We received so many wonderful poetry submissions, that we thought it would be a shame not to share some more with you. If you haven’t seen the winners yet, do take a look here.
Here’s a selection of other notable entries…
By Shirley Lloyd
You could ask me who this woman is,
Who stands before me as my Mother?
However, I could not say I know her well,
Indeed, no better than any other.
I was the fourth offspring she wearily bore
Into this strange and mysterious world,
But the recollections of my childhood
I have a few glimpses, which seems absurd.
She was always busy with her labours.
No time for signs of love or affection.
Five children and a husband to look after
With all the household work and preparation.
She did not seem to enjoy the role
Of wife and mother to such a brood.
The house to clean, washing to launder,
Children to nurse and oh – so much food!
I know she was troubled and sometimes sad.
Disappointment and anger she rarely set free.
She formed certain patterns to stay in control,
These habits I observed, are they part of me?
She gave up sewing as her career
And her parents prevented her travel.
She lost the opportunity to create,
Perhaps that caused her life to unravel.
The years have flown by with hardly a memory.
She now takes her place as the crone.
Her hardships she kept quietly to herself
Sadly, to me no better is she known.
By Lisa Hobbs (Swindon, Wiltshire)
There’s a wasp in my kitchen, what am i gonna do! It’s followed me around the room and is waiting in its lair. I want to go out and sit in the sun but will i find it there? It won’t go away, it really is a shame. Why do they hate me? And why do they chase me? They’re really such a pain! I’m wasting the day cos i cant move away but i’m such a wimp i know. What if it’s an African bee? Just waiting to slowly sting me! It seems determined to get me but why does it select me? I really just don’t know the reason why! “Just go away you horrible fly!” I need someone to rescue me. It’s moved on to the lounge. I can’t sit down, it’s somewhere still around that’s it i’m going to ground!
Where did the rain go?
By Darren Pembleton (Salford, Greater Manchester)
Where did the rain go, the wind in your hair
Life everlasting so why should we care
How did we do and how did we fair
Why did I love you, were you really there?
What was the point didn’t change anything
Who was I fighting what joy did it bring
Only in heaven does anyone know
How do I get there and learn on the road
Tell me tall stories think you have it all
I see what the truth is my soul sees much more
So dance in the darkness and stroll when it’s light
Listen my angel the sweet smell is life
Can’t see when the sun shines or sleep when it’s night
I’ll wake up in heaven and be by your side
Who are these people who have everything?
Who are these people who stifle our dreams?
I tell you were coming; you’re in for a fall
Not slaves ever after the stars say it all
Don’t think were not listening or hear what you say
We’ve seen all your jewels and will have them someday
God gave us these lands, for you it was not
You gave us a start, but that was your lot
You’ve outstayed your welcome, there’s much we can do
It won’t be forever, there’s much you will lose
So bide all your time we’re gonna get you I pray
Your gonna pay a large penance, you took our sweethearts away
So, enjoy your last days, the future is ours
More loving, forgiving, were gentle & kind.
By Katharine James
Here I can breathe again,
as each wave gathers itself up and lands
then disperses among the pebbles,
the rhythm of my heart adjusting
to the beat of the sea,
the cymbals crashing and giving me release,
over and over until calm returns.
Here I can breathe again,
while ducks and geese put on their playful
a swan drifts by with nonchalant ease,
the sparkle of the sun celebrates
the watery scene,
and the breeze strokes my face
over and over until calm returns.
