Photo and Poetry Challenge – Week 1 results and a new photo for Week 2

Week One – Poems written in response to Photo 1 by Chris Sims

15 poems entered which is a fantastic result. Thank you.

Please read and submit your votes to Think about what poem you would like to see alongside the photo in the proposed book.

Poets with a poem in this selection are ineligible to vote. This is to make voting as fair as possible.

Everyone else reading this is eligible to vote and I will also be inviting Poetry Space “friends” and others on the mailing list to vote for the one they like best.


Poem 1

Curtain raises;

the audience

are under starters orders.


Rows of ready readers

contemplate the stage

hiding for the moment in

emotions on the page

of some playwrights


And, in their hidden worlds,

they’re escaping the mundane

for a land of makebelieve

and second handed pain.


Curtain closes;

the audience

are off at the gallop.

Keith Wallis


Poem 2

One Night…

Mother, the moon has fallen from the sky!

The beautiful strings that held it up
are broken.

Gill McEvoy


Poem 3

Open  tabs

Softening fibres

going forth towards a circle of warmth

motionless like an unborn

velvet rainbows gathered waiting

a planned rendezvous.

Audrey Arden Jones


Poem 4

It was raining,

It was friday,

It was Leicester

And for goodness sake it was Bailey’s


The taxi dropped her off just near M & S

She paid quickly and ran to work .

Jamie had been crying all day

“Thank Christ for Mam” she thought


She made it to the solid black door

And was greeted by Paul

With his obligatory three day beard , cigarette and coffee in hand.


Then down the narrow corridor to the cupboard that the girls called a dressing room

There was a picture of Gary on the wall, 23 and a Leicester boy could you believe it .

She carefully did her make up , brightened her tired eyes

Put a little rouge into her pale cheeks .

Then did her hair into those kissy curls that the punters like so much.


The knock at the door came :

“five minutes love”

The sequins were on

The glitter was on

The short skirt and the bra

Everything that moved was a glow.


Then the walk to the stage

She came alive her hips assumed a swagger

And her body became her weapon


She could see the thin curtain with its rainbow of colours in the smoky lights.

It was moving ever so slightly calling her like bejewelled ribbbons

And the old floor

Worn by the feet of all the girls who had gone before


Lights ,camera , action  this was her moment

And she was on in the golden spotlight once more …
Andy Scotson 


Poem 5


Could a poem convey the intensity

of a small spotlight? Could it iridesce

to come alive for each reader?

Could it hide the muscularity of language

with the grace of a dancer?

Cover its minimalism with layers of costume?


Make its workings effortless and flawless?

Does it need applause or could it take root

and grow silently in a forest?

Could it be as delicate as a budding rose,

waiting for the full bloom to distract

from the thorns and snares below its petals?

Could it create an impression that burns

onto a retina long after its been read?


Could its rhythm reverberate,

hours, days, months afterwards?

Could its lines linger, hook into a memory

and stay after linguistic connections fail?


Emma Lee


Poem 6

The Interrogation


The space waits

Lit by a small spot

Of light which, like an iris,

Can be expanded or contracted at will

By an operator perched high on a rig.


The stage is lit for my interrogation:

They will drag me on.

I will blink and tell amazing stories

Regarding the plight of rabbits and pigs

And sick dragons blundering about…


The spectators will boo or cheer,

A great rush of adrenalin will move through me,

The curtains will descend at last to finish it

Like a flaming battlement of spears. I bow.

They will come and drag me off.


Clive Donovan


Poem 7

Rainbow Night

The full moon smiles

on the black-ink depths

of a woodland pool

and fairies, wings

neatly folded,

slide down


that shimmer

with rainbows.

They giggle in squeaks,

shed gossamer frocks,

and titillate their nightly audience

of moths and mice and wide-eyed owls

by skinny dipping


Di Coffey


Poem 8

The Absent Black Swan

Acquiescence, light ray, sun ray

Ribbons of my DNA


Tells a story when the light

Torches the ground I am thus to be of a creative soul


Curtains up

Absent the dancer whose stage has been drawn


Allow my imagination to make use then

Of this space, allow me to picture in view


A ballerina on this stage graced

With swerves and turns and tip toe stands


With twirls, and twirls

And tutu flair worn


Tell me a story about life with dance

Tell me a story about the black swan


Was she once pure, as white as snow

Was she once kind hearted welcoming to all


Did life do this, cheat her of her heart

I cannot believe she was born this cold


Seeing the lights, the strings that fall

I cannot believe she would ignore her stage

Kodjo Deynoo


Poem 9

Jazz Singer

Into the limelight you step

feel white heat burn, split rainbow

spots of lavender, indigo

blue. Cocooned around

your shoulders glossy shawl

of brass, of strings, of timpani.

