Spring Showcase – March 1st 2014

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Archive of all Poetry Space showcases

Jean Harrison

Guest editor- Jean Harrison

Poems by Andy Scotson, Dulen Gugoi, Neil Leadbeater, William Jones, Di Coffey, Kelsi Delaney, Marva Jackson Lord, Kathy Sharp and Rachael Clyne.

Photographs by Chris Sims and Ariba Ahmed.

It was an interesting experience to have such a range of work to choose from.  I looked for poems that seemed earthed, to have genuine feeling, to be well-focussed and clear.  I loved ‘Another land’ for its mass of clear detail, all of which built up into a portrait of the father.  ‘After the funeral’ and Between cigarettes’ handled painful experiences with restraint and dignity, as did ‘Bed bath.’ ‘Sixties dreams’ had a strong sense of period; ‘The smile’ is playful and serious at the same time and shows an interesting use of repetition.  ‘Deja vu’ is beautifully clear, as is ‘Gunnera’ which really caught the quality of the plant. ‘Perfect timing’ had roughness of expression that seemed to fit its subject.  ‘Her clouds fill the sky’ has a delicacy of expression and rhythm that lifts it above the commonplace

A little about Jean in her own words:

I am retired but started writing early mornings and week-ends before retirement.  I began with prose, switched to poetry, now have two poetry collections,’Terrain’ and ‘Junction Road’ from Cinnamon Press and a novel from the same publisher coming out next year.  jeanharrisonpoetandnovelist.weebly.com



Another Land

Turn right from the kitchen ,past the rickety old shoe cupboard and the downstairs loo.
Up the small stone step and through his solid green wooden door and into …

My dad’s old workshop
It was dominated by an old rusty chest freezer, we had had forever and looked like it contained a body that would sit up and leer at you if opened .
It generated more ice than the North pole and it was harder to shift the white crusts of ice that line the lid and the walls .
Dad would stand between this and his bench .
Equipped with his small metal vice , with his little pots of Umbro paint and his Airfix models.
He would be painting a plane,a boat or a tank in the most tiny detail , a jeweller with an exquisite gem in his white gloved hand .
Wearing his old green overalls and with a fixed concentrated look in his eye
Using Observer books and old war pictures for reference.

He would build German planes with their bright Swastikas , that slash of red and English bombers with their lovely round rainbow markings
Like a Peacock butterfly has its eye of blue and brown on each tiny wing so the planes got their markings.
He built the Victory and the Endeavour for me with its rigging and its tiny gun portals with a gunner for each ready for action .
He built a Sunderland flying boat with its huge belly that we had seen on a trip to Edinburgh sitting in the Forth.
A dock with little cranes,tugs and boats around it to feed the orange warehouses and to be loaded onto flat bed trucks queuing nearby.
And Canberass that he watched at Cottesmore near his beloved Rutland water with its nature reserve and walks .
He would not believe it now has Ospreys which we watched at Garten when only one pair had arrived .

Each was inscribed with a label on the base of the model with his lovely neat writing ,always black and always with an ink pen.
The same pen that taught Sociology all day was penning a summary of his works of art each night.
He had his equipment , his glue,his paint,fine brushes and his wood tools .

While we would sit in the lounge watching Morecambe and Wise and the Two Ronnies with mum.
Dad was in his kingdom creating his delicate scale models .
After he was gone the models live on
My Phantom from the RAF with its camouflage from a war we no longer fight lives with me still
The rigging is gone on James Cookes flagship , the gun shields have come loose
But the memory remains
The smells and the vision long lost in the mist but echoing now through my mind .

Andy Scotson



Ariba Ahmed

Dark clouds fill the sky–

ashen wind brings

empty rain to my roof….


My fingers lay calm!

her fragrance floats

into nothingness…..,


The woodpecker takes

me deep to the forest,

her past year breeze

echoes gently in hills…


And like forgone waves on my shore,

her memories

strike gently on my feet….

Dulen Gogoi


Chris Sims



Once it gets a roothold

it is thick-leaved

on growth,

thinks big,

is heavy-handed

and blunders into everything.

It lets the breeze

at no extra charge

wade through its foliage.

It does this

because it’s generous, keen,


and likes to give

all that it’s got

for love.

