Winter Showcase – December 2014

Monday, 1 December 2014

David MarkWilliams

Photograph by Kim Ayres

Archive of all Poetry Space showcases


Guest Editor – David Mark Williams

Poems by  by Maureen Weldon, Johanna Boal, Moira Andrew, Roger Elkin, Susan Evans, Caroline Rae, Michael Docker, Daphne Milne and Gill McEvoy

Photographs by Chris Sims and Sue Sims

Editor’s Notes


The submission was large but choosing the final ten proved relatively easy. My criteria were that poems should be well crafted, have flair, and be memorable and vivid. Michael Docker’s poems leapt out at me from first reading. I couldn’t decide between his Pattern Maker and Deer Run Free so included both. They are superb, finely crafted poems. Maureen Weldon’s Like  Soap Bubbles is exquisite, a poignant poem that is beautifully modulated and controlled. There was a similar delicacy and subtlety investing Anemones by Moira Andrew. The imagery in the poem does the work. Other poems that display commendable control of their material and employ vivid imagery to maximum effect are: Hive by Roger Elkin (a consummate wordsmith at work, not a word out of place, not a word wasted) and The Grey by Caroline Rae, a lovely poem with a commendable euphony. I also chose poems that amused me. I loved the wry humour of Sister Regina and the Act of Contrition by Johanna Boal. It’s skilfully handled too. Similarly, Daphne Milne’s Weight of Being was a quirky and finely wrought delight. Another humorous poem proved irresistible: C’est La Vie (1999) by Susan Evans. It has such energy and brio, with its long lines that skitter away with invention. Finally, it seemed fitting to include the glowing festive poem, Tangerines, by Gill McEvoy, with its subtle effects and carefully poised half rhymes.


Copyright of all poems and photographs remains with the poets and photographers. Please do not reproduce without permission.


Like Soap Bubbles


Chris Sims

Winter: like soap bubbles

in a washing-up bowl.

This will not last,

this cup, that plate,

the garden reflecting in my eye.

Or my lover – who used to hold my heart –

who has a golden tongue –

a gift for music.


I brushed his body

with my long brown hair.

It was Christmas then,

it is Christmas now :

green crates of decorations,

bottles of wine, flickering candles.

I see them on my kitchen window,

mirrored in fairy lights

and parcels of secrets.


From the hall, three little boys

are singing Silent Night,

to the rhythm of their money-box.

Now my daughter shuts the door

the sound goes round and round.

In the sink the suds have sunk,

in the centre : a star.


Maureen Weldon



Chris Sims


Sister Regina and the Act of Contrition



I never saw Sister Regina without her habit or beads.

She taught English and we had to speak like the Queen,

Sitting at the big wooden desk in the grey coloured classroom.

My mind would wonder, what colour was her head of hair?

If it was long, short, curly or straight?

She saw mine at school every day. Long, always in ponytails or plaits.

Sister Regina always liked to take the lunch time prayer,

My hands in a steeple and close to my chest.

I always felt I was performing an apology:

Let’s bless ourselves girls she’d say in a thoughtful tone,

In the name of The Father, The Son and Holy Ghost.

I knew who the first two were but the Holy Ghost?

When I put my hand up to ask the question, the look from her face,

That I should ask such a thing. Lost souls she said.


 Johanna Boal



Chris Sims



I saw them in the rain,

in Clevedon, between

the wine shop and

the bakers, a bucketful

of curled and crippled buds,

wrapped in paper.


Done up in tens,

they were, all colour

hidden.  ‘I’ll take two,’

I said and grey stems

leaked their milk

down my coat.


A day of indoor heat

unlocked the buds

and such purples,

such blues and reds

escaped to frame their

soot-thumbed eyes.


I loved their grace

stooping in the glass,

tried to capture it

in paint, flat on paper –

like sticking pins

into butterflies.


Moira Andrew




Chris Sims


This is the whited sepulchre.


At its portals, honeybees,

head hung in supplication,

inch through half-darkness

towards the inner sanctum.


Assembled throngs

drone their undersong.


