Spring Showcase – March 2020

Friday, 6 March 2020

• Archive of all Poetry Space showcases

Photograph – Chris Sims


 Editor- Susan Jane Sims


Tough cookie

(For Dot)

I’ve got dementia, she says

with a certain pride. Tell them,

she urges her husband. Tell them

what’s wrong with me. He does,

at length. She’s not a well woman.

It’s not all bad. I picked up a man

in the hospital waiting room!

She smiles in triumph. True,

I stroked a stranger’s arm, mistaking

him for my husband. I did, didn’t I?

She makes light of things, her

frequent falls, her memory lapses,

her tiredness. She’s still pretty,

dresses well, smokes the odd

crafty cigarette. This fragile lady

is one tough cookie, wears pride

like bright pink dancing shoes.


Moira Andrew


“Not a nail in it”


It stood four-square under the kitchen window

its surface the colour of short-crust pastry,

mottled and freckled and veined like her hands.

It had been loved into existence

with every mortise true to its tenon;

it had known the generations in the family Bible

and was shown to guests with quiet pride.

When suddenly my grandmother wasn’t there

the table was put outside and disappeared.

If ever there was a nail in it… I never knew.


Brian Young


Aslan in CS Lewis Square


Aslan towers over the wind swept square.

His hair ragged and proud, black and rigid,

framed by telephone wires and the noise of the city.

A small figure climbs up to greet him

to enter his world of ice and dream.


to explore his world of love and power.,

to walk with Lucy and Peter in the land

of story and discovery, to wonder and to fear,

to escape and to ask impossible questions.

Does Aslan have the answers?


Judy Dinnen



“Too much snow on Monday—”

A tribute to the usually intrepid US Postal Service


the mailman proffered his excuse.


“I’m sorry if the bluejays,

cardinals, or crossbills


crossed in the mail with your letters

or even opened them with clever beaks


in hopes of some jewel waiting—

a token for their mates, their nests in spring.”


            “Too much snow on Monday,”

the mailman murmured, red-faced.


“When I came back on Tuesday and still

couldn’t plow the driveway to your house


because my blade was busted by the blizzard,

I found the tattered mail had been retrieved,


tied in strands of rusty yarn

so you might see it in your holly tree


when you went cutting boughs

for winter wreaths to hang


upon the door I cannot reach,

or on your mailbox


by the snow-banked street.



too much snow on Tuesday.”


Lizzie Ballagher


Reading Patterns 

Somewhere in the middle of a celestial bulge  
of stars, where the lanes are ridden by dust, the brambles 

grow a special kind of fruit that is sweet and sour; 
the market place in which they are displayed stands 

on planks of wood where guillotine and bartering 
are identical sides of an exchangeable coin. The ethos 

of shadow work on a person designs his produce, 
whether fresh or softened yet edible, a rank below 

mouldy, but elevated enough to be part of a feast on a table; 
the plants reflecting in his irises like staid decorum in vases, 

unlike bowing freesias preferring the loyalty of one 
stem, not quite wild like tulips growing in the snow 

but befitting in the right way, neither missing nor 
mixing, yet mingling as part of a dominant chain 

on the Solaris axis of survival. Somewhere in this 
sphere of the second between suppress and sneeze, 

his physical frame converts into a cosmic chakra;   
he remembers being the coil of a spiral; pits in fruits  

meant for those having known patience of chewing; 
a tender wound so bare, its stems like musk-beacons, 

shadow-fragments, wood-petals; the memory of his 
garden where the river precipitated into starry molecules.


Sheika A.


If you look hard enough


peer beneath the dark side of the moon

you can find your grandmother x 3.

Go back to the older times –

just put aside

the techno-clocks,

the selfie sticks,

the twitter-speaks.

Forget designer babies

and go out into

that other interior universe

where odder creatures lurk –

pink dragons

the flying dog

black doves

(running through the blood,

they’re already part of us),

raise arms high into the depths of reminiscence,

take a deep breath, a morning stretch.

Find & pick them up,

turn them over in that older mind

& watch the reflection of her gnarling face

contort in the infinite regressing mirror.

Follow the mitoflash, the call

to the parallel worlds –

where others row into your field of vision,

before they disappear again beyond the rim

into the sea

of Tranquillity.


Julie Sampson


Last Bend Into Rye


Rabbit on the Military Road

last bend into Rye is gone.

Not myxomatosis

nor viral haemorrhagic disease

but taken by a pantechnicon

or metallic SUV or speeding fastback

in early hours this morning

when full beams engaged

will have caught him in the eyes

sat rigid to the spot, closer and closer

then caught. Executed

by rubber tyres of nefarious deep treads

huge weight on his torso

with neck broken, decapitated

small bones splattered on asphalt

intestines squelched to a pulp

stains across the southbound

until today’s sharp showers

due by midday claim reports.

