We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Before Advent and the Yuletide cheer, here are some poems from the final Stoke Stanza session of 2015 – and dates for 2016.
There’ll be Stanza sessions at 7.30pm upstairs at The Leopard pub in Burslem on the following Tuesdays:
October 18th | November 22nd
All welcome, admission free, please come prepared to discuss and share your work – or simply listen. Please bring 15 copies.
First up from the last of 2015, it’s Geoff Sutton with memories of WW2.
NINETEEN FORTY ONE
so this is England
I run with the wild McGregors
Matt calls us the Dagger and Bomb boys
scout knives the only blades
our sugar bowl is empty
we are sucking nectar from the White Dead-nettle
we will be wringing the necks of the chickens
Don’t sit under the apple tree
With anyone else but me
Till I come marching home
eighty Dorniers and Heinkels will deliver the bombs
to Bristol and Bath
it will be next April
under the stairs
smells of gas and carpet
Straighten up and fly right
Cool down,papa,don’t you blow your top
a bomber will crash
Matt’s dad will take us to see
it smeared across a hill
Micky finds one flying-boot
lined with fur
inside the other will be a foot
we will be liking the girls
Thelma and Ann
Barbara and Kathleen
they will be smelling sweet
Cigareetes and whuskey and wild wild women
They’ll drive you crazy,they’ll drive you insane
we will put on a play in the McGregors’ garage
all the neighbours will come to watch
the Chronicle will say we are the Dagger and BOND boys
my uncle Ninian will give me a present
a stiletto it will flick in and out
he is from Glasgow where I was born
we will fly the Union Jack
the Stars and Stripes
the Hammer and Sickle
my guy will come back
I know he will
My guy’s come back
Hallelujah! My guy’s come back.
Geoff has helpfully provided a discography too:
DON’T SIT UNDER THE APPLE TREE
(Lew Brown,Charles Tobias,and Sam H.Stept)
The Andrews Sisters, 1942
STRAIGHTEN UP AND FLY RIGHT
(Nat King Cole and Irvine Mills)
Nat King Cole,1943
CIGAREETES,WHUSKEY AND WILD, WILD WOMEN
Red Ingle and the Natural Seven,1947
MY GUY’S COME BACK
(Lyrics,Ray McKinley,music,Mel Powell)
Benny Goodman and his Orchestra,vocal,Liza Morrow,1945
John Williams is in domestic territory with his Extractor Fan.
Forced to mend the Expelair, I fix the vent,
Tweak the hum to rid the home of fumes.
It wafts light clothes, arranges sleeves,
drives out the smell where food slams into oil
but leaves the scent of sweet peas in a can.
Some aromas stay, the fan’s an oracle
in the chaos of the home; dash-home meals,
party poppers stranded in the sink,
heartbreak and the percolator fizz.
I chop clean onions and weep in The Clean Air Act.
How do shoes, a twist of herbs and pith
punched out of fruit escape its whirr?
What does it say? Calm as nap time air,
its cool suck stops and my potatoes burn.
Like Geoff, Steve Savage was in nostalgic mood:
Are you that same boy that I knew?
Years gone by, dancing to a different tune
That takes me back, to a whole old world
Skipping, I’m sure we used to skip
Over to the fields, our own Greenham common
No tents, wives or mums, just grass
and the wondrous woods
No worries about when to be home alone,
without an adult, keys in the door
no worry about burglary, stealing
friends close at hand to belay the threat
Remember the football on the field, me
Smithy and Dom, tops against skins
close to the door for when she called
Have you stood and looked at that door since then
All gone now, far away from where we were,
different being your own man
A thought provoking stereotype,
Maybe just a bloke,
Trying to remember the lad inside,
Newcomer, William Grieg brought a sonnet:
MY FELINE FRIEND
I struggle with the detail of my day
as I’m clumsy and am often out of sorts
and ruminate till I can’t find my way
to break the habit of my darkest thoughts.
But you are like the whiskers of a cat
which measure distances before it follows;
antennae picking up should I be at
a dangerous crossroads which could bring us sorrows.
Your cat’s eyes light my way which comforts me
so I feel happier when we are together.
Just like a cat, you see what I can’t see
and guide me till my day becomes a pleasure;
So all can see I’m blessed to have a wife
who helps dispel the darkness in my life.
We hope to see you again, William – and we hope to see you all in 2016 – keep writing, keep reading, keep coming out in spots …