Poems from the shed

Poetry shed 1


It must be.  It says so
in the hand-made poster on the wall. Pictures cut
from magazines of flowers, ice creams, deckchairs,

are pasted there to reinforce the point.
She’s worse today,
doesn’t recognise her husband of sixty years.

Others slump in armchairs, mouths agape.
One loiters by the keypad door, tries to leave
when it’s opened, is gently ushered back.

Beyond the window: a sky, impossibly blue,
cumulus, shot through with twisted cirrus veils –
a raging summer brilliance.

Green electric trains
glide north, glide south
about their daily business,

leaving a sparkle of birdsong,

a hum of honeybees meandering
through the haze of meadow flowers
that lines this railway cutting…

A speeding express train,
redirected from the main line,
punctures the routine like a fist:

its engine, dark and shining,
massive with purpose,
steam chattering excitedly;

its clattering entourage of Pullman cars,
impatient to be somewhere
impossibly exotic.

In its wake,
a thin blue veil of discontent.

John Arnold was born in London in 1951. He is a retired town planner who lives with his wife in East Sussex. He has two grown up daughters and a granddaughter. His poems have been widely published in literary magazines and anthologies, and have been broadcast on BBC Radio. He is a member of the Kent & Sussex Poetry Society.


We watch
the midsummer moon
rise like a new planet
and await a thunderclap.

You say, look,
never kept back,
encased or collected
like the yew trees
and the empty graves.

I say women understand.
You say, vixens understand.
and nightjars.
I say you give birth
in your own darkness.

But you say nothing,


Brandishing drums
they deafen our conversation
in the night dust
of un-made Siena.

All we can do
with our sharp Englishness
is tap spoons and wonder
how to waltz with them
under the black August moon.

Roger James

Just the branches first, hacked to the elbows
As if to test for reaction.
When there was none, they disappeared completely.
The sap ran red and sticky from the scars
Down the length of the trunks all winter,
Glistening in the half-light.
The heads were next to go, both on the same day,
Neat, pointed spears left stabbing at the sky,
Four storeys high.
There they stood, mute, mutilated,
Tall twin carcasses in a sunlit garden,

The Coliseum was warm-boned, furry and there
Was a painting of a snake in a tree.
The street smelt of silence in the afternoon,
Rich and bitter and strong, but the
Purple evening had no sleeves and dangled with woollen
Tassels in the wind.
I stared at the lady in the marble clothes
For a long time. She made me sad, so
I closed my fist around her and sprinkled
Her over the chocolate mountains from the plane
When we left so she could melt into the white
Flakes at the top and forget. I
Didn’t forget though.

Born and raised in Kolkata, India, Ayesha Chatterjee has lived in England, the USA and Germany. She now resides in Toronto. Her poetry has appeared in nthposition, Autumn Sky Poetry,The Guardian online and Magma Poetry. Her first poetry collection The Clarity of Distance is a meditation on the complexity of existence and the search for moments of truth within it.
Alone on Holkham Beach

The sea is waiting
beyond the sandy boardwalk
that skirts the pinewood

everywhere family voices
seep into my silent thoughts

summer t-shirt boys
find secret hiding places
their spades are guns

fathers struggle with windbreaks
provide shelter from the breeze

today’s ebbing tide
flattens yesterday’s castles
my feet crush sea shells

framed by the wide horizon
Lowry figures on the beach

on top of the dunes
silhouetted against blue
a mother and child

is it sand blown by the wind
or salt that makes my eyes sting?


Margaret Beston has a background in foreign languages. She taught French and ran the foreign languages programme for the local adult education service. Her poems have been published in a range of magazines and anthologies. She is a founder member of Roundel, the Poetry Society Stanza based in Tonbridge where she lives.

2 thoughts on “Poems from the shed”

  1. Thanks for this mixture of ‘summer’ poems – all leaving me with something to think about. There’s sadness and laughter here – “a thin blue veil of discontent”. So different, and yet all so poignant. A great read.

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