Stuff you can access now


Material out of contract I can show you :

My poem 'What Might Be' was published last year in the Asnuntuck Community College, Connecticut, USA, 2023 issue, page 73

What Might Be


We kept pebbles from that hour:

when the world opened on the chill beach,

and salt wind swirled seagulls’ cries.


You found one with patterned cuts

half-hidden among the shingling tide,

and pronounced it a fossil.


No. It’s crystal, I explained,

a false fossil, minerals in rock

whittled by the wind’s wet knives.


To you it was a fossil

because you believed.  You asked if I

felt the signals from its time.


My choice was a hard round stone.

I asked you if a sphere so perfect

protects something else inside.


Trust it, you said. Don’t break in.

We can’t know beauty and its secret.

Later, we swapped them, surprised


at their warmth from our pockets.

I keep yours next to my faithful clock.

Sometimes, when the angle’s right,


I see what we have given

each other: something that lives beyond

my shelf, this room, our time.


 Stuart Larner


new poems:

When I was young I had a make-believe brother. It was him who was responsible for drinking too much half-fermented ginger beer. Not me.
this is my latest poem in 'Deepoverstock' magazine.


New poem:

The Change Has Already Begun



I dream of danger, wake up in danger.

I smile, though I know I should frown.

Strange red clouds are patrolling the sky

And the sun will no longer lie down.


Café customers have taken first sips

of a brew that’s becoming too strong.

The morning trains are jammed to the doors,

and the journeys are taking too long.


Children in schools open books up anew,

but all teaching has long since been done.

A new kind of sports day is coming our way –

where the race has already been won.


Media swear truth on their bulletin hour,

yet the news on the web has been spun.

I look for a sign that something's to start,

but the change has already begun.



Stuart Larner

First published by DODO modern poets.

For a video of me reading this go to:

I am the seventh entry on the July 2022 list, in edition DODO NINE



Allowed to dream



My mind a seed inside dark earth

I didn’t know was allowed to dream,

told none my dreams, so did not grow.

No self-belief. Wrong was my song.


When chanced to tell, my dreams came true

because I heard the truth in me.

I listened slow, not fast, to hear

of all the ways I was to grow.


Hope held my hand, drew me to rise.

Each day I dreamt I could grow more.

I found I’d cope through drought and flood,

if I just thought how much I’d gained.


And now I want to sprout and shout,

tell all flowers that we are free.

I dreamt of growth, and found in light

the world awaits, and dreams with me.



Stuart Larner




‘Allowed to dream’ was written after receiving inspiration from several sources. My ideas came from the Update on the Society’s ‘From poverty to flourishing’ campaign in the October 2020 Psychologist; the original article by Albert Bandura in Psychological Review 1977; the Martin Luther King Speech ‘I have a dream’ 1963; and Maya Angelou ‘Still I Rise’1978.


This poem won first prize in the British Psychological Society's poetry competition 2021





An Evening at the Masked Ball

to read this prose poem go to:



Two Meeters

After the Prime Minister’s broadcast
I became very fat.
I measured a metre more all round.

Going out, I wore
A giant ball of nothing.
The heaviest nothing I ever had.

I smiled with others, learning how
To manage awkward nothings,
Each keeping a metre to make two.

Though only our boundaries can meet
Some part of us reaches through to the heart.

Stuart Larner


Clap for Carers

In our hall we’d stored
Best stuff to bang an honour with.
Pots and pans, what we as parents
Had used to feed our kids.

Dead on eight
We came outside
To cheer and clap.
We were the fireworks
Exploding all at once.

The sky clanked too,
Someone up there knew.

Stuart Larner


*published in the Gazette and Herald 
North Yorkshire Newspaper 13/2/19

The Cinder Track*

I’m on my bike and cycling
right up the Cinder Track.
I’m pushing round the pedals.
Bright sun. No turning back.

I’m crushing under tyres
remains of history,
of cinders that were nuggets
once burnt by trains for me.

Chicaning through the ramblers
and steering round the bogs,
it’s afternoon to all
while minding out their dogs.

I’m steaming up and puffing
slow out of Staintondale,
through these ancient forests
along the Harwood Vale.

What people used for power
is now the ground for me,
and all their engines’ efforts
have set our county free.

