Phantoms – Jill Abram


I hear voices of unborn babies most nights
and sometimes in the day; they should
have been held in my arms. And his.
Did he pass me by, neither of us realising?

Was he the commuter who offered his seat,
the waiter who winked as he gave me
too much change, or the driver of a sporty
two-seater who stopped so I could cross?

He could be at the party, brought along
by a friend of a friend, line up behind me
at a checkout, or stop me on the street
with a questionnaire. Time chased away

those children like a fairytale monster –
ogre, evil troll, big bad wolf –
through the woods and out of the life
which could have been mine. And his.


Poet, producer and presenter, Jill Abram is Director of the collective Malika’s Poetry Kitchen. She grew up in Manchester, travelled the world and now lives in Brixton. Her pamphlet, Forgetting My Father, will be published by Broken Sleep Books in May 2023.

No flowers with falling petals – Jane Morris

No flowers with falling petals

I’m thinking about the time
when I can’t have my say anymore.
The time when all that’s needed to be said
should have long been said, and long been done.
Those scraps of paper you so often see me
leave about the house must all be thrown away;
things to do, they duly state, of late,….
But when the time is here, those silly things
won’t matter anyway.

I want to talk about it now, about the tidying.
I’ve never been a one who likes things lying about;
there is a place for everything….
I often heard my mother shout.
My clothes, heaped in the corner of my teenage room
used to drive her crazy; she’d scoop them,
in frustrated arms, and hurl them in the wardrobe.
I think about her now, how we are so alike.
For, if a speck of dust is lingering,
I’ll flick it off or, randomly, I’ll brush it with my arm.
It makes me calm to think that all has its own place.

And so, let’s talk about the time,
when I no longer stand before your face,
and there is no more need for arguing.
About the ifs and buts and whens and wheres;
When I am no longer there, to tell you
do not bring me flowers to my grave.
Petals will fall everywhere and I will not be here
to pick them up.



Jane Morris has been writing poetry since a very young age and is inspired by the surrounding nature and ocean views here in Cornwall. She enjoys observing nature, pottering in the garden and is never without her camera. More of her poetry can be found at The HyperTexts:

Daughter – Hilary Hares


If I had been son
………….she’d have stitched wings for me
…………………………………in her neat, feathered hand.

She’d have taught me
……………the languages of rain,
……………………… to read cloud.

To practice I’d have floated up
……………with bright balloons of boys
……………………………flying on other mother’s wings.

Together we’d have studied ancient maps,
…………..running our fingers
……………………….,across their skins.

She’d have shown me hedgerows,
…………….the dynasties of water voles and hares,
…………………………all their small ways, how they feared

and when the day came
………… let me shine, she would have warmed
……………………….the morning sky.


Hilary Hares’ poems have found homes online and in print including Ink, Sweat & Tears, The Interpreter’s House, Magma, South and Stand. She has a Poetry MA from MMU and her collection, A Butterfly Lands on the Moon supports Loose Muse, Winchester.



The Display – Alison Lock

The Display

The tools are on the kitchen table:
scissors, shallow vase, secateurs.

Gathered in a trug:
two red peonies, lavender, rosemary, white rose.

She begins the arrangement:
cuts, trims, pushes each stem into the oasis.

Her apron strings are tied
– a bow around her emptiness.


Alison Lock is a poet and writer of short fiction. Her publications include three collections of poetry and two short story collections. Her first poetry collection, A Slither of Air (2011), was a winner of the Indigo Dreams Collection Competition 2010. Her latest collection, Revealing the Odour of Earth, is published by Calder Valley Poetry.



But – S. A. Leavesley


The edge isn’t just the bridge, cliff,
embankment, train track, that last…

It’s trying to hindsight the line where
‘going to’ would become gone.

Should I have known, did I miss
the signs, why didn’t I guess?

Each question is a guilted knife
sharp against my mind’s wrist.

Invisible lines cut: he’s on the edge,
but all of us are falling.


S.A. Leavesley is a poet, fiction writer, journalist, photographer, editor. Her latest books are: ‘How to Grow Matches’ (Against The Grain Press) and ‘plenty-fish’ (Nine Arches Press), both shortlisted in the International Rubery Book Awards. Her website is at

Rear Facing – Angi Holden

Rear Facing 

In the crowded carriage
I shrink into the window seat,
the sun in my eyes.
There’s standing room only;
passengers sway in the aisles.
I recall travelling as a child,
anxious to look forward,
to see where we were going.
Now I am content
to meet each sudden moment
as it unfurls, becomes clear,
fades to a pinprick.


Angi Holden writes adult & children’s poetry, short stories & flash fictions. Her work explores family history and personal experience. Spools of Thread – winner of the Mother’s Milk Pamphlet Prize – was published in February 2018.


Paul Robeson at the County Theatre Haverfordwest, South Wales, May 1st, 1938 – Robert Nisbet

Paul Robeson at the County Theatre
Haverfordwest, South Wales, May 1st , 1938

They’ve known for years the simplest evenings out,
church socials, shilling dances and the flicks.
Hepburn and Boyer playing Break of Hearts,
and Garbo as Karenina, Will Hay
in some daft farce, Temple in Stowaway,
Astaire and Rogers dancing through Top Hat.

And now celebrity. His name rings sounds
of fame and wonder and exotica
and all that sings of marvels up the line.
A mile from town, doorways in Prendergast
flutter with waves and welcomes at the sense
that here, in flesh and voice, entering town,
we have a burnished legend. Down in town,
crowds mill, the man is warm, signs autographs.
They love him, they applaud.

                                                          The concert starts:
a famed soprano singing Handel airs,
a Milford schoolboy playing violin.
And then the sad lament of Shenandoah
and Go Down, Moses. Robeson’s rumbling voice
cossets and captivates, until the night,
pregnant with novelty, swells up in love,
to clasp and clap and touch their gentle guest.
Then Ol’ Man River is his final gift.

They’ll thrill, for years, to Robeson’s plunging bass,
sounding the sad deep river of his race.


Previously published in ‘Roundyhouse’ 13, (2005)

Robert Nisbet, from Pembrokeshire, taught English in grammar and comprehensive schools and later taught creative writing at Trinity College, Carmarthen. He has had hundreds of poems published in Britain, dozens in the USA and a couple in India.