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, 19 September 2014


Seeing this lovely illustration online and the expression of sublime peace on the face of the fox, knowing that it was perfectly safe in this tranquil, magical place, made me think of how many ways can sanctuary be defined, and what sanctuary means to me, which in turn inspired me to write the following poem.


Where might I find sanctuary,
Somewhere safe, secure, serene,
Where I could once again be loved,
Cared for,

Like a vale of green mists and golden shadows
Where a fox can lie and linger,
Undisturbed and unthreatened, a haven of peace.

Like a realm of leafy trees and fragrant meadows
Where tiny birds can sing in joy,
Beneath Heaven's bright, resplendent dome of glory.

Like the sanctuary of a mother's heart
Where a child can live and be loved,
Knowing that here he will always be safe, will always be home.

Thursday, 18 September 2014


While browsing information online concerning the ancient European symbol of fertility and rebirth known as the Green Man for a future article that I am planning to write on this subject, I came upon these extraordinary, surreal images, above and below, which inspired me to pen the following poem.


Cometh the Green Man,
Stepping forth from the meadows of our ancient mind,
Shedding leaves of withered verdigris
As rebirth restores him anew,
To replenish, regenerate, reactivate, revive,
Reproduce and reassemble, recreate and resurrect.
Fertility, fecundity, his horns imbue their essence,
Erect and branching outward to embrace, enthral, encompass.

He strides from shade and shadow,
Confronting noontide sunlight
With viridescent swagger
And cuprous confrontation:

"I return, and return,
Every day I relive,
The world is mine for as long as I so choose it to be,
For as long as I nurture its nature,
For as long as I seed it, sustain it,
For as long as my beating heart revitalises its existence."

And then, he is gone –
Lost among the sunbeams and solitude
Of a bright, beautiful, golden afternoon,
Heading onward to the green twilight of tomorrow,
Where the cycle of rejuvenation, reinvigoration,
Will begin all over again.
So be it now,
And let it be so forever more.

Monday, 9 June 2014


Sadly, for reasons of space, the following word-picture poem of mine could not be included in the original edition of Star Steeds and Other Dreams. So I am delighted to present it here instead, as a Star Steeds blog exclusive, its lilac and lavender hues of blissful tranquility offering a welcome respite from the furious frenzy of hectic everyday life.


Morning's first sky-filtered sun-rays
Trace ellipses green and gold
On a lilac lake's clear waters –
Violet-tinged in rippling folds,
Each caressing amber fishes
Darting long in rapid flight
Through its purple undulations
'Neath the heavens' soft blue light.
And the fleecy clouds drift onwards,
Each reflected in its gaze
Of translucent violescence                                                       
O'er a spool of silver haze.                                                       

Shining shots of sapphire swallows                                        
Skim and rocket out of sight
As their sun-deflecting shadows
Stream in speeding, soaring flight. 
And the sun's auroral presence
Glows from deep within the lake,                                                   
As its silhouette of saffron
Shakes in fleeting golden flakes.
Now the deep blue vales of shadow                                      
Prom the willows bowed in grief
Dapple racing, circling ripples,
As a green uncurling leaf
Sailing round in swift gyrations
From the centre's spiralled sphere
Holds a single flashing dewdrop –
Or a willow's mournful tear?

And above each mauve reflection
Drift the souls of lakeside flowers –
Rosy, golden-wing├Ęd cherubs -
Borne through fountains, groves, and bowers,
While the nymph of lilac waters
Moves unseen in dappled shade.
She, the naiad of the lakeside;
She, the spirit of the glade;

Gliding swiftly through the waters,
Cool and lucent as the dawn,
As this lavender enchantress
Through the countryside is borne
On the zephyr's ruffling shoulders
Through the heavens' violet shade,
As her countenance of beauty,
Past all mortals, is displayed
In the lilac lake's reflection,
Shining softly 'neath the skies,
Where the cerulean bluebird
Through the morning's shadow flies.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014


1 April 2013, which was also Easter Monday, was the blackest day of my life, because it was the day that my dear mother, Mary Doreen Shuker, passed away. Today, exactly one year later, has been for me a time of reflection, looking back over what has been a traumatic, life-shattering year of grief, loss, and irrevocable change, but also looking ahead, to whatever the future may hold for me, and to whatever I may accomplish in honour of my mother, and in fulfilment of her most cherished hopes, dreams, and ambitions for me. God bless you, little Mom – thank you for all the happiness, goodness, and love that you have always brought into my life.


Can it be just a year ago today since you passed from my life, my little Mom?

Sometimes it seems but a heartbeat away, other times a thousand lives, a thousand worlds, from where I am now.

