Gökotta – Siegfried Baber

Gökotta

This is a poem about your favourite word,
which is Swedish, and has no translation.
This is a poem about making coffee
in a quiet kitchen before it really gets light
and thinking about your favourite word,
which is Swedish, and according to various sources
expresses the act of waking early to hear
the birds singing at sunrise. This is a poem
about coffee and birdsong, but also the old man
walking his dog across the frozen field
and the distant disturbance of traffic on the bypass.
It’s a poem about telephone wires.
It’s a poem about the local station spinning
‘Sunshine Superman’ while someone’s husband
drinks the milk from his bowl of cereal
or someone’s wife smokes her first cigarette
under the chimes on the front step.
It’s a poem like any other; how everything waits
to be noticed. And your favourite word,
which is Swedish, and has no translation.

 

Siegfried’s poetry has featured in various publications including Under The RadarThe Interpreter’s House, online with The Compass Magazine, and as part of the Bath Literature Festival. His pamphlet When Love Came To The Cartoon Kid is published by Telltale Press.
Follow Siegfried on Twitter: @SiegfriedBaber

Date Night – Carole Bromley

Date Night

Back early from the ballet,
you park the car, I turn the key

in time for the Ten O’Clock News
when I hear two cries,

one from the baby upstairs
and the other, I see round the door,

from the babysitter
on the hearthrug with a stranger

performing a pas de deux
I hadn’t bargained for.

 

Carole Bromley lives in York where she is the Stanza rep and runs poetry surgeries for the Poetry Society. Two books with Smith/Doorstop and a collection for children, Blast Off!, due out June 2017 www.carolebromleypoetry.co.uk

 

Siren – Kate Garrett

Siren

(for Rachel Wall)

Tears in her voice skip
stones across the waves
from a schooner ripped
like a harpooned shark,
the sails limp fins,
this woman pale and screaming
begs: please help me stay afloat.
I’m all alone out here.

All alone. Poor thing,
she cries a prophecy
before you meet your end,
before her hidden men
scream scrambling over the railings
of your vessel—

They’re all dead,
dead, no survivors;
it’s nothing but a ghost ship now.

 

Rachel Wall was an American pirate active off the coast of Massachusetts at the end of the 18th century. She worked with her husband George Wall and their crew, pretending to be the sole survivor of a shipwreck, so that when other boats came to her aid, the Walls and their men would attack and kill the crew, taking the ship’s cargo for their own.

This poem is also published in Kate’s pamphlet, Deadly, Delicate (Picaroon Poetry, 2016).

Kate Garrett’s poetry has been widely published, nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and longlisted for a 2016 Saboteur Award. However, while her poetry is busy doing stuff, Kate bums around reading books and hanging out with her children. Stalk her on Twitter at @mskateybelle.

Séipéilín Ghallarais – Chris Brauer

Séipéilín Ghallarais
 
They made their way through
storm-washed grasses, their reeking
wounds, sores from the salted sea,
to be blessed by the holy relief
in the soft touch of rain.

The corbelled stones, dug out
of the earth to stand as a beacon
for the foreigners starved for silence,
shaped like the boat that brought them,
is no longer cell nor church,
but strength in solitude.

Like these foreigners, I stand inside,
lay my hands on the smooth stone,
and capture the smallest source of light
as it breaks through the oratory window.

 

Footnote: The Gallarus Oratory (Séipéilín Ghallarais) is often translated as “The Church [or Shelter] of the Place of the Foreigners”.  Shaped like an upturned boat, many believe it was an early Christian church while others have argued that it was merely a shelter for pilgrims making their way from Ventry Harbour to the summit of Mount Brandon. The simple dry-stone structure in Co. Kerry, Ireland has remained waterproof and in near-perfect condition.

Chris Brauer lives in British Columbia, Canada where he splits his time between writing and teaching.  He has written a travel memoir about living in the Sultanate of Oman, and is currently writing about Ireland – both in prose and poetry.  Read more at www.chrisbrauerwriter.com or at www.facebook.com/chrisbrauerwriter.

To Raymond Carver with Thanks – Abigail Elizabeth Ottley Wyatt

To Raymond Carver with Thanks

You are the only poet
I have ever read yet
going cover to cover like a novel.
Is that a confession?
I guess if it is then you
would most likely approve.

Also I should say I turn
pages too soon
I am so eager to discover
what will happen.
I suspect my pain,
my failures seem smaller
in direct proportion to yours.

In part I think I consume
you so greedily
because you ring true
like fine glassware.
If you are my poison,
my cup of bitter herbs,
I think I will sink you,
knock you back,
put you down the hatch
in good style.

I like it that while diving,
you sank to the bottom
and played dead with the mud
cool on your belly.
Sometimes it is easier
not to surface,
not to rise up
into the light.

 

Abigail Elizabeth Ottley Wyatt writes poetry and short fiction. Her work has appeared in more than a hundred magazines, journals and anthologies. The author of ‘Old Soldiers, Old Bones and Other Stories’, she works from her home in Cornwall.

