Featured Poets, December 2018                     home page
 

Isabel Bermudez       Amanda-Jane Burrell       Gill Fothergill       Hilary Hares       Danielle Hope       Carolyn King       Kaye Lee       Melinda Lovell       Jenny Morris       Julie Sampson       Anne Sherry      

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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Amanda-Jane Burrell

Amanda-Jane Burrell has spent the last 30 years travelling the world while working within the fields of education and communication. She spends her time with her self-made extended family in Beirut, Egypt, Cyprus and the UK

Jerusalem

I asked
What happened to Jerusalem?
 
A city that “used to was”
Maybe no more than a dream
Man’s final icon or just a mirage?
A folly perhaps just to charm the innocent
With hope of eternal deliverance.
Remember too the holy wars,
Even with such careless neglect of confidence
And destiny’s early demise
A final fantasy was born
A tragedy in disguise
 
I asked again
What happened to Jerusalem?
 
I remember before … the days
When mushrooms were for breakfast
Rather than orange, luminous and menacing
Raging against the winter sky........
What was that?
I hear a rustle
Nothing but a feral cat
Searching the rubble for the remains
those of some infected rat
 
I ask again: a third and final time
What happened to Jerusalem?
 
A cloud still hangs there
Thankfully the darkness has lost
Its shape and substance
Roads now, alas are smouldering rubble
As the smell of oil and death remains
Still wafting across the hillside
We lived there once,
We cried,
Once upon a time…
Before we died.

Amanda-Jane Burrell

e-mail Amanda-Jane Burrell

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Gill Fothergill

I have written poetry off and on thoughout my life. Now that I have retired from teaching the urge comes more frequently.

To Pam
The Neighbour I have Never Met

I read your cook book, its pages stiff
With stains, hand-written notes skewiff,
Fiery sweat and a floury hand.
For you, Pam, nothing frozen or canned.
 
Loved wife, I know you only by repute.
He lists fondly your every attribute.
Truly, for him, you are just next door,
He will always await your step on the floor.
 
I know you bought fresh produce only
I bet you inspected market stalls closely.
Did you like to chat with with the greengrocer?
Ask the baker to see the loaf up closer?
 
I know that you and he liked walking
And would have seized the chance for talking.
I am sure you analysed the lives
Of children: their husbands and their wives.
 
I’ve seen you in some snapshots:
One young and slender, looking hot
In a black and white garden of your youth.
Can these pictures really reveal your truth?
 
Now Pam, I investigate your book
Searching for something new to cook,
And I can clearly hear your helpful voice
As you talk me through your recipe choice.
 
 
 
      I have decided to put poems that are very far from perfect (as if!) on my page. If I wait to achieve my best, it will never happen! Apologies for some poor scansion.

Gill Fothergill

e-mail

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Hilary Hares

Hilary Hares lives in Farnham, Surrey. Her poems have found homes online and in print and she has an MA in Poetry from MMU. Whilst waiting for the muse, she’s slave to a demanding bird table and lives in hope of meeting the perfect dog.

On sculptural figures looking out to sea

All Gormley’s kin each is his own man.
The local children call one Jeff.
 
They drown every day.
Like gods they have no smiles.
 
Sometimes Titian or Hockney
will paint them a dawn and,
 
when the tide recedes, jellyfish land
at their feet like green glass plates.
 
I watch as seagulls perch on their shoulders,
mirror their gaze, ask: Why stare so hard?
 
But they’re not letting on, their eyes fixed
as though they can’t bear to look down.
 
I persist: According to Frost nothing
we’re searching for is out far or in deep?

 
Their silence is deeper than the sea. I make
a final bid for conversation, tell them this:
 
I can see what’s happening behind you.
There’s no turning back.

 

Hilary Hares

Winner: Write by the Sea 2018 Literary Festival Competition, 2018

Publications:
A Butterfly Lands on the Moon, sold in support of Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice Care

e-mail Hilary Hares

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Danielle Hope

Danielle Hope founded and edited Zenos, a magazine of British and International Poetry, and is editorial advisor for the Literary Magazine, Acumen.

In the kitchen

I’ve heard voices for some time so I enter.
My father pauses mid-sentence, stares
at the black table leg. His eyes wary,
mouth open as if caught on camera
scrumping apples. The radio splutters softly.
 
How two years have shrunk him.
His spade hands now scooped out
as he struggles unsteadily to sit.
He has only the remnants of pride to force
his wooden breaths, shore his shoulders back.
 
