I was chatting to Judy Darley yesterday about John Terry and his poems and how I enjoyed our back and forth of writing when I was away in Barcelona, at home there seems little time to write letters. I was talking to her about how much I loved this poem he wrote after coming to my open studios back in 2009. An epic sketch!

“Hi Carol, Just to say how much I enjoyed your open studio on Friday. Dammit, I even found myself sketching lines around the lines of your new Listening piece. No more than a sketch, just a response to your piece.You’re right, one has to keep sketching all the time. Thank you. john”

Listening (sculpture) Carol Peace

She rests one naked ear
against bare boards
and listens.

Furniture pushed away,
fitted carpet torn
from its grippers,
quilted underlay thrown aside.

Senses focused on sound
her stare sees nothing.

Does a faint vibration of life
seep through the ceiling
of the room below,
shiver the flat black nails
that clench floor to joists?

The house speaks changes
of temperature,
strength of wind.
One wall expands in sunlight,
another shrinks in shadow.

Tensions hold hands with tensions
until all quiver in sympathy:
every sash window, each ill-fitting door,
every lath beneath its plaster,
creaks sotto voce.

Is anybody there? she asks.

Among this whispered racket
of dead trees
is there one

recognisable human sound?

John Terry

You can buy his book here

this was the sculpture which is now out of edition

Schooling Spring by John Terry

Based on a sculpture called Spring

Schooling Spring

No, not naked – see, here’s my cap of leaves
that’s dress enough for these bare woods – I bare
my skin to woodland after turn of year
under that dismal light which night believes
will soon replace our old ideas of day.
I use my beauty to push against the dark
until light triumphs. My parents go berserk,
can’t understand how much I love the way
that Spring puts tiny eyes in every twig.
I help it remember how not to forget
by making green leaves from scraps of dresses
– no other clothes are needed. My toes dug
into leafmould I train Spring like a pet –
secretly, and no one ever guesses.

John Terry


more of Johns work can be found at

Beginning by John Terry

A poem by John Terry

Forget Genesis:
I arrived long before Adam-
Earth was without form 
and void
when I rose from its boiling crust
dragging half-molten
world-stuff that flowed
from my hips like a garment.

Stretched towards a belly of sky
I teased lightning’s crooked fingers
to fire new creation.

became Flamenco –
clinging magma flared
from my body,
rippled like incandescent silk
ruffled and flounced
into a full skirt.

Right arm raised,
left levelled with horizon.
I imagined red Cuban heels:
stamped the first step –

Solid earth formed
where my foot fell.

To a rattle of castanets
I danced shape into the world;
added colour; separated light
from darkness, water from land;
danced the swell of hills,
the bare height of mountains –

my swaying shape a pattern
for birch and willow. All life
rejoiced, clicked its heels –
danced to my rhythm.

John Terry

Based on a piece called Bliss

The sculpture was made in 2004 and shown at a retrospective at Paintworks in 2006, John spent some time at this show and wrote this poem about the piece.More of Johns work can be found at