Souvenir – Isabel Greenslade

 

I left the car on the cliff top,

went looking for a toilet, found a bird.

There used to be a coal mine under here –

that’s what the guidebook said,

and the mark on the map.

 

It’s long dead, whatever it was,

probably dead when I was at home

looking it up in the bird book.

Fieldfare? Thrush? Which colour plate,

which description did it fit?

Anyway, there it was, trapped in a toilet block

in a car park empty of other visitors.

There were only two of us.

 

This assemblage of stone sand wind and air

progressed up and down the cubicles,

one two three four five five four three two one

its feet scrabbling on the overhead cisterns.

Too far above me to catch, it wouldn’t be wafted

towards the doorway with my map.

 

Already I was trying to name it as it struck

at the skylight that we could both see.

Death was always certain – inside a neglected egg,

by teeth or talon, by being shaken loose.

It didn’t need its name, only the sky which turned solid on it.

 

I flushed and walked out over the stone floor

into the wind, past the laminated pictures of the mine.

I got back into the car, drove to the heritage museum

where miners are trapped on a screen, to be bidden by a button

so someone knows they’re still there.

 

It’s history now, that bird. I thought about it

on the motorway all the way home.

 


Isabel is from and of London where she works in a museum. In a former life she was a youth worker then a tour guide. Her poems has been published in Orbis and she can be found discussing poetry, art, gardening urban history, and the natural world on her Instagram account @ijgreenslade.

Beyond the Tree Line – Hugh Cartwright

 

It’s our first Christmas adrift in the stars.

And Molly’s first egg.

“Can I break it now?”

“Be gentle.”

Molly’s just four, the youngest of our tiny community. She taps the egg with fierce concentration, as if it’s the most important job in the Universe.

Suddenly the egg shatters and a glittering shape unfolds from among the fragments – a silver Christmas tree. It would weigh a handful of feathers on earth; here in deep space it floats effortlessly.

The tree glides quietly through the cabin until I tie it down with red ribbon. Our little group of 19 gathers round in a circle, linking arms and singing carols.

On 12th night, Molly helps me shepherd her tree into the airlock and we set it free. It glides behind the ship, not wanting to leave. But, as the hours go by, it gradually falls away, dissolving into the star-strewn sky.

#

Our 27th Christmas; it will be the last before we reach our new home.

Molly is unwell, but she is our talisman; she must crack the final egg. A shimmering, golden tree emerges, capped with a crown of sparkling stars.

Our group now numbers 22. We gather around the tree for the final time, holding hands and singing carols.

On 12th night, Molly, whose memories were of nothing beyond our ship, is dead; she is the first to die.

27 trees drift behind in a soundless, invisible line, watching over us as we rush towards a world that Molly will never see.

 


Hugh’s not really a writer. His career has been spent in Universities, working at the interface of artificial intelligence and physical science. Now retired, he has begun to write occasional stories, some colored with elements of science fiction, others being just a little odd. It helps to take his mind off his impossible project: growing citrus trees in the Canadian climate.

A Meeting in Dyrham – lou moon

 

Where I am she will meet me

among the naming of the trees

and the subtle serendipities

I land gently on crows’ laughing feet.

 

Carefully trace the blue rivered breast,

try not to worry about what comes next,

for only time can bloom fruit sweeter,

and where she is I will meet her.

 

Only here, only now could she meet me,

and could we open arms so completely,

that where the branches meet the sky

we could slip away inside and

be calm,

 

for we will meet where we are,

and we will meet where we are.

 


lou moon is a vague and formless artist occasionally found reluctantly exploring the spaces between poetry & music, gender & sexuality, bristol & london. Part time artist, full time hippie & a regular at LBGT+ spoken word open mics in London, their work explores the intensity of the interplay between mental health and relationships, spirituality and symbolism, metaphor, vulnerability and queerness in all its forms. @_lou_moon on instagram & twitter

Cromarty, 29 April 2019 – Neil Fulwood

 

Wake early. Take a cafetière

through to the conservatory.

