Week 13 entries and results

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Photograph – Roger Leege

This week, the intriguing image above resulted in poets tackling this in diverse ways. We had poems about dead musicians and zombies, some very moving poems too, clearly reflecting on personal loss. Well done to everyone. Judging by the response to the voting, these were really enjoyed by readers. I am delighted to announce that the winner is Psalm 23 (poem 6) by Sarah Miles. In very close second was When no one was looking by Eileen Carney Hulme. Scroll down to read them all again with the poets’ names.

Poem 1 

The Lonely Moon

Delving into the

darkness of the past

I see the glimmers of light

through the arched window

as I followed my father’s

footsteps through the hollow

echoes of the pews.

But my windows are full of colour,

not lifeless and blank

and I feel the warmth of the sunshine

in the rich, story eyes of my


The keys he made sing were

grander too

sending out

powerful notes

deep and rich

to rock the unbelievers

and lure them to join in,

sing, praise and rejoice.

But the moon,

still gives me a

chill even today, a loneliness

and empty sadness, alone

in the dark, dark

coldness of the night.


Angie Butler


 Poem 2

The Ghost Musician

Music wafts softly

Through stained glass

Window panes

Of the little chapel

Into moonlit clouds;

Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata

Changed to Ave Maria

Debussy’s Claire de Lune[i]

To Brahms Lullaby

“Tell her to play it again”

Shouted the blind nun

From her attic room

“What are you talking about?”

Asked Mother Superior coming in

“Please ask her to play the Brahms again”

“There’s no music now my dear

Sister Mary Cecelia died a month ago”

“Died? But she was just a girl”

“I told you Sister Lydia Mae,

It was an accident.

Now go to bed.”

“But I hear her every single night

She plays for me

And the moon

And the stars” she whispered

[i] French for Moonlight


Anita Pinto



Poem 3

When No One Was Looking   

We took the moon over the water

it was a night for moon taking

the sky perfectly imperfect

clouds arranged as letters of the alphabet


At first we lay on sand, your

eyes closed, I knew that blue stare,

questions you were always asking

about time and space and vowels


Then you said, ‘Don’t you love the word moon

it glides around the mind like a guardian

angel, plays to the soul, hypnotic

like the hands of a musician.’


And we tossed around some vowels

until we felt the pull, we became

fireflies, spiralling spirits

with no stones in our pockets


The moment was quiet not frantic

like muted light through stained glass,

as we took the moon over the water

fearless without footprints.


Eileen Carney Hulme


Poem 4

Baby Grand Makes an Entrance 


Gran’s baby grand was famous

for flying up stairs, before they were built,

and nesting in the long living room

where we have Christmas

and my wedding reception.


After the house sells I drive past slow,

stalking memories of Sunday lunch,

gingerbread cake and the piano

I never learned to play.


Stephanie Arsoska


Poem 5

Zombies of the Stratosphere

I can hear the plague bell ringing. Better that, perhaps, than having to listen to the brittle tittle-tattle of parvenus. There was a time when our leaders insisted on simplified spelling – thru for through, or tho for though, or iland for island. O zombies of the stratosphere, I not only received a sign after praying the way they said, but it was bright red. Hardly anyone ever tells me anything anymore. I’ll go on erupting gently despite this sudden irrelevance, the darkness like the motion of apple trees somehow still in bloom.

Howie Good


Poem 6

Psalm 23

The house is alive with pealing laughter and familiar notes

Accompany the lightness of Sunday release.

The smell of succulent lunch wafts through the corridors

Dancing on the eddies of Father’s rendition of ‘We plough the fields and scatter’.


Buoyant from a good sermon, he returns to us, eyes twinkling,

‘How was I today?’

We roll our eyes whilst our mother nods at him and whispers words of balm

His collar discarded, he opens his arms as our father.


In heaven.

For today we scattered his ashes.

The stained-glass window tells the story of our grief,

Drained and empty, we have nothing to say.


I sit and stare at the keys.

Feathery fingers trace the pattern of his hands, longing for his guidance.

Chalky light fills the room and I wonder if…

But the shadows cast are dark and cancerous,

The moon is no match for them.


Sarah Miles


Poem 7

Dead Composer


Through glazed bars I see him,

the moonlight a halo in the clouds.

His shadow falls across the notes,

flyspecks on the darker lines.

He turns the page

and bends his head,

then straightens, rubs and blows;

another wrong note in the pattern

unfolding along the stave.


So far away in the garden

I would not recognise him

if I didn’t know the man.

Lost in a pool of light

separate, inviolate, absorbed

still in the act of creating.


Diane Jackman


Poem 8

The Glass Sonata


They are waiting for you to begin.

You hold the moment like glass.

When you play, the keys will sound

with a crystal resonance.

You will see the reflected light of it on their faces.


The room has been prepared:

the walls rolled away leaving a window

flooded with moonlight.

The moon is a bright white hole in the sky

above the breakers of clouds.


When you play, not a single note

of the broken glass inside you will be heard.


David Mark Williams


Poem 9

Piano locked in symphony

But in moonlit charm undone

Empty rooms turn to distance

That separate, my moon

From your sun.


In this tower, I dream of all that we lost

In these minutes, I long for your death

But the triumphant shadows

Piece together each note

Each melody

Each moment

Each breath.


Kitty Moo


Poem 10

Sometimes a light surprises.


Why? Light from a small star

Silvered, borrowed by a moon;

Older than music,


Light that makes clouds

Or love as moonlight;

As sunlight shapes

Amoebae, windows.


A gothic arch, old keys,

Boards marked

By centuries of kneeling,

Waiting; singing –

Shaping holiness from absence.


Why this music?

Why this searching?

Why this surprise?


Michael Docker