Spring Showcase – March 2017

Tuesday, 28 February 2017


Editor: Susan Jane Sims


Poems by  David Prior, Isobel Davis, Moira Andrew, Sandeep Kumar Mishra, Di Coffey, Martin Foroz, Patrick Wright, Mark Isherwood and Mike Lee.

• Archive of all Poetry Space showcases


Editor’s overview

For this Spring edition I had a lot of poems to choose from on every aspect of life and death, including many uplifting Spring poems. I could not resist putting one in, a sequence of three haiku. Other than that I looked for fresh and original poems with an an individual voice. 


Spring Garden by Marilyn Anne Benson


Please scroll beyond the poems for my feedback.


Three Haiku for Spring



The frozen earth cracks.

The white flag of the snowdrop,

Winter’s surrender.




Bluebells paint the land,

Become the colour of spring.

Earth disguised as sky.




Listen! Sounds of spring:

Buds burst open to the light,

A soft percussion.



David Prior (UK)





I know

I can be

A very unreasonable person,

To reason with,



at the bottom of the ocean.


so far sunk

sometimes I could no longer point to the surface,

Than my solar plexus.


But you see

When I found you,

Settled to the sea bed,

I forgot

All at once

That you might have other lives

On dry land.


And began filling your shoes

With barnacles,

And whale bones,

Until I had you believing

You could breathe here.


That the salt,

Wouldn’t corrode

Your soft bits.


Wouldn’t eat away your smile.


If I were as pure

As the fine silt

That sits about me,

I imagine I should pull a red toggle,

Of some sort.

And watch you rise,

Like a full moon,

Far beyond the surface

of my emotions.


But I was hoping

That we might

Become a Portuguese,

Or polyps,


And pass the time


If we were one thing

or another.



All the while

To be inseparable.


I was hoping

You’d still be

the one,


Who bears the ballast of my heart.


Isobel Davis (UK)



I Painted an Ocean              


But always forgot the shore

There were no ships

When I took a close look

It was my isolation

Sailing like the sea waves

I stand alone for centuries

To add the people,

In my voyage

Still, singular I stand

Among strangers

When I try to talk,

It becomes silent monologue outward

The reply comes from the resounding inside,

So I like surreal, something sick

So is all my work

If someone makes my portrait

It shall be something sad, sub-standard

But surely scintillating


Sandeep Kumar Mishra (India)



Poems and songs


They say Poems are songs

without the holes …

I fill the gaps, singing

in my sleep, quite forgetting

I can’t sing for toffee.


In my head, I’m Piaf,

Ella, a morning blackbird

welcoming the sun –

after all, I know the words

to every jazz standard.


So I sing in dreamtime,

darn holes with my poems,

stitch seams in carefully-

chosen phrases, letting

no daylight in, just jazz


mostly in Bb, always in tune


Moira Andrew (UK)




Tasting Icicles


I lower the bucket,

feed out its rope –

feel caterpillar hairs

slide through my fingers.


My sister, five years old,

listens intently,

claps her hands

as the bucket hits water.


Too heavy to haul,

I turn the winding handle

till the bucket rocks into view,

spilling its watery offering.


We cup our hands,

dip in, slurp.

As always, it’s

like tasting icicles.


The water’s contaminated

by human waste from

the farm further up the hill

says the man from the water board.


The stuff of nightmares:

a sister paralysed by polio;

parents who will never

forgive themselves.


Di Coffey (UK)





Modern life is full of ‘IF’

Clauses within clauses

Dependent, Independent

Superordinate, subordinate


Life starts with an ‘if’

Finishes with another ‘if’

It reminds me of Kipling’s ‘IF’

the poem beginning with an ‘if’

“If you can hold your head…”

Ending with a line on ‘WHEN’

“And so hold on when there is

nothing in you”, but I say

If the poet is in you

you can make a better world

with no conditional ‘IF’


Martin Foroz (Oman)



The Bungalow


It started with the word glaucoma, a tunnel,

a card game, a question on the queen of diamonds

and the jack of hearts.

     It ended with a smudge of grey through glass,

and mother winding her way down your path,

the uncut grass, her legs through the fence;


a bouquet, freesias I think, handed back.

Me in the car, I wasn’t meant to see you. You,

your hair white, frizzed, albino-like. Like you,

partial sight, as mother’s coat eclipsed you,

     in your bungalow, a crypt,

once home of karaoke, endless toast and jam.


I tried to convince you the queen of diamonds

could be confused for the jack of hearts. I lied;

and in your eyes I saw you see right through me,

white lies beyond my years.     

     Forsaken by Christ, your box of psalms

were no longer read; they festered in your dresser.


