#NationalPoetryDay October 1st 2020 poetry and artwork challenge. The theme is “Vision”. Ocular or metaphorical welcome, unpublished/published work welcome. Join Rachael Ikins, Gregory Luce, Kit+CY and myself. DM me on Twitter or send a message via my WordPress site. I will feature all work submitted.

“Invisible Me” A photo series by Rachael Ikins



Rachael comments “I have always been fascinated with eyes and faces in all media of my artwork.”


the giants are here
they mollycoddle me cuddle me feed me a jugful of uncurdled milk
they spoon pureed peaches into my gurgling mouth then sing lullabies to soothe me to sleep
they promise me the world and everything that’s not extinct by the time I’m old enough to know the difference between a rhinoceros and a hippopotamus
then while I dream they go and start a revolution to save the oceans the earth the skies
they leave Argus Panoptes to watch over me
and I am safe
unaware a hundred cataracts haunt his dauntless eyes

-Spangle McQueen

See in the Dark

“When what you write about is what you see,
what do you write about when it’s dark?”
—Charles Wright

Faces of lost loves
and my sons when
they were small,
heat shimmer off
a Texas highway
when I was a boy,
the woman gesturing
to no one on the bus
this morning.
Even with the light off
it’s never completely dark:
I can see the pale green
numbers on a digital clock
and streetlight filtered
by the blinds and
ambient light from
who knows where.

-Gregory Luce

Tantalum Lenses
‘I did nothing wrong’—Dominic Cummings

I crossed the polished marble floor
and found the politician’s optician at home.
His door was always open
for eye tests and fittings.

He looked long and hard into my eyes.
He’d damaged his own eyesight
writing illuminated text
by candle light.

He said there was no need to change my prescription—
exposure to his line of sight
had scratched my tantalum* lenses
with his vision.

*Tantalum is a conflict resource used in mobile phones, DVD players, video game systems and computers.

-Kit + CY

Twenty Twenty Vision
Masked and long division
Nature human fission
The World or us…
-Mivvy Tekchandani

. a vision request .

early while driving.                     omen repeating

sometimes the sun comes lower after the crest

one moment

imagine them marching,           slow & white.

will you name them?

in the wake all things come clear.

slow & white.

later below the peaks i tell him. he said it is

the dark crystal.


A Vision by sonja


. a470 .

sun hit the sea,

i was blinded,

by my own



Shortcomings By sbm


Out of blank space
gouge out shapes
of apples and light,
as instrument digs
a blister into palm

He cannot afford mistakes,
steady handed controls
citrus bite of wives
and mistresses.

Strong stink of oxidized linseed oil,
resins, ground cork, wood flour
and pigment all pressed together
and flattened. In later life
after bull sunned atrocities.

If mistakes made
disguise, or begin again.
A head on challenge.
Black eyes carve the shapes,
Print bold red, yellow and green.
A still life, unstilled creation.

-Paul Brookes

#NationalMarineWeek 2021 24th July – 8th August. Twelfth Day August 4th: Sea Shanties and other sea songs, Have you written unpublished/published poetry/artwork about Sea Shanties, or other sea songs? Poetry and Artworks/photo challenge. When a week is sixteen days to account for the tides in Britain. Here are the second eight day themes: Aug 1st: Crabs and other crustacea, Aug 2nd: Rocky Shorelines, Aug 3rd: Mermaids And Sea Monsters, Aug 4th: Sea Shanties, And Other Sea Songs, Aug 5th: Ocean Vegetation Aug 6th: Deep Sea Aug 7th: Shorelines Aug 8th: What Should We Do For Sealife?

Day Twelve -Sea Shanties, and other sea songs


Sea Shanty pic

-Anjum Wasim Dar

Sea Shanty

I long for the peaceful sea
the vast water floor holding me
aloft I float undisturbed
and I just sing
Ho Ho Ho, Step firm on the deck’
Hold On Hold On, on the deck’
I long for the peaceful sea
if only I were on Phlae
waving the burgee
but I just sing
Ho Ho Ho step firm on the deck
Hold on Hold on, on the deck
I long for the peaceful sea
so I could sail my razee
all over free
but I hold on, see!
Ho Ho Ho step firm on the deck
Hold on Hold On, on the deck
Anjum Wasim Dar

Chantey for the Merfolk’s Child

The sea is wide, the sea is wild.
Sing hey and haul away.
Raise a song for the merfolk’s child.
Haul away my dears.

She was born on a different wave.
Sing hey and haul away.
The treasured child of the merfolk brave.
Away and have no fears.

The sea is dark, the sea is deep.
Sing hey and haul away.
The merfolk sing the sea to sleep.
Haul away my dears.

The merfolk’s child was sweet and mild.
Sing hey and haul away.
But the ocean’s heart is old and wild.
Away and have no fears.

The night was nigh and the waves rose high.
Sing hey and haul away.
They swept the merfolk’s child away.
Haul away my dears.

She washed up on a homely strand.
Sing hey and haul away.
A strange and human-haunted land.
Away and have no fear.

