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Second Light – Poem of the Month
Round 9, Month 6: This month’s judge is Ruth O’Callaghan. Her winning poet is Angela Croft with her poem Dancing with Chagall. Her 4 commended poems are by Shirley Bell, Jill Munro, Marg Roberts and Sue Wood.

I was also very pleased to receive five copies of this – my poem The Clones of Tithonus  is included.
And Gemma Baker,  who is a fellow member of Lincoln Creative Writers, and very active in the poetry scene in Lincoln through Mouth Piece Poets, is also one of the finalists and has a poem in the book!

poetry rivals 15

I have had a positive time just lately as my news for the next Second Light newsletter shows! You can also tell there is a very very strict word count allowed! Actually I have not got all of the poems in yet – but there will be a Word doc soon with all my published poetry from 1982 to 2016. I wanted to finish it in time for my operation on Monday as I do not know how I will be afterwards, but I don’t know if I can manage it. (Well I can’t!)

“All of Shirley Bell’s poetry is now in the Special Collection Archive, University of Lincoln. A poem is in Poetry Rivals 2015 The Finalists. She is in the final of the Stamford Poet Laureate competition. Her poem, Igloo, made the shortlist in the Five Words competition and will be published in Five Words Vol IX.  She also reached the shortlist of 2016 Blackwater Poetry Group Competition.”




Very excited to have reached the final  – on 20th April in Stamford Arts Centre Cellar Bar at 8pm.




At last I have a bit of free time so my poor neglected blog is being updated.

The most exciting thing that has happened lately is that my poetry is going in the University of Lincoln Archive.

I recorded some of my work on Thursday 3rd of March after Claire Arrand  took me, the poet Paul Sutherland, and Mark, the engaging sound recordist, on an engrossing tour of the . I even saw some medieval graffiti, and Margaret Thatcher’s Latin/English dictionary. The illuminated manuscripts are incredible. The library is a warren and Claire has got a monumental job!

I am trying to get all my published poetry from 1982 to the present in a Word document so that it will be available on-line as part of the archive but I’ve found that scanning in with an optical reader gets the text but not the formatting – I keep putting it off because it is so time-consuming. It is almost finished but I slink off and do other things instead.. mainly painting.. but I think one or two more sessions will see it done. It is a strange experience to go back in time through my poetry to when I was a young mother with 3 children desperately trying to find the time to write; it is a diary really. Lately the poetry is dealing with illness and dementia instead.

My poem The Scarecrow Christ is being featured this month It’s timely with Easter almost here. Is it a religious poem? I am outside the sweet shop looking in and wondering, but I don’t open the door.

The Scarecrow Christ

The fields are flat and brown, it’s hard to think
they’ll ever stand high with corn, flare with rape
again this summer. For now the scarecrows lurch
at crazy angles. They trail old coats and rags.
Polythene bags flap around the suggestions of
their shoulders. And yet the wind lifts
their shoddy clothes and they are touched with
magic; they always seem about to fly.

It’s Sunday and I’ve taken you to Chapel.
Everything is grey and earnest. There’s no
incense here, though  a sense of well-meaning
sifts gently through the air. I don’t think I belong.
It’s Lent and the sermon is all about temptation.
I feel I would not pass those tests. Now I see
distraction in the corner of my eyes; a painting.
When I can, I take a picture on my phone.

It shows me strips of cloth, snarled around
an empty cross, a tenuous fabric
lifting in air currents, tangled with light.
Something. Nothing. Faith, elusive as a sigh.
A scarecrow pinned to a stick.
Leaning forwards, with the wind stirring its tatters.
And always on the point of alteration,
by some sudden unexpected angle of the sun.


The poem was in behind the glass,  the pamphlet I had to create as part of my MA in Creative Writing at Lincoln 2012/13.  Such a good year!  It motivated me to write again and right now I have so many poems in progress. They are kind of germinating so I am leaving them alone! Finally I’ve been short listed for some competitions and the poems will be in anthologies  so that’s also  good news.

Now I have such good intentions for keeping this up to date…

Delighted to have a poem included!

I went to see The Nine’s performance of Paul Mein’s Voices in a Mystery at St Michael’s Church, Waddington last night.

Voices from the events of the crucifixion, including those of the protagonists and the bystanders, were evoked in this moving, thought-provoking  and effective piece.

paul mein












South Holland Open Exhibition

Posted: March 9, 2015 in Home


Really pleased to get letter this week informing me that I have had a painting selected for the South Holland Open Exhibition. It looks like a great venue and hopefully my painting will stand up well along side the larger more abstract work. This presents another problem, which is getting the painting framed on time.

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South Holland Open Arts Exhibition today in Spalding. Pleased to have 2 pieces chosen for the exhibition.