Poems from 8th November

Another excellent session at The Leopard on Tuesday 8th November.

Here are some of the poems read and discussed that evening. All remain the property of the authors and are not to be reproduced without their permission.

Trophy Wife | Francis Cole

The trophy wife knows what to expect;
a diamond in each pretty ear
from a husband who is perfect

in every way. His neglect
is welcome; a diamond can cheer
a trophy wife who knows not to expect

his full attention. She’ll collect
her bijoux, and in company be sincere
to a husband who is perfect

in every way. Humour and respect
she’ll gratefully volunteer
as a trophy wife. And won’t expect

a long shelf life. Or object
if love doesn’t appear
from a husband who is perfect

in a way. If he doesn’t suspect
her lover, her conscience is clear.
The trophy wife knows what to expect
from a husband who’s almost perfect.

Breath | Mark Davenport

Your breath, the wind
leaves me adrift,
spoiling with turbulent squall,
of gusting duty
in dusty soils.

Yet in blues soft,
I pant.
Gentle as field breeze on lamb curls,
contentment flutters here.

No more howling commitments,
billowed tree filaments
stretched by frustration.
Sea storm wrath
screeching by.

Only the sail curved
gasp of leaves in green.
Forest whispers of summer ease.
That soft ebbed bounce
of flower meadows,
patterned caress on grass skins.

Anxious | Mark Davenport

Like some fevered dogfish
I scutter jangling.
I should find still,
before the vicing jaws catch me.

But I cannot.
Only jitter,
like crows parenting.
Too many buzzards in my eyes,
talons pressing in this mind.

Nail Clippers | John Williams

They must come from the Office of Special Plans,
Boudoir Division, tasked to fashion
an instrument that makes us beautiful
and speaks of losing weight.

Imagine what the Office must have jettisoned,
what proofs and prototypes: eye-enhancers,
spatulas, the nip-and-tuck machine
and blueprint from the scalpel team

before endorsing clippers with a cheer,
so frankly engineered to seem quite natural;
the double-blade for fingertips, for toes,
a masterpiece for reticule and cabinet.

Small wonder clippers found inside a pyramid
still worked with a snap and a click,
the sound that Pharoah would have heard,
the blades like lips, wide open in alarm.

Petrol Pump | John Williams

It must release from its socket in a single jerk,
its unravelled coils aligning calmly
to let us stand, forward thinking, by our cars.

It must turn itself on, shut itself off
and show austerity’s failed now we all want a Merc
from our zig-zag collection of credit cards.

It must provide us with sweet torture;
the breeze of petrol fumes, a prod of wordy ads,
the anything-but-free free-gifts: coffee pots, barbecues

and some paintings of Klee’s I think.
It must stand shoulder high
with the cash machine and drinks dispenser

for the car thief and the traffic cop
whose hip-hung radio shrieks from the pit,
and all by accident, immortal on TV.

And welcome everyone, loving or grieving
to the lows that give us cravings, and when
we tire of loss, make beauty out of pain.

Wind, | Paul Freeman

the poet,
has made a sea
of the grass

that bends
to its will,
has made

a grass-sea
of the trees
that bend

to the same will,
which is the
poet’s will,

which is why,
when the wind bends me,
I am made a poet.

Elephant | Drew Nuttall

An elephant is walking through the sky
Across the lonely veldt of blue.
His breath blows the wrinkles on his side
Over the tiled red of roofs.
Like the whorls and spirals of fingertips
That sign their motif on all they touch,
The elephant smears the sky with his print,
His trunk grasping the hair-tailed brush.
Crude murals born of lumbering upheaval,
By an interloper’s lone stampede.
As the elephant blunders into the easel,
The frowning contours of grey that leave
Even the newest calf’s hide stained
Mark a dry canvas with wet paint.

Ziqqurats | Drew Nuttall

Before you can build you must first destroy,
But not all destruction may be rebuilt.
Real building blocks are no child’s toy,
And to topple them beckons adult guilt.
As a boy I built mighty ziqqurats –
Mighty as a boy’s mind can understand.
But wooden blocks little higher than flat,
To my eyes like monoliths in the sand.
As if raised up from the desert itself,
By architect gods to adorn their earth,
Arazu, looking down from mountain’s shelf,
Poured blessings on the completed work.
Now I stand tall over old bricks cast down.
Ziqqurats fallen where they once stood proud.

Wind Play | Jenny Hammond

The Met Office predicts
but Wind decides,
sighing, sulking like a spoilt child,
wooing with soft caresses.
Men perceive his changing moods
in the makeup of their women –
never cosmetic; more
unpredictable, unsettling, unfathomable.

Wind teases hair, frees leaves,
jangles dangling chimes
hanging from garden posts.
Then shows off in blusters
of gusts, flustering sand-grains
into sheets across a beach,
stinging ankles, flinging flotsam,
excavating hollows, loosening stones.

Flexing his muscles
he lifts his whistles
to the loudest of howls,
upstaging the werewolf,
changing gear from
gale to storm to hurricane,
the quintessential bully,
poised to destroy.

Blairmore 1940 | Geoff Sutton

midges whine through the gloaming
up the slope beside the lodge
where Nev and Shuggie
lop birches and rowans
wear white handkerchiefs
with a knot in each corner
to mop sweat from bare skulls
while the bombs fall on Clydebank
but the burn runs clear
through the pipe under the road
into the loch which is still holy
before the great grey nuclear sharks
slide south north west and east

here I was once for sure

Westport Lakes | Geoff Sutton

Now these brown waters lie clear
The toxic Fowlea Brook cleaned up
Seagulls from poisoned landfills flown

Never mind the diesel from the D road
Virgin trains, the far from clear canal
With birdlime thick on the towpath bricks

For early morning striders and their dogs
Lycra girls on the redgra jiggling past
Camouflaged anglers who watch three rods

Stilted cafe like a yacht in dry dock
Goose with one leg in the car park
Illegal model motorboaters

It’s simply miles miles better

The Song of The Ben | W.K. (Bill) Harper
Or The Last Munro

Dedicated to Geoff Sutton who has climbed all the Scottish Munros, some several times

With my crampons on my boots
With my harness and my sack
And a hammer and an axe
We ascend the snow and ice
Up the gully in the mist –
To the cornice at the top
And the summit of the peak –
Where we drink and eat our lunch.
Then steeply, carefully down
In snow-steps not our own –
Foot-skiing and bum sliding
Into the brown and soggy glen
And along the path to home –
To sunshine – and another day!


About theleopard66

I am a member of the Stoke Stanza of The Poetry Society and run a bi-monthly Poems & Pints event in Alsager.
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