The merfolk’s child sang sweet and strong.
Sing hey and haul away.
But you shouldn’t go where you don’t belong.
Haul away my dears.

The landfolk turned and ignored her plight.
Sing hey and haul away.
For landfolk just don’t know what’s right.
Away and have no fears.

But the sailors saw and they knew the score.
Sing hey and haul away.
For merfolk can’t live up on shore.
Haul away my dears.

They took her back to the deep and black.
Sing hey and haul away.
Close-hauled tight on the sunset track.
Away and have no fears.

A storm arose and wild it blows.
Sing hey and haul away.
It blew all around the compass rose
Haul away my dears.

The topsails tore and the mast came down.
Sing hey and haul away.
But the merchild sang them safe through storm.
Away and have no fears.

They brought the merchild safely home.
Sing hey and haul away.
And she swore she never more would roam.
Haul away my dears.

The sinking wreck with its broken deck.
Sing hey and haul away.
The merfolk raised it and sent it back.
Away and have no fears.

So if you see the merfolk’s child.
Sing hey and haul away.
Sat on a beach stone sweet and mild.
Haul away. Haul away.
Leave her alone my dears, my dears.
Away and have no fears.

-Yvonne Marjot


My soul is the sound of the sea
bonny lads
from the first heartbeat’s echo
to her haunting melancholy.

She calls to to me, calls to me
as we haul and we haul
dark drink from the bilge bonny lads
and we haul and we’re free.

My soul is the sound of the sea
bonny lads
White horses plough by the prow
and when I dream, she returns to me.

I yearn for the salty spray
bonny lads
Bitter bite
of the strong south-westerly

Haul of the rope on the rail
bonny lads
The swing of the boom
bonny lads

And one day I will dive to Davy Jones’ locker
Open treasure chest there
so long denied to me
bonny lads

Until then, she calls to me
on a siren’s lips like Spanish gold.
Calls to me, calls to me
so we haul and we haul
till we’re old bonny lads
and sing the song of the sea.

Afore dawn rises, scrub them decks,
bonny lads,
cleaner than a cabin boy’s chin.
Muzzle them canon good, bonny lads
For on the Spanish Main, we will win.

If you whalers get to tonguing
while the rest get to longing
know this, bonny lads –
We will hear Poseidon way before we see him
grasping like a Kraken
at lazy lackeys like thee !

Heave away, haul away, draw that anchor,
Feel the heart swell with pride.
For wild-adventure, we’ll go a-roving,
bonny lads
For we are away on the tide.


As Sea Shantey is a song sung in RHYTHM with their work. They’re motivational or UPLIFTING, similar to negro spirituals sung by a chain gang in slavery.

Sailors sang shanties as they worked pumps up and down, (windlass shanty)
removing water from the hold of the ship.

They sang as they sanded the decks in the earliest hours of the morning,
or turned the capstan that pulled the heavy iron anchor up from the ocean floor,
or when they hauled sails into position.

Halyard shanties were sung during long laborious tasks.

Tonguing has a triple meaning :
Musical – Altering the voice in a staccato effect like a wind instrument.
Whaling term – Stripping blubber to make whale oil.
Spiritual – It is the voice of the gods. Sailors were superstitious.

-John Wolf 4th July 2021

Bios And Links

-Helen Meissner

started producing music last year. She calls herself a late starter as while she has been involved in the music promotion business for the last decade, she’s only just, in her mid fifties ventured into the creative arena herself.

Based in Hertfordshire, Helen, who calls herself Helefonix, is about to release her debut album Nature’s Grace. It is heavily influenced by the nature she’s captured around her Cloud square.JPGover the last year and two of the tracks have had national radio play – (Teaching Darkness) How To Fly featuring poet/broadcaster Ian McMillan on Radio 3 and Song Thrush Serenade by Cerys Matthews on 6 Music.

Helefonix Helen Meissner 02.JPGHelen openly professes to be using lockdown inspired production methods to create her sonic landscapes. While the occasional human voice features in a track, most of her work is instrumental.

Helen Meissner aka Helefonix by Emma Massie 02.JPGNature’s Grace opens with Dawn Chorus and closes with Evensong. Her homage to the important rituals which top and tail her day. In between there are nine tracks which are unique and varied. The album is available on her website & is on general release 5th Sept ‘21. A few of the tracks are already on her spotify page.

Bandcamp : https://helefonix.bandcamp.com/

Twitter :  https://twitter.com/helefonix

Soundcloud :  https://soundcloud.com/helefonix-midlifemix

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/Helefonix

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyLXvfwXjdPo1bsaF24t_3A

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/7xXiGIzlyGqrl91hDNb66i

Website : www.helefonix.co.uk

Email: helefonix@gmail.com

#NationalMarineWeek 2021 24th July – 8th August. Eleventh Day August 3rd: Mermaids And Sea Monsters, Have you written unpublished/published poetry/artwork about Mermaids And Sea Monsters, or other marine myths and legends? Poetry and Artworks/photo challenge. When a week is sixteen days to account for the tides in Britain. Here are the second eight day themes: Aug 1st: Crabs and other crustacea, Aug 2nd: Rocky Shorelines, Aug 3rd: Mermaids And Sea Monsters, Aug 4th: Sea Shanties, And Other Sea Songs, Aug 5th: Ocean Vegetation Aug 6th: Deep Sea Aug 7th: Shorelines Aug 8th: What Should We Do For Sealife?

