Poems by Sue Beckwith

Beauty or the Beast
Messing about on the river
Bringing in the day
Ballet Attitude
Curtain Call
Walking Britain
Crowd Control
Full Moon

Beauty or the Beast

What does rhododendron honey tastes like?
we wondered as we listen to the choir of bees
warming up in the early May sunshine
tenor to mezzo-soprano amongst pale lilac
rhododendron flowers and shined leather leaves.

Is the taste as vanilla rich and woody
as the scent of the butter yellow flowers?
Or deep raspberry clean and pink?
Not for a moment could we guess
that it is the taste of honey madness.

No more than Charles Darwin's sister realised
her exotic specimen plants with their cloche
and pompom blooms were experts in the art
of survival of the fittest and over time have proven
beyond any doubt her brother's concept

their sturdy spread and sprawl of low branches
and dense canopy changing this woodland forever

included in artist Alison Carlier's Under a Canopy audio guide developed as an accompaniment to walks through the Rhododendron Wood on Leith Hill

Messing about on the river

club rowing cap
and a feathered fascinator
Henley Regatta

stretched to the limit
crumpled candy stripes
on his old rowing club blazer

coxless four
half a length in front
a dragonfly

rowers race past
a duck rides the wash
amongst champagne corks

4th prize in 11th Sakuhin poetry competition - Time Haiku newsletter November 2019

dark Monday morning
a commuter's unhinged stare
on the 7.45

published in volume 29.1 of Blithe Spirit January 2019

a hedge bristling
with flit and flutter
early sunshine

published in volume 29.2 of Blithe Spirit April 2019

Bringing in the day

The sun's slow setting snakes under the bridge and down the river. The church and towers of the city will soon be left behind in darkness as the scarlet mauve of dusk engulfs the eggshell blue of today's sky making room for the unhurried turn of stars in the night sky.

horses rest in harness
waiting for the harvest moon
work still to do

After The Scarlet Sunset by JMW Turner
Published in Time Haiku Volume 49 February 2019

March winds
the tip-tilt
of a magpie's tail

one thousand and one
stories in the night sky
tell me more

Ballet Attitude

Saturday mornings I stared at the reproduction of Degas' beautifully dressed and elegant ballerinas hung on the wall of the church hall. All white tulle and ribbons, so effortlessly graceful, all in step – timeless and charming.

battered ballet pumps
ribboned edges fraying

Our class limps and bumps along to the solid piano playing of Mrs Dunsford, her bosom bouncing in time, much more in time than me and my fellow students.

out at the front
a future prima donna
dances to her own tune

Published in Time Haiku Volume 50 August 2019

Curtain Call

I stand to applaud among
an audience of dowager hyacinths,
who nod graciously to the pear tree,

which bows its Simon Rattle head
to the porcelain blush of the Sugar Plum
Magnolia, centre stage,

whose curtsy draws in the daffodil chorus,
all swirling skirts, adoring at her feet.
Tickertape blossom drifts down.

Sue Beckwith

Walking Britain

Day One
Spread-eagled high on a moor,
heather cushions shelter
a patch of warm sky
and the fluting song of a skylark.

Day Two
Following the chuntering chatter
of a stream, iron gold and brown,
over precarious stepping stones,
encouraged on by the welcoming shout
of a perfect cascade of water.

Day Three
Butterflies balance on a buddleia.

Day Four
A seaweed banner trails
across a beach of treasures;
a pink fingernail shell,
bottle blue and green pebbles,
a tiger striped stone.

Day Five
Hurling my voice and body
into the gale at the top,
cagoule flapping frantically
to hold me back.

Day Six
Rain, and a bowl of soup, steaming,
by the fire of a friendly pub.

Day Seven
A robin flits close by, bright eye glinting,
stops to stare and then hurries on.
A wood pigeon's breathless call fades
as the oak tree's shadow creeps
to rub itself against the stile.

Sue Beckwith

Crowd Control

Words to support, words to uplift,
words that sing of pride of place.

Words to rally, words to rouse,
a chant to unify the crowd.

Words to rant, words to hurt,
words that amplify in hate.

Sue Beckwith


connection with
that flickering
flame, there at
the altar, struggling
to keep alight. I will
it to keep the faith.

Sue Beckwith
16th January 2001

Full Moon

Moonshine's sexy tonight,
veiled with off the shoulder
clouds. Seductive apricot
silken folds slipping
against oyster gold skin.
Soft organza wisps
gather, wrap around
its flawless form,

Sue Beckwith