Winter Showcase – December 2015

Tuesday, 1 December 2015


Di Coffey - selfie

Guest editor Di Coffey







• Archive of all Poetry Space showcases


Guest Editor – Di Coffey

Poems by  Carolyn O’Connell, Anthony Mark Slatcher, Jo Waterworth, Anna Ghislena, Kalyanee Rajan, Wendy Holborow, Andy Scotson, Moira Andrew and Lizzie Ballagher

Photographs by Eleanor Leonne Bennett, Akash Malotra, Yanarienn, Jean Salavert, Myriam Tisbo, Luigi Granata, Jeremy Sagura,

Editor’s Notes

Thank you to all the poets who have made my time as one of Sue’s guest editors so pleasurable.  As many guest editors have said, my only regret is not to have been able to include more than ten poems for publication.  I set so many aside with great reluctance.  But – after much reading aloud and re-reading of all the anonymously submitted poems, I have chosen the following:

Assaying the Walnut – Carolyn O’Connell

An utter delight with so many beautiful lines, “the grain sings under fingers”, “the pens she used to talk to him”.

Tattoo– Anthony Mark Slatcher

So few words but a vivid, memorable poem.

From Life– Jo Waterworth

Exquisitely crafted with an artist’s eye, I love, “(we are more nude than naked)” and its poignant last stanza, “No matter,  Soon we will both/ walk out of the picture.”

Minced Lies- Anna Ghislena

Unintentional (perhaps?) emotional neglect is vividly illustrated in this poem, from its revealing title, through the plethora of excuses to its poignant last line, “And we go to heaven when it is our time”.

Locomoting Selves (Or, Locomotor Love)- Kalyanee Rajan

A delightful poem that captures the urgent need of two people, would-be lovers perhaps, to savour every moment of occasional time shared on a train.   Beautiful.

Blackberry Picking in Sipicciano – Wendy Holborow

A gentle poem that took me with its author on a slow and unplanned walk where dusty countryside contrasts vividly with succulent berries.

Come as you are – Andy Scotson

This poem is a celebration of a Nirvana gig.  Every stanza captures the happily drunken mood of the day, contrasting with the moving picture of the boy in the “the wheel chair and wig” whose blue eyes also, “shine through”.

 Dead Tree – Moira Andrew

An intensely moving poem that will remain with me.

Emptiness – Moira Andrew

Loss movingly conveyed with an economy of words that heighten its impact on the reader.

By Bird Light – Lizzie Ballagher

This is a glorious poem that cleverly stages dawn as a theatrical production.  I know I shall return to it again and again.


Copyright of all poems and photographs remains with the poets and photographers. Please do not reproduce without permission.


Assaying the Walnut

Eleanor Leonne Bennett

Eleanor Leonne Bennett

Stroking the polished wood
the grain sings under fingers
arias of time locked within
sawn wood crafted into

a box that was her office
file for letters, pens, paper
safe within walnut, secured
by a brass lock – key lost.

A drawer holds streaks of ink
ingrained traces of love
long sent to a soldier far away,
the pens she used to talk to him.

I lift the buffed lid to find
leather tooled red gold
scrolls trail leaves tracing
her hand in etched veins.

My finger dips down into
the slots she stowed her
stamps, seals, secrets,
the leaf of his badge.

Carolyn O’Connell (UK)





Eleanor Leonne Bennett

Eleanor Leonne Bennett

I invite the

Pain of the

Needle onto

My flesh


Because since

You left

I’ve missed

Your touch


And need something

Equally as


On my skin.



Anthony Mark Slatcher (UK)



From Life


Akash Malhotra

Akash Malhotra

I wanted to draw our friendship –

I’m still considering the best approach.


I thought it might be line, a single short sitting

to capture your essence –


such beautiful lines; bold, dramatic poses

with suitable props.


But you come back. You want me to look at you

again and again.


I explore techniques: additive and subtractive tone,

the many shades of you.


I examine the lightest light, the darkest dark,

search my palette for colours to blend.


Despite dramatic contrast, a subtle merging of flesh

(we are more nude than naked)


the proportions seem wrong.

I can’t create the illusion of depth.


I am unsure how to put myself

in this sketch, this study.


No matter. Soon we will both

walk out of the picture.


Jo Waterworth (UK)



Minced Lies

I’m sure there’s a dusting of icing

In the saliva resting on my chin

You’re looking at it, aren’t you?



It’s ok, nurse can brush it away

If you don’t’ want to touch my skin

You look a little warm

Your face all rosy and good to see

With a smile

Unaccustomed to lethargy

Manifesting under blanketed knees

A smile too wide

It has all to hide

So wide it might tear your face in two

“Two weeks ago”, you sigh “it’s just flying by

Long office hours and the builders are in…”

But you see

Time hasn’t clipped it’s wings for me

It wasn’t two weeks ago

But four, maybe three

You said you’d come and here you are

“Just a short stop because

Christmas shopping is never done

The dog’s home alone with the cat…”

You pause

“…it’s a shame we don’t have long to chat”

Giving the gift of minced lies

Crafted for the good and hopeful child

Who thinks a Bogeyman waits around a corner

That Santa’s footprints left some grime

That Tooth Fairy swapped the dirty molar

And we go to heaven when it is our time


Anna Ghislena (UK)



Locomoting Selves (Or, Locomotor Love)


Jean Salavert

Jean Salavert

Once in every few days,

We meet.

