Featured Poets, August 2018                     home page
 

Ann Alexander       Isabel Bermudez       Daphne Gloag       Gill Horitz       Lesley J Ingram       Carolyn King       Hylda Sims       Joolz Sparkes       Jill Townsend       Nola Turner       Robin Winckel-Mellish       Dilys Wood       Lynne Wycherley      

Ann Alexander

Ann Alexander won 1st prize in Mslexia’s poetry competition (2007), and Bedford Open (2007). Other prizes include the Frogmore, BBC Poem for Britain, Grey Hen, and Peterloo. She lives in Stratford upon Avon now.

To the front, as night is falling

Those who set up home by the sea
must consider the tides, and we do.
 
At the end of the day we walk to the sea, and talk
of the incoming, outgoing, neap and full,
high, ebb, spring and flood of the tides.
 
We consider the moon that sucks the tides;
full, horned, gibbous and pale,
waxing and waning, ringed and red.
 
The children, the ecstatic dogs,
louche youths under the granite walls,
have gone to earth.
 
Unobserved,
we sniff the wind that tickles the waves:
simoom, sirocco, willywar, breeze;
dip our squealing toes in the gravelly sea;
imagine the world that lies beneath –
its mountains and rifts, its wrecks, its bones;
the uplifting, collapsing of rock.
 
      Each morning he gets up,
      shakes his memory and the day to life –
      and if his eyes, his ears, his legs
      are every day a little less,
      the balance holds.
      Evening will come.
 
Walk me to the sea, he says then,
holding out his hand
to save me from drowning.
 

Ann Alexander

First Prize, Grey Hen Poetry Competition 2013 and published at www.greyhenpress.com;
Published in Old Things (Ward Wood 2016)

Publications: Old Things, Ward Wood, 2016
Too Close, Ward Wood, 2010
Nasty British & Short, Peterloo Poets, 2007
Facing Demons, Peterloo Poets, 2002
Essential Poems for Britain, Harper Collins, BBC

35 Mansell Street
Stratford upon Avon
Warwickshire
CV37 6NR
  
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Isabel Bermudez

Isabel Bermudez lives in Kent. Her chapbook collection, ‘Extranjeros’ (2015), is available from Flarestack Poets. Her full collection ‘Small Disturbances’ is published by Rockingham Press (October 2016).

Heron speaks

He says again, he
doesn’t know how he used
to fit everything in,
 
he doesn’t know where it goes,
the time, it just evaporates…
Watching from the balcony
 
it’ll all be wound up he says,
by the end of next year,
the old brewery

 
as two huge metal tanks
suspended in air like flies in aspic
are lowered over its brick wall
 
onto waiting barges
bound for elsewhere
and I find myself thinking
 
of odds and ends, how it was
always he who used to say, Don’t fret…
Now he sees it go,
 
a barge that slips away
as light returns again:
the empty river’s trick
 
a gleam of silverware,
those centuries of beer,
ship-loads of sugar, yards of steel
 
whose yellowed ledgers state
in neat black script
their clear economy of
 
trade and deficit, while love,
the one timepiece that endures,
waives past debts,
 
and borrows only to exchange,
is like the strange December moon,
the long-night moon,
 
keeper of the light, of human dust
and the vanished years, clocking
the measure of our fate.

 

Isabel Bermuez

in collection Small Disturbances

Publications:
Small Disturbances, 2016 (October), Rockingham Press, ISBN 978-19048516-6-0
Extranjeros, 2015, Flarestack Poets, ISBN 978-1-9064804-2-4

Address:

2 York Rise
Orpington
Kent
BR6 8PR  
Isabel Bermudez at poetry p f
 
e-mail Isabel Bermudez

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Daphne Gloag

Daphne Gloag lives near London. Many poems have appeared in magazines etc, especially since she retired from medical publishing. A third book, Beginnings, is due in 2013. The end of the title poem won a Second Light competition first prize.

Dark Matter *

That Volvo must be doing 70, I said
as we drove home from the museum. Words
as bridges, the road smooth as thought, sun low,
its brightness undone. Not so much traffic now.
Words as cushions. The engine’s so quiet, you said.
 
It was a kind of peace.
What did you like best today? I asked you. –
Well, the wise men – their huge star – on that ivory…
oh look at that,
I knew that car would pull out.
My silent agreement merged with the quiet.
 
Long as memory it seemed, the road:
it could have gone on for ever, knowing nothing
of the souls it carried.
Today, I said, won’t last for ever
but our poems will remember it.

