Autumn Showcase – September 2013

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Archive of all Poetry Space showcases

Chris Sims

Chosen by Poetry Space Editor Susan Jane Sims

Copyright of all poems and photographs remains with their creators. Please do not reproduce material without express permission.

This Morning

 If everyone was looking at this morning,

The way the light hits the floor,

The train seems softer,

the birds on a low key,

As I sit in my chair, I think of the one

we squeezed into, side by side,

the oldest and the youngest,

A skyline we both could never imagine,

Not for me, fragile in our chair,

the youngest and the oldest,

And we were looking at this morning,

The way light hit the floor,

The train seems louder

and the birds break the silence.


Rob Benson


Susan Jane Sims

 Red Geraniums

Aunt Kate

and red geraniums

go together


I remember

rubbing the leaves

so my fingertips

smelt green


window boxes

heavy with flowers

balanced on the sill

at a precarious angle


pots on the step

scattered red petals

and a door

that didn’t fit


I remember

Aunt Kate’s long white apron

I have no memory

of Uncle Andrew


just the sound

of the sea

and an empty wheelbarrow


Moira Andrew


Chris Sims

Sylvia Longworth


Without a doubt it was Sylvia.

I recognised her instantly… .

After what, fifteen years?


Her unforgettable looks,

the cascading tousled hair

and those pouting, teasing lips.


The long, slim neck,

sweeping exquisitely

to shapely full breasts.


Yes, it was Sylvia Longworth.

Even standing this far back

straining over the shoulders


of other gallery visitors

I recognised her.

Who could forget a girl like Sylvia?


Slowly the crowd thinned

and I edged nearer the painting,

now I could see every inch of her.


How I recollect those long

slender legs, and remember

how I imagined her pubic hair to be.


I recall her arms around me

the hesitant, gentle kiss. A tender

and unforgettable moment.


Yet, there was something different.

I studied the painting closely

and I realised…


her eyes had lost their innocence.


Les Merton


from a photo by Chris Sims

Making a cup of tea


My tea ceremony is this:

The feeling of nothing like a good brew

Mornings are best, that cup of tea

I’ve cut down on workloads

A tea bag, boiling water, drop of milk

My little china mug,


Tea ladies, but you’re the masculine,

Addressed as Master Tea!

In 1660, who introduced tea?

A Portuguese princess

Married to Charles II

A class; afternoon tea became high tea,


The great British culture,

Tea Clippers, the Cutty Sark

Darjeeling, Assam, Ceylon

Herbal tea, Earl Grey,

Whose idea is iced tea?

Oh the world and my cup of tea.


Johanna Boal


Chris Sims

Music for Two Players                                                        


In Tsugaru the snow falls on heavy winter

Cold fingers pluck shamisen’s three strings

Its sounds are at once tenacious and tender

They tell of blind wanderers who play at home doors

Lending sight to spring

Picture cascading streams

Fresh green freed from frost

And the blossoming of cherry trees.


In Tsugaru the sun heats red-chimneyed roofs

A drum beckons summer celebration

Light taps are made lazy by blazing days

Intermittent like distant gunfire

in hot battle.  First Jonkara

Telling of temple priest braving cruel disgrace

At a rival’s grave, punished by lord of war

Driven to river’s edge, to self-immolation.


Then Aiya brought by shippers and fishers

A southerly song for shifting workers

Now heard at Tsugaru parties

Sung with light spirit on white nights,

And long Yosare intricate, woven

Of tight-stringed highs falling to open notes

Seeming to die in their deepness

While vowels bend like late flowers towards Kyoto.


Antony Johae



Chris Sims



Private Thomas Highgate

winces as rough sacking

is pulled over his head.

He smells sour wheat grains,

peers through loose weave

at the line of soldiers

across the yard; restless men,

fingering their guns.


Fear gnaws his bones,

sickens his stomach

and he shudders in dawn’s mist.

Yesterday a thousand men

were blown to smithereens,

or shot, or bayonetted;

bravely dying for King and country.


Over the top, men.

Had been the order.

Up and at em.

