Martin Stannard

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The Programme

To be cold or ugly or forlorn or all four may well be
today’s thing, but who knows? It’s almost impossible to
keep pace with the pace of change. That Chinese
calligraphy brush is from another time and — oh, it’s also

available on Amazon. We are not a small town branch of
The National Society of Trainee Creative Writing Tutors,
or are we? The best place to curl up and sleep is that little nest
of solitude you concocted for yourself. Someone likes you

but they live too far away to be of any use. “As delicate as
a bee’s wing, cool as the heart of a tea-rose”. The ladybirds
do not enjoy this weather; they’re not built to withstand it.
Soon the Championships will begin. The excitement

is already mounting. You will be receiving a visit in the next
few days from our broad-shouldered representatives.
Relying on technology alone should not and cannot replace
the personal. Connections may not always be available.

The Light and The Shade

Image is not everything, which is why one should
choose one’s words carefully. Your public persona does
not interest anyone any more. “Oh sweet sound of the rain
on the ground and the roofs!” Sunshine falling upon

the white building across the way accentuates
its whiteness. Although you may be a little bit down
remember it is only work, not life. One has friends,
even if not many, but they wither in sunlight, grumble

in the yards of taverns, and litter the riverbanks.
Refuse the shadows. That is a very nice safari outfit
you are wearing. Are you off to look for elephants? A box
of books is a world to explore. Post a photo somewhere

online. There are so many things to do, but not much time
in which to do them. Unless the unexpected crops up
we will end with a joke. Husband: Can you make me breakfast
in bed this morning? Wife: No, I’ll have to do it in the kitchen.


Martin Stannard’s most recent full-length collection is Poems for the Young at Heart (Leafe Press, UK, 2016), and a chapbook, Items, was published by Red Ceilings in August 2018. A poet and critic, he lives in Nottingham, England, a city to which he returned early in 2018 after twelve years teaching English, Literature and Culture at a university in China.