September poems

The next Stoke Stanza session at The Leopard in Burslem is on Tuesday October 15th starting at 7.30 pm when we welcome Roger Elkin as our guest poet. Roger, a former editor of ‘Envoi’ magazine 1991-2006, (issues 101-145) has issued 10 poetry collections. His prize-winning work has appeared in journals, literary magazines and periodicals, both nationally and internationally.

Please bring your poems to read and discuss.

Don’t forget … Joy Winkler’s verse-drama Town at St Mary’s, Crewe Road Alsager on 4th October and Alsager Poems & Pints at The Lodge pub at 8pm on 26th September.

Meanwhile, here are some poems from the session on 10th September.

Geoff Sutton brought this poem set on the Lleyn Peninsula.


Gareth William and Griffith John
farm the land their father left them
it is lonely in the fields
they say we have each other to talk to

Griffith John lost his mobile
Gareth William rang his number
it sang like a lark in the field
where it fell from his pocket

every day in the lane they pass
a double grave with two marble stones
where their mother and father lie
they always say bore da

one grandfather recited poems
at eisteddfodau not a bard
says Griffith John a speaker
of other people’s verses

they don’t mind English tourists
let them stay in the dower house
long ago the Madryn estate lost its hall
now they live semi-detached on either side

with their wives but only Gareth William
has children a son and a daughter
to farm after him if they want to
but will they want to who knows

not Griffith John and Gareth William
who go on farming farming
as they’ve always done
in this life under Carn Fadryn
turnips texels black cattle
a Mitsubishi four by four

Jenny Hammond entered a poem to the Alsager Poetry competition on the theme of Books. She has since reworked the poem and you can read the latest version below.


Man scratched rock,
painted cave walls,
stone-carved hieroglyphs,
scribed papyrus,
quilled parchment,
invented printing,
published books
arranged on shelves,
titles in order.

No longer can you read
people by the contents
of their bookcases.
Obsolete, unthumbed,
they’re left to gather dust,
spines intact, pages pristine.

Wikipaedia ousts Brittanica.
Paperbacks download
to trendy e-books.
The World Wide Web
accesses anything.

Roger Elkin’s poem Neck Lump stimulated much discussion and whetted appetites for his reading on the 15th October.

for Helen

Felt it before she saw it, fingers
lingering as circling its rise and swell,
then pincering but not pinching skin,
just sensing, as if testing whether
there was any give in it. Certainly nothing
she could name as hurt or pain, but a dulled
muscle-pull, or under-bruise, barely there.
Not much to worry about, she thought,
though mirrors confirmed she’d better
have it checked.

And did.

The excision would leave its giveaway
snail trail: that thinned down carmine pink
she could conceal behind filigree chain
whose intricate links would divert looks,
bring praise
or, for special days, a garlanded
scarf wreathed in practised casualness
and satisfying others’ eyes
unless, of course,
she really felt the need to advertise how she’d
survived the lump, the knife, the chemo-fix

then she’d plump for going open-necked,
a defiant, self-confessing cut above the rest.

Leopard sig (small)


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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