The Nursery

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photo at pixabay
Last night in dreams I went again to my old house in Castle Lane
I climbed the stairs up to the top, by the nursery door I came to a stop
I turned the knob and the door opened wide, I looked all around then stepped inside
By the flickering firelight shadows danced upon the walls. They leapt and pranced
Tiny footprints led from the door to the tattered rug that lay on the floor
On the window ledge sat Barnabus Bear sadly looking the worse for wear
He’d been to the opera and I think had just had a little too much to drink
His speech was slurred, his breath was beery and he couldn’t see quite clearly
But he got to his feet and with a gesture grand, bowed and politely shook my hand
A pale moon shone on the window seat where Amelia Jane all prim and neat
Reposed sedately in her outdoor clothes, coat, hat, fur-muff and stocking hose
She smiled and beckoned and I sat down, she said she was going up to town
She’d like to offer me some tea but the car was coming at a quarter to three
She tidied her hair with a tortoiseshell comb and told me to make myself at home
A light shone under the cupboard door, then a rumbling noise made me stir
The door flew open, I fell on my back as the Flying Scotsman flew onto the track
With whistle screaming and puffing steam the headlights casting a ghostly beam
Twice round the track he hurtled full pelt then back through the door, but I still knelt
As memories stirred by the pungent smell of the old transformer I remembered well
A race between trains for a tuppence bet and the Flying Scotsman is racing yet
In yonder corner something moves. I hear the thunder of horses’ hooves
With a flick of his tail and a toss of his mane old Beaucephalis rides again
I jumped on his back and took up the reins, we galloped up mountains and down leafy lanes
With the wind in my hair and my hand on the crop we rode round the world till we rocked to a stop
Just then the tramp of marching feet made my poor heart miss a beat. I turned.
It was just as I thought, a hundred lead soldiers advanced from their fort
The armies lined up, English and French, I watched them do battle and choked on the stench of gun powder, smoke, the wounded and dying, I stood there transfixed and silently crying
The room grows silent. I feast my eyes for one last time ere the fire dies
The memory has faded, the dream it has fled. I wake in the chill morn alone in my bed

Mary Younger

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Mother Wolf

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mother wolf | catriona messenger | photo at pixabay

With pounding heart I speed,
And with heaving chest, I gasp.
The air wrenched in,
I must endure,
Or my pups, they will not last.
The calf from the herd, we have coerced,
For his mother, his voice is shrill!
A shriek of fear, he bolts chaotic,
We shall break his will.
We move on him, it is not long,
Defeated his courage gives in.
No mother came to rescue him,
He is forsaken, it is our win.
As we bring him down I hear his pain,
His fear consumes my heart.
My pack tear at his flesh and bones,
Broken from his soul, I played my part.
I stand still heaving, for want of air,
And behold this calf’s demise.
The cry’s now silent,
The air is still,
Grey cloud of death across his eyes.
I have to choose my pups or theirs,
My chest aggrieved for his mother’s loss.
I will protect my pups, their life is mine,
I resolve to feed them – at any cost!

Catriona Messenger

The Dog

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photo at pixabay

Yawn, stretch, a voice calls, ‘fetch.’ No not yet, I tell my pet
I’m warm and cosy in my bed, don’t want to raise my sleepy head
Sniff! Sniff! Something smells good; I’ll get up now it’s time for food
Pitter patter cross the floor, hurry up pet, open the back door
Ah that’s better; give myself a shake, now I’m feeling wide awake
Today is Sunday if I’m not mistaken, that tempting smell is frying bacon
Chairs push back – breakfast’s over, pet’s scraping plates, ‘come on Rover’
What’s this in my spotty dish? Last night’s cold, leftover fish

Mary Younger

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Timeless Island

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Do you remember an island?
White sand extending into infinity
Warm and sensual underfoot
Born in time long since lost
A playground for those
Who choose to cross.

Rocks uplifted by the earth
Scattered across the beaches
Stained with veins of pink and white
Statuesque as each one reaches
To stand atop the highest point.

Anemones, basnade, fish and crab
Twice daily tides abandon
Treasures to nature but
Life giving source to to others
Secrets to find and cherish.

Seaweed tendrils carelessly curl
On the incoming tide.
In sheltered nooks and crannies
Thrifts pink flowers shyly
Nod and stir.

Safe within Iona’s embrace
This timeless scene endures with grace.

Ros White

Status: Food

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Congratulations to JBB upon publication of her new poem

Status: Food

Food all ordered, we’re at the table,
Chance to talk, now that we’re able,
Phone in her hand, ‘What are you doing?’
‘Connecting Mum!’ – An argument’s brewing!
I’ll join her then, where’s my phone?
Chatting with Mum, she’s clearly outgrown!
Now I’m on Facebook – what status to post?
A picture of ‘good food’, not coffee and toast.
Food arrives and it looks so pleasing,
Photo opportunity I’m certainly seizing!
Wait! The angle, the colour, effects or not?
Drinks in the picture? The cocktails we got?
Picture taken, I’ll post it now,
If I can just remember how.
Caption? – I need words too?
This is too stressful a thing to do!
What’s the time? Do I call it lunch?
Or is it too early, is it more ‘brunch’?
She’s finished her meal, I feel old!
Status is posted – but my food’s gone cold!

Jessie B Benjamin

Poetry Rivals 2016 – The Finalists

Kendal Poetry Festival

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Kim Moore writes

Dear Poets

I’m writing to you to let you know about Kendal Poetry Festival, which I’m the co-director of, along with Pauline Yarwood.

The festival will be taking place from the 16th-18th June 2017 at Abbot Hall Art Gallery and other venues in the market town of Kendal.

Last year was our first year of running the festival, and it was a complete sell-out, so we’re hoping to replicate this again this year.

We have a really exciting programme of events and poets coming from far and wide.  Our Festival Poets this year are Hannah Lowe and William Letford, Inua Ellams and Chrissy Williams, Katrina Naomi and Malika Booker, Kathryn Maris and Tim Liardet and Ian Duhig and Linda Gregerson.  We’ve got a series of workshops, discussions and open mics as well as readings and the full programme is now up on the website.

It would be lovely to see you in Kendal this year at the festival – there is some great bed and breakfast accommodation available in Kendal that is fairly cheap.  The nearest train station is Oxenholme Lake District which is on the mainline and just a five minute taxi ride from the venue.

We believe our festival is unique in the UK in its programming of young poets alongside our invited guest poets.  Last year people remarked on our friendly and welcoming atmosphere as well as the quality of the programming – please have a look at our programme, and if you’ve got any questions, you can email me here or at team@kendalpoetryfestival.co.uk

If you’d like to be added to the Kendal Poetry Festival email list, just let me know and I can put you on there.

Finally, any help you can give with spreading the word about the festival would be much appreciated.  We don’t have a budget for marketing or even a marketing expert, so we rely on word of mouth to let people know about the festival.

Best wishes

Kim Moore and Pauline Yarwood

Festival Directors
Kendal Poetry Festival

www.kendalpoetryfestival.co.uk