Featured Poets, November 2017
 

Maggie Butt       Carla Scarano D’Antonio       Ruth Hanchett       Hilaire       Doreen Hinchliffe       Iris Anne Lewis       Ann Milton       Carolyn Oulton       Eve Pearce       Jenna Plewes       Diana Pritchard       Daphne Schiller       Martha Street       Kathleen Swann (note: poem since changed)

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)  

(Maggie Butt is not currently a member of Second Light)

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Carla Scarano D’Antonio

Carla Scarano D’Antonio moved to England from Rome in 2007, she obtained her MA in CW in 2012. She won the First Prize of the John Dryden Translation Competition 2016. In her day-to-day life, she teaches Italian language and literature in an international school in Woking.

Negotiating Caponata

First peel and chop potatoes in cubes
cook separately in a frying pan
then add peppers and aubergines in pieces;
salt, tomato passata, one or two tbsp., some water,
simmer for one hour or two. Stir.
The aloofness at times.
They are difficult to digest like peppers
or sour like aubergines,
floating adrift or biting back.
But the cut ingredients finally mash together in the sauce,
sensitive and vulnerable.
The body has no protection
when the light dims.
 

Carla Scarano D’Antonio

Poem published in Negotiating Caponata, 2020

Publications:
Negotiating Caponata, Dempsey & Windle, July 2020


A Winding Road, Chiaroscuro, 2011, ISBN 978-0-9569264-1-8 (self-published)

Carla Scarano D’Antonio website
 
Carla Scarano D’Antonio blog
 
e-mail Carla Scarano D’Antonio

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

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Ruth Hanchett

Ruth Hanchett is a member of the Poetry Society, two stanza groups, The British Haiku Society, Enfield Poets and Second Light. She writes particularly from close observation of people and of herself, exploring social and emotional themes arising.

from ‘Fall’ a sequence of seven poems:

Fall

I
 
I fell as from a great height into another world.
From a flat plane I stared up at the night sky
and moonlike faces which seemed to ponder
my angle on the slab of stone.
In a smudge of morphine I still screamed.
I lost myself, and, subject, patient,
was propelled into a timeless zone.
Rigid in ambulance straps, under lights, I could not
count the hours, could not recognise the place
but entered a country where people in white
told me what to do, what they would do. I heard
the snap of scissors through my new jeans,
heard murmurs that the hip was broken, felt
the catheter slip in, the movements
of shapes in the dark; floating in a hospital gown
I felt the lift into bed, sleep merging into the oblivion
of surgery, the awakening in the ward, the surgeon
above me, It’s gone well, it’s up to you now, but,
for weeks, the systems flowed over me, journeys
took me down dazzlingly long corridors then back
to staring at walls and waiting for visitors
who came like angels and didn’t tell me what to do.
Physiotherapists, lean and smiling, began to nudge me
nearer to myself and I moved towards it.
At home again the ground was rough, uneven
but my steps became discerning. I grew taller,
so much taller.
 

Ruth Hanchett


Pamphlet, Some Effects of Brilliance, 2019, Rafael Q Publishers, ISBN 978-1-901017-20-5, £5.00

e-mail Ruth

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

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Hilaire

Hilaire is co-author with Joolz Sparkes of London Undercurrents. She was poet-in-residence at Thrive Battersea in 2017 and Highly Commended in the 2019 Live Canon International Poetry Prize. She writes and gardens in Battersea.

The Sheffield Man

Was it only our family he visited
at dead of night? Slipping bone-handled knives,
dimpled thimbles, an heirloom coffee spoon,
into his felt-lined pockets. His thefts small,
intermittent, occasionally reversed.
Look what’s turned up under the sink!
Triumphant, Dad held aloft a pewter
napkin ring, long lost. This was not
the stuff of nightmares.
 
Grown up, abroad, I found the Sheffield Man
unknown amongst my peers – a family quirk,
a joke I only got in retrospect.
 
But now he’s back and he’s greedy,
working daylight hours behind my mother’s back.
The peg tin, can opener, keys. Her reading glasses.
All magicked away out of sight.
He’s even filched the whatchamacallit
and the reason she first needed it.
 
I stab pins into a Sheffield Man doll
even though I know there’s no reversing
this final vanishing act.
 

Hilaire

Highly commended in the Red Shed Open Poetry Competition 2018 and published in The Quality of the Moment competition pamphlet, Currock Press

Publications:
indoors looking out, lower case press, 2020 ISBN: 978-1-5272-6319-2 £5
London Undercurrents,, Holland Park Press, 2019 ISBN: 978-1-907320-82-8 £10
Triptych Poets: Issue OneBlemish Books, 2010 ISBN: 978-0-9807556-1-9
Hearts on Ice, Serpent’s Tail, 2000 ISBN: 1-852426-63-2

Hilaire’s website
 
e-mail

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

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Doreen Hinchliffe

Doreen Hinchliffe has been published widely in anthologies and magazines, including Acumen, Mslexia, Orbis, The Interpreter’s House and Magma. Her first collection, Dark Italics, was published by Indigo Dreams in October 2017.

