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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Wednesday, 31 October 2012


Here is something new and very exciting for my Star Steeds poetry blog and for me – a guest poem, contributed by Randi Macdonald, one of my many good friends on Facebook. Enjoy!


The Ocean, lapping calmly under the sun.
Its surface,
Rarely telling the wealth of magic and drama it keeps beneath.
He is the Keeper of Mysteries,
With depths untold, and unseen.
But there below his waves the Ocean's soul of splendor pulses.
Fathoms and fathoms, expanses warm and colorful;
Cool and clean and free.
At his heart, the deepest chasms - places to hide and just Be.
Volcanoes, fires from the deep - shelter for those seeking warmth.

He is the Ocean of legend, full of danger and beauty and life.
Watching for hours, though some may not witness his power,
I know what wonders he hides.
I know that what is not seen is infinite.
What goes unsaid is what counts.
The truth is:
Still waters run deepest, the current beneath stirring strong.
I don't take him for granted, nor his surface so calm....
The peaks in his soul would shame Everest,
And here be dragons, I know.


Here is my darkly delicious (in every sense!) Hallowe'en twist to Edward Lear's much-loved tale of the Owl and the Pussycat!


The Witch-owl and Wizard-cat set out that night
On a broomstick that flew through the sky.
Then drove a black hearse packed with many a curse,
And laughed as the miles soon sped by.

The cat gazed long at his feathered friend,
And purred with a smile that was wide.
"Oh big fat Owlie," he thought to himself,
How tasty you would be inside, inside, inside,
How tasty you would be inside!"

To the Owl then said Pussy: "You elegant hussy,
How sweet is your form, and how wide!
We two must be married, too long have we tarried,
I yearn for you, Owl, as my bride!"

And so, to honour their precious love,
They entered a café to dine,
And here, all evening, they ate and they drank
Its finest cuisine and sweet wine, sweet wine, sweet wine,
Its finest cuisine and sweet wine.

"Just one dish remains," said the cat with a grin,
"'Tis a rare and an elegant fowl.
Can you guess, my true love, just what I'm thinking of?
Well done - you're correct! Yes, it's Owl!!!"

Alone he now dined, the Wizard-cat,
With only a runcible spoon,
Then, wiping Owl plumes from whiskers of white,
He danced by the light of the moon, the moon, the moon,
He danced by the light of the moon.

Sunday, 14 October 2012


2012 was not the best of years for me, but 2013 proved infinitely worse, because that was the devastating, accursed year that took from me my dear mother, Mary Shuker; the following poem is my way of expressing what has been, is, and (I hope) will be.


What if I should gain the whole world yet lose all happiness within it?
What if I should gain immortality yet lose all those whom I love?
What if I should gain eternity yet lose you forever, my Lord and Father?
The shadows and darkness have pursued me for so long, O God,
And only you can dispel them and illuminate my life once more.
Hear my voice in the night, calling out to you from the depths of my despair,
Let your benevolence ward off the malevolence encompassing me,
Guide me safely into the welcoming light of morning,
And may the salvation that I seek be mine at last.


Tuesday, 9 October 2012


According to science, genuine black lions do not exist, and on my ShukerNature blog I have exposed as photo-manipulated hoaxes a number of eyecatching internet images purporting to show these creatures (click here and here). Yet the dark romantic majesty of such a noble, spectacular beast ceaselessly stalks my imagination, prowling with silent menace through the twilit recesses of my mind.


Darker than dark,
A shadow from the shadows,
A black lion steps forth from the night,
With the night,
Into the night,
His melanistic mane a stole of sable
Enveloping his shoulders in inky might.

So regal he seems, and so powerful,
I can scarcely conceive that he is not real,
Just a figment of fable and fantasy,
An illusion of imagery and imagination,
An embellished embodiment of ebony,
A dream from the depths of the darkness,
A mirage from the midnight of my mind.



The inspiration for this poem came from Maurice Maeterlinck’s classic play, The Blue Bird, a delightful fantasy work first produced in 1908 that seems nowadays to have become almost forgotten, yet which is filled with wonderfully evocative scenes and imaginative personifications.


‘Midst the cerulean heavens
Lies the fabled Pool of Dreams,
Veiled in rosy mists of Slumber
Casting tender lilac beams
Through its cyanescent waters
To its darkened depths of blue,
Each transforming purple ripples
Into iridescent hues
Racing swiftly o’er its surface
Like a phalanx borne from Light,
Flitting rainbows glinting brightly
‘Ere they disappear from sight.

For the dreams of sleeping mankind
Lie within this glossy pool,
Which releases them like phantoms
To emerge through evenings cool
In the drowsing worlds of mortals –
Empty shadows of the mind,
Which with rapturous enchantment
Mortals’ conscious spirits bind,
Till the morning’s pale suffusion
Rises softly through the sky,
Then away through twilit heavens
To the Pool of Dreams they fly.

And within its silken waters
Lies each tiny unborn child,
Sleeping long in drowsy silence,
As the Pool’s reflection mild
Shines upon these infant dreamers,
Till their mothers softly pray,
Then they wake from golden slumber,
And are borne on sunlit rays
Down to Earth, where every mother
Will, her newborn babes, embrace,
As their tiny eyes then open
And behold their mother’s face.

Yet among the Pool’s clear waters
Lies a dead child, for he lay
So entranced within his slumber
That he dreamt his life away.
But the angels take him softly
On their snowy wings of Peace,
For from Life’s harsh world beneath them
They have given him release.
Now between the clouds of violet
Like a cherub winged he flies,
To the Glory that is Heaven,
‘Midst the splendour of the skies.

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