Spring Poetry Showcase 2013

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Archive of all Poetry Space showcases

Spring Showcase report

It was a pleasure to read the many and varied poems submitted for the Spring Showcase. On first reading, there were a few for my Yes Pile, one or two for the No Pile, and a lot of Possibles, those which showed great potential but, in my mind, would have benefited from some editing or minor rewriting. It took repeated re-reading and some guidance from Sue to whittle them down to the selection you see here. And it helped to know that any not chosen this time round will go forward for consideration by a different selector for the next Showcase. I hope you enjoy these poems and I congratulate the writers, and everyone who is brave enough to submit their work for publication.

Jo Waterworth, Guest Editor

Jo Waterworth’s collection My Father Speaks in Poetry Too will be published this summer by Poetry Space.

Photographs and Artwork for this edition are by Kate Blair, Chris Sims, Sue Sims and Beverley Ferguson. Many thanks to everyone who contributed both poems and art. If you are in the Bath area between 4th March and 9th March then please do go along to My Voice in the City – an exhibition from Art Collective Tiny Monuments – Beverley Ferguson is one of the artists featured. All of the artists have been through the mental health care system.  Beverley’s booklet Breaking Through, will be on sale – all proceeds to Bath Mind.



Kate Blair


Winter Walk




two gates on, another notice




enough to bring a flurry

of childhood dread

although I know now

that prosecute and execute

don’t mean the same thing.


a quiet country lane,

a couple of cars, no fellow-

walkers, no Good-mornings

the essence of Sunday aloneness


just a tentative breeze

rattling the treetops,

a soapy sun doing its best

grey branches nubbled

with unborn leaves


and glowing from

its tranche of dead leaves

a solitary aconite


Moira Andrew

January 2013


Waiving Worship

(On St. Augustine’s Kentish coast)

Stretched-out sunlight, pastel-pale

and weakly wintering kisses

a gravel-chattering, wave-grey,

shingle-stirring strand.

Morning’s early, yellow webbing: spider-stalks

upturned boats, cast-off nets and carcass pots;

tiptoes across wet-pebble; caresses surf heaven;

cavorts across turned-over silver.

Forsaking: weekend sport, hangovers, chapel prayers

and sacred supplements; Here cometh the lost congregation:

foot-slogging, pedalling, car-cushioned, or cheap-day ticketed;

processing along aisled avenues, past “To the Beach” crucifixes.

Here: for a minute? for an hour? for the day or longer?

Like me, they’re on thalassic pilgrimage, worshipping

at the high altar of the surf-line in a celebration

of wave-watching, venerating our own nativity .

Mike Lee


Passage of Time


Her hands, so capable once,

And now so worn and thin –

Delicate like a moth


Blue veins, and bones,

Show through paper-thin skin –

Delicate like a moth


Fingers worn by years and years of use

Fluttering now, unsteady –

Delicate like a moth

Only the little nails stay unchanged,

Still painted, still pretty –

Delicate like a moth


Kathy Sharp


Beverley Ferguson

On the Classification of Eels



You carve them up

like long division –


slivers of flesh

on the cutting board –


fifteen pieces

neat as a tail


their nomenclature split

into snakes and pikes


the sinewy sawfish eel.


if you could sew them

back together –

reassemble the gills


each would stitch

with a different tension


the drawn threads

of their lives.


Neil Leadbeater


Chris Sims



Shall we go home?

Much of why we came –

Cheap drink and food,

Houses, all that’s good

About the good life – ‘s gone.


Health fades like the boards

Signing the leisure park.

We only know a few words,

There’s hardly any work –

Can’t afford to leave, or stay on.


Streets of empty houses stretch for miles,

Kilometres. No one speaks to us. No one smiles.

They say “we told you so” back home. It riles.


Only the burning summer air,

Lemons in fields, the crowd

Agreeing in the pub England’s gone,

Afraid, proud and loud,

Are what keeps us here;

Otherwise they’ve won.

Michael Docker





The little girl should have been wearing a silk shift

but she’s naked.

Her face should have been bathed in innocence

but it’s twisted in pain and terror.

Her limbs should have been warmed by the sun

but they’re scorched by napalm.

She runs toward a photographer, unaware

her life will be defined by this moment.

Her image will win the Pulitzer prize,

but warmongers are blind.

                                      Di Coffey



For the Mountains

Better to climb the mountains

Than to descend the valleys below

Though it comes with much sweat and pain

At the top you catch the first dew and rain


Beside the mountains the valleys lie

A place to walk on the finest of soils

With dancing lilies to grace your feet

The valleys are serene and adorable

But the mountain top are more glorious

A place where your flag must find its feet


But beyond the mountain’s cliff death lingers

On the top, the cold whispering winds

But within are hidden lessons to know

Better a dream born at the mountain top

Than a vision received in a valley deep


Valleys, plains where any man can plant a feet

Angry floods sweetly sweep through with joy

But the mountains peaks are for the eagles

There you can pluck your stars

And journey along with the passing clouds


Better head for the mountains

Where the moon never leaves shadow in its gaps

A perfecr place to behld the rising sun

Observe nature’s beauty in a single look

And see beyond the hazy horizon

Adjei Agyei-Baah



A poet talks to himself about metaphors


‘R.S. Thomas’s poetry is not without metaphoric brilliance’

                                (Review of the Collected Poems)


My poetry is without metaphoric brilliance.

It can only manage a dull sheen, like

A chip too long in its fat. Nothing

About it shines; there is no light

Shed by my poetry, no subject

Is illumined, no language polished.


My poetry is not without metaphoric brilliance.

Like sun-tanned skin it glows

Unnaturally: radiates a beatific vision,

Throws simile and assonance

Around like fluorescence.

You can see your face in the words.


My poetry is without metaphoric brilliance.

Its words only mean what they say.

Report, summary, conclusion, deduction;

These boulders I uncover with my blunt tools.

You know where things will end

When you begin my poetry.

It is not without a dull sentence.


My poetry is not without metaphoric brilliance,

Everything about it means something else;

Debate, flummery, confusion, seduction;

These jewels I chip to a sparkle with my skills.

When you end you cannot

See where you began. My poetry,
It is without a single past tense.

Michael Docker


Copyright for all poems and art work remains with the creators. Please do not copy and download. This edition will be available to buy very soon in the Poetry Space online shop for £3 per copy. Please pre-order by contacting susan@poetryspace.co.uk