Eighty-nine at the time of publication, Gregory, of the Southern working class, with a Grammar School-University history, has, for over seventy years, filled his pages with thousands of poems (from haiku to book-length sequences), over twenty plays, a dash of fiction, non-fiction, plus over a thousand poem-graphics and other structures.


Gregory still runs a local U3A poetry-writing group, though diminishing in size; it is based upon the principles inherent in the English curriculum at The Wyvern, the English Block in Uganda,  and the participatory intentions of both Word And Action, as a whole, and Instant Theatre as their most practised example.  

Underneath all his work is the conviction that a mighty era in human history is in a state of collapse and a fresh one, with considerably changed values, is, if the race lets it and the planet survives, in the process of being born.


Gregory is an ordinary writer, who has tried, imperfectly, throughout his life, to enliven his own small-I in the light of all that life is. Earth-bound, not sky-born, he has attempted to image the universal in the local (and maybe vice-versa). Failing, according to his own standards, is maybe what he’s good at. Persistence, conceived out of struggle, marks a kind of achievement.

His father, shifting over his working lifetime from being a casual docks labourer to Docks Superintendent, was told by the work’s supremo: this is as far as someone from your working-class background can expect to climb.  Writers have it easy, by comparison, though the grain of truth remains.    










138 x 216mm


76 pages


£7.99 + P&P UK


ISBN 978-1-910834-38-1


PUB: 24h April 2017












Third selection of poems published by Indigo Dreams, in no time-order, but spanning over sixty years.

The poems cover a wide range of subject-matter and theme: from the highly personal to the political and philosophical;  from childhood to old age; from free verse to the highly structured; shape-poem; from the deadly serious to the light-hearted; the sardonic to the affectionately descriptive; from the short to the very long.  



"In Gregory’s hands language becomes a shape-shifter. Joy, grief, love and loneliness flash into view, only to transform instantly and effortlessly.


The pursuit is always of the human, hidden behind objects, opinions, fears and prejudices. discovered in moments of transition; the  discarded idea, the chairs bought in joy but owned with sorrow, the death of life-givers and the birth of new life.


The emergence of the human is greeted with a gasp of terror and a cry of joy.

Both are essential to self-recognition."

Amanda Price

Layer 8 Ltd







the buddha's tooth


rg gregory

the buddha’s tooth


in the first seven years you choose your howdah

having by then bare inklings of a journey

but where or why – confusion there to cloud a

judgement no more ready than a sore knee

to enter the lists of a whole life’s tourney –

but after this howdah-do (this introduction)

what’s to carry you where – from muddy fluxion


and glimpsing that a howdah does for two

(from seven years on the stirrings can be frantic)

you start to map the high ride (define the view)

and long for gilt and pomp (a touch of tantric)

relationships at best quite sycophantic

you dream of elephants clad in rich brocades

ideas to match your own fanfaronades


at fifteen then you’re really setting out

the sun’s dressed up to let you think life’s bright

your flag’s up front to give you extra clout

the chores are borne below (and out of sight)

you’ve made a noon of every slinking midnight

the continent is yours (let no one mock it)

yours the wheel to which all else a sprocket


in sri lanka in the kandy perahera

every august in a festival procession

an elephant richly dressed (the stately bearer)

carries on its back in howdah-fashion

a casket (such the grandeur of its mission))

in which the buddha’s sacred tooth’s enshrined

an image that your journey brings to mind


that tooth’s the root of all deep human struggle

and life for each proceeds by that shrined truth

which (clearly seen) yet causes thought to boggle

in what dimension lies the total proof

that that enamelled shard is all-wise tooth

and not a figment of the brain’s rash wish

to puff dull want as in a cloud of hashish


old tooth (your truth) life’s slow (but rushing) voyage

that lonely cavalcade that buzzing dreams spell out

towards elusive man but keep you in your boy-age

a noble sense of self impugned by doubt

and yet (inside you caged) a regal shout

pomp should be there to honour your advancement

and you are right to sip from that entrancement


then be that casket the buddha’s tooth ennobles

have that howdah’s view of how dah world grows

choose your elephant well to ride your troubles

(let flag and rich brocade shine through such woes)

what others think can’t hurt what your heart knows

it’s a bumpy business this festive spirit’s trek

a well-sprung joy best cushion for your neck






the wind

forced the water

to tear the earth

from the roots

of the trees


the trees died

and the gap

through the valley

forced the wind

to force the water

to tear the earth

from the roots

of more trees


and the trees died

and the gap grew

and the wind grew

and the earth fled

and the roots rotted

and the trees died


till people came

reclaimed the land

held back the water

defied the wind

planted more trees


and with unnatural skills


the balance of nature





november tuesday


brick-bound i feel the fault-line of the age

flickering through me – nullities won't shift

onto my brighter side – a petit-rage

spiculates calm ( below-thinking's adrift)


the house about my shoulders is a drab

a door i need to open dipping-down

is blocked against me by a mirror-crab

that (when i face it) mutates to a frown


unseasoned i step out – the air is sharp

autumn's colours smack me in the eye

coppered leaves deep reds and yellows harp

into my dissonance – anger goes awry


as i walk i shed hurt skins – a tree-thought

gathers its sap and the sun is caught






you know as you enter the valley

of trees clenched over your head

the light in your heart you follow

won't light you until you're dead


you say goodbye to those weathers

you would love but can't employ

in that harsh thrust down into caverns

you desire – but fear to enjoy


you've grown to believe in darkness

its seed-nurturing despair

the no-flowering of all solutions

truths too early for the air


you feel your body breaking

in the racks of ancient laws

the forces that drive you downwards

forcibly crippling your cause


all lovers all relations

are cries in the distant sun

they hang in the scales disjointed

against the scared race you run


the night you flounder into

is the sucking tide of death

peace will be its engulfing

as a new world gasps for breath




a dream of elegance


elegance wrapped in a carefree silk

(with the seaside thrown in) – who wouldn’t

(said the cat at the thought of milk)

give up dread school for such a dream

sitting all day at a boring desk

(not milk said the cat but silky cream)

dreams quit the dull for the arabesque

flowing lines with a touch of wild

(mee-ow said the cat feeling picturesque)

school’s such an edgy kind of place

listen listen the sharp voices grate

(a pleased purr’s made of finest lace)


why can’t i grow up at a faster rate

(one wink in a dream) and be that cool

(the cat at peace in its satin state)

elegance grace – a light sense of style

school hangs on to you like a halter

(not cat so much as crocodile)


be sure then the dream doesn’t palter

be true to your own deep eve

(said the cat smooth as deep water)

harmony of heart and head

(elegance wrapped in a carefree silk)

schools (cat-like) should teach instead

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