 Stuart Larner

Map Reading

“This is where we started from,” you say.

A feeble line, on uncertain ground,

Wispy as your hair once on my coat.

“This is where we think we went,” you say.
A wavering contour took us round
And back – though no higher, yet so close.

“This is where we meet again,” you say.
Looking for pointers is how we found
Each other, when thinking we were lost.

Stuart Larner

first published Kansas City Voices (Volume 10),2012

Sunday, 19 July 2015
Visiting Time 

‘LIFT CALL’ pressed, an arrow tings.
A patient on a trolley is manoeuvred out.
I step in. Doors slice me off from outside
as if they want to give me secret news.

Going up, but I’m weighed down.
Floors flash past the tiny window and ask:
How much of this might we find in you?
How much of this best not to know?

Is this my visiting time, or is time
visiting me? Perhaps the answer’s here
where the lift aligns the chosen floor,
and gravity slips off me like a coat.

Arrows lead me to your bed.
From some deeper level you stir.
Eyelids flicker, then fall back asleep:
Like a lift coming, but going past.

Stuart Larner

this poem first appeared in the anthology "A Pocketful of Windows" edited by Felix Hodcroft, Valley Press 2014.

Saturday, 28 March 2015
When a Snowman Melts
You might think that when a snowman melts
someone has died.
But they haven’t.
Instead, someone has warmed and begun to flow,
said sorry for being such a frozen lump,
realised they are part of everything,
and started to cry.

 Stuart Larner.

(first published in anthology "A Pocketful of Windows" ed Felix Hodcroft, Valley press 2014.

Monday, 29 December 2014
Twelfth Night - Decorations down
Here's a love poem about taking down the Christmas decorations. It was published by the Huddersfield Examiner 06/01/2007.


The season’s passed; the trimmings come to floor
From where I’d fixed them at your well-judged mark.
But your bright beauty won’t go back to store
Along with lights that flashed once in the dark.
Your beauty needs no extra signs for me;
No festive letters shouting out ‘Rejoice!’.
In each ball’s shining surface I still see
Your perfect face by any painter’s choice.
Unlike full-fruited Nature, bought and pinned
Through its stem to wall at trophy height,
Your beauty’s free – not bauble to be binned
Or boxed away in cupboards out of sight.
Now I will see in place of those things there
Not emptiness, but beauty all this year.

Stuart Larner

A Present from Scarborough

You went to the shops to get someone a present,
And wrapped it with the best glitter you could buy.
Now the time comes, you watch them open it.
And in this first moment, they stop, stock-still,
Sensing there is something else as well inside.
Something else they cannot see, hear, taste, or smell;
Something else they cannot wear or even touch.
Rather, it touches them.
Something else called love.

Stuart Larner

Scarborough Review, December 2013

On Scarborough Beach

Soft and mortal, yet creating
Fantastic shells to brave the forces,
Slowly they drag ashore from the sea.
This is as far as the poets get.
For here, afraid of piercing beaks,
They close up into the sand, secreting
To themselves alone – their captive audience.
Years pass, their bodies turn to sand.
Now just a resistant shell or two
Have withstood the sea for future mantelpieces.
Stuart Larner

The Skateboarders

With no more light than this
The monitors show the basement car park

Coming at the day’s end, padded for concrete,
Gliding with braced knees, left shoulder leading,
Shark’s fins circling in this half-lit world.

Sport absorbs their mischief

Statues of kings, they reign on boards
Toy soldiers with their own bit of earth
To stand on or be buried in.

Obstacles do not limit their realm-

They overcome what other minds devise.
Over white lines, down exit ramps,
They jump and land in complex stunts.

Their steady practice proves to them
Airs and ollies can turn the worlds about.

Stuart Larner

Previously published on “Every Day Poets” website:

“Let us hope.”
And as you drive away
Your hand waves like a bird that,
When its cage is suddenly lifted,
Tries to fly. My hand flutters too,
Even beyond that far point where
You’re still there, but cannot be seen.

Stuart Larner

Saturday, 5 November 2011

My local newspaper runs an annual competition on Mothers' Day of children's drawings.
The youngest winners often have the most enlightening pictures.

