Week 27 – entries and results

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Week 27 – photograph by Chris Sims

Once again, thank you to the poets for sending in an interesting and poignant selection in response to the above photograph. The winner is Hanna Teasdale with Living the Dream. Congratulations to Hannah.


Poem 1

Living the dream

We were never promised the Earth

but a thousand expectations

led us to believe our

Leather-bound Dissertations

would hold their worth


Between call-centre glass,

desperate mouths gasp their

share of disaffected air. Stale

body odour and sticky fingers

pick at broken packets of digestives


Disintegrated on our way to work,

we dreamed of living

on our own: fast cars and women –

perhaps a mortgage, kids, a sofa purchased

on a Nationwide ‘Home-loan’


Twenty years of Education:

A 2:1 in Sociology from Leeds…

We were never promised the Earth

but I believed – Tony’s meritocracy,

Aspirations to be something better



than me. Debts piling on my parent’s

mantelpiece – deferment form deadlines

obligatory by June. Granny dies the moment

I find my conscience to buy stamps,

leaving me this peeling, unwanted heirloom.


Could I find a reason to stay here?

to taste salt tears of freedom,

sell surfboards barefoot in summer?

Fuck the degree, throw the debts

to the cautionary south-west wind?


Clear my lungs, hold my breath?

Smell the fear?

Live the dream?


Hannah Teasdale


Poem 2 



Everybody else’s was painted in seaside colours:

cerulean sky, viridian sea, magnolia sand

like a painting by John Miller.

Everybody else’s contained seaside things:

windbreaks, fishing nets, beach balls

all the paraphernalia for making tea.

Happy times for families – fish and chips,

ice cream and cricket on the sands.


Number 24 was our secret meeting place

hidden in plain view a million miles from …

our refuge where passion was cruelly spent

painted the true crimson of fresh blood

your urgent fingers making a heart shaped

mark around lock and bolt.


Daphne Milne


Poem 3

Tramp in a Beach Hut

Late winter.  Doors bolted. Although fresh paint

enlivens the row; a palette that sings.

Contrasting colours applied with restraint

cover peeled woodwork, the sameness of things.


Come early spring muffled couples appear.

Newly oiled hinges swing wide to the sea.

Baskets and holdalls shed sandwiches, beer,

and kettles are boiled to brew up fresh tea.


Sometimes they sell for ten thousands of pounds

despite the rule: beds forbidden inside.

Terrible price without garden or grounds.

One can not swing a cat.  Let alone hide.


I live in the pink.  No owner about.

I’ll stay till they have to carry me out


Angela Pickering


Poem 4



Summer in Suffolk strikes again

blue skies return, grey sea ever present

sandwiches and beer

a morning crabbing at Walberswick

orange spool

pop, slop crabs into the sandy bucket

now we spend a long afternoon

relaxing, watching passing boats

and fighting gulls.

Take turns to carry the tray

from the pub to the hut.


Andy Scotson


Poem 5

Beach Mission



Like small churches

to unknown gods,

Numbers 4 and 9

Sent us out on cold days,

Ready for faith in cold sea,

Hope on hard sand,

Love for each other,

First and last and latest.


Grandad’s trousers stayed with twine,

Nan’s kettle piped like praise

In an old religion,.

Sandwiches stiff as doors

Curled in crazed plastic.


On the beach the force

Of wind made us enthusiastic

For our mission –

Cold sea,

Hard sand,

Each other.


Others now end their searches

Here to different gods.

The doors of numbers 4 and 9

Are coloured; a new phase

Begins –  the course

Of wealth; fantastic


Prices, more than mine

Or grandad’s place.

I pass, praise, pause,

Like an ecclesiastic.


Cold sea,

Hard sand,

Each other –


These three,

But the greatest..


Michael Docker


Poem 6


Trick or treat

Wall or wonder?


So what shall our life be

when we step through

the many doors of time?


Will we end up staring

at a blank wall,

live a mundane kind of life.

predictable, boring and dull,

with no great satisfaction

or achievement.


Or will the door lead to magic,

and dreams fulfilled,

a life well lived, as they say,

seizing the day,

having love and laughter,

with friends or relations every day.


Will we face each day with hope or helplessness?

What will our colour be

when we make that mighty choice?

Will the colour close in on us

and making us bluer than blue?

Or will it be yellow, bright and sunny?


And what will determine this hope,

us or our circumstances?

Trick or treat,

wall or wonder

through the many doors

of time?


Angie Butler


Poem 7

Bathing Boxes

The railway brought shame but fashion, to Scarborough in North Yorkshire

technology at its best, Victorian men and women wearing, and

dipping from bathing machines. Soon others like Weymouth followed suit.

Morality questioned- of the mixing in, and the idea of the water polluted

by someone, dare I say it, watch my manners- peeing in the sea.

How time has moved on, if only it was pee polluting the sea!

Those plunging, tumbling dipping machines who used horses,

are at this time bathing huts, decorated in bright, loud with music,

fixed along a promenade. A bit of a distance from the sea and scantily

dressed men, women, may walk modestly to their depths.


Johanna Boal