As the Stoke Stanza group at The Leopard Hotel, Burslem ambles into its 9th year, we kick off with a poem about The Immortals.
THE IMMORTALS | John Williams
Glad to have a nose and genitals back
the old gods haven’t abandoned us
but love to appear in fashion magazines,
heavy haulage ads, the big man on the block
booting in doors and squeezing off a round.
In their last world they turned to rubble
waiting for the phone and lightbulb to arrive.
Experts trace them back to the caves,
foragers with bellies like laundry sacks.
What’s left of them in alphabets and glyphs,
jailed or divorced, becomes attack scuds
hammered out of steel.
Goddesses of needlework, love and beds
take the domesday ride on a motorbike.
John chairs the Stanza and you’d all be very welcome at our next session on Tuesday 20th February at 7.30pm. Bring 15 copies of a poem to share and discuss or feel free to listen and enjoy a drink.
Stanza regular Malcolm McMinn bemoans The Poet’s Lot
THE POET’S LOT | Malcolm McMinn
The poet’s lot has ups and downs,
Eclectic mix of smiles and frowns.
You write from youth until the hearse
But prosody won’t fill your purse
Though verse may well hold you spellbound.
In golden tones your verse resounds,
——-Or dismal shades of greys and brown,
Which makes you curse, it’s so perverse,
The poet’s lot.
The muse may mock your choice of noun;
You might say “frock” but she says “gown”;
The pitfalls are diverse, immense,
Frustration makes you terse and tense
When metres fail and rhymes confound
The poet’s lot.
Phil Williams, in the meantime, is feeling somewhat seismic as his Suburban Sinkhole opened in the Autumn 2017 edition of Orbis magazine.
SUBURBAN SINKHOLE | Phil Williams
One afternoon, a sudden give and sag,
our pavement gapes to cold, black earth.
Neighbours gather beside the crusted edge,
taking selfies; text; fetch children early
out of school. Stand back while men in high-vis vests,
stretch yellow tape, and begin to probe each lawn.
Later, a helicopter’s blur, filming
for the Evening News. The shadow flits,
bulges across twin car drives, house fronts,
like a child’s flick-book. It drops fathoms down, engulfing
sub-soil, bitumen; broken
breeze-blocks, half-bricks, exposed cables.
When darkness comes, houses either side
empty to relatives, friends, hotel rooms.
Residents watch themselves on wall-wide screens.
Surprised? Of course – it’s not what you expect –
relieved no-one was hurt. We’ll welcome them
home when everything’s safe. Always like that here.
Redundant timers pause on DVDs;
fridges defrost and click. Hollow houses
fill with arc-light glare. Instruments chirrup,
beep, tick; hum with back garden geophys.
The foreman feels it first, rippling across
his plastic mug – the tremor, lurch and spill.
So why not feel the quake and feel the vibe at the next Stanza session? All welcome, admission free.
Upstairs at The Leopard pub, Market Street, Burslem, Stoke on Trent ST6 3AA.