Week 10 entries and results

Saturday, 8 February 2014

The Big Red Bus photograph by Steve Aukett brought in a vivid and imaginative selection of poems.

I have now added the names of the authors and I am delighted to announce that the winning poem for Week 10 is Big Red Outing by David Mark Williams.

Congratulations to David Mark Williams and many thanks to Steve Aukett for a stunning photograph.

Other close contenders for the coveted winning spot were Eileen Carney Hulme with Vantage Point and Johanna Boal with Has Banksey Been Here. 

Thanks to everyone who submitted and everyone who enjoyed the poems and voted.


Poem 1

After 7/7


Hello, Mum, it’s me. I didn’t catch the thirty, but…

Nine years on from then, although my world stopped,
it’s still turning.

Hello, Mum, it’s me. Just called to say we’ve landed,
and the children want to tell you that it’s raining.
But somehow here it’s different: sudden cloudbursts,
then it’s over – not grey drizzle like in London.

We took the bus in Christchurch, but the open top was windy.
There was an earthquake here, but the views are just fantastic.
I’ve set up Skype connection like we said, do you remember?
You can see us every day; you’re always with us anyway.


Chaucer Cameron


Poem 2

Big Jess


Big Jess gets ready for Big Red.


This is gonna be the place.


Big Yellow, smears Candy Yum.


Long silver snake, gold hoop

to little ears


Like my ears. 


The bus there is not Big Red.

Is tiny seat, is sweaty pit.

Big Jess closes big eyes to loud stares,

blocks tiny ears to quiet hiss

from skinny jean at the back.


Big Red has a disapproving small door.

Inside space flings arms wide.

Big Yellow turns tricks like Ginger,

lines of Fred’s winking

like Marilyn’s diamonds at the bar.


Stephanie Arsoska


Poem 3

Big Red Outing

I skipped the usual path today

to where I was expected,

hopping instead on the first big red bus

to come my way, a routemaster storming down the road

like a thumping jukebox of a bygone era.

I sat on the top deck looking down,

and with every tune that came into my head

I sang along, and as I rode

the streets were blessed with rock and roll

and stalls of polished fruit.

And so uplifted, I fell into conversation

with two ladies fair, like me adrift,

one with blazing hair and a necklace of pearls,

the other delicate as an orchid,

too beautiful to look at for too long.

They told me they had noted my efforts

to expand the boundaries of the day

and which met with their approval.

With them, I stayed on board all the way

to the Happy Hour, our mystery terminus,

where with a drum roll and a circus shazam,

our glorious bus burst through a paper wall,

leaving a jagged corona of crimson, and the driver said:

Now that’s what I call making an entrance.

Oh, let’s all stop here and have fun.

We said: that’s okay with us.

It was cocktails for the ladies, for me a foaming stein

as we came to the conclusion

this really was the end of the line.


David Mark Williams


Poem 4

Our Number 30 


Do you remember

Boarding our bus

Our route to happiness

Without any fuss


Our number 30

That was going nowhere

Just like our love

It was so hard to bear


This was our secret place

No one knew we were here

Where I sipped my wine

And you drank your beer


Through rose tinted glasses

Our dreams could come true

We saw a future together

For me and for you


We would sit side by side

Making our plans

Eyes only for each other

As we tightly held hands


Today as I pass by

I fondly recall

Our treasured moments

And hold onto them all


But off of our bus reality reigned

We would never share our life

We had  too many prior commitments

Including a husband and wife


Ann Gorman


Poem 5

Has Banksy Been Here

If it is him,

Where does he get all the aerosol sprays and

How can the authorities call it vandalism?

When Bristol art and paint shops do so well.


Stand back, admire what the light produces

And captured so well-

A red bus hurtling out of a bridge,

The red bus now turned in to a bar.


Can you imagine the hen nights, and

The married ones giving advice!

Couples in the corners, lads holding up the bar

John Travolta and Samuel L Jackson

From Pulp Fiction having a drink, in light

Conversation on drugs and gun warfare.

The big wigs from Transport London, sipping.



It must have been Banksy who drew the red bus.


Johanna Boal


Poem 6

Happy Bus


Brash as red blood, the bus bursts through the paper of our misery

With its promise of pleasure; a welcome chalked unnecessarily.

Who wouldn’t feel welcome? Here for hours Tuesday to Friday

Happiness prevails, borne on liquid wings to a stationary, cool community.


Any may come – the universal sign makes clear – a bar, against which

To lean while the hours pass. But be careful; there’s not just drink

Here;  drink’s trouble lurks – clouded eyes, nightmares, unwanted

Attentions – and, possibly, blood, in various violent forms.


Don’t stay too long, then; it won’t do you that much good

And even if you have been waiting for ages

For a happy bus

There’ll be another one along in a minute.


Poem 7

Vantage Point


Everything seemed possible

in nineteen seventy five.

The four of us upstairs

on  the double decker

Rory keeping time

drumming the metal seat post

Tony strumming guitar

to the lyrics we had learned

and you saying I looked like Stevie Nicks.

The conductor likes Fleetwood Mac

doesn’t tell us to keep it down

insists we need the practice.

We are harmonising

to the chant of wheels

sway of passengers

scent of faded incense.

Now I have a bus pass

no double-deckers butterfly

our town, I don’t want to

eat a burger or drink a beer

on a bus going nowhere.

I trace a name

on an imaginary misted

window pane and under

a purple hat chase the years

signposted on a stretch of sky.


Eileen Carney Hulme