Featured Poets, May 2018                     home page
 

Marion Ashton       Amanda-Jane Burrell       Cora Greenhill       Kaye Lee       Jane McLaughlin       Sue Moules       Liz Parkes       Mary Anne Smith       Nicola Warwick       Margaret Wilmot       Pam Zinnemann-Hope      

You may also wish to listen to poem recordings that have been added to our (small but growing!) digital archive. We have poems there by:
 
Nadine Brummer, Daphne Gloag, Jennie Osborne, Mimi Khalvati, Lottie Kramer, Gill McEvoy (read by Anne Stewart), Maggie Norton, Elizabeth Soule, Jill Townsend, Marion Tracy and Fiona Ritchie Walker
 
Select and listen here               Poets of the Month (other dates)  

Marion Ashton

Marion gained a Creative Writing MA from Royal Holloway in 2010, tutored by Andrew Motion and Jo Shapcott. Her poems have appeared in a wide range of magazines and a Cinnamon anthology. Her first collection ‘The Threshold’ was published 2018.

Skitter of Wings

We drive mile after mile through Houston sprawl –
a flashing succession of leering signs:
 
shopping-malls, car lots, eating joints,
to reach the ferry across Galverston Bay. Reeling
 
in the heat of Texan sun, hassled by screeching gulls
We finally arrive and have this long sweep
 
of Bolivar Sands to ourselves. Strong wind gusts
in from the Gulf of Mexico, stirs up the ocean,
 
sends rollers crashing on the beach – to drift back
in rasping sighs. We walk in calm silence,
 
faces turned upward, gulping salt-spray air,
bare feet squelching warm, damp sand,
 
approaching a colony of birds: terns, herons,
pelicans, preening and calling in congregation
 
along the water’s edge. We lap up the display
wanting to get closer – when, as at a gunshot,
 
they go up as one – an Alleluia of flapping,
a shaken sheet lifted, a skitter of wings
 
along the ribs – lung-filling gasps as they wheel
the sky and that lone hawk swoops back inland.

Marion Ashton

Skitter of Wings was one of the 5 Highly Commended poems in Kent and Sussex Poetry Society Competition March 2020

Publications:
The Threshold, 2018, ISBN 978-1-9770342-1-2

Marion at poetry p f
 
e-mail Marion

Copyright© of all poems featured on this site remains with the poet

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Amanda-Jane Burrell is not currently a Member of Second Light.

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Cora Greenhill is not currently a Member of Second Light.

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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

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Jane McLaughlin

‘Tightly-wrought sequences and lyrical pieces … poignant and often surprising’ (Katherine Gallagher). Jane McLaughlin writes poetry and fiction. She has been widely published in magazines/anthologies; her first collection is Lockdown (Cinnamon 2016).

The Lacemaker Travels to Seville

The silver hook slips to and fro.
Dark head bent over red sweater,
in the next seat she nets
a fine white band. Fingers arched,
thumbs steady. Turn of the wrist.
 
The train gallops the latifundios,
Cordoba fades behind golden hills.
Slant orange sun descending
paints white villages, backlights her hair.
The work grows, precise as frost.
 
Her small bones and tendons learnt
this craft from women whose maths
was in their heads, patterns
of chequered mesh, stars, flowers,
eloquent as a Moorish ceiling.
 
It does not need words: the yarn
is hooked into its own language.
In the lexicon of human gestures
her movements mean this and nothing else:
I am making lace.
 
Flowing like high cirrus
it will trim an alb, perhaps,
or christening robe. Maybe
hem a sister’s wedding dress.
A rite begun, tissue of spider’s breath.

Jane McLaughlin

Highly Commended, Torbay Open Poetry Competition, 2015

Publications:
Lockdown, 2016, Cinnamon Press, link
The Abbot’s Cat (e-novella), 2014, Cinnamon Press, (Kindle, avail from Amazon) link
Quintet (poetry), 2005, Cinnamon Press
Quartet (short stories), 2004, Cinnamon Press

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Jane at poetry p f

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Sue Moules

Sue Moules has been published since she was eight. Her work has appeared in several magazines and anthologies; she has taught creative writing (children and adults) and is a Writer on Tour. She lives in Wales and has three children.

