Featured Poets, August 2018                     home page
 

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

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, Gill Horitz, Mimi Khalvati, Lottie Kramer, Gill Learner, Gill McEvoy (read by Anne Stewart), Maggie Norton, Jennie Osborne, Elizabeth Soule, Jill Townsend, Marion Tracy, Fiona Ritchie Walker, Sarah Westcott and Lynne Wycherley.
 
Select and listen here               Poets of the Month (other dates)  

Daphne Gloag (1933-2024)

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.

Daphne Gloag’s third poetry collection, Beginnings, was published by Cinnapress Press 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

Daphne Gloag at poetry p f
 
enquiry to Second Light

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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
 
Gill Horitz at poetry p f
 
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.

Krakow Ghetto – Winter 1941

is the title of the second track on my Christmas CD;
high on my wish-list – the theme from Schindler’s –
given to me by my daughter, who knows
that Itzhak Perlman’s violin makes me cry
(though she doesn’t understand why).
 
And if there was snow that winter of ’41,
I wouldn’t know – for I was one year old
and safe in England, warmly protected from the cold
by a mother whose major fear was the Blitz;
 
while Krakow infants stiffened at the dried-up paps
of starving mothers crying for Schindler,
and fathers wept for the ghost of a chance
of a place on that compassionate list.
 
My mother told me how the previous winter,
heavily pregnant, she fell in the snow and lay there,
helpless, hoping for a stranger – anyone –
to come along and set her on her feet;
 
while I, her unborn child, rocked back and forth –
rolled like a snowball, cradled like a dream –
my terra firma threatened by a natural force,
her yearning for a perfect baby put on ice.
 
Un-natural forces ruled in Krakow twelve months on
and strangers carried arms – not to assist
but to enforce fanaticism, warming to censure,
turning the gas full-on to fight the cold.
 
I’m the survivor – one who never faced
the unsound rationale that threatened every Jew
caught up by bigotry in that sectarian race:
a child born twelve months earlier than Krakow,
whose father used to play the violin.
 

Carolyn King

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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Hylda Sims (1932-2020)

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 served 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

Hylda at poetry p f
 
enquiry via Second Light

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Joolz Sparkes

Joolz Sparkes is co-author of London Undercurrents, with poet Hilaire, published by Holland Park Press, which uncovers London’s unsung heroines north & south of the river. Her poems and short stories are published in magazines and anthologies.

We live here

I am doing the walk you do when you’re in Soho –
the walk that says I’m a Londoner see?
Not a tourist. Don’t mess with me.

 
I do the walk past Soho Square at 9pm
on my way to late night jazz,
it’s been raining and the pavement
is something I don’t want to see
but the filth, oh how the filth, it beckons to me.
 
                – There!
See how quick it went?
What was it; a mouse?
Nah, the thickness of that slubbery tail, says
eugh [shivers] a baby rat’s in the house.
 
       – There it is
hunkering next to the railings
gnawing that scrap of a thing
… it’s, it’s looking back at me
little black eyes all lit up like bling.
 
A dirty evil smudge
the shape of infestation,
nasty filthy claws like the clattering
of lies told down the police station.
Rat, rat. Definitely rat.
It’s doing the walk you do when you’re in Soho.
 

Joolz Sparkes

Poem first published in South Bank Poetry Magazine, Issue 15;
published in Some Kind’a Soho by David Russell and Daniel Saunders published by Central Books 2021

Publications:
London Undercurrents, Holland Park Press, 2019, ISBN 978-1-9073208-2-8, £10.00

e-mail

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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
 
e-mail

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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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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
 
e-mail [NOTE: tiscali address is redundant. Please amend your record to btinternet address]

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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 (selection, all with Shoestring Press):
Brooksong & Shadows, 2021
The Testimony of the Trees, 2018
Listening to Light: New & Selected Poems, 2014
Poppy in a Storm-struck Field, 2009, ISBN 978-1-907356-00-1. £9
North Flight, 2006

e-mail Lynne

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