Week 32 – entries and results

Photograph by Chris Sims

Readers were very impressed with the selection of poems this week and votes poured in.  However as always there can only be one winner and this week the accolade goes to Lizzie Ballagher with Blue Earth, Green Light.  Diane Jackman’s 22nd July 1944 was a close second. If you enjoyed this you’ll be able to read another poem by Lizzie Ballagher in our Autumn Showcase going online during the first week of September. Thank you to everyone who submitted and/or voted.


 Poem 1

Blue Earth, Green Light


Cut the earth and it bleeds

Blue blood:

Bluebells among the brutal butchery

Of coppiced beech, of oak corpses


By cacophonous winds

This winter gone.


While heaven’s hue falls


In ocean pools, cobalt

Below the April leaves,

And cuckoos

Brand the air with heartbreak,

Blue earth gives out green light.


Cut the earth and it bleeds

Blue blood:

Bluebells under the frill and trill

Of singing green, of winging green


By starry-eyed blackbirds

This slow, slow spring.


Lizzie Ballagher


Poem 2

Of love and joy

Things of nature
I feel
have a heartbeat
to give heartbeat
for me.
-the heartbeat of joy,
And I know
as it is love…,
we have a relation
As people say,
”God made me and
But more I know-
they made me
love and joy…


Dulen Gogoi


Poem 3

For ever


They stand tall

But their heads hang in memory.

Their voices, like tiny bells


through the woods.

‘We remember her, we remember her walking,

her soft skin trod carefully through our fears.

She would not hurt us for the world

and now she is gone, but her memory

will live with us

and we will flower here for ever

we will never forget.’


Angie Butler


Poem 4

Arms and A Boy      


Bump, and in he comes, my son, my six-year-old lump

of boydom, trundling through the door, his arms

a heaving sheaf of blue, so full the colour hides his eyes.

“Bluebells, Mum,” and the pulled stems bundle in my hands.

Unlike him, they’re lean and thin, their greenness

seeping anaemically to white where light has never seen before

and sap is dripping down his grubby nails.

Heavy with flower, their heads hang with bells

of fragile blues that smudge to purple at their rims.

The only sound they ring is scent that drowns the dining-room.


“Been stung,” he boasts, then keens. And thrusts his knee

with its perfect nettle-mounds, white-islands in the smear

of dockleaves he hurriedly applied. But it’s Mum

he needs. As I apply the calamine, he rubs his cheek

against my dangling hair, and puts his arms around my neck.

Then, leaving me with foolish swabs of cotton-wool, he

rushes out to terrorize the garden with his gun.


How can I explain to him his gift would better be

if left to grow, when in the lounge I arrange chrysanthemums

his father’s brought? And how offset the hope that when

he’s grown he’ll have no need for gun, with expectation

that as a man he’ll greet his Mum with larger arms

that spill with cultivated blooms? Bemused, I plunge

his present in a glass, and start the tea. He is so young.


At times like these you have to play the game; forget hypocrisy.


Roger Elkin


Poem 5

If you go down..


Under the trees blue dusts the sunlight

Like propaganda, green fronds fight

Their corner, straining high,

Hoping for rescue like refugees

On a hillside. Under the trees,


Like aid piling pallet-high

Shadows fall on everything,

Relieving, allowing.


Like terrorists wasps rage about

Bringing agonies,

Butterflies flit. Like families


They’re uncertain; doubt

If green is green,

Blue is blue, hope is seen.


Shadows fall as the sun,

Like government,

Fades; as glorious, well meant

As the UN.


You’re in for a big surprise,

You’ll never believe your eyes,

You Yazidi; what shall we say

If you go down to the woods today?


Michael Docker


Poem 6




My hands sticky with bluebell sap,

pungent scent of trodden leaves


happy picking flowers

when sudden shadow

like hawk crossing sky –


I’m seized, flung face-down


mouth full of earth


pain rips my belly in two


gluey stuff down my legs

not bluebells


and blood, so much blood.


Gill McEvoy


Poem 7

22nd July 1944


When Flight Sergeant Dalby gazed through the cloud

at the dense darkness of Czech pines, he longed

for his forest at home, the cool mineral scent

of bluebells in the April Outwoods,

where he and Mary had lain together, crushing

the flowers into a cloud of remembered love.


            Airgraph to Echo:

            Ask readers to send me

pictures of bluebells.


Postcards of the Outwoods poured through

his mother’s letterbox, black and white, sepia,

a few hand-coloured, trawled from letter-racks

and drawers, a kindness from the town.

A lover of bluebells painted a miniature.

As he laid his hand on Mrs. Dalby’s gate, he met

the telegraph boy returning down the path.


Diane Jackman


Poem 8


It has lustred the wood firing trees, grass
sheening enamels flicker in morning light
the green once-fired base of grass and fern
is overlaid by sapphire tints streaming
through shadows cast by a cloisonné
of black bare trunks.

This lustre, created not by potter’s hand,
rises with the warming sun to scent
the wood with wild fleeting fragrance;
fragile stems spring from winter sleep

to bathe the wood with wonder, they
depart in heat as trees break buds
with summer’s rise, leaves open
to canopy the wood in mystery.


Carolyn O’Connell


Poem 9



In the sweet meadow

Where sunlight and shadows dance

I feel your caress

Surrounded by such beauty

Our own secret hideaway


Emma Power


Poem 10


Down the hill from Bradgate, within the beating oaken
heart of Charnwood sits our nature reserve. Look just
over there, the hole in the wall, come on climb through.
Dad was a warden here for five or six years in the
seventies. As we enter the floor is a mass of bright blue
flowers and curling bracken. The smell hits us, nature,
growing and budding, spring rain melting to steam as
the sun fights its way through. Everywhere little bells
nod at our arrival, on short green stems, swathing
colour on a two tone scene.

Dad would patrol while we would adventure, kings,
soldiers, Robin Hood or Oliver Cromwell. Marmite
sandwiches, orange squash, dirty knees and happy
voices. All too soon into the old yellow car and cross
the city through towers and traffic to the square white

Now as I walk with you, I limp with arthritis, I breath
heavily carrying my heavy load. My heart however
still swells at the site of nature, fresh air and sun
open my heart wide and my mind clears.


Andy Scotson