Martin Potter (https://martinpotterpoet.home.blog) is a poet and academic, and his poems have appeared in Acumen, The French Literary Review, Eborakon, Scintilla, Ink Sweat & Tears, The Poetry Village, and other journals. His pamphlet In the Particular was published by Eyewear in December, 2017.
“The fish fanciers, sitting by their ponds and gazing
into their depths, were tracing shadows
darker than they understood.” – Rubicon by Tom Holland
Arid – it took twenty years for the word to come.
And what did we expect, creeping that Saturday
down laneways whose leaves were dying into red,
towards the El Dorado of an orchard whispered about,
its apples untasted for years, guarded by a gun?
How near we were to town. How easily lost.
The youngest, last seen years ago, standing asleep,
wedged between three squatters in a phone box.
His eyes, they said, when he opened them, still had
that child’s disappointment at finding his last sweet gone;
suddenly he remembered himself and retreated.
He was a river of words at twelve
and I remember him now, from nowhere,
his life too fierce and frank to be glossed over,
unlike the rest of us, we on the cusp then of knowing
not the taste but the craving for it. So on
we blundered, countryside itching under our collars
until we turned and stumbled into a yard
ringed by trees, their fruit greener than leaves,
huge, monstrous almost. But we had to pick them.
And the house. No gun as frightening
as that abandoned silence, or the comb-teeth
litter of fish we knew we’d seen in books.
Never earth so bare as that dried pond.
Ted Mc Carthy is a poet and translator living in Clones, Ireland. His work has appeared in magazines in Ireland, the UK, Germany, the USA, Canada and Australia. He has had two collections published, November Wedding, and Beverly Downs. His work can be found on www.tedmccarthyspoetry.weebly.com.
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.
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.
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
sometimes it’s hard to remember/the names of things /those trees
along the side of the freeway/ I used to know what they are called
and then there are words I’ve never known /is there a word for
the lust bees feel for a flower /or the way his neck tastes /that moony
combination/ something like cyprus and salt and bone.
Ann Pedone graduated from Bard College with a degree in English and has a Master’s degree in Chinese Language and Literature from UC Berkeley. Ann is the author of the chapbook The Bird Happened, and the chapbook perhaps there is a sky we don’t know about: a re-imagining of sappho is forthcoming in December. Her work has recently appeared in Riggwelter, Main Street Rag, Poet head, Cathexis Northwest, The Wax Paper, and The Phare, among others.
Strolling along a bark filled path in the woods the breath of summer gusts into my mind and the warbling of tiny birds enters my ears. Tiny colorful wildflowers, pink, yellow, and blue paint the face of the meadow across the way, and waft their honeyed scents into the breeze. I hear the whispering sounds of the tiny brook alongside the path, and watch small rabbits with blades of grass in their mouths hopping quietly across the field. Maple trees with their white and gray skin, and oak trees with their gnarled limbs reaching for ground and sky shade my path. A red-shouldered hawk soars to the heavens with a screech as I disturb its tranquility sitting in a tall pine tree. I hear murmuring voices of tiny animals under fallen leaves and twigs in the distance, as the soft balmy breeze hurries over the ground with its euphonious voice. My memories awaken, and I remember my happy treks to the woods when I was a young lad. I exhale my breath with a nostalgic sigh as I realize my walks in the woods will be ending soon. My mind is still young, but my body has turned old.
James is the author of four collections of poetry, Solace Between the Lines (2019), Light (2016), Ancient Rhythms (2014), and The Silent Pond (2012). He has had over 1,440 poems (four of which were nominated for Pushcart and Best of Web Awards), five novels, eight essays, and thirty-five short stories published. He earned his BS and MA from California State Polytechnic University, and his doctorate from BYU.
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 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.
(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,
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.
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.
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.
Alison 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.
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.
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.
Hannah 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.
From leafless trees, the great tits and song thrushes
are cleanly piping out, respectively,
their simple and their complex repetitions.
Close your eyes and you can almost see
the sounds as clear distinctive prints
cutting into the greyish sludge that spreads
everywhere from the traffic on the bridge.
Mark Totterdell’s poems have appeared widely in magazines and have occasionally won competitions. His collections are ‘This Patter of Traces’ (Oversteps Books, 2014) and ‘Mapping’ (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2018).
Deborah Guzzi writes full time. Her third book,The Hurricane,is available through Prolific Press. Her poetry appears in Allegro, Artificium, Shooter, Amethyst Review and Foxglove Journal in the UK, Existere, The Ekphrastic Review, Scarlet Leaf Review and Subterranean Blue Poetry, Canada – Tincture, Australia – mgv2>publishing, France – Cha: Asian Review, China – Vine Leaves Literary Journal, Australia – The Scarlet Leaf Review – Greece, Ribbons, pioneertown, Sounding Review, Bacopa Literary Review, The Aurorean, Liquid Imagination, The Tishman Review, Page & Spine and others in the USA.