Sarah James

the possibilities of poetry…

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It’s been a week of Ploughing through Feathers and a Photo Album to hold a Folding Mirror up to the Soul. Yes, that’s my way of saying I’ve had a couple of days of action on the poetry front!

Firstly, my copy of Soul Feathers arrived from Indigo Dreams ( I am absolutely delighted to have a poem in this anthology in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. It is a fantastic cause and the book is bursting with poems by some fantastic poets including Carol Ann Duffy and Seamus Heaney, as well as Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, and some wonderful local Worcestershire poets and friends too.

The Plough Prize 2010 results are also now up and it was an uplifting boost to find I’d had a poem shortlisted in the open section and another longlisted in the short poem section. (The results are available at the prize’s newly designed website:

A spontaneous Folding Mirror poem Photo Album, penned for my Twentyfirstpoets Makeitnew collaborative poetry project on Facebook, is also up on Marc Latham’s Folding Mirror blog at: .

Today, I’ve been busy on a kids’ party, skateboarding and biking front but did manage to collect a few photos during the car journey through the countryside to Malvern. (I’m rather in to taking reflection pictures in mirror or water at the moment and also enjoy the challenge of trying to capture snapshots while moving. Obviously, I wasn’t driving!)

Just one day and a few hours left of  the International Small Stone Month challenge and the route to Malvern also gave me an opportunity for spotting today’s ‘poetic’ small stone’, which turned out to be a partly built/roofed house. I loved the symmetry and openness of the exposed roof rafters – though that’s not much use for keeping out the rain!

the beauty of bare roof rafters
so much space for light and sky
a brave prayer for spring’s fair weather

I’ve small stones in my stomach today – looking forward to this evening’s guest poet slot at The Fizz in Polesworth!

If you’re in the Staffordshire area, the evening, which includes an open mic, kicks off at 7.30pm in Polesworth Abbey Refectory. I hope to read a few of my small stones, as well some poems from my collection Into the Yell.

Meanwhile, here’s small stone day 18:

the red wheelbarrow of water ripples
breaks my reflection into patterns of light
stray grass sticks to the side

Polesworth Abbey

Polesworth  Poets Trail Sculpture

Even an early start after a late night has its own music. So here are my small stones day 7:

7am black rain
but the birds are singing

on the kitchen shelf
dust and a dead spider
fill my empty glass

Ice Alight

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I’m reading at Parole Parlate in Worcester tonight, where I shall be sharing some of my small stones,  a favourite from Into the Yell and some other new poems. So here’s a sneak preview of small stone day 6, which will be making its debut at Little Venice this evening.

jack frost feathers
the patio table,
combs quills of ice
across the glass

my flash turns
its daylight surface
to ridged night sky
bursting with fireworks

And just to prove there are some good things about having to get up early for the school rush – small stone day 5:

curtains not quite closed
a grey soldier of sky dipped in yolk
with chimney teeth marks

And two photographic stones:


a lucky bamboo shoot
cocktail of sun

My poetic stone for today (spotted at the leisure centre):

pink daisy picture
reflects the lights
as classic UFOs

And a photographic stone in the supermarket car park – noticed for the first time after seven years of parking there!

A short series of small poetic stones today fresh from the stream:

8 Days After Christmas

lopsided fir tree
at the top a red star looking down
to glitter on us


beside the sink
cups and dishes pile up
like a silent funfair


hoovering up
stray scraps of wrapping
stick to my socks


light creates pebbles
on the cleaned kitchen floor

And some snatches from the car-seat:

mistletoe ball
in a bare-branched tree
giant beehive of leaves

Malvern Hills glimpsed
through pinheads of water and mist
an Impressionist painting

And finally, my photographic pebble, not from today but from Christmas Day because it seems apt from the viewed from the car theme.

What a suntastic weekend! With the good weather, Worcester Literature Festival 2011 discussions and so many readings coming up, I’m so buzzing with ideas and new poems that I don’t know what to blog about! (I’ll manage, of course, I’m never stuck for words for long!)

On top of the poetry, my camera has also been leading me astray this week. Yes, I’ve been busy snapping away in the sunshine when I probably should have been varnishing the fences, mowing the lawn or something equally practical (yawn!) but not so creative or fun. Well, who wants to watch paint dry?!

I’ve also been enjoying a new challenge – verbal karate, writing some children’s flash fiction as a fundraiser for a martial arts club. It’s certainly been keeping my imagination fighting fit! (Hence, the flurry of puns!)

Hope all the dads out there have had a great Father’s Day and that everyone’s enjoying the sun.

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