Summer Showcase – June 2023

Monday, 29 May 2023

Archive of all previous showcases

Edited by Susan Jane Sims

Photograph by Susan Jane Sims


Putting Things Back Together Again


All the bits and pieces came in a box,

some in better shape than others.

They had next-to-no value except

for sentiment. Each chipped dish,

broken vase, had meant something

to you. I remembered them whole,

gracing a sideboard, a window sill.


I took the Chinese plate to a man

in antiques at the end of the road;  

he thought he could save it with

a light touch and glue. It now has

pride of place on my dining table

hosting a jug of daffodils. If only

my cracks could be mended too.


Sue Wallace-Shaddad



Hair spread over the pillow
              so soft and full of shine
a greying brown

             with strands of white.


You always look younger

             than your years
four score and fifteen


Your hands hold mine
             in their warm embrace


 as you negotiate your way
             from restless motion

                                   to peace


Sue Wallace-Shaddad



See how wensleydale crumbles 

the limestone, dry old moss

breaking drystone walls, 

sun beating, pale yellow hillside

bumblebees working with the monks.


Picnics: the sweet and salty.

Spiked waterfalls, the nettles, buttercups

my mouth filled with wensleydale cheese

the smoky taste, acidic flavour

touch the drystone walls.   

Johanna Boal


 Magician’s Gloves 

I wear magician’s gloves 

they move so speedily as they lay stone upon stone

rabbits run in the fields, secret doors 

the gaps in the walls, my gloves a strong fabric: 

canvas paints a wall of limestones

five foot high, edged with moss, 

blades of grass at the foundations

walls run into walls, cows, hawthorn  

fingers smoothing the creases in the corners. 

‘Ladies and Gentlemen’ my sledgehammer and mallet

a magic wand, abracadabra – poof.

Top stones, slick and shiny like top hats.  


Johanna Boal


A Letter Addressed to the Wind


I love you,

I love you as a friend

and as my sister.

And though no human

eye might ever with

empathy’s nuance

alight upon these penned

tear-blotted lines

as this paper, crinkled and tossed

to the winds, is torn

and drenched by storm,

lost and trodden down

on sodden soil – 

these written words still

carry significance today and

through as yet

uncounted years.


I love you,

I love you as once my

childhood delighted in its mother.

And though no human

ear may ever hearken

to the cry of this sad

separated self,

though grey cold ocean

deeps or dusty scorching

desert sands as shrouded

abysses lie


those winding wayward

paths our lives have stepped

since we met and with a

last pained wincing

glance parted those many,

many moons ago –

my words silently

spoken into the breeze

bear meaning this

moment and for seasons

still to be.


I love you –

though decades have whitened

waves of flowing hair,

dimmed those luminous

so expressive eyes,

though time has etched

crevices in that facial

glow and flesh sags

on once lithe and vital limbs,

though bones be boxed and buried

or cremated cinders strewn

in an unknown grave,

though starry heavens’ darkest

frosty night or secluded

forests’ scented

sun-illumined day


listen to my voice –

I love you,

I love you as my friend

and as a sister,

I love you as my daughter

and my mother,


and in vales hidden

in the eternal

I love you

as my beloved.


Keith Harris


The Brook, the Artist and the Poet

I swell with pride today
as they gather on my banks.
They belong to me,
hope with me,
travel with me,
the artist with a black hat
the poet with blue shoes.
They hope with me,
travel with me,
indulge my journey;
yes, even carry my soul
away to their town,
They draw my flowers,
turn mayfly to pink glass.
hang my portrait in galleries,
read my stories in schools.
They are part of my flow,
indulging my journey. They
mourn when my water is foul,
when the sun robs me of life.
I blush at the honour;
I flow faster,
bubble and swirl.
I travel on
beneath their bridges,
round the oak tree,
past stores and clinics.
And still
they sing with me
dance with me
travel with me
paint and frame me,
shout for me and
campaign for my rights.

Judy Dinnen



See, the sun is out. 

~a cult show~ 

Ninety percent chance of rain, 

predicted the experts. 

Nonsense,said the leader, 

The sun will shine. 

They arrived in shorts and T shirts, No rain jackets, no brollies. 

They listened to his words, 

Enthralled! Reason was lost. 

Rain came; a sudden downpour, 

Blinding eyes, soaking bodies. 

Arms stretched out in renewal 

of a forgotten sacrament, they felt sanctified. 

He stood under an awning, 

A divine presence untouched by nature.

As they walked away, glorifying their leader,

Rain was not mentioned. 

Someone looked up and pointed, 

See the sun is out, 

He said it would shine, 

It has.


Leela Gautam




In New York my nephew Rob writes plays,  and acts.

His wife’s an actor too. 

I never knew Rachel as a child but Rob

I remember at three 

wearing a series of different hats 

and rushing in and out to us, in the kitchen

totally absorbed in being someone else. 

Later when Rob had careers interviews at school

and had  suggestions made like traffic warden

or Sainsbury’s,  he said I want to act. 

Their little son

just three and a half goes to pre-school

in character. I’m Simon he’ll say

to his teacher and she’ll play along

and let him be Simon all day.

He’s Reggie in real life, and if anyone asks

they never get a short answer.

He’ll say I’m Reggie and sometimes Reggie Roo.

I’m also Reggie Mark Benson but today I’m Spider man

Yesterday he said he’s writing a movie in his head.

He wants his dad to film it. It’s about a skeleton chef who sings. 

I know exactly where he gets it from. 


Susan Jane Sims



The Mill


In the beginning, we plucked grain 

and ate it raw or roasted in the fire.

Then we ground grain in family querns, 

for many hours, to make our daily bread.

Then we paid the miller who paid monks 


who had built the mill, until

the mill was taken to make gunpowder

and then taken over to grind grain again 

but to convert to alcohol for gin palaces 

to transport the London poor into oblivion.


The mill’s darkened frame stands still,

awaiting restoration, as swans glide by,

glancing, turning, shaking their heads,

as if wondering how long a species 

that evolves this weirdly can last.


M. Anne Alexander


Travelling light


The sun slouched 

among passengers, dazzled 

by the wintry light, 


shuffling as they sat cocooned 

within snaking concertina carriages 

singing along frosted tracks, 


flitting through shimmering 

white-lit clouds and starched fields 

and twinkling trees.


As if barely aware, chattering children 

and couples with cases were setting out 

for airports and fresh worlds, while 


Welcome signs flashed at passing stations 

and tumbling ivy hinted of green 

shoots to come.


Then, the sun smiled, sharing  

bright gilding strings of light

as our stops came into sight.


M. Anne Alexander