Dancing Queen – Elizabeth Train-Brown

the world is a stage and the speakers are on

It is very special to celebrate the life someone special through the medium of poetry, and Elizabeth Train-Brown remembers her Nana, who ‘spent her century-long life dancing and teaching others’, in a magical way. We are very proud to present ‘Dancing Queen’ in the blog. Having had experience working with cancer charities, she was very keen to support this project. Elizabeth followed her parents into a life of performance, becoming the ‘fire breathing Phoenix on stage’ and has also pursued a career in writing. Find out more about Elizabeth at: Dancing on the Knife Point. Thanks again Elizabeth for sharing your exceptional poetry.

Dancing Queen

(for Violet)

Her legs are stiff with age; it’s been so long since she danced,

Twirled and chartered the floor, chanced

Each night with a new man on her arm

Now, she’s stuck in a chair, blanket warm

Over her knees and the sky went dark hours ago.

She’s been dreaming with her eyes open, you know,

Gazing at the wall with a smile on her face as music drifts

Through the air and partners fly around her like swifts

In the sky. There’s a band in the corner, playing louder and louder:

Sax and bass and drums and voices shower

The dancefloor in streams of light, bathe the room in

Tangible ribbons of sheet music. Her lips part to sing

And somewhere, in another life, her voice echoes

Through the room and not a soul dare go

When their ears catch those fluttering notes.

Here, the air circles with lazy dust motes

But there, the world is a stage and the speakers are on:

I’m here! She cries into the mic. Did you think I was gone?

Their whoops and cheers carry her like stretchers

Through the crowd, each brush of skin electric with embers

Of song and dance and excitement in her veins again.

She’s dancing the foxtrot through torrents of champagne,

The waltz, the jive, the rumba, the salsa,

The tango, the jitterbug, the cha cha cha—

Her legs are alive after an age of rest,

Awake and electrified and the best

You will ever see from all around. She’s whirling and spinning

Across the dancefloor as if she never stopped; she’s finally winning.

They’ll cry, she knows, in that other life

Damp on their cheeks, hearts of strife.

But one or two will smile, spare a grateful thought

That up there above, heaven has a dance floor.

Elizabeth Train-Brown

Did you enjoy this poem? Why not visit Maggie’s website at: Maggie’s Centre Nottingham to find out more about their exceptional work and/or make a donation.

Do you have a poem you would like to submit to Voices? Feel free to do so by email at: voicespoetry@outlook.com or via the ‘Contact’ page on this site.

When T Meets B – Erin Keeble

On a beach somewhere on a summer’s day…

We really appreciate Erin Keeble’s excellent submission to Voices and entry to the competition. This poem carries a very important message which comes as no surprise as Erin aims to move audiences and ‘capture their minds and hearts’. A student at the University of East Anglia, one of her poems was published in the prestigious ‘Armistice for Schools 100’ poetry competition (judged by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy) and her work has also appeared in UEA’s Art-History Magazine. Erin is a passionate and talented lyricist who often takes part in poetry slams too.

When T Meets B

When T meets B there are firework sparks

T’s eyes dilate, above his beating heart

As he gets closer he begins to see How glamorous B is,

floating free

Her tall, slim body bathes with grace

The radiant sunlight upon her face

T can feel his body begin to shake

His mind is spinning, he feels wide awake

B stretches in the water and turns around

That’s it, T’s heart is bound

As B reaches and beckons with her slim white hand

T swims closer to the sand

He’s nearly there

It’s all too much to bear

As he sees the sunlight coat her cheeks

He shivers and buckles, his knees feel weak

As B reaches out her slender arm

T is overcome by her charm

He is sure her expression is one of love

Her pale body floating like a dove

But when their hands lock her nails are sharp

Like the small jagged teeth of a carp

He struggles but now it is too late

The carp has won, it has its bait

Pain encircles him and he is overcome

His head is hurting, his legs feel numb

He looks once at the ocean before glancing with dread

At the white entrapper spinning her web.

On a beach somewhere on a summer’s day

Fate dropped B the bag and she washed away

There to stay

And not decay

Didn’t think of T the turtle swimming by

In the ocean, under the azure sky

It was dawn when he suddenly wondered why

There was something so beautiful floating by

But he had to die

Why?

