The next Stoke Stanza session at The Leopard pub, Burslem will be at 7.30pm on Tuesday 22nd September when we welcome Caroline Hawkridge as our guest poet. Caroline is the tutor of the fabulous Keele Poets at Silverdale.
All welcome. Admission free.
Caroline’s poetry has been published in Carol Ann Duffy’s ‘Poetry Corner’ in The Daily Mirror and magazines such as The Dark Horse, Magma, and The Interpreter’s House. Her poem Peregrine was nominated by The Dark Horse for the Forward Prize Best Single Poem and became Featured Poem on the magazine’s website:
“If Hughes and Jeffers are to some extent behind this, Hawkridge’s city-centre, webcammed peregrines are, finally, entirely her own, made vivid by thrilling and unexpected details and a bravura use of language (‘rufous’, ‘quatrefoil’, ‘finial’, ‘flymphs’) and surprising facts: the falcon’s ‘lower lid rises to close’ in sleep, while natural and techological imagery are brilliantly interchangeable.”
Gerry Cambridge, The Dark Horse
Meanwhile, here are some poems from the previous Stanza.
First up, Jenny Hammond with an evocative poem inspired by a recent visit to Crete.
The Man in the Red Bandanna
For days, gusts from the mountains
troubled the water,
twinkled to sunshine gold.
But now the air is still, the river tranquil.
Coarse grasses edge its banks
and bend to brush their own reflections.
Fish forage in smooth shoals, their rises
left to circle outwards into nothing.
On a broken branch,
wedged just above the bank,
the terrapins sprawl out to dry,
still as stones with a hint of a glint of an eye.
Until loud cries trample the peace,
boots crunch the shingle,
and a man in a red bandanna
scales the overhanging rocks,
leaves behind a shattered moment,
and a deserted, broken branch,
above the muddied surface.
Bill Harper shared a poem with an environmental theme.
The Albatross (2050)
broken bracken edged
a crack crazed path ends
on chalkwhite cliff’s edge
a wide waved sultry sea
far off flickered light
rolled thunder rumbles
horizon’s distant clouds
low dark rounded hills
I noticed then the man
clasped hands on knee
peering out to sea
lost in memory
raised a finger points
soft and low his voice
down beneath those waves
I was brought to life
there lies our cottage
sea-walled sandstone church
alive with crab and fish
seaweed banners wave
he smiled and gestured
the sea was my life
in far northern waters
of blue ice mountains
land locked frozen fjords
flocks of sea birds
white furred bears with cubs
sleek grey seals hunt fish
night skies velvet black
a milky way of stars
bright starred patterns
but the albatross
of wealth and power
omen of well-being
has by greed been shot
mankind was offered
but chooses instead
war and corruption
glaciers melt seas rise
red forest fires rage
hurricanes scour lands
island cities drown
heat death is now near
a real hell beckons
the albatross dead
hangs about our necks
food supplies decline
Gaia is betrayed
Last, but by no means least, John Williams is working out at the gym.
Nobody wears make-up at the gym
Naked, I think of fitness days
and those better Ottos who can punch the bag,
ding the bell, pick up weights and pump.
They row upstream as the gymcam pans
their whitewater surge of waves.
Some young punks in the treadmill suite can run all day,
their ears to tweets and You tube clips.
Hard science lies in stats, in cardio gym,
in onscreen charts of body mass and pulse,
swarm speed and brawl on vanished ropes,
the knuckle-bleeding scrapes in the boxing ring.
They find no sea, no stadium and track
once they’ve wiped their makeup off, rowed Acheron
and thrown their soggy towels in the bin.