Tag Archives: Becky Cherriman

Becky Cherriman – Sundial in glorious pestilence of clover mites coming up through cracks

Sundial in glorious pestilence of clover mites coming up through cracks

xii
Itch of tomatoes. Frog-shock in watering can. Beans on poles.
Runner Bean, nickname called as I footed it nude down the garden,
gappy-toothed, hair straggling free,
to the little wooden slide. Each generation in turn –
headfirst into the paddling pool.
Blistered, splintering, looping joy of it.

iii
Inside the mottled garage, fear hangs
with spiders to grime the windows, their enterprise
(the) cold and dark.
Beyond, the neighbour’s garden
where a millennial boy, visiting
from his care home, screams at the wrongness.

vi
Laurel sway. Curls on my son’s head as he tilts the hose
over planters dreamy with my mother’s sweet peas.
Stone, like time, too hot to touch.
Gnomon casts its shadow –
every quarter different,
every day the same.

ix
Resting on the copper plate,
Granny’s Cinecamera turned on all of this.
House passed on then sold.
Even our children grown and gone
but these overexposed summers flicker up through the decades,
unspool in landfill, the whirring of memory.

 

Becky Cherriman

Becky Cherriman a writer, workshop leader and performer who works part time in Creative Writing at the University of Leeds’ Lifelong Learning Centre. Her poetry publications include pamphlet Echolocation and collection Empires of Clay, and works in Mslexia, Stand, Bloodaxe, Seren, and The North. Her writing has also been recognised for awards such as the Forward and the Women’s Poetry Prize and commissioned by organisations and charities including BEAM, Imove, The Cultural Institute, and Morley, Humbermouth and Ilkley Literature festivals. www.beckycherriman.com

“Sundial in glorious pestilence of clover mites coming up through cracks” by Becky Cherriman received a special mention in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (April 2021) judged by Mary Anne Smith Sellen.

Becky Cherriman – The Legacy of Alice Cliff Scatcherd

The Legacy of Alice Cliff Scatcherd

My father’s horse is buried under the mosaic floor,
my siblings in the sad hollows
of the graveyard. On their birthdays
our mother honours sunrises they never saw
by wearing colour. Too much black worn in this age.

Sometimes I dream I am the horse.
I ascend through the floor,
unashamed of muscularity,
casting hues and plaster
like flour from my father’s wheel and
out. Oh, to run where I will, hair unbound,
clods undone beneath my tread.

I should not like to be bridled,
to be under the reins of any man.
Nor will I bear his children.
No, I shall leave spaces greening the future,
the muscle on my ring finger
and the bones
of my slack-corseted spine intact.

I shall leave the ballot slip
to those who sell their skin
to keep their flesh,
for women embroidering banners
by candlelight and those that come after.


Becky Cherriman

Becky Cherriman a writer, workshop leader and performer who works part time in Creative Writing at the University of Leeds’ Lifelong Learning Centre. Her poetry publications include pamphlet Echolocation and collection Empires of Clay, and works in Mslexia, Stand, Bloodaxe, Seren, and The North. Her writing has also been recognised for awards such as the Forward and the Women’s Poetry Prize and commissioned by organisations and charities including BEAM, Imove, The Cultural Institute, and Morley, Humbermouth and Ilkley Literature festivals. www.beckycherriman.com


The Legacy of Alice Cliff Scatcherd by Becky Cherriman received a special mention in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (April 2021) judged by Mary Anne Smith Sellen.

Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition April 2021–Report and results


SENTINEL LITERARY QUARTERLY POETRY COMPETITION (APRIL 2021)

Adjudication Report

By MARY ANNE SMITH SELLEN

clip_image002Judging the April 2021 SLQ Poetry Competition has been both a privilege and a pleasure, so I would like to start by thanking everyone who submitted; I very much enjoyed reading your work. It was intriguing to see what subject matters had inspired the poems: mythology, local history, biography, personal experience, humour, lockdown, loss, place and nature – trees, birds, wildlife and weather. There were more concrete poems than I had expected, and fewer formal. It was obvious that much thought and research had been invested in many of these, and I learned a lot from them. As I correctly anticipated, it proved to be a difficult task to sift down a shortlist of twelve poems from out of several hundred entries – but it had to be done. Ultimately, I chose the poems that struck me the most, by their imaginative use of language, rich imagery, the discipline and skill demonstrated in their crafting and editing (the ‘less is more’ approach), and from how they remained with me – even after just one reading. I hardly need to say that many of the submitted poems ticked all these boxes for me, so please don’t be disheartened if your work hasn’t been placed this time. These are my own individual choices, and another judge may well have chosen differently. A few things to consider, if you are a less experienced writer: I have always found that it helps to read a poem out loud, as this will straightaway flag up any issues with repetition, enjambment, punctuation and flow. Having someone else read your work (on the page and out loud) is also a useful exercise, as is taking work to be critiqued by a writing group. The first time you do this can be quite daunting, but it can also prove to be invaluable – and I speak from personal experience. Most writing groups are friendly and encouraging, and you can learn so much from other writers. So – please keep writing, keep learning – and keep submitting!