The Ghost of Christmas Past
By Mark S. Williams (Stourbridge, West Midlands)
I had nuts in my stocking
When I were a lad
An, apple, an orange
That’s not at all bad
A cap gun, a yoyo
Some soldiers, a car
In those days a stocking
Was more fun by far
I once had a robot
Jagged edges of tin
A cast iron piggy bank
To get my fingers trapped in
A steam train that smoked
and threw out blue sparks
A tray of printing ink
That left dirty marks
Cowboy hat that didn’t fit me
A plane that couldn’t fly
And a teddy bear with a spike in its neck
That could easily put out your eye
A spud gun that was deadly
And frightened next doors cat
And a bubble blowing mixture
That melted the front door mat
Christmas could be lethal back then
But it wasn’t really that bad
‘cos I had nuts in my stocking
When I were a lad
I cannot breathe
By Mylene Honore-L'Hortalle (Edinburgh, Scotland)
On ventilators, inflamed by the virus,
White rows of beds in overflowing hospitals
“I cannot breathe” they gasp
In a wave of global protests,
The statue, cruel blindfolded history
Erected for posterity
Thrown into obscure waters
Millions of breaths slain away,
dehumanized in slavery
Packed and shipped across oceans
“I cannot breathe” they gasped
Profit over people, sly agendas,
Those at the margins,
shoved to work, pushed to death
at the front line, without protection,
Technocrats wisdom, science scorned, leaders adrift,
It came to untouched shores, frontiers up,
This virus from elsewhere, crossed, came in, visa free
As long as it happened, stayed elsewhere
It was nobody’s business
Unconscious of being cells within one body, one planet
Confined to themselves
Ego trips, they trample oblivious,
Gather, rally in parties
As statistics build up, bodies pile up
Natural selection, survival of the fittest
Civilized technology grinding
Indigenous, elderly, minorities,
the sick with underlying conditions, thousands decimated
“They no longer breathe”
The blind capital has rolled up its sleeves,
Bent towards herd immunity
Leaving the virus to its makings
“I cannot breathe, mama, please”
Gasped the dark-skinned man
Under the ruthless white knee, perverted systemic policing
From social distancing to physical distancing,
Information overload, words misused, manipulated,
Overreliance on authorities
They cannot approach each other,
Complacent, asymptomatic, unaware,
Potentially harmful to each other,
They need to be separated,
confined inside, to their areas
to protect themselves from each other
Under protective masks at the outside
“We cannot breathe” they gasp
Mother Earth suffocating for air
Swept into a mutating threat, a marathon
We can approach flowers, trees, rivers, harmlessly
But not our species.
Can our new-borns breathe unto this world?
By Charlie Beaumont (Maidstone, Kent; currently Rakaia, South Island of New Zealand)
I feel within me a profound sense of isolation,
Not due to a known affect, for some, of the UK lockdown,
But, as I am thirteen thousand miles away
From its requirements, so spared any physical impact.
The distance leaves me close, or relatively so, To the southern tip of a world, which,
As I look up, listen and reflect with diligence,
Appears overwhelmed by its self created problems.
Too many politicians impress with a lack of humanity,
Yawning gaps are evident between rhetoric and action
Yet, in severe contrast, many an individual
And local community have made so good.
I want to rid myself of the sense of isolation
To be amongst those whose personal values
Are permeated by a commitment to enable
All to have equality and a fine quality of life.
Battles in the mind
By Lesley Smith (Bexley, Kent )
At war in my head, yet living in a country at peace.
When will this violence and aggression cease?
I am alive, but I feel dead.
People don’t notice because the war is in my head.
Bombs of blame, rockets of criticism, bullets of shame.
Explosives of condemnation, dynamite of accusation.
Won’t let me sleep, chase me into a trap.
Poking me into anger, making me snap.
Making me feel dull, worthless and boring,
Lying awake in distress whilst my partner is snoring.
I feel like a refugee here in my own land,
As I am experiencing war in my head, going on where I stand.
Suppressing, depressing, pushing me down.
I keep going, not quitting, moving towards the Victor’s crown.
Demanding, controlling, creating trauma and fear.
Deceptive voices, lying and scheming, they feel so near.
The darkness surrounds, so I put on the armour I’ve found.
Love, peace, hope, faith and truth. Scripture abounds.
They have no power against the Word of the Lord.
It’s Authority, Sovereign and Good, my much needed Sword.
I speak and declare it, I know it succeeds.
He gives me the Victory, and all that I need!
By Wendy Collyer (The New Forest, Hampshire)
Water creatures now beware,
A pony comes to paddle there,
Stirring up the bottom silt,
Creating ripples which swirl then wilt.
She likes the cool around her feet,
The water brackish yet cold and sweet –
A place to come and halt a while;
It’s my place now, so single file!
This water’s deep, after the rains,
A chance to soothe from her labour pains.
Little foal not allowed to enter behind
Too deep for her, mother’s order is kind
There are bound to be others, a family group,
Which comes to stand and then to stoop,
Ripping at grass, and then a gorse bush.
They’ve got all day, no particular rush.
Pony and daughter enjoying the sun
Of that day by the pool – life’s just begun.
And, if by chance, we decide to go back
How many more family will we find on that track?
By Jill Webb (Hull, East Yorkshire)
She winds then unwinds,
With elegant ease
Never drops her guard
Even in her sleep.
Her silky ears twitch
In the blink of an eye
Sweet sleep forgotten
She snaps into life.
Finely tuned senses,
The edge of attack,
With stealth and grace
She takes higher ground.
Through bristling fur
Her eyes are fixed
On things unseen by
A mere human being.
Within minutes she
Leaps on my lap
Purring oh so softly,
My time starts now,
A game played by two
But only she knows
And sets the rules.
By Kate Barrett (Buxton, Derbyshire)
I’m shocked, he looks so pale
4 months of not seeing him
In the yard
And this evening
I drove him up the short, steep hill,
In the car
Then the drizzle
And thought about his 86 years
So much life lived
Wondered what he recalls?