   Neil Leadbeater


Chris Sims

Perfect Timing

Your timing was perfection
My da was dying
I’d just completed my pint in a record time
And then in waltzed you
You gave me my marching orders

So I fell to pieces
That I never really picked up
While you got a new boyfriend
That you had hardly even met
And moved to Norwich for fucks sake

Your timing was perfect
And my life has never been the same
So I look back at you now down the years
And say

… Ah well never you mind ….

William Jones



Chris Sims

The Bed Bath


I squeeze the blue flannel,

it’s warm, no drips.

I wipe your face,

tilt your chin,

wash your neck,

drop a kiss on your head

to reassure you.


I refresh the flannel,

wash your chest,

lift your dead-weight arms,

rinse away suds,

cover you with a blanket.


The brown flannel

bathes your loins.

I joke about your willy,

pretend I can rouse him

but he’s beyond help

and so are you.


You lie there,

my friend, lover, husband,

and say Thanks darling.

But you turn your head

towards the window,

your eyes as bleak

as the frozen garden.


Di Coffey


Chris Sims

 Between Cigarettes

A milky cloud ran liquid from your lip,

your nails were dry.  And in your yellowed grip

you held a cigarette.  Preoccupied

you glanced around, while with an even stride

you marked a minute more outdoors, before

returning to her quiet ward once more.

It reeked of sweat and mildew, scrubbed and bleached,

and from the starched synthetic sheets she reached

towards you, purple bruising on her hand,

a silent ache extended. A demand

for recognition after years unchanged,

of awkward phone calls, visits rearranged

for later.  Now, with no more time to wait

she reaches, tries to bridge the gap. Too late.

Your hand is in your pocket and your face

It’s turned away, you’re staring into space.

She went unnoticed, gazing past her bed

your eyes are filled with amber light instead,

reflecting fields of ‘Golden Virginia’;

the heady scent a bitter severer,

a shelterer, from thoughts too stark to think.

A Rizla pressed against your palm, you shrink

away. Your heart too full to feel regrets

your mother lies between two cigarettes.


 Kelsi Delaney


Chris Sims

After the funeral


An undertaker

leads us in slow procession

out to the car park.

Our shoes drum on the pavement

out of time, our shoulders hunch.


The plain wooden box

sat in the back of the hearse

seems far too small and

looks faded, it is the same

colour as the upholstery.


We breathe more deeply,

feeling guilty as we do.

Trying not to stare

too much, we fumble blindly

for the doors of our taxis.


My father lingers

as a man closes the boot.

Eyes up to the sky,

shining, stung by the cold wind.

He must be searching for you.


Kelsi Delaney



Chris Sims

The smile

The trouble with smiling
when she was a child
Her teeth
were never
quite right he said
Skinning her teeth, she stood accused
(with no idea what that meant)
So, she tried to
unskin her teeth
Hence always
the uncertain smile

When she left
Her teeth
a little older
Rotten, from never brushing quite enough
never quite right
Dazzling her teeth, hidden from the world
(with no idea what that meant)
So, she tried to
fix her teeth
Hence always
a hesitant smile

Half a century
Her teeth
Almost right
with care
A smile bright

 Marva Jackson Lord



Chris Sims

Déjà Vu


She stood in the solar, uncertain.

The old house spoke, and said,

“You have been here before, you know.”

Drawn to the window, she looked out

To the lawns, to the little river,

And saw herself standing on the grass,

Looking up to the window.

“I have been here before,” she said.

But she hadn’t.


Kathy Sharp


Chris Sims

Sixties Dreams

Fog-filled evening, echo of dog bark.

Scrape of shovel and clinker

to signal the gathering of coal.


Inside, the Home Service broadcasts

with received pronunciation

while Mum darns socks


by curling flames. A boy sits

at the kitchen table

poring over sums, the family’s

future in his inky hands. Tomorrow


she will donkey the front step

its chalk line marking the

threshold of respectable folk.


Upstairs, the acetone stench of

Cutex and hairspray as Linda

plans to sneak out the back


along the snicket where she will

meet Tom, share a Woodie

behind the corner shop.


Instead of grinding shift-work

at the biscuit factory she dreams

of uplift bras and bright lights.


Tom says he knows someone

in a band, so she’ll take her

chances. Any day soon


she’ll be on that Salford bus

head up the motorway.

She feels its dangerous pull.


Rachael Clyne