More poetry from The Potteries

Charles Tomlinson

Charles Tomlinson

The next Stanza session at The Leopard pub, Burslem is on Tuesday 28th April at 7.30pm. Richard Swigg, former lecturer at Keele University will be here talking about the poetry of Charles Tomlinson – one of the best-known poets to emerge from The Potteries.

The talk will be followed by an opportunity to read and discuss your own work.

Here are some poems from those who took part in the last Stoke Stanza on 17th March.

Firstly, an intriguing poem by Paul Freeman


To get a rule
and draw a line.
To get a rule
and yes

to re- to re- to re-.
That’s why we build
the roads so straight.
The houses upright.

As in a schoolbook,
straight. No,
As in a

To make it straight.
That’s why the bell
of London chimes.
To get a rule …

Jenny Hammond pays tribute to John Betjeman in her poem about the rose named after the former Poet Laureate.

John Betjeman

You’re unaware of who you are.
A floribunda in full bloom.
You match exotics from afar
To grace a poet’s living room.

Pink petals pack each perfect head
Supported on a prickly stem
Like stanzas waiting to be read
Before they shrivel to “Amen”.

A rose to please Joan Hunter-Dunn,
To brighten miserable Slough
With bursting buds against the sun
And flowers to open with a “wow!”

Until you tire, your petals drop
Like tears around the Laureate’s grave.
The place he chose – Saint Enodoc –
Near salty wind and pounding wave

Upon the beach at Daymer Bay
Where footprints walk with naked toes
And wander anywhere they may,
To join the “comes” and leave the “goes”.

Meanwhile, Maurice Leyland was in protest mood …

We’re All In This Together

We’re all in this together
unless you are all in a blether
caused by a wrong word on a form
then sanctions are only the norm.
Without benefits you will just have to manage
though your children give you an advantage.
You have to stretch their allowance
and test your forbearance.

We’re all in this together
but some are able to weather
the storms which income can attend,
and by magic are able to spend
every penny they earn. It’s not taxed!
but slithers abroad where no questions are asked.

We’re all in this together,
some for a rent rise have nothing to spare.
The rent’s remorseless untethered climb
is not mirrored by wages in uneven times.
Incomes are deep-frozen, no sign of thaw.
Many knock on their parents’ old door
who thought their overcrowded days were finished.
Their savings may suddenly be diminished.

We are all in this together
but some have a bonus still there,
though their bank has just lost a mint.
Their place on the board means they are nowhere near skint.
They still have a Paris pied a terre –
at the end of the month, still plenty to spare.

Gillian Garwood read her Barn Owl poem.

The Barn Owl

Haunting shrieks beak the silence at dead of night,
Pale, ghostly creature, descends in silent flight.
Round foolish face belies his talent and skill,
The swiftness and the accuracy of the talons that kill.
Homing in on a rustle or squeak in the dark,
Ending life swiftly with claws and beak so stark.
What will become of this nocturnal hunter so rare?
Deprived of nesting sites and perches to stand and stare.
Will he learn to live with man or fade into the mist,
Joining the others on Nature’s ‘extinct’ list?

Geoff Sutton has cleverly strung some haikus together on a painful subject.

shingled at 2.30

you hide in my brain
you varicella zoster
and cause mayhem there

torrents rush upward
in Dante’s hurricane wood
rock in the treetops

on trial with Kafka
guilty and guilty again
I don’t want to die

the roaring quietens
see the sky is lightening
now it’s half past five

my brain confronts the
intruder night vanishes
in the morning sun

Malcolm McMinn introduces a lighter tone:

I fear that things are looking drear

I fear that things are looking drear;
One wonders will one lose the plot?
Is there no cure to stop the rot?
The outlook’s certainly unclear;
I go upstairs to have a pee
But brush and floss my teeth instead,
Prepare myself to go to bed.
Oh God, what will become of me?
Old Thingummy and Whatsisname
Are just as bad or even worse,
Both, I’m afraid, soon for the hearse,
But tell me please, am I the same?
My jokes and tales I’ve told before
But people smile, seem not to mind
Although I’m sure it’s such a bind
That this old fart is such a bore.

I fear that things are looking drear;
One wonders will one lose the plot?
Is there no cure to stop the rot?
The outlook’s cert ……. Oh dear!
I’m doing it again, I fear!

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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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4 Responses to More poetry from The Potteries

  1. juneviannepalmer says:

    Determined to make the April stanza!

    • theleopard66 says:

      You’d be very welcome, June.

      • juneviannepalmer says:

        The latest post (e mail) says that Poetry from the Potteries is on Tuesday 18th April – I think this should say 28th. Sadly I am in Cornwall on that date!

      • theleopard66 says:

        That’s very odd – I’ve checked and it does say the 28th …unless it was an older version that I have since corrected. Sorry to hear that you’re away. Perhaps one day we’ll be able to coincide with dates!

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