REACH POETRY A Poetry Society Landmark magazine Issue: 139 April 2009 Head Office: 132 Hinckley Road, Stoney Stanton, Leics LE9 7NE UK: Single issue £4.00; 12 issues £45.00; 24 issues £85.00 EU: £4.50; 12 issues £52.00 / Rest of World: £5.00; 12 issues £58.00 Cheque ‘Indigo Dreams Press’ or PAYPAL from website. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Websites and Bookshop: www.indigodreamsonline.com Facebook Group: Indigo Dreams Poetry Editor and Cover Art Design: Ronnie Goodyer WRITERS GUIDELINES. Work should be typed, ideally 11pt, in non-italic plain fonts, aligned left (unless essential to form), on plain paper or clearly written on white A4 paper. Please use a separate sheet for each poem and make sure your name appears on each piece of work. Each month there will be a cash prize of £50 divided between the three most popular submissions, from current subscribers, voted for by the readers. Letters and votes should be sent by email (preferred) or posted to above address to be received by the 10th of the month. Any letter/review may be edited. Poems may be sent by email provided they conform to above format or be sent by post accompanied by an original Reach Poetry submission form. Please enclose SAE for the return of unsuitable work or acknowledgement of acceptance. No simultaneous submissions please. Reach Poetry will be published monthly unless other factors, including health, prevent this.
WELCOME April come she will When streams are ripe and swelled with rain; Simon and Garfunkel Welcome to 139 and welcome to spring. I don’t know about you but to me it seemed a long time coming, longer than usual. Hopefully now the pattern of gentle rain and warmer breezes will coat us with familiarity and the birdsong will be more pronounced. If I close my eyes in winter and think of the spring, it is birdsong that is there alongside the emerging earth. My great friend Ken Hall reminded me of a Native American saying: ‘Tread lightly in the spring, mother earth is pregnant.’ And that sums it up nicely; seeds now for bounty later. April is a month of anticipation, but back in Celtic tradition, it was April 30th that was the darkest day of the year, not Halloween. Witches were sent to frighten and to spawn evil everywhere. They were repelled by much clatter and banging of saucepans etc and folk were relieved to see a bright May dawn. In my world though, I prefer the wonderful Pablo Neruda’s outlook: "I want to do to you what spring does with the cherry trees." Hold the thought! This month’s voting saw a grand tussle between BMJ and KV, and the highest number of votes cast so far this year. 3 months in and no-one has made more than one appearance in The Box. The votes are well distributed. On matters of publication, our Summer Collection Competition is now open and detailed on page 55. Let me know if you have any queries and we look forward to receiving your submissions. I’ve been asked if we intend to revive our in-house ‘mini-series’ competitions for short verse this year. Well, it is certainly my intention and all the more so with your support for it. We’ve had the tetractys (Wendy Webb), the cinquain (Norman Brown) and the one you couldn’t get out of your heads, the than-bauk (Geoffrey Winch). I’d like to see a revival of that in RP. Now you can wonder which dastardly poetry form you’ll need to be studying for the next one! OK, enjoy this issue and I look forward to hearing in the usual manner. Until then, here’s my favourite spring quote: "Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems." - Rainer Maria Rilke. Love and Light to you all, Ronnie.G -2-
INDIGO DREAMS PUBLISHING
CRAB LINES OFF THE PIER
An Anthology for Summer
Crab Lines Off The Pier Following on from the great success of our winter collection By The Winter Fires, Indigo Dreams Publishing are now open to submissions for our summer collection. What does the summer mean to you? What memories does it hold? Is it all about holidays, or are there darker corners? Crab Lines Off The Pier is an anthology of summer. It can be recalled memories, present events or dreams, nature, journeys, sounds, sights and smells, anticipation, joy or melancholy. Release your imagination to the theme and share with others. Indigo Dreams invites your poem to 40 lines or prose to 350 words. Please post or email just one selection with your submission as an attachment and your full name and address contained in the email Please use the anthology title as a heading to ensure it is considered. Closing Date is Friday 28th May 2010. Publication late June, early July. Enjoy the muse and send along your best work for consideration
CONTENTS WRITERS GUIDELINES. .......................................................................... 1 WELCOME ................................................................................................ 2 CONTENTS ............................................................................................... 4 ‘THE BOX’ - READERS VOTE ISSUE 138 - RESULTS ........................... 6 REACHERS NEWS AND VIEWS.............................................................. 6 POEMS .................................................................................................... 19
Spring Shorts – Ronnie Goodyer..................................................19 what to wear – juli Jana ...............................................................20 What A Lovely War! – Cedric Murcott ........................................20 To the Lady at St Pancras – Mavis Gulliver .................................21 Geometric – Carol Ann Darling ...................................................22 The Watering Can to the Garden – Alan Spencer .........................22 Roadside – Oz Hardwick .............................................................23 Monochromes – Ken Champion...................................................24 Waking Light – Richard Labram..................................................24 India - on tour – Joanna Lynham..................................................25 The Attack – Graham Woodall ....................................................26 Conscience – Peter Butler ............................................................26 Bjorn and Benny Write for Abba – Roger Harvey ........................27 Spring haiku – Claire Knight .......................................................27 The Conservation – Jean Atkinson ...............................................28 Travelling Home – Jane Fraser Esson ..........................................28 White Cross – Jenny Hamlett .......................................................29 Flodden Field, 1513 – Peter Davies..............................................30 The Battle of Flodden – Ron Woollard ........................................31 Cat at the Tank – Mary Charman- Smith ......................................32 The Call of Home – Barbara E Robinson .....................................32 From the Otherside – Denise Margaret Hargrave .........................33 Thoughts on Robbie Burns – Joan Corney ...................................34 The Plunge – Pamela Constantine ................................................34 The Colour of Love – Joan Sheridan Smith ..................................35 Paradiddle – Christine May Turner ..............................................36 Call Me Old-fashioned – Peter Johnson .......................................37 -4-
One Truth – Albert Oxford ..........................................................38 The flower – Tracy Ruthven ........................................................39 Fading Light at Cedar Park – Cavan Magner ................................40 A Melting Moment – Ted Harriott ...............................................41 My Violin and I – Angela Porter ..................................................41 Wellington’s State Funeral and the Fat Bride’s Procession – Gary Bills ............................................................................................42 At the Museum – Rowena M Love ..............................................42 Swan – David Norris-Kay............................................................43 Street Scene – MaryAnne Perkins ................................................44 Nomads – Norman Bissett ...........................................................45 Affinity – June White ..................................................................46 A Different Music – Peter Day ....................................................47 Uncle Harry – Margaret Whitaker ................................................48 Listen to Mermaids Singing – Wendy Webb ................................49 Narcissus – Pamela Trudie Hodge ...............................................50 After the Dusk – Rosemary Whittingham.....................................50 Bluebells – Christine Flowers ......................................................51 Downsizing – Ben McNair ..........................................................52 Ephemeral Juxtaposition – Richard Bonfield................................52 REVIEWS ................................................................................................ 53