The Art of Getting Lost

Practise the art of getting lost
in the deepest forest, not knowing where
it ends, like the leaf of an oak tossed
 
on a sudden wind, unaware
of anything except the flight
in dappled sun, the ripples of air,
 
conscious only of slanting light
through branches, of being borne and held,
indifferent to left or right
 
to future or to past, propelled
into the heart of now by powers
unfathomed, unseen, deep in the meld
 
and mould of earth, in its tiny flowers
(bluer than bluebells, whiter than frost)
that lie beyond the counting of hours
 
and the counting of the cost.

Doreen Hinchliffe

Poem published in Acumen, Issue 87

Publications:
The Pointing Star, sonnet sequence, Live Cannon Poems for Christmas CD, ASIN: B01N8Z2E1T
Dark Italics, 2017, Indigo Dreams, ISBN 978-1-910834-58-9

e-mail Doreen Hinchliffe

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

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Iris Anne Lewis

Iris Anne Lewis is a writer of poetry and short fiction. Her work has been published in magazines and anthologies. She was invited to read her work at the Cheltenham Literary Festival in 2012, 2014 and 2015. Please find her on Twitter @IrisAnneLewis

Woodland Burial

A different type of pillow talk
we chose the plot together,
you rooted to the hospice bed
by tubes delivering opium sap.
 
You wanted oak and ash to
shelter you in broadleaved woods,
and in return to nurture them
with mouldered bone and flesh.
 
Tethered still to life, you slip into a
shadowed sleep. Death creeps closer,
steals your breath and shifts you to
a different state. I close your eyes.
 
Drifts of bluebells mark your spot.
Light, leaf-dappled, casts patterns on
your shaded grave. Bare branches arc
a latticed vault against the winter skies.
 
Encased in willow, you now begin
your slow and secret work in deep
secluded dark, becoming one
with earth and plants and rain and sun.
 

Iris Anne Lewis

e-mail Iris Anne Lewis

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

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Ann Milton

I am a housewife and mother, living in Brussels. I’ve been writing poetry for my own satisfaction and pleasure for some years, now I am exploring how to make it accessible to (enjoyable by, useful for?) others.

who will hear?

How can I dare to speak
what must not be heard? Where is it safe
to voice a naked thought?
I live with dreams that cannot
be realised, nightmares I cannot cast off
because the burden is unshared
 
I need some-one to listen to me,
without cruel judgement or kind pity,
so that the merciless noise will be driven
from inside my head, guided
to a distant home.
 
I would not burden the wise
with my foolishness, nor could any-one innocent
receive my guilt.
But if you have seen the wilderness
You could be the one to hear my story.
 

Ann Milton

e-mail Ann Milton

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

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Carolyn Oulton

Carolyn Oulton is Professor of Victorian Literature at Canterbury Christ Church University. She is the Director of the International Centre for Victorian Women Writers (ICVWW) and teaches on the Creative and Professional Writing BA.

Before I am old

     ‘And has the remnant of my life
     Been pilfered of this sunny Spring?’
 
       Dorothy Wordsworth
 
In the shadow of the woods
shapes push through like teeth,
bluebells hang steep,
bump against my tyres, through the field
the advance and retreat of a tractor.
 
I’m having that one for a start.
If I don’t go through
those toys, who will? Read those PhD
chapters today, I’ll never have time
to write comments before the review.
 
That’s a second generation
of arthritis.
The toys are in the shed.
The work is done. If I can’t get back
and look, I’m holding on to the wood and the cliff.

Carolyn Oulton

Poem published in Accidental Fruit, 2016, Worple

Publications:
Accidental Fruit, 2016, Worple, ISBN 978-1-9052083-5-7

Carolyn Oulton website
 
e-mail Carolyn Oulton

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

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Jenna Plewes

Jenna Plewes lives in Worcestershire, belongs to Cannon Poets and escapes to Devon whenever she can. Her poems appear in several anthologies, including Heart Shoots (for Macmillan Cancer Support). She was highly commended in the Hastings International Competition 2012.

Leave Me in the Light

When I die
don’t put me underground
cut down a giant oak
as they did
four thousand years ago
 
pull out the stump
drag it across the wide salt marsh
with honeysuckle ropes
upend it where the curlews call
 
lay me across its outstretched hand
under the sun, the moon
the turning stars
 
encircle me in
fifty trunks of oak
each split in two
fold a seamless skin of bark around my bier
 
leave me the smell of fresh cut wood
the shine of pale oak flesh
the sound of wind and tide
 
birds will clean my bones
midsummer’s rising sun will
find me through the keyhole of the east
and when midwinter sunrise looks for me
I will be gone.
 

 
 
Seahenge on the Norfolk coast is a prehistoric monument built in the 21st century BC.

Jenna Plewes

Winning poem in the Sampad competition and published in their anthology Inspired by my Museum.

