Spring Poems

The next Stoke Stanza session at The Leopard, Burslem is on Tuesday 22nd April at 7.30pm. Admission free, all welcome.

Sculptured head by Jean Parker

Good Grief/Bald Statements

Meanwhile, you can catch Phil Williams, a Leopard regular and poets Gill McEvoy, Joy Winkler and Andrew Rudd at an evening of Music & Poetry to accompany the Good Grief/Bald Statements sculpture exhibition at Alsager United Reformed Church, Brookhouse Road, Alsager at 7.30pm on Tuesday 1st April. The sculptures by Jean Parker explore issues of grief, loss and change and Phil and his fellow poets are reading poems in response. All welcome, admission £5 with proceeds going to cancer charities.
 
 
Jim Sheard was our guest poet on 18th March. Here’s one of his poems with a local setting.

THAT HOUR
 
You should write a poem for Nathaniel’s Naming. But not one of your usual ones. Pauline Sheard

In that hour after you were born,
I walked out in a new wool coat
too thin for the cold,
and surely that is why I trembled.

In that hour after you were born,
I was a ghost in the dark and silent town,
the frozen pavements narrow as tightropes,
and surely that is why I trod lightly,
as if dancing.

In that hour after you were born,
I let the smoke of a dry tobacco
curl down a throat made raw by winter,
and surely that is why each breath I took
took out my heart.

In that hour after you were born,
I entertained a pre-dawn drunk
in an empty bus station.
He had no son.
And surely that is why I shared with him
the fragment that I knew.

In that hour after you were born,
I slumbered in a small, slow bus.
My eyelids fell,
and surely that is why the dawn that rose
around the sullen lump of Bosley Cloud
was like sunrise over Capri
or a new light falling
on the perfect stretch of Baltic shore.

In that hour after you were born,
I turned a key. And because a house
left vacant for the night is always strange
the space beyond the opening door
felt warmer, richer, changed.

(From Dammtor, Jonathan Cape 2010. ISBN 9780224090735)

Poems from Stanza regulars

14/02/2013 | Paul Fox

In the dark grey gloom
Of a February dawn,
Something called me from sleep.

The weight of a body
Moved over me
Like a shadow,
Pressing me down

And the thousand terrors of a child,
Alone in the night,
Surged through my blood –
But were stilled
By a kiss.

A warm, gentle kiss, I knew,
There was a mindless moment
But I reached out
To embrace
Loss.

Alone,
I whispered her name into the darkness
As another day dawned.

OXBRIDGE BLUES/THE COXWAIN’S LAMENT | Bo Crowder

When Oxford lost the boat race
They blamed the Cox of course
They tried to drown him in the Thames
And held him down with oars

And meanwhile, Cambridge, who had won,
Had down the same with theirs,
They said that ‘it’s traditional
Except with Coxless pairs.’

The Rowers laughed and dipped them deep
They wouldn’t let them budge
But a Cox can hold his breath
And almost never holds a grudge

Then letting go they all stood back
Upon the bank and clasping
Their shaking sides they waited
Till the Coxes came up gasping

Fortunately Coxes swim
A thing at which they’re skilled
So although most are almost dead
A very few are killed

The crowd looked on amused to see
This sorry set of jokers,
Sopping dripping Coxes and
The true blue crew Cox-Soakers.

WHEN THE MOON CONFRONTS MY DAWN | C J Phillips

When the moon confronts my dawn
So I happened and immortal
Hands pick bare life’s pocket.

Harvest all the windfall crowns
Of over-ripened apples
Beneath a perjured blanket.

Death chases as I was born
And asserts his hunted chattels
As hounds coursing the rabbit.

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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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