Spring Showcase March 2021

Saturday, 27 February 2021

• Archive of all Poetry Space showcases

Editor: Susan Jane Sims

Photograph: Offa’s Dyke Path by Chris Sims

I had an amazing number of poems to choose from, for this edition. Themes included, Lockdown, climate crisis, loss, relationships and prejudice. I chose the following poems because they each spoke to me in some way. 


The Beech


My roots grip,



of the wall


where you’d


a god who’d failed

to save you,




trace my claws,

delve down into

the microcosm

from which I grew


and you may find

an image of a god

who may so

deliver you.


M. Anne Alexander


 This beech tree stands at the altar at Bayham Abbey, Kent, ruined since the Dissolution.




A dream that is hazy like most others, Where I can almost see

pure shafts of gold piercing through prisms of crystallized aqua waves, Where I can almost hear

triumphant calls of seabirds with wings

full and unbound and free in an endless eternity, Where I can almost feel

the sharp clarity that only

untouched breezes can inflict in my throat,

The dream is limited like most others,

and I wake up and see the world for what it truly is: Smoking skies, choking plastic, gasping breaths

But if I squint and look hard enough, tilt my head and pierce through the haze,

I could almost be dreaming again.


Claire Zhu




Purgatory is a warm gun



Way below the dusty plain

Where only the devil knows you name

There is a man called Bastard Jack

A mean motherfucker with a shotgun smack 

Waiting for a woman who isn’t coming back


Every morning at the crack of dawn

Jack goes down to the railroad track

Looking for a plume of smoke 

Which he thinks is a sigh of hope

And every day’s the same

But his patience never wanes 


Far away on a rocky hill

There’s a gal called hardnosed Jill

She left a man who loved her right

For a man who beat her up until  

She filled that fucker full of lead

Then hardnosed Jill had fled


All day she thinks of the man called Jack

Who drank and whored and beat her black

She smiles coz she’d sent him down to hell

But what her musings cannot tell

Is that heaven and hell are not the same to every given name


Way below the dusty plain 

Jack’s still waiting for the train

While higher up upon the hill

Sits Jill still thinking of her kill 

She doesn’t see the bullet hole

Where Jack had fired his 44

Or know they’ll spend eternity

On the opposite side of the same

Waiting for that train


Darren Frostick



Going home


Together on the number 11 bus

I with my bag, she with hers.


I asked to sit beside her,

She moved her bag, I sat, thanked her,

Said hello. I do this often.

Some respond, some don’t

She gave a flicker of a smile.

Good, I thought.


She moved, restless.

I looked at her, adjusting myself,


“When are you going home?

She asked suddenly.

“On my way” I said, pointing forward.

She was quiet for a second, then

“No No” she said, “I meant, home, home”

Shrugging one shoulder backward.


I understood.


“You mean where I came from originally?” I asked

“Huh”, she muttered.


“India”, I said, “I go from time to time, but it’s here where I live now.”

A pause.

“What about you, when are you going home?” I asked.

She looked startled

“I belong here” she said, almost indignant.

“What about your ancestors?” I asked

just as the bus stopped.

She didn’t answer as I got out.

It was the day after Brexit.


Leela Gautam


November 17, 2016

after Pat Boran’s ‘A man is only as good’


A woman is only as brave or angry or wise

as when they hammer on her door at 5 am

and she stumbles downstairs in her nightie

to hear them tell her to move her car.

She doesn’t give a monkey’s when they say,

‘Yes or no? Will you move your car!’ —

that’s guarding a quiet tree by her road.

A woman is only as brave

as when she turns her back on the men,

pulls her joggers and coat over her nightie,

sticks her bare feet in her Crocs

and goes outside, only as brave as when

she plants her feet where her car was parked

before they hauled it away.

Can a woman do more

than stand under a quiet tree

in the few minutes left

before a man in high viz

dismembers it?


Jenny Hockey


Black lace


Winter trees,

their naked branches

writing poems

like promises

on the skyline.


Each word,

every rhyme

part of the pattern

in the intricate tracery

of pure black lace.


They hide

the new green

of spring deep

as a curtsey, a promise

in petticoats.


So we look up,

strain to read

the lines of poetry

in bare branches

lacing the horizon.


Not yet, not yet,

the poems chide,

A promise given

is a promise kept

and the branches


two-step in the breeze.