“Draw Your Mummy”

All the mothers’ faces in the competition:
Hair combed or coiffured, eyes full and kind,
White teeth exactly stacked, neat-nosed.
Most sought true likeness as the greatest truth.

Then a winner, by a child so young
Pencil still overwhelmed by passion,
Hardly recognisable as a human face
The scribbling energy of love.

And all across the top of its small page
In broad lines flooding off either edge
Unending beyond imagining
A rainbow.

Stuart Larner
Saturday, 25 June 2011

LIfeboatmen say that the most difficult part of a rescue is not always the horrendous perilous sea conditons, but the problem of trying to convince the fearful victims to jump from their stricken craft onto the safety of the lifeboat.

Life’s Boat

Once when my life did near submerge
They came to rescue me,
Called me to jump the crashing surge
To where I’d find safety.

At first I was afraid to make
That vault, so they did plead
“Your life comes from the leap you take!”
Thus I found truth in deed.

If problems since seem wide and deep
And can’t be solved by Man,
I think back to that wondrous leap
For now I know I can.

Stuart Larner

 (first published Gazette and Herald 2008, reprinted in 'Patterns of Hope' anthology and 'Scarborough Modern Sea Songs')

Wednesday, 19 December 2018
The start of my short story "The Flaw"
from the anthology at Bridge House publishing "Crackers"

It was not until Francesca had brought the antique bowl back to her shop and inspected it beneath her lamp that she saw the crack.

She swore at herself. How could she, the owner of one of the premier antiques shops in town, have spent five hundred on such a bowl when its value was now probably a fraction of that? She noticed that the date marks on the bowl were letters, whereas they were usually coded dots for that period of Royal Worcester. Yet, the depiction of the apples, pears and plums was so lifelike that she could almost pick them from the bowl surface and eat them.

She knew that she should not sell it at a high price knowing it had a flaw. Later discovery by an expert would publicly taint her reputation as surely as the crack marred the bowl. Then she thought of her long-planned cruise holiday, and what might happen if she had insufficient funds to cover it when the time came.

She wondered how many of her customers would see the crack in her dimly-lit shop if she could barely see it. If a tourist whom she would never see again bought it, there might not be any comeback as it would have been offered on an as-found basis. She dared to put it in the window at eleven hundred.

Many passers-by stopped to gaze at it through the window, but none offered to buy it. In her mind each aborted purchase was a punishment for displaying it at such a high price, and each day that the bowl remained unsold in her window was a glaring reminder to her of her deception. Over the weeks she reluctantly reduced the price, and this lessened her guilt.  Then, just as she was closing early one day, a distinguished-looking man in a suit and bowtie appeared.

go to to read other stories.

"Gliterary" from Bridgehouse Publishing contains my story: "Pictures at an Exhibition", about two children perilously trapped in pictures in a five dimensional world, and the attempts by their mother and art gallery attendant to rescue them.

Extract: Pictures at an Exhibition
By Stuart Larner

The crowd quietened.
“So here, ladies and gentlemen, you see a line of ten large computer screens stretching down the hall.” The acne on the art gallery attendant’s face made him appear young and immature despite the dark square frame of his designer spectacles.  “In each screen is a holographic reproduction of one of the ten paintings by Hartmann, which the composer Mussorgsky used for his piece ‘Pictures at an Exhibition.’ Please be careful not to cross the wooden safety rail, as the hologram screens are highly charged.”
“Mummy, Mummy I can tell the time upside down.” Thomas was swinging one-handed from the rail.
“No, you can’t, that’s silly.” said his sister, Gabby.
“Yes, I can. It’s eight five.”
“You don’t tell it like that,” said Gabby. “That’s silly. You say eight minutes past two. Have you been messing with your watch? Mine says three minutes past two. Look.” Gabby held out her wrist to reveal the cheap pink-strapped children’s watch.
“Calm down, you two,” said their mother, Carmella, who was looking into the first screen in which a gnome walked up and down a country lane. “Wow. Look at that gnome’s eyes, and he moves like he’s alive.”
“Yes,” said the attendant. “That’s right. All the characters are alive in their world of 5D technology. You have the three dimensions of space, the fourth of movement in time, and the fifth of solid reality.”
“So it’s like a computer game?”                                                                                       
“Yes. Only real. Inside the representation of the painting, the 5D means it can go on for infinity. Outside it, the envelope of that world is compressed into just the thickness of a modern monitor as you can see. There’s no glass front, though. It’s all held in by an electromagnetic layer....”
His voice tailed off and Carmella turned to follow his wide-eyed gaze as he looked past her.
“...Excuse me, madam, but will those children stop climbing on the safety barrier? That’s very dangerous. It’s highly charged and will draw them in if they get too near.”
“Don’t push me, Thomas!” yelled Gabby.
“I’m not. The computer’s pulling me in.”
 “It’s too strong! Mummy!”
Carmella watched in horror as the children’s hands slipped off the rail. There was a large flash and an explosion.
When her eyes had recovered from the intense light, her children were no longer in the hall.

