The following poems were submitted on or after the latest Poetry Stanza session at The Leopard on Tuesday 25th October.
They remain the copyright of the authors and may not be used elsewhere without their permission.
KALEIDOSCOPE THRILLS | Betsy A. Clewlow
Blackpool is changing from kaleido-scruff to kaleido-buff.
Have you seen her?
Spit, gum and gob-stucco’d pavements still
Await their nightly parade of slurping uglies;
The clacking heels of big-thighed shrieking girls
Clad in wisps of pseudo bridal or military wear.
All gorge chips, flaunt their crotch-less tights
And cunningly applied sex-hunt make-up
Braving blister-pain from trekking in killer heels.
Sweaty men, pouring themselves in and out of
Urine stained doorways, bars and women with no
Thought of rubber, toothpaste or hesitation,
Sing old pop songs and call each other ‘legends’.
But Blackpool is changing.
Always puff-friendly, she is now being buffed.
See the spoor of Variety underfoot on the Front,
Take an ant’s view of the new ‘Walk of Faith’
Higher still reward the eye with a pulsing
Perpendicular rainbow, whose excitement
Calls across the M55 “I’m here, I’m here” to
Ball-room dancers, children, or any of us
Who long for candy-floss kitsch and kaleidoscope thrills.
ORBITAL | Reuben Parr
Sucking in everything including the clouds, brain
working like a whirlwind, destroying and displacing
every good idea. Surely something good must come
soon instead of this repetitive nonsense.
Desperately trying to remember a positive
thought, the hands on the clock ticking it becomes
light outside. Up all night with nothing, just the
realisation that the sun has circled the earth once more.
Drifting in and out of my subconscious the search
goes on, tossing and turning head spinning in a
reverie, the next move like a roll of the dice comes
to chance. What next?
Night arrives and a glowing shape appears.
Still seeking inspiration I realise that it will be just
Under a month until the werewolves howl with
glee, as the moon will be full once more.
Then it hits me, this is it
TULIPS | Fran Cole
My sorry lover brings me tulips
and when he’s gone I prick their necks with a pin,
paddling them in warm water.
Then their tepid buds yawn a red debut
towards an intermittent sun; and later on
each jaw tapers, drawn up to salute the moon.
But soon their ruby mouths droop from vertigo
as they shrug crimson kisses
curling onto the shelf below.
My crystal vase now flaunts a crown
of damask roses, scented and full-blown.
BY THE POOL AT TREVELEZ | W.K. (Bill) Harper
I left you, by the pool at Trevelez,
And now, I cannot get you from my mind.
Eye-gazing, had we kissed but once, softly.
We might have melted into one.
Had we kissed but twice, with passion,
The Universe, it might have exploded
And left us floating, close-bound to Eternity.
But I left you,
By the pool at Trevelez.
LOVE SONGS OF THE NOMAD | W.K. (Bill) Harper
In the desert of my being
You are an oasis
Where no water of life flows
So fresh and clear;
No such flower has such beauty,
No tree bears fruit so satisfying
To touch and taste.
You are sweeter than honey.
I long to rest among your palms
And see the stars shine in your eyes.
DO-ANYTHING-YOU-WANT-DAY | Jenny Hammond
In “Sunday best” she passes gravestones,
enters, takes her usual pew, prays,
gazes at the half-timbered roof
After his walk to the paper shop,
he settles down to armchair reading,
colour supplements triggering
dreams of next year’s holiday.
In his four-wheel drive
the clay pigeon buff
returns to The Swan for a pint,
then home for roast beef and Yorkshire pudding.
There’s nothing like the village cricket match —
the pads, the leather ball, whites, willow, wickets;
the polite applause as runs tot up,
home-made scones in the pavilion.
Or meeting up at the allotment,
measuring marrows, pondering pests,
discussing the forecast and whether to water,
admiring produce, bewailing weeds.
Lollipop Lady | Jenny Hammond
Less honeyed than her title
and hardly “à la môde”
in a yellow all-weather jacket,
she patrols the tarmacadam
of the A531 which separates
the primary school from The Swan and village shop.