Eleventh Day – Mermaids And Sea Monsters

Lyonesse front cover

Lyonesse front cover

The Gownshops by Penelope ShuttleLizzie by Penelope Shuttle

-Penelope Shuttle (from her new Bloodaxe collection “Lyonesse”)

Hypnosis 1 PNGHypnosis 2 PNGHypnosis 3 PNG

-Helen Laycock (as it appeared in Visual Verse)


Wedded to the sea,
I am sheened in salt-glint.
A froth veil trails
from my seaweed crown
as he shows me the shore
then scoops me back down
to the deep
where we sleep
in a blue lilt,
a mosaic of sun
tilting mirrors on our backs.

-Helen Laycock


In that secret place, a sea lantern swings,
splashing shards of jade and teal
into the folded silk of the rock.

The bowed hag’s watery grief
seeps its magic into the splinters
as she waits with clamped wings.

She is frozen into a waterfall of stone,
onyx daggers pinning her into the strata
like a fingerprint.

Hooded and veiled, charmed hands
draped, she sucks the light as she dreams
of conjuring marble into cloud.

-Helen Laycock

For Sale

He saw the advert in the local paper, on the right-hand side right next to the one about the missing cat. Mermaid for Sale. Price on application. He called the number and, later in the day, found himself at a small red-brick house with geraniums in the window.  A woman answered the door, wearing faded jeans and a splattered T-shirt. She led him down the stairs to the basement where the light flickered blue and dim. There were fish in tanks, a small shark; three pink crabs. ‘Here,’ the woman said. ‘She doesn’t say much.’  The mermaid was sat under a disco ball. In the moving light her tail glittered and sparkled, like sun catching the waves. How beautiful she looked, and strange. Those sea green eyes, the hair that reminded him of old ropes, breasts like limpet shells. He’d have to sell his car to afford the price of her but he’d do it, yes he would.


He knew deep down she’d be a fake. Even though he’d had hope. He always had hope. His mother said that was his trouble. Head in the clouds. Feet not even touching the ground.

The mermaid spoke with a funny accent. When he asked where she’d come from she said she’d hitched a lift in a cargo boat. She’d hated wearing the tail. It made her itch all over. He said he loved her anyway. He brought her tea and cake. She said she’d stay. She liked the house. She was from Birmingham, she claimed. No sea there. Just a few reservoirs and some sickly fish.

-Bronwen Griffiths

The Nøkken
(Late night serenade)

He sang in hoof gallop canto
which slowed to canter
as waves rippled lightning
into a dark waiting grave

The heat of his words
were a barometric headache
lyrics that drowned in heads
all closed thump-pulsed eyes

A lusty brook horse
he played through pitch
a, star shaking, violin whinny
steam snorting out his heat

Until shutters swang wide
as prickled arms broke
through flume and flotsam suck
for lapping kisses in black
or to banish him
for being so wet and blue

-Z.D. Dicks (First published in Runcible Spoon)

Salt creatures by Katie Byford

-Katie Byford (This was yesterday’s Weekly poem on Oxford Brookes University Poetry (Weekly Poem for 02 August 2021 – Oxford Brookes University)

Mermaids and Monopods

The Mappa Mundi shows mermaids and monopods;
the former, basking attractively,
the latter, using its huge foot as a sun hat.

The Medieval map of the world
depicts weird creatures from unknown lands –
a Cylops and Cynocephalus,
with a man’s body and a dog’s head;
Blemmye, headless men with eyes in their chest,
an early form of V.A.R.

Of course, we know now,
that mermaids are seals and sea lions,
giving voice to their fishy frustrations,
Or, inebriated, they might be manatees
flatulating among sea grass.

There are no Krakens, but Humboldt squid,
and if you like ecology you can study it in degrees –
Monopods are military amputees
after life-changing injuries with IED’s.

Cyclops are those people who walk around with one eye open,
Politicians not Terra incognita.

You’d have to dive to land on Mars now,
to get far enough to imagine how they saw the world.
From the mystery and romance of ancient ways,
something has been lost in translation.

We need mermaids and monopods
because being unique and different
teaches us a valuable lesson.

We’ve got their modern equivalents in the ocean –
evolutionary marvels like bivalves
who anchor with a single leg
extruded from a razor shell.

Are they able-bodied or adaption-assisted ?
Took the minority status route.

They’ve both been given clearance
to compete at the Paralympics
though nobody can decide in what category.

Blemmye, not from Motorhead –
suggested that we go with our gut.

