Poetry Corner – Volume 6


For the inner ear, the voice of the vessel of silence is an embrace
felt by an infinite number of scribes.
It is my wish to offer here an oasis of present day poetic

Each month i shall invite new poets to breathe with, and they in
turn will bring guests of their own.

Poetry Corner at TIFERET has evolved out of Donna Stein’s
enthusiasm to nurture the spirit of beauty in all its forms.

silent lotus

November 2010 Silent Lotus’ Selected

Nicky Gould

and her guest Patricia Debney

Vicky Wilson

and her guest Catherine Smith

All the poets this month are included in the WordAid
anthology, Did I Tell You?
and all proceeds go to the BBC charity CHILDREN IN

To learn more: http://wordaid.org.uk



They dared her to tightrope, balancing
between the telegraph poles, one red shoe
in front of the other, like walking alone

along the white lines in the playground. Looking down
she strips her shoes, laces them to the cable to dangle
overhead. Beneath her bare feet

she feels the vibration of each exchange whispering,
bickering, shouting between the houses.
Naked toes caress the gossiping wires, curling

around the words. She reaches out along the lines,
holding tight to one conversation before teetering
to the next, tangled in other people’s lives.

She’s become an expert in voices, but has forgotten
how to wear shoes, just leaves them swinging
as a reminder that once she could walk in them.

The spoils of war

Fingers, feet, vertebrae. I count them all
into this body – it’s down to numbers.
I close my eyes, imprint form and flesh
past the curve of you.
It’s been weeks since I’ve seen the ground
as my belly stretched to fit the way you curl yourself around,
swell to fill me, with the angles of your limbs
projecting through my skin. I felt you
grow, divide, survive. I’m
sculpting you with each breath, willing every cell:
one two three four.
My hands and I count
pulses through skin, resonating with
heartbeats – yours
shakes me at the edge of sleep. I’m split by
your violent arrival.

Your violent arrival
shakes me. At the edge of sleep I’m split by
heartbeats, yours
pulses through skin, resonating with
my hands. And I count
one two three four,
sculpting you with each breath, willing every cell
grow, divide, survive. I’m
projecting through my skin – I felt you
swell to fill me with the angles of your limbs
as my belly stretched to fit. The way you curl yourself around
it’s been weeks since I’ve seen the ground
past the curve of you.
I close my eyes, imprint form and flesh
into this body. It’s down to numbers:
fingers, feet, vertebrae – I count them all.

Doctors in the Iraqi city of Fallujah are reporting a high
level of birth defects, with some blaming weapons used by the US
after the Iraq invasion. BBC News 4th March 2010.

Nicky Gould is currently studying English & American
Literature with Creative Writing at the University of Kent, UK, and
her poems have appeared in various publications. Her most exciting
project to date has been working with WordAid as the co editor of
an anthology of poetry in aid of the BBC’s charity Children in

Did I Tell You ?

Nicky also works as a Youth Participation Officer, helping young
people make a difference to their local communities. She lives near
the sea in Whitstable, where she walks on the beach every day.

Patricia Debney


Half Shell for Molly

A curled piece of butter. One petal. Tiny sea-horse mouth poking

It’s the worked dough in a soft roll you might be making, or a
fancy biscuit. The shape of your grown-up thumb along one side,
where you might press.

It’s the insides of things. The beautiful-what’s-left. The palest
coral blush. What you might have slipped into your pocket at
nursery: torn off wool, acorn hat, worn stick.

The part of you that protects. And is protected.

Patricia Debney is the author of a collection of prose poetry,
How to Be a Dragonfly (Smith/Doorstop Books, 2005) and a novel,
Losing You (bluechrome, 2007). She is Senior Lecturer in Creative
Writing at the University of Kent, UK, and lives in nearby
Canterbury with her partner, a composer, and their two children.
Her blog, http://www.wavingdrowning.wordpress.com/,
explores writing and family life with a type 1 diabetic teenager.
In 2007/08 she was appointed Canterbury’s first Laureate.


Counting the strokes

What do you remember: the long walk, the shingle beach
where we sheltered,
throwing stones at a can and daring the incoming tide?

The seventh is always the biggest, you said,
so we counted,
eager to test received wisdom, to challenge belief.

Here in the hospital they’ve noted three, they say,
each growing in momentum,
eroding your independence, changing our familiar

landscape. We do not speak of it. But I think
we both hope the next one
will carry more than your sandals away.

Margate, 2010

St Michael and all Angels descend from the bus,
heralded by the boom of carnival drum and bass,
to a sweep of sea and a golden curl of sand
where pink bikinis dance round tumbledown castles,
shaking down fried noodles and ice-cream, and
Polish teens call the score for volleyball
alongside swingboats where tattooed dads
look on as sticky toddlers rise and fall.
Girls in swimsuits and hijabs hunt for treasures
and a flock of nuns dares the incoming tide
while wrinkled hands unwrap blintzes and pittas,
watching as the twirl of sequins and boas creeps
towards the Turner, backs to Dreamland
where the wreck of the rollercoaster sleeps

Vicky Wilson works as an editor and in education, supporting
schools in working with artists to boost children’s creativity,
thinking skills, confidence and self-esteem. Her poems have been
published in many magazines and her collection Line Dancing is
available through Amazon.

Vicky is the co editor of
Did I Tell You ?

Catherine Smith


(i.m. Helen Penfold, 1961-1999)

Things are looking up. We’ve
found a pub where the landlord,
convinced by my smooth lies, your

proper breasts, will serve us snakebite.
He tips the lip of each pint glass,
froths in lager, pours cider and asks

How much blackcurrant, ladies?
You smile at him, murmur When –
we love how his hands shake

as you take your change.
We gulp like seasoned drinkers,
avoiding the stares of the old gits

with their bitter, their racing pages.
The drink hits the spot and
everything is funny. You nearly

take my eye out playing darts.
And at the Rec on the way home,
full of sugar and gas, we slump

on the swings we dared each other
to leap from as kids, jewelling
our palms and knees with grit.

We lean back under the night sky,
under all the stars we can’t name,
we’re full of how we’ll leave

this dump of a town first chance we get –
how we despise the regular lawns,
the sagging paddling pools, we’re

singing as we approach our road.
Today was hot, like the days,
buckling with laughter, we shoved

each other over on your drive,
the tarmac sucked at our sandals
and the ice-cream van played Lara

from Dr. Zhivago, too slow. Tomorrow
we’ll feel sick as dogs. But tonight,
here, under a bright, full moon,

we’re amazing, and as we hug
on my doorstep, I taste you,
kiss the snakebite off your lips.

Catherine Smith’s poetry collections Lip and The Butcher’s
Hands (Smith/Doorstop Books, 2003 and 2007) were both shortlisted
for the Forward Prize. Her first collection of short stories, The
Biting Point, will be published by Speechbubble Books in November
2010. She lives in East Sussex, UK, and teaches Creative Writing at
Sussex University and for the Arvon Foundation. www.catherinesmithwriter.co.uk

Poetry Corner Monthly Archives

POETRY CORNER by silent lotus … OCTOBER 2010

POETRY CORNER by silent lotus … SEPTEMBER 2010

POETRY CORNER by silent lotus … AUGUST 2010

POETRY CORNER by silent lotus … JUNE 2010

CORNER by silent lotus … MAY 2010