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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Thursday, 29 July 2010


No-one who has visited Stonehenge, as I first did a decade or so ago, can fail to be impressed by its aloof, stark grandeur, embodying a remote agelessness that effortlessly transcends the tedious minutiae of our modern-day world – hearkening back instead to an unimaginably distant time, yet quite conceivably lingering on, unblemished, long after we have vanished elsewhere, leaving behind a dead, desecrated planet to this ancient monument’s silent, eternal vigil.


Like a ring of empty windows
‘Neath the mirrors of the sky,
Draped in silhouettes of Silence
As the evening’s phantoms die

In the hush of newborn dawnings
From the clouds each hung in sleep,
While the moon sinks down to slumber
And the stars so softly weep.

But these pinnacles of Shadow
Notice not those tears of dew,
Theirs is Past alone – not Present –
From which long ago they grew

Changing ne’er, as if forgotten
By the sentinels of Time,
While the winds breathe murmured echoes
Like a stream of ghostly chimes

Through their empty arching doorways
To the meadows of the Past,
For their pagan ring of darkness
Seems forever more to last,

Like a cold, unending nimbus
Where the sun has never shone.
And their ancient chill still lingers
As their dismal forms stretch on

In a mesmerising circle,
Like a world removed from all,
While the years flit by, pale shadows
‘Neath their stony, rugged walls.

They have watched the silver starships
Glide away through silent Space,
Growing fainter every moment
Till they passed beyond their face.

And behind, a dying planet
Drew its last polluted breath
‘Neath a shroud of radiation
‘Ere it sank away to death.

Yet these sombre tombs of Silence
Lingered still though all had gone,
Penetrating through the darkness
As their forms stretched ever on.

They – alone – who could not crumble;
They – alone – who could not die;
Still persisting, silhouetted
‘Gainst a vacant, empty sky.

Friday, 16 July 2010


I owe not only my lifelong love of poetry but also my own inspiration to write poetry to this poem, which was a joint effort between myself and my mother. It began life as a school assignment at a time when I had yet to make any serious attempt at writing poetry. My mother wrote the outline of it, which I then expanded, and in so doing realised how much I was enjoying creating an original poem. And the rest, as they say, is history. The narrator of the poem is me, as a youngster; Mary-Rose is my mother, Mary Shuker; and the airman represents my mother’s first husband, a young RAF pilot called Harold Hooper, who died shortly after World War II ended, as a direct result of the war.


My friend and companion is dear Mary-Rose,
A great nature lover as everyone knows.
She travels with me over long country miles,
Through deep greening woodlands and over the stiles.

She took me one day to her favourite place,
The sun shining brightly, the wind in her face.
She suddenly looked sad, a lone tear on her nose,
And winds whispered softly of dear Mary-Rose.

She said: “My young husband, a long time ago,
Would always come here when his spirits were low.
He’ll never again come to this lovely spot,
Will never again feel the sun, oh so hot.”

And then she just smiled, and said: “Come on, young man,”
And into the dingle she laughed as she ran.
We’re going to watch birds, and excitement soon grows;
And a young airman whispers: “Goodbye, Mary-Rose”.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010


Tigers have always fascinated me, but I was only too aware that any attempt to capture this great cat’s beauty and power in verse would be fraught with the peril of comparison with William Blake’s spellbinding ‘Tyger Tyger’. Nevertheless, eventually the lure of challenge became too great, and the following poem is my own tribute to this most magnificent, and terrifying, of creatures.


Deep in the primeval fires of the cosmos
Death was released from his shimmering tomb,
And as they danced in the dawn of Creation
Death bore a child from the flames of their womb.

You were that child, spawned by Death’s great Inferno,
Hidden on Earth ‘neath his Shadow of Fear,
Shrouded by Night until Heaven sent sunlight,
Then, by its silhouette, did you appear.

Who could have known that such beauty held terror
Deep within radiant emerald eyes,
Wrought and emblazoned in Death’s blazing furnace,
Dewdrops of fear like the tears that you cry?

Space cannot hold you, and Time dare not chain you,
None can oppose you in glittering might.
Ebony ripples lash amber resplendence,
Scorning the shame of the sun’s feeble light,

Scorching through Night like a firebrand of crimson,
Shredding the skies with each thunderous breath.
Yet, though so splendorous, e’er are you deadly,
Chilling in form, for your beauty is Death.
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