Because this love he thought he’d felt so strong

He’d actually got it all very wrong

For B the bag was a web of lies

She had got T the turtle mystified

Her beautiful exterior and fantastic shape

Hid what lay under her pretty white cape

T the turtle had made a mistake

But he hadn’t realised until too late

But if B the bag had found B the bin

T wouldn’t have suffered what fate chose for him

And then T would still be swimming, and free

This was the story of when T met B.

Erin Keeble, University of East Anglia, Norwich

Did you enjoy this poem? Why not visit Maggie’s website at: Maggie’s Centre Nottingham to find out more about their exceptional work and/or make a donation.

Do you have a poem you would like to submit to Voices? Feel free to do so by email at: voicespoetry@outlook.com or via the ‘Contact’ page on this site.

The Way It Used to Be – Bernie Bickerton

I remember when only spiders had a Web

Special thanks to Bernie Bickerton for this sharp-witted and reflective offering. Can you remember those halcyon days before mobile phones and the internet? Bernie loves reading and writing poetry, and her passion certainly shines through in this brilliant piece – ‘a tongue in cheek view on the evolving use of language.’

The Way It Used To Be

I remember

When tweeting was only for birds,

When Kindle was only firewood,

When Windows were only looked through.

I remember

When dating required a meeting,

When Followers walked with Jesus,

When a hundred Friends was a demo.

I remember

When only spiders had a Web,

When only churches had an icon,

When only Hitchcock had Angry Birds.

I remember

When “to pin” was to prepare a hem,

When to Excel was to do well,

and I remember,

when you had a sunny Outlook.

© B Bickerton

Did you enjoy this poem? Why not visit Maggie’s website at: Maggie’s Centre Nottingham to find out more about their exceptional work and/or make a donation.

Do you have a poem you would like to submit to Voices? Feel free to do so by email at: voicespoetry@outlook.com or via the ‘Contact’ page on this site.

The Decimation – Xavier Coughlan

under the guise of playing saviours

We are extremely grateful for the talented Xavier Coughlan’s offering to Voices, and we appreciate his support. Xavier is a student who often chooses to address the theme of mental health within his poetry. Eloquent, profound and thought-provoking, we are very fortunate that he has decided to share ‘The Decimation’. Thank you Xavier.

The Decimation

Berkshire. A high-security psychiatric hospital designed by architect Joshua Jebb to accommodate Britain’s most elusive and intuitive.

An assembly of ten,

unburdened by morals,

gathered one fierce night

to float suggestions

of a solution –

to fabricate subtleties

in catastrophe

and solve

what makes you man.

These mighty ten

had been convened

by fate and a sectioning law,

and together round a table,

crafted by Joseph’s son himself,

the group disputed your future.

The Richest clanged

for an annihilation;

the demolition of a continent

blessed not by wealth,

but by culture,

and all the economics

heritage entails,

under the guise

of playing saviours.

One proposed a decimation

and advocated it by tying a noose

and swaying from the hands of

Our strongest

and jiggling to the pain of their

blood-crossed hands.

We were subdued by two thoughts

in watching him dangle:

admiration for not being formulaic

in not using the flush of lighting;

and the eulogizing of his manifesto

in watching its flair unfold.

He was right.

That night, we shared his Lithium,

grinding the pills

into equal amounts –

complying with the cadaver.

Decimation was the future.

The decision had been made.

They bid farewell and set off

to tackle the execution.

Pax vobiscum

Xavier Coughlan, Pewsey, Wiltshire

Did you enjoy this poem? Why not visit Maggie’s website at: Maggie’s Centre Nottingham to find out more about their exceptional work and/or make a donation.

Do you have a poem you would like to submit to Voices? Feel free to do so by email at: voicespoetry@outlook.com or via the ‘Contact’ page on this site.

Nursery Mares – Stuart Hardy-Taylor

my life was scarred forever and a more

Thanks to Stuart Hardy-Taylor for his humorous and witty contribution to Voices Poetry Blog and the competition. There is indeed a certain darkness in many of the stories and rhymes we are told when we are children. Stuart sums this up in a very clever way, and we are sure his excellent poem will make you smile. We really appreciate his unique offering.

