Some poems by members of Wey Poets:
She was too spiritual for the office
She didn't clock in
She stole away
stole the day
and walked with the stolen sun
along the stolen street
among the stolen cars
breathing unmeasured breaths
in untimed time
by Frances Jessup
Chopin’s Mazurka No. 13
That was hard travelling,
cold, wet, windy, my bones ache.
Now my great coat steams dry
and I’m deep in my cups.
She married a doctor.
They live in Kraków.
This stew tastes of nothing.
Bitter ale settles me in my corner.
Then I hear the rustle of crinoline.
The room spins a little, but she’s here
seeing more of me than I can see.
“Dunderhead!” she calls me,
her dunderhead. She startles me,
and dazzles me, how she
pirouettes on a five groz coin.
She keeps asking, wanting to know
“What are you feeling?” I can’t say. I don’t have the words.
“How do you love me?” How? I just don’t have the words.
“Why do you love me?” Too many reasons, but I don’t have the words.
I hear the brush of liquid silk,
the tap tap and squeak of dancing shoes on dark oak boards,
that mischievous laugh when she nips my earlobe,
loving her donkey. Did she take me with her?
I don’t have the words. I never have the words.
By John de Prey
The Lord Taketh Away
Sitting on the settee,
thinking of making something for tea,
how could my mother have known
that seconds later
her world would be shattered?
How she fell isn’t clear,
at ninety her balance was bad,
a fractured femur, a split open head,
suddenly land her in a hospital bed.
After surgery came the stroke,
lost her ability to swallow,
now food comes through a tube up her nose.
After the stroke a bladder infection,
followed swiftly by one to the chest.
After infections her ward in isolation,
courtesy of Covid nineteen,
which didn’t spare her broken body.
On one of my visits
she asked me again where her grandmother was,
asked me again if I’m happy in school,
told me again that she wants to die.
Lying day after day
in her hospital bed
talks to my father five years dead.
Past, present, here, there,
mixed up together in her mixed up head.
Doctors, nurses, buzzing by,
the rattle, the hum of hospital life.
Weeks pile mercilessly
By Owen Osler
Intrusion - Ukraine March 2022
all those home-grown yesterdays
of simple blurred living
which wandered lingering
step by step
meal by meal
love by love – fuse
– are fused –
into one intense long Now
a single mouth clamped shut
against the fear
of one unending scream
a message to
those who come after
for come they must
to unfurl the sky
unbury the sun
from the unploughed fields
where the grain is missing.
By Belinda Singleton
The move to Orchard Way
Our new house was built on farmland.
A stream flowed between the garden,
fields and woodland beyond,
leaf-laden in Autumn, scampering
through the early rains of Winter,
then slowly past mud-ridged
verges crusted with ice.
In Summer our garden was a wilderness
of buttercups, bulrushes, tussocks of grass;
scents drifted through windows
sweetening the air. We gazed at
dappled images gifted by the sky,
swishing limbs in the cool water.
Olive-brown minnows flashed
through fingers. We netted caddis flies,
water pennies, and water boatmen,
rootled in crannies for grubs, frogs, bugs.
Life’s scars and disenchantments
melded into shadow.
We tried to suppress our anger towards those
who heaped debris in the stream
to lengthen their gardens,
so the brisk flow thinned to a dribble
and dried to a lifeless ditch
of rust-stained pebbles,
just as friendship between neighbours
soured, and part of our youth
seemed to have washed away.
By Val Tigwell
Week by week, throughout the growing months,
and two by two, we mow the grass, and strim.
When sturdy trees have drooped their leaves
a volunteering army keeps it trim.
A kind of Winter Harvest then occurs.
Each one brings a plastic sheet and rake.
The leaf heap grows around the bonfire,
and soup arrives for all to take a break.
But across the panic-stricken world
the flames of funeral pyres consume the dead,
where Covid-19 spreads in leaps and bounds,
leaving a tide of mourning, and of dread.
By Tim Bayston
From the speckled photograph he turns.
Raises a thumb,
As he heads towards a landscape cup and saucered with craters,
Marching in bulbous boots along the dusty track,
Before it deepens into a viscous mud of death.
Later. Crammed in a trench.
Lifts a tin mug.
A home-rolled cigarette droops from moustachioed lips,
As he and his pals wait in earth-soiled uniforms,
Beneath a sky glazed with indifference.
From a photo singed and crumpled he turns,
Poised against a trench wall,
Bayoneted rifle signalling heavenwards.
Eyes dark beneath the shadow of his helmet.
A whistle blows.
A shell bursts overhead.
Showering him with poppies.
By Jane Baker
AS IT IS
When, ten years ago, the Emperor.
Truly god-like, assigned me here
To guard the Northern Frontier,
His voice echoed in the hall -
It still does in my brain.
Till recently I dreamed:
Of beautiful women walking
Among flowers in the garden.
Courtesans in costly silks
Inviting one to pleasure;
Of old friends sipping wine
In the gaily decorated pavilion;
Of Cheng, the closest, with whom
I would retire to a window,
Speak out my innermost thoughts,
Return, happily, to the carousel.
But now at last I understand:
If the impossible were granted,
I wouldn't be worthy, the man
Pacing here being but a husk.
As it is, no creature moves,
Even the grass is yellow,
Whilst the desert stretches far,
As far as the eye carries.
By Martin Jones
WARNING OF THE MONTH
Gull against storm cloud,
Flung sycamore seeds,
Collars fastened high,
Boost in umbrella sales.
But cheer up
Or may not
As the case may be.
Remember who's in charge:
It is not you.
It never was -
But just in case
Your heart was thinking so,
May flicks some hailstones
In your eyes
Then smiles -
Oh, can she tantalise -
Knows how to swirl
Her blossoming skirts
And face-encapsulating tresses
As meretriciously as any troupe
Flamenco style dresses.