-John Wolf 3rd August 2021

mermaid illustration

-Stevie Mitchell

Siren by Catherine Graham

-Catherine Graham

Loch Ness Monster By Neal Zetter

-Neal Zetter

Something Lurks by Annest Gwilym

Something Lurks by Annest Gwilym

-Annest Gwilym

Mermaid sbm

-Sonja Benskin Mesher

John Hawkshead Mermaid's purse

-John Hawkhead


Below the waters of the German Sea rests
imagination bound with histories.
Massive creatures roamed valleys and forests,
folk hunted them down for wondrous stories.

In firelight told how they killed great toothed beasts
whilst feasting on the monster’s meat and bones,
Then the landslide., waters rose and all ceased.
Their remains tell tales to fish, crabs and stones.

Above they farm the gust that turns the blades.
Ferries wend their way to the other shore.
The sea now beast that harbours other trades.
A sunken land to be discovered once more.

A sea becomes land, as land becomes sea
Geography of our narratives legacy

Bios And Links

-Penelope Shuttle

lives in Cornwall. Her thirteenth collection, Lyonesse, appears from Bloodaxe, June 2021. Covid/Corvid, a pamphlet written in collaboration with Alyson Hallett, appears from Broken Sleep Books, November 2021. Father Lear, a pamphlet, was published by Poetry Salzburg in June 2020. Shuttle is President of the Falmouth Poetry Group, founded in 1972. She is widely published, and her radio poem, Conversations on a Bench, set in Falmouth, was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in March 2020. She is currently working on a new collection, History of the Child.

Katie Byford 

is a poet and filmmaker from London. She has a BA in Classics from Durham University, where she received the Maltby Exhibition Prize for her dissertation on Sappho’s work as translated and interpreted by contemporary poets and artists. She regularly delivers guest lectures at Durham on the use of Greek and Roman sources in her poetry. Katie’s poem ‘Appetit, for Persephone’ placed first in the open category of the 2020 Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition; her poem ‘Son, for Thetis’ was also shortlisted. She was part of the Barbican Young Poets from 2011 to 2014, and since then has worked extensively with the Barbican Centre, most recently delivering workshops and performing commissions for 2019 exhibitions AI: More than Human and Lee Krasner: Living Colour. Other commissions and performances include those at Durham Castle, the Wellcome Collection, Spread the Word and the Houses of Parliament. Her work has featured in MagmaPopshotModern Poetry in Translation and anthologies Hallelujah for 50ft Women (Bloodaxe Books) and She is Fierce: brave, bold & beautiful poems by women (Macmillan). Find out more about Katie on her website and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

-Stevie Mitchell

is a Derbyshire-based artist and illustrator creating captioned drawings, fragments of stories and uncanny happenings, presented under the collective banner, INKY CONDITIONS. He works with ink and brush and some deliberately lo-grade technology. Amongst a playfulness, themes of personal loss emerge. Part therapy: a loving and cathartic catalogue of everyday life – and death.

Stevie shows and sells INKY CONDITIONS work at arts trails and fairs across Derbyshire and Staffordshire, including the Wirksworth Festival, and is a Staff Illustrator with The Hungry Ghost magazine. Alongside this, he works as an independent commercial illustrator, making useful drawings for beer branding, businesses, and for Barnsley Museums, including visitor guides and poetry anthologies.

Website: www.inkyconditions.co.uk

Instagram & Twitter: @mitchsteve / #inkyconditions

-Catherine Graham’s

sixth poetry collection, The Celery Forest, was named a CBC Best Book of the Year and was a finalist for the Fred Cogswell Award for Excellence in Poetry. She was a finalist for the Montreal International Poetry Prize, featured in Exile Magazine and published in Poetry Daily, Gutter Magazine, The Malahat Review, Southwordand more. A previous winner of the Toronto International Festival of Author’s Poetry NOW, she leads their monthly book club. Æther: An Out-of-Body Lyric, her most recent collection, was nominated for the Toronto Book Awards. Her second novel, The Most Cunning Heart, is forthcoming. http://www.catherinegraham.com @catgrahampoet

-Z. D. Dicks

holds an MA in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of Gloucestershire. 

In 2016 he founded the Gloucestershire Poetry Society and the Gloucester Poetry Festival. His poetry is widely published.

He currently has three collections ‘Malcontent’ and ‘Intimate Nature’ with Black Eyes publishing (2019) and one ‘Vexed’ with Hedgehog Poetry Press (2020). 

Helen Ivory (Ink, Sweat and Tears) described his work as ‘muscular language’ and is himself ‘a gothic Seamus Heaney’ according to Anna Saunders.

-Annest Gwilym

Author of two books of poetry: Surfacing (2018) and What the Owl Taught Me (2020), both published by Lapwing Poetry. Annest has been published widely in literary journals and anthologies, both online and in print, and placed in several writing competitions, winning one. She is a nominee for Best of the Net 2021.

-Bronwen Griffiths

is the author of two novels and two collections of flash fiction. Her flash fiction has been widely published both online and in print anthologies. She is currently working on a novella. There is no mermaid in the novella but it features a distant rocky island, a lighthouse and a strange bird.”