Moira Andrew



I Miss


your sweet smile,

gentle replies calling

the carers darling


the way you wanted

to give a gift to visitors

you barely knew


the chats we had

over collaged books

of pets, flowers, birds


your voice humming

‘We Three Kings’

whatever the season


those moments when

the mother in you

asked after me


Sue Wallace- Shaddad



The house at no. 5


I have found peace here.

the slow amble of the sheep,

the tremble of the leaves,

the soundless swoop

of the swallow;


the unflinching grey

of the hearth, the slow

drip of the wax, the whisper

of the corner clock, the squeak

of the floorboards, distant

laughter of children;


the gentle blush of the poppy,

the solemn trinity of stone,

ancient landscape of hills,

mines, the permanence

of misty mounds.


Can I package this, bring it

away with me?


Judy Dinnen


Geordie Lass

(The ‘Yellow book’ mentioned in this poem refers to a medical record book that had to be completed daily)


Her bonny face was wet with tears as she got out of bed,

“Please don’t make me go to school.”

“No school today” I said


She’d sometimes sit and sway a bit, as I stroked her soft grey hair,

“Where are the girls? Must find the girls,

For they are out somewhere.”


The words all scrambled, tumbled out and then they ran away,

Must remember medicine, can’t go to school today.


Clothes in wardrobe,

Handbag, wardrobe floor,

Toothbrush and paste in bag

hanging on wardrobe door.


Must put clothes away

Tablets in the drawer

Cathryn’s number

Folding clothes

I can’t do this anymore.


Searching, seeking, rummaging,

Raking through my mind

Trying to hold on,

 to whatever it is I find.


Please love me

Please love me

I’m falling through my mind

Everything falling down but me, 

I’m falling up and up you see

I can see all I used to be.

I so want to sit quietly


And read

But the words won’t stay on the page

In fact, the troublesome words won’t do what they’re told

Because I am old

They disobey, won’t do what I say

They tumble and tumble and tumble away

They seem to forget what they mean


I try to remember yesterday, but it goes away

It will not stay.

Monday doctors

Tuesday someone comes

Gloves in cupboard in the hall

Strangers in the house

Don’t know them at all.


“Pete, the girls, the girls, must find the girls

I’ve lost the girls, must find the girls!”

The panic rising,

Out she goes,

Out into the rain

Wandering down the unknown years

frightened and in pain


Spectacles in case, on the windowsill

Yellow book on the shelf,

It is in the forgetting, that I find myself


I found my voice from long ago

A bonny lass wye aye,

We’re gannin’ along the Scotsward road

Laughin’ until we cry


In my forgetting, some things are remembered yet

Divvin’ drive m’ dreams away

Give us a cuddle pet


Laughin’, Love, betrayal, death

All things come to pass

Be assured, Joycey hinny

You’re a canny Geordie lass


Her bonny face was wet with tears as she got out of bed,

“Please don’t make me go to school.”

“No school today” I said


Cathryn M. Spiller




I wake up 

side-down on a Twisted mappamundi 

Silk carpet, shaken undulating spineless Himalayan Road 

carrying me North 


infinite elven-blue bays and 


and lakes of Indochina 

dream and 

forgotten, well-known 


secret garden of 

sequoia trees taller 

than a million men 

than a million of me 

or me 


than a millionth of 

a sequoia tree all I know 

it’s where 

I’m trying 

to be. So 

I go. 

I wake up-


Roy Duffield 


Editor’s Notes


The Beech – An interesting poem about humankind’s failure and the triumph of nature/

Dreaming – A poem by a young poet aged 16, yearning for change and an end to the destruction we are inflicting upon this planet.

Purgatory is a warm gun -I love this country and western style story of a doomed relationship. It is written with a black humour.

Going Home – I like the factual style of this poem that left me dwelling on a troubling conversation.  

November 17, 2016 – I love the ironic style of this poem narrating an incident that must have been scary. The repetition works well.

Black Lace – Beautifully worded, atmospheric and sensual, this poem is as much about the act of writing a poem as it is about what is being observed and felt.

I miss – Gorgeously understated, this poem brings the person missed very much to life. This resonated with me, having lost a parent to dementia.

The house at no. 5 -A lovely poem that sums of what a house can mean to its occupier and how the thought of leaving is so very hard. 

Geordie Lass – A poignant poem, addressing dementia. Love the ending and the snippets of local dialect in the dialogue.

North by Southeast – Seemingly about a dream but really addressing how small we are in relation to nature.