‘Talking to mum?’ I ask. ‘It’s private
between her and me’. Outside a car passes.
He reaches to rub thick cream
onto where his right ankle still won’t heal.
The steady drip of the kitchen tap like a clock.
 

Danielle Hope

Poem published in collection, Giraffe under a Grey Sky, Rockingham Press

Publications:
Fairground of Madness, Rockingham Press, ISBN 978-1-873468-01-2, £5.95
City Fox, Rockingham Press, ISBN 978-1-873468-55-5, £6.95
The Stone Ship, Rockingham Press, ISBN 1873468 911, £7.95
Giraffe Under a Grey Sky, Rockingham Press, ISBN 978-1-904851-34-9, £7.99

Danielle Hope website
 
contact Danielle
 

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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.

The Last Waltz

That night you came in out of the rain
and danced me across the landing, dripping
puddles of moonlight like stepping-stones,
I knew the carpet would never recover.
 
You said you liked me soaked to the skin:
we steamed together.
 
You’d been celebrating all the way home
(7-6 on a penalty shoot-out!),
the soggy remains of a till-receipt from The Angel
still in your trouser pocket.
 
I didn’t give a toss about the carpet, confident
you were made of sterner stuff.
 
But I was wrong.
 
And I saw the re-play this afternoon
when I went to collect your dry-cleaned jacket
– the moon, the cloudburst and the blue shirt
cling-filmed to your wiry frame;
 
for it swung into view, along with a long line
of others, cloaked in cellophane, all swaying
in 3 / 4 time like the torsos of carcasses
waltzing on abattoir hooks.
 
And I hugged you to me, feeling as though
you’d been handed back again;
 
last-waltzing around the shop, irrespective
of puzzled looks from passers-by uncertain
whether to laugh or cry at the sight of a woman
so obviously deranged.
 
But friends who’d laid wreaths on your grave
and had known us for thirty years
would have smiled to each other,
seeing that little had changed:
 
I was dancing on borrowed time
– and you were legless.
 

Carolyn King

winner of Myeloma Awareness Poetry Competition, 2004 and published in The Interpreter’s House

Latest publications (available from Carolyn):
Caviare and Chips, Human Writes, 2004, ISBN 0-9531860-2-4, £5.99;
The Reunion, ISBN 0-9531860-0-8;
Lifelines, ISBN 0-9531860-1-6

Woodleigh East
Madeira Vale
Ventnor
Isle of Wight
PO38 1QU
 
tel: 01983-852593
 
Carolyn King at poetry p f
 
e-mail

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Kaye Lee

An Australian living in North London. Retired from nursing – time now to pursue a love of poetry. Published in various magazines and a prize winner in several competitions.

Hand in Hand

Years ago I held your hands
to guide you on the long
walk to hospital. Beneath
their patches your eyes
oozed tears to wash away
woodchips thrown there
by the giant saw.

Your hands were large,
calloused. Black sap
emphasized lines and folds,
darkened every nail. Skin,
brown and tough from the sun,
still let splinters skewer in –
you’d prise them out with Mum’s
fattest darning needle.

Though I led you, all
the strength of our bond
lay in your hands not
in my small, anxious
eight-year-old fingers.

When I hold your hands again
to help you from your wheelchair
mine are the weathered, rough hands,
yours are Persil white, baby soft.
You do not recall the pain
of penetrating wood and your hands,
calm, delicately trusting, accept
that now the strength is mine.

Kaye Lee

email

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Melinda Lovell

Melinda Lovell lives in the Cantal, France. She is much published in magazines The SHOp, The Frogmore Papers, Agenda, etc). Her collections are Walking the Hillside (Waterloo Press, 2015) and Breath and Sap (Chrysalis Poetry, 2018).

Woodlanders

For one August week they robbed me
of my walk, a loop in the woods.
An electric fence skewered the path
to stop their three sheep short
 
An odd economy. They forgot
their patch is an old right of way
for any shade-lover, same clan,
to pass by, hat over eyes
 
Why, with their courtly camps
scoring the glade with chores and games
sitting cool among berries and husks
in their rickety nut palace
 
did they forget my haunting
my scudding through shores of leaves
collecting nothing growing
but the ghosts between the trees?
 

Melinda Lovell

poem first published in Tears In The Fence

Publications: Melinda Lovell's second collection, Breath and Sap (Chrysalis Poetry; June 2018) is now out, and available from Melinda.
collection Breath and Sap, 2018, Chrysalis Poetry, ISBN 978-0-9956800-1-2. Avail from Melinda.
collection Walking the Hillside, 2015, Waterloo Press, ISBN 978-1-906742-64-5. Avail from Melinda. (Also as a Kindle book from Amazon). For 3 video clips of Melinda reading 3 poems from the collection, click on the following link: video readings.