find out more here:

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

see my latest story here at Every Day fiction.

Go to eighteenth century Vienna.

Saturday, 15 March 2014
The Big Dream

for a detective story with a difference go to:

My Bench

Not on the tarmac esplanade
Where the proudest benches tout.

Nor facing the rising or setting suns  –
It needs no glory from light’s posturing.

Not varnished annually  –
Its grain is weathered truth.

Overgrown, uncatalogued,
It hosts no remembrance spray,
Save the blossom fall
In sadness and in triumph.

Sit away from faster paths.
Under this unpruned bower
The world in shaded silence
Unfolds itself around you.

Stuart Larner

(republished from Every Day Poets)


6th November

This morning my son and I
searched the lane for fallen rockets.
We found only one:
 a charred remnant amongst sodden leaves
run over by a car.
'Obviously a dud,' I said, 'burnt out
before it had even reached those trees.'
'No Dad,' he said.
'This fell back to earth
after it had scorched the stars.'

Stuart Larner

(earlier version first published disguised in prose on the letters page Scarborough Evening News , 10/11/08).

Monday, 3 October 2016
Comfort Regained

I found my old Teddy in a cupboard,
A cross stitched over where each eye once lay.
His mouth is sewn into a smile so broad
As though he’d still have soothing things to say.

His ear hangs off as if he’s strained so long
And worn it out listening all those years.
Time’s washed us both: I’ve grown, he’s shrunk, among
The tumble-turnings of my adult cares.

Feel his fur. Comforting is his soft art.
Still the same cuddly stuffing all way through.
Against my cheek I think I hear his heart.
You hold him. Listen. You might hear him too.

Stuart Larner

first published by Every Day Poets

Sunday, 25 September 2016
My Canine Excuse

Walking the dog at night,
the realms of scent and sight
flow from this lamppost and your house.
There’s freshly-coded news to sniff,
and a curtain only partly-drawn
shows me your light-blue TV world.
Suddenly you look out –
we see each other
like photographers caught in each other’s picture.
A world opens on this moment,
so huge its power rushes down the leash and
tugs me to your door.

Stuart Larner

(first published Every Day Poets).

Sunday, 18 September 2016
first published, as a delicious meal of poetry on EveryDay Poets:

The Five Course Reunion 

The melon crescents were served
Back to back like a frown.
When ours were collected afterwards 
They had been turned over into a smile.

The soup darkens as we stir,
Reds and greens arise then sink.
The stop and go of us these years.

Boundaries split, natures mix. Catch
Them in our spoons, rediscover
The recipe for what we were.

Choose a wing with me.
If they are from the same bird
It will fly again .

Let's halve this Emmental, you said,
Though in our hands at first
The cheese knife curved away

Nervous at slicing so deep into
Fermented joys we'd sealed up tight.
But then we saw ourselves,

Heart valves, moon craters,
Half-formed question marks,
Caverns echoing our answer.

After so long you`ve opened it again
To seek some biscuit bits,
Edges smoothed in the jostling jar.

Once fresh with flavour at first snap,
Now old and soft and taking on
The crumbs of ones they`re kept with.

Like you and me, a match can`t now exactly be
Rejoined at where it broke, the art is to agree
Two pieces can taste about the same.

Stuart Larner

Sunday, 4 September 2016
This poem, originally published on Every Day Poets, takes its inspiration from a 1931 creative map (produced by artist Edward Bawden) which now hangs in Scarborough Library.