-Helen Laycock’s

writing has been showcased in Visual Verse, The Best of CafeLit, the Cabinet of Heed, Reflex Fiction, the Ekphrastic Review and Lucent Dreaming, whose inaugural flash fiction competition she won. Poetry has been published in Popshot, Poems for Grenfell, Full Moon and Foxglove and The Caterpillar.

Recommended: Poetry Month – ‘The Pangolins’

Thom Sullivan

A recommendation for Day 2 of Australia’s inaugural national Poetry Month ‘The Pangolins’, a poem by Jan Owen. The poem appears in Jan’s 2002 book Timedancing (Five Islands). In addition to her influence as a poet, Jan ought to be regarded as the great ‘midwife’ of South Australian poetry, owing to her importance as an editor and leader of writing workshops. Certainly, I can point to workshops I attended in 2010 and then regularly from 2016 to 2019, as important to the development of my own writing. A understated force in Australian poetry, but a potent one.

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#NationalMarineWeek 2021 24th July – 8th August. Tenth Day August 2nd : Rocky Shorelines. Have you written unpublished/published poetry/artwork about Rocky Shorelines, the creatures and plants that inhabit them ? Poetry and Artworks/photo challenge. When a week is sixteen days to account for the tides in Britain. Here are the second eight day themes: Aug 1st: Crabs and other crustacea, Aug 2nd: Rocky Shorelines, Aug 3rd: Mermaids And Sea Monsters, Aug 4th: Sea Shanties, And Other Sea Songs, Aug 5th: Ocean Vegetation Aug 6th: Deep Sea Aug 7th: Shorelines Aug 8th: What Should We Do For Sealife?

Day Ten-Rocky Shorelines

Rocky Beach 2Rocky Beach 1

-Both photos by Paul Brookes


The churning sea,
The land, Broccoli-topped,
dark, black, basaltic;
Giant pencils of ashen columns rise,
notched like kills on an axe-haft.

An echo below the cliff
leads to a mossy maw,
dark still pool
which hides a local legend –
Dragon’s teeth
that once sank a submarine.

Reaching from the peninsula
an arthritic claw
clings to a sister
like dementia.

A ruined castle teeters,
haunts the skyline.
Resists invasion still
with crumbled gatehouse,
wizened pride.

-John Wolf 2nd August 2021.

The Sea Cucumber

The sea cucumber
Is an odd little number
When attacked he turns inside out
What on earth is THAT all about?!

The Stinging Anemone

The stinging anemone
Repels all enemies
But not the clownfish, with which it reposes
In a state of blissful symbiosis…

Winkles and Whelks

How does a winkle tinkle?
And how does a whelk do a poo?
A clam can pop his lid up
And so can a cockle too
But winkles and whelks are lidless
Their shells don’t open to view
So how does a winkle tinkle?
And how does a whelk do a poo?

-David Smith (A.K.A Ivor Folio)

The Marine Sonnets:

Rocky Shores

My high tide mark periwinkles, limpets,
breaking wave spray moistens, incoming tides
and storms envelop them. Exposed In its
drying heat and extreme cold lichen thrives.

My seabed’s shoreward fringe between upper
and lower, dried twice a day, barnacles ,
algae, mussels, sea palms. Sea cucumber
catches passing prey in its tentacles.

My scoured fissures, fractures and joints, abrased
and weathered rock refreshed every time
with new water, my pools isolated
when it withdraws, small worlds redefined.

Every tide renews, sculpts, refugees new blood,
reinvigorates, new life, new food.

-Paul Brookes

Celebrate #YorkshireDay If anyone has written poetry about Yorkshire, or that take place in Yorkshire, even in dialect, or photos I will gladly feature them in this celebrating Yorkshire blog post.

Yorkshire Day

Yorkshire Pudding on Baking Tray with wood and decorative festive background

Yorkshire Pudding on Baking Tray with wood and decorative festive background

The Sheffield and Tinsley Canal, South Yorkshire, September 2012 (photograph by Nikki Clayton)The Sheffield and Tinsley Canal, South Yorkshire, September 2012 (photograph by Nikki Clayton)


peaky braggers

-peaky Braggers

Yorkshire Lads

Wi just us sens wi belt and braces
no pretence no airs no graces
us Yorkshire lads real rough hard cases
a willin for to fight the fight,
to fight for what we see as right,
just us sens no airs no graces Yorkshire lads wi belt and braces.

Nanite God Bless

Nanite God bless she’d say to me
with a kiss upon my brow
I never knew I’d miss so much
those simple words as I do now
her loving arms would cradle me
and rock me off to sleep
so to dream a dream of safety there within her bossom deep
now here tonite I must confess
I miss my mam’s nanite God bless.

-Martin Bragger

Garry's Otley

-Garry Cochrane


Three piece suites, old mattresses, bedsteads,
dead dogs, kittens, tyres. You name it
they chucked it down the cutting. Old hands
would load up a heavy iron boat
two inches down by the head, and then run
at half throttle to stop all the clutter
fouling the prop. One of Furley’s men
stripped a gearbox running over a cooker.
When we passed under bridges, folk spat
at us, or sometimes worse. It were a rude
stretch. We kept bilge-water in a bucket
on deck, so, when they spat down one side,
we’d chuck our mucky stuff over t’ other.
A fair exchange, I say, water for water.

