Peter Cash: FEN POEMS (1992)

Out of Print

Fen Poems was published in December 1992 and sold out within the year.

Peter Cash was born in Skegness in Lincolnshire on the last day of 1949. He grew up in Wainfleet (where his family kept a shop) and attended Skegness Grammar School. Between 1968 and 1976, he studied English at Nottingham University (where he won three academic prizes and edited Gong.)
He received a Gregory Award in 1975 and won a prize in The National Poetry Competition in 1982. In 1980, he was awarded an MPhil for his thesis on Romantic Poets of the Early Twentieth Century.

Between 1977 and 1985, he taught English at Trent College in Derbyshire. Between 1985 and 2009, he was Head of English at Newcastle-under-Lyme School in Staffordshire.

In 1992, he wrote of this collection:

“It has always seemed to me that the poet – no matter how many derive satisfaction from his work – writes for himself. I wrote these poems so that my flat Lincolnshire – as well as Tennyson’s Wolds – might finally appear on an autobiographical map. I wrote them also to broadcast my commitment to rhyme. I tend to construct networks of rhyme/half-rhyme and feel strongly that I am less of a poet whenever I settle for free verse.”

Donald Measham, Editor of Staple First Editions, wrote:

“This is poetry with authority … In the final poem, Sea Lane: 1957, previously distant figures take on personality …”

Both Hares and A Declaration of Independence by the People of Donington, Lincs were published in The Times Literary Supplement.

For Matthew Flinders born in Donington on 16th March 1774
Died in London on 19th July 1814

Our innumerable acres content us.
Despite this vast supremacy,
we envisage no other.
Even on grey days,
our vistas shine back.

We are methodists, not imperialists.
We cannot expand for the faultless fens
that abut upon the North Sea.
Flat earth, oozing cauliflowers,
cautions ambition.

All gulls become complacent
in this freedom.  Querulous, they wheel
elsewhere and sense adventures.
We let them go.
Lapwings wade in our tractor-tracks.

Magnanimous, we pride ourselves
upon this unexpected town
in which we stay our lives.
We are unlike you, Matthew Flinders;
we do not wonder what’s beyond
those taut horizons, roping 
us in.

Quests rise out of uncertainties
which we never feel.
Our instincts, though,
seem sound enough:
why exchange this fertile outback
for another in which nothing 


We’ll stick 
in innumerable square-miles of mud,
contented with our cauliflowers,
considering the lapwings. 

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