Week 4 – poems for voting

Saturday, 9 November 2013


We received some beautiful, interesting and sensitive poems in response to the photograph above by Chris Sims.

Please read them all and award your votes by contacting me (Sue)  susan@poetryspace.co.uk


Poem 1

In the East


Ferocious flames swallow

all around


a hellish spectacle

Life is held

in abeyance.


What sacrifice lies hidden

beyond this scene?

What offering, intended or accidental,

produced such fury?

After the fire there’s death,



But  wait  – all is not lost

for ever.

While souls still weep

or sleep

Through stones of despair,

something stirs:


New growth springs,


drawn by an irresistible force


life shoots forth anew, and

hope returns.

June Moore


Poem 2

Sacred Ground

Each night a mother slips outside

into her garden

moves a stone, cries and lights another stick

places it in the pebbled ground

breathes in the oriental musk incense.

She prays to ghosts in grey blue veils

where shafts of orange flames

fake silhouettes – a crown in a garden pot;

the wind listens

to no-one else in this quietness.

Audrey Arden Jones


Poem 3


Joss sticks

Heaven sent smoke lifts

the prayers of a broken man

for his granddaughter

Diane Jackman


Poem 4

Coffin Pot

Indigo prayers breathe through runes
shadowing river rocks with scarlet dreams
the coffin pot blooms bamboo, innocence
guarded by a phalanx of incense soldier rods.

They peer through the brimstone raze fire
from the amber backdrop of fire lit forest
skull faced ghosts, black eyes observing

waiting for the runes to answer
before the pyre obliterates replies
the river rocks decolour azure
the coffin pot cools, fired blue.

Carolyn O’Connell


Poem 5

I love you


I love you,

you are the

beating life

in my world.


I love you,

you are the

light that warms

my day.


I love you,

you are the

air that dries

my tears.


I love you

you are the

warmth that


my heart.


I love you.

Angie Butler


Poem 6

Incense Remembered

Ten long years have passed since I left those distant lands,

Far Eastern memories arise with wands of incense in my hand.

Knelt before the temple, palms together held up high,

I bow three times to Buddha then I catch the idol’s eye.

This incense is my offering for you to hear my prayer,

Please cleanse my spirit and my soul, release me from despair.

Senses heighten as they’re engulfed in the intoxicating scent,

Sandalwood and frankincense, sweet perfume quells my lament.

Tendrils of heady scented smoke, curl skywards in a breeze.

Weaving about in spirals dancing to silent melodies.

Calm in peace and solitude I am blessed and feel protected,

Ash falls from my burnt offering, my heart and mind connected.

Ten years on I meditate, transported back to that same place,

And remember the fragrant incense and the look on Buddha’s face.

To light this scented bamboo stick is all I need to do

When I need some spiritual guidance and help to make it through.

Tracy Dukes

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————-Poem 7

In the Tomb

The mass of people are now leaving , the women and men
In bright coloured embroidered clothing filing out slowly.
The room is scattered with pebbles and shrouded with the burning curling smoke of scented tapers .

“Look at me , when I speak , look at me !
See how I have risen – I was born of a peasant on the lower
slopes of this mountain
Now I stand in the presence of Zhao Mo
The second King of the great Nanyue Nation within China
Now see him lying in state in his beautiful jade burial suit
The jade mozaic pieces are held together with gold,silver and silk.
It took ten of our seamstresses a week to join them all
He takes a chariot with him to speed him on his journey
A bronze black Leopard bejewelled with Gold to guard him from danger
See around me the walls are festooned with murals showing scenes from the life of the Great One.
And I am among fifteen of his closest courtiers chosen to accompany him on his onward journey.”

In the small space in the eastern side room of the seven chambers of the tomb incense is burning as the last preparations are made.
And in the distance the crash as the tomb door is sealed….

“I can begin my journey with my master to the afterlife…”

Andy Scotson


Poem 8

Opium Den

Opium den —- Took the plunge

Counting to ten —– Chinese writing with a yellow label

My heads in a spin —— Eyes rolling skyward

Tails and you win ———- Everything in the room is shaking

The women are soooo pretty ——— I cannot think at all

Why is everything moving soo fast ———I am falling …..


William Jones


Poem 9

Two from Cambodia

Siem Reap

Dusk –

the night air is all toad-croak;

lightning pitching the horizon

a hundred miles away.

Still at sun-down; the crackling

of night folk stirring – click-clack.

The sweep of a street brush – Tuck-Tucks.


They’re stuck in the mud,

planted, stock still.

The skin’s a loose fitting

frock, draped, shrill

close to the bone.

There’s nothing at the bone –


Depressed – shoulders turned ankles,

the ribs an untouched xylophone.


Christy Hall


Poem 10 

Earth Air Fire


And the spirits danced in the smoke

and grew fat upon the incense.

Prayers burned their way heavenwards

leaving their shadows etched on silk,

black upon gold.

Behind the smoke unseeing woods

gently sighing.


Daphne Milne