-Matthew Clegg (from his amazing collection “The Navigators)

Yorkshire by Kerry Darbyshire

The language of childhood

Childhood was bilingual /Our mam says “Ay up”
Playground and classroom/I’ve forgot me dinner money
Strict demarcation/I’ve left it at ‘om
Classroom was knowledge/I’ll tell thee summat
Playground was wisdom/Tha dun’t pick mother-die
Class room was orderly/Give us some spice, then
Playground was marauding/Yon bairn’s roaring
Childhood was bilingual/We were only laiking

-Sarah Connor

-Laura Graham

Never Dull In Hull

Newland avenue, where the first birds chirp
A fine place to begin our days
Princes avenue, where the last diners burp
No better place to end our days

A fine place to begin our days
Fresh croissants! That gets the nod of the head
No better place to end our days
Than with the smells of Jackson’s tasty bread

Fresh croissants! That gets the nod of the head
What better way to kill the pain?
Than with the smells of Jackson’s tasty bread
Memories deep within the brain

What better way to kill the pain?
That is a question for Jameson Street
Memories deep within the brain
The wonderful walk: daily beat

That is a question for Jameson Street
The answer may be Ferensway
The wonderful walk: daily beat
The answer may be Freetown way

The answer may be Ferensway
Is the question Springbank?
The answer may be Freetown way
The Drains! Ugh! Oh so rank!

Is the question Springbank?
Would he be proud? That Wilberforce?
The drains! Ugh! Oh so rank!
Terrible stench! What is the source?

Would he be proud? That Wilberforce?
Paper publishes a fascist
Terrible stench! What is the source?
Do we have an apologist?

Paper publishes a fascist
In the great city: Never dull
Do we have an apologist
In this, our Kingston-Upon-Hull?

In the great city: never dull
Newland avenue, where the first birds chirp
In this, Our Kingston-Upon-Hull
Princes Avenue, where the last diners burp

-Pramod Subbaraman (First published in Places of Poetry)

Links and Bios

-Laura Graham

is a stand up poet from Leeds and 2021 national slam poetry finalist. Her Yorkshire Day poem was shortlisted for Leeds Poetry Festival Competition and featured on BBC Radio York. 

-Pramod Subbaraman

is a Dentist and Poet who lives in Hull with his wife and son. He returned to poetry after a long absence during the first lockdown in 2020 and has since been published in the UK and the USA. He runs poetry workshops for NHS trusts in North Lincolnshire and Goole, and Hull and East Yorkshire. He tweets @briteeth

-Matthew Clegg was born in Leeds in 1969. His published works include Lost Between Stations (https://longbarrowpress.com/current-publications/matthew-clegg/ ), West North East (https://westnortheast.wordpress.com/), The Navigators (https://matthewcleggthenavigators.wordpress.com/) and Cazique (https://matthewcleggcazique.wordpress.com/). He currently lectures in creative writing at Derby University, and he lives in Sheffield.  

-Martin Bragger

has long been a Sheffield poet. He is also a well known local singer/songwriter and musician. He has performed at various Yorkshire venues over many years also as his alias Billy Martin Junior.

Two of his songs penned with his real name Martin Bragger were included on the 2008 album ‘Made In Sheffield’ and performed by Tony Christie.

Danger Is A Woman In Love

Paradise Square

Here is a link


-Kerry Darbishire

lives in Cumbria. She has two poetry collections published by Indigo Dreams: A Lift of Wings and Distance Sweet on my Tongue. Her poems appear in anthologies and magazines.  She has been placed in competitions, and recently gained 2nd prize in Folklore and was commended in Grey Hen and Ware Poets competitions 2021.  Some of her work will be performed by The Cumbria Opera Group’s Lakeland Cycle in September 2021. Kerry has a pamphlet to be published by Dempsey and Windle in October 2021, and her third collection (joint winner of the Full Fat Collection) will be published by Hedgehog Press in Spring 2022.

#NationalMarineWeek 2021 24th July – 8th August. Ninth Day August 1st : Crabs And Other Crustacea. Have you written unpublished/published poetry/artwork about crabs and other crustacea ? Poetry and Artworks/photo challenge. When a week is sixteen days to account for the tides in Britain. Here are the second eight day themes: Aug 1st: Crabs and other crustacea, Aug 2nd: Rocky Shorelines, Aug 3rd: Mermaids And Sea Monsters, Aug 4th: Sea Shanties, And Other Sea Songs, Aug 5th: Ocean Vegetation Aug 6th: Deep Sea Aug 7th: Shorelines Aug 8th: What Should We Do For Sealife?

