More Poems

Image of Jo Bell

Jo Bell –  Canal Laureate

The next Stoke Stanza session at The Leopard will be on 20th May at 7.30pm. We’ll be joined by Jo Bell the ‘Canal Laureate’ and Caroline Hawkridge – guest poets that you shouldn’t miss.

Image of Caroline Hawkridge

Caroline Hawkridge






All welcome, admission free.

Meanwhile, here are some poems from the last session on 22nd April with the very welcome news that Leopard regular Karen Schofield has been commended in the Hippocrates Poetry Prize, an annual competition for poems on a medical or health theme. We’ll include a link to Karen’s poem once it’s published alongside this year’s winners.

First up, Paul Freeman


Cutting things back to the bone was always
the game plan. What to make of those who are in this
for all the right reasons? No matter, we’ll
reposition that. This is how choice
works. And it’s a choice you made often

before realising market share was the driver
and not altruism – who’d’ve thought? –
but I guess the algorithms and cookies
alerted you to that, expanding
regardless into something amorphous and
polysyndectic (someone’s got to use
all those ampersands now the antediluvian
losers with rotary phones have
all shopped up, right?).

It’d be good to think that’s not the nature
of things, as with moss or lichen, but
what does that matter? It was much simpler
back then, before we lost faith
in the intangible. What we have now
is a town, tingling, lit
like a cowshed. Night’s silent dismantling
of our grandest illusions, for a moment. No? A
goods train, grinding into the future
like a guillotine?

Paul has also informed us about a competition on wildlife themes organised by the Barn Owl Trust – see here for details.

Jenny Hammond brought two poems on a feline theme:


She prowls the barns
on tip-toe paws.
Sneaks through sheep pens,
patrols the shippen.

A stalker, a silent walker
with pricked up ears,
a twitch in her whiskers,
a flick in her tail.

Fathomless eyes search.
Muscles tense.
Paws and claws poised
for the fatal pounce.


He has a name.
The cat at Number Ten
who poses on the steps
where Winston Churchill trod.

Privileged, pampered,
he sneers at alley cats,
relishes Downing Street at night.
Tolerates pompous politicians.

Preens through meetings.
Sleeps through speeches.
Wakes up for scandal.
Purrs on the PM’s knee.

Maurice Leyland was in sporting mood:


The game always starts with a sharp whistle blast
from the ref – the boss – all powerful, all knowing.
An accurate boot propels the ball high
one team waits tensely, the other gets going

Following the ball at all possible speed.
Defenders prepare with all senses alert,
to catch and control is the name of the game;
to conquer the foe, have pride in the shirt

You hear bones crunch, with boar-like grunts
when tackles are made to stop onward thrust
of powerful opponents, travelling at speed;
gym hours have given them bodies they trust.

Dead-lifts, bench presses and endless squats
to ready their physique for all future stress,
all planned and aimed to strengthen all parts,
tone every muscle quite near to excess.

Agility and speed give us rugby’s main thrills,
side-step, swerve and gazelle-jinks galore.
These are the skills shown by super-fit backs,
with speed off the mark they are certain to score.

Teamwork is the secret for winning of games.
Moves are well drilled, they should work like a dream;
give and take passes all at full tilt,
score many tries and become a great team.

C J Phillips was in lyrical mode:


Judas comes, the black-hooded jay,
Penniless beneath the steepled seat.
Plunder the tune that ignites this day’s
Dance and declare its bloodied fate.
Cry down the sky upon toppled towers
And scorn the song with sharpened spurs.
With your vice, go, martyr the voice
For tomorrow I’ll return and I’ll rejoice.

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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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