Articles de plage – Kate Noakes

Articles de plage

Lilos, speedos, rubber rings, flip flops, hats,
noodles, towels, sun cream, paddleboards, boules,
loungers, umbrellas, espadrills, mats,
sun glasses, beach shoes, bikinis, canoes.

Outside the shop an Italian girl is scared
of a herring gull on a delivery van.

Sea rushes in, sea glass, surf, waves, sea,
the rock and roll tumble of striped pebbles
under turquoise and indigo, small weed, sea,
clouds, so-blue sky, the canary ferry, sea.

Deep breaths with today’s sore lungs.

Here is the clarity of air you only see when
a crack in the weather lets in the wind.
Ground based ozone, its sulphur
and grey, is banished to planet B.

I know the Arctic ice has all melted this year.
A predictive map shows sea level rise
will submerge this Riviera, making cliffs
of the Alps Maritime.

An inflatable unicorn is fanciful.

Kate Noakes’ most recent collection is The FIlthy Quiet (Parthian 2019). She is a PhD candidate at the University of Reading. Kate lives in London acting as a trustee for writer development organisation, Spread the Word.

Slip Stitch – Kay Ritchie

Slip Stitch

Skelpt leather, pin-cushion-punctured,
I thought it a fish, named it ‘haddock’,
hung it from my neck, played tramcar clippie,
pillowed it beneath Betty, my rubber doll
turned yellow when Grandpa made her smoke,
poked pencils in its holes &
only when I grew, learned it was
the makkin belt, a knitting tippie
granny wrapped round waist to
trap pins in while sitting, knitting
his silk waistcoats,
needles dancing furiously
as she had once, to the beat of his reels
when he played fiddle in a band.
Her anger cast on & off, in purl & plain,
pain ravelled, my mother tangled,
ripped out, frayed,
so when she taught me
all we could knit were knots.

Kay grew up in Glasgow and Edinburgh, lived in London, Spain and Portugal, worked as a photographer and producer.  She has appeared in anthologies and magazines, has performed at various events and likes to dance, paint and walk.

A’Chomraich – Marjory Woodfield


He says it isn’t far
to walk. A walled garden
and café. To beat the rain we take the bracken path,
earth lichen-green and faded gold.
Skye’s swathed in cloud,
stone walls hold tangled branches.

I picked her lilies once. Today, low-branching
trees hold this sanctuary close. So far
away the memories cloud.
I gathered roses from her garden,
now home fades, leaves turn to gold
along another path.

Downhill, our path
meanders. Branches.
There’s a sign. Gold
fruit lies on the ground. We order coffee, sit in a far
corner where orange flowers flow over garden
beds. Hold hot drinks close as sky darkens, overclouds.

Shore Street & Applecross Inn. Clouds
part. Rain on the foreshore, pebbled paths.
Judy cuts kale from her garden,
makes soup. Adds a small branch
of thyme. Parsley sprigs. This inn, small street and church. So far
away. Leaves fall and turn to gold.

Kelp gathers on the sand. Neptune’s necklace, tarnished gold.
Black-faced sheep, crofting cottages on clouded
hills. Clachan Church. Swallows nest under eaves, fly far
away. Neat rows of tombstones. Her name. Bare branches.
Briar rose. Brambles against a wall. A green garden
set in stone, held safe by hills and sea. We choose another path.

I pick up shells. I’ll place them in my garden
when we’re back. The sun sets gold.
Light draws lines through seashore branches.
Waves are wild, sky taut with cloud.
At Milltown we turn to take the path
back to the inn. It’s straight and far.

We leave the gardens, Inn and Clachan Church. Low cloud
on Bealach na Ba. An ancient cattle track with burns and bracken paths.
Leaves fall from branches, turn to gold. We’ve come so far.

Marjory Woodfield appears in The Blue Nib, The High Window, London Grip, and the 2020 Ver Poetry Competition Anthology. She gained third prize in the Yeovil International Literary Prize (2020), was shortlisted in the Cinnamon Literature Award (2020), and the Bath Novella-in-Flash Competition (2020).

From Bridlington Harbour – Harry Gallagher

From Bridlington Harbour

It’s the comings and goings.
The lobsterpot people,
the inrushing tide,
the glide of hungry gulls,
the ice cream floats
from the Cash Only cafes.
Men testing the engines
of little fishing boats,
railway sleepers snoozing
on the old harbour wall.

The happy yappy dogs
looking for a battle,
the rattle of tincans
landing in the litterbin.
All life and death is here
in best midmorning bluster.

The fishing rod boys
casting off to the coast’s
northblown clouds,
the oyster catchers’
insistent shrill whistling,
brittle as a herringbone
on the deck of the pier.

