Enjoy some of the poems read at The Leopard on Tuesday 19th March.
The next Stoke Stanza session at The Leopard, Burslem, is on Tuesday 23rd April at 7.30pm, all welcome, admission free.
HIKER | Paul Fox
At the beck of the beckoning becks –
Beguiled by guttering gills,
My rucksack packed upon my back,
I headed for the hills.
Now scared and scarred by scars
And torn by torrid tors
And scragged by crags and rammed by rams
And badly gored by gorse,
Molasses morasses, impassable passes
Invincible clints and grikes
Precipitous ledges, and iniquitous edges
Have rendered me tired of hikes.
For I feel I’ve been felled by the fells
And can take no more of the moors
I’ve won no major victories
Against the great outdoors.
The shine of the tarns has tarnished –
I feel all alone on the loam
I’m catching the bus from “Tors R Us”
And now I’m heading home.
But I shall brag of hills I’ve climbed
For all the coming week,
So you will know, next time I go
It’s not a fit of peak.
RETURN TO CARNEDDAU HENGWM | Geoff Sutton
whispers of blown snow
skulk deep in his oxters while
I make a rising
traverse to the cairn
below the summit acid
black soil squelches now
it’s all downhill to
where the slope flattens out to
form a terrace on
which this stranded whale
of a stone heap lies inert
like it was last time
when Sarah who is
forty eight was only four
and I carried her
pixie-like with her
blond curls and she sat there where
the dead went in
(Carneddau Hengwm is a pair of chambered tombs north of Barmouth,near the village of Llanaber)
ON HADDON WYE | Chris Phillips
A bright pool flows on Haddon Wye
Sweet it’s scent of mint and thyme.
Quietly, soldier beetles marching
Slight their movement, feint, and I’m
Tickling trout with Treacle Parkin
Searching out where mermaids lie.
A bright pool flows on Haddon Wye
A glorious hatch in swirling eddies
Once more teased by Double Badger,
A stalking heron, a cast so steady
She sips and’s deceived; I’m all the gladder
For a mermaid’s kiss before I die.
Haiku*10 (One Winter morning in Endon)
Grey geese overhead
Honk through my bedroom window
The alarm clock ticks
Haiku*65 (The first day of Spring 2013)
So grey the morning
As though the last day of time
Sundials fall silent
THE MAN IN THE BLUE DUNGAREES|Jenny Hammond
Stretching his back, he watched
the swallows swoop,
his mouth watering as the smell of
new-baked bread wafted from the bakery
where Dino, the grey parrot, vied
with the the grating of dusty diggers
in a repertoire of whistles
and uncanny human speech.
He was in love, with an obsession
so strong he felt out of control —
cluttered clockwise thoughts,
at the thought of a chance meeting,
watching her at work in the olive groves,
or at rest in the shade at mid-day —
a beauty with eyes the colour of earth.
Clothed in grey, tethered to a post,
she would crop the drying grass,
and fly-flick with a
regular swish of her tail,
pass each humdrum day
in placid acceptance,
bray to the man in blue dungarees
“I love you too, but I belong to another.”
WILD WATER | Jenny Hammond
Reservoir water is trapped in pipes
decontaminated, fluorinated, chlorinated,
delivered through turn-on, turn-off
polished chrome or more upmarket
stainless steel, a fireman’s hose
or stand pipe in a drought.
Wild H2O escapes control, flows free
from trickle start through stream to river.
Sires tributaries, shows off its power
to whirl in pools, transform to diamond droplets,
bubbles, finest mist; or waterfall down
to chase the rapids in a frothy, frenzied race.
While in the shadowed shallows
wind-ruffled ripples dance,
wild water slows. The river widens,
flows like some old patriarch
with secrets hidden in its depths,
makes its final statement.
Then meanders to extinction
in the waters of the sea.
ON THE BENCH | Maurice Leyland
They said I was born to be a striker
On the plains of Sierra Leone.
I could dribble like a speedy gazelle
Eluding a cheetah’s lunge.
They came and took me away
For the best team in the world
They said. The dressing room was awesome,
With players once only seen on TV.
After months of training and learning
How to harness my talents for the team
I finally, my heart pounding like a sangba drum,
Read my name on the Saturday team sheet.
On match day, proudly I took my place which
I had prayed for. I was on the bench.
Cocooned in sweaters and track suit
Deafened by the crowd’s roars and chants
And the manager’s bark, I waited,
And waited, and waited for a glance
From God, the manager, just a sign
To prove I was alive and needed,
Not just to keep the seat warm.
But match after match it seems, that
I have come three thousand miles to sit,
On the bench.