Handprints by Valerie Morton


Valerie Morton
Indigo Dreams Publishing
ISBN 978-1-910834-02-2


The epigraph to “Handprints” is from George Bernard Shaw: “If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.” I’ve read this poetry collection several times over the last few months, and the quote from Shaw is apt.

Valerie Morton holds a powerful magnifying glass to the individuals in this multi-generational family, showing us aspects of how their lives have been shaped by relationships, circumstances, and events large and small. She doesn’t spare us the difficult bits, but she also shows us (with those same bits) love, hope, courage and meaning – and how family and friend connections are the ties that bind. The last poem is the most joyous “concrete” poem I’ve ever come across.

These poems are skilfully written, full of surprises and astute. Highly recommended. E E Nobbs


She stood in the husk of the house,
its moss filled corners
a home for swallows that swooped
on her intrusion. And pigeons
whose spatter-trail she followed
where the land agent said
it wasn’t safe to go. She went –
nothing could be worse

than where she’d come from.

The crippled staircase
wanted her, invited every step;
rewarded her with room to stand,
to turn round and see
bent heads grazing by the river
that snaked alongside the track
where she could watch the children
riding home for tea.


More often now
I get the urge
to break down again;
to sit on the verge
of that motorway in Kent,
your oily prints
turning my white dress
into a finger painting,
hoping the rescuers
will take their time
to move us on.


Valerie Morton was born in London, grew up in Kent and now lives by the River Lea in Hertfordshire. Her love of poetry was triggered at an early age when her mother would recite poetry as a reward for her children finishing their homework.

Valerie cannot remember a time when she didn’t write but family life took most of her time until a passion for poetry was revived about ten years ago. Since then she has been published in a number of magazines, online and has won and been placed in several poetry competitions.

Valerie is currently Poet in Residence at in a Pinetum and is a member of Ver Poets. Her first colliection, Mango Tree was published by Indigo Dreams in 2013.

EE Nobbs’ website


5 thoughts on “Handprints by Valerie Morton”

    1. I can still see my mum now in a steamy kitchen and us sitting spellbound and marvelling at the way she could recite by heart The Ancient Mariner – I used to see the kitchen as her own theatre. It was the best intro. to poet a child could have.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s