Mist blanks out everything:

the road, the firth, the sea

beyond the curve of headland.

The oil rigs are vague shapes –

storybook monsters; phantoms.

Plunge; pour a mugful. Take

your first sip of the day. Feel

the bitter kickstart of caffeine.

The day hasn’t come alive yet.

Give it time. The sun will burn

through the mist. Landscape,

sea and sky will correlate.

 


Neil Fulwood was born in Nottingham, England, where he still lives and works. He has published two pamphlets with The Black Light Engine Room Press, Numbers Stations and The Little Book of Forced Calm; and two full collections with Shoestring Press, No Avoiding It and Can’t Take Me Anywhere. His third collection, Service Cancelled, is due for publication later this year.

Riverdawn – Daniel Tobias Behan

 

Dawn-break 

over water – 

cold depths she runs 

in her course;

 

shifting blue-grey 

and orange juice

canvas, of 

painted sky’s 

mirroring;  

 

sombre: her

undulating 

ice-flow 

belies the 

busyness 

of city-day

scurrying.

 


Daniel Tobias Behan is a London born-and-based poet. From 2017 to 2019, Daniel performed regularly at the London Irish Centre, Camden; in 2018 Daniel was interviewed by the Irish Post as part of their London Calling podcast series, and in 2020 had a short film made of ‘The Visit’ featuring acclaimed actor Nora Connolly and directed by Patrick O’Mahony, was interviewed for Wombwell Rainbow, and commenced a poetry series ‘Findings’ on channillo.com.

Late September Morning – Glen Sorestad

 

You always hear them 

before you see them.

 

When I heard them, 

I stopped, looked up:

 

the cries of Snow Geese, 

thousands of them, 

 

ragged flying necklaces 

strewn across 

 

a robin’s egg sky, 

slant of rising sun 

 

glinting off 

brilliant white feathers.

 

That familiar ache 

seized my throat, 

 

their plaintive cries 

waning as they flowed by, 

 

carrying summer 

southwest to the river.

 


Glen Sorestad is a Canadian poet whose work has appeared in publication in various parts of the world, has appeared in over 60 anthologies and textbooks, and has been translated into eight languages. He was nominated for Best of the Web 2020. He lives with his wife Sonia in Saskatoon on the northern plains.

Frosted petals – Jade Morgan

 

The hexagonal particles of ice are warming, crackling, melting. The earth is only damp on the top layer; underneath it is dry and compacting, offering warmth and protection to the roots during the night. The sky is changing from a deep, vast blue to a softer, yet still intense, shade. Light blue will then be met with blinding white, will be met with lemon, will be met with blazing orange.

“All in good time”, the twilight breathes. “All in good time”.

Changing shape, the icicles climb into themselves before dropping onto the floor with the gentlest of ‘plops’. The departure of the clinging frost, which the closed petals host each night, causes the most subtle movement. The petals are shaken awake, free and able to breathe. Shimmering in delight, they turn their bodies towards the East like a porcelain ballerina twirling on a spring in a jewellery box.

As promised by the twilight, the sky is getting lighter. The remaining night stars twinkle and bow once more, before ending their performance and closing their glimmer to sleep.

As the tip of the brilliant father sun peaks its face over the hills in the horizon, the rays crawl over the grass towards the petals. In unison, the petals stretch, yawn and open themselves to let in the light and nourishment. It is a brand new day.

 

 

image0Jade Morgan discovered her passion for writing when she was travelling overseas, hiking in New Zealand’s National Parks and Nepal’s Himalayan mountain region. Since her return to England, she has engaged in writing courses to delve more into her new found passion. From the writing courses, Jade has been finding enjoyment in revisiting her travel journals to create a travel writing book and writing flash fiction stories. When she is not doing this, you can find her hiking, reading, hugging trees or planning her next adventure.

Octopus dusk – Elizabeth Gibson

 

in the hills above Vigo, Galicia

 

Perhaps I look lost up here, heavy and alone – but I have the pines and firs,

and I wander down the slopes of the mountain campus, catching Pokémon.