Ninth Day -Crabs And Other Crustacea

Hermit in the turret Ankh Spice

-Hermit in the turret photo by Ankh Spice

Group therapy for clever crabs

There were no windows and we spoke of home
as therapy – those who had tongues not yet unhooked by their dosage

Mrs Jesus sang, predictably
– Ave, ave, the roasting flare of the sacred heart the warmest hearth – her rosary
chattering DT-teeth in time with our rolling eyes

Quiet Joni said nothing, but beyond her starved-skull-smile a hatbox
spiralled out coloured scarves in the wind of a Julie-Andrews meadow, popping daisies

Simon, lion-posed on his chair, just roared for the fortieth time that morning
his teacup bounced steel drums, greening-gold, Zion’s royal spires and he the king of crowds

The nurse foghorned on what about family, what about people and houses and such
things that are normal like windows and loved ones and gardens, until
my faraway reason-voice came as grey paint – please understand, we are only crabs

And I could not say this then – when the weight
of the world cracks your careful shell
the pink cringe of a person
finds whatever it needs to mean safety – a rusty can a palace
when everything else has been thrown away

-Ankh Spice

Barnacle by Andy MacGregor

-Barnacle photo by Andy MacGregor


You make a hard scrabble
over calloused rocks
where you’ve settled
in seashore shanty towns,

growing tough & waiting
through low times
to grab whatever scraps
the tides wash in.

I’d rather be a whelk
with a whorled palace,
gliding above it all
on my big belly-foot.

-Andy MacGregor 

crab by Sarah Louise Wheeler

Crab photo by Sarah Louise Wheeler



lurk in crevices;
public libraries;
the canteen;
smoker’s corner;
make sideways career moves
into familiar places.


worship sunbeds,
turning soft skin
into leathery teak,
about towel-habits
of Germans.


boast boringly and rhetorically;
say certain words often, ‘I’, ‘Me’, and ‘literally’;
weave word-legend they’ll never achieve.
Truth is, they’re bottom dwellers
hanging around sewage outfall pipes.
Only the Mantis Shrimp packs a punch.


Exist near the bottom of the food chain,
yet are eaten by some of the biggest creatures.
A bioluminescent wonder who lights up the ocean in a chemical flush.
They add romance to films like The Beach.
NASA used kryll oil to supplement astronaut diets;
the superfood until Spirulina arrived.


Are like trees in a rainforest,
providing shelter for other species.
They can grow on plastic rubbish,
even create a new ecosystem.
They remind me of Captain Pugwash –

-John Wolf 1st August 2021.


A single whale to eat his fill
Will swallow several tons of krill
Yet none complain at this scale of slaughter:
I bet krill think they bloody-well oughta.


The crab is quite drab
when viewed in the nude
but I’m always impressed
when I see one well-dressed.

-David Smith (Ivor Folio)

The Marine Sonnets:

The Barnacle

Before I make my shell, I float in search
for a permanent place to live. My home
is beside others, where waves swell and lurch
I stick my head beside them. Make my dome,

secrete six plates outside myself. Include
four as one to open and close with ebb.
Aswim, I went through many changes, food
swam ahead of me, I chased, as it fled.

I stand on my head and eat with my feet.
My glue will outlast me. Incoming tide
makes me open to sift food brush and sweep
it into my shell to my head, inside.

I grow, enlarge my home, with neighbour
I make babies, who one eyed leave my door.

-Paul Brookes

Bios And Links

-David Smith

is a writer and poet blessed with the good fortune to live in Royal Tunbridge Wells. He is rarely if ever disgusted, but often disappointed. Around 40% of David’s poetry is humorous verse for children, or so whimsical it might as well be. A further 40% is performance poetry, ranging from the humorous and whimsical to the obscene and acerbic, the latter often a reflection of that previously mentioned disappointment. He also writes ‘proper page poetry’ (which accounts for the remaining 20% for the sharp eyed, mathematically inclined among you) and is a regular contributor to the Kent & Sussex Poetry Society’s Folio. He rarely submits for publication, partly because he prefers the oral tradition and partly because he handles rejection badly. As one half of Flitt & Folio (Pam and Ivor to their friends) and one third of the Gluten-free Trio he also writes and performs comedy sketches and musical numbers. The poems offered below were written for ‘Fishy Fridays’, when on a whim he decided to write a poem a day for a year.

Angèle Paoli translated by Martyn Crucefix

The High Window

Angele Paoli


Angèle Paoli is a Corsican poet, novelist and translator. She runs the on-line review Terres de femmes https://terresdefemmes.blogs.com/mon_weblog/. She was winner of the Aristotle European Prize for French Poetic Criticism in 2013. Recent publications include La Montagne couronnée (2014), Les Feuillets de la Minotaure (2015), the novel, Artemesia allo specchio (2018), and translations of Luigia Sorrentino.

Martyn Crucefix’s  recent publications include Cargo of Limbs (Hercules Editions, 2019), These Numbered Days, translations of poems by Peter Huchel (Shearsman, 2019), which won the Schlegel-Tieck Translation prize 2020, and The Lovely Disciplines (Seren, 2017). Currently a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at The British Library, he blogs on poetry, translation and teaching at http://www.martyncrucefix.com

NB: You can access the original version by clicking on the title. [Ed.]




