Frank McMahon

Originally a native of Birkenhead, Frank progressed after school and university into a career in social work, with three Local Authorities, British Red Cross and Action for Children.

He is married with two children and five grandchildren.

He began writing plays around eight years ago. “ I  suddenly began to put  pen to paper and the ideas still keep coming.” He developed a monologue with the Director of Theatre Absolute in Coventry and an actor, which was then performed before an invited audience.

Over the years he has written some poems but since July 2017, has experienced a real burst of creativity. Five poems were published on-line  by  I am not a Silent Poet and two others  in The Cannon’s Mouth.

“Moving to Cirencester in December 2016 has turned out to be an even greater life-changing experience than I anticipated. Writers at the Brewery and  now  the Somewhere Else Writer’s Group have been a wonderful stimulus.”

You can listen to Frank reading some of his work below.

Finding  Tyndale at  Nibley

In principio creavit Deus
caelum et terram,
terra autem erat
inanis et vacua.

A field of wheat, sides squared and neatly hedged.
As we come close, no weeds or flowers wild,
orthodoxy ripening as it should.
We enter, leave the budding woods, then out, onto

the escarpment, his tower tall and stark.
Its apex bears a golden cross refulgent.
Nearby, felled timber, neat-stacked, like faggots,
sufficient to incinerate thinkers

independent, heretics, men, women
seeking their single way towards God’s words.
This was his boyhood’s country, lived between
the Severn and these hills, open to the

winds, contrary, turbulent. Hard questions
grew amongst his learning, thorny,
provocative, answers growing hidden,
seeds in a husk of silence, nurtured later

in the thickets of deeper learning: Greek,
Hebrew, flowering in the glottal stops,
cadences and plosives of everyman’s
tongue. The ploughboy reads his Bible, pausing

longer at the turning of each furrow.
Around us in the rough, demotic ground,
knapweed and ragwort, hemp agrimony,
campion, sorrel, vetch and burnet rose.

Universal Credit

Learn this lesson: assume the supplicant’s
position, low before the arbiter.
Hang your petition on the ox’s horn and
pray as it turns and plods inside the keep.
Forty two days in the wilderness, longer
than Christ’s self-chosen stay. Time to go home
and count the copper pennies in your palm, time
to scour the bins for corn cobs overlooked,
scraps on bones, nubs of bread, hide candles
and kindling, beg remission on your rent.
Time to forage hedgerows, scrape bark for baking
bread, claw the furrows for potatoes, hush
the hungry child while you lie clamped and clemmed,
fashioning hope from feathers and dung.

You may be lucky: beneficence
parsimonious may be granted or
day on day on days delays will find you
in winter’s shadow outside the castle walls.