The Lost Songs - Oz Hardwick ....................................................53
‘THE BOX’ - READERS VOTE ISSUE 138 - RESULTS 1st Simply This nd 2 And Peace Is 3rd= Fauvist Expressionist Food For Thought 4th Coming Home
Bernard M Jackson K V Skene Geoff Stevens William W Wilson Tina Negus
REACHERS NEWS AND VIEWS Richard Bonfield is making his major collection Animated Nature available to Reachers for the cover price of £14.99 waiving the normal cost of postage and packing (£1.50) for the month of April only. Chqs to him at 18 Poppy Close, The Maltings, Leicester LE2 6UR Hi it was very hard to chose this time, some lovely poems.1st Clamour and Clamour, then silence - Kate Edwards. 2nd And Peace Is K.V.Skene.3rd Coming Clear - Roger Elkin. I also really liked Liquid of life Roy Titch, Chincoteague W.F.Lantry, Simply This Bernard M Jackson, Wild Man Jesse S. Hanson and more. Bless you all, Tracy Ruthven. Loved the beautiful bright cover back and front with Soxx of course. Both of Richard Labram's poems were my favourites, had rhythm that floated me on flowing clouds. l. Go Gently - Richard Labram 2. Missing Summer - Richard Labram 3= Hard Core - Josie Davies 3= Pack Of Lies - Glenise Lee Also, loved the creative spiritual intelligence of Richard Bonfield's poem Before The Dance. Blends graciously with your daffodil cover. Ronnie Goodyer’s - She is Made of Stone. This for me is the creative written power of Ronnie. And the mysterious Wistman's Wood of Dartmoor makes another appearance. As I am always having pots of tea on my coach travels, I found Dawn's ‘Couple’ amusing, if that's -6-
permitted. I only hope that if I sit with a fellow male traveller for a pot of tea there is no Dawn taking poetic notes, especially as all my pots of tea with fellow travellers have been purely platonic. But maybe the muse would tell her it was not a romantic cha cha cha just plain old travelling thirst and lack of seats. I love Dawn's stories. Always sincerely, Carol Ann Darling I thoroughly enjoyed issue 138; a stunning cover enclosing delightful and profound poetry. My votes are:1st - Unspoken Love - by Linus Lyszkowska 2nd - Food for Thought - by William W. Wilson 3rd - All Right Youssif - by Gill O'Halloran Well done everybody. The poetic talent of Reach subscribers in second to none. Peter Tomlinson Lovely Spring cover Ronnie and many good poems. My choices: 1. Simply This – Bernard M Jackson 2. Forties Noir – Ken Champion 3. Auschwitz in Winter – Daffni Percival (simple but very moving) Best wishes, Joan Sheridan Smith So, voting time, eh?? A difficult one for me this time but Jesse's wild man just HAD to be first - so different, begging to be read aloud – ‘He fulla dents and dings and broken springs’.......wonderful stuff. Have just finished browsing another poetry journal and discovered there several poems which might be labelled "surreal", like this one. But this is REAL surreal, the other one was total garbage (in my ‘umble opinion :) I hasten to say. Think of as many catchy words as you can and string them together - real fridge-magnet poetry. Jesse I hope has many more where this came from. Runners -up are more difficult, but settled on Lynn's Raggedy Men and Glenise's Pack of Lies joint second - loved them both, with Gill's All right Youssif a close 3rd. Lots of others deserve mention, cannot resist Graham Woodall’s Sylvia - a subject close to his heart, and Dawn's back page leaves me wishing she could have a vote as ever........ Love on this wonderfully sunny first day of March - gives you hope, dunnit? Tina Negus -7-
Beautiful Spring cover and the first and last poems very good as always. 1st. 'And Peace Is' K.V. Skene, - says so much. 2nd. 'Fauvist Expressionist,' Geoff Stevens, strong and succinct, 3rd. 'Chincoteague,' W.F. Lantry, Lovely atmosphere of a drifting afternoon - and with horses! Good wishes to all. Kate Edwards My vote is as follows - 1) Simply This, BMJ (thought this was a profound and brilliant poem when I first read it in Silent Rhapsody - re-reading it in RP wholeheartedly confirms my original view), 2) And Peace Is, K V Skene - warming and chilling, 3) Bad, Oz Hardwick - super angle on Michael Jackson who seemed to pass me by, but seeing all the replays of his dance routines made me realise his was actually a very profound talent. Near misses - Carol Ann's Norwegian Hologram, Lynn’s Raggedy Men, and John Mercer's Natural Gardener (such fun). Geoffrey Winch My votes for Reach 138 go to: 1st: Mementoes – Martin Johns. Understated and all the more moving for that. 2nd The Soldier’s Wife – Eileen Carney Hulme . Very atmospheric and captures the longing of the one left behind. 3rd Humming Bird – Mala Mason. Memorable lines, beautiful imagery. As always I really enjoyed the latest magazine. The daffodil cover design is lovely. Many thanks, Sue Sims Many thanks for 138 with the bright yellow daffodils – Spring is on its way! I enjoyed Dawn Bauling’s Couple and your She Is Made Of Stone. Kate Edwards can be relied on for well crafted verse – Clamour, then Silence communicates passion. Richard Labram’s Go Gently also writes of strong feeling dealing with a difficult subject. Selecting from the riches of this issue is again very difficult. I enjoyed the music and the language of Jesse Hanson’s Wild Man – third place. In second place Auschwitz in Winter – Daffni Percival, another difficult subject. Joint second Fauvist Expressionist – Geoff Stevens. First, And Peace Is – K V Skene. Another remarkably moving poem. Best wishes, Peter Day
What a great and cheerful spring-like cover to brighten up what is still, here, the depths of winter. Again, an enjoyable poem from Ronnie, whose heart is still in Cornwall, and Dawn, who has abandoned her coffee for tea. These make perfect 'bookends' to contain what is another superb selection. My preference is for clear, easy to understand, traditional rhyming forms or rhythmic free verse, despite the current trend for deliberate or experimental obfuscation. With this in mind, my choices from the March magazine are: Number 1: The superb and incredibly evocative 'SIMPLY THIS', by Bernard M. Jackson. Simply Brilliant! Number two: A TIME TO DANCE; by Michael Newman. This has clarity, beauty and meaning. (My three criteria for a good poem) Number three: SEEING THINGS by Patrick B. Osada. A lovely description of a crow's behaviour which is very well observed. Fourth: A Park's Prunus avium by Etelka Marcel, an original slant on the wild cherry or Gean. Most of the other poems are top quality, and nice to see Soxx hasn't been excluded, and seems to be enjoying the springtime woods! Best Wishes to all, David Norris-Kay Just a brief note with my choice this month; 1st Missing Summer - Richard Labram 2nd Coming Clear - Roger Elkin 3rd Humus - Keith Chopping 'Brief' because I should be doing the packing. We're off chasing the sun; heard there might be some in Lanzarote, Glenise Lee (Hope you found it) It is perhaps fortunate that we are not allowed to vote for Ronnie's and Dawn's poems; they might have a tendency to sweep the board. The quality of their 'bookends' has been so consistently high over the last few issues that the rest of us had better keep our nibs sharp. This doesn't mean there isn't some excellent work in between! My votes for Issue 138 are: (1) A Time to Dance by Michael Newman, (2) Simply This by Bernard M. Jackson, (3) Missing Summer by Richard Labram. The offerings from Oz Hardwick, Ken Champion, and Bhuwan Thapaliya also deserve praise, and the blaze of Spring on the cover with Soxx keeping a watchful tongue over the daffodils brings much-needed cheer in this ghastly weather. Best wishes, Roger Harvey -9-
What a beautiful cover to herald in Spring and I can see Soxx is enjoying the scenery also. It doesn't seem two minutes since I was voting last month but it is always a pleasure to read such fine poetry. My number one goes to Bernard M. Jackson for 'Simply This' - Simply the best Bernard. Number two spot is for Roy Titch's 'Liquid of Life' - a lovely, descriptive poem. Joint third are 'Lunch Hour' by John Webber - a simple poem written in a beautiful manner and 'The Natural Gardener' by John S Mercer which made my day a smiley one. I must mention 'Food For Thought' - William W. Wilson, 'The Wisdom Of Birds - Oz Hardwick and 'The. Raggedy Men of Cromer Pier' - Lynn Woollacott, loved them all. Hope you enjoy your deserved break Ronnie, Dawn and Soxx - bring us back some more lovely scenery. Best Regards, Barbara E Robinson Many thanks for 138 and its uplifting cover. The daffodils right into the woods with Soxx. My choices: 1. And Peace Is – K.V.Skene 2. Fauvist Expressionist – Geoff Stevens 3. The Soldier’s Wife – Eileen Carney Hulme 4. Journey Woman – Seema Gill and Simply This – Bernard M Jackson All Best Wishes, Josie Davies Another great edition of RP with beautiful spring design and received with pleasure. My Favourites: 1. Simply This – Bernard M Jackson 2. A Park’s Prunus Avium – Etelka Marcel 3. A Time to Dance – Michael Newman I also very much enjoyed She Is Made Of Stone and Couple, as well as spotting Soxx among the daffodils! I hope you all enjoyed your trip to Somerset. Sincerely, Margaret Whitaker Beautiful daffodils (back cover) I wanted to run through the woods barefoot! I noted several poems in this issue with social/world comment. All made their point quietly, eloquently without preaching - an indication of the quality of RP writing. 1) Chincoteague - W F Lantry: beautifully written, especially the last line - 10 -
