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We put out a call for local poets to send us their best words, and Chester definitely didn’t disappoint…

David Subacchi is a longstanding member of Chester Poets which has met regularly in the city centre since 1973 and published numerous anthologies. David has five published collections of his own and was born in Wales of Italian roots. He writes in English, Welsh and Italian and regularly performs his work at poetry and spoken word events throughout the country.

Chester Walls

by David Subacchi

Two hearts in love
But I am Welsh
And may not respond
When my lady calls
From on the Chester walls

And though I sigh
It counts as naught,
For English might dwells
In fortified halls
Behind the Chester walls.

O would that I were
A nightingale
Beside the flowing Dee,
I’d fly when evening falls
Up to the Chester walls

And there I’d sing
At my lady’s side,
Safe from armoured men
With musket balls
That walk the Chester walls.

* * *

Cinemas

by David Subacchi

It’s tempting to fall back on nostalgia
And refer to the flicks or the pictures,
Those old flea pits and ornate places,
Misspent youth in Saturday cinema;
It’s easy to recall a past era
Of ice cream, popcorn and stern usherettes,
Dodging the flashlight, smoking cigarettes,
Misbehaving in dark auditoria.

For today in our multiplex chambers
There’s little chance of any excitement,
Modern technology and interiors
Are designed to spot every infringement;
No more snogging in back rows and corners
Just wholesome family entertainment.

* * *

Paul Waring lives in New Brighton and was once a singer/songwriter in several Liverpool bands. A member of Chester Poets, his poems have been published in journals and sites including Clear Poetry, Eunoia Review, The Open Mouse, Reach Poetry and Foxglove Journal. You can visit his blog here.

Cézanne’s Fruit Bowl Fracas

by Paul Waring

Paul Cézanne told a story about a fracas
in his fruit bowl; still life of apples and pears
disturbed by ripe language and bruising behaviour
that nearly ended in a punch; the day a bent-out-
of-shape banana’s bad taste joke about melons
turned a grapefuit pink, a rough kiwi got under
the skin of a plum and a bunch of grapes started
to get out of hand after a pineapple punk poked
a bitter lemon. Once again, an outraged orange
had to be restrained and reminded it is not the only
fruit. Meanwhile, safe inside the fridge door, soft
ears of apricot lay in wait to eavesdrop on gossip
of basket-case berries below.

Cézanne also told one about a storm in a teacup
…….but that’s another story.

* * *

Author and Poet Stephen Scorer (Steven Thomas-Spires) is An Englishman living in Wales. Sports Mad and an avid follower of Nottingham Forest. Visit Stephen’s website here.

Border Language

by Stephen Scorer

The border squirms like a snake:
Y ffin yn gwingo fel neidr.
Safe lands, does it make:
Yn gwneud tiroedd diogel.

Along rivers and ancient paths:
Ar hyd afonydd a llwybrau hynafol.
Hills, mountains and small crags:
Bryniau, mynyddoedd a chlogwyni bach.

From Connahs Quay to Chepstow:
O Gei Connah i Gas-gwent.
From Bristol back up to Chester so:
O Fryste yn ôl i fyny at Gaer felly:

We all live on this land:
Yr ydym i gyd yn byw ar y tir hwn.
Neither side have the upper hand:
Naill ochr na’r llall yn cael y llaw uchaf.

Two nations divided:
Dwy genedl wedi’i rannu.
By one strong tongue:
Gan un tafod cryf.

* * *

King Progress

By Bev Clark

That was then:
When the dusty blue-bells played
and the wild jacks watched for the dancing fox.

Then:
When the child-like wind could run,
tumbling tingling grasses,
chasing the lengthening days.

Then:
Before the song was broken
by gnashing armoured jaws.
The steel-clad monster clawed,
spat out the innocent earth,
exploding indignation to the sky.

That
was when the dusk-owl forgot his cry.
When cold grey slabs began to rise,
conquering unvanquished land.
Ordaining their smoke-churning King
Upon his rigid throne.

But
in time crowns tumble,
concrete cracks.
Seeds that slept in dark,
catacomb-soil suppressed,
will worm their way to a sunlit strand
that beckons them to rise again.

* * *

Chester Map

By Katy Konrad

You kissed me by Canal Side
The Dee, sensing something special
Turned and flowed away.

Picnicked in Grosvenor Park
On May Bank Holiday
Squirrels watching our every move.

Browsing Waterstones on Eastgate Row
Lengthy tomes of the men and women
Who’d loved and lost in Chester.

Walking Peckferton Hill
While all of Cheshire watched
A struggle made easier by your hand in mine.

Chester train station
The skies wept until the Dee was at bursting point
Every time we parted.

Eastgate clock chimed with approval
The minute you told me you loved me.
While hundreds of Japanese tourists photographed this epic moment.

Delamere left us desired
Beeston Castle upped its entry fee
A Placque was placed
‘Two star crossed lovers visited here.’

While revellers at Chester Races
Put good money on the 2:1 odds
Of me and you being onto a winner.