The Deadest – Karen Little (kazvina)

The Deadest

I appreciate truth and new beginnings; I’m happy
to go off the rails. I seldom treat myself
to the hard stuff, but let mundane tasks pile up
while writing or drawing over midday pints
of Long Man, Long Blonde; light golden hops.

I’m in the deadest pub; three pints down. At the next
table she unfurls, stretches towards me; slides onto
the seat opposite mine. I shuffle salt and pepper like an
incompetent magician, consider how long it’s been since
I was seduced by a woman. I want to speed towards

the finish line, but she makes every word a luxury. In my
head glitter balls spin, platform shoes stomp
the night away in an outbreak of seventies
flares and velvet jackets. I never expected love letters,
just letters of resignation and exasperation at my greed.

 

Karen Little (kazvina) has exhibited her art internationally, and is widely published as a writer in the UK and further afield. Her latest publication is the illustrated pamphlet, Dissecting an Artist (2019) with The Black Light Engine Room Press.

Quantum Sheep – Emma Simon

Quantum Sheep

We’re the uncounted ones, grazing
ever expanding fields of dark matter
night after night.

Woolly ruminants. We chew the cud
of dreams, regurgitate all sense and logic
within our various stomachs.

Lozenge-like eyes that slowly blink.
Fleeces nebulous as vapour in a cloud,
our knees are pretty springy.

Sheep merges into sheep, huddled
in sleepless flocks through sleet, through fog.
Always on the verge of being lost.

We follow one another over fences,
wave after wave of us, sub particles
of imagination, waiting to be discovered.

 

Emma Simon’s has written two pamphlets, Dragonish, which was published by The Emma Press in 2017, and The Odds, which will be published by Smith Doorstop in early 2020. Her poems have appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines and she has won both the Prole Laureate and Ver Poets prize.
She can be found @SimpleSimonEmma on Twitter

Curtains – Julian Dobson

Curtains

Come over, William, you should take a gander
at my curtains. Check out their thinning
slightly off the centre; the way they fail
to join up in the middle; their boring grey-green
pattern even duller since they’ve hung there
nigh on twenty years. I know your magic

with the fabric. I’ve seen your curling leaves,
unfurling flowers, your cheeky strawberry thief.
I’ve seen the prices they command. So much
for socialism: I’ve been priced out. But
I can do appreciation. So, comrade – if I may –
could you pop over, sample my sloe gin, bring

some news from nowhere? I’m thinking you can help,
because I want to make this room a place
of wonder. Something a visitor might see
and be transported, but not envious. Stirring
like a banner, but more subtle. Earthier, more rooted.
I’m imagining borlotti beans. Let them inspire you.

 

Julian Dobson lives in Sheffield. His poems have appeared in publications including Magma, Under the Radar, and Acumen, and on a bus in Guernsey.

Leveret – Jonathan Humble

Leveret (after Carolyn Jess-Cooke)

Forty weeks I wondered what would happen.
Bought a tiny cardigan while waiting,
embroidered with some meadow hares in sunshine
and wee blue shoes that you would never wear.

With little witchy hand you grasped my finger,
your body wrapped in heirloom knitted cloth,
each breath I watched and worried in the pauses
and worried as within the sling I held you.

The dandelions spoke your name in secret,
it drifted with the seeds upon a breeze
to leverets that hid among the sweet grass
who saved a place of safety from the foxes.

While in the meadow, hares lay still and quiet,
I walked abroad among a crowd of strangers,
each eye with threat or hidden malice watching,
and as you slept, I’d slay the beasts and dragons.

I walked on broken glass, endured the lightning
and carried you one last time in the autumn,
until with curtains closed amid the silence,
I placed the hares and wee blue shoes in cotton.

 

Jonathan Humble is a teacher in Cumbria. His poems have appeared in a number of anthologies and other publications online and in print. A collection of his work, Fledge, will be published by Maytree Press in the summer of 2020

 

 

This is War – Firth of Forth 1942 – Maureen Weldon

This is War – Firth of Forth 1942

They have gone downstairs for dinner.
She peels tiny strips of wallpaper.
Returning they are not pleased.