2) Seeing Things - Patrick B Osada: a magical moment well captured = Norwegian Hologram - Carol Ann Darling: enchanting, from the tetactrys queen! 3) Liquid of Life - Roy Titch: powerful and descriptive = Two Days of Whisky - Steve Allen: heartwarming Also liked: Simply This, Coming Home, Go Gently, The Soldier's Wife, Pack of Lies, Journey Woman and Ronnie your Stone Lady would have been my 1st, lovely. Spring is coming. Claire Knight Another enjoyable read. Having had one of my own poems chosen for Reach Poetry 138, Do I have licence to say that I felt that this issue was not quite up to the very high standard of No 137? It is understandable that people admire poems for different reasons and criticism will vary depending on what one is looking for in the work. However, I felt that a fair number of poems, including my own, on re-reading, were in need of some further editing for cliché and over-writing. It also felt at times that there was in some work, a dependency on weight of subject matter at the expense poetic expression. End of negative criticism! There was of course much to enjoy in the collection and the choice of poems to recommend was not easy. May I put Ken Champion’s ‘Forties Noir’ and Eileen Carney Hulme’s ‘The Soldier’s Wife ‘, in joint first place? Ken paints a wonderful picture of a period and individual experience in an extremely vivid but economical way. I found this very exciting. Equally evocative, but in a gentler and more insinuating way, Eileen weaves a scene from another time and culture with an authenticity that is awe- inspiring. Thank you both. In second place I would like to nominate K. V. Skene for ‘And Peace Is’. This is a journey from our recognisable world into one which tears us apart and is done so neatly and subtly that the last stanza really hits us. Third place was difficult, because of the high quality of several poems, but I settled on ‘Hard Core’ by Josie Davies, mainly because of the powerful expression and economy of language, developing that beautiful image which provided a sharp, clear insight into the world and our own being. Thanks too to Lynn Woollacott for her excellent poem ...’a sound / of slop, slop, as if death / were walking.’ ... wonderful. Thanks again, Ronnie. Hurry up, 139. Willie Wilson
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As always, a wonderful read in 138. I understand the contents fully. From Ronnie’s ‘SHE’ to Bhuwan’s ‘OH GOD’ So many clever ideas, so many ingenious writers. Thank you all for the remarks on my own attempts at poetry, especially Bernard. Thank you. The usual problems of decision occur as I like so many submissions. The first for me though has to be WWW’s FOOD FOR THOUGHT’ true perspective. In 2nd place ‘FAUVIST EXPRESSIONIST’ by Geoff Stevens, marvelously inventive. And third has to be ‘ALRIGHT YOUSSIF’ Said Spiderman’ by Gill O’Halloran. A very clear perspective to, in this wonderful piece. So many I have enjoyed in 138.Thanks again Ronnie and the daffodil dog. Eric Langford For the second month in succession I have had more time than usual to consider the poems in RP but the extra time seems to result in me changing my mind more times. I am therefore going to offer the following because that is how I feel today. 1. Simply This by Bernard Jackson. It is 'simply' a great bit of poetry. 2. Auschwitz in Winter by Daffni Percival. Short but very sweet and hits the mark with one shot 3. Liquid of Life by Roy Titch. A well constructed poem that evokes more thoughts of the supposed eternal conflict of interest between Man and Earth. 4. A Time to Dance by Michael Newman. Not as good as Tina's 'Paradox' but evocative of similar thoughts - is there or isn't there something bigger than us? Tina's Coming Home was another close contender; we need more poems to hasten the end of this ridiculous 'war'. Best wishes, Graham Woodall It was a great surprise to find myself ‘top of the box’, I am thrilled, thanks so much to all who voted and for the lovely comments. A real honour. Thanks also Ronnie and Dawn for RP and The Dawntreader arriving together and for always setting the standard with your own poems. Usual voting headache, many deserving a special mention. Geoff Stevens made me smile. I was uplifted by BMJ, Joy, Patrick and Richard Labram. Empathised with Willie Wilson, Josie and Linus. Admired the tight and well controlled pieces, the balance and skill of Gill O Halloran and Tina - 12 -
Negus, all of these and more making me question my choices over and over. In the end my final three are3. Bad by Oz Hardwick, it rang true for me and captured my own thoughts perfectly. 2. Chincoteague by WF Lantry, I kept coming back to re-read this as I did with my first choice. 1. The Raggedy Men of Cromer Pier by Lynn Woollacott, the last four verses in particular really swayed me to make it my first choice. Wishing all Reachers some Spring sunshine, Eileen Carney Hulme My first ever encounter with Reach Poetry was a very rewarding one. I was very impressed with the quality of the magazine and the verse within it! Looking forward to my next copy with suitable anticipation! My votes are: 1. Lynn Woollacott - The Raggedy Men of Cromer Pier Worked for me. Good imagery. Good atmosphere. Well told. 2. Geoff Stevens – Fauvist Expressionist The conceit of the piece appealed, stays in the memory long after being read – always a good sign! 3. Geoffrey Winch – Night to Remember Short – but perfectly formed! The first “misleading” four lines guarantee the impact of the fifth. Really set me up for the punch line. Best regards, Dave Costello Reach Poetry gets better and better. Once again I have to award joint firsts and seconds. First are 'All Right Youssif? Said Spiderman' and 'And Peace Is.' Second are 'Coming Clear' and 'Wild Man.' One poem is on its own in third place, the excellent 'Oh God! I thank them for giving me everything.' How lovely to see new poets with such amazing talent! I loved your 'She is Made of Stone' and Dawn's 'Couple.' Of the rest I loved too poems by Keith Chopping, Daffni Percival, Michael Newman, Oz Hardwick, Ken Champion (I love this period in film), Mala Mason, Richard Bonfield, William W Wilson, Seema Gill, Geoff Stevens, Ron Woollard, and Kate Edwards. I hope you enjoyed Somerset! Love, Eleanor
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The poem I most liked in 138 was Dawn Bauling's "Couple", but this is not for voting so my next 3 best liked are: 1. "Food for Thought" by William W. Wilson which says a lot, simply and effectively. I liked the repetition of "nil by mouth". 2. "Two Drops of Whiskey" by Steve Allen - splendid economy of words and no purple patches. 3. "Chincoteague" by W.F.Lantry. Also liked Ken Champion's "Forties Noir" a captivating cameo of past times. All best wishes, Ron Woollard The cover of 138 is beautiful – I nearly lost Soxx in the daffodils. Once again the contents are excellent and I find it truly impossible to vote for just three, so I have given equal places: 1. Unspoken Love – Linus Lyszkowska and Coming Home – Tina Negus 2. Simply This – Bernard M Jackson and Season of Joy – Joy Saunders 3. Journey Woman – Seema Gill and Food For Thought – William W Wilson Best Spring wishes to all, Rita Steward Thank you to all those who voted my poem into 3rd place in 137. That, of course, compels me to stir myself to return the compliments of three Reachers at least. So my vote: 1. Bad – Oz Hardwick 2. Food For Thought – William W Wilson 3. Simply This – Bernard M Jackson All good wishes, Ted Harriott Thanks for Reach 138 and Dawntreader 10. I thought the covers for both magazines were so colourful and "living." I congratulate Tina Negus for her painting of Goredale Scar (Dawntreader) - she is a lady with many talents. The daffodil woods, on the back of RP, take me back to my childhood. We lived in a vicarage backing onto some woods near Newent, Glos. that were alight with daffodils every Spring. Gypsies used to come and pick them to sell door to door. I see Soxx has invaded the - 14 -
