Christmas Snow Poem by John Calvert


All day we met the snow, on every curve
Each locked white cutting, as we heaved the weight
Three coupled engines, plough at either end
We sliced the edge of air with loco breath
Rasping as pistons kicked compacted white
And stuttering drive wheels spun on skidding rail
As snow lobbed handfuls past our tarpulined dark
We crept back, til we charged blankness, again
We rammed, we thudded , winter nudged aside
There on the footplate steam and steel rejoiced
And in that emptied landscape, nothing moved
Along the tick of telegraph and fence
A struggling afternoon drew evening down
Already freezing on our driven line

John Calvert 2015




Poem by Julia McGuinness

Ship Gate from Chester City Walls

The hole in the Wall was not cast aside
but borne, piece by piece, to the Park,
a stone’s throw away, and re-assembled
as breath held across a path.

Its grainy sandstone frame, braced
against weight of sky, rainbows
an open space that lacks the gate
to separate ship from city.

Scabbed over with slabs, the Wall
is unsettled as all torn places
when mended. Gaps, transplanted
to discreet glades, lace through lives.

They seep memories, mapped by scars,
wince under strangers’ stumblings,
are anointed by their listenings. Spaces
honoured, enfleshed alike by sun and rain.


Poem by Carolyn O’Connell


I still see you sitting on the old chair now you’ve gone;
your back supported by pillows that remain in place,
your brown hair was falling over your shoulders as
the sun sets behind you. Curved arms embraced
you in a cane cuddle sweeping down the legs.

I recall those long gone days before you painted it
to match your pale pink room when you were a girl.
The cane had shone with planes of polish spread
by generations of women; a wicker diamond woven
into its back was patterned blue, red and green.

Looking now, I want to restore it, return it
to how I remember when you were a baby,
so it will glow again as the evening sun glances
with a kiss through the window replaying the day
you sat there reading, the child inside you – growing.

I knock softly, listening for you voice,
you are seated again in the old chair,
your head bent over, lighted by
the morning sun seeping through blue curtains
throwing sapphire patterns over your hair,

shading the pillow laid on your knees,
you’re bent over nursing your new daughter
as I once nursed you on that chair:
daughter has become mother, mother, grandmother
each life woven as if warp and weft of the cane.

Carolyn O’Connell
Timelines_front_300 (1)

Blaze poems on line

Follow the link to find the poems we wrote in response to some of the work displayed as part of the open art show at VAC, following John Calvert’s workshop on cinquains.

Phosphorescent Grapes, a poem by Edwin Stockdale


A sombre figure in russet
like an autumn leaf of buckthorn.

She has been reading Persuasion observed
by fieldfares in the garden.

Her elderberry eyes search the surroundings.
What is she thinking?

She gestures to a blossoming orange,
the tree her captain brought

from his travels. In a bowl a bunch
of grapes, phosphorescent as moonstone.

A whippet, black-muzzled, begs
at her feet. She rises,

a Queen Anne figurine,
removes herself from the room.

A Poem by Jan Dean

In the Moroccan garden

in the green shade
five tortoises
eyes shut slits
toes tucked
into shiny shells

when they wake
they are lumbering stones
their claws click
on blue tiles

their slow jaws
gently mash
pale lettuce

beside them
the fountain sings
like tiny glass bells
and the tortoises
dip their heads
and drink the music

Jan Dean
(From The Penguin in Lost Property; Jan Dean & Roger Stevens; Macmillan 2014)


Two Poems by Steve Waling

(after Appollinaire)
gorgeous May May Rhine river ferry
the ladies peer down from their cliffs
the boats float by you’re gorgeous
why do willows weep on the banks

rooted orchards blossoming astern
May’s cherry drifting petals like
painted nails I love to distraction
those petals fade on her eyelids

very slowly along the road
gypsies lead bear monkey dog
donkey pulled caravan behind
gliding past the Rhenish vines
regimental pipes distant marcher

May gorgeous among the ruins
ivy Virginia Creeper rose
willow shivering Rhenish breeze
bulrushes whisper to the naked vines

What – to camera – are we going to do now?
some things should never be said. That time
you called him a bastard, the mike on,
out of context, out of control
when a wag from the back shouts, Give up!

Never show any weakness, never admit
to the crippling depression that makes you –
atomised, anomied, reduced to a cipher –
crawl across the face of the Ops. Room
those mornings when the gloom’s too raw.

Those mornings when the gloom’s too raw,
crawl across the face of the Ops. Room
atomised, anomied, reduced to a cipher,
to the crippling depression that makes you
never show any weakness. Never admit

when a wag from the back shouts, Give up!
out of context, out of control –
you called him a bastard, the mike on –
some things should never be said. That time –
what – to camera – are we going to do now?


Poem by David J. Costello

Horseshoe Bat

It must have been a keen blade
that eased you from night’s heart.
God’s own shrapnel
creasing the dark.
Your convulsing fragment
pressure-cracking the brittle black
like ice.

Transfixed beneath I watch
you stitch yourself
back to the sky.
An invisible repair
as I acquire your blindness.
The whole world dissolving
around you.

You are the dark moon.
The nocturnal crescent
orbiting unseen.
The flung shape
that always returns.


CHESTER WALLS, a poem by Maureen Weldon




Warm evening

tranquil greens (freshly mown)

beneath King Charles Tower.


Midges dance through a bangle of sun

now dipping gold on distant Welsh hills.

Beneath me pink blossom and new-leafed trees.


I stand on the old Roman Walls

alone and not alone

sucked in a bliss of ages past.


As the last birds sing in the twilight air,

the Evening Star winks her knowing eye.


Maureen Weldon 


Copyright © Maureen Weldon 2002

[Included in the author’s pamphlet EARTH TIDES, Poetry Monthly Press, 2002.  Most recently published in Reflections, Issue 94.]

Shag Tobacco

In my wee poem below I try to convey a certain feeling that comes over me sometimes, wandering the banks of the River Weaver.

Best Wishes to you all for 2015.




A wisp of shag tobacco, perhaps?

A balloon adrift in the valley,

self-esteem a snapped mooring.


So the willowed water’s edge I wander,

sun glaring from plankton depths,

brain percolating,

florescent fungus twitching with broom.


Humble I connect.

Proud and the poetry eludes me.

A wisp of shag tobacco, perhaps?


Paul Beech


Copyright © Paul Beech 2015

[First published on the author’s blog, Grandy’s Landing.]


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