The Tugboatman's Daughter

by Di Coffey

Born May 1940 - Died April 2020

An autobiographical anthology of poems

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an autobiographical anthology of poems by Di Coffey

Born May 1940 - Died April 2020

Published by Poetry Space Ltd.
ISBN 978-1-909404-21-2   £5.00

All profits from the sale of this anthology will be donated to The Multiple Sclerosis Society UK

About The Author

Di Coffey

Di Coffey grew up in Falmouth in Cornwall, leaving in 1958 to become a student nurse in London where she met her husband, Dermot. They spent the next ten years in Hampstead where they established a small business designing and hand-making an enchanting range of nursery mobiles for babies and young children. Di and her family moved to Cornwall in 1968 where they combined their precarious living with strenuous efforts towards self-sufficiency on their small-holding near Truro.

In 1993 Dermot was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and Di nursed him until his death at home in 2010.

A scribbler from childhood, Di worked for a short while as a freelance journalist and had pieces published in the Guardian and the Observer and country magazines. In 2012 she was encouraged by poet, Moira Andrew, to create snapshots of her life by writing poems, some of which are in this pamphlet.

Sadly, Di passed away in April 2020 after a long and brave battle with cancer.

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How it all came about

I am indebted to Sue Sim, founder and editor of Poetry Space, who emailed me in January 2015 asking if she could publish a pamphlet of my poems. It was a huge thrill − a wonderful morale boost while I was still coming to terms with being told I had metastatic breast cancer.

I’ve been immensely fortunate during my life. I married a wonderful Dubliner, I have two loving and supportive children and a dearly loved younger sister. And my life has been colourful; filled with exciting challenges and, above all, no regrets.

Dermot and I had fifty-one wonderful years together, the final seventeen saddened but not defeated by his multiple sclerosis. And it is MS Society UK, www.mssociety.org.uk, which will benefit from the profits made from sales of ‘The Tugboatman’s Daughter’.

If you order direct from me via this site £2.00 from every pamphlet will go to MS research and, in addition, I will carry the cost of post and packaging to further boost the donations. Copies ordered via Amazon will benefit from my royalties being donated to MS.

I hope you will enjoy reading my poems and, from the bottom of my heart, I thank all of you who are enabling me to raise funds for my chosen charity.

With my love,
Di Coffey


Bonus Poem!

Update To The Collection, Aug 27th 2015

It was only when I received the first 100 copies of my pamphlet that I realised I’d forgotten to include a poem about my mum.

OMG, the guilt!!

So, here it is, folks. A freebie poem for you, Teddy Talisman.


Teddy Talisman

by Di Coffey

Mum and I were never
on the same wavelength
but her tiny teddybear
sits behind the Nivea cream
on my dressing table.

I never owned a teddybear
so I bought him on a whim.
You know, when I went to Torbay
with your dad?

I doubt this teddy talisman
has magical powers
but he invokes
the scent of saffron cake
cooling on the kitchen table,
an all pervading atmosphere
of security and love.

And he speaks to me
in Mum’s voice –
loud and clear
across the years,

DIANE! Put that book down
and dry the dishes!



Di Coffey’s poetry is amazing, personal and to the point yet always insightful. . . . Accessible, filled with the joy and sadness of a life well lived . . . she is mistress of the stunning, often unexpected ending.

Moira Andrew

Di Coffey’s poems sing from the page. Love, life, everyday people are beautifully celebrated in this moving, sensuous collection. I am a huge fan.

Catherine Graham


This pamphlet is dedicated to the love of my life, Dermot, and to our talented and amazing children, Karin (Frannie) and Marcus.


My heartfelt thanks go to poet, Moira Andrew, for becoming my mentor and for introducing me to the joy of reading and writing poetry. Some of these poems have appeared previously in ‘Reach Poetry’ and ‘The Dawntreader’ (Indigo Dreams Publishing), in ‘Poetry Cornwall’ and in a ‘Seasonal Showcase’ of Poetry Space.


‘Dubliner’ and ‘Your Woodland’ won joint first prize in Carrick U3A’s Poetry and Prose Competition 2013.

‘Seeing the Light’ won first prize in Writers’ Forum Magazine in 2013.

‘Then’ was shortlisted by Jim Bennett for Poetry Kit's annual competition in 2013.

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