Another Wave of Holiday Poems

Django Fontina
by Rebecca Perry

I saw rain in Galilee.
I saw rain in Lauterbrunnen.
In the Black Forest
I saw apple-sized hailstones
smash through the windscreens
of abandoned cars.

In Egypt, from a hot air balloon,
I saw a funeral –
a body in a white sheet
lowered into the sand. In Hong Kong,
a man covered in bees.
In Italy, the international space station
flew by three nights in a row
and became unremarkable.

(published in the Poetry Paper, distributed at the 2012 Aldeburgh Poetry Festival)

Rebecca is a graduate of Manchester’s Centre for New Writing; her work has appeared most recently in Poetry London and The Rialto and her pamphlet, little armoured, was a Poetry Book Society choice.
Some Day We Must Come Back And Explore Properly
by Amy Key

Inspired by a Russian matchbox from 1963 you’re a rainbow of office girls,
sloshed on Coke Floats, a floriferous border, a Royal Park –
cute as a homegrown radish tucked in a pocket for later.

You are my layer-cake of sorbet, pink as kissed off lipstick
and rose-petal jam. You are old with an iced croissant of hair
and you are young with custard candyfloss hair. Let’s

watch the sun through glass the sun through boiled-sweet glass
the peeled sun through a cooked coach window the sun you keep
in your knees the way you can see something to make your heart wobble

and stash it for keeps. You try out the latest ultra-violet thoughts
as a skipping girl might not even consider on her first visit to the seaside
where are the clouds today but might think I cannot possibly choose

which pebble to keep. I really saw you today. Let me try on
your sunglasses. On me (!), but oh on you!

(from Luxe, Salt, 2013)

Amy Key‘s first collection, Luxe, is forthcoming in 2013 from Salt.
by Stephen Bone

In the seafront
guest houses,
a different morning
is already
Upturned cups
on saucers,
beside the fine cut.

As if
a piece of tomorrow
had worked its way free
or broken off.
And waits,
for the rest
to follow.

(first published in Smiths Knoll, 2003)

Stephen Bone‘s most recent work has appeared in Ink, Sweat & Tears and London Grip New Poetry
Ghost Crabs
by Valerie Morton

After sitting patient as a rock
for human feet to tramp away

I see the shoreline quiver
and pairs of bulbous eyes rise

to a stage floodlit by the moon.

Like untrained ballerinas they skitter
forwards, backwards, sideways

scooping up the debris of the day

And when the sun begins to argue
with the moon they scuttle away

through corridors of sand
their claws clacketing applause

that echoes along a freckled beach

(first published in Reach Poetry 2012)

Valerie Morton‘s first collection Mango Tree was published by Indigo Dreams Publishing in May 2013.
Warm Enough for You?
by Fiona Ritchie Walker

For a tan,
to build up a sweat,
fry an egg?

Warm enough to take
the chill off icebergs,
turn milk sour,
make dogs play dead
in Spanish shadows?

To scorch dust into skin,
leave this satsuma of a sun
still burning when you close your eyes?

To stop you moaning
about the heatwave back home?

Fiona Ritchie Walker is a Scot, now living in NE England. Her latest collection, The Second Week of the Soap, was published recently by Red Squirrel Press.
Sterile Promontory, July 1982
by Jonathan Taylor

Ankle-deep in New Brighton
beach, yellow kagools
greyed by drizzle, ears
shrill-sopranoed by the
coloratura westerly,
reminded – as if we needed
reminding, coming from
where we came from –
that childhood is not
one long summer but
one long preparation
for something colder,
greyer, drizzlier,
sinking into a mini-spit
of squelchy sand,
corrugated, cobbled,
by northern waves,
we worry round and round
hundreds of white crabs –
in limp lieu of Blackpool’s
arcade games, or Southport’s
spiky grass wars –
until their legs fall off,
trying and failing
to reanimate them with driftwood,
but this beach is the opposite
of a crustacean Revelations,
as salt puddle graves
suck back their dead,

whilst my crabby father keeps
hearing (in his head)
the Last Trump, which is the
station tannoy announcing
the Last Train. He’s been
as worried as the crabs
about the train back
since we got the train here,
look-look-looking at his watch,
in case we get too engrossed
with crab corpses
and miss the train, miss home,
miss everything.

We’re here at the end
of a fourteen-day rover ticket:
fourteen days out,
but we’ve run out
of Blackpools, Southports,
Holyheads, even Morecambes,
and are reduced to this,
a northern charlatan
for something better
we’ve never seen,
which looks older than the
older original –
Martin Parr’s Last Resort.

But looking through his photos,
I remember none of it:
not the ice-cream-drizzled
faces, nor the fish-and-chip
melée, nor the concrete

and for me
New Brighton has shrunk
to this crabby promontory
of eroding sand-mud memory,
surrounded by incoming tides
and the miniature, eddying dead.

