Going Off Grid

My seventeenth book and seventh poetry collection.

My first degree was in zoology and I’ve always felt an attraction to the natural world but since re-training as a software engineer back in the mid-90s I’ve found myself, and many others around me, move away from what I feel is really important while slowly adopting a dependence on technology and its negative influence on our sanity.

And so I have tried to write a modern collection that focuses on digital capitalism, the negative influence of big tech and our addiction to data. I’m deeply concerned with the negative direction mankind is taking and feel we all need to steer ourselves back to a far simpler, happier place in the far more important offline world. Death and depression, as well as love and nature, are also ever-present themes in this collection and I’ve also tried to package the message up by including some very subtle, yet haunting, photographs.

“An epic tour de force of modern poetry. The opening poem, (Diet), is reminiscent of T. S. Eliot’s ‘The Waste Land’ and this author’s ‘Roadkill’, but this time focuses on digital capitalism. Lewis is primarily concerned with the madness and addiction pervading our online worlds while we neglect the more important offline. The title is a hope rather than a statement.

“The book includes a handful of vignettes and reflections of the author’s immediate locale, edited in the style of Julia Margaret Cameron that provide an added texture and insight to the text.  Another piece of top drawer writing by one of Wales’s best poets.” – Andrew Davies

Published as a paperback and e-book in April 2018 by Publish & Print.

Sample poems:

Puffinus puffinus


Historical crooner, troll-like in burrows

your eerie cries are supernatural.


Lacking red, yellow and orange

but you shear the air to make up for it.


I walked a few steps around your island once. Got

so tired in a day with sandwiches and pop.


Marvelled at your fifty million mile journey

from Bardsey, (just down the road really) to Brazil, Argentina
and Southern Africa.


You hang on the gale like the washing on my line

and use your super powers to trace the planet.


Crystals of magnetites within the eye

you navigate better than Shackleton.


Ginsberg’s puffin, who cries at the moonlight

come home to me at night.


And you connect for life

and say hello with a kiss.


As old as me

but much wiser I see.




(After hearing news of another ‘Royal’ engagement)


I’m flicking through the channels on the TV

trying to escape the news of a future princess

when the memory of another comes to mind.


Correct me if I’m wrong but

isn’t the daughter of a king supposed to be a princess too?

Even small children know this to be true


but the bastards keep it from our memories

like Longshanks kept it from you,

after he betrayed your father – the father of us all.


Your mother died to bring you into that cruel world,

your cousins slaughtered like pigs in blankets

as the last stars were blotted out.


Today they call it genocide or ethnic cleansing

when he tied your uncle to a horse’s tail, made him become four

but you never knew, perhaps a blessing in disguise.


And they continue to uproot our oaks,

the withered branches of our tribe

slashed away by ruthless hands.


Such a hero, safe within his ring of steel

dripping blood from babies

to write his foreign history books.


He tried to kill the bards – the Bob Dylans of their day,

so scared he was of a precious girl

a tiny, helpless female heir.


But brave poets sang around campfires for over six hundred

about a prisoner no-one saw

in flat, saucer-like Lincolnshire.


They say you never knew your language,

you never knew the mountains,

you never ran through meadows,


picked flowers from your lands,

or sat by babbling brooks

in a free-flowing, Celtic summer dress.


Fuck forgiveness

fight them, make them see,

force the unpalatable words within them,


until they see their evil deeds

and let those white-robed voices pray to pay us back

at the crippled priest priory.


I watch the heart-red sun –

a closed door on this short winter’s day

of an unknown village


where you deprived a child a motherland’s love

just to hunt the bloodline

and crush the resistance with heads on spikes


but down an uneven cart track to wind-blown ruins

where fire becomes a scent I will not forget

in waking dreams I can still run my fingers over a pile of ever-
sobbing bones.



Cardiff, rush hour


He swishes an unwashed hand across Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3
as I marvel at the bespoke dirt under his fingernails.

‘On the bus buttie boy, headin’ down to the city now,’ he shouts,
all workmanlike to a friend who is off to get his piss tested.

‘Shld be there in twenty mun, got ta git the best spot see, before
the skanks wake up and stink the place out.’

I can’t help smiling to myself and quickly survey the other

there’s a pouting office girl with eyebrows like thick garden slugs,

there’s a frightened lad, probably his first day, all spotty, cheap
tie, nervous hands.

I glance across at the old dear with the trolley full of cat food and
wonder how small she is under the three coats.

Then I spy the expensive suit with the FT all neatly folded,
unaware of the looming crash that will never bother our
resourceful entrepreneur.

I’m suddenly sucked back in to the one-sided conversation,

‘Pick me up some skunk in reception will ya? I’ll settle later man.’

I watch as he messes up his hair, checks the rips in his t-shirt,
spits a few more stains for good luck.

I know where he’s heading – everyone back in town knows!

The bus drops him off by the multi-storey and I watch him sprint
across the road on well-fed, muscular legs,

unfolding his well-worn cardboard sign – a Picasso of austerity
that lad.

Then he slows down, starts to limp, he’s the ‘Usual Suspect’ in

plonks down on the widest pavement, becomes ragged, instantly

He’ll do the morning shift, even accept coffee and sandwiches –
he’s not proud you know.

Then by midday he’ll pack up his work tools, catch the X4 north,
flash his travel warrant, paid for by the dole.

He’ll pop in ‘The Wonky’ for a couple, count his takings on the
bar and then debate the state of the economy with the other

Then he’ll head home with an Iceland bag full of goodies for his

His mam who got sanctioned last month for spending the week
down at Trecco instead of filling out application forms for non-
existent jobs.


“Dave Lewis’ quest to go off grid, escape the tyranny of a technological age where ‘Gaia has gone AWOL’ takes us through angry rants against injustice, racism and the destruction of our planet, through a whirlwind of references from Tolstoy to Bob Dylan, Cheltenham Races to ASBOS to lyrical reflections on love and a natural world closely observed. Terrific photographs of landscapes he so clearly loves counterpoint his collection which perfectly captures the conundrum of escaping the world we’ve made to finding the magic we’ve lost.” – Chrys Salt MBE

“Dave Lewis’ latest poetry collection, ‘Going Off Grid’ is a magnificent and timely achievement. From ‘(Diet)’ to ‘All of you’, his poems are alive with energy, coupled with a forensic eye on many aspects of our existence, past and present. There is tenderness too, and all this together with Lewis’ own haunting photographs reveal his big heart and sharp intelligence. This collection, ending with a section of illuminating Notes, should be required reading for the young, for Millennials and those of later years who have finally come to wonder is this all there is?” – Sally Spedding