Poems and Fragments


I write mainly in a non-fiction form – books and newspaper/magazine features. But this writing is also intensely personal. Memoir. My relationship  – complex, tangled, ever-changing – to the world around me. Memories of people and real life events. Thoughts. Feelings. Questions, questions. As a dancer, rhythm and movement is important to me, and it informs the way I write. I am no poet, though I long to be one, and the harmonics of poetry and song fascinate and thrill me. On this page, as the time flows on, you might find stumbling attempts at my own simple poems, and reference to poets and singers whom I especially love and admire…. So watch this space, and I shall too.

February 2018 HEIMAT

Here are two poems, just submitted to an international anthology called HEIMAT, on the theme of homeland – feeling at home – whatever that may mean. Hungary, which is referenced on this page, and everywhere else on my website, as my ‘home from home’ – and Leeds, which is my everyday home, here in West Yorkshire, England, are both very much HEIMAT to me….


Hungary calls her – this curious, displaced, skinny English girl

Pulls her under its blanket of Cold War snow

Draws her to its jealous magyar breast

And suffocates her.





Just before the wall comes down,

Just before the end.


And always she is struggling here,

In the bone shattering winter – city statues wrapped against the crack of cold,

And the stifling heat of an East European summer.

Such melancholy in that fresh, bright, cherry blossom spring.


How she longs to be in England –

On those dirty London streets,

Where people know her name

And say it in a language that is forever hers.


Clear the call to leave:

But her heart is split in two.






And when she does go home

In that hot, hot summer of 1989

When the borders are flung open – and the West says “Come!”-

And the people sing their long lost songs of liberty,

It is too late for her, too late.


And she is homesick once again,

For a place relinquished,

For a man who has refused her,

For a country – harsh and full of paradox –

Its language a mystery and a music forever on her tongue,

Where she will always be on the outside, looking in:

Nose pressed to the sash window,

As the heavy wooden blind falls shut.

Frontier to a vanished freedom – no longer to be crossed, or found. 

Barney Bardsley

LEEDS 1996

Home: is the sound of the wind at her window

Sharp icy blasts – that howl to come in.


Home: is a city of steep hills, rough edges

Back-to-back terraces, slate roofs, Yorkshire stone.


But beyond urban borders –

the moorland goes roaming –

to mighty cliff edges –

the wild grey sea.


Leeds: is simplicity, going for refuge

A warm Northern accent, a straightforward smile.

A garden, a shelter, a hospital corridor

A man in his prime – struck low – gone to ground.


Leeds: is the home her beloved was born to,

The place that he runs for, as crisis comes close.

The light fades so soon, but the streets are still friendly

And death comes more easy in their strong embrace.


Leeds: is a city she follows to find him,

In sickness and health –

In his falling and dying –

Should he need to be here: then here she is too.


Home: is a city she would never have chosen…

A place – and a people – instead, that chose her.

Barney Bardsley

April 2015 LOVE

April 2015.Sonnets. In my spring creative writing class at Heydays, West Yorkshire Playhouse, we had a look at the Seven Deadly Sins. But as an antidote to 'Jealousy', I decided to explore with them the pure loveliness of ....LOVE! And unusually, I had a go, in class, too. Iambic pentameter. 16 lines. The glorious rhythm and rhyme. Shakespeare. Sonnet Number 18....'Shall I compare thee to a summer's day....' That was our inspiration and lode star. I chose to write about Hungary, a place I fell in love with 25 years ago, and have only recently re-discovered. This is about a man, too. Inevitably.

Hungarian Rhapsody

You tell me that my voice is rich and warm,

although we do not share a common tongue.

A longing, sweet and foreign, starts to form,

for dances we might dance – and songs unsung.

Your black eyes flash with promises not kept,

and rendezvous in restaurants never made.

Snowfall on village roads – my heart, unswept:

old, vivid scenes that slowly burn to fade.

When postcards from a far-off place arrive,

the years of absence worry at my mind.

I walk the tightrope back – what will survive?

A country boy – and country – still to find.

I try to block my senses, but in vain.

             You touch my back – it all begins again.

Here’s another sonnet, this time from one of my creative writers, Gail Mosley. On the broad theme of LOVE in all its forms…

Love All

 We played at two-ball in the avenue

with perfect throw and catch, a wordless game.

I didn’t need to shout or call to you,

I can’t remember if I knew your name

but you were tall and willowy and fair,

and we could play for ever and a day,

at least until dusk blurred the evening air,

and each of us was called our separate way.

The accidental grace we conjured then,

oblivious to ordinary fears,

I’ve tried to capture many times again,

and keep returning to it down the years.

I wonder if it meant as much to you

when we played two-ball in the avenue.

Gail Mosley

This is a wistful offering –  from one of my Creative Writing group again. They are a talented bunch.

Sonnet : A Love Revisited

I loved you and I lost you long ago;

Now, I can barely call to mind your face

Though, when I do, it’s always in the place

We strolled and laughed, where broad and river flow.

It’s self-indulgence, just what I despise,

Nostalgia for a disappointment past;

There’s no excuse to make what’s painful last.

Let go, be content with the now : be wise.

For all I give myself such fine advice,

The empty moments come; nothing to do,

No book to read, the glamour of the new

No longer has the power to entice.

I make myself ridiculously sad

Thinking, wishful, of what I never had.

Mike Palfrey

And a final offering from creative writer Harry Venet, with one more sonnet about love…


Your voice, the most mellifluous of sounds

Attracts me every Tuesday in the park

In summer as I wander through the grounds,

Condemned to stay forever in the dark.

I sit upon a bench within your range,

My faithful dog so patient by my side

The feeling of contentment is so strange

And yet there’s no temptation still to hide.

Your words are less important than the voice

Its tone and timbre clinging to my ears;

It’s nice to know that I still have a choice,

A choice that will remain with me for years.

Though blindness means I don’t enjoy each sense

The one you give is ample recompense.

Harry Venet


4 thoughts on “Poems and Fragments”

  1. Very nice Barney for you to be rekindling so many creative energies after all the hurdles you have recently had to overcome and rise above. Good luck in all you touch upon. Francis. xx


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