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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Friday, 25 June 2010


Although much of my poetry is of the rhyming variety, I have ventured from time to time into the less constrained world of prose, as with this composition.


A vibrant whirring of wings filled the room, and I gazed up to see a large, bewildered fly whirling wildly round and round in dizzy, eccentric circles, periodically crashing into the deceptively transparent freedom of the windows, only to buzz around once more in unceasing, dazed convolutions.

“Kill it!” I thought, spearing it with dark, forbidding eyes like chilling sabres of death, as it spiralled above like a demented spirit drawn ever downward to damnation, pausing momentarily to wring its suckered appendages in expressionless despair.

But as my arm rose like a shadowed scythe of fear, the hopelessness of its plight enveloped me, and I sat back as if I were a lonely silhouette bowing before the inevitability of Fate, for I was stricken by the similarity of our twin existences.

Why, are we not from parallel worlds? You – from an outward macroworld, while I grope ever through an inward microworld. For I too am continually searching for the knowledge of my own fate, chasing alone through the endless channels and lonely corridors of my own mind, seemingly devoid of hope beneath such curtains of gloom, searching for that which eludes me, passing through empty chambers of nothingness

This is my unknown, this is my Eternity – an eternity of hopeless dreams of fulfilment. A door lies open, a mirror lies within, and from its glass-illuminated interior a colourful circus clown gazes out. But the clown is weeping, for I myself am peering into the mirror – a mirror reflecting only my innermost feelings and beliefs.

And as I look, eyes bear down upon me, and faces appear. The world is watching, and waiting. People are murmuring, and raucous laughter surrounds me. Where am I to go? Only Fate can tell me. Yet I am unable to ask.

And so the world continues, the people turn away, finding some other source of amusement, while I am left to chase ever on through the phantoms of my own melancholia.

Thus my sympathy, little fly, is yours – we are both lost in alien worlds. Mine is of my own making, mine to endure. But yours may be replaced by your natural realm via my intervention, for yours I see through inward-reflecting mirrors, though you can never hope to see mine through your myriad-faceted orbs. Mine is yours inversely, and where they meet, there one day someone shall find the ultimate Truth.

So leave now, and forget the unforgettable. Why should we both suffer? Why should one stranger die by the hand of another?

I slowly arose again, almost as if I were a vast statue awakened from a deep sleep of petrification, and moved forward.

I raised my hand like a crescendo of silver trumpets, I opened the window and let the fly go.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010


Image by Erté

In Greek mythology, Mnemosyne was the mother of the nine Muses, and was also the personification of memory. But just how accurate, how reliable, are our memories? For when we look back at our life, how much of what we remember is real, and how much is what we’d have liked it to have been?


Dark, still, enshadowed, the mirror of Mnemosyne,
Moonlight encircling its chill, quicksilvered face.
Standing beside it, the masked goddess of Memory,
Ageless, all-seeing, transcending time and space.

Dare for a moment to gaze into her looking-glass,
See what you may in its crystalline mirage,
Brimming with happiness, hope, despair, and tragedy,
Each mood reflected upon its pale visage.

Do not anticipate viewing your own imagery,
Nor will your past be recaptured and displayed.
All you will see is the sum of your remembrances,
Rose-tinged distortions, each summoned and replayed.

These are your yesterdays, edited and modified,
Transformed by memory, shaped and cast anew.
Now just as real as the past itself had ever been,
Dreams become history, tangible and true.

So, as you linger, your captive eyes still mesmerised,
Drawn through the depths of the mirror’s sable pool,
Who can be sure that the past is not a fantasy,
Mocking our minds like the laughter of a fool?

Tuesday, 1 June 2010


Loch Ness monster (Richard Svenssen)

This wouldn’t be a book of mine if cryptozoology didn’t rear its head in it somewhere! So here, for mystery beast lovers everywhere, is a little snippet of crypto-history – the very first piece of writing that I ever penned (over 30 years ago!) in relation to the most famous cryptid of all. Nessie, this one’s for you!


Through swirling mists of early morn,
Across the loch’s dull light,
A dark shape moves with hidden power,
Then disappears from sight
Beneath Loch Ness’s mirky cloak
Of water black and cold.
What lives in this vast underworld,
In Ness’s misty fold?

What creature thrives below the waves,
Beneath the surface grim?
What beast appears in photographs –
Obscure, opaque, and dim?
What creature gave the myths and tales
From bygone days new fame?
Of water horses, fierce, malign,
Which from the waters came,
To strike the hearts of every man
With terror of their forms.
The kelpies – dark, malignant ghosts,
And harbingers of storms.

So what gave all these legends life –
A creature huge in size,
With tiny horns and rhomboid limbs,
And glowing, deathless eyes?
A relic from the ancient past,
Disturbed by modern worlds?
It will be long, indeed, before
This secret is unfurled.
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