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Sue Spiers



the poet

Sue Spiers was born in Cyprus and lives in Hampshire. She works with the Winchester Poetry Festival and spoken word group Winchester Muse, and edits the Open University Poetry Society’s annual anthology. Sue has self-published three collections: Jiggle Sac, Plague – A Season of Senryu and De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da. Her chapbook More Than a Late-Night Drink was shortlisted in 2023 for the Dreich Classics Chapbook Competition. 

the poems

Christ the Redeemer as a
Flamengo F C Supporter

00:00 / 01:37

            Look at that span, spreading arms wider than

            two articulated trucks, never raised

            above parallel to the horizon,

            as if to question the referee’s rule:

            that off-side pass was far too close to call

            or, poised to raise his hands and start a chant.

            Straight and tall on top of Corcovado

            with his Art Deco pleated underskirt,

            the gauzy drape of tunic past his knees,

            proudly wrapped in a scarf of red and black

            overlaid grey by soapstone and concrete.

            Can you find its logo of a vulture?

            Too stiff to bend his knees come Ash Wednesday,

            dance the Bota Fogo to samba drums

            when carnival erupts along the streets.

            A downturned mouth reminds us of the score

            when Papa pulled him off before half-time

            and team mates didn’t want to take his place.

            A hundred years since construction started,

            some ninety since the bishops blessed his toes,

            all that time watching over Flamengo

            and catching, from the corner of his eyes,

            the Maracanã pitch and glory goals.

            No doubt he’s inch for inch their biggest fan.

Borgan Borgan

00:00 / 02:19

            Wem come up from the country, north on the barges,

            show the ankle-biters the gurt city with its biggity-bigness,

            show um how suited folk make their daily kerching.

            First wem go to the nob-house with its grandioso fountain

            like coal bins leaking drench from a heighty-high pole.

            Wem hear the fakish gorstering from posho bints.

            In the whiny hovver wem sits toppity-top with hair rush

            past perilous lifts sliding up plastic-white office blockers, 

            (self-spickandspan!), where the Pillpop factory makity-makes.

            Outside the shoutyloud theatre its bungaroush walls peep

            flint and pea beach like it needs a good overdo. Playfolk

            bodyshape in the streets with groundhats, canny-craicing.

            There’s a greenspace in the East by the trickity-trickle,

            birdhouses naility-nailed back-to-back like branch growers,

            caterwise over irontwissets there’s a wapple way beastride.

            Soon mother-wife’s purse opens for the gimcrack arcade,

            with tossitathome scraddle for her nosybitch bestie, son-elder

            wants a dolphin swoosh-ride and daughter-mid wheedles a dosset.

            Wem footsore of stepping and thinkity-think it’s bapmunch.

            Um call it a slum but Frumsted has the worldy-know eateries.

            Wem skittish by flitterfolk, um shun countrykins like wem.

            Mostity-most come from worldy-spread places like wem,

            A snooty-toity foodserve gets us an eatplace and a seegrub.

            Soon wem tuckity-scoff in to a tankbowl of snag-slub. Yum!

            Son-toddle eyedroops, wem juggered as wilty-wilts in dunes.

            Wem eyeball Borganners guzzle poppy-lite, ogle teleoptics,

            stridety-stride gormless and roofless. Wem skedaddle latty.

Wheatfield with
Cypresses (1889)

After the painting by

Vincent Van Gogh

00:00 / 01:28

                        The paint is alive with harvest Mistral;

                        lines and curves of emerald cypress,

                        the swirl of lemon-tipped wheat, mustard stalks,

                        a suggestion of poppies low in the frame.

                        One dark hill,

                                            out of kilter, as mountains pale

                        towards turbulent cloud which sweeps eastwards,

                        but where is the sun?

                        Sky reflects water not wheatfield

                        and there are no humans, no animals,

                        nothing manmade, except the wheat;

                        elsewhere a farmer, a scythe, a miller,

                        bread from an oven.

                        He visits the cypresses many times,

                        sits at a distance, up close,

                        working their shades on canvas

                        trying to imitate what they give.

                        He goes over and over his own imperfection;

                        why no one wants

                                                  what he offers.

                        Who would buy anguish?

                                  Who would want these thoughts

                                    wrought in oil?

Publishing credits

Christ the Redeemer as a Flamengo F. C. Supporter:

  commended in the Ware Poets Open Poetry

  Competition 2022

Borgan Borgan: South (Issue 65)

Wheatfield with Cypresses (1889): placed third in the

  2019 Battered Moons Poetry Competition

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