Featured Poets, March 2022                     home page
 

Anne Ryland       Daphne Gloag       Christine Vial       Dilys Wood       Elizabeth Rapp       Jay Whittaker       Joy Howard       Lesley J Ingram       Maureen Weldon       Moya Pacey       Ruth Sharman      

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)  

Anne Ryland

Anne Ryland’s first collection, Autumnologist, (Arrowhead Press, 2006) was shortlisted for The Forward Prize for Best First Collection (2007). Her poems are widely published in magazines and anthologies. She lives in Berwick-upon-Tweed, where she teaches adults and runs writing workshops for community groups.

For a Daughter

My name would not be your middle name.
 
You wouldn’t inherit my listomania, I promise:
I’d renounce list-making in honour of your birth.
 
The term Muscular Dystrophy would not be sewn within you.
 
I would not pass on my stony ova
or the euphemisms stuffed up the sleeve like handkerchiefs.
 
Thank You wouldn’t be your mantra; it trapped me at the amber light.
 
You wouldn’t stare at every dog and see only its bite.
 
You would never know that ‘worry’ derives from ‘wyrgan’, to strangle:
I’d lock the door to my mother’s worrymongery
 
but I would be your guide in the storehouse of the thesaurus,
assure you there’s no such curse as being too clever.
 
I’d even show you how to blow a trumpet in a long and steady tone.
 
My desk and my blue propelling pencil would be yours.
 
I’d hand you your great-grandmother’s last letter to her daughter
from the hospital – ‘bye bye, dear’
 
All my words would be yours, so you’d observe me on the page,
learn all that I am and was and should have been.
 
And, my daughter, each night I’d hum you a lullaby.
You would remember me as a song, not an apology.
 

Anne Ryland

Poem published: Mslexia, No. 34. Runner-up, Mslexia Women’s Poetry Competition, 2007.

Publications: Autumnologist, Arrowhead Press, 2006, ISBN 1-904852-11-4, £7.50.

Anne Ryland website
 
e-mail (via SLN)

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

back to top

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

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

back to top

Christine Vial

East-end baby-boomer, now living in Enfield (North London) where she teaches literature and creative writing. Widely published & a popular live performer. Debut pamphlet: ‘Dancing in Blue Flip-flops’ pub autumn 2018. More info at poeticvoiceslive

“A Flask of Wine, A Book of Verse and Thou… ”

     The Last Word Cafe at the British Library
 
In a corner, a young French woman is teaching French
to a young Iranian. He, in his turn, is teaching her Persian.
English is the language they share for this transaction.
“And why do you want to learn French?” she asks him.
“Because I love French cinema and art. One day I hope
to live in Paris”. They are waiting for a performance
of the Ruba‘iyat of Omar Khayayyam in Persian and in English.
 
And so are we – in another corner – where I’m speaking
Brick Lane Cockney to my American husband: two nations
divided by a common language. Both his names are Dutch.
My father’s surname is Huguenot, from the exiled weavers
of Spitalfields, and my mother’s maiden name is Lenihan.
 
In the global village, commonality usually means Coca-Cola
and diversity means danger. But here – held in this edge of glass –
our shared and different languages weave a map of poetry
flung out bright and hopeful against the winter sky.

Christine Vial

Poem first published in Barnet Poetry Competition Anthology, 2011;
in pamphlet collection Dancing in Blue Flip-Flops, 2018;
audio online at poeticvoiceslive (see below)

Publications:
Dancing in Blue Flip-Flops, 2018, RQpoetry pamphlets, ISBN 978-1-9010171-9-2, £5
(proceeds to Freedom from Torture’s “Write to Life” group);
a selection of Christine’s poems appears in each of the following anthologies:
Doing Christmas Differently, 2006, Wild Goose publications; Home, 2007, CETH; Taste, 2008, CETH; The Book of Love and Loss, 2014, Belgrave Press

Christine Vial at poeticvoiceslive
 
e-mail Christine Vial

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

back to top

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]

more...