Rehabilitation – week 6 – Stephen Daniels

Rehabilitation – week 6

take my arm and press, open this door and pull the handle,

pull the handle, pull the hand, drag the door, open, move

and keep hold of hand, let loose grip of fingers, thump

your arms and march, bruises ask questions, of the pressure,

fingers resist, sit down, chair takes weight and force up,

push up, resist upwardly mobile, on the floor, horizontal

legs not upright, and scramble, twist arms, through routine

moves and spin, in a corner and brace legs, from laying,

precise legs, scratched in dust, scrape tiles, take tiles

and prise them, snap tiles, arm in hand, resist arm in arm,

resist, on face and leg on tile, and arm in fist, clutch at door

handles and turn away, toes on tiles, lose grip, toes on tiles,

shove, slip, toes on tiles, slip toes, on tiles, slip.

 

Stephen Daniels is the editor of Amaryllis Poetry and Strange Poetry websites. His poetry has been published in numerous magazines and websites. His pamphlet ‘Tell mistakes I love them’ will be published in 2017 by V. Press. Find out more at www.stephenkirkdaniels.com@stephendaniels

Brum – Ben Banyard

Brum

Here there’s no up or down,
we’re in the middle, centred.

We see missiles hurtle overhead
from north to south and back again.

We grew up in the Bull Ring,
flaunt our bab, bostin’, deaf it,
on the way to the outdoor
for a bottle of pop.

We are Julie Walters, Jasper Carrott,
UB40, Ozzy Osborne.

We’ve seen and made it all;
two centuries of sweat and beer,

Spaghetti Junction hearts.

 

Ben Banyard grew up in Birmingham but now lives near Bristol. His pamphlet, ‘Communing’, was published by Indigo Dreams in 2016, and his first full collection, ‘We Are All Lucky’, is due out early in 2018. Ben also edits Clear Poetry: https://clearpoetry. wordpress.com and blogs at https://benbanyard. wordpress.com

 

Knitting – Oz Hardwick

Knitting

A grey woman, who should be sitting in a rocking chair,
sits instead on a straight-backed stool, her eyes closed,
knitting a scarf – yellow and blue, my first school colours.

I sit on the floor, watching as it grows, listening
to the click of the needles and the tick of a clock
echoing from an empty room at the front of the house.

She knits fast, but the scarf grows faster, billowing
in coils at her feet, crawling higher like morning mist
until it drapes my shoulders, caresses my throat.

Faster it grows, probing my mouth, snaking inside,
down to my guts, warming my belly, then nudging up
into my head, implacably pushing from my ears and nose.

There’s a gentle tickling growing behind my eyes before
it slips under my prickling lids. The needles now move
on their own, the stool stands empty. I turn to the window:

the last thing I see is the woman, framed in a small yard,
her eyes still closed, her face raised to the sun, flapping
her floral apron, casting crumbs, or seeds, to swooping crows.

 

Oz Hardwick is a York-based writer, photographer and occasional musician. He has been published widely in the UK, Europe and US. His sixth poetry collection, The House of Ghosts and Mirrors, will be published by Valley Press in September 2017. www.ozhardwick.co.uk

 

Shadows – Bethany Rivers

Shadows

Beyond the Scots’ Pine and the Monkey Puzzle tree
at the edge of the farmers’ fields a blood-orange sun
is dying.  You always said you could cradle

the sun in the palm of your hand.
I watched you raise your hand into the sky
to prove it, your other hand on my shoulder.

The grass retains your footsteps from this morning
when you went out in your dressing gown and slippers
to check if the doves were back.  An imprinted

trail in coated frost, the sun was unable
to melt.  Later, when you’re not there, I touch
the tiny icicles on a blade of grass –

it would take me years to warm the whole
lawn, and I wonder if that’s the task
you’ve secretly appointed me with.  Sky fades

to peach melba then dusty pink , a pink
I used to love, and you don’t remember:
even Yew trees lose their greenness at dusk

I run from the creeping shadows
of all those things I should have said.

 

Bethany Rivers’ pamphlet, ‘Off the wall’, published by Indigo Dreams (2016).  Previous publications include: Envoi, Cinnamon Press, Obsessed with Pipework, The Ofi Press, Clear Poetry, Picaroon Poetry.  She teaches and mentors the writing of memoir, novels and poetry.  www.writingyourvoice.org.uk

 

 

Actual Size – Paul Vaughan

Actual Size

The brochure hooked me
with its beach so pristine, white.
Palm trees gaily waving invitations,
with lithe coconut-clad ladies with shy coquettish smiles
serving endless margaritas to my hammock in the sky.

I never learn that beds are made of promises,
that the advert’s just a lie.

Today I looked on Amazon
and saw a model of the Taj Mahal.
Hand crafted in pink blancmange,
actual size, just nine pounds ninety nine.
I ordered two of them,
one for me and one for the guy
that said he’ll come Tuesday to build me an angel.

 

Paul Vaughan loves his cat. His poems have cropped up in Agenda, Prole, Obsessed with Pipework and Dream Catcher, among others. Edits Algebra of Owls.