Address:
Inchivala
Rouziers
Cantal, 15600
France
 
Melinda Lovell website
 
e-mail Melinda Lovell

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Jenny Morris

Jenny Morris writes poems and fiction. She has taught in the UK and abroad. Her writing has won awards, been published in numerous magazines and anthologies and read on radio. She has read at literary festivals and in prison.

Accident of Birth

The family tree can hold you fast
with ties of guilt or love or pride.
Opprobrium may haunt its past
but bonds of blood are sanctified.
Though you may choose your friends with care,
in kith and kin you have no choice.
Regarding them it may be rare
you find a reason to rejoice.
Yes, you can run away from home,
divorce your parents if you like,
escape from relatives and roam –
until you find you are alike.
Those inbred traits will bind you fast.
When you were made the die was cast.

Jenny Morris

Poem published in collection The Sin Eater, The National Poetry Foundation, 1993

Publications: Lunatic Moon, Gatehouse Press, 2006. ISBN 978-0-95547-700-3

e-mail

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Julie Sampson

Julie Sampson’s poetry has been widely published. Her debut collection Tessitura (Shearsman) came out in 2013. In 2009 she edited Mary Lady Chudleigh, Selected Poems (Shearsman) and she’s currently working on a second collection.

1894; Fran Skating on the Manor Pond

She skates over and around its frozen surface,
then spins a pencil-pirouette,
muffs blue-heat her hands
and from her waist a scarlet whirl of skirt.
In hazy light veins seem to break in olive eyes
as the blades of her boots refract the scratching ice
and under setting sun
her shadow is half a pulsating heart.
 
Ida, in the kitchen sits and snips
the corners of the paper folds.
Brittle like ice.
Deft, her fingers snip and snap then
rippling like a fan the row of skating dolls
holding hand by hand.
 
Robert, in the other room
turns a page.
His book about the Ministry
is a weight upon his mind.
 
His sisters are making their mark;
each enacts a secret lore
on a slated sheet of white,
figure skating on the land of open-space
and inscribing a serrated pictograph.
 
Even the tiny feet of each minute dancing doll
are chipped away to equip them with the sharpest razor cut.

Julie Sampson

The poem was runner-up in the Exeter Poetry Prize 1999; published in anthology Making Worlds; One Hundred Contemporary Women Poets, (Headland, 2003).

Collection: Tessitura, Shearsman Books, 2013, ISBN 978-1-84861-239-6
as editor Mary Lady Chudleigh; Selected Poems, Shearsman Books, 2009, ISBN 978-1-84861-048-4

Julie Sampson website
 
e-mail

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Anne Sherry

Anne Sherry is a Writer and Management Consultant. She lives in Winchester but travels widely. Her first collection, Safe Passage, was published in 2014.

Long View

Sirens howl, scream for attention
fog my mind, cloud my senses
leave me lusting for silence.
I check in, check out my case
obsess over your note
two jagged words, ‘Suite Thirteen’.
 
Later, after sashimi and Saki –
‘c’est devenu notre tradition’ you say –
a summer storm batters New York,
drains spout sewage, traffic overflows
and we wade along sodden sidewalks
through spouts of brown steam.
 
And much, much later
alone on the balcony
I listen to your breathing,
thirty-seven storeys high, no sky
the sleepless skyscrapers
bunch together like prison bars.
 
                     ~~~
 
I escape that world, serve time
in a blue and yellow flat
perched behind the Old Town Square
feed dumplings to a scraggy sparrow
and grow plump on Prague –
her golden towers, gilded domes
marionettes, Mozart, Mucha
crystal and culture.
 
Calm.
 
Sub zero temperatures delete thought
cleanse my nomad mind
my days are swallow-free
but at night, reproach and regret
pace my dreams
hot as a lover’s breath.
 
                     ~~~
 
Summers merge, winters pass.
 
A soft sound, sly as spindrift
the mosquito net judders
as I claw the sheets
a rag doll push-pulling a broken puppet.
I hear your voice
as the misty dawn breaks in my eyes.
 

Anne Sherry

Poem published: Norwich Writer’s Circle 39th Open Poetry Competition Anthology 2010

Publications:
Safe Passage, a memoir in poetry and prose, 2014, Ashbrook Publications, ISBN 978-0-9927930-0-5, £7.95 +p&p,
(proceeds after costs to Alzheimer’s Research UK, www.cpibookdelivery.com

e-mail Anne Sherry

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