Nappies on my Neighbour’s Washing Line

Six weeks before the birth
of her third child, my young neighbour
hangs out great flags of nappies.
 
Peg and dip, peg and dip,
crescents of sky
between the white on white,
 
in her garden of plastic play shapes,
red, yellow, blue,
their strength unbleached by sun.
 
At night she leaves the nappies out.
Moonlight lets through curves of dark,
the white squares glow.
 
Such a row of perfect symmetry,
it stops my breath.

Sue Moules

Poem appears in collection: In the Dream Time.

Publications:
The Moth Box, Parthian, 2013. ISBN-978-1-9098440-7-0, £7.99,
The Earth Singing, Lapwing, 2010. £8
In The Green Seascape, Lapwing, 2009. £7.95
Mirror Image, a joint collection with Norma E Jones, Headland, 2009. £7.95
In The Dream Time, Flarestack, 2006; ISBN 1 900397 91 9. £3
The Copyright of Land, National Poetry Foundation, 2000.

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Liz Parkes

Liz Parkes, a former teacher, runs a writing group. She is a member of many of the local poetry groups and hopes to have a pamphlet published at the end of the year. She has work in Offa’s press anthologies as well as short plays performed locally.

Staffordshire Clogg Almanac

It hung from the mantle tree, belt or door in the Northern lands
where moor, lake and forest were tamed.
Rough hands took wood to fashion it, square it, a cubit’s length,
made a moon ruler of months, weeks, days;
marking time to turn furrow, plant, lie fallow.
 
For the watcher in the night, silvered by waxing and waning light,
there was no adjustment of quarter days
– he hooked his year to the moon.
Wise as a beast, he followed the plough across the winter skies.
 
On its four sides, one for each season, he carved his runes
obedient to his church, the festivals and fasts remembered by
a saint’s shoes, a love knot; a cross, a sword an axe.
He called them his Moon Ruler, Rimstock or Primestave.
These smooth stafas, shaped the name of a place that
took root, leaved and flowered.
 
 
 
note: A Clogg Almanac was a rod or ring marked with dates, religious seasons and planting seasons. The British Museum has some lovely examples.

Liz Parkes

Poem published in The Poetry of Staffordshire, Offa’s Press

Publications:
The Poetry of the Black Country, Offa’s Press, ISBN 978-0-9955225-3-4, £7.95
The Poetry of Staffordshire, Offa’s Press, ISBN 978-0-9565518-9-4, £7.95

Address:

 
Tel:
 
Liz Parkes website
 

e-mail Liz Parkes

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Mary Anne Smith

Mary Anne Smith’s work has been recognised in both national and international competitions, most recently including first prize in the 6th O’Bheal Five Words competition, and first and second prizes in Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry competitions.

Rural Living

One last time, before he leaves,
Hare writes his name along the skyline;
the twin strokes in the H of his ears,
the cursive ‘a’ of his pale brown face,
the ‘r’ in his resting rear legs, then a
brief glimpse of the sans-serif ‘e’ of his
neat white tail, and he is gone.
 
A cloud of purple Quaking-grass lies adrift
like a piece of fallen dusk, and with its
final breath speaks in a shiver of whispers
through the Fescue and Timothy,
Canary Grass and Cat’s-tail, Cock’s-foot
Dog’s Wheat, Holy Grass and Hare’s Tail.
 
In a blur of striated moth-wings the Lark rises,
following Icarus’ flight-path to the sun;
answering the call of the void, he offers up
one last high-pitched, unbroken chant for
his old territory as it disappears beneath him,
 
falling away
 
to lawns and a new order. They don’t have to
spell it out, but of course, they do. This is
after all what they call rural living,
this uniform co-existence, marked out
in lines of freshly sprung-up signs, all
neatly labelled and site-appropriate:
 
Skylark Heights
Old Meadow Way
Hare Court.
 

