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Showing posts from August, 2022

Before you know it you're dead and then you by Gale Acuff

Before you know it you're dead and then you   move on from there, according to the Good Book, to Heaven to get your immortal  soul judged but I could be wrong, that could be just the gospel according to our church and Sunday School and sometimes I think that they don't want us ten-year-olds to read too much religion or we'll become a lot less religious but that's what grownups do, they not only lose their innocence but want their kids to lose theirs, too, it's power's at stake more than what's right and when we hold a carwash to raise cash it's the deacons who drive through first and never pay--I hope they all go to Hell with the windows open.

Ellen the Elder by Laura Varnam

I’m older now. More winters have clawed my bones than Beowulf or Hrothgar ever weathered. When they speak of me, if they speak of me at all, little boys snicker and point:  dragon-raiser, cup-pincher! I’m that old story. Before the ashes were cool they’d whizzed up a new hall –bone-strong, iron-belted, just like the last one– but they don’t see the shadow  of my dragon crackling in the  hearth, hissing up the chimney. They say my mind wanders, but in truth I send it out  into the forest to ask the trees if I did right in my youth. When it returns, pilgrim-swift, bringing talk of sisterlands, of raven goddesses and dragon-queens, I am certain. I couldn’t have done anything else. --- Laura Varnam is the Lecturer in Old and Middle English Literature at University College, Oxford. Her poetry is inspired by the medieval texts that she teaches and her poems have been published in Acropolis Journal, Atrium, Crow of Minerva, Dreich, Green Ink Poetry, Ink Sweat & Tears, The Oxford Magazine

I visit a medieval herb garden in an attempt to rebalance my humours by Catherine Redford

Sage ( Salvia officinalis )  From salveo : ‘I am well’ Not statement, but prayer.           Suck the poison from my marrow,                        purify with the wisdom                      that this has all been lived before. Betony ( Stachys officinalis ) To cure chilly need        Your side of the bed, greater than emptiness –           somehow     emitting  your  absence. Comfrey ( Symphytum officinale )                      Also known as ‘Boneset’ The removal of a demon     will inevitably cause            broken bones, fractured ribs encasing a heart that pumps ceaselessly on, bloody and hot and engorged.                                      Hyssop ( Hyssopus officinalis ) Soothing when rubbed on bruises To soothe, from sōth ,  the truth, soothsayer,    i.) the flickering falsehoods of reassuring words;                  ii.) the cumulative truth pooling in hollows.     Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) For courage and pain relief (which are one and the same.)  I slip i

An Elusive Summer by Maurice Devitt

You ask me how I recognise the first sky of summer: I don’t know, I use the term to satisfy an obsession   with detecting the season’s start. Each day we explain it away,  whether because of an errant shower that flashes through in late afternoon or a wind, measured as more than a puff on the Beaufort Scale. By September the waiting will be over and we will know that summer has passed, hot, sunny days, already forgotten, another victim of hazy childhood memories.   --- A past winner of the Trocaire/Poetry Ireland and Poems for Patience competitions, he published his debut collection, ‘Growing Up in Colour’, with Doire Press in 2018. His poems have been nominated for Pushcart, Forward and Best of the Net prizes and his Pushcart-nominated poem,  ‘The Lion Tamer Dreams of Office Work’, was the title poem of an anthology published by Hibernian Writers in 2015. He is  curator of the Irish Centre for Poetry Studies site.

Then There Were Three by Jen Feroze

When he left, there were eggshell steps.  There were stewed, red eyes. Helplessly they wept,  they penned lengthy, fervent letters.  They never slept.   He’d been there when Renee fell, the weekend  they’d wrestled the tent between the trees.  He’d helped set her slender leg, been gentle  whenever she screeched.  When Elle entered her twelfth September,  he’d bedecked her shelves. Hedge presents were everywhere. The nest held freckled eggs, the elderberry’s sweet depths,  peppery herbs, dewy ferns, evergreen. He left Beth the grey, endless wretchedness.  She remembers herself newly wedded,  when they were fresh. Her red dress bed scented, the sheets greedy, messy temples. He’d been tender, sleek,  velvet eyed. Relentlessly perfect.  He’d been jewelled by secrets.  He left her speechless. --- Jen Feroze lives by the sea in Essex with her husband and two small sleep thieves. Her work has recently appeared in Atrium, Ink Sweat & Tears, Ekphrastic Review and The Madrigal, among others.