 

The air turns cool and soft. I catch an octopus. I take photos of the pink sky;

they will never come out right. I catch a bird, a fish, more strange critters

 

whose proper names I never remember. I stand under the chunky building

they call a bunker, but to me can only be a boat, slicing through the tree-sea.

 

Barely anyone lives up here, only us in the student digs shaped like a spider.

We sleep in its legs, in little rectangular rooms with long, tall windows

 

giving us ribbons of view: grassy mounds with orange cats, a pond of frogs,

a night full of crickets, heavy like me, and alone – but somehow also not.

 

 

Elizabeth Gibson headshot

Elizabeth Gibson is a writer and performer based in Manchester, UK. She is also the Editor and Photographer for Foxglove Journal. Liz has won a Northern Writers’ Award and been shortlisted for the Poetry Business’ New Poets Prize, and her work has appeared Cake, Cardiff Review, The Compass, Confingo, Litro and Strix among other journals. Liz blogs at http://elizabethgibsonwriter.blogspot.com and you can find her on Twitter and Instagram as @Grizonne.

Choughs – Rebecca Gethin

 

Choughs Rebecca Gethin poem

 

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.

Echinoderms – Margaret Holbrook

 

You take all life from your

immense, fathomless,

median disc.

Asteroidia,

spangle tipped in salt

to the end of your arms

red spotted markers.

No brittle stars or

basket stars but true

Asteroidia.

And in your watery sky

environment you flourish,

live, die, regenerate,

shine brighter than any

celestial form.

 

 

IMG_0641Margaret grew up in Cheshire where she still lives. Margaret’s poems and short stories have been published in several anthologies and magazines and online journals including most recently: Schooldays, Best of British, Flash, I love you, Patches of Light, Torrid Literature Journal, The Foxglove Journal, The Wilfred Owen Association Journal. Margaret also writes plays. Her monologue ‘Our Brian’ was longlisted for BBC Radio 4’s ‘Opening Lines’. In 2017 her play ‘Ruthless’ was longlisted for the Top Five Competition at Bolton’s Octagon Theatre. Her play The Bus Stop was performed at The Old Sawmill in Congleton in May 2019 and will be performed at Buxton Fringe Festival in July this year. Margaret hosts the Poetry and Prose Open Mic at The Petersgate Tap in Stockport. Keep in touch: www.margaretholbrookwrites.weebly.com

Once in a blue moon – Bojana Stojcic

 

My blood moon

he used to call me

because i blushed

every time

his shadow

descended

upon my slopes

 

He’d point

his face toward me

and howl

 

 

Pic...Bojana Stojcic is a teacher from Serbia, living in Germany. Her poems and flash pieces have been published in Rust + Moth, Anti-Heroin Chic, Barren Magazine, Spelk, XRAY, The Opiate, and elsewhere. She blogs at Coffee and Confessions to Go and is currently working on a collection of flash fiction/prose poetry.

King’s Cliff Wood – Anthony Watts

 

And if at times there seems to be

no more to it than this

return with muddied boots to the locked car

 

(groping for comfort under coats, cold nose to cold

nose, the same old words you won’t

or don’t believe)

 

then love is always the path we saved for another

day, the tunnel winding, whisper-filled,

under a sun-rug of November trees.

 

Also (and always) love is the lit sky, shorn

of its restless weathers,

falling

forever

into everlasting.

 

 

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.

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.

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.

where we are – Spangle McQueen

 

we can only start from here

no blaming the illness

myself

or all the others

just start here with the breath

where the succulent’s still

unplanted

and the sunshine soothes an aching temple

and turquoise sky fills my mind

bliss

a neighbour bangs on the window

for attention

the black cat slips off the fence

I open my eyes and wave

reset the clock

start again

focus on the breath

try to stay in the moment

while an ice-cream van

is playing the tune

about a pony

a feather

macaroni

 

 

20171019_233122-1Spangle McQueen is a happy grandma and hopeful poet living in Sheffield.