The clockwork alchemists of swing

await from you: thumb-click,

tempo rhythm, key that turns

them on to play your tune.


Bold brass horn interprets

graph of notes, plays two bars in,

you catch its breath, gyrate

hips, warm air inside eager

to part your lips, allow the tempo’d

lyricism’s flow. The moment

you release, your sound leaps out

projects, bounces on a

trampoline… the ups the downs

are second nature to you now.


Your pressing lungs emit

curved air waves filtering

through vocal chords, your cavity

of bone and skin vehicles

all pain, all joy, the tearful

spectrum of humanity.


Encircling light your arms reach out,

you spill into a fly’s eye mic

intangibility of soul.

Cheekbones glow, eyes spangle

sequined light, hands percolate

the air, your space expanding

to the outer deep-pooled  shadow

in the room. People stand and sit,

receive diffusions: vowels,

tone and pitch of syllables,

semantic cadences, interwoven

patterns sublimely caught.


Your last long utterance fades

into a whispered breath.

Instruments at rest, the call

unsated, more more, each song

funnels reciprocity,

each crafted melody

stealing particles of you.


Angela Platt


Poem 10

Drawing Curtains


I didn’t know I could feel such interest

From the early light that came in, just as you drew

A sketch of your day arrived at my window

Dark, grey clouds hurrying, disappearing, to let you in

It was like a ‘Big Top’ extravaganza

Attention, roll up, roll up come and see

My lounge now filled with new laughter and cheer

Of finished winter light, and activities.

Clowns, dancing horses and spring birds sing

A spotlight, everything soon to be green and yellow.


Johanna Boal


Poem 11

Strands and Hands

Hands of transience

Beckon and quiver in the drifting mind

Of a blackened, intimate room.

Quiet stillness, a constant beacon,

Hands of serenity reach out

And soft angels quake and beat butterfly wings,

Whispering behind pillars of stone,

Shrouded in darkness:

‘Hands of transience, welcome,

and colours of luminescence, of the divine,

Offer up yourselves and never let darkness rule.’

Hannah Sgroi


Poem 12

Empty Stage

The rainbow dips to limelight
silk merges red, blue, green
gold turns autumn brown.
The stage is set waiting
the boards hold their breath
lingering for a fall of stars
banishing the silence.

Carolyn O’Connell


Poem 13

England’s Circus.


The flat bleak eastern european plains of Lincolnshire

near The Romany Museum at Cowbit (pronounced ‘Cubbitt’)

hosting The Big Top.

I am talking with the clown in a dirty high-viz vest

about artistic integrity,narrative,selling England by the pound.

It is not the time.

Lights have to be fixed

and the ringmaster in his palaced and articulated abode

is wondering if the Romanian high-wire act

will plank the mud over by the ticket-office,in time.

Sylvie,the contortionist,recently wrenched from her mother

is explaining her three cracked vertebrae.

I suggest her blocks might be

bronze and silver and gold.

She says they are already

black and white.


Peter Handley


Poem 14

Last Exit 


As the final curtain falls

I glimpse the empty stage,

the spotlight




I remove my make-up,

my features old in the mirror.

I hang up my costume

for the last time,

script closed,

last prompt made,

props taken away,

stage hands gone home,

no fans waiting at the door.


I walk away preparing

for my final role –


trudging lonely streets,

draining glasses alone,

reliving Hamlets of the past

and Lears that moved audiences

into tears.

I can still hear the adulation of crowds,

feel the pressure of fans,

see flashing bulbs of photographers,

sense the eagerness of reporters

pursuing their latest story.

I can still smell the theatre,

and recall heights I once touched…


The curtain’s down,

the spotlight fading

Into nothingness.

Evan J Jones


Poem 15


come-go     out


to the auditorium


and think-gaze


at the bold curtains


a pen           a yielding pen       Ah Play-pen




Oh Act 1 Scene 1


reeds are growing


up-along daring  folds of velvet


ruby          sapphire        gold


to  pierce the dark day


release a drop of light


to fall


and spot the ever-ready stage


Mary Maher




And continuing the challenge with a photo for Week 2 – send in your poem responses by Friday 25th October please

All weekly winning poems will be shortlisted for inclusion in a coffee table style book of poems and photographs.  Proposed

publication date October 2015.

Week 2 - Photo by Taz Baldwin