Spotlight Star

Spotlight on a Star

This is a new, occasional series, where I spotlight someone I think has talent, or whose work I love and enjoy or respect.

The second author to be in the spotlight is Giselle Marks, talented author, poet and editor, to name but a few of her skills. I am most grateful she has also given me permission to post her evocative poem on my blog.

Self-portrait Leon Cogniel c 1817-18
Courtesy Wikimedia commons

HISTORY MEN by Giselle Marks

 Artistically windswept or closely cropped
 With such arrogance they stare at me
 Daring me to criticise their vanity.
 Those men from so long ago
 Still have such power to sway me
 To feel their presence even now
 And care about what they had to say. 

The artists made them live anew
And their words bring them back to me.
From brief lives of glorious glamour
Dying tragically far too young
Yet they seem to have only begun
Burning me with their fire. 

How their ghosts still inspire
And seep into my soul
Those men long gone,
Yet my fascination only grows
They wander through my thoughts
And will not be dismissed. 

They want me to believe their
Short existence was worth while
They need my love to warm their bones
Even in cold death they reach for my
Heart and I cannot refuse
Them and so I sigh. 

But their force and attraction
Impels my adoration for
Those great men of action,
Those poets of yore
I worship from the future
And wish I could give more. 

I wish to touch and embrace
To hear them speak or to praise,
And with necromancy raise
Their corporeal bodies back on earth
So I may experience the truth
Of their existence

Contact Giselle


This is the first in a new, occasional series, where I spotlight someone I think has talent, or whose work I love and enjoy or respect.

The first post features a young friend of mine, Flora Barber, who goes to school in Malvern and is a budding talent in many creative arenas. She is artistic, articulate, intelligent and a poet of no mean ability, as you will see. I fully expect her to be Poet Laureate one day! I am honoured she has given me permission to post it here.

BBC Hereford & Worcester Radio held a competition recently to Search For The Poet. This is the winning poem in the 13 - 17 age category, the senior group.

HOME - by Flora Barber

A cough, a wheeze, nothing more, just a normal day.
It’ll pass; fade in the absence of concentration.
It’s what they always say.
“Go out to play, you’ll be home soon.”
How many more steps can I bear?
I just want to sleep, find comfort and warmth
To feel safe, protected from the whirlwind outside.

I was drowning on air, screaming but not a whisper leaving my lips.
Can they not see me? Could they not hear me?
My chest is heaving, every breath choking;
Help please, help, I’m being crushed from inside.
My muscles seizing, trembling, heavy with no sensation.
I’m fighting, slipping away, each second a lifetime.
All those people staring, talking, pointing.
I just want to go home.

How did I end up here? All these cables and tubes,
Flashing lights in my eyes.
Why wouldn’t they just go away?
Let me go home, I’m crying, trying to say.
I just wanted to be left alone.
Their words, all this noise, like an orchestra in free-fall.
I just wanted to go home.

The whole world fades away, I’m falling.
I don’t want this struggle, this pain.
Falling down, deeper,
Faster, trying, gasping.
Their confused calm, panicked patience,
These flashes of consciousness, the effect of suffocation.
I just wanted to be left alone.
Begging then to stop, let in the silent darkness.
I just wanted to go home.

The stars, like fireflies, they dance through the midnight.
Like a phoenix, igniting, flaming, burning brilliantly.
The ashes fade, crinkling, crisply crackling.
Fading, burning out, we’ll disappear on a gasp of air.
Tossed onto a wayward wind.
It‘s pitch black and we’ll never see the sun again.
Our voices, just whispering echoes in the back of their minds.
All I wanted was just to go home.

Text © Flora Barber
Photograph © Heather King


  1. Flora is destined for greatness. I know I'm a big softy but I got tears in my eyes.
    Giselle's talents I am used to! And I just finished editing her first book's rewrite so I know how good she is at prose too. Thank you for sharing these two excellent poems.

    1. Flora is indeed destined for greatness! It has been my very great pleasure to be able to feature both poems. They are two extremely talented ladies. Thank you for your appreciation.