Does it matter?
He lived it, he lives it now.
With love and gratitude
We drove back down the hill
Of a lifetime loved.
By John for Karen, his wife at the time.
Paradise is very nice when I’m with my sweetheart, love is like heaven when I am with you, cause that’s when I’m free just you and me in paradise.
By Julie Fardell (Worcestershire)
His back a little rounded
Skin thin and marked with scars
His ears with aids, always needed now
Eyes watery behind their glass
But still twinkling with the joy of life.
I hold his hand that once held mine
Support his steps as he held me
When first I learned to walk
We reminisce, mostly of Mum, now passed
And talk of little things – the flowers and birds, and books
He loves to sit and talk.
He writes his daily journal
But can’t always read his words
Now penned in a shaky hand.
He reads of other’s lives and adventures
But his eyes grow tired
And he’s wobbly when he stands.
Does he resent the ravages of age
Or celebrate life- long and well lived?
The latter, I hope, I believe.
The Plastic Sea
By Fiona Sheridan
In our seas and in our oceans the sea-life is in big trouble,
as plastic items are lingering amongst the plants and bubbles.
Whales, dolphins, turtles to name but a few
are suffering and dying because of you!
These poor creatures think that these items are a tasty treat;
biting and swallowing the plastic that they try to eat.
Also becoming entangled as under water the animals try to swim,
the future of sea creatures is looking so dim.
When having a drink don’t use a plastic straw,
as millions and millions of these end up in our oceans and on our shores.
Plastic bottles, straws, containers, toothbrushes, earbuds and more are found during a beach clean.
No plastic litter on our beaches would be a wonderful scene.
So let’s all help to put a stop to our plastic sea;
and set our sea-life free!
By Ru Anderson (Stevenage, Hertfordshire)
“Have you seen the fair oblivion ?
Do you know her ? Pray thee tell!”
We all know the flirt Oblivion
But this fool with her would dwell.
She has seduced this one,
But in her time, has charmed each of us as well.
Many seek the muse Oblivion.
Dreamers forget that life must also pass
And seek to hug her in their final isolation.
The Alcoholic hopes his life may yet recover,
But first he seeks her at the bottom of a glass.
And for us, with eyes only for our current lover,
Is there not a trace of memory, that flavours every kiss?
So recognise the soul who seeks her company,
The ones who have yet to escape her hiss,
Save them from this seductive enemy,
She beguiles all to an abyss.
We live in many worlds but for those unhappy in their one,
Who loose the path to find a greener grass
Guard them from Oblivion.
For should they seek her in their growing darkness
She offers them eternal bliss.
By Garry Booth (Rochdale, Greater Manchester)
Green grass and flowers red, yellow blue
Girl sat next to a tree. I love you
Pink rose in her hand, delicate white orchid in her dark hair
Smile so radiant, glowing, effervescent. I love you forever
Elegant bright dress of crimson and gold adorns her
Dainty but strong, run, walk in splendour
Times gone so quickly since the first time that we met
I love you always whatever the future is not seen yet.
By Kelly Bennett
By Kelly Bennett
By Annie Phillips (Bury, Greater Manchester)
I have a little programme, which is very plain to see,
that this is something which totally works for me!
I get up very early, and do light exercise,
because this really helps me to revitalise!
I have a nice variety of breakfast each day,
and this is what helps me on my way!
I do my daily laps walking around the park,
taking in the beauty, which is now not stark!
Greeting the people who I see there,
now we talk instead of stare!
Back and do paperwork-for me is not a chore,
as I always enjoyed doing it before!
Write letters to my friends, or Message a greeting,
this is a substitute now, as we are not meeting!
I spend time writing of my travels from before,
this is something which I really do adore!
Being there in the moment is something I can be,
it is an amazing gift bestowed on me!
Having a positive attitude, and keeping focused this is a must,
As there is a future ahead-and in THIS, you must trust!
I watched the programme last night of the story about Captain Tom (Colonel). This is a remarkable gentleman who never has, and who will never give in! I write this about him with tears in my eyes, and I Salute you Sir.
To a Grand Mum
By Janie Shepherd (Sevenoaks, Kent)
It was long ago you took me by the hand
And walked with me to school for my first day
The time has slipped through glass just like the sand
Grand children grown are now too old to play
Although no night time cry nor teenage tears
Cause you concern as ever once before
Our hearts and minds you’ve guided down the years
And as a mum we couldn’t ask for more
Each generation listens to the tales
Of times gone by when you were just a girl
And Crosby tunes have often quelled a wail
Do got you on your feet to dance a twirl