First Prize: Snowy Owl

This poem caught my attention from the first reading. Its delicate form perfectly captures the owl’s elusive nature and distinctive appearance, and in its spareness, the bleak landscape of their habitat. From the opening line ‘pale tossed blossoms / coalesced’, with its mythical hints, the succinct choice of language and imagery holds the reader spellbound and breathless throughout, as though sharing the owl’s flight. I was also impressed by how much thought had gone into the layout of the poem, and the highly effective use of spacing.

Second Prize: View from Dystopia

This captivating poem impressed me from the start. I like the way Szymborska’s style has been effortlessly referenced here, as the poet describes their own first meeting with her work. ‘I carry in my pockets a loose change of words’ is a line that particularly resonated with me, after reading the Syzmborska poem that had ‘stuck within the core’ of the poet.

Third Prize: Flattened

A wonderful dialect poem, which describes with ironic humour how a photographer takes detailed photographs of Scottish streets just before they are all swept away. It immediately brought to my mind the paintings of Glasgow streets and their children by the artist Joan Eardley, whose centenary is being celebrated this year with many exhibitions and events. There is great poignancy in the personal detail (‘the wee yin’s dress swung, flitting like she was dancing in it’), and particularly in the closing line where the narrator reflects how they still occupy those streets, albeit only in the never-seen photographs.

Highly commended:

The Hare

Hares are a perennial source of inspiration for writers, but I like the way the poet turns this on its head by delightfully suggesting that they should be allowed to exist ‘beyond the snare of your words’.

Bwthyn

An evocative and closely observed tour through the sad ruins of a Welsh cottage, likening it in turn to a wrecked boat, a human body and a graveyard, where nature is gradually reasserting control and only different types of silence remain.

Soch Vichar

A perfectly paced and thought-provoking poem, beginning with a description of fire as something beautiful and useful. In the third stanza the poet then seamlessly turns this to suggest a more disturbing outcome, culminating in an unequivocal warning in the final line.

Commended:

Frankenstein’s Dog

Written from the point of view of the dog, I was particularly struck by the precise handling of this unsentimental expression of loyalty.

Chatsworth Street

This poem deftly describes a return visit to a former family home, reflecting on the different atmosphere and attitudes – and smells – to be found there now, and why it is that we only ever seem to remember the days of sun or snow from our childhood, never rain.

Sumburgh Head

In this beautifully paced and acutely observed poem, an RSPB webcam at Sumburgh Head in Scotland helps to sustain the housebound narrator throughout the long days of lockdown, as does the familiar voice of the Shipping Forecast during sleepless nights.

Special mentions:

Sundial in glorious pestilence of clover mites coming up through cracks

Intriguingly titled, this wonderful, visual poem vividly evokes memories of time spent in the garden of a former family home, as a series of flickbook images.

The Legacy of Alice Cliff Scatcherd

In the voice of suffragist Alice Cliff Scatcherd, this beautifully worded poem describes her life and legacy as a tireless campaigner for women’s rights.

Seeds

We return to the garden in this poem, and the perilous task of growing flowering plants from seed in unpredictable weather, A very original take on a perennial problem, adeptly done.

Results

Special mentions

Ted Gooda – Seeds

Becky Cherriman – The Legacy of Alice Cliff Scatcherd

Becky Cherriman – Sundial in glorious pestilence of clover mites coming up through cracks

Commended

Ama Bolton – Sumburgh Head

Trevor Breedon – Chatsworth Street

D A Angelo – Frankenstein’s Dog

Highly Commended

Wendy Toole – Soch Vichar

F. Philip Holland – Bwthyn (Cottage)

Maggie Wadey – The Hare

Third Prize

Debbie Love – Flattened

Second Prize

Julie Anne Gilligan – View from Dystopia

First Prize

Marilyn Donovan – Snowy Owl


Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition

https://sentinelquarterly.com/competitions/poetry/index.htm