Looking at a Print of Scarborough

This picture reminds me of the smell
of seaweed in cliff gardens at low tide,
when sunshine felt like a warm new suit all over,
and the open-top bus ride tousled our hair.

On the beach, eating ice creams,
we stared deep into donkeys’ eyes
to see their souls, sure they sensed ours
in the quiet tide beneath everything.

Lying on our stomachs, watching the sea,
I kept you safe like the castle keeps safe
its bay with rocky shoulder and encircling arm.

I touch the glass that separates the print from me.
There’s a slim airspace between today and yesterday.
I know I can always reach you there.

Stuart Larner

Tuesday, 9 August 2016
In acknowledgement of the Rio Olympics,
a poem reprinted from EDP magazine:
Pool Lifeguard

From my high chair I watch them
splash and kick, push and drift.
That’s how they measure progress here.

A passer-by might often think
my life is sunshades and casual cotton.
But swimmers know my legs
are bared for instant rescue.

My whistle halts their risky tricks:
I can save lives without moving,
but, surprised, they freeze as if I’d killed them.

Stuart Larner

another poem reprinted from the 
Every Day Poets website

Invitation to the Dance

Our words drown in disco sound.
All week this beat had leaked
from loose earphones on rush-hour trains.
Tonight you fluoresce. In strobing light I see
parts of your self you’ve brought from home:
keepsakes from the past,
keys to the present,
charms for the future.
All piled here between us.
May I dance with you round the bag?

Stuart Larner

Wednesday, 20 July 2016
The Shop That Isn't There

‘Next to my barber’s, was there a matchbox seller’s?’
‘Oh no,’ she said. ‘That was the tripe-dresser’s.
The other side sold extreme umbrellas,
Two doors down from the laundry-presser’s.’
‘But wasn’t my short-back-and-sider’s once there,
Amongst that row that has been pulled down?’
‘Not quite,’ she said. ‘It was ladies underwear –
This barber’s of yours was in another town.
Remember where you bought the sugar cutters?
That roof’s come down, the shop’s in wrecks.
Superstore now, once a fruit and nutter’s,
Whilst ladies’ and gents’ turned to unisex.’
So I won’t worry over what’s lost and gone
When I’m not sure what was there on day one.

Stuart Larner

previously published on Every Day Poets

Courtship by an Equilibrist

Is your love life sometimes like walking a tightrope stretched out in public view?
poem published by Every day poets in 2013

Courtship by an Equilibrist

A secret street performer,
Without coin-inviting cap or sign.
You can’t see me. You don’t know yet
That I’m here, the balancer in your life.

Zephyr amongst the crowd, I launch
Soap bubbles which float unseen
To pop their good luck on you.
Did you feel that touch on your arm?

When all your traffic lights were green
And your phone calls went through – 
That was due to my juggling with
The junction boxes of your days.

Soon you’ll spot me in your thoughts:
No longer an act, I’ll be risking it all.
There’s danger in the next steps on the line.
Hold tight that line. Don’t let me fall.

Stuart Larner

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

The storyteller recounts the titanic struggle between arch enemies Fred Glover and John Loggarforth in a "Call My Bluff" pub quiz. A thrilling tale of psychological insight.

read my story in
"Making Waves"
2015 anthology by
Scarborough Writers Circle.

A compendium of fiction, flash fiction, and poetry from the members.


Let’s sit here in the corner, out of the way of the darts board. I like a nice log fire in a pub, don’t you? Faint smell of smoke, like campfires of the past. Feel the warmth on you on a winter’s night like this. Dark beer with bitter hops. Cheers. Ah, that hits the spot. Beautiful.
So, you’re writing an obituary on Fred Glover for the paper, and you want a personal angle. What can I tell you about him? I suppose you’ve got all that stuff about him being a champion fell-runner, his services to charity, and his medal? That’s why it came as a shock to us all. Fit bloke like that. Sudden, just as he was breasting the tape. Makes you think.
Fred was a freelance survival expert, trained in the army. He had appeared on TV a few times. Shaven-headed, extremely fit. Forty-eight years old. He was away for long periods leading training courses, and his motto was ‘Always to the end.’
I went out for a short walk in the country with him once, just from one pub down to the next. By goodness, he had a fast stride on him. After only a dozen yards, I was struggling to keep up. He said, ‘There’s probably a mountain rescue jeep round this bend that can give you a lift.’
I thought he was joking. I asked him how he knew, and whether it was a usual parking space for them.
‘No. Something’s just run over a rabbit round there and it’s probably the rescue jeep.’
 I was amazed. How did he know there was a dead rabbit round a bend a hundred yards away out of sight? Had he been there earlier this morning? 
read the whole of my story in
"Making Waves"
2015 anthology by
Scarborough Writers Circle.