Publications:
Pull of the Earth, 2016, Indigo Dreams Publishing, ISBN 978-1-9108340-6-0, £8.99 +p&p
Gifts, 2014, CreateSpace, ISBN 978-1-4953944-0-9 £5 – proceeds to charity (buy direct from Jenna Plewes)

Jenna Plewes website
 
e-mail

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

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Diana Pritchard

Hertfordshire born, married, one son, two daughters, Diana Pritchard now lives in Guernsey. Her poetry is influenced by a wilderness upbringing in the 1950s, 1960s British Columbia, Canada. A volunteer CAB advisor. Member of Guernsey Writers.

Barefoot in the Snow

It’s Africa, a safari, a trek
in heat, flies and more heat.
Lion calls drown the air
as the tall barefoot man guides
us to the waterhole.
Our packs, heavy, we struggle,
stumble into the murky wallow
of mud and elephant dung to coolness.
 
Unlike the coldness of grandmother’s
bared feet as she trekked, distressed,
into that Norwegian winter night,
arctic moon over deep snow,
following her lost guide,
lost to his own self, lost
to his home and hearth,
circling straight northwards
towards his childhood.
 
Feet beyond thawing, she led
him back to his unfamiliar bed.

Diana Pritchard

Poem published in Fanfare (poems by contemporary women poets), Second Light Publications, 2015.

Publications: Publ: Woolgathering, The National Poetry Foundation, 1999 ISBN: 1-900726-61-0 ISBN, £5.00

e-mail

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

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Daphne Schiller

Daphne Schiller studied English at Manchester and Creative Writing at U.E.A. She's been a teacher and Relate counsellor. Her first collection was published by Outposts in 1981. Her poems have won prizes and appeared in magazines and on London buses.

Daphne du Maurier at Ferryside

You rowed across the Fowey
thinking of Rebecca in her boat
or the silk sails of the Frenchman
entering his hideaway. Gulls
mustered on a nearby roof
but you struck out for home.
 
I was named for you, and now
under a full moon in the estuary,
sandbags on the quay
awaiting high tide, I look across
to Polruan's golden eyes
sparking in the dark.
 
and want to take my own red boat,
stroke it across this softness,
listen to the creak of oars,
scoop up pools of moonlight
till I reach the white house
on the other side.
 

Daphne Schiller

Publications:
In My Element, Outposts Publications 1981
Cargo of Emeralds, Dodman Press 1986
Soundings, Queenscourt Publishing 1989
Saying Goodbye to the Sea, Queenscourt Publishing 1993
The Scarlet Fish, self-published 2002

tel: 01727-864898
 
e-mail

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

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Martha Street

Martha Street lives in Bristol and meets in the city’s libraries with Bus Pass Poets.

Let the Trees

Let the trees advise you.
Listen to their leaves chanting spells
so ancient we’ve lost their meaning,
a wordless language of solace.
 
Let the strong torsos of trees
show you endurance, and age;
let the magical shedding of red garments,
the giving to wind of white blossoms
speak of time’s unveiling,
how, stripped bare, the living body
can become even more beautiful.
 
The fall and decay of one giant
will scribble a message on bark,
the calligraphy of lichen, of claw marks,
transparent shells of beetles, and moss.
 
Can you see where that dark figure stood
blocking the sun? Now light falls through that space,
into the green of the clearing.

Martha Street

Publications:
Stone Soup, Palores Publications, 2010 ISBN 978-1-906845-19-3 £4.50 from author (includes p&p)
Little Book of Poems, pamphlet, Forward Press, 2002
Little Book of Poems, pamphlet, Forward Press, 2000

e-mail

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

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Kathleen Swann

Kathleen Swann is a Yorkshire poet, brought up in Cumbria, where her love of the countryside and it’s characters have influenced her poetry. Published in anthologies and magazines and a songwriter for the Leeds Lieder Festival.

Turpentine and Beeswax

Your tall frame bent over the bench
the tip of your tongue between your teeth
time meant nothing, dovetails and dowels
were fashioned with care, sharp chisels
shaped gentle curves across the grain
releasing the inner pattern of waves.
 
Smokey warmth from the iron range
carried the spicy smell of wood
through the oak-beamed rooms
of the old cottage cellar
oak sawn from trees that had
given way to age many years ago.
 
Outside a wool-white sky lay over hills
filled the wood with shifting mist
hung crystal drops on the cherry tree
as we drank sweetened tea from mugs
placed teacake dough in the bread oven
in memory of my grandmother.
 
Wood and workbench now long gone
I lift the old tool bag from its rusty hook
carefully wrap each implement
in its own soft cloth, lay them in the bag
the old smell of turpentine and beeswax
turn the dusty air to remembered perfume.
 

Kathleen Swann

Poem published in Ripples Beyond the Pool, Coverstory Books

Publications:
Oak Tree Alchemy, Coverstory Books, ISBN 978-1-9993027-4-0. £7
Ripples Beyond the Pool, Coverstory Books, ISBN 978-1-9993027-8-8. £7

e-mail Kathleen Swann

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

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