Mary Anne Smith

Tel: 07754 701278
 
Mary Anne Smith website
 
e-mail Mary Anne Smith

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Nicola Warwick

Nicola Warwick has had work in several magazines and competition anthologies. She has published two full collections. In 2018 she was awarded an MA in Creative Writing from the Open University.

Muntjac

At heart, I am a small deer
crossing a quiet lane.
You are always the driver
in a dark car
riding the bends.
You are pressed for time
so we meet
for the inevitable.
I always yield
to the force of steel,
rupturing the parts
I should have kept protected.
You continue,
a little winded,
metal scraping tarmac,
a crunch of gears.
I am left twitching
at the side of the road,
hoping you will catch me
in your mirror
when you look back.
 

Nicola Warwick

published in collection Groundings, 2014, Cinnamon Press

Publications:
The Knifethrower’s Wishlist, 2017, Indigo Dreams
Groundings, 2014, Cinnamon Press

 

e-mail Nicola

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Margaret Wilmot

Born in California, now living in Sussex. I am drawn by imaginative associations… memory, landscape, ideas, paintings, words. Writing, for me, is a tool for seeing; making connections, refining perception, always a search, some kind of amorphous truth the goal.

Clay-Lady

1
 
As Eve
 
The clay-lady steps forth
innocent as the child whose hands fashioned
arm-paws, hair-cape, the apple
she raises high as a chalice.
 
Her awkward radiance proclaims
a miracle: the first apple!
 
Salt-shine sprinkles her frock. A smile
cracks wide her face, emits kiln-light, and in its glow
we too see miracles:
 
a lump of clay – and look –
 
 
2
 
In Amsterdam
 
A clay-lady moves through
pewter streets. Her salt-freckled frock shimmers;
she leans high into her apple.
 
The burghers’ narrow hammered houses
cannot contain this fire-fangled clay. A smile cracks
wide her face, emits kiln-light.
 
 
3
 
In New York on a winter afternoon
 
The apple-woman sits
in the pewter chair, moon dimming in her lap.
Dusk filters through the gritty window,
absorbs, effaces
 
her salt-grey skirts, the strong dough-grey arms.
Her fire-fangled yearning salts
the moon with light.
 

Margaret Wilmot

Poem published in ARTEMISpoetry, Issue 8, May 2012

web-pages on poetry p f
 
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Pam Zinnemann-Hope

On Cigarette Papers, Pam Zinnemann-Hope’s debut collection, was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize. It was adapted by her for the Afternoon Play on radio 4 in which she also acted. She runs poetry seminars near Dorchester.

Marriage to Lazar – 1905

On the day my bankrupt father married me off
the luck sat more in my husband’s cup
than mine, believe me. Lazar broke the glass
for us in Krakow; a broken glass
is meant to bring you luck. But I’d already
turned my back on my dreams, cut up
my ball-gown stitched with seed pearls,
the dumb song-birds on my own embrodiery;
I spoke sternly to my tiny stubborn heart;
I stood straight with Lazar under the canopy;
I dropped my eyes to his uncultured vowels.
What could I do while the gold band slid
onto my finger? Make a secret vow:
never forgive my father, or fall in love.

Pam Zinnemann-Hope

in collection On Cigarette Papers, Ward Wood, 2012

Publications:
On Cigarette Papers, Ward Wood, 2012, ISBN 978-0-9568969-8-8
Who’s In The Next Room, HappenStance, 2010, ISBN 978-1-9059395-1-0
4 Ned books, Walker Books, 1986/7/8, ISBN 978-0-744 5062-6-6 (& 3 following)
NW15, Anthology of New Writing, Granta, 2007

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Pam Zinnemann-Hope at Ward Wood

Copyright© of all poems featured on this site remains with the poet

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