A compendium of fiction, flash fiction, and poetry from the members.

Friday, 4 April 2014
Catching the Train from Scarborough

You gave me a lift to the station
With just minutes on the railway clock.

You stopped with a flourish in the car park.
Our life is a roundabout.

Your name I said leaving the front seat
As we came to our usual fork.

Your smile was in the takeaway coffee
I drank slowly, all the way, to York.

Stuart Larner

Saturday, 9 November 2013
Poem about the war memorial in the parkland on top of the hill overlooking Scarborough

The Seasons at Oliver’s Mount 

In winter, the referees’ whistles fill the field.
In spring, the birds’ songs fill the air among the trees.
In summer, the bikers’ drone fills the suburb below.
In autumn, the reading of memorial names fills the spirit
As it soars right out across the bay.

Stuart Larner  
 (published in Scarborough Review November 2013)

Tuesday, 24 September 2013
I was helping out with some DIY work on a house in this part of Scarborough and was impressed by the friendliness of the people and the general environment around the cemetery.

At the Door

Dean and Manor Roads carry stories
from the town’s grey streets, names,  numbered doors,
thresholds where you linger with polite hellos.
Inside the cemetery, green paths lead
to rows of slab gravestones,
doors to some other space.
And the old fading ones, difficult to read,
hold you longest there as if they, most of all,
had not quite finished saying goodbye.

Stuart Larner

(first published in Scarborough Review, September 2013)

Sunday, 7 April 2013
Is it possible to write a poem on anything?
One day I closed my eyes, and challenged myself to write a poem on the first thing I saw when I opened my eyes again. Since I was sitting at my desk at the time, the thing I saw was a cellotape dispenser.

The Cellotape Dispenser

Clung to its roll cellotape hides, clever,

Clearly eluding the keenest nail and eyes

That search its circumference for ever

Tensely hunting the slightest nick to prise.

Like cellotape we hide the tortured end

Of life’s crude tears and long twisting stresses

And when we are called upon again some part to mend

Our strengths tangle into weaknesses.

But the dispenser, a friend of measure,

Will keep an outstretched hand so clear and free.

The cutter zips. The bond grows with pressure

And clearly through it all we learn to see

How with simple help at various lengths

From weaknesses can come our greatest strengths.

Stuart Larner

Grandfather’s bullet

Inside the small gift box
A twisted nail of lead,
A claw shed from Vimy Ridge.
The field surgeon’s letter hoped
That to extract and send it home
Might undo Time and
Close things whole again.
Gran kept this final link.
His body, laid in honoured line,
Now part of the earth they’d won.
The bullet, laid on cotton wool,
A dormant seed.

Stuart Larner

The Scaffolders

When they start the scaffolders surprise you,
Tensing their rods against who you are,
Bolting an answer against your question
With poles and planks and anchored struts,
Chisels, hammers and hard red hats.

You never thought you needed this.
You didn’t know it was your turn next -
That your place so high would be reached.
Up there it’s the same cement as us:
Our dust down here was once high mortar.

Weeks later, from evolution’s frame
They remove their magician’s curtain.
We compare with others in the crumbling street
The masterly neat brickwork, now out of phase,
Aged too early, returned to youth too late.

Stuart Larner

You tell me you have seen my tiger

You tell me you have seen my tiger
Watching you from my thorny woods of thought.
It growled white fear and amber danger.
But - splashed by tears which I dismissed as rain -

It ran, sensing it had been discovered.
Last night you told me you heard it purring –
Or was it a slow breathing in our blood,
Camouflage we had become? This morning

You say it patted you with playful paws
Then crept away, its tail curled low
Trailing like the mark of a question
We never had got round to asking.

Stuart Larner

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