld dream-catcher, a silent preternatural being standing unseen beside us as we sleep, ready to capture the dreams that we shall dream that night. So that is what I wrote.


The dream-catcher stands unseen, still, beside our beds,
Powdered skin as pale as bleached bone upon a beach,
A tippet of swan feathers around his shoulders,
A dense ruff of white owl plumes encircling his neck.

His long fingers snatch at the dreams that flutter by,
Like ghostly moths in the miasma of midnight.
Then he blows them softly inside our sleeping minds,
Keeping watch over them, and us, through the dark hours.

And when dawn comes, when the bright sun wakes in splendour,
He is gone, leaving no dream nor any trace here,
Gone away to ensnare new dreams for new sleepers,
Until our dream lives are over, our dream lives done.

Sunday 25 September 2016


On a number of occasions down through the years, I have been inspired to write poems and verses after seeing beautiful, bewitching works of art online. And today was another such occasion, in which I penned the following poem after encountering the spectacular illustration presented above.


I dreamed one night that I had seen
An elephant, but it was green.
It stood amid a leafy glade
With light and shadow overlaid.

A patch of sunshine on its brow
That glowed like gold, I know not how.
Its opalescent tusks glowed too,
A pale, pellucid, pearly hue.

It gazed at me with stately calm,
A scene suffused with leafy balm,
A green cathedral, still and bright,
A place of wonder, dreams, and light.

Serene and silent, arched and tall,
So too its guardian of all.
Majestic in the mellow mist,
Where dreams can linger, hope exist.

Its trunk rose up in slow salute,
Its sunlight-sprinkled message mute,
Yet eloquent inside my mind
Before I left its realm behind

And woke once more within my room,
No green or gold amid its gloom.
Just fading memories remain,
Until one day I'm home again.

Wednesday 31 August 2016


Here is another short poem that I wrote after encountering a remarkable example of artwork online, in this instance the fascinating illustration presented here.


Behold the fractured god in fragmented florescence,
His turquoise-tortured visage tormented by its trace.
His eyes by shade are shielded, lost in lidded languor,
His mad mind dreams our fancy, our fear, our form, our face.

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