Share precious breaths,

to last the next few days.

Exchange information and updates,

some vital, others mundane.

And relish the wholesome spread,

savouring (for) each other.

Then head together

for the Metro train;

ticking off stations,

towards transitory detachment,

stirring Us somewhere deep within.

Changing trains to become You and I,


until the next meeting,

to become Us, once again.


Kalyanee Rajan ( India)




Blackberry Picking in Sipicciano


Myriam Tisbo.

Myriam Tisbo.

The road is long, dusty,

she’s searching for the station –

a train to the town

of Viterbo is her destination.


She turns right, should have

taken the left road, finds

herself trudging the parallel track,

discontent, hot, until she unwinds


for breath and leans against

the rattle of a five-bar

gate as a light luttering

of rain disturbs the daystar.


A charming kaleidoscope of butterflies

float away near tremulous hedging –

fronds of light green maidenhair.

Bright among the brambles edging


the road, luscious fruit: purple-black,

fat and hanging down, berries

urgent, like a vine heavy

with grapes – she gathers blackberries


in Sipicciano, her hands sticky

from the juice that sap-slops,

and from webs of busy

orb spiders. Some berries drop,


she bequeaths them to creatures

that live in the nettles,

leaves some for the birds

and the pretty green beetle.


Wendy Holborow (UK)


Come As You Are

Sun is leaving

Eleanor Leonne Bennett

Eleanor Leonne Bennett

the tented nation,
beer has been drunk
all the long summer day
and the smell of burgers
and frying food is everywhere.

The wheel chair and the wig
hide the blond boy,
half shaven his thin features
and blue eyes shine through,
it is August 1992.

The addict turns comedian,
slapstick he falls flat,
scampering to recovery
he dons his guitar
as the first chord slams.

The drunken crowd roar
staccato strobe cuts the stage
rips the night air,
the band growl, teeth bared
and the mayhem begins.

Grohl hammers the sticks,
Krist applies the bass,
Kurt in madman’s gown
screams poetry
Nirvana still alive.

Andy Scotson (UK)


            Dead tree


Luigi Granata

Luigi Granata

a brutal statement

alabaster lightning bolts

against a slab of orange


the savagely knotted design

skinned and flayed

defiant in its nakedness


exposed to the four winds

like the Angel of the North

a perch for predatory birds


ringed by younger cousins

greening up for spring

the tree rears its gaunt head


contempt in every limb

its knot-holed arrogance

staring death in the eye


Moira Andrew





The chair opposite

Jeremy Lagura

Jeremy Lagura

is empty,

no cat locked

beneath your left arm,

no half-full glass

of red wine

on the bookcase

by your side,

no muttered comments

on the rolling news.


Your grey eyes

no longer share

a smile with me,

the Guardian

is smooth, unwrinkled

until I open it, starting

as I always do

at the first page –

not you – you

work back to front.


That vacant chair,

is yours, yours alone.

The cat ignores it.

I sit opposite,

book in my lap,

glass within reach –

the sinister palm tree

stares in,

and the clock ticks

in an empty room.


Moira Andrew



By Bird Light


Jeremy Lagura

Jeremy Lagura

At the morning’s opening show, my eyes

Are little more than dimmed footlights quenched


By first light:

Curtains of colour streak the east

And a silent dew leaks,

Seeps from hawthorn & holly leaves.

Ruffled, a pigeon-loft yawns;

Silver birds explode from the wings,

Whir & wheel & whirl around the rising maypole sun,

Laughing in a promenade more practised

Than all the jabbering moves of motley flocks:

Those extras—!  huddles of speckled sparrows

And startled backstage starlings on their props.


Half light:

The tree’s green lungs exhale goldfinches &

Dragonflies diaphanous in backlit gossamer;

Drafting their own migration paths, swifts & skimming swallows

Figure-skate on the thin, iced pane of the sky.

In the chorus robin answers robin

With a necklace of white song, dropping seed-pearl notes

As delicate as ballet steps on points

Among the gaudy, berry-beaded branches,

Among the spider webs that trap dawn’s light

In shivering cracked mirrors.



Now melodramatic blackbirds caught

In the surprise of a breeze

Exit stage right (stage fright)

In arcs of flashing dark fire;

Then settle—fluttering, muttering—fields away;

Meanwhile, deep in bruised hawthorn shadows,

A brimstone butterfly opens primrose wings,

Takes flight

On hazy, airy stairs

To boundless dancing spaces:


Light fantastic, feather light—

By bird light.
Lizzie Ballagher




Guest Editor, Di Coffey’s, poems have been widely published online in Poetry Space and I am not a silent poet, and in print in Indigo Dreams’ Reach Poetry and Dawntreader.  Her debut pamphlet, published by Poetry Space, is being sold in aid of the MS Society UK.  It is available for £5 post free from