 
Clarity of being, bright surfaces
plain to see. Nothing to explain, except the comfort
of the banality of breath, except the ease
of words and silence
smooth as our speed,
 
except the way
two beings were held together by their hidden life,
just as in the galaxies
what cannot be seen
holds together the luminous stars.
 

Daphne Gloag

*Invisible matter – dark matter – is generally thought to be the main reason for the gravity holding the galaxies together.
 

Poem published in earlier version in Ambit and, as part of the long poem sequence Beginnings, in the collection Beginnings and Other Poems.

Publications:
collection, Beginnings and Other Poems, 2013, Cinnamon Press, £8.99
collection, A Compression of Distances, 2009, Cinnamon Press, £7.99
collection, Diversities of Silence, 1995, Brentham Press, £4.50

Address:
12 Ludlow Road
London
W5 1NY
 
Daphne Gloag at poetry p f
 
e-mail

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Gill Horitz

Gill Horitz has worked in the arts for over 30 years. She co-edited South 47. Her work has been published/placed in various magazines/competitions, including a shortlisting for the Bridport Prize. She belongs to a Poetry Group run by Paul Hyland.

What Lies in the Winter Wood

End of day, end of year – and she’s thinking what’s next,
her head against the pane and the wind slamming the gate.
 
When she looks up, the trees are moving through the half light
towards her, through snow piled over the vanished road.
Not a single thought holds her back.
All the meanings held by the trees she remembers,
and how their barks can be unrolled and written upon.
No ordinary wood moves like this, and time is short.
 
Through the holly tunnels she sings a low song to the owl
and the night leans down, savouring her wintry breath.
What will I take from this? she thinks, looking back
as the moon hurries her along. To believe just once
that such a place exists, the imaginary heart
where everything worth moving towards lies.
 

Gill Horitz

Poem published in Smiths Knoll, Issue 50

State of Play Arts
 
e-mail Gill Horitz

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Lesley J Ingram

Born in Doncaster, Lesley lives in Ledbury. She runs the Herefordshire Stanza, and has been printed here and there – is working on everywhere. It may take some time.

Unzipping

This is more than dibbing in, but not quite
rifling through. The zip defensively tooth
and nail, bites, snatching the tremor from my skin,
scratching my rouge noir. Deep breaths.
This has to be against some law.
 
I finger-skim the surface shapes, reading
the contents like braille, a sharp edge, a cold key,
a press of leather, a prickling of guesses.
Time washes in, pools in the notebook
I know holds your days, your
coffee mornings, keep fit classes, chemo
 
dates. Your variations in temperature.
I recognise your lipstick mirror by the ring
of bling round its top. I can’t open it.
I would see you. Drowning in your Youth
Dew, choking in your tissues and
mini-sudukos, half-dying
 
in the deeping and the laws
of nature … I see you shake your head.
‘Dive in’, you say, ‘dive in – we have no secrets
you and me’. Already half way round
the bend I nod. Had. You mean had.

Lesley J Ingram

* written for the theme ‘Into the Deep’

Poem published: Mslexia, April 2010

Publication:
Scumbled, 2015, Cinnamon Press, ISBN 978-1-909077-72-0, £8.99

Lesley J Ingram website
 
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Carolyn King

Carolyn King is widely published in magazines & with three poetry collections. Competition successes over the last few years include 1st in Second Light and in Poetry on the Lake formal category and twice shortlisted for the Manchester Poetry Prize.

Nectarine
for my son

I haven't seen him since the operation: major, he tells me–
the whole right foot sliced open like a ripe peach.
 
I remember soccer practice long before fervour led
to serious injury; lusty kicks from a new child-prodigy –
unborn striker, matchless –playing extra time.
 
He says they yanked the stitches out today –
like a football bootlace –one excruciating pull; the pain
was indescribable. I remember –hope the outcome
 
will be worth the agony (it was for me!) –
hearing the victory cry and seeing crumpled leather
smoothed, as on a last, into surprisingly familiar features;
 
counting fingers, toes and lucky stars;
caressing sturdy little feet (alive and kicking!) –
perfect as fresh-plucked peaches, un-desecrated
by the surgeon’s knife.
 
I should be there for him, cleansing his scar,
soothing with oils, healing with kisses,
bandaging his hurt in soft white linen.
 
Now the umbilical cord is a telephone line:
I say, "Add salt to the bath-water" – exalt
its healing powers: remind him that I’m speaking
from experience.
 
Images of another mother flood my mind,
a sweet juice dripping, viscous, through her sticky fingers,
salt tears flowing into an open wound,
 
bathing her first-born’s ravaged feet
with a compassion tearing at my heart,
her tender ministrations rendered fruitless.