Nursery Mares

Ever since I was a child, I’ve had horrendous nightmares 

Because of all the stories and nursery rhymes, like Goldilocks and the three bears   

And Hansel and Gretel and red riding hood 

witches and granny eating wolves, how could that ever be good 

And every night I would worry, unable to sleep  

Because I was so emotional and scared, about bow-peep and her sheep 

Expecting me sleep and stop crying, parents what were ya thinking, it begs all belief 

WHEN ALL I COULD SEE IN MY HEAD, IS A BRIDGE AND THE TROLL UNDERNEATH  

Jack and the beanstalk and the goose laying gold eggs  

But only thing i can remember, is the giant that wanted Jack for his bread 

And the three little pigs, i was petrified the wolf, would blow my house down, just like the one with the sticks 

And my life was scarred forever and a more, because Humpy dumpy would never be fixed 

And I’m not surprised I took drugs, come on, cows jumping over the moon 

The fox ate the poor ginger bread man, and the dish ran away with the spoon 

And the little dog laughed because he thought it was fun 

But I would cry and I’d weep for the little piggy that had none 

And little miss Muffet and that great bloody big spider 

Fancy telling me that as a child, that it came and sat down beside-her 

I never wanted to hear, about the old duke of York and his ten thousand men 

And especially the time that they wasted, just going up and down and again 

Putting all these things in my head, I didn’t think it was healthy or fair 

Oh the nightmares that I had, about the mouse in his boots, WHERE, there on the stairs 

But I’m going to bed now, and going to try and go sleep 

And you can do one bow-peep because I don’t care anymore about you or your bloody lost sheep  

GOODNIGHT 

Stuart Hardy-Taylor, Loughborough

Did you enjoy this poem? Why not visit Maggie’s website at: Maggie’s Centre Nottingham to find out more about their exceptional work and/or make a donation.

Do you have a poem you would like to submit to Voices? Feel free to do so by email at: voicespoetry@outlook.com or via the ‘Contact’ page on this site.

Nothing Is Ever Still – Emma Loftus

The old me is in here somewhere

The relentless pace of modern life takes its toll, and we are sure you will relate to Emma Loftus’s fantastic contribution. Despite being a busy wife and mother, Emma loves painting and gardening. She is also an avid reader with a deep appreciation of literature. We are very thankful that Emma has decided to share her poetry with us and enter the competition.

Nothing is Ever Still

Nothing is ever still
The exhausting whirl of my inner panic stifles and isolates me
The old me is in here somewhere, somewhere
but I don’t miss me. 
The important people are still here is that the problem?
some days I can fake it till I make it, some days, some days.
Other days are just other days. 

Emma Loftus, Birmingham

Did you enjoy this poem? Why not visit Maggie’s website at: Maggie’s Centre Nottingham to find out more about their exceptional work and/or make a donation.

Do you have a poem you would like to submit to Voices? Feel free to do so by email at: voicespoetry@outlook.com or via the ‘Contact’ page on this site.

Do You See Me? – Betty Benny and Rachael Pierre

I am just like you and you are just like me

We are very grateful for this thoughtful and powerful submission from Betty Benny and Rachael Pierre. In this fast-paced age of technology and social-media, we can so often be guilty of judging by appearances. Betty and Rachael are based in Sheffield, share a love of poetry and have a magical way with words. Thank you very much for your kind offering to Voices and our competition.

Do You See Me?

Do you see me?
Do you see the real me?
Not the material things around me.
Not the financial status I have.
Just me. Do you see me?

Do you see me?
Do you see the real me?
Not the mask I wear.
Not the clothes I have on.
Do you see me, do you actually see me?

Please don’t judge me from the way I look.
Please don’t judge from the things I have.
I’m just like you and you are just like me,
we are the same.
Money and material status doesn’t make us any different.

We are all vulnerable little children
inside craving for love and affection.
Peace, love, harmony and appreciation.

Betty Benny and Rachael Pierre, Sheffield

Did you enjoy this poem? Why not visit Maggie’s website at: Maggie’s Centre Nottingham to find out more about their exceptional work and/or make a donation.

Do you have a poem you would like to submit to Voices? Feel free to do so by email at: voicespoetry@outlook.com or via the ‘Contact’ page on this site.