No cortege of black clad mourners

or close family of flecked tan

standing in deference heads bowed, solemn.

Not a supermarket bouquet in bloom

left by the privet hedge or white gate.

No obituary, no paid notice

observed by the Rye & Battle

or exposé on Kent FM radio

after Garry & Laura’s shift is over.

Just one less rabbit on the High Weald;

the end of a line. Taken by traffic

pernicious disease of mankind.


Alun Robert



We’re flung forward by the brake.

Another feral dog, heat-drowsed, slow,


missed by a whisker? No –

Snake! Six-foot snake!

Out of deference we let her pass,

powered by lightning, side-winding

over shimmering tarmac, gliding

like mercury over glass.

Earth-mother like Shakti the consort of Shiva,

on her headlong errand she ignores

us totally; out of reverence we leave her

to reach her distant, ever-secret lair.

Our universe halts right there,

all movement, all progress paused.

We do not even think “We spared

your life”. Her fissured features, if aware

of such hubris, would spit back “I gave you yours!”

Four seconds, then men and women bearing burdens

among grinding trucks and cycles glittering in the heat

trudge again along the dust-blown street

past walls enclosing watered hotel gardens.

We weave between them to the Holiday Inn,

where a motionless lizard, tail curled,

head tilted, curious, uncertain,

forms an intricate impression of another world.


Brian Young


Turning the pages


My father’s surpliced backside

polishes the hard wooden bench

as he reaches left and right for the stops:

Choir. Great. Swell.

Mystified by pages of sparrows on wires

I’m nudged at each one’s end

by his resigned hiss: “Next!”.

Vox angelica. Double diapason.

Heavy black shoes below his cassock

tap-dance salvoes of basso profundo

which shudder through holy stone.

Bourdon. Choralbass. Bombardon.

At service’s end he improvises

seamlessly and interminably

while my stomach gurgles for its dinner.

Piccolo. Tuba harmonica. Chimney flute.

Like all fathers he wanted me

to complete his unfinished recital

but offspring must play a different tune:

Vox humana. Kazoo and spoons.


Brian Young




As my clear thought slackens off,

excess hours wait stimulus,

inhibitors desert their post,

and concentration loses route

the sport of letters, play on words –

treble score, scrabble musical –

becomes my Ludo, freedom game.


The treasured island I oversee:

a case of books whose upper tier,

of my mother tongue by rites,

contains the working management.

Their cover, blurb of selling talk,

make-up artist, focus eyes upon the best,

publicity drive, protection racket;

so watch your back, a hardened case,

spineless unless we challenge it?


I crave etymologies,

tap roots to reveal history;

who writes the record of idea,

predominates in language rights.

Eroteme conclusion best brought to book;

if revelation completes the work,

mine discovered, not theirs to state.

Those closing terms enclosed

brings the bookend, held in place

by weighty words, interrogatives?


Stephen Kingsnorth


Editor’s notes

Tough Cookie

A poignant poem about the effects of dementia written with a light touch and humour. I particularly like the delicious simile at the end ‘wears pride/ like bright pink dancing shoes.

Not a nail in it

Another poignant poem with some lovely phrases. I love the metaphor at the beginning wit the table described as being ‘the colour of shortcrust pastry’. It offers a glimpses into an early age where useful household objects are dearly valued and the bible was the place to record generations of a family.

Aslan in CSLewis Square

The sculpture of Aslan is acutely observed in this quirky poem. I love the ending.

Another quirky poem and a great tribute to intrepid postman like the one featured. I love the detail in the postman’s explanation.

“Too Much Snow on Monday”

Another quirky poem and a great tribute to intrepid postman like the one featured. I love the detail in the postman’s explanation.

Reading Patterns

I love this very original and complex poem where the poet begins with the universe and them zooms in on a small point in time and past memories, the hint of past lives.

If you look hard enough

This poem follows on beautifully from the last one. In this one we are asked to imagine  a simpler time before technology  where we might look up and peer at the moon and imagine figures and magical creatures, maybe parallel worlds.

Last Bend into Rye

A very graphic poem written with compassion, comparing the aftermath of death for a small animal and contrasting it with the pomp and ceremony of a human funeral,


The beginning suggests that the accident is the usual type of roadkill, a feral dog, so the snake is a surprise and adds a lot of depth to the poem, with the poet bringing in mythological and biblical references. The scene setting and tension are captured with an economy of words.

Turning the pages

A sombre portrait of a father. I love the sustained metaphor.


A moment of boredom leads to a philosophical reflection about the roots of language and a considered indictment on an industry that seeks to sell books with covers that make false promises, perhaps?