Winter Showcase – December 2021

Tuesday, 30 November 2021

Archive of all previous showcases

Edited by Susan Jane Sims

 Photograph Winter Cliffs by Chris Sims 


The Tay On A Winters Day


Winter brings fresh resources, what fell as snow journeys to

the Falls of Dochart joined by water from the mountains

that surround till the Tay becomes a Salmon river and rushes

to the silver Loch that bares it’s name. From there it enters 

Macbeth country and vast armies of ancient trees whisper and

march to the water’s edge in rusty, dusty uniform, a thousand 

shades of red and brown in silent commute.  There are rapids

and small waterfalls to trap the unwary and you can catch a 

glimpse of the mighty fish there as streamlined bodies leave the

river and take for long seconds to the air twisting divers hanging

 on invisible wire. Thence on and on across countless unchanging 

miles the Clans might be gone but hills and forests still remember 

and the seasons still revolve. Aye the sun will rise on the falls and 

the coast and once again watch the journey East as the Tay flows.


Andrew Scotson


How Many Leaves?


They lie as fallen stars

fading elegies for lost souls.

How many footsteps

have crushed these once

bright dreams that waved

hello to spring

sang summer rhapsodies

before descending into

muffled winter.

I fail to count leaves

hearing only the crunch

of ghost boots.


Eileen Carney-Hulme



Like Paula Rego’s Woman as Angel 

for Sophie Sabbage, 1966-2021, author of ‘The Cancer Whisperer’ 


‘A very difficult patient,’ claimed your hospital 

notes. You were proud of that. Pushing consultants 

to the edge of what they thought they knew. 


I think of you as Paula Rego’s woman as angel, 

sword in hand, long skirt of gold that crackles 

round your thighs like thunder. 


Weaning you from life was never going to be easy. 

Seven years apprenticeship not long enough

for leaving Paradise. You didn’t want endless peace. 


You wanted action, wrestling for truth till people

got the smell of musk they’d always been seeking. 

I used to envy your myrrh and frankincense, 


those wise men who came to you, many offerings. 

How strange it is to talk about you in the past 

tense. When I heard you’d died, I walked 


down narrow country lanes, smelt autumn 

in the air, wondered why the sheet over 

the dead must be so opaque. 


Rosie Jackson


Shared Remembrance


Today we stored your memories

In a shiny proud ancient ceramic urn

We cast your legacy to the centuries

Planted in time’s ever green garden

Blew part of your remains to the east

After watching the surreal smoke

Rise in ancient ritual to hug the mist

In the sad air above the gates of York

We gave your assets to the homeless

As you had tasked us to do in your will

Their warm smiles of gratitude priceless

Shared stories of your deeds over a meal

We prayed & sang your favourite psalm

That your dear spirit may soon be back

As the long day waned into dusk’s calm

At your favourite park by old railway track

Tonight the stars shined brighter

Despite a light evening drizzle’s blurry lens

And the weight of your loss felt lighter

When every pixel of your life made sense


Steven Mwalusi 





You feel like an old jersey

I pull on, the lingering

comfort of hot chocolate,

the taste of butter

on a warm piece of bread.

It doesn’t take long 

to remember the contours

of your body, the soft slopes

of skin, the parting of lips.

We reach back into

our memories and talk

of the times we’ve spent,

make up for all those days

missed when absence

was forced upon our lives.


Sue Wallace Shaddad 



Cut flowers


Here, bright cut flowers 

represent raw grief, 

silenced by Life’s scythe.


Fresh-scented wood bars 

fence in these new fields,

but their scents will fade

and moulder, and decay,

like these flowers.


And yet these rows 

represent something 

surviving here: speaking 

not of what we did

but of how we loved.


We relate to this,

as to the earth

in which 

these flowers 

grew bright,


though cut…

to represent 

dark night.


M. Anne Alexander



A poem for Freya Marie born 14th September 2021


I stitch for you, a throw,

hem it lovingly with yellow

blanket stitch.


It’s soft against your face

and you respond

Your life here has begun,


with threads from all of us

and all who came before

now intertwined.


Your family is a loom

your backdrop for the life

you’ll get to know.


Susan Jane Sims




Bareheaded, I don’t have 

a black mortar board,

nothing to throw in the air

to mark achieving MA.

I fiddle with button and loop

to secure the yellow hood

draping down my back,

only it slips sideways

when the time comes

to walk across the stage.

Nothing is perfect but still

it’s an occasion to savour

as I did when both of you

passed that rite of passage,

my proud parent moment

when you took the next steps

towards coming adulthood.

And I remember my first degree

so many years ago when

I bowed my head to receive

the blessing of certification.

Little did I know then,

I’d be back in academia

with wisps of white hair,

my memory not what it was

as I put pen to paper,

drawing on the many hats

of a lifetime’s experience.


Sue Wallace-Shaddad



Plague Saint


In Rome, he’s fair-haired Rocco

framed in gold leaf. He holds a pilgrim staff.

His cloak is scarlet, his hose bright blue.

On his head, a jaunty hat.


In Spain, he’s known as Roque.

He looks out, pallid, haughty

his greyhound at his feet.

In his hand, a loaf of bread.


In France, they call him Roche.

Eyes haunted, coquettish, almost boastful,

he points at a pustule on his white knee.

An angel floats nearby.


In Ireland, he’s named Roch.

In stone, he stands atop an altar, 

Small dark silhouette. He flickers

in flames from votive candles


Perhaps it’s fitting in a plague

The designated saint is a shape-shifter

flowing effortless across borders.


Susan Castillo-Street





Over the fence his head goes

boing boing boing.  Ben, my next-door neighbour

nine years old, on his trampoline.

Near us, sirens wail.  A hospital’s nearby. 

Ben waves and grins.  I say, Hi neighbour.

He’s good at many things.


When food was hard to get

his mum would go out to the shops

and bring us things.  She’s teaching him at home.

We’d get a bill from Ben, artist-accountant, 

with rows of sums, drawings of ice cream, 

suns, apples, smiley faces.


Susan Castillo – Street