Attended by unsexed priestesses,

the old matriarch, She-to-die-for,

presides in the half-light.


She waxes fat

on their golden oblations

fresh from their covenant

with the sun.


She adores their adorings.

The air is a-buzz with praise.


In the darkness

of their hexagonal cells

her acolytes are multiplying.


Her service, their need.


Roger Elkin


C’est La Vie (1999)

A French film; that’s how I’d like my life to be:
(Not Delicatessen or Betty Blue, obviously).
I’d like a man who can’t help acting on impulse…
(In a good way) brings the brioche and coffee to start the day,
flinging open the French windows to the sound of French accordions;
a good French kisser maybe a French  Art Historian…
Spend my days in my café, pouring over poetry for hours,
hear a tap on the window – Mon Cherie; he’s brought me flowers.
Stroll along the bridge, matching berets, arm in arm,
stop off for some Merlot; get drunk on wine and wit and charm –
carried to my boudoir, message plays from answer phone;
hear that it’s my publisher – `Good news! Why are you not home?’
Celebrate my life – throw my French knickers in the fountain!
And not be sat here dreaming, while the bills continue mounting.
Susan Evans


Chris Sims







Chris Sims

The Grey


There is a grey at home,

that covers the sky in rolling thunder

and smothers the landscape in dark shadow.


The shaded grey of day

follows you on charcoal nights through cobbled

stone streets as you breathe dusky fog and smoke.


It’s the sharp, rain filled grey

that sits in the wind, sweeps over your skin

and into your bones in long, clouded winters.


The silver grey of age

sitting quietly on the grave faced men

in granite walled pubs with dusky aged carpets.


It’s the same grey of home,

that colours my eyes and hangs shadows on yours.


 Caroline Rae


Craft One


Chris Sims


Patterned wood for forty years;

Shaved and sanded to the grain’s protocol,

Planed the surface smooth as a doctrine,

Glued, sawed, stained:

Made moulds his creed .


When he began – a boy

Apprenticed to a skilled man –

Wood was all, as good as steel

In the pattern shop’s imagination.


Elsewhere dies were cast, tools made

Using the pattern’s mediation.

In a future, two dimensions

Become three in wood

Then pressed steel


Till a thousand, more,

Cruise the production lines;

The pattern-maker’s marks

Creased for ever in the cars’ copy,

The soft lap of glued wood

Hardens to a policy in shined steel.


He will retire as the pattern shop gives

Way to aided design – digital cuts

Closer than his plane.


His last years will be

Gnarled like a lost faith,

Like patterned wood.


Michael Docker



Chris Sims

Weight of Being


It’s a night too tight for clothes.

My knickers are too heavy for my bones.

It’s only January, what will I do in summer?


My hair’s too heavy on my neck.

I pile it up in intricate folds,

paint my face white, carry a lotus flower.


In summer when the nights are full of hope,

I untie my hair; re-clothe my recalcitrant bones with light.

Keeping my white mask I face the world and you.


Daphne Milne



Sue Sims



I cannot think of Christmas

but I think of tangerines –

the one that filled my stocking’s toe

and dimpled when I squeezed.


You’re welcome to your Christmas trees,

your crackers and your cake,

your pudding and your brandy

and your turkey nicely baked—


for me the thought of Christmas

is the thought of tangerines,

their fragrance in the blue glass bowl,

their warmly orange gleam.


 Gill McEvoy



Deer run free in the cemetery,

Eating fresh flowers when no one’s around,

Trembling with life in the dead ground.


I stand in the cemetery

Trembling with a grief I can’t explain

For someone dead elsewhere. Rain


Fell hard in another cemetery

Where I stood a few days ago, unclear,

Trembling, though not like a deer.


Michael Docker


David Mark Williams lives in south west Scotland. He has won prizes for his poetry both in the UK and New Zealand and has been published in Envoi, Orbis, Prole, The Journal, Reach, South, Markings, Sarasvati, Southlight as well as several anthologies. His debut collection, The Odd Sock Exchange, will be published by Cinnamon Press in 2015.