Autumn Showcase – September 2021

Monday, 6 September 2021

• Archive of all Poetry Space showcases

Editor: Susan Jane Sims

 

September seems to be a time for reflection and I have chosen poems that feel appropriate for this time of year. I have included a recent one of my own based on a theme I set my online poetry group – missing pieces. The photograph was taken by Chris Sims, during one of our walk at Charmouth. 

 

Summers remembered

 

When we were young

summers were long and hot

and yellow.

 

We cycled for miles, far

down country lanes, our

skirts flying.

 

We explored high-hedged

lanes, followed signposts to

unfamiliar places.

 

We investigated an abandoned

cottage, I remember, pushing open

its half-open door.

 

We wiped down dusty windows,

picked wildflowers for its

kitchen table.

 

We lay, Maeve and I, in feathered

grasses, looked up at the sky

and talked  …. –

 

how we talked, of non-existent

boyfriends, the whys & hows

of love-making,

 

wondering what kissing

was like, how naked bodies

fitted together.

 

In those days, summers were

always hot, long and light

and yellow.

 

Moira Andrew

 

 

Woodland Fairies

after William Blake,

Tate Britain exhibition

 

There’s not much magic

in your life outside this hall.

Free your spirits, join

those pictured on the wall!

 

They cast their arms to the wind

in giddy abandon, fine

in their flowing white robes  

of diaphanous design.

Puck, ever mischievous,

charms the king and queen

who stroll in wooded glade

gilded by starlit sheen.

 

Lightly touching the ground

the fairies might dance to the sky,

enchanting the watching gods

should they wish to try.

 

Sue Wallace Shaddad

 

 

Dreaming of Befana

 

I’d pick you up lift you up and hold you there

tight if I still had my arms

or my eyes. But in my dreams

we soar

side-by-side

(on matching broomsticks) just six feet over

an ocean not even on the map

yet Greek-island blue

deep, fathomless

and as wide

need

as we’d ever

and together we’ll never

get tired of flying

 

Roy Duffield

 

 

Shadow puppets

 

Trees jive

in the bitter wind

shadow puppets

strings lost in the gloom

performing

a macabre dance

as night falls.

 

Widow women

sob, tears teetering

on their cheeks

like snow-pearls

as they trudge towards

the winter woods,

scissors in hand.

 

The mad music

is too much to bear

and they remember

when jazz was king,

when they danced with

their men until dawn

reddened the sky.

 

In full black skirts

they twist and whirl

beneath the trees

snapping at shadows

to bring puppets

to their knees, dead

men from their graves.

 

Moira Andrew

 

Madely Atlas

 

Under the bed in lost darkness

was an atlas, ideas of our world,

sounds that once were, shapes familiar.

 

Countries lined up, argued, competed

winds surged, seas roared, sun fixed.

No one saw or heard this lost world.

 

No one heard the daily stories,

saw proud emblems, faded coast.

Centuries pass, edges crinkle.

 

Wars clashed and exploded,

kings and queens were crowned,

adored, hated, some beheaded.

 

Small people worked hard, tilled,

planted, spun wool, baked bread,

till the tractor and the factory came.

 

The atlas lived her secrets, her plans

her dreams, in hope, in years,

lately lost in dark oblivion.

 

Judy Dinnen

 

Sky

 

In the time of day when the sun

grows tired and seeks shelter in darkness, comes a single moment, framed through windowpanes of glass,

like a glossy, pristine postcard

One dusk, the orange sky is streaked with brushes of champagne and gold tasting of passionfruit and victory,

as if immortalized by caresses of

an artist’s hand

The next, storm grey stains the horizon, purpling and spreading like

bruises from a warrior’s fist,

Sharp slices from sharper knuckles

The day after melts turquoise into feathery shades of tangerine, reminiscent of childhood

Sweet ice cream that drips nostalgia,

Coloured swirls on disks of candy

Each moment is short, meandering away In the span of a life time, compressed

to an hour

Every day brings something new

Pain, happiness, heartbreak, joy

The only constant

is that the sun will rise and fall again

 

Claire Zhu

 

 

Virus and after

 

Boots slide on sticking mud. The ground that’s green

In summer, as if vaccinated, good

And firm to lie on, play on, now is soft

And only Covid safe for dogs and boots.

 

For weeks to come the cold knows where I’ve been;

It waits, as claggy as a viral load;

Ready for me whenever I am daft

Enough to walk. My unmasked dog sniffs roots

 

And snuffles in the grass. What’s not much seen

These days leaves traces in the sucking mud,

Tracks in the absent grass. What comes after?

Immune summer? Post-viral? The first fruits?

 

Michael Docker

 

Missing Piece

 

Grief is a whole new language. You say, he died, she died,

my beloved died, my darling died to perfect strangers.

And you detain that person for as long as they will listen.

Yesterday, last week, last year, five years ago

are places you want to be because that is when you were a mother,

a son, a daughter, a brother, a husband, a wife, a lover.

Tomorrow, next week, next year are places you can’t visit

because they add a day, a week, a year to the length of time

between you and that smile, or that laugh

or the way they used to brush your hair or tease you

out of your mood. You get older and you keep blowing out candles

and in every church of any faith you light one

even though you’ve stopped believing or have never believed

in anything beyond this life. The games you played together

have a missing piece.  Him, her, them, rolling the dice. 

 

Susan Jane Sims

 

 

 

 

 

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