picture. He could almost be my old spaniel Banjo, black and white with droopy ears and sodden tongue and a far better rabbit catcher than my dad. My favourite poem this time is Journey Woman by Seema Gill. I found the imagery very moving, every verse thought provoking culminating in the sadness of the ending. In second place I enjoyed Food for Thought by William W. Wilson. I've also experienced nil by mouth. It's tough. When you can't eat and drink you want to. The last verse, however, puts us all to shame. Thirdly I liked the sheer joy and elation of Season of Joy by Joy Saunders which was colourful and cheerful and what we need to read after such a torturous winter. With best wishes, Angela Bradley I've loved this issue of Reach Poetry, and seeing all of our diversity. First: 'Oh God! I thank them for giving me everything' Bhuwan Thapaliya. This is so sad and hopeful, and its gravitas created by word patterns and repetition is beautiful. Second: 'And Peace Is' K. V. Skene. What a weaving of meaning and images. Third: 'Coming Clear' Roger Elkin. I like getting to hear this 'conversation', and I like what it says and how it says it. Love and blessings, Ginny Sullivan The Zeitgeist tells me that I should be 'tweeting' my votes by now, but the old Luddite in me has kicked in, so I'm e-mailing them instead. 4th - Food for thought by William W Wilson 3rd - Forties Noir by Ken Champion 2nd - Fauvist Expressionist by Geoff Stevens 1st - Liquid of Life by Roy Titch Bests and happy Equinox to all, John Webber Thank you for another wonderful issue of Reach, it came at a good/bad time as I have recently spent a lot of time sitting around in hospitals so Reach was good to have in my bag, and made for an uplifting read! Thank you also for guidance on dates as to when votes should be in by - I can rarely remember what day of the week it is let alone what day of the month! So now I have the 10th of each month set firmly in my calendar. - 15 -
(Please remember though that I always receive more letters than can fit up to page 18 cut-off so the earlier the better!) Votes were as difficult as ever, with some marvellous work as always but have finally decided on; 1. Norwegian Hologram - Carol Ann Darling. 2. The Soldier's Wife - Eileen Carney Hume Third place was really tricky but I finally chose Oh God, I thank them for giving me everything - Bhuwan Thapaliya. I also really enjoyed For Sylvia (Plath?) (yes) by Graham Woodall, Simply This by Bernard M Jackson and Forties Noir by Ken Champion. I also liked your notes Ronnie about typo's! My most common ones are 'ot' for to and 'og' for go. It would be interesting to see other people's! Right then got ot og now, Love and light to you all, Laurajayne x Another great edition of Reach Poetry. I really like the cover - very Spring-Like. My votes go to: 1. Unspoken Love by Linus Lyszkowska 2. The Natural Gardener by John S Mercer 3. Food for thought by William W Wilson Hope all is well with you all. Love and Blessings, Mala Mason Many thanks as always for RP 138 and Dawntreader. The cover of Reach was quite stunning. Such vibrant colour and who could ask for more than Soxx among the flowers. 1. And Peace Is – KV Skene 2. Bad – Oz Hardwick 3. Simply This – Bernard M Jackson Love and hugs, Pamela Trudie Hodge RP137 contains some fine poems within its glorious, sun-filled covers. Reclining among daffodils, Soxx looked remarkably like Dorothy Wordsworth on a good day. 1. Coming Home – Tina Negus. The pathos of too-frequent funeral corteges from yet another war and the unjustifiable sacrifice of our young soldiers is heightened by the familiar, commonplace nature of the ancient township through which they pass.
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2. Fauvist Expressionist – Geoff Stevens. I liked the uncluttered understatement of this single, largely unpunctuated sentence, its power of suggestion and sustained metaphor from the world of art. 3. ‘All Right Youssif?’ Said Spiderman. The universality of parental love and concern for children is a fit subject for poetry, well worth recording. Warmest regards to you and Dawn, Yours aye, Norman Bissett Delighted to be “in the box” in 138 – many thanks for everyone’s kind words and votes. Here are my votes for this month. 1st to Bernard M Jackson for “Simply This”, what a marvelously image rich, colourful poem; 2nd to Tina Negus for “Coming Home”, poignant and heartfelt, and 3rd to Richard Labram’s lament, “Go Gently” . By the way, can you clarify something for me – the syllable count for haiku should be 5, 7, 5 shouldn’t it? I notice a couple of poems marked “haiku” don’t obey this rule. All the best from a freezing – still Guernsey. Love Pippa (I often get asked about this, Pippa. The traditional Japanese form is a syllable count of 5-7-5. However, English verse is typically structured by meter, whereas Japanese verse counts ‘sound units’. There is a school of thought therefore that says it doesn’t necessarily need to translate to a strict 5-7-5. Many modern haiku in English use about ten to fourteen syllables, with no formal pattern. The end line was used to ‘reflect’ the opening two. Nature is the theme of traditional form, but modern writers (including Japanese) give haiku a broader range, but a reflective statement should always be made. Senryu on the other hand, is of similar pattern, but contains humour, satire etc, rather than the seasons. Haibun, usually travel related, is a combination of prose and haiku) The bright yellow cover of the new Reach blended with the coming of Spring. Soxx looks happy in the woods. Thanks to all those who voted for or mentioned my February poem. It gives one a lift to be mentioned. Your “She is Made of Stone” has a mystery about it for me, Ronnie and with the rhythm of its words and repetition could be a song. I will think of Dawn’s “Couple” every time I have a cup of coffee or tea in a garden centre. - 17 -
1st Coming Home - Tina Negus – a perfect salute. 2nd Simply This – Bernard M. Jackson 3rd And Peace is – K. V. Skene 4th Liquid of life – Roy Titch Must mention: Seeing Things – Patrick B. Osada; Food for Thought – William W Wilson; Unspoken Love – Linus Lyszkowska; Season of Joy – Joy Saunders; Hard Core – Josie Davies; Lunch Hour – John Webber; Go Gently – Richard Labram and the two short poems, The Natural Gardener – John S. Mercer and Richard Bonfield’s Before The Dance. I hope your daughter, Hannah is in better health, and that you had a pleasant break in Somerset. With good wishes, Valerie Flatman What a burst of sunshine we had on St David’s Day – your cover so appropriate! I loved yours and Dawn’s poems. I liked the short poems Wisdom of Birds, Humming Bird and before the Dance very much, such wonderful pictures painted in a few lines. No doubt for me which was first: 1. Simply This – Bernard M Jackson. I was there and it brought a tear. 2. = Journey Woman – Seema Gill and Seeing Things – Patrick B Osada 3. Oh God! I thank them.. – Bhuwan Thapaliya. Wishing health and happiness to all, Joan Corney I found 138 superlative quality, the cover design immediately took my eye. The anticipation of content didn’t fail to encapture the aesthetic quality of the poetry therein. 1. Liquid Of Life – Roy Titch 2. Chincoteague – W F Lantry 3. Coming Home – Tina Negus The following also gave much enjoyment: Lunch Hour, Go Gently, Season of Joy, And Peace Is, The Raggedy Men of Cromer Pier, A Time To Dance and For Sylvia. Best Wishes, Christine Flowers
*****Votes Counted from This Point Until Print***** - 18 -
POEMS Spring Shorts – Ronnie Goodyer Great Gable, Lake District He poured mauve over the base green And let it run its course. With a white-tipped tree, He gouged streaks and mixed pinks. Left to dry for a million years, He placed observers on Lingmell And let un-roped walkers touch the sky. Wild Godrevy Shore On that wild Godrevy shore, spirits of the sailors’ walked from Manacle Rocks, where stalked Neptune’s reaper and, before, on that wild Godrevy shore, spirits of the sailors’ walked. Marble Gorge Standing on uneven rock, your eyes are controlled by the earth's magnetism. The browns of the near cliff dark, the shadow thrown across to neighbouring sunlight, where purple mountains tower, join with blue sky, turning the river to abstract. haiku (for Cornwall) trodden green pathway bluebells framing yellow gorse Madron Carn springtime
Lizard serpentine watered by spring tides - one pink flower
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what to wear â€“ juli Jana each hanger neatly positioned behind a half opened door nothing that suits me fits my mood I rub my hands pacing the floor when it falls on my shoulders my skin fitting like a cloth Gandhi-like smooth and brown bare toes find stones in a riverbed step for step I cross the day fully clothed
What A Lovely War! â€“ Cedric Murcott Khaki confetti sprayed at a wedding of pride and avarice. Lifeless bedding consummating a marriage destined for miscarriage with blood and pain for little gain save for makers of arms greasing their palms and easing their qualms by offering alms to the limbless few who came through. - 20 -
They passed their test, ignored, like the rest. They fulfilled their purpose now army surplus. A drain on resources whose only recourse is to hope for some charity instead of barbarity. Dulce et decorum My old cockalorum Pro patria mori. The same lying story! To the Lady at St Pancras – Mavis Gulliver Don’t paint your toenails blue unless your feet are things of beauty. If your nails are pretty, straight and clean then paint them orange, scarlet, purple, green and show them off in strappy shoes, in Jimmy Choo’s; but if your feet are dirty, too well used, have been abused in shoes that do not fit; and if your nails are split, your toes have bunion bumps and other lumps, wear sandals, if you must; but the last thing you should do is paint your toenails blue.
