Nigel Pounds

Redbrick poet Nigel Pounds is one of many talented poets, musicians, writers, dreamers, drinkers and schemers who live in Katesgrove. His new work My response to is available on Amazon at a very reasonable 99p (not a pound) and contains 22 honest poems that really are his cri de coeur. On reading these poems, I am reminded of this lament from Allen Ginsberg: “poets are damned… but see with the eyes of angels.”

I met Nigel at that redbrick ale citadel, the Hop Leaf on Southampton Street, to ask just a few questions and to pick a few new poems to give us some flavour.

[Matthew] Your response to what?
[Nigel] My response to our response to her response to mine… which is basically about the fact we are human beings and we interact with people on a daily basis and sometimes we end up in confusing situations where we don’t understand what the other person is trying to say to us. We wrongly read things into occasions where it doesn’t make sense. This is my way of trying to make some sort of sense out of that.

Are you angry?
Very; I am angry about injustice, angry about the Tories being in power, angry about the mistreatment of animals and angry at people looking down their nose at others. So many things; I don’t get jealous, I just get angry.

How do these poems differ from the Spark (his previous work) in tone?
I wrote Spark over a number of years. They were just exploring various themes I got out of my system. This is a one-track focus; the first poem Map of the truth concludes that new directions will be fixed. Well, I have no idea really, I conclude that poem by saying I don’t know where that leads. I am just to trying find our way through the malaise of misunderstandings that occur when trying to communicate with people.

Are you planning to recite these poems live?
Yes, I am on the bill with Katesgrove based anarcho-country band the Rumpo Kidz at the White Hart, London Road, Basingstoke on 10 February. It’s exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. Check my Facebook poetry page or website for details. I have been using Youtube and film clips for My response to and have always wanted to combine a reading with great live music.

Are you older and wiser or more confused?
More confused, older and wiser – all three [we laugh]. I would like people to read this stuff and hopefully relate to it. These poems chose me.

Map of the truth

Through all our false imaginings
No light can shine upon our dreams
Reality really does what it says on the tin
We know exactly what it means

So now we start with a map of the truth
I am so tired of lies and lying
Fix each coordinate as you would a stare
As if it were your last breath dying

Take me on a long-promised walk
Without either of us needing to drink
Along a mournful, bank-staining river
All succour spent as sure is sure
With nothing but time to think

In your tear-denied eyes I will see
The pain of destinations never reached
The weight of an endless journey
The denial of it all, impeached

And then a new direction will be fixed
Without favour to suit our crippling needs
From atom to star and miracles between
How can we know where it leads?

The Empty Chair

It is sad that he will sit no more
In such a comfortable chair
Friends had come to know him there
Beyond the paint-frayed door
Not free to meet them as before
Those brave to climb his urban stair
He can track no more or wonder where
Or what they went there for

He will no longer open his eyes on this
There is no key to break the rust
Or use his time in bed to raise
The memories of life’s heated lust
The frozen lock is jammed all days
The empty chair is rich in dust

The Sirens Are Wailing

Breathe in, breathe out
Breathe in, breathe out
Take a roomful of air
The sirens are wailing
They are coming for you

Breathe in, breathe out
Breathe in, breathe out
Someone is chewing gum
Someone has been smoking
On the stair
I can smell it
Not on your clothes
But in your hair

Breathe in, breathe out
Breathe in, breathe out
We have a shopping list
Of exciting things
Our future, or want to be future
Is trying freedom for size

Breathe in, breathe out
Breathe in, breathe out
The dogs are starting to yelp
The cornflake milk is curdling
This is not a cry for home
This is a cry for help

Song of Love

This has to be the song of love, how loud can it be sung?
Whenever I am searching for a way, you show another one
And all the things I thought impossible, so easily now are done

This has to be the song of love, the parts now all in time
With gusto from rooftop echo, the word that you are mine
And all the world, crescendo-like, reverbs along the line
And it has to be, it has to be, the dream as soft as sigh.

Books, CDs and Vinyl

Books are two a penny in our household
They fight for supremacy on drooping shelves
With CDs and vinyl

The well-thumbed stands on edge
Next to the never to be opened and the
Get around to it one day

The seldom heard sulks in the wrong case
As 33rpms silently warp, and singles
Search for an album to be on.

And Now You Know

I just want to let you know In case you go
How much I really love you, that it was always so
Even when your mood was fragile as snow
Deep as summer blue, or full of nine to five woe
I tried to make you see I felt it too

I just want to let you know in case you go
How much better it could be, if only to know
The truth of what it means to let it grow
However uneasy the load, or heavy or true
I will try to make things right for me and you.


These are not the poems I intended to write
They chose me, somehow
Through all the pain I had to work it out
I think you know that now.

Matthew Farrall, the author of this article, died on 20 April 2018.
We are grateful to his family for allowing us to continue to display his work online.

  1. Nigel Pounds’ website and Facebook page
  2. Nigel Pounds is a poet
  3. Huma Jehan on the Whitley Pump