Margaret Gleave grew up in Oldham, studied classics at Leicester University. She lives in Southport and taught English, classics and music for many years.


Currently she is a tutor for Writers’ Bureau Poetry Course. She enjoys attending a local poetry group run by Alison Chisholm, Poetry Society Workshops and Master Classes run by Carol Ann Duffy and Gillian Clarke at Ty Newydd, Wales.


She loves walking, reading detective fiction and visiting art galleries.











138 x 216mm


66 pages


£8.99 + P&P UK


ISBN 978-1-910834-43-5













This collection features a broad range of style and subject. It explores the need to account for a persona in inanimate objects – ‘Skeleton Clock’ , and traumatic events in a child’s life told in simple language , set within a  child’s understanding of her universe. Here are poems which make you think, sometimes disturb and are always powerful.



‘Margaret Gleave is a poet with vision and flair. Her collection ‘A Year of Leaves’ is rich in imagery and observation, and she writes with equal sensitivity on landscapes in space and time, and on the characters who populate them. These are poems to be relished at a first glance, and treasured for years to come.’

Alison Chisholm


'There is an honesty and openness about the writing, so that the reader is allowed to share worlds of childhood, holiday memories and imaginative landscapes. This is an admirable – nay, enviable achievement.’

Roger Elkin




A Year of Leaves


Margaret Gleave









The day the sun went in


He's waiting for the dark;

waiting under my bed, scratching at my window.

He's lurking in the hall, in the space between coats.


It's October with its crunch of leaves;

rusted railings spotted with green.

Granelli’s van sings its tinny tune.

Playground din fades.


Vivienne Beech is telling some tale;

…there is a Bogeyman.

He wears a long black coat; his hat brim covers his face.

He’s waiting.


The whistle calls us in.

My head is stuffed with wool.

I can’t paint a house with its giant stick- people,

its scribble of smoke. I can’t paint the wedge of sun.


Miss Cooper is reading a story, my favourite,

The Gingerbread Man. Her lips are moving

But I can’t hear for the roaring in my ears.




I pelt past alleyways, past Mrs Perkin’s cat;

don’t worry about treading on a crack marry a stick.

Home. A shadow at my heels.




Summer School


Time is long today.

Tomorrow will be cobalt and cyan.


We'll sing Dylan and Baez,

read Plath and Bishop.


We'll drowse through the morning,

chalk dust floating on sunbeams,


recite magic names of Samarqand, Marrakech, Cathay

to the whump of tennis balls on asphalt.


Tomorrow will be cobalt and cyan,

for time is long.




For the Journey


He packed a shirt, coarse woollen socks,

shaving brush and pen; dark brandy,

pipe and a screw of opium.

Between his garments, he layered

sheets of clear water, damp green light,

purple shadows and snow-sharp mountains,

his broad northern vowels wrapped in brown paper.

He travelled south to unaccustomed sun.


From this scuffed, much-dented case, he would release

the music of lakes,  hiss of polished ice.







Skeleton Clock


Dad bid for her at auction –

a hundred and fifty years old

and in working order.

He wedged old pennies

under her base for balance;

then she stopped.


Dismantled, cleaned,

put together by a clock doctor,

she wouldn’t work for me.

She loves a man’s touch.


Two winding mechanisms;

one for the hour, a solemn dong;

one for the half hour, a chime.

She loves John.


Wound up

she runs for eight days;

purrs, her key gently turned,

clears her throat coming

up to the hour; butter-

wouldn’t-melt chimes;


boasts more brass parts

than bones in the human body –

gears, ratchets, wires,

tumblers, balance wheel,

main spring, tourbillon –

all brashly on view.


When I’m alone, I swear

I hear her voice, not

tick-tock, tick-tock

but – fuckwit, fuckwit –

a glitch of gears – bitch.




My People


I come from a line of plasterers, builders, joiners;

people who mixed lime with their mortar.

Some would recite Shakespeare in the bath,

the devil damn thee black, thy cream-faced loon…

Way back, my people painted their faces,

worshipped the oak tree.


My women were dancers, could do the splits,

rode unicycles and cartwheeled to work.

Some grew deaf from working the looms in weaving sheds,

played dummy whist and rummy on a Sunday afternoon.

Most got married twice, had too many children

and didn't care about how they would vote.


My people smoked Gallaghers Rich Dark Honeydew,

drank Guinness and played poker, got into bar-room brawls,

often punched their wives.  Some hunted at night

while their women howled at the moon,

buried pebbles, believing them to be ancestors –

a pulsing stone, a bone.


author crop Indigo Dreams 2016 Year of Leaves  photo 9781910834435