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Geometric â€“ Carol Ann Darling You're standing beside the geometric. My spare-ware logs triangles, floating frost cold prisms, code name etched in iceberg cuts. Brazenly ignoring your darker side, you smile, ignorant of this disclosure a smile I know. Nobody suspects your work of art, but I can trace secret shapes. Hidden texts reveal a double agent.
The Watering Can to the Garden â€“ Alan Spencer Ivy quivers, sends out fingers into a crush of cold around my spine. It turns me summer -wards to the rush of leaves on my stoked throat, the crack of scent, clematis, rose.
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Weeping willow will you come a little closer, bring your nubbled yellow fingers to float above me on aeons of air? And restless conifers, your tufty spires could send me texture and mollifying shade. Think of me now in the hour of my deserving, the wandering lumps of ice in my belly, the dried bird-shit on my head and nose. Give what you can for my frost-possessed bones. (From ‘The Lodger’ IDP website) Roadside – Oz Hardwick A smoky bar: all the world’s here in small measures, inscrutable strangers blank behind neat labels. Svedka Vanilla? No thanks. Buffalo Trace sounds worse. Last time I saw something the colour of Bombay Sapphire it was in a lamp during the Winter of Discontent. The staff look like athletes – football or beach volleyball, depending. Cigarettes carry no warnings: Master-crafted blend of only the finest hand-picked Turkish, like Bogart smoked, looking cool before he discovered cancer. The TV shows adverts with the sound turned down. It’s some highway that led me here, straight and empty, barrelling rain-blind through ghost towns, chasing the white line from night to night to drink alone in a small-town cheap hotel. How far are we from Chicago? asks a woman at the bar. Half way, answers the barman, not looking. - 23 -
Monochromes – Ken Champion Old photos on site screens around the station: train sheds, munitions, evacuees grinning through a carriage window, unaware of future terror when a farmer trips on his rabbit snare and curses their hearts, the printing works, a man’s guiding fingers pushing cardboard through a ticket-cutting machine. I see the cup of tea handed him by a shuffleslippered wife as he settles in an armchair, frowns into the homeward bought Standard, Flo from next door passing, evenin’ Mr. Biddle, twitch of a hand, murmurs from the kitchen, darkening parlour unentered as ever, Friday night love, downstairs for a smoke; the match tomorrow, brown ales with Albert, the walk home, not knowing the rural blasphemy that will burn a boy’s mind forever.
Waking Light – Richard Labram Aroused from sleep by a westerly flow, you brush aside last winter’s snow. Brighter colours raise warm earth with tuneful songs and fragrant mirth. - 24 -
A catâ€™s-tail breeze plays at a curtain; windows and doors breathe more certain Gone are the dark days, cold extended night, spring now stirs with its cheerful light. India - on tour â€“ Joanna Lynham How much did you pay for your silk they said how much did you have to pay? while beggars held out stumps of flesh leprous with decay, How much did you pay for your square of silk how much did you have to pay? I watched the patient camel-carts ignore the blinding heat, forging a path through the teeming mass on plodding desert feet, survival extracts a heavy price where squalor and commerce meet I walked in a Hindu Temple of light trying to find my way, for wisdom speaks when the mind is calm awareness, a breath away If I follow the path of enlightenment what price will I have to pay? - 25 -
The Attack â€“ Graham Woodall It was oh-seven-thirty hours on the first of the month. Five minutes earlier there had been birdsong as usual after the distant rumble of tanks before dawn. I heard no whistles but the attack commenced and I knew then why my wire had been cut. Then the medics came and took me to a safer place away for now from friend and foe. From old friends only, as I soon found new. Food of a type I once thought meagre was very welcome now and filled my plate with homely warmth but my stomach with gas, like a dead man rotting. But I am not a German soldier. I was nowhere near the Somme. It is no longer July 1916. This attack was personal! Conscience â€“ Peter Butler It looked a close contest Until he applied the stranglehold, And head butt, then rinsed It under a waterfall, Before handing it to me. 'My conscience', he grinned. 'Looks clear to me', I observed. 'For now', he said, still grinning, Snatching it back, hurrying Towards a red light.
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Bjorn and Benny Write for Abba â€“ Roger Harvey A little wooden house, sunlight on water, a Northern brightness of quiet islands so far from record-players in lonely rooms and radios in shops and factories, soon to transmit a thrill through dull houses, crowded towns, and all the world. There was something in the air that night, shining under tingling stars, and every working day, diligent with guitar and piano, surrounded by Summer sea-sparkle, sounding such sweetness, shimmering from an ancient heartland; the studio booked, angel voices waiting. This joy and sadness, personal ecstasy and private loss; soon to be everyone's gain. Did they know they were writing the soundtrack to so many lives; that so many lovers would thank them for the music? Spring haiku â€“ Claire Knight tiny lambs leap high, then sleep in a heap of legs - 27 -
The Conservation – Jean Atkinson In the underground train I sat idly scanning the passive faces opposite, but lingered at the far end to watch two boys, cocooned in their own youthful world, lost in conversation. My imagination was tweaked; was it music, a rock concert maybe? But so animated were their gestures that I guessed sport – a recent match perhaps… Then I saw in the flash of hands a pattern, a play, a kind of dance, oblivious to curious eyes, just two schoolboys discussing their day in sign language. Travelling Home – Jane Fraser Esson Suitcases, red, tartan, lie perched on the rack, perhaps hiding outrageous secrets. Opposite, a Sikh reads his local paper. The train slides into Coventry, there’s a clink of bottles, reek of beer; a bunch of drunken football fans burst in, shattering my reverie. Closing my eyes, I see the Highlands, breathe the heady air, hear the burns racing over rocks, relive that calm, the friendly smiles. - 28 -
White Cross â€“ Jenny Hamlett Alone on the high moor with gorse and heather I'm the wind's jester, the rain's whipping boy I watch the flick-flick of metal boxes speeding past. Few stop to marvel at my round base, my painted Celtic Cross. Once prized twofold, I was guide to this wild place before the road strait-jacketed the journey from west to east. Travellers on moonless nights, in misty days blessed me for the gift of knowing where they were. I spoke out for their wonder in a world which could support a god. The curious, come lightly, laugh, have their picture taken. Fat Betty they say giving me a pat on the head.
The medieval white cross, Fat Betty on The North York Moors was once a guide to travellers.
