“Here is a place where you will find a beating heart, echos from a soul, an indomitable strength of spirit. It often expresses itself in iambic or trochaic rhythms; sometimes pentametric, sometimes tetrametric. Here a ballad, there a rondeau redouble or even a free wheeling verse. It speaks of diverse life perspectives; of children and grandchildren; of life, the universe and everything; of politics; of love, loss, war and peace, sustainability and social justice. There may even be the odd rhyme. Eventually, you might be on your way to understanding the writer and the poet a little better. It would be nice to think you did” 

Firstly, I would like to apologise that the menu links (Commentaries-Links-Music-Poems-Poets-Stories), which should reveal drop down sub-menus, are not working at present. I think this is on account of WordPress altering things and, maybe, trying to persuade me to purchase an upgrade. Well, that may be fair do’s, because I’ve had it free for over eight years! Eight years!! Goodness me. Anyway, on with the show …

It is, on the one hand, perhaps a little sad that it has taken so long for me – sixty-something, very conventional, once regular rugby playing man – to admit that I have some pretty strong feelings and emotions about a whole range of human subjects. What we chaps would have, in the days gone by, called ‘girlie’ feelings. On the other hand, it has also been a very interesting and personal journey, which I think has revealed a lot of me to myself. I realise and accept that there are very few people out there, who will have the slightest interest in me personally. In fact, if you do, then it is probably to be discouraged! However, if nothing else, I do hope there will be some who have an interest in the process I’m going through and the words. Yes the words. I’ve no doubt there’ll be a lot of you who’re way ahead of me in this, already. Whichever it is, I look forward to contining the journey. All you need to do is jump on board every now and again, as and when you please. Every time you do, feel free to make a comment, even and perhaps especially if it is something like “I don’t understand this!” – a comment my wife often makes after reading one of my poems.

My calling card once described me as a ‘Family man, Grandfather, Weekend Poet, Occasional Musician, Amateur Photographer and Film-maker, Apple-MAC user, Implementation Manager, Engineer and general all-round good egg’, but please note I’m not particularly impressed by that card; it was penned about ten years ago, in a moment of slightly perverse humour; tongue firmly pressed to cheek. Ah well, it’s still in print and I’m not paying for any more until these are used up (in true Yorkshire spirit), which means they’ll probably outlast me!

Writing poems began for me in 2009, on a specific date – yes, as precise as that!  This followed the birth of my first grandchild three days before. This event inspired the poem “Jessica Tenth of May“. The strangest thing about this story is that I felt that I couldn’t admit to writing the poem, not even to my wife, who is my soul-confidante. Instead, I waited till the close family were gathered in the presence of her ladyship, who was a mere seven days old, and read the (albeit rather imperfect) poem to them all; don’t know what came over me! Anyway, my wife and children were very complimentary, or at least polite.

This triggered a period of writing in my life, which, if it has slowed a little, has yet to dry up. If truth be told, in my youth (around 16 to 25 years), before career, family and responsibilities swept me into a creative desert for a while, I did write some songs and the odd poem, so 13th May 2009 didn’t strictly mark the beginning of my creative writing. Although it has to be said that my undergraduate thesis on the behaviour of laser light when passed through single crystals of Lithium Fluoride was described by my tutor as a great piece of ‘creative writing’ (as opposed to objective science)!

From that May 2009 to the present time, however, whilst this process has been not quite cathartic, it has certainly given vent to a well of feeling, sometimes strong, and opinion, even stronger, on subjects as diverse as love, war, loss, home, work, celebrity, shopping, stress, manners, ego, depression and, perhaps most important of all, on the value of family and community; and the need to fill up our children with enough love, kindness and security as early in their lives as possible, so that they grow into adults with a tank-full, which enables them to give some back to a world, which is sorely in need of it. One of my favourite albums in our large music collection, is ‘Songs In The Key of Life’, a double album that Stevie Wonder released in 1976 and, amongst my favourite tracks from this album is “Love’s in Need of Love Today”, as if to illustrate the point.

Literature, poetry and songs are stories. They should be delivered so we can hear the message in the words, so that they have a beginning, a middle, a conclusion. They are the essence of a civilised life. I’d like to celebrate story telling and, as well as paying homage to the internet, defend the digital technology that allows us to have freely available information. I acknowledge WordPress and the freedom we have to express ourselves.

As unconditional love and kindness is the bedrock of humanity, so freedom of expression and unrestricted access to literature are prerequisites of a civilised society.”

It should also be said that unrestricted access to information in general is vital to a civilised society (except of course where that information would endanger an individual, family, community or a nation). This blog is, by virtue of its title, concerned with poetry and, more specifically it is intended as a remote repository for my own story. It does extend to the poetry of others and to various philosophical discussions (see also my other blog site, ‘Forty Two’). It also has links to some of the poets I like and admire, as well as to other sites of relevance. It is also dedicated to the institution of family and to the importance of using language to promote understanding, not only of humanity, but also between human communities; to communicate what’s really important to us all.

