Jean Syed

Displaced person

"We both want cod and chips with mushy peas,
A plate of bread of butter and two teas."
"Coming up, Love." At last my native town,
The accent of the waitress matched my own.

"Ma'am, if it ain't ice-tea, make mine a Coke."
She looked fair tickled when my teenager spoke.
"Your lad's like someone in an American movie!"
And with her kindred voice displaced me.

Bleak Heritage

At Jordan Pond House, the way-things-were dictates.
No dunk-your-teabag-in-a-cardboard-cup,
This is a choicelessness very genteel:
Where tea-pots rule on tables on the shaven

Lawn, with popovers, and memories
Of mustachioed men, women with ties,
Who were to ingest the wilderness
In the dainties of civilization.
Now, vacationers take tea, love the rite,
The whole a selfie for sampling, sipping,
Enjoy a good time—hating each minute
As some wear slickers as this is rainy Maine.
The treat denied, the sight not seen, my rite
Of missing the would-be experience.
I am lovingly conditioned for
Often, I have memories of father,
Hands on wallet, on Wakes weeks at Blackpool,
Denying me a Knickerbocker Glory
Annually, or lying it was windy
(Breezeless to me) to go up the Tower.

Thus, honoring tradition after he died
I didn't have the treat, stayed on the ground,
Curtsies to the phantoms he tricked for me
With his bleak heritage of doing without.


Jean Syed was English born and went to Birmingham University. After that she became a social worker, but for the past thirty-eight years she has been in the USA, first in Ohio and then in Washington State. She has been published in The Lyric, Raintown Review, and Calamaro Magazine as well as online by the Ghazal Page, Rotary Dial, and The Journal of Formal Poetry. Mostly she enters competitions. In a little while she willl have poems in an anthology by Rose Alley Press. She has chapbooks published by Kelsay Books and Dos Madres Press.


Barbara Crooker
Alexandra Donovan
Jehanne Dubrow
Kathleen Goldbach
Colleen S. Harris
Brittany Hill
Katherine Hoerth
Lynne Knight
Jean L. Kreiling
Angie Macri
Carolyn Martin
Kathleen McClung (Featured Poet)
Mary Mercier
Ann Michael
Leslie Schultz
Myrna Stone
Jean Syed
Ann Christine Tabaka
Sally Thomas
Doris Watts
Joyce Wilson
Marly Youmans


The most recent addition to The Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline is Phillis Wheatley by Kathryn Voorhees.

Kathleen McClung is the recipient of the 2019 Mezzo Cammin Scholarship to the Poetry by the Sea conference.

Megan Marlatt:Looking like large puppet heads, it was "anima", the root of "animation", that led me to the making of the big heads, (or "capgrossos" as they are called in Catalonia where I learned the craft.) Anima is the soul or what breathes life into a being and to animate an inanimate object, an artist must insert a little soul into it. However to bring attention to what is invisible, (the soul), I chose to mold its opposite in solid form: the persona, the ego, the big head, the mask. Nearly every culture across the globe has masks. They allow performers to climb into the skin of another being and witness the other's world from behind their eyes. While doing so, the mask erases all clues of the performer's age, gender, species or race. In this regard, I find them to be the most transformative and empathic of all human artifacts.

32 Poems
The Academy of American Poets
The Atlantic
The Christian Science Monitor
The Cortland Review
Favorite Poem Project
The Frost Place
The Iowa Review
Light Quarterly
Modern American Poetry
The Poem Tree
Poetry Daily
Poetry Society of America
Poets House
Raintown Review
String Poet
Valparaiso Poetry Review
Verse Daily
Women's Poetry Listserv
The Yale Review

Bread Loaf
Poetry by the Sea


Barefoot Muse Press
David Robert Books
David R. Godine Press
Graywolf Press
Headmistress Press
The Johns Hopkins University Press
Louisiana State University Press
Northwestern Univ Press
Ohio Univ Press
Persea Books
Red Hen Press
Texas Tech Univ Press
Tupelo Press
Univ of Akron Press
Univ of Arkansas Press
Univ of Illinois Press
Univ of Iowa Press
Waywiser Press
White Violet Press

City Lights
Grolier Poetry Bookshop
Joseph Fox Bookshop
Prairie Lights
Tattered Cover Bookstore

92nd Street Y
Literary Mothers
Poets & Writers