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Flodden Field, 1513 â€“ Peter Davies (or, They, Too, Thought War was Just) I stood alone at Pontefract at Howard's castle wall as billman vied with archer to answer Henry's call. I stood alone at Borough-Muir and watched the clannish horde as baron, earl and bishop swore to honour James's sword. I stood alone on Barmoor Moss as cannon lined the ridge, 'Lord Admiral - go lead your men on, up to Twizel Bridge'. I stood alone across the Tweed, the mark of Scottish pride, 'Burn, burn Ford Castle to avenge that Bastard Heron guide' . I stood alone on Flodden Field as English clashed with Scot, as Border man fought Border man, as flesh was left to rot. I stood alone in Branxton Church in silence and in awe, I met 10,000 dying men, I saw the Hell of war.
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The Battle of Flodden â€“ Ron Woollard (Meditation on a Burne-Jones design for a bronze relief) On Flodden's hill with flags unfurled the Scottish king confronts an English Earl. Frozen in bronze the clash and ring of English staffs and Scottish spears and dying cries of wounded men. grey and stark a hellish landscape's pictured here. Bodies scattered on iron hard ground, the sound of clashing spears and flash of steel in fading summer light as English archers on the Scottish right send streams of arrows darkening the sky With fallen sword a king is dying and Scottish blood stains Flodden's fields, ten thousand dead, the noblest Scotland ever wrought. Here lies futility indeed, their valour come to naught. When all is done they look the same both friend and foe for when the battle's done only the wind-blown trees remain as witness to a dark and sombre scene.
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Cat at the Tank – Mary Charman- Smith Estimating one hundred fish this professor sits, as if watching a computer screen. A tabby in a patient role, his only movement to close a paw, seeming to want a pen and ink to record observations. This machine has a screensaver. Orange specks glint, as if lit by electricity. They swim before the expert's eyes, he counts them, purring at the realization of his theory. When fish are fed they rise. The cat stretches a soft foot towards the tank, sensing water, reels away blinking. As golden leaves in an autumn breeze confuse feline philosophy. The Call of Home – Barbara E Robinson Primeval thoughts shine in your eyes – origins of lost dreams when Highland bred. You were known by other names then, Shadow of the Glen, Scottish Wildcat or Defender of the Realm. With dark lined spine and ring striped tail, no common Tabby lies within your standing. - 32 -
What fates brought you here to me from that far off Caledonian land and should I call you Leader or maybe Master or will you answer to my chosen name of Honey? Though you let me stroke your silken coat and you purr and rub around my feet â€“ you nip me into obedience, tap with taloned paw, let me know I could be your worthy servant. Come night I hear your haunting strains, ghostly ancestral calls yowled to the moon, bewailing freedom's loss and wild, wild days. I know in my heart you can never be mine for I sense the need of your deepest soul to stalk once more Caledonian heather. From the Otherside â€“ Denise Margaret Hargrave From within this rock, I look out, with eyes flashing their dark fire from within this outcrop of igneous grey granite, a wildman from the Otherside, watching the serpent river spirit glide by, as I guard the river bend. The death of the elms I have seen, the death of their rookeries and the death of the eels. Think of these things, and I will teach you. I will lead you back home. - 33 -
Thoughts on Robbie Burns â€“ Joan Corney How we need you Robbie my lad O how we need you Robbie. Your voice will ever sing so true your words seem yet so sad. For still today your love so great that blossomed like a rose. awaits a change throughout the world for men to turn from hate. And still we wait for sense and worth, for honest folk and true to be valued most upon this earth from whence your thoughts and words grew. Yet you are here amongst us still and always will and always will, so long as man has eyes to read and hearts to feel and voice to sing those words that echo round us still and always will and always will. The Plunge â€“ Pamela Constantine It was the time of the swallows flying When joy and friends depart, When the sea beyond is waiting, crying, And the first frost stains the heart; Back in the woods a lark's regretting Laid our dear past away And we went forward unknowing, letting Our feet find the eager spray. - 34 -
It was the time of the swallows flying When heaven at last is lost: We were ready for life, for dying, There where the dark sea tossed. Now the swallows are all returning ... For us there is no reprieve Only the ache of too much learning, And hearts too old to grieve.
The Colour of Love – Joan Sheridan Smith My father loved to ‘contemplate the countryside.’ He had an eye for colour, for instance, Mother's hair. Deep red, deep as mahogany, not at all carroty, it framed a rather ordinary face. She wore it round her ears In heavy lustrous plaits. She had it cut and permed when I was young, But I can see the box she kept it in, Its shining coils smelling of lilac soap. When she was old she kept it tinted red discreetly, but no dye could match that Titian glow.
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Paradiddle – Christine May Turner Hey diddle diddle and Paradiddle! The drums played a gig on the moon; Ella and Billie were there side by side, and were singing a 'blues' kinda tune Sachmo was singing, Count Basey was swinging, Glenn Miller was there with his Men; they played every number so cool and so hot, then they played them all through once again, Bill Haley will be rockin’ and round the clockin’ Jerry Lee will sing Goodness, Gracious; with his 'great balls of fire' the cats will get higher, 'Cos the old blue moon's really quite spacious! There’ll be twisting again with Chubby Checker and then, 0l’ Blue eyes, yes, Frank will be crooning; by the light of the moon he'll sing a love tune, then the 'she-cats' will all begin swooning, Hip-Hoo-Ray for Billie, three cheers for Lady Day, for Ella, Miss Fitzgerald we'll blow a kiss; we'll be reminiscing for two 'greats' sadly missing, I hope the Man they loved’s not far away, There’ll be one red hot drummer, yes Cozy's on drums, he’ll be giving those 'high hats' a rattle, with his sticks beating fifty or a hundred to the dozen his 'skins' will sound like rapid fire during battle! So come all you big boppas, you mamas and papas, do your jumpin’ and jiving on the moon; come young and old and ex high school hoppers, the band will be playing your tune!
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Call Me Old-fashioned â€“ Peter Johnson but I really dont see why I needs to be written as i and .. and ,, and all other useful punctuation marks have to be eschewed and meaningless line breaks have to be adopted togetherwith layout and indentation
and spacing and typographical variations in order to make a poem interesting but then if you are reading this i suppose perhaps there is s o m e t h i n g in it Because This Poem has nothing at all to say - 37 -
One Truth â€“ Albert Oxford Unbidden changes are so hard to bear; those things I thought were always there proved transient as the blush upon a flower, my heartfelt longing lacked the slightest power to hold them there a breath beyond their time. And so it is with everything of course, the substance crumbles and the grip is lost and no appeal to effort or to cost will save it, that great, eternal force that gave it has the final say, and having given all it will take all away. So when I count the value of my days there is not much to choose of blame or praise, those things much laboured for, and bought, the gains and losses outside thought amount to nought; and why should it be else than this? However brief a lover's kiss it swells the heart and drives away all woe.
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Although a sweet and fleeting thing, like birds that pass upon the wing, it is most precious and the living proof of that one truth we live our lives to know.
The flower â€“ Tracy Ruthven In courtyard peace Your beauty went un-noticed, Overwhelmed by a buffet of scents, Your growth was diluted. I did not see your blooming petals, Iron pressed to show your Fine saluting stem and vibrant colour, Grown from seed to valiant rank. Urged to find a solitary captain, I looked deeper into the bed. You stood out a mile behind the ambitious flowers, Enveloped with charming aroma and vision. A journey from seed, impressive singular art piece. A silhouette of balance, Shadowed by a reservoir of scents and dramatic colours. Posh-frocked in the opponents arena. You stood up to your journey, Showing your grace in outcast land, Masterpiece perfection In courtyard heaven - 39 -
Fading Light at Cedar Park – Cavan Magner The call me Al and business has never been better. I’ll stop you talking, make you mumble, stop you walking, put you in a wheelchair or confine you to bed… no more dancing the night away. I’ll stiffen your fingers so you can’t feed yourself. Make you dribble, wear a bib and embarrass you every day. You won’t remember loved ones, you won’t remember who you are or what you’ve done… no more singing favourite songs. Yes, I’ll shut you down bit by bit until you finally get the call from the god who loves you. I can do all this because that’s how it is and how it must be for now. They call me Al… It’s short for Alzheimer’s.
