Somewhere Else Writers (SEW) November 21 Clare Roberts

Clare Roberts

This month’s featured writer is Clare Roberts, whose passions include wild water, music and mountains. Formerly a journalist, Clare now studies poetry, alongside her work teaching piano and singing. The two poems featured on the Ciren Scene website have just been published in ‘Voices,’ a brand-new anthology of writing by the students and alumni of the University of Gloucestershire.

Clare says: ‘To hear different voices, we must listen. As a keen singer, the theme of the anthology conjures the idea of different melodies creating harmony. There will sometimes be dissonance, but that can make the waiting more poignant, and the resolution sweeter.’

Clare also writes radio programmes for Corinium Radio under the banner of Somewhere Else Writers, exploring themes including Inner and Outer Space, and Playfulness, using literature and music.

‘Voices’ is available in Waterstones at the Cheltenham Literature Festival or through the university bookshop. To find more work by local writers go to somewhere-else-writers.org.

Poems in Voices by Clare Roberts

Tar Barrels of Allendale

Half a life     of heaving the heat,

Alumni Featuring Book

fifty years       flaming, forceful

in the memories of men     dressed as monks,

jesters and knights      for the new year’s knees-up.

Born and bred         to the task of bearing

barrels of burning       hot tar, boughs

and paraffin; a procession    picks its path,

a crowd of cheering,          costumed characters.

Forty-five men    (no female’s feat)

balance fire         that flickers, and flips

torchlight to shadow,         tinder alight teases,

floating on smoke,     flitting out fear.

Glow ignites gleams,     glistens the threads

on green-tassled gowns      beneath galloping dazzle,

spirits of saffron   spark fires on brass,

band beating time              berating night’s blackness.

Lamps lean         lighting the Yuletide

the Kingshead hails           a heaven or hell,

revellers reel       drunk with reality,

smelting the senses            for old time’s sake.

Stone walls shy      away from the sky

retiring rabbits       too frightened to run.

shadows leap sideways           then crouch and sulk

as the midnight bonfire         bursts the blackness.

Smoke rises slow     over sooty eyes

spirits gambol      groups gather,

surge the bonfire       ceremony, celebration

grab the gauntlet      in the guise of new year.

Sear away sadness,            usher the senses

to embrace new existence,       an exuberant eve,

festival of fire     first footing the gladness

igniting the North              lying numb in the frost.

a mother

In the spaces between

shopping lists and school runs

I pace my days.

Centre stage to succour and support

I learnt my lines, forgetting

to listen to the silences

the gaps subsumed –

plans, ideas, lists

and unformed thoughts.

I dream sounds

understood in retrospect

like clouds unseen in a luminous sky.

Unwritten words, a blank notebook

buried by the everyday

delights of living.

Children grow

spaces bleed.

I live in peripheries now

I live in peripheries now.

Children grow,

spaces bleed.

Delights of living

buried by the everyday

unwritten words, a blank notebook.

Like clouds unseen in a luminous sky

understood in retrospect

I dream sounds

and unformed thoughts

plans, ideas, lists,

the gaps subsumed

to listen to the silences.

I learnt my lines, forgetting

I was centre stage to succour and support.

I pace my days,

shopping lists and school runs

in the spaces between

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