It’s beginning to look a lot like…

🎄 Started Christmas shopping?
My latest poetry book ‘Sightings’ makes a perfect Christmas present at £4
an inspirational, pocket sized, stocking filler 🎁

It’s a gem says David Cooke!

published by Grey Hen Press

available by post for £5 from me at

or email:

or from Amazon uk


The secret of life, of a happy life, is: leave a little space open for poetry – Massimo Bottura

Thank you. Bright winter blessings to all 💙



London Grip Poetry Review – ‘Sightings’

Looking forward to poetry outings next week


I’m looking forward to reading at the Stanza Extravaganza at the Artizan Gallery in Torquay at 7.45pm on Monday October 28th


the auspiciously timed Uncut Poets on Thursday 31st October at 7.30pm in the Exeter Phoenix Arts Centre, Exeter

see you there 🧡





photo Rose Cook


‘Sightings’ review: D A Prince is fascinated by the way Rose Cook controls the speed of seeing things in the natural environment

Sightings, Rose CookThe jacket is deep but not dark blue. The lettering is sans serif caps, white. The title is centred in large caps in the top quarter. The author's name very much smaller is at the foot of the jacket, also centred. In the middle is a beautifully clear but dreamy in mood photo of a seed head of some kind, with long white feathery trails.

Grey Hen Press (Hen Run), 2019  £4.00

The speed of sight

Seeing — that noticing of what’s around us — is something we take for granted. It’s a part of the totality of being aware. Rose Cook’s opening poem, ‘Sightings’, draws attention to the impact of sudden sights, where unexpected immediacy comes as a shock —

Saw the whale flex its muscular back against blue water,
not far out, the shiver of a god.

Saw a seal make her way along the shore,
head round and black, slow flippers, trawling a sea
pink with sunset. Saw it.

By omitting the ‘I’ and going straight for the verb, along with repeating ‘saw’ three times in only five lines, she gives her poem the equivalent of rapid jotting. This takes the reader directly to the visual experiences; they’re right before your eyes.

Yet the personal is still present in the two-word sentence ‘Saw it’. The ‘I’ is not just implied, but thumping the table. That ‘Saw it’ made me recognise how Cook gives foreground to both the whale and the seal. If you remove this sentence fragment from the poem, the two sightings are slower, more reflective; put it back in and you have two words that say, in effect, Me! Me! I was the one who saw it!  It was me! (My re-wording is clumsy but I hope it makes the point.) In two words Cook has condensed the knocked-sideways excitement and speed of seeing that makes the animal world vivid.

If the whole pamphlet were written with this intensity, the impact would be lost. What Cook achieves in Sightings is a demonstration of the various speeds with which we might see detail and action in the natural environment.

‘Dance’, for example, is a considered record of ‘whirling insect clouds’ that last all day.

‘Watching them dive’ lingers over the movements of gannets and tern as they dive for fish; here the act of watching is slower, allowing for comparison.

I began to think about the synonyms for ‘see’, and their differences: watch, look, spot, observe — you can add to the list.

It’s that snappy ‘Saw it’ that pointed the way.

D A Prince

reviewer from Sphinx