#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 Ocular or metaphorical welcome, unpublished/published work welcome.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

Gabby

Leonard

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

Lulled

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
protected
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…
Decision?
-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.

sbm.

A Vision by sonja

https://sonjabenskinmesher.wordpress.com/2017/11/09/a-vision-request/

. a470 .

sun hit the sea,

i was blinded,

by my own

shortcomings.

sbm.

Shortcomings By sbm

Picasso

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

#30DaysWild 1st-30th June. Day Seventeen. Visit Your Local Park At Dusk And Look For Bats. What bats will you find in this virtual poetry/artwork park? I will be adding bats to the virtual park in virtual dusk all today. 30 Days Wild is The Wildlife Trusts’ annual nature challenge where they ask the nation to do one ‘wild’ thing a day every day throughout June. Your daily Random Acts of Wildness can be anything you like – litter-picking, birdwatching, puddle-splashing, you name it! I would love to feature your published/unpublished photos/artworks/writing on your random acts. Please contact me.

Day Seventeen

bats 30 Days Wild

pipistrelles by Steven Stokes

-Steven Stokes

Seventh Spell by G Dronsart

-G. Dronsart

Bat by Palma

-Palma McKeown.

Bat in the House

How it got in we will never know
but getting it safe outside again
was not easy. Bats don’t fly,
they swoop, with such pure grace.
It first appeared in the kitchen
describing arcs. We opened the skylights,
turned off lights, closed doors
to help it find its way back to air
And thought we’d done it. Next night
it appeared again, perhaps slept
in daylight on the dresser top.
The pipistrelle glided into the hall
and skimmed its way upstairs
in a few wing beats. Hastily closing doors
I followed it to close doors up there,
turn off the lights, open landing window.
I had not gone out. It lay exhausted
on the carpet, until my husband
tenderly picked it up, placed it
outside on the extension roof.

We knew bats could not take off
from the ground, like other winged things.
Next morning it was no longer there.
It must have been hungry, exhausted.
Important not to invest human emotions
in an innocent creature. It didn’t visit us
nor convey any blessings. It was simply
in the wrong place to survive.

-Angela Topping

Daubenton's Bats by JLM Morton

Diaemus youngi/the lovers


Vampire chitters,
Licks gleaming strawberry
From another pinkred mouth
Coasting through fur and heavy warmth
Warm beads sit in a papered skull
Lying with a friend, reaching spinds out into the dark
Blinking gloom and the drops in a shared meal

-Laura Jane Round

how it feels to be a bat by Andrew Nightingale

-Andrew Nightingale

On the Wing

Beard of stars, star-beard, Barbastelle,
a little white beard distinguishes you
from Pipistrelle and Daubenton or Serotine.
It sprouts under your face’s dark brown fur.
This face is a gargoyle to fend off evil spirits
taken from the west portal of Chartres. An ageing ET with
a tiny squashed nose, black, round shiny eyes and
enormous white-edged ears, which are needed for echo-location,
your tracking of nocturnal insect life.
This combination of fur and wing disturbs like good surrealism.
Your tessellated wings in out-stretch are so fine,
they must have inspired Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome,
or at least the umbrella. And yes, you are a quadruped:
your front and rear stump-limbs elongate elegantly
into two rapturous wings,
which are huge in proportion to your kind-of-cosy furred body.
The three gently angled divisions of each wing
are surfaced in honeycomb mottling. The only mammal to fly.
This is, after all, a miracle.

-Alison Dunhill

The dynamics of the flight-initiating jumps of the common vampire bat

“… the jump sequence can be broken into three distinct phases, preparatory, jump and flight.”
Schutt, Altenbach, Chang, Cullinane, Hermanson, Muradali and Bertram:
The Journal of Experimental Biology 200 (23) 1997

They are a surprising species, still extant,
against all odds. My first observations,
made when I was very young, recalled

them raising themselves onto their hind legs.
Some were taller than most. Our scouts had
reported sightings where the creatures stood

in front of walls of water, pulled their fur out,
then covered themselves with woven grass,
stones, pieces of metal twisted to form

the shapes of whirlwinds. I grant you,
in these things they show an unexpected
intelligence. At times, I am told, they share

a kinship with us, suckling their young,
herding their own into strange caves
which only appear when they sleep.

When they group, they gather splinters
of wood around large flat rocks, and call
to the moon to light their way. They can be

such bewitching, sweet-blooded wraiths, yet
they hardly notice us, even when we quench
our thirst against their warm skins.