We are all Yorkshiremen

Harry Gallagher has several books, most recently ‘Moulded From Ferrous – Selected Early Works’ (Black Light Engine Room Press, 2020). He’s also been published by Smokestack, Orbis, IRON, Prole and elsewhere. He runs the north east stanza of The Poetry Society.

Changing bag – Joanna Ingham

Changing bag

I am nothing if not capacious, cute with foxes
stripped of teeth. I have forgotten how many
pockets line my innards, sticky at the bottom,
regurgitated apple, seeped Calpol, nappies
in bunches. I swing from the pushchair handle,
swollen as an udder. Sometimes you’ll find me
slumped beside the highchair, dreaming myself
a diamanté clutch. Or simply a leather cross-body
in teal or burnt orange, only big enough for strolls
around a university town, a woman alone with
a lipstick, a bank card and a paperback.

Joanna Ingham’s pamphlet Naming Bones was published by ignitionpress in 2019. She won the Paper Swans Press Single Poem Competition in 2020. Her poetry has appeared widely in journals and magazines and has also featured in The Sunday Times.

Birth Poem – Caleb Parkin

Birth Poem
for Z

I’d so love to tell you how I brought forth
your mewling body from my own. But you
are no-one’s child – and all I can offer is

consistency and conditioning; treats and trips
to an open field; a version of freedom within
its fenced bounds. I can’t tell you anything

about anything; didn’t even meet you as a pup.
Nonetheless, I must conjure this tale for you:
some arthouse or Caravaggio on a backstreet

of Bucharest. You and your wiggling siblings a
clutch of squidgy strays, flanked by a host of
vagabond dogs. The reality is: we picked you up

from a small-town car park, received a carrier
bag of toys; your foster human driving away, waving
as she wept. Now we’re a pack, here in suburbs where

foxes roll and crash outside, like recurring nightmares
/dreams, that sometimes wake you, yowling, in the night.
And when you run off, yes, we fret, picture some pale-

faced driver crouched over our phone numbers,
glinting at your neck. Or, worse still, imagine you in
a new adventure – wild hair matted, collar tattered

as you feast on scraps. These two men left leadless, lost.

Caleb Parkin is a day-glo queero techno eco poet & facilitator, based in Bristol. His debut pamphlet, Wasted Rainbow, was published by tall-lighthouse in February 2021; his debut collection, This Fruiting Body, will be published by Nine Arches in October 2021. From 2020 – 22, he’s Bristol City Poet.

Tweet: @CalebParkin | Insta: @couldbethemoon |

Playing Cards with Vicky’s Dad – Wendy Klein

Playing Cards with Vicky’s Dad

Rolly Rolicheck came from a place so strange
that my friend Vicky, his own little girl,

could not pronounce it. His cheekbones were high
in his puffy face, pressing his eyes

into narrow green slits like pistachio nuts half-split.
Dodie, his wife, worked at the soda fountain

in the bus depot, her great breasts just the right height
to rest on the counter as she drew us ice cold cokes

on our way home from school, her pink tongue flicking
a flake of tobacco stuck in her fuchsia lipstick —

bottom lip, Pall Malls — unfiltered. But it was Rolly,
home from work early, who welcomed us

onto his big lap, both of us at once, taking out
his special playing cards

that showed us coloured photos about what men
and women did with their clothes off.

Wrapped tight in his hairy arms, we would giggle. Folks said
Dodie Rolicheck was a tart, pitied poor old Rolly,

but when they disappeared that last summer,
I missed my friend, Vicky.

Wendy Klein has 3 collections: ‘Cuba in the Blood’ and ‘Anything in Turquoise’ (2009, 20013, Cinnamon Press), ‘Mood Indigo’ ( 2016, Oversteps), and a selected ‘Into the Blue’, High Window Press (2019).  An illustrated film of her recent pamphlet, ‘Let Battle Commence’ appears on You-tube

Featured Publication – Something so wild and new in this feeling by Sarah Doyle

Our featured publication for March is Something so wild and new in this feeling by Sarah Doyle, published by V. Press.

In these inventive and adventurous collage poems, Sarah Doyle presents Dorothy
Wordsworth’s exuberant feeling for life and language in a fresh fabric of her own making.
Sympathetic and insightful, tactful, and imaginative, Doyle’s compositions refract the
energies of Dorothy’s writings through the subtle medium of her own sensibility, and the
result is at once daring and illuminating.
” Gregory Leadbetter

In Something so wild and new in this feeling, Sarah Doyle has taken Dorothy Wordsworth’s
journals and developed excerpts into poems, finding felicities of phrasing, musicality, and
ideas. Doyle’s skills in pacing, use of the line, and the possibilities of form help us appreciate
anew Wordsworth’s habits of thought and close attention to the natural world. With
Wordsworth and Doyle, the reader hears the birds singing in the mist.
” Carrie Etter

A heart unequally divided

My heart was so full that I could hardly speak.
Every question was like the snapping of a little
thread about my heart. I sate a long time upon
a stone at the margin of the lake, and after a flood
of tears my heart was easier. The lake looked
to me, I knew not why, dull and melancholy,
and the weltering on the shores seemed a heavy
sound. My heart dissolved. I could not help
weeping, I was sick at heart. In my walk back
I had many of my saddest thoughts, and I could
not keep the tears within me. My heart was almost
melted away. My heart smote me, prevented me
from sleeping. I was melancholy, and could not
talk, but at last I eased my heart by weeping.

