Di Coffey- A tribute to a much loved Poetry Space poet

Thursday, 11 June 2020


Di’s interest in poetry began when she attended Moira Andrew’s poetry group in Falmouth, a group sponsored initially by Poetry Space which met in the library. Already an accomplished  non fiction writer, Di took to poetry very quickly and wrote some very moving pieces. With Moira’s encouragement she began sending them out to magazines and online publications. In 2012 Di had her first poem published on this website.





Kit Hill – Cornwall

Do you remember

the tread of Prehistoric Man

who hunted your slopes,

ate your berries,

raised children,

buried their dead?


Do you still hear

screams of dying soldiers

who battled Saxons

in your foothills

but lost forever

Cornwall’s independence?


Do you recall

the hymns of miners

who burrowed into you

or recollect the pain

of cordite in

your granite bowels?


Or are you

content with change?

Your rain-filled quarry

a lure for dragonflies

beneath towering rocks

on which adders hiss,


while above you

buzzards and kestrels soar,

and Modern Man

explores your trails

on foot or horseback,

oblivious to your past.


Di Coffey


Di also contributed to the anthology we released that year: Through a Child’s Eyes and she and I met for the first time at The Penzance Festival celebrating the launch of that book with other contributors and my co-editor, Moira Andrew.

Di became so enthusiastic about writing poetry that she wanted to help the mission Poetry Space has, of widening participation, and she volunteered not only to spread the word but to be a guest editor for an edition of Poetry Space Showcase in 2015. When I visited Di at her home in early February 2015, she had recently been diagnosed with secondary cancer from the breast cancer she had suffered from  as a young woman, many years before. Di was philosophical, concerned only for her grown up children and not for herself. She said she had enjoyed a good life. I very much admired Di’s spirit as I knew that she had spent many years caring for her husband who had suffered with Multiple Sclerosis.

In June that year I published Di’s pamphlet collection: A Tugboatman’s Daughter. Di sold this in aid of Multiple Sclerosis Society UK.

Di pictured here, far left with other contributors to our Through a Child’s Eyes anthology.

As many will know, Di was a political activist until her death. She was well known for her posts on Facebook where she always spoke up for injustice of any kind.

On 19th April this year, our beloved Di, died in a hospice in Cornwall. She had been actively posting on Facebook until her last few days, bravely saying goodbye to everyone who knew her and giving us all a chance to say our last goodbyes to her.

As Poetry Space meant so much to Di, I shall be announcing the launch of The Di Coffey Poetry Space Prize later this year. This annual prize of £200 will go to someone using poetry within their local community in a way that benefits well-being and widens participation in poetry. I shall be inviting nominations for this in the Autumn this year.




Red umbrellas

(For Di)



seeps from winter clouds

in fine silver-grey ribbons


across my eyes

and sharp knots of sorrow

finger my heart



no longer works

words like metastasis

grow legs

jump out of locked boxes

kicking and screaming

as we stand helpless

and soaked to the skin


none of us

can know how it feels

we can only wait

beside you

in the rain

bright red umbrellas up

sheltering you

from the worst

of the storm

Moira Andrew