People try to show sympathy and understanding when they learn that you have gone, but they have no concept of the true nature of my loss - the immeasurable breadth and limitless depth of the black chasm created in my life and within my heart by your passing. Yes, I have indeed lost my mother - a loss that in itself would be all but unbearable. But I have also lost my best friend, my ever-present housemate, my constant travelling companion, my most trusted confidante, my number one supporter, and my entire family. You were all of those persons, Mom, and so much more besides. Is it any wonder why I grieve without ending, why my life is now but a paltry, meaningless existence, a mere shadow of its former state, why I look only to the past for happiness and security now, and to the future with only loneliness and fear?

I never cried as a child, because I'd never give the school bully, the playground tormentor, the satisfaction of seeing my tears. Instead, I'd save them all, each one a precious pearl of emotion, only to be released in my darkest of all hours some day. Well that day and that hour finally came, a year ago today, the hour in which I lost you, Mom. The tears flowed, and have continued to flow ever since - every tear that I've ever saved throughout my life, torrents of tears that even now after a year of unbroken outpouring continue in unabated profusion, threatening to drown my very being in their salty, burning despair, or to carry me away, borne upon a veritable ocean of tears to who knows where.

I know that your fondest and most fervent wish for me would be that I should make something of my life, do something worthwhile with it, and, most of all, enjoy it, not fill it with grief and sadness. I cannot change the past and bring you back - I would if I could, in an instant, you know that, Mom, but I can't. What I can do, though, is change the future, my future at least, if I choose to do so. You were always so proud of me when you were here, and I can still make you so now. Indeed, it is knowing all of this that has given me a reason, the only reason, to continue day by day through this first year, and it will do so again in those that follow. You sacrificed so much for me, and loved me too much for me to let you down, to betray your faith and your trust in me, and so my books and my articles and my blog posts continue, as you would want and would hope for.

As for me: I am still granted some fleeting but all-the-more-precious moments with you in my dreams, when once again we are together, happy and contented in each other's company as we always were. I still see you in thousands of fondly-recalled memories at home and in millions of happy remembrances within my mind, which help to dispel the ever-present loneliness pervading my world indoors, and bring to me your welcome company to counter the cloud of invisibility that seems to separate me from everyone else whenever I venture forth into the world outdoors.

How truly blessed I am, Mom, to have shared my life with you as my mother for 53 wonderful, happy years, to have been loved unconditionally by someone who was so proud of me and who genuinely thought of me as special, wonderful even. Few people are ever so lucky. I shall always remember that, especially when at my lowest ebb.

This first year of being without you, of being alone in this world, knowing that wherever I look, whichever street I walk along, whatever shop I walk into, I shall never see you again, shall never hear your voice speaking to me again, shall never see your face in the crowd looking for mine again, has been the worst time of my life. Nothing else ever will, ever could, be as devastating, but I shall miss you always, all the days of my life. I now stand on the brink of entering my second year alone, and I can only pray that acceptance will at last be mine, that grief will lift and give me a measure of release, of peace, and that I shall be worthy of you, Mom, that I shall go on to achieve all that you have ever hoped and dreamed for me.

God bless you, little Mom. Please always stay beside me where you always used to be when here, please always give me hope and encouragement as you always used to do when here, and, above all else, please always love me as you always did when here. If you will do these, I will do the rest – this I promise you, Mom, with all my heart and with all my love, always.

All photographs are (c) Dr Karl Shuker


ShukerNature: REMEMBERING MY MOTHER: Mom, wearing the beautiful protea-decorated coat that she purchased in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2008 (© Dr Karl Shuker) Today it i...

Sunday, 23 February 2014


 I saw this beautiful illustration online today, and felt its winter wolf inspire me, impel me, to compose the following lines in its honour.


White wolf of winter, of starlight and icicle,
Padding softly through the silver trees in blue frozen haze,
Its chilling breath swirling, curling, a smoke of sudden snowflakes,
Its frosted fur sparking and shimmering in pale, pellucid scintillation,
Its azure eyes imparting a glacial gleam of cool frigid fire.

It turns and gazes at me as I stand before its mesmerising presence,
Resistance is futile, is fickle, submission is solace, is all.
I never suspected that death would be so subtle, so silent.
But then the bright sun filters down from the treetops,
Down through the branches to where we both stand.

And the winter wolf vanishes -
A spectre swept past-ward,
A dream dreamed and done with,
A shadow extinguished,
A vision discounted.

The snow keeps on falling as I retrace homeward,
The winter wolf's footprints my lone steadfast guide,
I still hear its howling, its heartbeat, all round me,
I still feel its cool chilling breath on my face,
And know that one day it will come, it will find me.

And I shall be there, shall be waiting anew.

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