Tomorrow he must board a waiting troopship,
cannot tell his wife where to.
This is war.

On the train,
her mother cries silent tears
but the child is happy.

 

Maureen Weldon represented Wales at Ukraine’s 2014 Terra Poetica. Publications include, Crannog, Poetry Scotland, Ink Sweat & Tears, Vsesvit, Open Mouse. 2017 her poem Midnight Robin, featured by Second Light Live. 2020 Red Squirrel Press to publisher her a pamphlet.

Floris Candle – Pippa Little

Floris Candle
 
The Christmas before she leaves home
I appear in the hall baring my single drop of light,
dissolve in warm oils from the south.
I disturb the cold, still air of that house
with my almost imperceptible breathing:
rosy, with undertones of musk, oud, chypre.
Though I am afraid of the dark I prefer it,
soft pressure I can push against, resist.
I rouse in her strange worlds half-formed
but the word I frame for her, in ripples
around the wick, is go. She doesn’t know yet
how to be womanly: she will learn.
Time is falling away fine as snow.
In three winters her grandmother will be gone.

 

Pippa Little is a poet, mentor and workshop facilitator. Overwintering (Carcanet) came
out in 2012 , Twist (Arc) in 2018: a third collection is forthcoming. She works for The Royal Literary Fund at Newcastle University and lives in Northumberland.

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: http://www.thehypertexts.com/main.htm

Haulm and Shaw – Imogen Forster

Haulm and Shaw

Words I have known since I was
a child, since whenever it was
that we ceased to be country people, lost
our skin-sense of times for planting,
our almanac of daylight and weather.

But grubbing up with my bare
fingers my small crop of potatoes
I claim ownership, the right to eat
and to use what else will rot down
to give us another year’s nourishment.

Now the bed’s turned, raked, friable
earth ready again for seeding, ripe
with worm-life. It could be a grave,
tidy, carefully tended, hospitable
to generation, to generations.

 

Imogen Forster went back to writing poems seven years ago, after being a prose-writer. A couple of years ago she completed the MA in Writing Poetry from Newcastle University. She lives in Edinburgh and tweets as @ForsterImogen.

Broken – Sarah J Bryson

Broken

I stop as I feel the phone vibrate in my pocket
release my left hand from its glove by biting
the finger tip. I walk slowly towards
the Institute of Mathematics. Underfoot
the Penrose Paving glints with frost.

The sun is low and there is a ghostly moon –
it floats, paper thin, as if lit from behind.
Clouds gather in the fading sky.
It may yet snow, I think.
It may yet snow.

My reflection in the glass ahead is multi-edged.
My breath turns to vapour, white, about my head.
The text message is brief: tells me
get home, soon.

At the foot of the double doors in front of me
a brown feathered bird. Beautiful.
Not moving.

 

Sarah is a writer of poetry and prose, a nurse and a keen amateur photographer. She is interested in words, words for well being, people and nature and the connections between these aspects of her life.

The making of gritstone – Julian Dobson

The making of gritstone

What is this rock but sand? Stuff
that escapes from fingers, is only held
in handfuls. See it shift as slow tides
wash and swish through centuries.

Get a grip. You try. Wet, it clods, then
crumbles. Dry, it runs as water.
Leave it be. Let it rest, let weight
of earth compress it. Wait.

Return. Inland, it rises, scarps, nudges
you to edges. A place to stand. Its surface
clings your palms, your toes, your elbows
feel its friction. Find a fold, a kink,

a space to claw at. The certainty
of weathered sediment, of patience.
Trust the way it scours and scores
the skin: your hold, your faith, your rock.

 

Julian Dobson lives in Sheffield. His poems have appeared in publications including Magma, Under the Radar, and Acumen, and on a bus in Guernsey.