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Poetry Worth Hearing: Episode 16

Updated: Jul 3

Welcome to Episode 16 of Poetry Worth Hearing, the last before the summer. This episode includes an interview with Vanessa Lampert and a short reading from her new collection, Say It With Me, published this year by Seren. We also have poems by Tristram Fane Saunders, Jude Marr, Diana Sanders, Bill Jenkinson, Deborah Cox Walker, Dorothy Yamamoto, Sylvia Vetta, Sarianne Durie, Trish Broomfield and Heather Moulson. To listen, click the link or browse Google, Apple or Audible podcasts.

https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/kathleen-mcphilemy Sorry, everyone. Spotify seems to have changed the URL. This should work:

https://anchor.fm/kathleen-mcphilemy/episodes/Poetry-Worth-Hearing-Episode-16-e2623tg



Vanessa Lampert had her first poem published in 2018. She has since won the Café Writers prize, the Edward Thomas prize, the Sentinel prize and the Ver Poetry prize twice and come second in the Fish, Yeovil, Oxford Brookes, Ware, and Kent & Sussex prizes. She was commended in the National Poetry Competition 2020.


Vanessa’s work is recently published in Magma, The Moth, The Oxford Times, Five Dials and Poetry Wales. She has run workshops for Hive, South Yorkshire, Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, Poetry School London, Stanza groups nationwide, Ty Newydd (the national writing centre for Wales) and as a volunteer in schools. She published her pamphlet, On Long Loan, with Live Canon, in 2020. Her first full collection, Say It With Me, was published by Seren in April 2023.


Tristram Fane Saunders


The Dinosaur

Crystal Palace Park


The iguanodon,

like everyone,

is guesswork.


Apologetic plaques

correct the too-

long neck,


imagined horns, and all-

round lack of feathers.

Whatever,


we like them wrong. Henry,

these were made

for you


to hide from. We must walk,

you tell me, very

quietly.


We are protected by

a moat, and a fence

waist-high


to me, head-high to you,

and ankle-height

to them.


Across the water, he

is hiding too.

Bashful,


tail toward us, snout

nuzzling the ground

for bones.


The time-pressed sculptor, knowing

how little was known –

they’d what,


a kneecap, teeth, one shin

to go on? – sighed

and turned


the doubtful face from view,

a little abstract

in the concrete.


Dickens stood here, saw

the megalosaur,

went home


and wrote Bleak House. You draw

a book for me:

T-Rex,


in his blue cape, breathes fire.

Dicynodon

looks on.


I know that I should draw

a lesson here,

something


about their need to cobble what they could into a whole,

brushing away the dust and counting feet. Tapping, tapping.

Our common work of making something old from something new.


I’d draw a lesson here,

but it’s summer.

Lessons


are centuries away.

Look over there,

no, higher,


where the giant sloth

(my favourite)

is hunting


imagined concrete ants

inside a concrete

tree.


When you’re old enough

to read these words,

you won’t.


Explorer, you will find

better things

to dig through.





Tristram Fane Saunders has just published his first full collection with Carcanet, Before We Go Any Further. He is also the author of five pamphlets, including The Rake. His poems have appeared in the TLS, Poetry London and The White Review and here! He has edited Poems and Satires by Edna St. Vincent Millay, also for Carcanet. He has judged the Costa and Forward Prizes, and reviewed poetry for The Telegraph, The Herald and Radio 4's Front Row.




Jude Marr


Negotiating Dangerous Infrastructure


scarred old address, exits

made inexact, red over rot


old leans my memory, intense

against swollen doors

as the years wave goodbye


bone signs crumble and each cell

knows the clutch of objects


which hand, which bone?

the huddled oaks whisper


once, in this dazzled backyard

a dirty bird, dressed

to bury: a hobo bird with fingers

not wings—


now, a bird startles and I am

expletive: a child

unrepaired, a shattered heart-name.



Toward Midnight, I Pause to Fight With Time


I am holding the stub of another day

between smudged fingers: smoke remains

like tattered tissue twisting

in periphery: like child’s hair, twisting


elsewhere, bells threaten but here

we are, silent: we

who feel the scorch of every year: we

who hate to remember


in darkness, I reach

for the old beast’s mouth—


we all must push

smudged fingers into memory’s

fleshy orifice: drag out

past litanies of whispered hurt


still, as the stale bile dribbles

out, I feel shame’s bite—


in pain, I touch my fingers to this hour’s

erratic pulse: a twisted thread, unspooling

toward last rites


the toll begins: bring me a candle

and a spill: a trace

of tenderness, or something like: what’s gone

is gone, what lives is ours to write.



