Into the New Year with The Leopard

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:

January 19th | February 16th | March 22nd | April 19th | 

May 17th | June 21st | July 19th | August 23rd | September 20th

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
no bomb
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
he will
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
Uncopyrighted
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.

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:

ONCE

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,
The innocence

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 …

Leopard santa logo

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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.
This entry was posted in Recent Poems. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Into the New Year with The Leopard

  1. soloneili says:

    Thanks for the update, wonderful poems, and please keep me on your list. I am disappointed that I could not make the last meeting and fingers crossed I can make the next, unless my scheduled surgery pops up.

    Best wishes to you all.

    Neil.

    >

  2. mfuller810 says:

    America

    When I was a kid the New York skyline was a trillion feet high.
    Spiderman and Superman zoomed into my brain from the sky.
    The moon that looked on me in its lunar gaze,
    Knew my wonderment and sense of amazement,
    That I was encapsulated in the time I spent
    In happy delusions and dreams of far off innocence.

    Mike Fuller ( 2004 )

    • theleopard66 says:

      Thanks for the poem, Mike.

      • Mike Fuller says:

        Thank You!
        “Man is human, and the small amount of intelligence one may possess, counts as little or nothing against the rage of passion and the limits of human nature pressing upon him!”
        Spoken by Werther
        From ‘The Sorrows Of Young Werther’ ( 1774, revised 1787 )
        Johann Wolfgang von Goethe ( 1749 – 1832 )
        German Poet, Writer and Polymath.

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