Secret life of seals – Rebecca Gethin

 

Secret life of seals Rebecca Gethin 1

 

unnamed 1Rebecca Gethin lives in Devon. She was a winner in the first Coast to Coast to Coast pamphlet competition with Messages. A pamphlet about endangered creatures called Vanishings is due to  be published by Palewell Press in 2020. Two pamphlets were published in 2017: A Sprig of Rowan by Three Drops Press and All the Time in the World by Cinnamon Press who previously published a collection and two novels. She has been a Hawthornden Fellow and undertook a residency at Brisons Veor in 2018. Find more at www.rebeccagethin.wordpress.com.

Concierto de Aranjuez – Anthony Watts

 

1

Note by quivering note, the guitar

uncoffins its soul.

Something ascending into deathlessness

pieces together a passion, while outside

the wind is strumming, drumming on the stone house.

 

Under dark beams, the firefly notes

assemble for a last assault. The orchestra

splits the gloom like a flare,

crashes crimson seas over black rocks.

 

The guitar scuttles after, among pools

of silence, picking up the pieces.

 

2

Sad lovely girl in my arms –

If we could be

at one with the wind and the music – no

clocks to watch, buses to catch. . .

 

The wind has gone

wherever a wind goes when it isn’t blowing;

the music sleeps,

curled like a mouse in the cassette

 

while our twin-spooled togetherness

awaits

its next occasion

 

(filed

secretly

between two lives).

 

 

Anthony Watts - head & shoulder portrait (3)Anthony Watts has been writing ‘seriously’ for about 40 years. He has won 26 First Prizes in poetry competitions and was longlisted for the National Poetry Competition 2014. His poems have appeared in magazines and anthologies, including Poetry Salzburg Review, The Rialto and Riggwelter. His fifth collection, Stiles, is due to be published by Paekakariki Press. His home is in rural Somerset and his main interests are poetry, music, walking and binge thinking – activities which he finds can be happily combined.

School run Lenzie Moss – Finola Scott

 

Step over guarding thorns,

the outstretched claws of brambles,

their plump dark jewels gone now.

Breathe the heavy scent of the viburnum

and tuck a sprig of pink into your mitten

to sweeten day’s cruel frost.

Stop. Listen

to mavis and sparrow all branch-tangled

heralding winter’s early dusk.

Ease past the dog rose, its bareness held

until all is green, all is spring. Head out

and round between the shining birches

calling to the moon.

Nearly there. Don’t stop

to watch as hinds tiptoe or heron stalk the Moss.

There’ll be time.

 

 

C2C2 (2)Makar of the Fed of Writers (Scotland) Finola Scott’s work is on posters, tapestries and postcards. Her poems are widely published in anthologies and magazines including New Writing Scotland, The Lighthouse and Fenland Reed. Her work was commissioned by Stanza Poetry Festival for a multi-media installation. Much Left Unsaid, her pamphlet, is published by Red Squirrel Press. Poems, pictures and events can be found at Finola Scott Poems.

Confessions – Ali Jones

 

Now is the time to admit what I saw at midwinter.

The young oaks were leaning in around their mother,

while a gnarled old door opened the way in her trunk.

From inside, light was streaming and all the other trees,

raised and shook their branches as if praising something.

 

Now is the time to admit what I saw at midsummer.

The holly was rising tall as any cathedral, form shifting,

into a huge crowned figure, who stretched his limbs,

then set off on a progress around the whole forest.

All other trees knelt down and bowed their heads in respect.

 

Now is the time to admit what I don’t know about.

The birch sisters who whisper heroic couplets at the boundaries

baffle me. I cannot speak ash, or hornbeam or blackthorn.

All I know is that the trees go about their business,

they do important work, while I wonder and wait.

 

 

AJ bio picAlison Jones is a teacher, and writer with work published in a variety of places, from Poetry Ireland Review, Proletarian Poetry and The Interpreter’s House, to The Green Parent Magazine and The Guardian. She has a particular interest in the role of nature in literature and is a champion of contemporary poetry in the secondary school classroom. Her pamphlet, ‘Heartwood’ was published by Indigo Dreams in 2018, with a second pamphlet. ‘Omega’ forthcoming.