Jude Marr (he, they) is a Pushcart-nominated trans nonbinary poet. Jude’s full-length collection, We Know Each Other By Our Wounds, came out from Animal Heart Press in 2020 and their work has also appeared in many magazines on both sides of the Atlantic. After ten years of living, learning, and teaching in the US, Jude is now back in the UK, working as a freelance editor and writing coach, and looking forward to expanding horizons in the UK poetry scene.



Diana Sanders


Our Water My water is chlorinated length after length following the black line. Report from the chief engineer A.H Stirling of Darlington Court 12:58 June 1941. Atlantic Ocean 600 miles east of Newfoundland. It is also of a mountain stream, bubbles, reflections, waterfalls, eddies— gathering water to drench seedlings in the greenhouse. 57˚18' North 41˚07' West. Sea calm, wind slight, weather fine, visibility hazy. It is the smell of balsam after rain and watching droplets move from blue to red to gold. Escort hoisted a signal— submarine starboard side. But sometimes I dream of tidal waves and of how it was for you. Torpedo struck the engine room. First explosion, stopped the main engine. Second, struck the deep tank which split the ship in two. Ship capsized immediately. Your water was also length after length following the black line. In 45 seconds she was out of sight. Did you ever think the endless tumble turns would save your life? There were several explosions, sheets of flame went up at least 500 feet. The men on the wreckage floated into burning hell, their cries ghastly and now I wish I had used my machine gun on them. You swam under black lines of oil— found breath in clear water. You came back. Nothing was as it was before. Diana Sanders May 2023



The words of the engineer are from the actual interview with Chief Engineer A. H. Stirling about the sinking of the merchant ship Darlington Court which was transporting a cargo of 8500 tons of grain in 1941. 25 of the crew of 37 were lost.



Smalls Lighthouse

Gannets skim the boat borrowing updrafts. He watches until birds disappear until the boat is a dot until engine noise is lost under the voice of waves under the creak of barnacles. He works alone repairing horn and light until sunset. Stretched out on rock— hair thick with sea-salt he listens to night spirits— to ones who worked the light before to wreck-chatter from the deep. Ripples of phosphorescence flame from his watery toes.

Pulsing out to dark places.




Diana Sanders is a poet, musician and composer who lives and works in North Wales. She has had music and poetry published in the UK and USA.






Bill Jenkinson



Sure Foundation


I worked my passage

in coasters, hoys and skoots

and I was leadsman,

- king of the chains-

casting the plummet forward and down,

forward and down,

from my small platform by the shrouds.


I was the man to find the bottom,

bring up the evidence if wanted,

when I would smear the hollow weight with tallow,

for vessels close inshore

reach down as much as out,

to navigate in shallow waters.


I cast the line,

I counted out the marks,

as they flew through my fingers,

a different material for each division.

I was sure of those partitions,

I knew them even in the dark

and when the line hit bottom

-I felt it in my fingers like a shock.



Each cast I called the depth in fathoms-

my numbers told the captain we were still in water,

a difference of life and death.

For he always pushed his luck

and kept as close in as he dared

to get his cargo into port on time.




​Bill Jenkinson is a co-founder of Oxford Stanza 2. He is particularly interested in links between poetry and photography as can be seen from this poem, taken from his ongoing sequence, 'The Islands'. Original photos taken by Alfred James Jenkinson, 1877-1928, on a visit to Iniskea North and Inisglora, March 26 – April 6 1902


Deborah Cox Walker


Mother


She would often ask me to paint

her a bowl full of lemons.


She said she liked the simplicity

of still lives.


I never thought I had the skill

and so I never did


although I wanted so much to fill

that bowl with lemons without bitterness.




Play-work


We ate breaded plaice in a hotel bar

after a long hot day of play-work.


Then you stopped eating and I stopped eating.

You took my hand and stroked the palm.


I’m fixing you, you said with your hand

to my cheek, then the other to my forehead.


We ate some more then you stopped again

and repeated yourself exactly


in reverse: hand to forehead then cheek,

and, stroking my palm, you said, I love you.





Swimming lesson


Amplified by bubbles

you broke my name through water


and, casting off your floats, said

‘It’s going to be alright’


as you grabbed hold of my head,

and taught me the black word for


those circles in my eyes

- my pupil now my master.

Then squat in the gravel after

you said, ‘What a nice day…


what a nice sunny day’

and you gave me a handful of stones.




Deborah Cox-Walker was born in New York but educated in England, where she developed a love of English literature. She graduated from Durham University with a First in the subject and went on to have poetry and essays published before completing her Masters in Film Aesthetics at Oxford University. She is currently organising her first poetry collection. Her personal website is DeborahCox.co.uk.



Dorothy Yamamoto


Living Among the Birds



In my bird-life

I had to obey the wind.