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

back to top

Elizabeth Rapp

Elizabeth Rapp lives in Somerset. She runs residential and day poetry workshops at various South West venues. She is a graduate teacher, Lay Minister, and has worked with the homeless and with children.

Ice Garden

I begged him for a garden,
hollyhocks and delphiniums.
He gave me grottoes of ice.
No birds sing here: only the sound
of moonlight dreaming snow at midnight.
 
I have become bone carved from ice.
I spin on a needle’s point,
watched by an angel huddled
in snow with icebound wings;
his stricken face as I twirl and twirl.
 
Those dark and subtle hands
have locked me in this kingdom,
this palace of death-white ice.
Floors are as slippery as his lies.
I wander through cubes of refracted light
 
where indigo and jade dance on my silver dress,
turn into birds of paradise.
But today a small brown bird
perched on my wrist, then
gave me a pomegranate seed
from his beak.

Elizabeth Rapp

Poem: Winner of the A.A. Sanders poetry prize, 2000
 
Publications:
Dancing on Bones, full collection, Rockingham Press, 2000.
Living Proof, The Amate Press, Oxford.
Hare and Sixpence, The Rigmal Press, Devon
A CD of Elizabeth’s poems is available, 7, direct from Elizabeth.

The Lodge
Dillington
Ilminster
Somerset
TA19 9EH
 
tel: 01460 259898
 
e-mail

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

back to top

Jay Whittaker

Jay Whittaker’s debut poetry collection Wristwatch (Cinnamon Press) was the Poetry Book of the Year in the Saltire Society Literary Awards 2018, and her second collection, Sweet Anaesthetist, is published October 2020 (Cinnamon Press).

Canopy

     (day 20, first chemo cycle)
 
Do tree tips tingle, niggle like my scalp?
Most people’s hair (I’m told) comes out on day eighteen.
White hairs work loose first, waft down.
This late summer evening, my scarfed skull
as bald and vulnerable as a fledgling’s,
I stand under the row of sycamore, my neck sore
from looking up to the abundance of leaves.
Whatever happens to me, the earth is turning.
At the same hour in winter, haven’t I stood
in this very spot, watching bare branches
implore the sky for light?
 

Jay Whittaker

Poem originally published in Wristwatch, 2017, Cinnamon Press

Publications:
Sweet anaesthetist, 2020, Cinnamon Press, ISBN 978-1-7886408-3-1, £9.99
2 poems in Staying Human: new poems for staying alive, 2020, Bloodaxe Books, ISBN 978-1-7803739-0-4, £12.99
4 poems in Scottish feminist judgments, 2019, Hart Publishing, ISBN 978-1-5099232-6-7, (hbk) £95
Wristwatch, 2017, Cinnamon Press, ISBN 978-1-9108368-0-4, £8.99 Pearl, Selkirk Lapwing Press, 2005, 0953121267, out of print

Pearl, 2005, Selkirk Lapwing Press, ISBN 0-9-531212-6-7 (out of print)

Jay Whittaker website
 
e-mail Jay Whittaker

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

back to top

Joy Howard

Joy Howard’s poems have featured in several anthologies. Now retired from social services, she works as a freelance consultant, lecturer and editor. She is a co-founder of Grey Hen Press and a contributor to Grey Hen’s inaugural publication Second Bite.

Stranded

and anchored in a fretwork of foam
over sea-shimmering silver gilt sand
I’m bliss-basking like an old grey seal
beached and loving it
 
so till the seventh wave
lolls over me and nudges me back
to the sea   let your hands glide
over mounded flesh and soft pelt
while you plumb my fathomable eyes
and marvel at my stillness
 
believe me
I’m more graceful in water
 

Joy Howard

in collection Foraging, 2017, Arachne Press;
previously published in anthology Running Before the Wind,
2013, Grey Hen Press

tel: 01535 645711
 
Grey Hen Press
 
Joy at poetry p f
 
e-mail

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

back to top

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
 
e-mail Lesley J Ingram

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

back to top

Maureen Weldon

Maureen Weldon’s awards include: Highly Commended, SWWJ, Elizabeth Longford Trophy Poetry Competition, 2006. Her work is published in: Crannog, Poetry Scotland, Snakeskin, Ink Sweat & Tears, Coffee House. Autumn 2014, first pamphlet collection to be published by Poetry Space Ltd.

