Author: Joy Pitman

I was born and grew up in Bristol. I had a short story published in the local paper when I was nine, and started writing poetry as a teenager at boarding school. Now I write film reviews, a semi-humorous blog (elsewhere), and occasional poetry: I spend a lot of time taking photos and editing them. Scotland has been my home since 1973. I'd describe myself as being into film, photography, literature, food, good conversation and geeky stuff.

New image poems – text


Tug from the Heptonstall bells
muscular music:
penetrate, massage my cells


Even admidst fierce flames, the Golden Lotus can be planted.
[Quote on grave headstone]

I didn’t find you yesterday,
Stumbled on rotted lids for crumbling bones,
Believing that the dead won’t ever mind.
Then wandered, lost, in newer ground,
But nothing marked you out.

Today is different: a Sybil whispered in my ear
“Go find the fragile Columbine.”
And here you are! Or what remains.

I see your name has been restored,
A storm has washed the stone,
While acolytes leave posies, plant their pens.
The quote (I’ll learn) is from the Sanskrit,
Some comfort when dark Pluto dragged you down.
A poor Persephone, your Lady Lazarus
You had no third-time resurrection,
And those who loved you could not reach.

I too have stood upon that brink
To feel the lure of Thanatos.
Yet a patient Ariadne began unwinding yarns
So I might thread my labyrinth,
Embrace the terror,
And climb once more to light.

The bells are pealing, loud and strong,
Insisting with reverberation
That life be lived, whatever comes.

You left us such a hoard of creativity,
A treasure chest of crafted words,
The curtain’s fall on tragedy.

I bring no flowers to your grave,
But place a snow-white feather
From a baby angel’s wing
Beneath another’s votive shell.

And now, this poem that will germinate
And blossom in my heart,
Remembrance of you.


Do you remember too?
I took this photo: here it is,
a hollow in the woods,
and you in languid pose.

I have hidden notes
for a never-written poem,
how I wanted us to roll together
through the bluebells in the rain
right down the valley,
to the water’s edge.

I was in love with you.

There is no photograph of me.

The picture’s faded, printed matt:
but I could scan you, and
increase the saturation,
bring you back to light.

Ah yet, my dear, there’s half a lifetime
between our now and then:
you gave yourself another name,
inhabit my antipodes.
The moss is drooping
down the dry-stone wall,
the bluebells flowerless and dry.

Still, there are forget-me-nots

Joy Pitman, June 2015


Now my lovely peacock
I have seen your richly spread display
been dazzled by the iridescent turquoise green and gold
admired the splendid crest the fine laced tail
so you can furl your gorgeous feathers
for you will not need them here
I do not want you to parade perform
be   do   act   anything
I am only asking for the present
that we set aside these plumed and painted masks
and curl around each-other through the darkness
our single sparrow selves

Joy Pitman, Published in “Telling Gestures”, Chapman 1993

New poems

I recently spent a wonderful week in Yorkshire, partly as a tourist (with a good friend) visiting the Yorkshire Sculpture Musem, the Hepworth Wakefield Museum, and (alone) the National Media Musem in Bradford. Later I shared a week with others at a Writers’ Retreat in the Arvon Foundation’s beautiful Lumb Bank centre. The house used to belong to Ted Hughes.

LumbBankHouseXLA large collection of Photos and notes on all of this will eventually appear on my SmugMug pages. There is a selection already there.

Whilst at Lumb Bank, I wrote three new poems, one of which was about Sylvia Plath’s grave, and completed the image and layout for another poem, written much earlier. See below. [ Click on an image to see full size, or right click to open in a new page or tab. ]

Ringing the Bells

HepBellsPoem01heading  HepBellsPoem03M

Finding Sylvia

FindingSylvia01a   FindingSylvia02b

Lumb Bank Poem                                            Peacock

LumbBankPoem(2)    Peacock

These will eventually appear in my new ilustrated poetry book Secret Nectar, which I hope to sell as an eBook on Amazon.

The text of these poems is here.