Though I wanted to fly straight

I was leaf-tossed.


I curled to protect myself

as I fell from the branch

into long grass, sour earth—

an egg, but strangely unbroken.


Laboriously I climbed the tree

clawing its bark,

opened my arms,

kept my balance, waiting.



the shimmer, the whistle of the unseen bird . . .

a blue dress billowing in the wind


Listening to the birds

As afternoon begins, the day falls open like a book half-read

sounds of cups

of water,

a slow

gravelly cooing—

woodpigeons on the roof ridge, wooing each other with that forever sound

dusting surfaces

with acceptance

of the knowledge

that though

things may change we are ourselves, over and over the same song.



Robin: sharpness of a lemon. But also a sweetness, too acute, too beguiling, to listen to for long.

Wren: a tiny silver hammer, defibrillator of the eardrum. A quickening between bough and bough.



When I opened my mouth to sing

a bird of paradise flew out


brushing my lips with its long tail.

Notes hung ready in the air


like birds on wires at summer’s end

and every time I drew a breath


a small brown bird—a nightingale—

bathed my tongue in honey and grief.



Dorothy Yamamoto grew up in Barnet, north London, where her Japanese father and English mother settled after the war. That divided background is the source of many of her poems. She now lives in Oxford, where she works as a freelance editor and writes non-fiction books about animals as well as poetry. Dorothy has edited Hands & Wings, an anthology in aid of the charity Freedom from Torture, and her pamphlet Honshū Bees (Templar Poetry) came out in spring 2018.




Sylvia Vetta


Show OFFS

Girls on paddle boards,

College Eights ,

raucous Canada Geese

but none rival

the Cormorant

still and silent

King of all he sees

perched high

looking down on

humans looking up.



Sylvia Vetta is best known in Oxfordshire for casting away 120 inspirational people with links to Oxford on her mythical island of Oxtopia. The castaways included the Chancellors of both Oxford and Oxford Brookes Universities. Her three novels are informed by historical stories which have been lost or deliberately ignored. She has had a few poems published and An Artist Observes was on a hoarding in the ROQ area for three years. She curated Poems in an Exhibition for the human rights charity Standing Voice. Jenny Lewis, Euton Daley and Sudeep Sen were among the contributors.



Sarianne Durie



I fold the garden into my pocket



The front cover is green – a mossy walk between hazels.

Creases run down the paths –

fruit trees, and the lilac, bulge somewhat.


The pushy willow has stretched its silver paws,

golden tassels of pollen buzz and hum with bees.


Kingcups dazzle as they compete with the sun –

iris stir themselves – and the map in my pocket

spreads to make room.


Cuckoo flower is already out as the now few cuckoos

head toward our shores.


Young sunlit branches hang from the crack willow –

the sky, thunderstorm-dark, shines a bold arc of colour

through leaf-beaded curtains that swing in the wind.


Robin and blackbird perch to sing the spring.


Peonies push themselves through blue-carpeted beds

saying forget-us-not and we won’t forget you –


when all else fails you’ll find us marking

the way between light and dark, between then and now –


milestones, taking note of ways that turn –

reaching past the folded pages, that slip from my pocket,

to start the garden all over again.



Sarianne Durie trained as a stained glass artist, and has spent much of her life making stained glass windows. She returned to writing poetry a few years ago. Her main interests, after stained glass, are the natural world and her garden – which is as wild as she can make it.

She has had poems published online with The Clearing Online and Nutshells & Nuggets; in The Book of Love and Loss, ed R V Bailey & June Hall (2014); in Sounds of Surprise (2007) and Ghost Notes (2015) with the Albion Beatnik Press; in Bampton Skies and Landscapes, Bampton Archive Press (2012); in the Think Human Exhibition at Brookes University, (2018) and had several poems coming out in Littoral online magazine (2022).




Trish Broomfield



Neap Tide (Terza Rima)


Above, the inky ceiling, pinprick lights.

Stars sprinkle on dry sand,

bland, no sparkle these dark nights.


Sea sweeps lacy, a lazy ebb-tide hand

glistens pebbles then retreats,

a choking sigh, each whisper planned.


Like your love it times its beats

giving, takes in a single gasp,

gathers up its foam, withdraws, repeats,


draws curvaceous lines with final grasp.

Its fine pen scribbles love notes.

Above the waves I hear a parting rasp.


Imperceptible shift, now time floats,

ebb turns, sea returns, like your love,

flowing, forward crashing, gloats.


Expecting acceptance, open arms

harms only those who resist.

Erases footprints, uses ocean charms,


sucks pebbles, a seaweed smelling mist,

jet washing, sweeping shells aside.

The power of your love on this neap tide.