Carolyn King

Latest publications:
Caviare and Chips, Human Writes, 2004, ISBN 0 9531860 2 4, £5.99 (from Carolyn)

Woodleigh East
Madeira Vale
Ventnor
Isle of Wight
PO38 1QU
 
tel: 01983-852593
 
web-pages on poetry p f.
 
e-mail

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Hylda Sims

Poet, song-writer, novelist and co-founder and organiser of the popular Fourth Friday music and poetry event at the Poetry Café in Covent Garden, Hylda has published a narrative poetry sequence, a novel and one poetry collection, Sayling the Babel.

Hylda serves on the Second Light Network committee (see more... link below).

Down Choumert Road

there’s daffs, a quid three bunches
new season’s spuds, thirty pence a pound
six limes fifty pence. fresh crimson chillies
capers, cardamoms, cumin, puzzles of ginger
eddoes, mangoes, melons, ackie, chow chow
pale dimpled breadfruit, manioc rough as bark
 
fans of skate on marble, shark fin, turbot
huss, bass, goat-fish, ink-fish in a bucket,
Goes well with custard, want some parsley with it ?
His rubbers slub a nifty riff, Here George,
he scuds a mullet; rhythm’s pummelling on
from Blue Beat City – Rap and Ragga, Reggae
Hip-Hop, Ska; Not like the old days
is it, Mrs Lady?
He winks, you won’t remember,
cabbage, cod on Friday, forever Crosby
crooning Easter Bonnet on the wireless
.

Hylda Sims

Poem published:
Reaching Peckham (pamphlet and CD), 1996. Set to music and performed at Dulwich Festival;
in anthology What Poets Eat, ed. Judi Benson, Foolscap, 1994;
performed on BBC’s The Food Programme

Publications:
Sayling the Babel, poetry collection, Hearing Eye, 2007;
Inspecting the School, novel, LibEd, 2000, avail from Seven Ply Yarns, c/o 148 Crystal Palace Road, London SE22 9EP. £9.00 incl p&p;
Reaching Peckham, 1996

web-site
 
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Joolz Sparkes

Joolz Sparkes is a poet and fiction writer based near the Arsenal football stadium. She reads at various spoken word nights and was shortlisted for The Bridport Poetry Prize 2010. None of her poems are about football.

Gloucester Reimagined
    A dedication to anyone who gets dug up in a car park 200 years later

Now is the winter of our user generated content
Made glorious summer by this sun of Steve Jobs;
And all the clouds that unhappy faced upon our cribs
In the deep bosom of the t’internet buried.
 
Now are our status updates bound with victorious emoticons;
Our bruised texting thumbs hung up for monuments;
Our stern whatevs changed to merry alright bruvs,
Our dreadful hunched shoulders to delightful massages.
 
Grim-visaged reality TV hath smooth’d his wrinkled front;
And now, instead of mounting crowdsourced steeds
To fright the souls of fearful pop-up adverts,
He capers dimly in a virtual lady’s chamber
To the lascivious pleasing of a webcam.
 
But I, that am not shaped for IT support,
Nor made to court an amorous chat roulette;
I, that am rudely stamp’d, and want love’s majesty
To sext a wanton ambling nymph with naked pictures of myself;
 
I, that am curtail’d of this fair proportion,
Cheated of social skills by dissembling nature,
Deformed, unfinish’d, posted before my time
Into this videoed world, scarce half made up,
And so lame and awkward
That dogs bark at me as I watch them on youtube
 
Why, I, in this weekly updated time of peace,
can hide behind a screen and keyboard,
and spy on my ex partners on facebook
And post false pictures hiding mine own deformity:
 
And therefore, since I can prove an emotionally cheating lover,
To entertain these fair well-emailed days,
I am determined to prove an internet troll – obvs
And unlike the idle pleasures of these days.
 
False rumours have I spread and dangerous comments made,
hacked into accounts and unfriended many,
To set people I have never met
In deadly hate the one against the other:
 
And if they all be as true and just
As I am subtle, false and treacherous,
This day should I be blocked or reported
About the posting of a prophecy, which says that
Of Kate and Wills’s heirs the murderer shall be P for the press.
Dive, thoughts, down to my soul let me retweet this:
 
@thebard: For all the world’s a web and we but voyeurs on it. A tale told by a tweet signifying 140 characters of #nothing.
 

Joolz Sparkes

Footnote: Special thanks goes to the timelessness of William Shakespeare.

Publications:
Loose Muse, Autumn Anthology 2012 published by Morgan’s Eye Press, ISBN 978-0-9554303-5-0, £8

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Jill Townsend

Jill Townsend has had poems published in many magazines and in the anthology Images Of Women. She has also had work included in over 60 children’s collections. For the last 35 years she has lived near the Surrey and Hampshire border.

