The next Stoke Stanza session at The Leopard will be on Tuesday 14th August at 7.30pm. Admission free. All welcome.
If you can’t wait until then, how about having a go at The Poetry Society’s Olympic poetry relay? They’re asking for rhymning couplets, you see, as the medals roll in for Team GB …
Meanwhile, here are some poems from the session on Tuesday 24th July, including some contributions from first-time guests. There are some suitably feline (panther) themed poems from newcomer, Paul Fox.
Pantera | Paul Fox
From the darker den
Of his sleep
Pawed himself out
Into day –
A living shadow –
Damasked by sunlight
Bloomed in the darkness
To become a languorous lingual caress.
Measuring his length in the sand,
And blinking iced hatred in his eyes
Cold, black-taloned death,
Silently took breath.
Panther | Paul Fox
In Dudley zoo, in Bermingum
The panther’s feeling rather glum
You see he took it very hard
When told he was a leo-pard.
He’d always thought himself superior
To those with spots on their exterior.
His confidence was just a figment
Caused by quirkiness of pigment.
And since he heard this vicious rumour
It seems he’s lost his sense of puma.
First and Last Look | Paul Fox
(“Perdition catch my soul but I do love thee –
And when I love thee not – chaos is come again.”)
Othello: Act 3 Scene 3
In the beginning was chaos…
I remember your first look
A dancing, glancing, sparkling smile
Of charm and nonchalance and guile.
No words between us – we were free,
And yet, somehow, you pitied me
But there was a question in your eye
As you walked away, but whispered “Hi.”
Full fifty years later
I remember your last look
All the sadness of the world, distilled into a gaze:
A helpless child swept out to sea by vast, relentless waves.
And in that moment I could see
That once again you pitied me.
No words to confuse – we’d used them all
We felt the final silence fall.
But there was a statement, in your eye –
The word we could not say, “Goodbye.”
Chaos is come again.
Rooks Versus Buzzard | Maurice Leyland
The black confetti rises and falls;
A congregation of rooks
Cawing and quarrelling.
High above, a threatening shadow
A lonely, but menacing buzzard
With a family to feed.
The bravest rooks strive for height
To quell the soaring danger.
The thermal ebbs, no longer aids
The hunter’s climb.
His advantage gone he is overflown,
Driven lower and lower by lack of lift.
His pursuers harass, with corvine menace
Massive beaks agape.
The frustrated hunter, with a flap of his huge wings
Seeks his food elsewhere.
Garra Rufa Fish | Jenny Hammond
In fact we are edentulous.
The size of a paperclip,
semi-transparent, modestly dotted,
our insignificance is huge
and yet we’re in demand.
No longer can we swim the River Jordan,
scavenge algae from the Tigris,
relish hot springs in Turkey.
Instead we’re bred for sterile tanks
bubbling in ultraviolet light
to provide picean pedicures,
to fuel our junk food diet.
A Moment in Time | Jenny Hammond
Tyre treads mingle
with donkey prints
on the track, beside the water channel
lushing the olive groves.
My footprints find the farmer
adjusting the sluice.
He straightens up and turns.
Tall and spare, with the promise
of a smile in his eyes,
he gestures towards the sun.
“Poli zesti,” he says.
“Orea,” I reply, in appreciation.
He points to his bare left wrist,
with a question in his raised eyebrows.
I show him my watch.
“Efkharisto,” he says with a sideways nod.
lifts his hand as I walk on.
My dream of old England | Ray Parkes
My mind is wandering once again
Down an old English country lane,
The cool air giving way to soft morning heat.
The path hard and stony beneath my feet.
With ridges and imprints where horses have trod,
Pulling carts heavy laden that hardened the sod.
And to the sides of the verges wild foxgloves are seen,
Leaning out of tall grasses in all shades of green.
The same breeze on my face is dancing the corn
As I look over the hedges of alder and thorn
It makes me feel glad that I have been born.
To look at old England this summer morn.
But the factory horn and the roar of the train
Bring me back to reality again.
The bustle of people, the clatter of feet
All rushing along this busy street.
No smiles on their faces, no glints in their eye,
Just dark frowns of worry as they hurry by.
What have we come to, what have we lost?
All this is called progress but what have we lost?
Hanford Top Farm | Ray Parkes
It’s a crying shame, the old man cried
As he stood looking down Cow lane
Of fields that held 500 cattle
And now not one beast remains.
No sound of the horses or tractors
Working fields where corn used to grow.
No sound of the bellow from Billy the Bull.
He was shot three days ago.
The chickens have gone, the ducks and the geese
From the farmyard where they used to be.
Sometimes they would wander out in the lane
‘cause they were always allowed to run free.
The boxes and cow sheds have all now come down.
And so often they used to be full
Of black and white healthy strong little calves
All sired by Billy the Bull.
So farewell to the house and the old Top Farm
Farewell to the fields now bare.
Houses will cover it all quite soon
With no hint of the big farm that stood there.
And now looking down the old empty Cow Lane,
Just hoof marks where cattle once trod.
We’re destroying nature’s natural beauty
And we’re a little bit further from God.
1 a.m. Fox | Reuben Parr
My fearless friend
From behind next door’s Mercedes
Up the drive, just three feet apart
Eye to eye, I’m intrigued,
Looking young but independent
Is it bravery or just naivety?
In your urban manor
Far from the fields,
Starts a scavenger hunt
Through wheelie bins,
For tins with no frills
What’s your next move?
There it is, a casual stroll
Proud in red and white
Turning to look once more
With a friendly scowl,
Then gone out of sight
Another garden, through the night
Left in amazement I can only dream,
Of joining your next stealth mission
So in my thoughts, I become lost
And for now, you’ll just be my 1 a.m. fox.