Snow


A crunch of boots, the only sound allowed

by snow, soft falling, hiding all.

For now, we walk in harmony,

tongues touching flakes,

eyelashes netting lace,

enjoying our silent space.

But we know that sounds will come,

inevitably, like the thaw,

and raw as they will be

we’ll see the stones as feelings rise

and long held truths emerge.

Rutted slush, when swept aside,

will prompt these buried words

to leave our mouths and flee to homes

like frightened birds.



Bullseye


We took shifts, my flatmate Martha and I

perched on a bar stool,

resting the gun on the kitchen counter

trying to keep our aim steady.

Well, they’d ignored the traps

despite us loading them

with the best Danish Mozzarella, and Mars bars.


At two in the morning there came a crack,

a bump, thump and a curse,

I woke knowing that Martha

had got one at last.

Throwing on my dressing gown

I went to congratulate,

squinting in the light, thinking

that if this failed we would have to get a cat.


Martha stooped by the bin

air rifle in hand,

disappointment in every feature

where tiredness left room.

‘But you’ve got one’! I cried,

Martha shook her head,

‘No, I got trigger happy’, she said,

‘I thought it moved.’


We examined the dead teabag,

‘Well your aim’s good,’ I said,

‘next time it’ll be the real thing.’

But I knew that the following day

we would have to get a cat.



Trisha Broomfield has three poetry pamphlets published by Dempsey and Windle and features in many anthologies including Poems for Ukraine. Her poems appear monthly in a local magazine. She was short listed in the Roger McGough poetry competition in 2021. Her poem 'Dolls’ House' was recently included in the first edition of The Granny’s Tea Poetry magazine.

She is took part in Cry Freedom, an afternoon of poetry and prose at Hampton Hill Theatre on June 4th and is busy rehearsing for The Guildford Fringe Festival, along with the other Booming Lovelies, on 7th July.


You can hear her more of her poems on Poetry Worth Hearing poetry blog.

FB Trisha Broomfield Poetry

Instagram @magentapink22

Instagram @boominglovelies


Heather Moulson


Mock-a-Chino


Inoffensive hot drinks in the college refectory


leaving half of it while I flirted with you


then CoffeeMate with Maxwell House


became our thing


MaxPax only to be sneered at


Nescafé Gold took us to a new level


we had truly arrived


– only we hadn’t


You betrayed me for decaffeinated


making my own coffee bitter


sinister and hollow


I spat it out at your departing back


But when coffee became frothed on


every high street I embraced it again


sipping huge cups while thinking of


what might have been


You became the skinny cappuccino


The soya milk


And I found full fat comfort


Elsewhere





A North London Romance


On Saturday nights

in the Britannia Arms,

I would lean against you

and promise you the

World.


A quick snog at the Angel bus stop

and I’d forget about you

five minutes later.

Sometimes I’d tell my Mum

I wasn’t in when you phoned.

Even though I knew you were

in a call box.


The pictures at Bruce Grove

we’d get through a packet of No. 6.

Then the Wimpy Bar for

Bender Brunch and chips.

I used to squeeze the plastic

tomato on that greasy table.


I stood you up at Edmonton Green

because you didn’t like my perm.

And then you went off with a

married woman.

You were 19, she was 25!


I was betrayed,

violated.

I hugged that bus stop.

Love was over for me.

Then I went out with your

pal Stuart,

the one from Bury Street.



Gin


Gin used to be served lukewarm

In a nondescript glass

With a miniature bottle

Of Canada Dry

I’d neck it regularly

Down the Britannia Arms

Its ice cube floated forlornly


I’d hear of girls at school

Swigging a bottle and

Jumping into hot baths

It never worked.


So, how come Mother’s Ruin

Is now presented in goldfish bowls?

With garnish akin to Kew Gardens?

Chilled to inhumane temperatures

Drunk by young professionals?


Not that solid clear liquid on the

Off Licence shelf –

Though that’s now a nail bar

And the Britannia Arms is a Lidl.

But I think they do stock it.





Heather Moulson has been writing and performing poetry extensively since 2017. Mostly London and Surrey. She co-founded Poetry Performance at Teddington and is scheduled to appear at the Guildford fringe in July. Her debut pamphlet Bunty, I Miss You was published in 2019. I won the Brian Dempsey Memorial prize in 2020, and have been longlisted in 2022. I live in Twickenham with a grumpy black cat.





Thatt's all for Episode 16. I hope you enjoyed it. Please send submissions, suggestions or comments to poetryworthhearing@gmail.com. Submissions should be recordings of not more than 4 minutes of previously unpublished work together with texts of poems and a short biography(approx. 100 words). The next episode will not be out until September so don't be surprised if you do not get an immediate response. Have a lovely summer.


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