At play chasing a butterfly

Upon the sunless hill, we saw miles of grass, light
and glittering, and the insects passing. The hum
of insects, that noiseless noise which lives
in the summer air. The bees were humming
about the hive. I saw a robin chasing a scarlet
butterfly this morning, flying all about us. I used
to chase them a little, but I was afraid of brushing
the dust off their wings, and did not catch them.

Among the mossy stones

When we were in the woods beyond
Gowbarrow Park we saw a few daffodils
close to the water-side. We fancied
that the sea had floated the seeds ashore,
and that the little colony had so sprung up.
But as we went along there were more
and yet more;
………………………..and at last, under the boughs
of the trees, we saw that there was a long
belt of them along the shore, about
the breadth of a country turnpike road.
I never saw daffodils so beautiful.

They grew among the mossy stones
about and above them. Some rested
their heads upon these stones, as on
a pillow, for weariness, and the rest
tossed and reeled and danced, and
seemed as if they verily laughed
with the wind,
………………………….that blew upon them
over the lake. They looked so gay, ever
glancing, ever changing. This wind
blew directly over the lake to them.

The distant prospect

The shapes of the nearer trees
and the dome of the wood
dimly seen and dilated.

The shapes of the mist,
slowly moving along,
exquisitely beautiful;

passing over the sheep
they almost seemed to have
more of life than those

quiet creatures.
The unseen birds
singing in the mist.

Sarah Doyle is the Pre-Raphaelite Society’s Poet-in-Residence, and co-author of Dreaming Spheres: Poems of the Solar System (PS Publishing, 2014). She is widely placed and published, being a runner-up in the Keats-Shelley Essay Prize 2020 and the Keats-Shelley Poetry Prize 2019, winning the Wolverhampton Literature Festival poetry competition and Holland Park Press’s Brexit in Poetry 2019, and being highly commended in the Forward Prizes 2018. Sarah is co-editor of Humanagerie, an anthology from Eibonvale Press, shortlisted for a British Fantasy Award in 2019. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway College, University of London, and is currently researching a PhD in meteorological poetry at Birmingham City University. More at or Twitter: @PoetSarahDoyle

Something so wild and new in this feeling is available to purchase from the V. Press website.

Grandmother – Luke Palmer

For Jean Walden

I am cutting your name out of the clothes you used to own
when you could own things. They make a modest pile.

I work in silence, listen to the scissors and to your daughters
making arrangements for your funeral.

These cardigans and scarves will hold the smell of you
until someone washes them. I am folding them slowly, gently

like the bundle of your names in marker pen or stitched tape
on the table next to me. A nest.

When I have finished, I will take that cradle of thread
in my hands. Its fibres will tickle my warm skin.

I will carry it to the window and, whatever is inside of it,
with this delicate and tender care, I will release.

Luke Palmer’s debut pamphlet, Spring in the Hospital, won the Prole Pamphlet Competition in 2018. He won third prize in the Winchester Poetry Competition this year, and his debut YA novel, Grow (Firefly Press), will arrive in July 2021.

Hedgehog-hole – Angela France


You sawed holes in the fence
where the planks met the ground,
imagining how much space
spines need around a soft body.

A small wooden house
nestles under the rosemary, filled
with clean straw you scrabbled
loose from the solid pet-shop bale.

The wall along the side alley
where wind traps curled leaves
to heap on cracked slabs
is the perfect place

to leave cat food, never milk,
as dusk blurs rooftops and trees.
You don’t know whose hunger
clears the food by morning;

a neighbour’s cat, the dog-fox
on his rounds, or the sleek brown
tumble of rats, quickly clearing
the ground, stealing into shadow.

You always hope the hog-house,
cat food, fence-holes may be found
by the snuffling secrecies of the one
you saw in the garden two years ago.

Angela France’s publications include ‘Occupation’ (Ragged Raven, 2009), ‘Lessons in Mallemaroking’ (Nine Arches, 2011), ‘Hide’ (Nine Arches 2013) and The Hill (Nine Arches 2017).  Angela teaches creative writing at the University of Gloucestershire and in various community settings.