(Published in The North magazine, Spring Issue 2014, ed. Jackie Wills & Jonathan Davison)

-Fawzia Muradali Kane

Bats Emerge

-Hannah Linden

bat market by Fisher

-John Bevis

M. lucifugus

Powder snout, fungus-muzzled,
your snuffled rasps mine the sediments,
wake you blink-eyed, gasping, early out
of your torpid seasonal penitence.
You wake alone. Outside winter holds
her grip, as one by one your smudge-nosed
colony stirs and chatters, the whole dank
chamber hacking like a typhus ship
until the hunger rush and you launch unison
on twigged wings out of your encampment’s
mouth to find a frozen, snow-blind land
where no insects fly and no birds sing.
And so return to your waiting roost
where you huddle and hang, fold
back into the nuzzled cloak of yourself,
slowly starve by increments.
Your dopplered heart stalls and stills. Your tiny
claws lose their grip as you slip light as a leaf
to the reliquary floor. As you, my Fledermaus,
will fall out of memory and fall out of myth;
Some old wives’ fairied tale of you catching
in a young girl’s hair or circling a bride
on her wedding eve, portensions of a doomed
romance or a violent end to a nuptial ring.
While a house frau’s batting broom
rests easy by an unlit hearth,
children sleep undisturbed by dreams
of your little teeth at their delicate throats.
* M. lucifugus (little brown bat) faces extinction across North America as a result of a condition named white nose syndrome — a
fungus inadvertently brought from Europe to North America

-Lisa McCabe

Air Siren's Song

pipisrellles

Pipistrelles by Amanda Bell

After reading Ted Hughes Defamation of American Bats

How could this poet,
in a book called “Birthday Letters”
claim that all American bats have rabies?
And what, then, did the smart bard mean by American?
Call it a slander in extremis
when the frivolous say that bats
are mere rats, but winged–
can’t they see, isn’t it obvious
that rats, as hares for the less-charmed,
have keen night-sights,
and wear permanent snarls,
while bats, with their bad eyes
and deep hearing
of the tune-fork stalactites
and snouts smelling a thousand shades,
come closer to canines, cousins,
and the companions of seers,
adversaries of all who raid.
And if dogs stay our good friends
then call bats our good friends–winged.
To say that all American bats have rabies,
is blasphemous in extremis.
I come from an island
where the bats don’t have rabies,
not one out of seven species,
they once engorged on offerings,
they swarm in seaside caves with archaic
names like Quadirikiri,
caverns like veiled onlookers
who overlook the coast
as if with longing–
The sea mends rabies.
Its waves cure anything,
anything other than longing.

-Arturo Desimones

Mr Batsford

-MJ Simpson

Links To Other Bat Poems

Bios and Links

-Hannah Linden

Based in Devon, Hannah Linden has been published widely including in Atrium, Lighthouse, Magma, Proletarian Poetry, Strix, The Interpreters’ House and the 84 Anthology etc. She is working towards her first collection, Wolf Daughter. Twitter: @hannahl1n

-Amanda Bell

is an Irish poet and author. She holds a Masters in Poetry Studies, and is a mentor with the Irish Writers Centre and Words Ireland. In 2020 she was appointed inaugural Writer in Residence for Harold’s Cross, and awarded a Literature Bursary by the Arts Council of Ireland. She is an assistant editor of The Haibun Journal. Previous publications include First the Feathers (Doire Press, 2017), which was shortlisted for the Strong Shine Award; Undercurrents (Alba, 2016),which won an HSA Kanterman Merit Book Award and was shortlisted for a Touchstone Distinguished Books Award; The Lost Library Book (Onslaught, 2017); the loneliness of the sasquatch, from the Irish by Gabriel Rosenstock (Alba, 2018); and Revolution, a chapbook of haiku and photographs (wildflower poetry press, 2021). <clearasabellwritingservices.ie>

-Steven Stokes

is a South Wales-based haikuist who began writing and sharing his poetry in 2020. Steven publishes his work via https://stevenlstokes.wordpress.com and three of his poems were included in the recent Dylan Thomas-inspired anthology ‘How Time has Ticked a Heaven Around the Stars’

-JLM Morton’s

pamphlets Lake 32 (published Field Notes on Consolation) and Sentient (published by Yew Tree Press). In 2021 Juliette was awarded an Arts Council grant to work on a collection exploring the role of trade cloth in colonial expansion. She is poet in residence for Stroudwater Textile Trust.

