Birth, Love, Work, Love, Death & Other B-sides is out now!
(coming soon to Amazon and directly from the press and author)
“Work, pressure, and anxiety; love, loss, and lighter topics, such as drinking tea and travelling, are explored here with intelligence, sensitivity, and delightful dry humour. Daniels’ philosophical mind is much apparent as he observes, quizzes, and draws conclusions; so, too, is the poet’s restrained anger, which serves to energise his writing, catalysing the ordinary, here and there, into something more unsettling. It’s Daniels’ humanity, however, which shines through in this book, and which makes these very finely formed poems seem like a friend to carry with you. This is a wonderful, wry collection of work which I highly recommend.” – Mab Jones
“In poems of the unsettling domestic, Stephen Daniels describes our awkward attempts to keep or close the gulfs between us. With turns of phrase to startle our complacencies, everyday rituals become minefields as he gives voice to some of our bleakest thoughts.” – Lorraine Mariner
“With control and precise language Daniels speaks of absence, of the “weightless trace of a relationship”, of the sound that starts in hearts and falters on the tongue. Layers are stripped to bone exposing the intensely personal, with meticulous observation, at the very tipping point of pain and passion. This is a meditation on loss.” – Abegail Morley
I watch you make tea and I see
plantation workers in Kenya, every pull
of a leaf from the plant, each fistful
of flavour, their Rooibos coloured palms.
I watched your mum make tea, how she
flash-brewed it, ensuring flavour remained
in each bag, trying to save money on milk.
I see the waiter make tea and the way you wait
patiently for the perfect five-minute brew,
carefully pour each drop.
I watch your brother make tea at your mum’s funeral,
see his hands shake at the burden to replicate
this standard, or the loss of a parent whose tea
failed to live up to the farmer’s labour.
I see everyone making tea, with their milk first,
no water first, with their as it comes, or their strong
with no sugar, with their builder’s brew, and wonder
if we should all demand more from our tea.
Stephen Daniels is the editor of Fresh Air Poetry. His poetry has been published in numerous magazines and websites. His debut pamphlet ‘Tell Mistakes I Love Them’ was published in 2017 by V. Press. His second pamphlet ‘£5 for this love’ was published in 2018 by Paper Swans Press.