Lichen – James P. Roberts

 

Covers gravestones

Erases names and dates

 

Pale green

& white growth overlapping

 

circular shapes expand

with every year

of neglect.

 

Rain

will not wash away

the stain

only spur

further growth.

 

I expect

someday to wear

a mantle of lichen

like a warm coat

sheltering me

from the cold, dark dirt.

 

 

James P. Roberts is the author of five previous collections of poetry. Recent work has been published in Weirdbook, Mirror Dance, Rosebud, Sand Canyon Review and Zingara Poetry Review. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin where he haunts Little Free Libraries and has a passion for women’s flat-track roller derby.

Copse – Yuan Changming

 

Standing tall against the frozen sky

Your skeletons are the exquisite calligraphy

Of an entire season

Your name is curly writ

 

Not in water

But with wind

 

 

IMG-0647Yuan Changming published monographs on translation before leaving his native country. Currently, Yuan lives in Vancouver, where he edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan. Credits include ten Pushcart nominations, Best of the Best Canadian Poetry (2008-17) and BestNewPoemsOnline, among others.

Metamorphosis – Ali Jones

 

Once I stood, a tall pine,

basking in sunlight.

Mare’s tail fronded my roots,

creatures thrived in my forest.

 

Time has many names.

 

When I fell, I swam, bog born.

I have been pressed,

like a rare flower caught

in a treasured volume.

Life put weight into me,

I married billion year old sunlight

and held it in my trunk.

 

Transformed to strata,

then exhumed and scuttled

into a sparked hearth,

I reach for the skies again.

 

 

AJ bio picAlison Jones is a teacher, and writer with work published in a variety of places, from Poetry Ireland Review, Proletarian Poetry and The Interpreter’s House, to The Green Parent Magazine and The Guardian. She has a particular interest in the role of nature in literature and is a champion of contemporary poetry in the secondary school classroom. Her pamphlet, ‘Heartwood’ was published by Indigo Dreams in 2018, with a second pamphlet. ‘Omega’ forthcoming.

Bonfire – Fizza Abbas

 

Charred trees stand still

The baggage is too strong

With the smoke drifting over the paddock,

carbon tunes in to a beautiful song

 

A barren foothold:

the mud-covered carcass of a leaf

The shrine of a stem

Staying close to the life underneath

 

 

Fizza Abbas (Portrait Photograph)Fizza Abbas is a Freelance Content Writer based in Karachi, Pakistan. She is fond of poetry and music. Her works have been published at many platforms including Indiana Voice Journal and Poetry Pacific.

Peach Pit – Kara Goughnour

 

The thunder was growling

like any defenseless thing

and the birds flew in circles

over our heads. Everything

was tired; the branches lied

vine-like over the rain-slick

street like lost shoelaces

inching back into pairs,

and we bent our boredom

to the back burner in origami

folds. The whole store sat unnoticed

which, to the lot of us, led

to a collective unrest.

I tucked the worn rags into water

and you, with your names

I’ll forget easily when it’s time,

cleared the mold off

of every peach. These days,

in my monotony,

I am a thing capable of rotting,

scared or stoned, a still-stemmed

stone fruit already molding,

before the bird wings catch

in the fence snares, before

the stars yelp back to life,

before anyone can taste it,

before anyone would care.

 

 

Photo Jun 12, 9 13 09 PMKara Goughnour is a writer and documentarian living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They are the author of “Mixed Tapes,” forthcoming in the Ghost City Press Summer 2019 Micro-Chap Series. They are the recipient of the 2018 Gerald Stern Poetry Award, and have work published or forthcoming in The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Third Point Press, and over forty others. Follow them on Twitter and Instagram @kara_goughnour or read their collected and exclusive works at karagoughnour.com.

Soft Landing – Jessica Michael

 

I spend an afternoon listening for the sound sun makes when it hits the ground,

a symphony as it slides off blades of grass, drowns itself in pools of shadow,

then stumble up a broken mountain to see how wind is cradled.