Sun Block

At last the sun gives some warmth.
My body unwinds, learns itself
sinuous as the river.
Sweet grass flows beneath my hand
like the hair of an overheated child.
 
Through half-closed eyes I see
a swan, his little orange paddles
powering against the calm,
the barely resisting water.
 
My eyes close. Seed heads hiss
and part to the sudden shadow
of his spreading wings:
                                                  a shuddering
glimpse of no future trembles through me
and a voice saying Easy, Leda.
If I cry the grass scatters.

Jill Townsend

First published in the Agenda on-line supplement to the Rilke issue, Vol.42 3-4 and in print in Seeking Refuge ed. Jan Fortune (Cinnamon press)

web-site
 
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Nola Turner

Nola Turner lives in South East London and came to writing poetry late but is making up for lost time. Themes include relationships, the state we are in and politics writ small.

On the Road

Most trees have shed their leaves
but here and there some scraps persist,
a camouflage of khaki brown;
in hedgerows spikes of hawthorn
flash berries scarlet raw.
 
A mud clad fox, back snapped in two,
is wedged among the gutter muck;
past victim of the speeding cars
that zip along this stretch
of sub-suburban road.
 
With opaque eyes wide open
and mouth set in a grin,
he seems to sneer at his demise;
rank carcass on a short-cut route
from Minns to Sittingbourne.  

Nola Turner

Highly Commended, Penge Poetry Competition, 2016

e-mail Nola Turner

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Robin Winckel-Mellish

South African-born Robin Winckel-Mellish lives and works in the Netherlands. She has worked as a freelance journalist for many years and runs a poetry critique group in Amsterdam. Recent publications in Versal and Dvoice.

The Leaf Rakers

Out of nowhere they appear,
women the colour of autumn,
scraping the heels of moon hills,
sweeping the bones of borders
 
as if sleepwalking.
Kraal women raking dust,
loose as water, rippling vessels
of clay and sepia, swathed infants

bundled on their backs.
Slack as cobras, broken shadow
is transmuted on paths
and pools and garden walls –
 
earth bodies. And I in silk gown
breakfast on mango and papaya
as crackling twig brooms herd
the bonanza spilled around.

Robin Winckel-Mellish

Poem published: Versal 5

Address:
van Bronckhorstlaan 2
2242 PX Wassenaar,
the Netherlands.
 
tel: 31 70 5114800
 
e-mail

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Dilys Wood

Dilys Wood has connections to Wales, Yorkshire, London and Sussex. She returned to writing in late middle-age and founded Second Light in 1994, her interest in greater opportunities for women having been re-inforced by her experience as Secretary of the Women’s National Commission.

Dilys is the founder and organiser of Second Light Network. (see ‘More’ link below)

Mid-wife

A poem is as new as beginnings,
as fresh as the first day at school.
 
A poem is as bright as our admiration
for courage, our respect for freedom.
 
A poem is as early as the first leaf,
as white as the most swan-white cloud.
 
A poem is a drop of rain, a little
convex mirror with the prime of day in it.
 
A poem is so raw, so young that it has grown
no first, second or third skin.

Dilys Wood

Publications:
Antarctica, Greendale Press, 2008 (all proceeds to Second Light Network funds). Direct from Dilys, £5.95.
Women Come to a Death, Katabasis, 1997.

address: 3 Springfield Close
East Preston
West Sussex
BN16 2SZ
 
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Lynne Wycherley

Lynne Wycherley finds herself drawn to light-haunted landscapes – a legacy, perhaps, of childhood by the Fens. Her lyrical and sometimes metaphysical poems have featured widely. (Her recent prizes include the Second Light poetry competition and the E.A. Fellows’ Prize).

Leaving Burray

Beyond the Barrier, fear’s grey wall,
it appears from nowhere –
 
a strip of blue, transcendent blue,
as if a thousand kingfishers
fell from heaven.
 
Glance again and it’s gone,
mist’s sleight of hand,
its voltage trace still printed on your soul.
 

 
* Barrier – Churchill Barrier (Scapa Flow)

Lynne Wycherley

in collection Poppy in a Storm-Struck Field

Publications:
Poppy in a Storm-struck Field, 2009, Shoestring Press, ISBN 978-1-907356-00-1. £9.
North Flight, 2006, Shoestring Press.
At the Edge of Light, 2003, Shoestring Press.
Fens Poems (‘A Sea of Dark Fields’), 2000, Hilton House pamphlets.
Cracks in the Ice, 1999, Acumen Occasional Pamphlet Series.

e-mail Lynne

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