Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Waiting Room

This is where you come, nursing
your dearest fears.
Those that, once on a time, in
the country of the healthy, you
would have dismissed with a smile
turning to your latest love.
Yet, like an animal that follows you
home, they wheedled their way
into your sick affection.
Now, casting their speckled
skin they are revealed
for what they are – loathsome,
predatory, implacable - the
many faces of hurt.
Patient and passive, our
lives in parenthesis, we wait
for someone to call our name.
Though we sit side by
side, we are not companions, each
languishes in their own solitude,
our eyes do not meet.
No one’s file of words bears
exactly the same judgment, illness
is as distinctive as a laugh.
We shall return here like sad
comets every three months, until
some vagary of gravity spins
us off, out, onto a path for which
there is no return.

Simon Peter Iredale

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

At the Bar

First position comes naturally,
the body equipoised, tranquil.
The expression is one of unrelenting
surprise, eye fixed and gawking.
The corner of the mouth turned down
in disappointment, disapproval?
How can your world always fail
to live up to expectation?

Second position advances the thigh,
the knee bending backwards, ankle
extending each flexed toe tip.
Often the leg is held with a gesture
of suspense before with effortless
elegance, the foot is planted.
The body glides and the cocked
eye sweeps the matted earth.

Third and fourth positions are
accomplished in a swift lunge, the
body following the stabbing head.
Here, pursuing a hapless insect,
motion verges on an abrupt jeté.
Comb and wattles flutter red
warning as the beak snaps shut.
The glazed eye winks satisfaction.

Fifth and sixth positions are lost
in the straw, grand plié, the feathered
rump descends, neck ruffles raised.
Cruel beak in a gape, eye staring,
a primeval chatter wells up through
the lipless mouth, shriller and more
raucous, shaking the roost, until
a great calm – and an egg!

Simon Peter Iredale

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Bee Blog

Simon Iredale, a regular contributor to this site, has started his own blog, The Bee Blog.

He says: This blog follows my amateur efforts at bee-keeping through the medium of poetry and prose. They are a source of contemplation since they fill you with a kind of wonder - human beings need wonder!

Monday, June 15, 2009

An appearance in Chesterfield

Four writers who have contributed new work to this site will be leading an evening of poetry on Sunday June 28th in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, UK.

It's at 6pm at the Central Methodist Church, 38 Saltergate, Chesterfield, S40 1UH. Admission is free.

Originally and many years ago known as The Five, Colin Gibson, Simon Iredale, Tom Rudge and Christopher Warren will be presenting some of their work, old and new.

Somerset Moths

Lured by the warmth of summer sun on tarmac,
Lingering long here beyond the fall of darkness:
Trapped between high honeysuckle hedges:
Caught by my hurrying headlights.

I never saw moths like this, a summer blizzard,
Each flashing into brightness just as it withers.
Leopard, tiger, ermine, gypsy, emperor
crackle upon my bumper.

What am I to them? First warmth and honeysuckle
and the comforting dark. Then a ton of metal
Mangling their world, a furious Abaddon,
hurling bright wings to oblivion.

I cannot stop. I am held upon this course
that smashes their fragility. I am forced
by fear for a broken child, to follow his fall
and hurry after him to hospital.

Colin Gibson
Copyright: By application

Last poem by this writer

Friday, May 8, 2009


I seek a lake
and in the lake an isle
and in the isle a pool
and in the pool a rock
and there
held and beheld in the still water
a seat of triple secrecy.

There like the sky
that gazes on the water
and like the waters
shining with the skies
I'll gaze and shine and share
reflected mysteries.

Colin Gibson
Copyright: by application

Last poem by this writer

Running along the beach

Fear binds me as I start to write
Fear after so long holding back
Fear that someone will read
and see what I've become
Fear that no-one will.

So let me write like running along a beach
that stretches to the limitless.
Your waves yelling upon her, shouting me on:
Your winds and clouds wrestling for the sky
and all Your stars are blazing.

And me running, shouting Your name,
Delirious and ridiculous, and wanting
Each breath, step, yell, stride, stretch,
to reach You
Like a demented lover
Like a prisoner in a last dash for freedom
Like a splinter burned in unconsuming fire.

Colin Gibson
Copyright: By application

Monday, May 4, 2009

An AQA Anthology

The new laureate

the nation's pupils mourn
a laureate is born;
the cursed AQA's now
enshrined in the Royal Mall.

Oh Harry you must recall
the pain that Havisham-
-Salome caused your classroom
Go tell your gran before

your family's events
become the stuff of tests
exams and student hatred;
perhaps it's just the thing

poems you can't even sing
and words that bury joy,
a job that's only ever
good to write to order

The new patrons

these are the new patrons of poetry
they'll pay for pointless drivel written
for kids, you don't need art
or even a heart, a place
in the AQA's study
guide will keep you
scribbling, a scrabbling squirrel
who'll find her nuts
in the deadened, graphite trees
of the anthology


Puzzled pupils ponderously parse
particles of words and verse
seeking simile and metaphor
creeping by with sly pretence
of personification
Spot the difference and earn a mark
Get it wrong, you're BANNED from poems
for life - and a day
(now no elation!)

So much for personalisation -
in search of quick-step qualification
they're piling Ossia onto Pelion;
as for alliteration
it's easy to read
rare to write and hard to say

Somewhere in the line
there's a half-rhyme
find it if time
and is a pun allowed
or should it be quiet
(for fear of fun and play)?

Tutored/tortured to rip the heart from words
our prize pupils perspire in their task
a soul could flit across the face
and words unleash a dream's display
but none of that would satisfy
the bald minds of the AQA

Seamus, it's a shame they treat you so
Ted, you should be better read;
chuckle, don't frown, at McGough and Patten,
Duffy, there's enough of Carol-Ann
Harry, quick, go tell the Queen
Oh Mr Motion, how can words
paint a human soul?
Ask Plath, whose tormented talent was beyond
craft or deconstruction long before
the age of GCSE

Here's a plan to help the kids enjoy
and achieve some little poem before
the rigours of work and adulthood
turn their heads bald or grey:

Let them write of their own
crystallise in poetic picture
the fevered feelings of the teen
engrave it on a plaque and hang
it on the wall.
That's all.

Tom Rudge, Devon
Copyright: By application

A Facebook group called I Can't Wait to Burn My Anthology has 37,000 members. TR.

Last poem by this writer

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Stewart Henderson live! - School Rules

Mersey poet Stewart Henderson, accompanied by Martyn Joseph on the guitar. The link gives you their tour dates this year.