Week 31 – entries and results

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Photograph by Denise Bourassa



A diverse range of poems this week, some romantic, some medical. Poem 3 grabbed the majority of votes so congratulations go to Daphne Milne for a poem titled PATIENT NO. HR39571. Soundtrack was also popular and came second. This was by Valerie Morton.

Thank you to everyone who entered even if your poem did not appear here. This was a popular week and attracted a lot of entries.

Poem 1


I came across my broken heart
under a dust-coated box
finger-scrawled with your name.

Untouched for twenty years,
it shocks with its hardness,
its corkscrew shape and colour –

grey with the decay of wasted time.
Only now can I touch it, run
my fingers over its shrivelled

surface, feel a rhythmic pulse flutter
through each tiny capillary,
echoing long-forgotten music.


Valerie Morton


Poem 2

Heart wrenching


It was a bad line

when they asked for it,

they tested it and took it.

You were dead.

Not a word more

-not a thank you,

so much for organ donors,

just don’t ask me again.


Angie Butler


Poem 3


The heart surgeon’s cuff links have the image

of a heart engraved upon them

a Christmas present from an Aunt.


Does he need to keep this diagram on hand in case

he forgets the intricacies of valve and chamber?

How does it make the patient feel?


The stent is failing


He leans against a filing cabinet too busy to sit down

preserving the sharpness of his trouser crease.

He talks probabilities

casually mentions surgery.


Evidently Mr. Whosit’s heart is purely functional.



The mitral valve is not too good


Aftershave too subtle for anaesthetic properties

makes me sneeze

meriting a distasteful glance

the production of a pen to scribble

incomprehensible diagrams of my insides.


His white coated Registrar

makes urgent notes

Triple by-pass.


Daphne Milne


Poem 4

How long since we changed the oil?

When I seizure, I’m confused. I

never told a soul until I met you. I was

afraid of small towns; by force

of will I begged sometimes to be

excused. Grand mal. you said, it

sounds so lovely; it sounds like

a painting Sargent might make

of Venetian canals. Let’s walk

starling, you said, and if

you drop, I’ll stop mid- flight

to dip in foam.


Charles Bane Jnr


Poem 5

My forgiveness pot is a jar 
That lives inside my heart
Filled with all the forgiveness I have
It looks like fairy dust, glittery and golden
When someone needs some of my forgiveness I take a little from the jar and give it to them
Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot,
Sometimes more than I feel they deserve

The jar is refilled by the forgiveness others give to me
For I too need forgiveness sometimes

But right now my jar is running low
I have given away far more than I should have done
And to people who I think should receive none at all

The cutting insults he made
The selfishness she showed
Were two biggies this week alone which took over half a jar

I am now wondering what other peoples jars look like
What shape, what size, how empty, how full
And what colour is their forgiveness? Red, silver? Gold like mine?
Do some peoples jars never open?
Sealed forever, never giving, unable or unwilling to receive?
Do some people really not care about the importance of forgiveness?

I care
I take care of my jar
Maybe when it is almost empty it will fill back up with
The forgiveness others do not want
I like to think forgiveness isn’t wasted
Finds a home, a jar somewhere.


Amanda Clement-Raygill


Poem 6

Beneath the Waves

“Can you hear me?!” she screamed,
Her voice rippling across the upturned sea,
Vibrations shook the ground a split,
But they could not awaken love in me.

Her crimson nails tore at my prune like skin,
Their watery scrapes denoted futility,
For it was not my life that ebbed away,
It was my heart that had been lost at sea.

The rhythmic thud, the layering beat
Smashed off my metallic coating,
The tin man in all his glory,
Content in this immersive floating.

Her dewy eyes were wild,
Her oval mouth frozen in dizzying dread
But I drifted peacefully in sunshine’s calm
All in all, quite brain dead.


Sarah-Jane Coyle


Poem 7

Medical History


Over my medical history the doctor goes

On this visit for something minor, as if he knows

Something about me, which of course he does.

It is encoded in the folded notes, the tests; it was

Building up over the years; the colds, viruses, those

Occasional fault-lines that, I suppose,

To a trained mind accumulate like pus

In a wound – my whole life a wound. And thus


I sit here trembling, wondering if it shows –

My medical history – the secret I am guilty of, whose

Consequences I now face in this rebellious

Attack of cells. Genetic? Environmental? Cause

And effect are lost in fifty years. Either way I lose.

Nothing to do but wait and see what he will diagnose.


Michael Docker


Poem 8

I Carry Your Heart (after ee cummings)


This is you

standing by the bay

the wind through trees

in the streets of a town

pedalling the old bicycle

singing as you cook

reading on a train

counting crows

sculpting stones

listening for weather

blowing dandelion clocks

swimming in the sea

naming stars

falling like leaves

between worlds.

This is me

searching for home.


Eileen Carney Hulme


Poem 9

Discarded Heart


You’re done with me. I can tell

by the way you fail to move.

We used to slot together,

You and I, like a jigsaw –

The only puzzling part

is why I stayed.


You’d beat me with such regularity,

it became a bass-line in my ears.

The nights I prayed

for brakes in the record

so I could find the spaces

between the words you failed

to hear.


Then there was this night last week;

You wildly took to me –

A hungry bear in the woods.

like there were no tomorrows

and if there were,

you would simply drown them


with your tears.


And you were going at it,

thumping away whilst I bit the pillow.

music in the background, tense

beneath your muscles.

You groaned –

A spasm jolting you

out of control.


Now you lie awake

hooked to wires.

Your presence marked by

every breath you take.

I lean against these lemon-soaked walls

monitoring when there will be nothing

left for you to say.


Hannah Teasdale


Poem 10

In Need of Care

My heart

Weakened and cold

It beats without purpose

Scarred by loneliness, left empty

No soul

My heart

In need of care

Could you awaken me

Renew my vigour and rescue

My soul?

Emma Power