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A Melting Moment – Ted Harriott The angel sculpted in ice is feeling the heat – And angels are fearful of heat, naturally In the room where the bridal party Is celebrating noisily. Perhaps it is the forced and frenzied jollity Or a moment of mourning For the folly of the fallen And the short span of human happiness But angels should never be ignored – Especially in this case – And I just saw a tear fall From this one's eye of ice. My Violin and I – Angela Porter By bow, then bow, I will rebuild your life. Press firm on the strings, to steady that strife. By flick, staccato, you'll see resin in bloom. And arrange sounds like flowers, around the room. Now balance the bow, in swoops, like a pirouette. And hear different shades, to mix a palette. A sigh, like Job, this is not meant to tire! Flick, as light as horse hair, and light a cool fire! We float on the notes. And together we cruised. Back from a dreamy land we enthused. I put the violin back into its own case. Then I linger awhile. And savour my own space! - 41 -
Wellington’s State Funeral and the Fat Bride’s Procession – Gary Bills Wellington's funeral winds into the page Where words, like mourners, always stand in black. But where's the fat bride on her rollicking cart, Her white dress ballooning, her hands on her hips? She's gone, she's gone, for the paint is too dry And gaps have appeared in her jolly cortege. The bridegroom, who's parched, had a jug to admire, Now what should he tilt for the briefest of sips? Ah phonemes! - like the subtle licks from brushes, Building up such colours from the past, The dead roll out their cavalcade of faces And swallowed laughter bubbles from old lips. But listen how a city weeps in silence, And now the gathered yokels mime "hurrah!" Their withered tongues can shape no vibrant scene. Both Duke and Maid, beyond the clock that ticks. At the Museum – Rowena M Love (Celtic torc)
The display case, square, bland, beige, struggles to contain your golden gleam. Your lodestone tugs me forward until my attention clings like filings to every ripple of ancient metal Sleeve fasteners butterfly the backdrop, but can't divert my eyes, nor can gorgets, lunulae or bracelets.
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Under bright lights, you twist and flick, a fish in time's river, scales sparkling with sunshine, before sinking three thousand years into depths where peat bog preserved you better than ammonite. Your shout silences the hall; tourists disappear. I feel you curl around my neck, a ribbon, knotting now with then, sharpness of the sensation a garrotte, then a caress warmer than a lover as my reflection in the glass blends with your previous owner. We are one. We are yours. Swan â€“ David Norris-Kay White ghost glides on the darkened mere, With graceful neck coiled into space, In peace that knows no inward fear, She leaves a wake of laughing lace. In rolling ripple's dancing moon, A cygnet seeks her preening queen, Who wakes a sylvan-piper's tune That floats through glades of living green. The slow span of her spreading wings, Flings splashing stars on seas of night: And where their breeze-borne echo rings, The spectral swan will pass from sight. (First prize in the September 2007 heats of the coast to coast international writing competition and third prize in the finals.) - 43 -
Street Scene â€“ MaryAnne Perkins A little respect for the tree, please. It stood a hundred years or more outside this door: a many-spired cathedral full of unruly choristers, until you reduced it, brutally, to a stump. Think of the countless creatures seeking asylum in that trunk, the early shoots sent out to test the faith of spring, the light-filled leaves trampled to shreds by your boots. Just this morning I passed beneath its dignity without a thought; late again, re-threading my scattered beads of time on a broken string, far too preoccupied for premonitions. No pagan dryad swung from its heavy limbs to drop dire prophecy, or none that I could see. No sudden gust lifted the branches urgently to flag a warning. When you came, only the cats were at home. Most of the street had left for the city, busy despoiling forests of their own, forcing the pulped white flesh of a billion trees into acrid print and scribble. You roped the boughs as if they were steers, whooping like cowboys, feeding them to the maw of a screaming predator; a beast with metal teeth which excreted the bits as dusty chips from its rear. There was no one to interfere; nothing to keep you there when the job was done. Clearing the street you had stunned to the neatness of a beaten child, you kicked your jokes around a while and were gone, leaving only a throbbing silence and that stump. (From the IDP collection Shadow-Play, available from website bookshop or details this address)
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Nomads – Norman Bissett How did they greet the photo-journalist who took this photograph, in black and white? ‘Salaam aleykum.’ And his reply? ‘Wa aleykum salaam.’ Behind them, an interminable wilderness of scrub, sand, spinifex and porcupine grass. In front of them, the desert stretching away towards infinity. The mother, gaunt as a skeleton strides on, on matchstick legs, her head-dress billowing in the wind, a spinnaker, retarding progress, keeping off the sun, a dragging anchor. Grit lacerates her wizened cheeks. Beside her, bollock-naked, three ragged waifs, pinched ragamuffins, her little human scraps, their backs ides creased from malnutrition, bend oversized heads on slender stalks into the gale, clenching their eyes, and follow her footsteps. Where have they come from on this trackless path? Nowhere. Whither are they bound? Nowhere. What brings them to this dry, inhospitable spot, reeking of sulphur, bitter as salt? The accident of birth. (From Lanterns and Flowers and Other Poems, 2008) - 45 -
Affinity â€“ June White (On seeing a picture of Shakespeareâ€™s kitchen)
In the heart of wild Wales where rock climbers go, to commune with the crusty-bronze lichen, part way up a mountain the gusty winds blow, round a place called 'The Devil's Kitchen'. Now apart from the fact that the mighty Bard's fame has withstood time's erosion and gales, there's no tangible link between Shakespeare's sink, and that mountainside kitchen in Wales. But, consider a moment this place we are shown, and the other that visitor's seek, - the first in the land of the elegant rose, the second, the edible leek.
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Although one has no moss to enliven its stone, and the other no chair for supporting the weak the former no challenge explorers have known, and the latter no mellowing air of antique: the attraction of both is a Heavenly peace wherein golden-voiced angels intone, with a power unique to inspire the meek, for each - is a spiritual home. A Different Music â€“ Peter Day Like an unforgettable theme, she was the centre, the one who kept the family together; it was Roger who phoned me at Hull, my place of exile, when she was forty and hearing a different music she loved her music, taught the piano - yes she was patient, and in the end there was no choice. I believe the preacher who said do not ask why she died why had she lived? And spoke of love.
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Uncle Harry â€“ Margaret Whitaker The black sheep of the family, my mother always called him, a rebel who refused to work, eking out his life on other people's handouts. Yet no sign of discontent marred his placid features. Saturday nights always found him haunting urban shadows with his busker's craft, or many a time my mother, out shopping in the High Street, turned, embarrassed, from his discordant twanging on the banjo. Undaunted, he plucked her favourite tunes, impishly sensing her withdrawal as guttural chords spat out in defiant supplication. But when she suffered her last indignity, he came to the house for the first time in years and, characteristically carefree, unversed in the protocol of grief, offered a limp posy of white narcissi which somehow made a mockery of all funereal flamboyance, and asked that it be buried with her coffin. Sometimes I think of her still: tip-toeing past his music voyaging over grey pavements. But whenever I see him now there is sorrow. - 48 -
Listen to Mermaids Singing â€“ Wendy Webb We live in terror of insidious threat and whether we can calm the crowding storm: Olympic, dowse tornado-wreaking debt before our weather brews into a form of sea-gods seeking vengeance as the norm. We read the daily press for every threat and flick the switch to calm each news-desk's storm; consider paper-bill Ads for our debt before deep Neptune bailiffs rise and form a B-rate movie of our country's norm. We fly to destinations fraught with threat of knife-attacks and bombs; staff calm each storm at check-in, as the price of safety's debt. Prepared for each emergency, we form an ordered queue - accepting terror's norm. We die in every age and state of threat as Neptune sinks his calm to force a storm. Our paper-boat, mortality's World Debt, breathes fleets of terrorists to shore who form veiled mermaid wails to rock-drown custom's norm. We metamorphose Neptune's sea-green threat: Bright Triton's seashell trumpet-calms our storm; Poseidon's love affairs spring nymphs, not debt, and Pluto shades the dead till heavens form a brotherhood of earth as sea-star's norm. Note: Roman myth: Pluto (god of the dead) and brothers Jupiter (god of earth and heaven) and Neptune (god of the sea). Greek myth: Poseidon, son Triton (trumpeter of the deep). Ovid (Metamorphoses). - 49 -
Narcissus â€“ Pamela Trudie Hodge We found them in his garden shed where he, too ill to brush away the fallen leaves and nestle them within the warm, dark earth had stored the bulbs, seed-merchant wrapped, their white shoots searching blindly for the light. The once rounded bulbs had withered, lost their plump vitality, rustled in paper tissue skins. With love we planted them and now they scent the air with Spring as he, within the same, dark earth, is blooming in another place.