 

Not a single straight line is made anywhere.

 

Perhaps this accounts for our human obsession with maps,

our need to press curves into grids.

They say it is for memory, but I don’t believe them—

you can’t remember this.

 

How land spreads before sunset fire.

How ravens fly without moving a wing.

How a single leaf makes the decision to fall.

 

Does earth know to catch it when it does?

 

 

10036_2Jessica Michael lives and writes in Prescott, AZ when she’s not traveling this intriguing blue planet. Her work has appeared in Allegro, Comstock Review, Red Fez, Rebelle Society, Outdoor Australia, and others. Find her poetry and photography at www.authorjessicamichael.com or follow her on Instagram as @authorjessicamichael.

Yellow Ribbons – Pene Morley

 

The newspaper did nothing to stop the cold seeping from the wooden bench into Steve’s bones. He hugged his anorak tighter around his shoulders and tucked his hands under his armpits. Swapping that old blanket for a tin of baked beans had been a bad idea.

Shoppers, muffled up in coats and scarves and hats, trudged to and fro in front of him. Most ignored him, but some watched him out of the tail of an eye as they passed him. He wanted to grab them and tell them, ‘I was like you once, before I went to fight your bloody war’, but he knew they wouldn’t believe him; they never did.

A woman hurled a half-eaten burger into the bin at his elbow, and he eyed it for a moment before snatching it up. Then he noticed the girl staring at him, knock-kneed, gripping a plait in each hand as though she thought her hair was going to fly off.

‘It’s for my dog,’ he said, nodding to where the lurcher was curled up among the carrier bags at his feet.

The dog raised its shaggy head at the sound of his voice, and he tossed the burger between its paws. It snapped it up.

‘What’s his name?’ the girl said, edging closer.

‘I don’t know. I call him Bob but he’s not really my dog; he just follows me around.’

‘Can I stroke him?’

Steve nodded. The girl bounced down on to the ground at his feet with a grin, and the lurcher stretched out his neck to sniff her mouth, his tail thumping the pavement.

‘My dog’s called Scruffy,’ she said, giggling and squirming as Bob licked her face. ‘I got him when my daddy died but nobody can see him; he’s invisible.’

Steve crumpled up the burger bag and chucked it into the bin. Not having a dad must be tough on the kid, but you wouldn’t know it looking at her now. She was holding Bob’s ears up like butterfly wings and chatting to him about everything and nothing. Steve was about to ask her about her dad, when a slip of a woman rushed up and grabbed her by the shoulders.

‘How many times have I told you not to run off like that, Anna?’ she said, pulling the girl on to her feet.

Anna twisted in her grip. ‘I just wanted to see that man; I thought he was daddy.’

The woman’s body slumped, like a puppet no longer in play. She glanced over at Steve, exasperated, and for an instant he thought her tired eyes were pleading with him for help.

Then she tugged at Anna’s arm. ‘Come on, I don’t want you bothering him.’

‘But he’s got a dog,’ Anna said, digging in her heels, ‘and it’s real.’

‘I don’t care.’

‘And he’s got no laces.’

‘What..?’

Her mother stopped pulling her arm and turned to Steve. She studied his cracked, unlaced army boots and then looked back at Anna, frowning.

‘Remember when Daddy’s laces broke and he used my ribbons to tie his trainers,’ Anna said. She smiled at Steve. ‘Would you like my ribbons for your boots?’ She knelt at his feet. ‘I think they’ll look ever so pretty,’ she said, threading her ribbons through the lace holes.

Her mother gazed at Steve as if to say, ‘I’m sorry, about her’. He grinned at her, and she reached down to stroke Bob and hide the flush of colour that had appeared in her cheeks.

 

 

PM bio picPene Morley lives in the south of Germany with her husband, teenage son and two Labradors. She discovered very short stories on Twitter over a year ago and now tries daily to do one of the writing prompts. Since then she has also started writing flash fiction and is writing a novel which she hopes to have finished soon. You can follow her on Twitter @PeneMorley.