I too, in time, left you in your rocking chair,

the vestibule. By your side a wireless, dead-eyed,

distant, limbs thin, slumped with static and fuzz.

     Only in dreams came the transmissions:

your brain, demented through lead in your pipes,

the hum of pylons above.


Then the amnesia-white of your walls, the traces

in those spaces you’d vacated. All false teeth

and playing cards, divvied up by uncles and aunts,

     and by mother too. She kept a box of morbid


                She talked of grandpa, only later, dragging

you from room to room.



Patrick Wright (UK)                                                                              



The Dream of your Eyes


the dream of your eyes

a butterfly

that lands when you glance

eye lash wings

open and close as we discourse

am I the warming sun?


your head turns

and the fall of your hair

rustles beyond hearin


If you were mine?

Would I still notice?

Would the cascade of you still drown me?


 Mark Isherwood (UK)



The Chill-out Chair


Sitting, nay – lying almost horizontal on the laid-back,

go-to-sleep chair, up-staring into the model of the universe

outshining itself above my new skyline I swallow,

tongue-check my full set of uppers and downers

for plaque and respond to the obligatory, mellow 

rhetoric flowing from the goggled-up guy, somewhere

out of sight to the rear of my declining right ear:

“Weather’s better. Going anywhere nice this year?”

I shake my head and the antiseptic scrubbed-up shadow

appears suddenly overhead, “Open wider please.”


In tandem; the sterile mirror and the ouchy-pointy

scraper-thing follow their scheduled route around my

fragile molars, premolars, canines and incisors; jointly

they explore every nook and cranny, pothole, cavity

and secret grotto I hope I’ll never ever have to see.

Five-point-five fraught minutes later:

                                                             the secret tapping

tooth-count stops, the sterile shadow rises, declares,

“No problems there, today! Rinse and spit please!” 

Battling against the clutches of the alluring Lazarus-chair,

I thank him for his gentleness, wobble-wash the residual

mouth-rubble and splutter it all away into the bleach-white bowl.

“Six months?” I ask.

His smile nods.

I pay.


Mike Lee UK)


Among the Moonfish


Jellies, moons, man-o-war, polkadot the sand’s carpet.

Stranded by sea, jellies line the beach,

a sort of purgatory, part night terror.


Moons recur, among fish and spindrift:

pack-a-mac, umbrella, poking a squid till it shoots

its ink, a dark cloud; tip on each bell, a purple heart.


This, the start of feeling afraid: saucers

like sci-fi, or footage of piled genocide.

Organs too are like this: water-filled, strange.


A wash of polyps, the sea spreads them evenly.

Crystalline, trees electrified by lightning

reanimate, nightly, as the tide moves invisibly.


Omens, moments like these: the sun needles

through cloud, takes a biopsy; a glitter of razor shells

readying themselves for theatre.


Surgeons are seabirds: they scan, clear the carnage,

go about their business, before stingers

unfurl, return, like shadows on an X-ray.



Patrick Wright


Me at The Oppenheim last October.

Editor’s notes:


Three Haiku for Spring –  It is pretty hard to write a fresh sounding Spring poem, however I was impressed with  the seasonal offerings that came in and found it hard to choose. This one made it as I felt the imagery was filled with both light and sound.

Saline – Breakups are common place and so if one is to catch my eye it needs to have something unusual or quirky about it and this one does not take itself too seriously. 

I painted an ocean – This is a sad yet revealing poem that reaches beneath the surface of what might motivate an artist to depict the world in a particular way. 

Poems and Songs – Many of have a fantasy world where we can do something we cannot do in everyday life. This is a beautiful piece exploring just that with subtle humour.

Tasting Icicles – I began this assuming this was to be a lovely childhood memory and then the darkness set in. A beautifully evocative poem with a twist.

Conditionals – I included this one for its faith in poetry making a difference in this world.

Bungalow – A difficult subject explored .very honestly. Vivid concrete detail of lives changed utterly by the onset of dementia.

The Dream of Your Eyes – a great romantic poem of unrequited love. And an age old question: Is something only beautiful when your are longing for it or willl it ratin its beauty when its yours?

The Chill -out Chair  – Definitely not what I expected. The title conjures up a massage chair but this one was fun and I thought to include as it describes a ritual most of us hate and yet appreciate and it does it with humour. Why do dentists always ask you questions when your mouth is wide open and you can’t possibly answer.

Among the Moonfish – the sea became a theme for me in this edition, or at least the sea as metaphor. In this last I was thinking inevitably of Mark’s hospital experience and chose this poem of exposure, treatment and return of disease.