#30DaysWild 1st-30th June. Day Sixteen. Go On A Bughunt. What bugs will you find in this poetry/artwork garden, or park? 30 Days Wild is The Wildlife Trusts’ annual nature challenge where they ask the nation to do one ‘wild’ thing a day every day throughout June. Your daily Random Acts of Wildness can be anything you like – litter-picking, birdwatching, puddle-splashing, you name it! I would love to feature your published/unpublished photos/artworks/writing on your random acts. Please contact me.

Day Sixteen

Go on a bughunt 30 Days Wild

Linda Ludwig DragonflyRachel deering dragonfly

-Linda Ludwig

bee 3

Photo by Marcel Herms

Legends of the Bee

Honey, elixir of dreams.
From Appalachia to Ancient Egypt
symbolic bee of royalty, health,
wealth and purity, good luck charm,
messenger between heaven and earth
for bees are wise. The oldest tribe
on earth, the San people of Africa,
tell the tale of a bee carrying
a praying mantis across the widest
river, exhausted the bee lay
the mantis on a floating flower
planting a seed in its body before
it died. The first human. Humans
and bees entwined for eternity.
In my pocket, I carry three ceramic
bees in a blue pouch.

-Suzy Aspell

Christina butterfly bleached butterfly

butterfly
clings to a bluebell
broken wing


-Christina Chin (A haiga in the inaugural issue of Bleached Butterfly Magazine)

 

BUTTERFLY

A Butterfly lands on a path,
by happy chance observed.
Foot’s raised and boot’s about to strike
when smallest prayer is heard.

Absurd demise averted.
Sweet insect rises up.
Foot’s much relieved – and Butterfly
resorts to Buttercup.

-Abigail Elizabeth Ottley

wazpz iz
zticky wit zweetiez

(yourz)

zticky with winez
your redz & witez

hangry drunk baztardz
yez haha

iz flying
one by one
by one by one

into earz
wizpering

mine

mine

mine

-Elizabeth A. McGowan

Monarch Butterflies at Watch Hill Light

They have come as far as I have, further,
and lighter, nothing but the breath of themselves,
and now they are going back.

Dozen by half dozen they do not pause,
but throw themselves into today’s stillness
over the ocean, lost to view instantly.

And I, too, will launch myself
over the Atlantic, taking with me
only this light. Walking its beam
into darkness.

Note: Monarch butterflies migrate impossible distances from the northern USA to Mexico. Watch Hill is in Rhode Island, and the light faces due south.

-Jennifer A. McGowan

Bios and Links

-Abigail Elizabeth Ottley

writes poetry and short fiction. Her work has appeared in more than two hundred magazines, journals and anthologies. A former English teacher with a lifelong interest in history, Abigail lives in Penzance where she cares for her very elderly mother and is currently writing her first novel.

-Suzy Aspell

lives in Bedfordshire. Her work has appeared in Sledgehammer Lit and will be published in Spelt Magazine end of June. Suzy wrote and directed plays for the Civic Centre in Tainan, Taiwan, on British pantomime theme. She is working on a pamphlet exploring themes of feminine cultural and historical tradition.  Twitter: @susisu371

-Polly Oliver

is a broadcast journalist, freelance engagement consultant and writer in South Wales.

She writes poems for enjoyment – and when they land in her head. 

Her writing has appeared in various editions published by Back Bough Poetry, as well as the Wombwell Rainbow, The Tide Rises, Falls and has featured as Spillwords Author of the Month.

Pushcart nominated.

-MW Bewick

is a writer and co-founder of the small indie publisher Dunlin Press. He grew up on the edge of the Lake District, lives in Wivenhoe, Essex. He is regularly published in poetry journals, also works as a journalist and sometimes lectures in creative writing. His second collection of poetry, Pomes Flixus, is available at https://dunlinpress.bigcartel.com/

-Annette Skade

is from Manchester, and has lived for many years on the Atlantic coast of Ireland. Most of her recent poems are about the sea, and her coastal community. Her poems are published in Ireland, the U.K., the U.S. and Australia, and her collection Thimblerig was published in 2013. She has just completed a PhD on the poetry of Anne Carson.

http://annetteskade.com/about

-Catherine Graham

is an award-winning novelist and poet. Her 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. Her debut novel Quarry won an Independent Publisher Book Awards gold medal for fiction, “The Very Best!” Book Awards for Best Fiction and was a finalist for the Sarton Women’s Book Award for Contemporary Fiction and Fred Kerner Book Award. She teaches creative writing at the University of Toronto where she won an Excellence in Teaching Award. A previous winner of TIFA’s Poetry NOW, she currently leads their monthly Book Club. Æther: an out-of-body lyric appears in 2020 with Wolsak & Wynn/Buckrider Books. www.catherinegraham.com. Tweets at @catgrahampoet

-Ann Cuthbert

writes and performs, usually with the Tees Women Poets Collective. Her work has been widely published online and in print, most recently in Dreich anthologies, Amethyst Review, Green Ink Poetry and the anthology Hard Times Happen (Black Pear Press.) She was Highly Commended in the 2021 YorkMix Poems for Children competition and her poem video, Dracula’s Café, was shown on BBC Upload Festival 2021. Her poetry chapbook Watching a Heron with Davey is published by Black Light Engine Room Press.

