Ben Banyard – Canvassing


I expect you’ll be wanting the usual.
Is it really five years since we last met?
A handshake’s fine, yes, but the baby’s
six now and he might object to a kiss.

I saw you on the local news recently…
if you don’t mind my saying
I think your smile needs work;
less teeth and more eyes, perhaps?

Don’t worry, you’ll have my vote again
but the other lot came round
and there didn’t seem much to choose.
Dad voted for you though, so it’s tradition.

Mind, it’s not as if there’s any point
voting the other way here, is there?
You’ve got quite a majority, we’re loyal.
It’d just be nice to see a bit more of you.

Ben Banyard lives and writes in Portishead. His work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Popshot, Lunar Poetry, The Dawntreader, Ink Sweat & Tears, Snakeskin, The Stare’s Nest, Sarasvati and others. Ben edits Clear Poetry, a blog publishing accessible contemporary poetry:

Ben Banyard – Then Sings My Soul

Then Sings My Soul

In Bond Street I wait at the crossing
and not wanting to make eye contact with anyone
I glance to my left and get
by the sheer hip-hip-hooray of colours.

Someone has planted wild flower seeds which blaze from the grey,
making the concrete sing like a summer meadow
and I feel like I’m on a caravan holiday in Dorset.

My fellow pausing pedestrians aren’t moved by it
as they fiddle with phones or stare blankly

I turn to a middle-aged suit and clap my arm around his
and I say:
“look at this wonderful thing that someone’s done”,
and he sees the poppies, meadow buttercups,
corncockles and red campion for the first time and
smiles at them and we both stand and look
as the lights change from red to amber
to green to amber to red…


Ben Banyard lives in Portishead, near Bristol, where he sometimes writes poetry and short fiction.