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Poem of the Week: Genevieve L. Walsh

Updated: Sep 20, 2019

My second poem to get the treatment for ‘Poem of the week’ comes from everybody’s favourite punk/goth/speaker of amazing words Geneviève L. Walsh. 

Gen is the host of the amazing “Spoken Weird” night in Halifax but I first came across her at the Chorlton Book Festival in 2017 where she was headlining an event at the library. I was blown away by her flawless confidence on stage, the seamless links to musical references within her poetry and the way that despite her style being invariably dark, there was a real lightness of mood about the place as she shared the words. 

I was absolute chuffed to bits when she became our very first headliner at our own spoken word evening ‘Waffle’ in January of this year. It was the perfect way to kick off our new event in Ramsbottom.

On top of all that, she’s a cracking host and a bringer together of people - her newest ventures - an LGBTQ+ night to sit alongside her established Open Mic evening - ‘Spoken Queered’ - has been going from strength to strength and she’s currently touring her new show “A Place in the Shade” to packed out crowds.

This poem “From the ashes of a poet” is from her debut book ‘The Dance of a Thousand Losers’ and is a brilliant example of why I enjoy her work. We all want our final resting place to be somewhere special, almost sacred - yet what will be our legacy? How will the trees grow from the nutrition we provide?

For more information on Geneviéve’s work you can head out to

From the Ashes of a Poet

By Geneviève L. Walsh

Don’t go down to that tree lads,

it’s grown from the ashes of a poet.

The bark smells like hyperbole and resentment,

it’s covered in a half-blood-half-rum sap

and they say if you stand beneath it

and blare out your favourite tune,

the wind

will whisper



that crap you’re listening to?’ 

It isn’t haunted, nothing so passé, 

but they say it creaks if you use its shade 

to throw around clichés.

The leaves, in the right light, turn

from mondegreens

to Purple Haze,

but try to take a picture

and it’s gone.

When Black Friday comes, they say

you can hear it groaning as you pass,

that its moaning, bending branches

cast a menace over this place.

They say

there are lyrics chipped into the bark 

that you can only see 

when you’re off your face

Try and take a picture 

and it’s gone.

No matter how tired you grow 

of the ache 

of the midday sun,

don’t go and stand in that shadow.

You’ll come back battered, 

wistful, shattered

and gleefully bleak.

Don’t go down to that tree, lads,

it sprung from the ashes of a freak.

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