-Dave Green

lives and works in Sheffield.  For 30 years he worked in education with vulnerable and neurodiverse children before belatedly discovering that recent governments may not be prioritizing the marginalized in society.  Now he trains people in positive mental health and how to recover from the pandemic.  He writes poems, paints, chops logs, cycles everywhere and shops local.

Wombwell Rainbow Book Interviews: “Lyonesse” by Penelope Shuttle

Lyonesse

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.

The Interview

1. How did you decide on the order of the poems in the book?

That is a big and essential question.  The main and subsidiary themes of Lyonesse set me writing full-tilt and in three big separate surges over about 18 months I wrote many more poems than a full collection would warrant, and indeed as I wrote I knew that not all would make the final cut, but I felt that in these first and early drafts I had to let everything come through, and deal with it later.  All of this I find exhilarating as a process.  And I got to a place eventually, after much re-drafting of these too many poems, when I then had a longish break from the Lyonesse poems.  This was in order to let the whole absorbing process or matrix settle down, to be able to come back with fresh eyes and make the cuts that I knew would be necessary before I could work on the running order.  When I came back to this still unruly mass of material I soon saw which poems were weaker, which ones repeated what I’d said more trenchantly in other poems, and I dropped these from the book.  I still had far too many poems, and I had a sense  (pun intended) of being inundated with poems about Lyonesse.  I have always found that bringing draft poems to a workshop group, particularly the Falmouth Poetry Group, was a helpful and useful process.  Indeed I’ve been a member of Fpg since it was founded in 1972.  But though single poems were workshopped there with helpful comments, I still felt overwhelmed by the work in progress that was Lyonesse.  So I asked my friend and colleague Katrina Naomi to close-read the manuscript and comment on it.  This proved to be a real turning-point in the process, her insights, comments and suggestions aided  me in cutting out further less-energised poems from the collection, and dropping these poems gave me elbow-room to start, at last!, thinking about the running order.  I took a long time over this, trying this order and that order, and wasn’t satisfied until I decided to put the longish prose-poems called ‘An Account of the Submergence’ at the mid-point of the collection, and not as I had always had it as the opening poem.  This prose poem then acted as the hinge upon which the book turned.  This in turn enabled me to put on either side of ‘An Account…’ two poems which give the phrase ‘land under sea’ in many different tongues.  This central hinge, bracketed with the ‘land under sea’ pieces made a strong structure and the running order then almost fell into place on either side.  I have employed in Lyonesse a number of very short ‘ribbon’ poems throughout (as in Heath, at the suggestion there of editor Jane Comane) and these ‘ribbon’ poems act as little respites in the narrative, and let the reader pause  before plunging back into Lyonesse.  Finding ways to modulate the onward movement of the book was an ever-present concern as I worked on the running order.  It is astonishing how when a poem fits in place it creates a mental, lyrical and narrative harmony and adds to the overall shape of the book, whereas a poem in the wrong place soon tells you ‘I’m in the wrong place and this doesn’t work!’  So I tried always to listen to each individual poem, and sense the rightness or wrongness of the placing.

