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Must Read Poems for the Quarantine

All things poetry, from one nerd to another...

We face a long road ahead, and I truly believe that the arts are instrumental to people’s mental wellbeing in these difficult times. I have compiled below a selection of poems for you to peruse while you are tucked up safely at home. I have tried to select poems that fit the theme of quarantine; some may lift your spirits, and some are included to honestly reflect upon our current situation. I hope that the poems I have selected entertain you and help your day pass a little bit more peacefully.

Broad Bay I – Majella Cullinane

from Broad Bay, Majella Cullinane (Whisper of a Crow’s Wing, 2018)

Anxiety: Day 2190 – Kayleigh Campbell

  • from Keepsake, (Kayleigh Campbell, Maytree Press, 2019)

The Last Laugh – John Betjeman

-John Betjeman, Stressed Unstressed (ed.Bate and Byrne 2016)

The Cure – Nick Drake

from Staying Alive ed. Neil Astley…

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The Beekeeper’s Apprentice

Whilst reading the final drafts of The Beekeeper’s Apprentice it struck me how words, and in particularly poetry, when committed to paper can transmute over time to adapt to current situations and environments. Whereas some of the poems within the book where written many years ago, in some cases missing out on being included in Flowers by the Road, they seem more relevant to the times that we now find ourselves witnessing.

Take the title poem for example: initially created around a global theme of climate change and environmental disaster, who could have predicted that any season would be lost without sound.

There is a slight apprehension that The Beekeeper’s Apprentice is launched into a world where our futures are unknown and ill-defined. The reason for writing and publishing work is so that somewhere, someone may find it and gain something. What that something is remains unwritten, undiscovered, but without the artists, poets and musicians existing then there would be nothing left to explore. Imagine that.

 

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice

There are somethings I will never understand:
the secrets of the beehive; a dying sting;
the apiarist’s hand at the signal
of the last swarm guided from the under-land

where life peels away from the new colours
mixed on a rough-sawn palette;
a violent history that understood
the bitter-sweet taste of flowers.

Inside the butterfly collector
spears her latest catch;
euphemised in chloroform,
displayed in plastic on the door.

December once brought cold,
once brought the first frost,
rain, hardship and a hunger
for the bleak winters of old.

Outside the greyness suffocates ground,
deadens the call of birds
now left to winter it out.
Of all the seasons to be lost without sound.

 

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice will be released on the 23 April as a special limited edition of 100 copies.

Stay safe,

David.

 

beekeeper (2)

 

Wish by Katerina Neocleous

Jonathan Humble's Stuff ... a poetry blog

It is Tuesday morning and I’ve just abandoned re-building the dry stone wall that contains our front garden. I’ve also battened down the greenhouse hatches because Storm Brendan is threatening to throw a tantrum and my fingers have gone numb in a bitter wind.

Drying off a damp beard and changing out of soggy clothing, I am reminded what a fine body of men and women work for the GPO as the white jiffy bag I was expecting is delivered containing the debut collection of Katerina Neocleous, aptly titled Wishas I’m granted an afternoon of delight on such a miserable day.

DSCF6108 Wish by Katerina Neocleous

Katerina’s work is impressive. She is the poet I aspire to be.

From Burr to First Dreams the words held my attention throughout, each poem a delight, each line a joy to read.

In Burr we try to come to terms with feelings that…

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Julie Sampson

The Poetry Village

Narcissi in North Devon

Stranger-angels
gathering in your coteries
along the grassy hillocks and hedge-line banks
come from the eyrie of your under other worlds,
it’s your star-studded moment.

How you welcome me on my way
this stormy-day of wind-rage,
nodding encouragement
you wave breezily
like yellow-hatted Royals.

This is your path
way to find out who you are
we are your poem
moving your words along their way,
you call.

I came to you the wrong way round –
through the eyes of a wandering nomad poet,
noting your iconic status as golden textual hosts
and before that,
as floral Easter tributes in my childhood church.
I’d always known your story, but
there was disjunct between those who wrote your text
swayed by patriarchal ruse
and now
in this place

Her meadows
you make your annual resurrection,
beckon me to witness your lift from the abyss.
Today, through the…

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Homecoming

The Poetry Village

Homecoming

You lift our new daughter from the car
as I place the bags down and shout
for the boys. Our neighbour is already
upon you, leaving her garden
to fend for itself in the excitement.
And I watch the three of you from the window
seeing you wipe away a tear as you
speak her name out loud in the hope
that passing clouds will deliver
all the wishes you secretly made
and the sound of birds will remind you
of this day. The boys race to your side;
too young to hold me to account
with all the promises I ever made.

David Coldwell

Homecoming from David’s forthcoming collection, The Beekeeper’s Apprentice.

The Poetry Village will open for submissions again in March 2020. Follow us on social media to find out more.

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Between Two Rivers

Maytree Press

We are thrilled to announce details of a fairly secret project that we’ve had in the pipeline for several months. Between Two Rivers is a unique collaboration between poet, Nick Allen and artist, Myles Linley that will be published as Maytree 006 in September.

The book features fourteen new poems by Nick together with several colour reproductions of Myles’ wonderful paintings of the East Yorkshire landscape.

Look out for more news and a cover reveal very soon.

Talking about the project, Nick said:

‘The project between two rivers grew out of a long standing friendship between Myles and I that has involved a lot of curry and far too many nights standing at Fall gigs wondering which way the evening was going to go. When Myles moved to Beverley we started visiting places around Hull, especially on the waterfronts of the Humber and the Hull. We found we were talking…

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E.A.M. Harris

The Poetry Village

Don’t Break the Tea Circle

The room sweeps from front porch to back lawn.
The Chinese carpet grips billowing seats
guarded by gold brocade cushions; curtains
swagger at the windows. We stand, them and us,
a circle round a coffee table.
I arrange a smile, ‘Her end was peaceful.’ My smile
repeats in great-aunt’s lips, her eyes
spy on the carpet, ‘So thoughtful to come this way.
Do have some tea,’
passing the Doulton and silver jug. My feet
are killing; she could say ‘… a seat.’ We go on standing;
even the bump. ‘You could’ve phoned.’ Cousin with bump.
I drink. She sighs. An old quarrel wearies
round the chairs, but cushions and flounces are battlements.
No rest for the past.
Loose covers beckon, my skirt would blend,
but sitting is an armoured declaration. I stand.

There’s refuge in tradition: the weather glossed
with traffic jams and roads. We…

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