Why Did You Have To Leave Me? – Maralyn Smith

The memories will stay forever

Thank you to Maralyn Smith for her kind submission which deals with the theme of loss. Maralyn is a talented poet from Leicestershire who recently lost a close friend to cancer. She appreciates the excellent work Maggie’s Centre, Nottingham provides for the community and was very keen to support this project. We really appreciate Maralyn taking the time to share her talents.

Why Did You Have To Leave Me?

Why did you have to leave me?
Why did you have to go?
I wish you could explain it to me
As I’d really like to know.

You’ll never know how much I miss you
You’ll never know how much I cry
I wish You could explain to me
Just why you had to die

I miss your hugs and kisses
I miss you every day
Your voice, your humour, your laughter,
In my heart they’ll always stay.

I know I’ll never forget you
You had a big influence on me
But the pain and the suffering are no more
At last your body is free.

Why did you have to leave me?
Why did you have to go?
I’ll love you for the rest of my life
And I just wanted you to know

The memories will stay forever
I’ll try to remember your face
But your image will start to fade I know
As my heart breaks in two and the tears start to flow
And you vanish without trace.

Maralyn Smith, Coalville, Leicestershire

Did you enjoy this poem? Why not visit Maggie’s website at: Maggie’s Centre Nottingham to find out more about their exceptional work and/or make a donation.

Do you have a poem you would like to submit to Voices? Feel free to do so by email at: voicespoetry@outlook.com or via the ‘Contact’ page on this site.

Depression – Maralyn Smith

Help me please, I want my life back

Thankfully more and more people are prepared to speak out about the horrors of depression nowadays, and we hope this excellent submission from Maralyn Smith offers comfort. Maralyn has very kindly provided two submissions to Voices, and this poem will be entered into the competition. Thank you again Maralyn for sharing your eloquent and thoughtful poetry.

Depression

The void. The darkness. How long does it last?

My normal life seems way back in the past.

I cry, I shout and then I scream.
Is my normal life really just a dream?
How do I cope? What do I do?
No one knows what I’m going through.
My family and friends don’t understand why
I shout and scream and then breakdown and cry.
“Take the tablets”, is what they say,
“You’ll feel better tomorrow or the next day”.
Tomorrow comes and I still feel sad,
I’m starting to think that I’m going mad.
I need some help and I need it quick,
I’m starting to panic and I’m feeling sick.
The family’s come home and they need to be fed,
But I just want to go back to my bed.
At my empty life I ponder, then cry,
I feel so alone I just want to die.
Help me please, I want my life back.
How long does it take to get back on track?

The void? The darkness? How long does it last?
Well, it’s taken some years but it’s now in the past.

Maralyn Smith, Coalville, Leicestershire

Did you enjoy this poem? Why not visit Maggie’s website at: Maggie’s Centre Nottingham to find out more about their exceptional work and/or make a donation.

Do you have a poem you would like to submit to Voices? Feel free to do so by email at: voicespoetry@outlook.com or via the ‘Contact’ page on this site.

Skaters – Max Scratchmann

Your spirit glides like a skater

Close-up Photography of Snowflake

Skaters

a fictional life of the poet, Charlotte Mew

Sometimes life’s most fleeting moments leave the largest impact. Vivid and haunting – Max Scratchmann’s offering entitled ‘Skaters’ conjures up a variety of potent and mysterious images. Max is based in Edinburgh and is a highly regarded writer, poet and illustrator who also runs the performance group Poetry Circus. Find out more about Max at his website: www.scratchmann.co.uk. Thank you for your kind contribution to ‘Voices’.


Shhhh!
Cobwebs spangled with pearls greet
the approaching dawn.

In a lonely room a television still
bleats and flickers,
While in the night air that is neither
dark nor morning
Your spirit glides like a skater
on the frozen Thames,
Glimpsed in the red glow of
a chestnut vendor’s coals
And then like some fairy thing,
gone. Gone.

Max Scratchmann, Edinburgh

Did you enjoy this poem? Why not visit Maggie’s website at: Maggie’s Centre Nottingham to find out more about their exceptional work and/or make a donation.

Do you have a poem you would like to submit to Voices? Feel free to do so by email at: voicespoetry@outlook.com or via the ‘Contact’ page on this site.