After the Dusk â€“ Rosemary Whittingham Here in these high hills I am taken back to the years of long ago when life held hopes of happiness. That happiness which came and went was a halcyon time filling me with dawn to dusk contentment, dusk to dawn bliss. - 50 -
When that last dusk fell I fought to find an inner strength, to rebuild an injured life, to recapture peace. And peace, near-tangible, is here on these slopes. I raise my eyes as the psalmist once did and find what I seek here, in these high hills.
Bluebells â€“ Christine Flowers Blue diadems in the golden sunrise of morning Shone purple through the misty haze of day. As I walked through the forests of time Undergrowth crackled beneath my feet. This purple splash upon the artistâ€™s canvas My eye then so beheld! The gnarled trees of winter now taking shoot were bathed in a sea of blue. Carefully, I re-trod my path amongst the bracken and the fern, Just turning at a glance once more to view This all-pervading luxury, in memorial of mankind. So my senses filled with the heady aroma of This field of bluebells; landscaped by nature. Yet so fine a cloth not woven by any man before. The cottage then beckoned from the clearing As I took my leave of the festal so fine. The haze of day melting into the carpet field, Whilst the sun set beyond the horizon Amongst a misty sea of dreams. - 51 -
Downsizing – Ben McNair I am afraid we can no longer justify your position, said the manager, Keenly thinking about how he would spend his bonus. Getting Fat off some-one else’s work, he twiddles his executive thumbs around a broken Newton’s Cradle. I am afraid that we cannot afford redundancy payments, said the manager, Thinking about the perks of watching a game from the Director’s Box. I am afraid that we cannot pay you more, said the manager, To the remaining staff. We will just expect you to work harder, for a lot less Said the manager, parachuted in above his station. His consultancy fees alone break the budget of a company to close to the edge. We must put on a good show, said the manager. Low morale and idle chatter will not be tolerated, and anyone who is not a yes man, can be easily terminated. Months later, the manager was downsized, His perks were all taken away, until he sued for unlawful dismissal, and took the whole firm down with him.
Ephemeral Juxtaposition – Richard Bonfield This blue door Has been waiting all Winter For the daffodils in the blue vase - 52 -
REVIEWS The Lost Songs - Oz Hardwick Indigo Dreams Publishing, 52pp, £5.99, ISBN 978-1-907401-02-2 Available from Indigo Dreams Bookshop at website www.indigodreamsonline.com or Amazon The third collection of poems from Oz Hardwick is composed from popular out-of-print volumes, The Kind Ghosts (bluechrome, 2004) and Carrying Fire (bluechrome, 2006). Intrigued by the title of this book, I discovered a variety of poems with music and internal rhyme. There’s a link with what was ‘lost’, for example from childhood magic as in ‘Birdman’ where the narrator regains a moment lost by trying to soar with an umbrella. There are lost choices ‘Mid Wales with the Lights Off’ where he finds himself driving with a stoned driver, ‘as mad as trees / crazing deeper darkness, as careless as desire for things unknown’. Alliteration and consonance abound – by telling us of these moments and tales we gain a sense of mood changes with images, tension and calm and sometimes humour. In ‘The Dream of the Architect’ reality is lost in a dream metaphor, ‘We sleep in the dream of the hand that twists’, the order of words builds up and musically pulls nature into notes, shadows and light. Not only does Oz teach Creative Writing, he also teaches Medieval Literature and his knowledge appears in the poem ‘The Trail of the Fox’,
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The sun scarcely risen, dew damp on the leaf, we swore our allegiance to tackle the thief. With our swords and our cudgels, our sticks and our staves, we promised our peers we would track down the knave and flush out the rascal wherever he hid, and bring him to justice for all that he did […] There’s a plot with medieval music at play, narrative is composed in rhyming couplets where the mythical character ‘Reynard’ outwits a mob in a longer poem which managed to weave itself into my memory like a well trusted fairy tale. In contrast, there are several familiar themes like travel, weather and the seashore, written from Oz’s viewpoint gives the poems a lingering effect and mystery such as in ‘Night Driving in American Werewolf Country’ a sign says, ‘FOOD LEFT AT ROUNDABOUT ’ where the narrator is driving to the unknown. I particularly liked ‘Cross Currents’ for its rhyme and flow, but more for its metaphorical angle at comparing a sudden sea swell to a physical event inside him, ‘twisting / in knots of the chemical flow, the submerged synapse, / treacherous currents crossing in unknowable deep’. The title poem ‘The Lost Songs’ brings about the end of a richly rhymed section, the poem reminds me of a sea shanty crossed with a lament, as it’s perhaps meant to be, as Oz is also a musician, Far forebitter, foreign freight stowed deep belowdecks, watching late, the melancholy lilt of melodeon strain strikes songs we shall not hear again. Strikes songs we shall not hear again […]
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The last quarter section brings more down to earth poems, some myth with fire and water, but more focused on love and ‘Writing in Pubs’. We have little close up shots of snippets of life around us. Apart from ‘Jetsam’ were the narrator seems all washed up, but worthy of a snippet in its own right,
[…] I remember shouting, screams, a chaos of saltwater, a numbness I may never lose, as lines we threw turned to knots and nets which dragged us deeper down […] this section re-found some magic in current times and gave me a lift – like a happy ending in a good novel. Lynn Woollacott
Indigo Dreams Summer Collection Competition 2010 •
Three winners will have poetry collection published by Indigo Dreams Publishing and receive 50 copies • 44 pages stapled booklet with opportunity to upgrade to perfect bound (spine) with min 52 pages for balance amount. • Submission: Selection of 10-15 poems to 36 lines max. • Cover letter with name and title of collection. Name must not appear elsewhere • Entry Fee: £18 per block of poems. • Closing Date: Friday 21st May 2010 • Email submissions – see website www.indigodreamsonline.com • SAE or email address for notification of winners Cheque payable to initials ‘IDP’ only or PayPal from website. Entries to Indigo Dreams Summer Collection, at IDP address. - 55 -
THE BACK PAGE I was once asked to do the desert for a Greek evening. Not a natural maker of puddings, my mind did a little wandering in the stickiness... Baklava –Dawn Bauling Tenderly she slides the almonds’ smooth milky fingernails into an old bowl ready to be teased, crushed, rolled with rough sugar. Butter, the colour of sunned corn, smoulders on the stove to be brushed over the pastry’s quiet paleness, its flesh made supple, oily, transparent. The morning has warmed the old metal tray enough to melt the butter as she rubs it carefully along creases. It smears her fingertips with easy lies. Bees, like the one he stroked from her, arrive to bless the union of honey, blossom and lemon, witnessing the joining like small Peeping Toms, drawn drunk. She casts her spell and layers each dangerous chemical like an alchemist, heating it until it swells, bakes brown in to a delicious bewitchment of skin. Sticky with thoughts, she will write ‘I was thinking of you today.’ - 56 -