Dream of glass
xxxxxxxof pomegranate
xxxxxxxof tigers of honeybee
a girl’s dream

in her glass heaven

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Review of ‘Poetry after Auschwitz’ by Phil Vernon

Nigel Kent - Poet

I remember reading Phil Vernon’s micro-collection, entitled This Quieter Shore, back in 2018 and thinking what a talented writer he is. Therefore, I looked forward to delving into Poetry after Auschwitz (SPM Publications, 2020) when it arrived and wow, what a collection it is!

Vernon’s principal concern in Poetry after Auschwitz is the way history affects us. He gives a voice to historical figures (such as Judas, Stalin’s daughter, and a liberator of Belsen) to articulate the transformative effect of past events upon the present: he portrays their influence as a constant presence in our lives. In El Tres de Mayo he writes: ‘What’s past is present: faded cryptogram of sound – no matter we try to prise/ a meaning out of or ignore it – fills/ our ears with its abiding , quiet refrain.’ How the past affects the present is complex: the effects differ but are always significant…

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Essay “Argentina as a land awaiting the undelivered epic” in Berfrois


Link to my essay “Argentina as a Land Expecting the Undelivered Epic” in UK online literary magazine Berfrois! On popular urban myths about similarities between modern-day Greeks and Argentineans, absences in recent Argentinean poetry, and more.

It’s All Argentinian to Arturo Desimone

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#NationalMarineWeek 2021 24th July – 8th August. Eighth Day July 31st : Beachcombing Have you written unpublished/published poetry/artwork about what objects you found beachcombing ? Poetry and Artworks/photo challenge. When a week is sixteen days to account for the tides in Britain. Here are the second eight day themes: Aug 1st: Crabs and other crustacea, Aug 2nd: Rocky Shorelines, Aug 3rd: Mermaids And Sea Monsters, Aug 4th: Sea Shanties, And Other Sea Songs, Aug 5th: Ocean Vegetation Aug 6th: Deep Sea Aug 7th: Shorelines Aug 8th: What Should We Do For Sealife?

Day Eight: Beachcombing

strandline.5strandline.6strandline.7strandline.8cancondomkids sweet packetpacket

-All photos by Annest Gwilym

litter by annest

Whelk Shell by Annest Gwilym

Whelk Shell

Shells hold secrets
folded in the whorls,
where the creature hid.

The open mouth
sings like the tide,
or the vastness of space,
the emptiness between stars.

As a child they looked like
ice cream cones
or fairytale turrets.

Older, like bones
scattered on the beach,
bleached and crumbling
slowly into sand.

Held to the ear I hear
the rushing blood and heartbeat
of a living being.

© Annest Gwilym


The sea will tell a tale if you place an ear to a shell.
Her tidal treasures softly wash, gift-wrapped in weed.
I think the tale will be Lord of the Flies;
it shall end in Deliverance.

A celtic knot scratched in the sand. Art.
Washed away at the end of the day.
That this is all ephemera –
is what the artist is trying to say.

tinder and a spark juxtaposed,
The fire always burns,
it’s supposed.

Often it doesn’t – the spark fails to catch or tinder burns away,
small twigs exhaust before larger ones ignite,
It’s too damp; too windy,
cold hands tremble with malnutrition ;
or fear.

But when it catches and flares,
twigs crackle, logs smoulder,
a rose like a sunset blooms;
the feeling is incredible.

Being primal in the wilderness,
sharpening a skewer-stake.
Everything we need must found
or we’ll have to make.

I am the first on Newmania.
Walking a pacific island’s deserted shore,
collecting coconut husks, smooth glass,
sun-dried bits of crate.

Survival has four pillars. Shelter. Fire. Water. Food.
A fifth now – threat.
The other contestants arrive by speedboat soon;
Wannabe pop star, internet influencer, boob-job, ex-footballer.

It’s not a reality show,
we’ve been kidnapped by evil people :
‘The one who survives the Island,

-John Wolf 31st July 2021.

A Beach in Maine by Rachael Ikins

John Hawkhead The Beach

The Beach by John Hawkhead

Beach Finds by Rachael IkinsBeachcombed rocks

John Hawkhead Beachcombing

-Beachcombing by John Hawkhead

Sara Louise Wheeler beach

seafind 2 by Sarah Louise Wheelersea find by Sarah Louise Wheelerpebbles by Sarah Louise Wheeler

-All photos by Sarah Louise Wheeler

The Marine Sonnets:


Gale force Eight or more with an Easterly
throws things on my shores, material drifts
on my strongest waves and currents, firmly
North to South. Comb me as my gales desist

start to subside or veer West. See patches
of weed and black coal amongst my rocks.
Delve into huge feet thick seaweed masses
Find rare ,warm Baltic amber in same spots

as coal and Whitby jet. Prove real amber
sandpaper it and smell Pine tree resin.
My fossils, bullet shaped Belemnites are
with curled Ammonites released from within.

Don’t get caught by my rising tide, falling
cliffs. Every find, a story calling.

-Paul Brookes

Bios And Links