March Poetry Competition

Today I received a second series of immunisations – two injections, one on each arm. My new GP, a no-nonsense German woman of some academic distinction, instructed me to return twice more before I fly off to the UK next month. My former GP has refused to forward my immunisations record to her. For the sake of keeping all records together and ensuring that I am prepared for the world’s nastiest diseases, I am to receive all regular immunisations again. I am, as a result, a human pincushion with more holes in his skin than a Glasgow junkie on the Sunday morning after his dole cheque was cashed.


Now, for the poetry competition! Please review the following:

She died in the upstairs bedroom

By the light of the ev’ning star

That shone through the plate glass window

From over Leamington Spa


Beside her the lonely crochet

Lay patiently and unstirred,

But the fingers that would have work’d it

Were dead as the spoken word.


And Nurse came in with the tea-things

Breast high ‘mid the stands and chairs-

But Nurse was alone with her own little soul,

And the things were alone with theirs.


She bolted the big round window,

She let the blinds unroll,

She set a match to the mantle,

She covered the fire with coal.


And “Tea!” she said in a tiny voice

“Wake up! It’s nearly five”

Oh! Chintzy, chintzy cheeriness,

Half dead and half alive.


Do you know that the stucco is peeling?

Do you know that the heart will stop?

From those yellow Italianate arches

Do you hear the plaster drop?


Nurse looked at the silent bedstead,

At the grey, decaying face,

As the calm of a Leamington ev’ning

Drifted into the place.


She moved the table of bottles

Away from the bed to the wall;

And tiptoeing gently over the stairs

Turned down the gas in the hall.











Oh when my love, my darling,
You’ve left me here alone,
I’ll walk the streets of London
Which once seemed all our own.

The vast suburban churches
Together we have found:
The ones which smelt of gaslight
The ones in incense drown’d;
I’ll use them now for praying in
And not for looking round.

No more the Hackney Empire
Shall find us in its stalls
When on the limelit crooner
The thankful curtain falls,
And soft electric lamplight
Reveals the gilded walls.

I will not go to Finsbury Park
The putting course to see
Nor cross the crowded High Road
To Williamsons’ to tea,
For these and all the other things
Were part of you and me.

I love you, oh my darling,
And what I can’t make out
Is why since you have left me
I’m somehow still about.

And now, your task: write a poem that creates a sense of place. It doesn’t have to be as morbid as these two. All submissions to be turned in by 7 April 2015. Results will be announced on the evening of 8 April, after my visit to the V&A and I sit my exam on Indian history.

Author: Christopher-Dorset

A Bloody Kangaroo

14 thoughts on “March Poetry Competition”

  1. The one location poem that always makes me smile is by Pam Ayres
    “I am a little bunny rabbit’
    Sittin’ in my hutch.
    I always sit at this end,
    ‘Cos I don’t like that end much.
    I ‘ope today is Sunday
    ‘Cos with a bit of luck,
    It’s the day the families all together
    And the day they pass the buck”

    I will attempt to pen my own later.

  2. Don’t be nasty to Weegies.
    There are plenty of junkies in Embra, although given the preponderance of bankers and lawyers they’re probably more into the Columbian marching powder.

  3. Janus: sorry, sorry! I don’t have an internet connexion every day so I could not respond sooner. Yes, you are quite right — both are by Betjeman. And my Sanskrit is non-existent. Ancient Indian history isn’t really my main interest.

    James: te he he, Thanks! I will send that to my mum. She’s terribly fond of creatures lapine.

    Jazz: I said needles, not drug use! One could argue that at least Weegie junkies are honest about being junkies whereas Embran junkies try to hide their addiction behind a veneer of respectability!

    FEEG: thank you. Your pome made me chuckle.

    Minty: I look forward to seeing it.

  4. christophertrier,
    Jazz: I said needles, not drug use! One could argue that at least Weegie junkies are honest about being junkies whereas Embran junkies try to hide their addiction behind a veneer of respectability!

    Well Embra is a very respectable place, full as I’ve said of bankers, lawyers and intellectuals. Glasgow was more about vulgar commerce although it produced some great artists. If you have time visit the Kelvin Hall some great art and a free organ recital on Sunday afternoons.
    Unfortunately much of Scotland is a pale shadow of what it once was………that’s what socialism does.

  5. Thank you, Janus! James, I take it that your recent post is another entry?

    Jazz: I think much the same. In general, the West is but a faint shadow of what it once was. When it isn’t socialism, it’s crass-commercialisation. All very disheartening and disturbing. Thank goodness for classic works of literature, music and the ability to turn-off the mediocre by switching the telly off. As for Embra, I’m terribly fond of the respectable. I confess to being nauseatingly bourgeois.

    Thank you for the entries so far!

  6. C, what intrigues me is that sanskrit is an Indo-european language, despite its unrecognisable written form. If I had another lifetime of energy I’d study it!

  7. Christophertrier,
    I confess to being nauseatingly bourgeois.

    You’ll go down a storm with the embra folk. Be sure to raise your pinky when drinking tea and put the milk in first (I think ?). I always put the it in last….but then my father came from Leith which hadn’t then become yuppified.

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