Week 7 – entries and results

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Week 7 – There were five poems to vote for. The winner was Old Pharoah’s Pump by Geraldine Green. In second place for the third time during this challenge is Andy Scotson with On the Bike.

Congratulations to Geraldine and well done too to Andy.  This was very competitive as all five poems would have been worthy winners.

Photograph by Chris Sims


Poem 1



It was the longer way round to get to school

but worth it for sight of sentinels

standing guard over shiny cars for sale,

Shell-mets gleaming atop each column

while Bing Crosby’s voice from TV crooned

inside my head “You Can Be Sure of Shell”.


And later when Some Like It Hot entranced me

hearing Tony Curtis mimic Cary Grant and try

a line on Marilyn as the heir to an oil fortune.


Growing up by the seaside, it was so certain

shells would become more collectables like

postage stamps and railway loco numbers,

hollow conches rare with their echoes of sea

shushing when their portal was held to my ear –

purring power and preciousness within a shell.


Christopher Heyworth


Poem 2




Clam shells top the pumps
above red stripes
bearing invitations sent
in 1954.

Impossible to respond
that year’s past
too late to fill the tank

drive as we did then
on empty roads
we were kings.

We drained the tanks
with thoughtless pride
now the shells

lie stranded, beached
their juice drained
their history sold out.


Carolyn O’Connell


Poem 3




A sea bed with

Oversized edgings

Made prying,

Then drilling

And exploring


The Caspian Sea,




Millions of years

Of lying!

And double-dealing?


Johanna Boal


Poem 4

Old Pharoah’s Pump


is still there. Has been since I was a child, scrambling

off the steam train at Ravenglass, heading to the estuary

to poke Man o’ Wars washed up on the shore below

cottages with steps that lead to the sea. Old petrol pump

sentinel of another world, testament to Pharoah

owner of the garage that sold petrol for 1/5d.

Not like these two, dressed in finery of red and white,

but rusty blue, outside his cottage, guarding memories

from pre-war Britain, when life was slowly ridden

on one horse-power horses and only the rich

could afford a car to pull up beside a pump like these

fill the tank, take off somewhere, adventure high

on the steep Pass over Hardknott, past Roman ruins perched

atop a windy gap that opens wide its view for you

across the Irish Sea and Criffel and, when the sky holds

sufficient light and clarity, you can see the Mourne Mountains

Isle of Man and Anglesey, while at your feet lies Eskdale,

Dalegarth Boot Mill, end of the track that once transported granite

and iron ore down the valley  on a narrow gauge railway to the sea

that lies silver grey seven miles away at Ravenglass.


Geraldine Green


Poem 5

On The Bike

Loch Lomond half past six
Twisty narrow road contours the side of the water
Stone walls lean in, trees lean down
Travelling through a dappelled tunnel
In fast fading light.

The Ben beams it’s approval from the far side of the Loch
Hearty welcome to the Highlands
The last tourist ferry moors for the night
Dumps its load of Americans, Japanese and English
Water sparkles and spangles in the sinking sun.

Tank ticks down
Leather gloved hand taps the tank nervously
There is a garage, there is !
Rounds one last bend
Hallelujah, a red and yellow neon sign
Made it !
He screeches to a halt

Off with the hot helmet
Down with boot clad foot
Two old red pumps
Both bare the legend :



Andy Scotson