Season of mists …

… and more Stanza dates. The next Stoke Stanza takes place on Tuesday 26th September at 7.30pm upstairs in the historic Leopard Hotel, Burslem.

All welcome. Admission free. You don’t have to be a member of the Poetry Society, nor do you have to bring anything – but we do appreciate when people come along with 15 copies of a poem they’d like to share and discuss.

Here are some that have been shared and discussed at recent Stanza sessions.

Geoff Sutton has been re-reading Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce. He tells us he ‘gets’ it now. So much so, that he’s been writing sonnets based on lines from Joyce’s stream-of-consciousness classic. Here’s one.


he strides the camomile lawn at sunset
she meets him coming the opposite way
crushed leaves smell rancid and the dew is wet
boots leave her footprints sticky from the clay

one has to turn round feign a change of plan
plead reckless weariness do what they can
to demonstrate promises they have to keep

no moon shines just car lights strobing through trees
neither knows which the best way to walk is
they hesitate hair ruffled by the breeze
at last she smiles goes widdershins his
hand on her cheek rests light as a feather
they stroll on into the dark together

John Williams has been ‘Halfway to Paradise’.


The Boy who made the stars and universe
had to learn how to make a wooden chair.
His clumsy efforts couldn’t have been worse.
All thumbs and fingers, hapless he would stare
blankly at chisel, hammer, bit-and-brace.
The mind that dreamed up love and broken hearts
could never drill a counter-sink or place
‘Halfway to Paradise’ in the pop charts.
So little wonder he quit for the road,
threw in the towel for the atomic age,
inventing drugs and dynamite. He showed
us our future on the celestial page:
nukes on the ice-cap and the drones that flew.
Our first fear’s abandonment. Our last, too.

‘Halfway to Paradise’ was the best-selling single of 1961 and spent 23 weeks in the charts.

Malcolm McMinn laments the departure of the Muse.


She’s gone again and left me flat,
Insisting that she must be free
And never will be tied to me:
Just packed her bag and that was that.

Will she relent, come back to me,
Or has she gone for good, amen,
And shall we never speak again?
Why does she feel she has to flee?

Euterpe is the wanton’s name;
Like Venus she tempts many men.
Entrapped, they lift poetic pen
And life will never be the same.

What is the cure for poet’s block?
When she is near she charms me so
And rhymes and rhythms seem to flow
— Before they turn to poppycock.

Well, get those creative juices working again, punch through that writers’ block and submit some poems to the Poetry Society’s Stanza Competition on the theme of ‘Walls’. You’ve got to be in it to win it, as they say – and for this one, yes, you do have to a member of The Poetry Society. Details here.

Leopard logo


About theleopard66

I am a member of the Stoke Stanza of The Poetry Society and run Poems & Pints events in Alsager.
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