Wednesday, 28 August 2019

A Burst of Blue by Emma Lee

Graveyards are expected to be quiet,
somewhere to pay respects.
This hillside in Heptonstall
mostly achieves that. A bench
gives a view of headstones in lines.
The grass has not been cut
but some individual graves are tended.
A light breeze counters the humidity.
There's no map of names.
One has a burst of speedwell,
fidelity, where bees gather nectar.
Even her death is busy with life.

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Emma Lee’s recent collection is “Ghosts in the Desert” (IDP, UK 2015). “The Significance of a Dress” is forthcoming from Arachne (UK). She co-edited “Over Land, Over Sea,” (Five Leaves, UK, 2015), reviews for The Blue Nib, High Window Journal, The Journal, London Grip, Sabotage Reviews and blogs at http://emmalee1.wordpress.com.

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

A sailor remembers the prayer position by Kate Garrett

Each day they sent us down on our knees
to holystone the decks: scrubbing boards
while the sun sloughed skin off our backs,
or rain thrashed round to drown us as we
sucked in water-logged breaths. The threat
of superiors’ boots never far from cracked
lips, we would spend these hours praying

for blasphemous things: a slip overboard
for the captain, a storm to wreck the ship,
capture by pirates. Death was the dream,
the way to freedom, but God will send us
the strangest saviours instead – a crew
of forty men offer us a choice: a ship
armed with eight cannons, Nassau bound.

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Kate Garrett is the author of several poetry books of varying lengths, most recently The saint of milk and flames (Rhythm & Bones Press, April 2019) and To Feed My Woodland Bones (Animal Heart Press, September 2019). Born and raised in rural southern Ohio, she moved to England 20 years ago, where she still lives in Sheffield with her husband, five children, and a cat. More information about Kate and her work can be found here: www.kategarrettwrites.co.uk

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

reflected in puddles by Paul Robert Mullen


locals gather                centre of the village

an old man flying                    kites
            high above the square
which is small / somehow oriental

she stops to sit
beneath the fingers of the husky oak
            a postcard to a lover

. . . it rains heavily here
                        but the town is like a painting . . .

long september nearly over                 coastal pathways
            down to hotels snaking past pier heads
and fishing boats
translation of Tristan Tzara under her arm

. . . i miss you and i love you
            but i may never understand you . . .

at night her window open wide
            the scent of falling dew outside 


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Paul Robert Mullen is a poet, musician and sociable loner from Liverpool, U.K. He has three published poetry collections: curse this blue raincoat (2017), testimony (2018), and 35 (2018). He has been widely published in magazines, journals and anthologies worldwide. Paul also enjoys paperbacks with broken spines, and all things minimalist.

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Zooming in by Sharon Phillips

I can see it on Google Earth, 
the hillside cluttered with brambles
where one day I turned my ankle 
and sniffed back snot and tears
as we scrambled to the top;

on the brow of the hill we stopped 
to look back: at houses and flats; 
the salt marsh checkered by rhynes; 
the smokestacks of ships in the docks 
and khaki fumes from the chemical works; 
the silver glint of the Bristol Channel 
and over the water, Wales;

then on we rushed, past cabbage fields, 
through the wood’s green hush 
to the pond, carrying jars for newts 
we caught to take home: quick 
and brown, yellow bellies spotted black. 
Mine lived in a seaside bucket 
until I got bored or forgot.

I zoom in to find the wood, exactly 
as I remember it, though the fields are 
covered in barns, the salt marsh striped 
by a motorway’s asphalt. However hard 
I look, there is no trace of the pond.

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Sharon started learning to write poems a few years ago, after she retired from her career in education. Her poems have been published online and in print, and have been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize (2017), the Indigo Firsts pamphlet competition (2018) and the WoLF Poetry Competition (2019). Sharon won the Borderlines Poetry Competition in 2017 and was among the winners of the Poetry Society Members’ Competition in November 2018. She lives on the Isle of Portland, in Dorset.

To the storm witch’s lover by Kate Garrett

Take this hawthorn twig and keep it close – collected from the forest floor in exchange for a copper penny – if the gusts threaten to tak...