Last but not least, my poetry is not intended to be for publication or competition (otherwise I shouldn’t be placing it here), but rather for my own children and their future descendants, as a small part of our family history, in the cause of which personal biographies always play an important and often revealing part.

Having said that, not all of the poetry I’ve written is here by a long way, but it might well be at some point. In my first year of blogging, I tried to write a poem every week, as time and inspiration allowed. I didn’t quite achieve that. In 2012 I wrote even less, but by then I’d met and cemented some enduring online relationships with many other poets and writers and the effect this had was, I believe, to improve the quality, if not the quantity of my poetry. So, the journey changed direction, ever so gradually, and became even more interesting …

© 2018 John Anstie
All rights reserved

This is a voyage of discovery“.

16 Responses to About

  1. MOMENTS says:

    John, I have read your ABOUT section again and I don’t believe there is something like ‘girlie’ feelings. That is pure prejudice and machismo. I am glad you see beyond that and express your emotions, feelings and thoughts freely in the wondrous realms of WordPress. Men, as well as women, transgender and non binary people, have thoughts, feelings and emotions. That is human. In addition and according to psychologist Carl Jung, each one of us has “anima” and “animus” where “Jung described the animus as the unconscious masculine side of a woman, and the anima as the unconscious feminine side of a man, each transcending the personal psyche.” (taken from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anima_and_animus)

    I am glad I have come across you. There is too much shallowness in our world and I like depth, which is something you offer in your writing.

    I love this quote:

    “As unconditional love and kindness is the bedrock of humanity, so freedom of expression and unrestricted access to literature are prerequisites of a civilised society.”


  2. Hi John, I found your comment reply on my old blog which is out of sight. My present blog where you can find me is at http://areyouthrilled.com .

    Your comment was :
    [PoetJanstie says:
    16 January, 2018 at 10:52 am
    Gosh, Rose, it’s taken me 9 months to respond to this! I need to tidy my site. Something WordPress has done has messed up my page structure and I simply need time I don’t have at the moment to sort it out!
    Anyway, it’s interesting you’ve mentioned the same book, “A Wrinkle in Time” that Jamie mentioned three years ago.]

    Had to giggle as that was actually 21 months ago. I recently unearthed several old comments I missed as well, and well I know about WP moving things about on the site.

    A Wrinkle in Time was a favourite childhood book and both my kids read it. Recently I saw a trailer for a remake of the film which I am ecstatic about–


  3. John S says:

    There are many types of kindred spirits in this world. I feel that you and I have many of the same thoughts and passions. Music for one. Poetry for another. The intersection of the two is a constant source of inspiration for me. I am pleased to meet you (even if on-line). Thanks for sharing your poetry and for sharing your musical talents in your community.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Rose Red says:

    You have quite the autobiography here. Too much to mention. I will just say then that I am listening to your mens chorus and it is just marvelous.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you very much for the detailed and wonderful comment you left for me at The Bardo Group. Much appreciated! I have to say that I agree with Jamie’s comment about your About page, it is rare to find one like it around. All the best, Blaga


  6. Jamie Dedes says:

    Enjoyed my visit to your blog today, John.
    Wishing you a wonderful week.
    With gratitude for sharing your art and ideas,


  7. phoenixrisesagain says:

    Hi there I haven’t been here for ages. Nice to read you again and here a little award for you http://phoenixrisesagain.wordpress.com/2012/12/18/an-award-ein-award/


  8. Jamie Dedes says:

    Janstie, this is the best “About” I’ve yet to read in nearly four years of blogging. Well done.

    Thanks for stopping by my place and taking the time to comment



    • PoetJanstie says:

      Wow, Jamie, thank you. I don’t get many visitors to this part of the blog! Not surprising really; its length probably puts most people off :-). So you are one of a few special people.


  9. MarinaSofia says:

    As I threatened, I have been thinking of you and reading your poetry and other work, and I find it all so inspiring that I nominated you for the Inspiring Blog Award. I know it sometimes feels like a burden rather than an honour (it took me nearly a month to reply to my last one), but it’s an opportunity to express my admiration to those who give me such wonderful things to read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • PoetJanstie says:

      Marina (if I may call you by that name), thank you.

      I didn’t think many people in the course of human history would actually read my ‘About Me’ page, if for no other reason than it is so long (the story of my life!). It was initially a conversation with myself (and maybe my children, should they get round to reading it, perhaps after I’m buried in Mother Earth!). Anyway, I thank you sincerely, not least for the undeserved accolade! In fact, vis-a-vis this feeling, I read the sentiments you’ve expressed very well on your own blog in response to the awards you have been given, and they truly reflect my own – slightly inclined as I am to being the Victor Meldrew of the piece!

      I think we are blessed with just plain good friends and kindred spirits, even given that these are mostly virtual, whom we haven’t met in the flesh, but friends nonetheless. Have to say, that, at the time of writing, I have already now met (in person) with six of a group of people I originally came across on Twitter last summer and we are now a close knit group, planning a collection of poetry to boot. Amazing!

      It is good to make your acquaintance.


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