Pole in hand, she strides
into the road, relishing her power
over cars slowing to a satisfying halt,
while she shepherds her charges
like a well-trained collie,
as fingers drum on steering wheels
QUARRY | Drew Nuttall
Is it unusual to see strudel
As a scenic rock formation?
The veins of time cut open,
In a geological cross section.
Layers of apricot and pastry,
A history rich and fruitful,
Stratified and categorised:
The archaeology of strudel.
A flowing mountain stream
Permeates through the cracks
Where the crust reveals its virgin core;
The white rush of fresh cream
Over the baked cliff’s precipice
Into a waterfall’s porcelain gorge.
But as always goes the deed,
Once the beauty has been seen,
Examined and explored,
The blade that shows no stain
Strikes down and down with greed,
Until only crumbs remain.
Rode Park | Peter Branson
Odd Rode Cricket Ground, October 2011
Rode Park at dusk, fixed as a paragraph,
until, silent as thought, the sparrowhawk
scythes by, well nigh invisible, stage right.
She banks to turn, a living hologram,
pale underbelly harvesting those late
stray stooks of light, reflect cricket off-white,
like dusty porcelain at knock-out price.
Throws up a startled dove, this paraclete,
mad beatings of the air like bongo drums
ignored. No sophistry, she kills to stay
alive; no choice; she’s gorged, simple as that;
no fool, no stomach for malevolence,
no psychopath; no bullet in the brain,
revenger’s tragedy, bedlam, mob rule.
THE FLAX BOW | Peter Branson
A tradition of the Cherokee Nation
The squall you sensed tonight would bring has built
into a storm. When latches rattle like
long-dry Morse bones and windows re-invent
themselves, moulding continuously before
your eyes, melting, like ancient 45s,
dark energy you’ve sacrificed to fire,
each agonising flinch a cruel death mask,
you crave the sanctuary of calm outside.
If you could craft a bow of flax, the roof
green willow sprigs, which bend like compromise,
thread beads, rose quartz for harmony, turquoise
for trust and kindness, amethyst and mother
of pearl, stability, on strings you weave
together, seal with tears like ambergris …
SEARCH ENGINE | Paul Freeman
I didn’t join the queue
for the Staffordshire Hoard at the library,
I searched the internet
for a good deal
on a metal detector.
I wished to become a metal detector-
So I spent it all on the best.
After all, if a man in a field near Hammerwich
can strike it lucky,
surely I could do as much
if I spent all, or at least a good deal
of my time, not searching the internet
but a field, such as one near Derrington or Brewood.
Once, Upon a Time … | Jane Harland
The wood gathers together
time past and time to come
into this moment
where I stand, eyes closed
and mark the place both paths converge
where time is not a line
nor history, nor written words
records of conquering heroes (theirs, not mine).
Mine lie within the land
beneath the hill, the trees
a meeting place of soil and roots and feet
whilst overhead the thrash and thrall of autumn
lashes leaves and branches, gathers all
before a certain storm,
drowns out sound
save for itself and ‘kaahr’ of rooks
black rags that swirl and dive
make sky their own.
A place that holds
no past, no future only timeless space
where I am moss on stone
lichen on branches
fallen leaf on ruffled pond
spinning seeds on autumn wind.
ALONE | Bert Molsom
i.m. Andras Toma 1925 – 2004
pressing me down
full world, from which
a hard world
full of language.
now keeps me
away from words.
CUE RAPTORS | Phil Williams
We star in a role we made our own –
make you start …
Persistent, wily, we hunt in packs,
the last-act drama for Jurassic Park.
For the sequel, our reputation
goes before us – a rending,
flurried ripple through long grass.
We can even stay off camera
until the cue to dash and pounce
in a clash of screams and strings.
We’ve swollen in the telling,
a Spielberg super size-me
from turkey scale to emu bulk.
Reconstruct our terror with your CGI,
infer our hunting patterns
from a descending gouge in bone,
a fragment of talon embedded in a spine.
You split more raw talent from stone,
creatures with crests and feathers,
flaps stretched between forked limbs,
great sword-fish snapping beaks.
We’re past our peak but back
where we’ve always been.
We’re whatever’s out to get you
and waiting in the wings.
We’ve just one trick –
but watch it work.