Andrew Raitt’s poems

Stephen Andrew Raitt, known as Andrew, born on 14 July 1950 in Mortimer West End, Berkshire, moved to Devon in 1962 with his parents and attended Barnstaple Grammer school. He graduated from Bristol University in 1973 and trained as a Probation Officer, working in criminal justice in North Devon throughout his career. In his later years, he worked as HR manager, training other Probation Officers. He retired in 2009 and besides being a keen photographer, he currently assists at the renowned Burton Art Gallery in Bideford, North Devon.

Pity the poor immigrant

A few weeks ago they re-introduced ten wild wolves to Exmoor

amidst much protest,

mainly from those who hunt with hounds

who felt the moor is theirs and out of bounds to liberals and greens. [and Corbyns]

They were supposed to be a pack,

but I doubted that.

Two from Russia, [Putin’s Pets]

one from Ukraine [no name]

a couple from a zoo in Alaska [I ask you],

and a cub from Norway. [No way! ]

There was no so called alpha male, I knew it would fail.

But it is wonderful for bio-diversity,

crowed the guys from Exeter University,

screw the sheep, screw the ponies,

you are just a load of NIMBYS, a load of phonies.

So yesterday, intending to shoot some shots,

of wolves in their real domain, [that was my claim]

I went to follow their track.

Up on the high  moor, on open ground,

I felt the hairs rise on my back, turned around,

there stood a lone white wolf. Under the grey sky.  

Proud and free.

She gazed at me with grey green eyes, wise,

beyond my ken, then

she took two steps toward me.

and lay down.

Her paws were clagged with mud, her coat ragged and thin,

her ribs caved in.

I gave her some water and let her lie.

The Faerie Queen

The Faerie Queen’s coach with her four white mares

drifts soundlessly across the blue sky,

snow white against the blue sky.

She beckons with her fay hand and gently and quietly 

you begin to follow.

The Faerie Queen fixes her fay gaze on you

and beckons with her pale hand,

and smiles her cool smile as she glides by

and gently and quietly you begin to drift away.

The Faerie Queen looks and beckons with her cruel hand

and when she breaths the golden leaves rustle 

and all the seas shiver and sigh

and you can’t hear my cry against the crying of the land.

The Faerie Queen sighs and when she frowns

snow falls down, snow white across the land

and where snow flakes fall you can’t hear my call

and I can’t follow as you quietly, gently drift away.

Song for Luke

It is only some strange trick of fate that my genes were not yours 

But mercy opens many doors 

and love pours through.


You shine for me like the sun 

When my path on this earth has run

Remember me, not for what I have done,

Nor for what I have left unsaid

For I say it now.

you are all and more I ever wanted for a son


In the still night

the boat glides quietly home

and ripples spread across the moon.

Requiem for a friend

My little cat, my love, is upstairs, asleep.

She has become a quiet, soft ghost.

Her long, quiet sleep seems soon to come.

Where she sleeps against me I shall miss her most.

Her gentle paw outstretched and wide mouth yawn,

her forehead pressed against my own.

Her soft, quiet presence in our home.

For Wah Wah! who died on 5 July 2022 aged 21.