Skomer – Rebecca Gethin

 

Above the cliffs a swarm

of sea birds circles

the cinched waist of the island

a nimbus of puffins and auks

flying higher, faster,

almost silent except for beating wings –

a dervish dance

a typhoon rooted in one place

a lighthouse beam of dark motes

a spell to herald darkness

praise for another day of incubation

this ritual of summer evenings

and my small white face

watching from the bobbing boat.

 

 

unnamed 1Rebecca Gethin lives in Devon. She was a winner in the first Coast to Coast to Coast pamphlet competition with Messages. A pamphlet about endangered creatures called Vanishings is due to  be published by Palewell Press in 2020. Two pamphlets were published in 2017: A Sprig of Rowan by Three Drops Press and All the Time in the World by Cinnamon Press who previously published a collection and two novels. She has been a Hawthornden Fellow and undertook a residency at Brisons Veor in 2018. Find more at www.rebeccagethin.wordpress.com.

Foal – Anthony Watts

 

On Thorncombe Hill

I saw the world

 

balanced

upon four saplings

 

itself-begetting

in the dew of the foal’s eyes

 

who whinnying

down nostrils newly bored

 

printed upon that

immemorial quietude

 

his infant sneeze.

 

 

Anthony Watts - head & shoulder portrait (3)Anthony Watts has been writing ‘seriously’ for about 40 years. He has won 26 First Prizes in poetry competitions and was longlisted for the National Poetry Competition 2014. His poems have appeared in magazines and anthologies, including Poetry Salzburg Review, The Rialto and Riggwelter. His fifth collection, Stiles, is due to be published by Paekakariki Press. His home is in rural Somerset and his main interests are poetry, music, walking and binge thinking – activities which he finds can be happily combined.

Belated Farewells – Linda Rhinehart

 

That summer night we walked

together under the moon,

brighter than a fluorescent snow

globe in a Halloween window;

You told me to look up, so I did; I saw

a scattering of sun-dipped stars behind,

stepping stone to bright unknown horizons.

Later that night mist fell over a silent ocean,

and now I sit alone before a window

wondering if there is anything I could have said,

if there was anything I could have done,

and the moon a mere piece of cloth

pinned to an ink-dark sky.

 

 

IMG_1172Linda Rhinehart, 30, is a student, writer and translator currently living and studying in Cardiff, Wales. In the past she has lived in Switzerland, the USA and Germany. She has been writing poetry for around three years and reading it for a lot longer. In her spare time she enjoys playing piano, going for walks in nature and cats.

Granada – Hannah Patient

 

We step outside of time for just three days

and make this place our own: get coffee

every morning at the same café, where

ageing waiters all wear neat blue waistcoats.

This city’s pomegranate-like, they say:

bursting at the seams with juicy seeds

of things to come, of things that might have been.

We walk around the town in midday heat

and everything slows down: we’re living at the speed

of unripe fruit on orange trees and buskers in the streets.

Lost in Sacromonte, we give up and watch

the whole world pass us by, the palace

on its lonely hill a solid compass point.

As night falls, we get brave and mess around:

go rambling through the undergrowth

in the belly of the town, eat tapas in

our favourite bar as the Spanish sun goes down.

We join processions through the streets

where children chant and incense swings;

get punch-drunk on the smell of it,

turn sleepy listening to the man who sings

each night, alone, in the courtyard by our house.

 

I say that like it’s ours; of course it’s not –

nothing here really belongs to us.

The next day when the sun grows restless, hot,

we pack our bags and leave for a new place.

Time speeds up once more; how quickly we forget

the peerless lustre of these Andalusian days.

 

 

35842420_883314205202005_529810939248115712_nHannah Patient is a third-year English student at Somerville College, Oxford, and the former Essex Young Poet of the Year. Her work has appeared in publications including ASH, The Oxford Review of Books, Blacklist Journal and The Purple Breakfast Review. In her spare time she enjoys exploring crumbling buildings, watching detective dramas and eating chips with mayonnaise.