La Valse

The young woman winks at me
she will carry on and on,
seventy is no age at all.
Not like the nineteen fifties
a carbon copy of your Mum,
who always wore respectability,
the pleated skirt, the short tight perm,
the purple rinse.
But the young woman in a miniskirt,
or hotpants, with good legs and small
shapely breasts. Who along the way
acquired four husbands, one daughter
and a disappointed heart.
Until you, old poet-man
took her by the hand and she knew,
that sure as the stars dance in the heavens
seventy is no age at all.
 

Maureen Weldon

La Valse: runner-up in the Wirral Poetry Festival International Poetry Competition 2023
judged by David J. Costello, and featured reading at the prize-giving event.

Publications:
The Waking Hour, 2021, Red Squirrel Press. £6;
Midnight Robin 2014, Poetry Space Ltd, ISBN 978-1-909404-14-4
Breakfast at Kilumney, 2010, Poetry Monthly Press, ISBN 978-1-9063573-1-3. £5;
Earth Tides, 2002, Poetry Monthly Press, ISBN 1-90303-12-9. £4;
To Change These Hours, 2004, Kite Modern Poetry Series, ISBN 0-907759-39-4. £5.95;
Of Crossed Wires, 1996, Wire Poetry Booklet Series, ISBN 1-900462-60-5. £4;
Leap, 1993, Envoi Poets Publications, ISBN 1-874161-01-1. £5

Address:
3 Byrn Emlyn
Pentre Halkyn
Holywell
 
e-mail Maureen Weldon

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

back to top

Moya Pacey

I am living in Canberra Australia after spending 2009-2010 studying at Goldsmiths College for an MA in Creative and Life Writing. I am working on a second collection.

Smalls

Keep the secrets of your laundry basket
close to home; should a visitor call,
on washing day, unexpected –
your french lace knickers
forlorn & ragged as a bed
of wild silk pansies
at the end of a hot summer’s day,
& his boxer shorts, extra large now,
shirring elastic sagging like a top
heavy sunflower – seeds all gone,
can be whipped indoors
double quick.

Moya Pacey

Poem published in Women’s Work, eds Hathorn and Bailey, Pax Press, 2013;
reading on Radio National Poetica, late 2013.

Publications:
The Wardrobe, 2009, Ginninderra Press, ISBN 978-1-7402758-0-4. £7.00.

Moya Pacey on Facebook
 
e-mail

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

back to top

Ruth Sharman

Ruth Sharman’s poems and translations are widely published and prize-placements include the National & Troubadour. ‘Scarlet Tiger’ won the Straid Collection Award 2016. A new collection is due from Templar in 2021, focussing on her Indian roots.

Fragments

So, where does time go?
All the days of our lives,
the hours we’ve spent waiting
for buses, or rehearsing
conversations round and round
in our heads? Isn’t it there still,
located in brain cells,
each moment freighted
with every moment gone
before, the memory of people,
places, things? Fragments
reach us now and then
from those distant galaxies –
tiny, random and bright,
like that moment in the garden
when we stood watching
a trail of mercury in sunlight,
so far away we couldn’t be sure
if they were geese or swans.
 

Ruth Sharman

Poem first published in Scarlet Tiger, 2016, Templar Poetry;
reprinted in Staying Human, 2020, Bloodaxe Books

Publications:
Scarlet Tiger, 2016, Templar Poetry
Birth of the Owl Butterflies, 1997, Picador (available from the poet)
Two + Two, 1997, Staple First Editions (anthology)
The Cansos and Sirventes of the Troubadour Giraut de Borneil, 1989, CUP

Ruth Sharman website
 

e-mail Ruth Sharman

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

back to top