He’d endured the boots of men

climbing over him,

heard them die,

screaming for their mothers.


He remembers running,

hiding in a barn,

puking when discovered.

Was it only yesterday?

Why had he lied about his age?

By rights, he shouldn’t be here

at The Battle of Mons.


Guns are cocked, aimed,

and Private Thomas Highgate,

at seventeen, too young

to be in his regiment,

is old enough

to be shot for cowardice.


 Di Coffey

Private Thomas Highgate was executed on September 8th, 1914. 

He was the first soldier to be shot for cowardice in WW1.

He was 16 when, to get into the army, he lied about his age.


from a photo by Chris Sims

A value this small


On occasion doubt sends
A sway so strong, griping to shiver
Like dust storms of the Sahara

To envisage a passage through
Seems, close to the unthinkable
And madness line a front row

So it came to be, that all was lost
And funeral processions, as last rites
Holds the only dignity in honour to have

But you see, seeds planted in the earth
Takes a while to germinate, their way of doing things
To hold court to announce their credential like royals

And naturally, passers by unaware of seeds planted
Would not no miracles to emerge to foster
Do not place a value this small, before curtains close


Kodjo Deynoo


Susan Jane Sims


His big moment

We watch – fascinated –

Spherical object,

In his hand a sharp knife!

He cuts, red liquid spurts

On his white coat.

Suddenly, flowerlike,

It opens in his palm.

Oh, what artistry

The orange was sectioned!

He could now serve the drinks.

Anthony Bartlett


Senior Contemplation

What is time?

Childhood, work, parenthood –

all past experiences –

are yesterday

and all our tomorrows

will be today.

Past and future merge into one

in the short journey we call life –

to be snuffed out

at any moment.

 Be that as it may,

 we will have left our mark

at journey’s end

and,  hopefully,

a host of

happy memories.

June Moore

Kate Blair



Chris Sims

After midnight


The sun goes down

The shutters seal

The city is quiet

The city is dark


Feel awake now

but all the doors are closed.

The lights are out, the air is damp

which way to go.


The streets are silent

the roads they lead to nowhere.

Everywhere is empty

a cold wind blows.


A lonely stranger

walks on

looking for someone

to love.

John Paul Kirkham


Autumn is a time for contemplation and my choice of poems for this September reflect this.  I love the light touch employed in Rob Benson’s poem, This Morning; using the early morning sun as the trigger for bringing delicate and evocative memories into the present moment. The poem is literally full of light. Moira Andrew’s Red Geraniums is again a poem drawing on very particular memories of a loved relative. This is a very sensual piece taking the reader back to the poet’s childhood. The short line length works well; each three line verse perhaps representing steps. I chose Les Merton’s poem Sylvia Longworth because  its delightful humour and the fact that it recalls the particular with ambiguity.  As a tea lover I could not resist Johanna Boal’s Making Tea; a little slice of history, though I can’t agree that tea is best made in a mug. Antony Johae’s poem, Music for Two Players is atmospheric and beautiful; reading it is equivalent to listening to the last few strains of music from a stringed instrument. It has tension and draws on all the senses. The last line left me with a sense of yearning.  I found Di Coffey’s poem Coward incredibly moving; telling as it does the story of the tragic underage soldier executed for so called cowardice. Di Tells the story well without undue sentimentality. Kodjo Feynoo’s A value this small,  places its emphasis on change and I chose it because of its note of hope for a different future for war torn regions of the world. Anthony Bartlett’s poem Dexterity was a fun poem that for me evoked lovelyholiday memories. June Moore’s poem Senior Contemplation reflects feelings of growing older and looking back with fondness to past experience and appreciating the journey. Finally John Paul Kirkham’s poem After Midnight is a  portrait of loneliness; its sparing language fitting the subject well.

Hope you have enjoyed the poems chosen. Once again I shall produce a commemorative printed booklet – these will be just £3 from the Poetry Space Online shop and make great gifts for family and friends or a lovely keepsake.

In the Winter the guest editor will be Denni Turp. Entries in by early November please.