(Previously published in Musicolepsy Shoestring Press, 2012, and Spilt Milk Magazine).

Jonathan Taylor is author of the poetry collection Musicolepsy (Shoestring Press, 2013), the novel Entertaining Strangers (Salt, 2012), and the memoir Take Me Home (Granta, 2007).
In the Car, on the Way to Wales
by Jadine Eagle

You showed me the scan. You carried
a hummingbird and a Buddha head
inside your belly

Congratulations stoppered my throat, came out
as a whimper smothered with smile
“Not long ‘til we reach the mountains”
I felt the weight of them already

Jadine Eagle, 39, extreme cake eater, roasts own coffee beans in a popcorn maker and winner of the Sarah Smith Poetry Competition
by Sarah James

Loneliness greets me at the Ericeira shell’s mouth. My mock
fisherman’s shack empty, I rattle in its stone vastness; too small
to raise a lasting echo.

Down from the cliffdrop,
surf hurls noise at the rocks, breaks its own scalloped
mosaics, as it contours shoreline ridges.

Linked-hand, two strangers on the sand’s ebbing heat. Their feet
pattern makeshift paths ahead of the tide.

A child runs after.

No sign of the rivers which sourced this palette.

Evening light folds to night ocean. Leaving my portholed
outlook to stand alone on the beach, my brittle-boned frame
shrinks in its soft enamel, and colder black left by the blue’s
wake. My stars here set so far asunder – last splashes of light in
a sky that’s dried-up.

I skim a shell at the waves.
Darkness engulfs it. I imagine its echoes, drowning, as the sea
reclaims its emptiness.

(from Be[yond] Knives, Forks and Spoons Press, 2013)

Sarah James is an award-winning journalist, fiction writer and poet. Her second poetry collection, Be[yond], is published by Knives, Forks and Spoons Press (July 2013).
Seen From Below
by Wendy Klein

He’d be restless until nightfall
when he could slip out the back door,
his city man feet, long and slim;
dew from the lawn seeping
between his perfect white toes.

Moon-mad he couldn’t wait to see it:
to remind himself if it was crescence
or decrescence, whether its face
was the same as last night
when he thought it must be waning.

And long ago, no different: setting up
camp in the high Sierras — Mom and I,
in the dark, wrestling with the tent- –
me a scrap of an eight year old, holding
the centre pole upright; me placing

a stake at each corner, mallet at the ready;
he, insisting we stop, come and look–
look at the moon – the stars
. See, he’d cry,
Orion’s belt, the Big Dipper, Arcturus —
how clear the Milky Way looks from here

Something in his voice made me drop
the mallet before the next bang, turn my face
to the sky, to the whole glittering tent of it —
the Big Dipper, pouring and pouring
droplets of light from the heavens just for us.

Wendy Klein is published in many magazines and anthologies, plus two collections from Cinnamon Press: Cuba in the Blood and Anything in Turquoise.
Sea Stars
by Alison Lock

A cormorant on a rock dove deep
his hooked beak caught in an upward flick
neck expanding like an opening gill
swallowing complete
Piscean jaws, fins, scales
leaving no slit in the flawless sea.

I take a tide-full of grains for my hourglass
collect a crystal lens eroded smooth
slip it into the orbit of my eye.
Through it I see the past
where dark clouds speak
of driftwood on the incoming tide.

Again I see a cormorant
when I look down
I see a million starfish
swimming around my feet
like earthly stars.

At night I know the sky for the sea.

(from A Slither of Air, Indigo Dreams, 2011)

Alison Lock is a poet and writer of short stories. Her first collection of poetry was published in 2011 by Indigo Dreams Publishing and her latest book Above the Parapet is a collection of short stories.
Upside down
by Karen Dennison

Orion was upside down and so were we.
Up to our ankles in sand, we anchored
in the cyan sea. Our heads dangled
in the sky, hypnotised by eucalyptus.

Blood rushing to our heads,
we rode the earth like a roller-coaster,
stuck out our arms in the air,
screamed to go faster.

We screeched across the sky with cockatoos,
prowled with cats on curfew,
swooped with magpies on joggers
sweated honey with the Coolibah.

We hid under rocks with red-backs,
tunnelled holes with Pardalotes,
plucked fruit that turned in our palms
into bats and birds.

Over salt bush and blue bush,
we blew red dust from the outback to Sydney,
painted Lake Eyre with turquoise copper
filled it with desert rivers.

Summer followed Summer as we flew
over flame-shaped creeks, traced the Stuart Highway.
Under the Southern Cross,
we sunbathed in starlight, ignited the night.

(published in the anthology Poetry Wivenhoe 2011)

Karen Dennison‘s poems have been published in various magazines such as Orbis, South and South Bank Poetry and in 2011 she won the Indigo Dreams Collection Competition resulting in the publication of her first collection, Counting Rain.