2. In the preface you talk about getting the “colour palette” right. What did you mean by this?

Cornwall is famous for its painterly light, its colours.  Because Cornwall is a narrow peninsula at the very end of England, it is almost an island, there is sea on all three sides, and this creates our vivid brightness of light and colour, as the light bounces off all that sea, refracting and dazzling and magical.  The colours of Cornwall are predominately, then, green and blue.  But what greens and blues, every modulation and variation of blue and green.  And in the spring the vivid blossoming shrubs add their multiple colours.  As Lyonesse is the submerged land beyond the Isles of Scilly, I am imagining that Lyonesse possessed the same brilliance and variety of light and colour, sea-refracted, sea-rinsed, sea-related as Cornwall does today.  I can’t, alas, draw or paint, but I’m an avid enjoyer of paintings,  and I’ve drawn that element into the poems of sea-sunken Lyonesse, I’m imagining in the poems the colours we might see or glimpse beneath the clear waters, the ruins of palaces and squares, this underwater quivering of Cornwall’s colours.  So the colour-palette is the vocabulary of engagement with the greens and blues that predominate in a maritime county where i climate and atmosphere and light are unique.  I focused also on the colours of gardens, hence roses are mentioned at times, and by weaving colours into and through the poems I hope to give vivid life to the lost land, Lyonesse.  I think in our poems we can usefully aim for a synaesthesia of the senses,  to imbue the vocabulary of our poems with sounds, perfumes, perspectives, say,  inspired by paintings.  Our present historic moment, of corrupt politics, of a sleep-walking electorate, of pandemic, of deliberately-underfunded social services and infrastructures, means that life turns drab, dull, depressed. I’m not immune to feeling depressed at where we are, post-Brexit, in the UK where only man is vile, and so I needed to remind myself of a different palette, to describe, yes, a lost city, but also to describe a living reality, not so much as escapism, for there is grief and deep regret in Lyonesse, but to remind myself that we don’t need to live in accepted ruinous ways.  I suppose it is another approach to ‘you must change your life’.

3. Why do you think so many writers associate water with grief?

Being in grief is an inundation, we are immersed, drowned in grief, and so the element, ‘water’, symbolises that overwhelming oceanic feeling that comes from loss of all kinds.  The association is there with tears, with weeping.  But also water is a cleansing substance, and perhaps the way of moving through grief is to be washed clean of our most intense sadness, enabling us to contain the overflow of our grief.  Perhaps writing about inundation, creating images and patterns, is also a container for grief, or a way of coming to terms with it.  For some religions immersion and baptism enable a new beginning, a new sense of self.  In writing Lyonesse I was aware that the ocean is a powerful player in the collective unconscious.  Early humans lived along shorelines where food was abundant.  Proto-humans came out of the ocean.  A great deal of human emotion is bound up with water, both as a paradigm for grief, for birth and rebirth, and renewal. The images and associations that poets write from are drawn from this process, and from collective unconscious.

4. What is to the significance of the two quotes at the beginning of the book?

During the writing of Lyonesse I became aware that overdosing on research was going to make the book top-heavy, so I kept research to a necessary minimum, to keep the imagination free to work.  I’m quite a fan of the random giving a poet a nudge now and then, and the quotation from The Anathemata by David Jones was a nudge given to me by a random library angel.  I hadn’t re-read ad this amazing key text from David Jones for many years but one day a library angel suggested to me that I might like to re-read it.  Doing so, I discovered that in the voyage described in the early part of the book the ship goes by the coast of Cornwall and the text remembers the sunken land of Lyonesse, with its 140 drowned churches.  This felt like a message from a greatly-admired poet, a thumbs-up, if you like, for Lyonesse.  It also gave impetus to my seeking out elder and alternate names for Lyonesse, as in ‘Leonnoyes’ in The Anathemata.  Lyonesse in the historic record is also referred to as ‘Leonois’ and ‘Lethostow’ and ‘Lyonnaise’. 

The second quote from Mark Goodwin follows this strand of alternate names for Lyonesse, where in his wonderful Cornish-set poem, ‘a St Juliot’ , Mark playfully renames Lyonesse as ‘Lea-on-Ness’.  Mark Goodwin has a strong connection with Cornwall, where he has often walked, and climbed the sea cliffs.  He was a good friend to Peter Redgrove, visiting him in Falmouth, especially in Peter’s last years.  The connection with ‘Lea-on-Ness’ and ‘Lyonesse’ was a meeting-place that, like the quoted lines from David Jones, gave a valued affirmation to my poems, and I wanted to pay tribute to both writers.  Writing playfully is, of course, a very serious business.

5. How important is form for you in poetry?

For a poem to be alive, a living entity, form and content need to be in equilibrium.  Too much form with too little content or a splurge of content without the containment of some form of form?  Neither give us a living poem.  

So how do we find that equilibrium between form and content?  For me, it is by paying very close attention to the poem through its drafts and revisions.  What does the poem want to be?  A sonnet? Free-form sonnet, or rhymed sonnet? To be cast in couplets, or in one long energised stanza?  To be long-lined, or very thinly-set on the page.  Poem, are you an ode, or are you a haiku?  How does the poem want to use the white space?  There is a perfect form for each poem, and teasing out that form, being in dialogue with the poem as to its desired form, is how I work with form. Form is essential, gives the language something to push against.  In Lyonesse I have occasionally justified a poem to the right hand margin, a use of form that resulted in this kind of conversation with the poem in the making

Somewhere Seamus Heaney says that every poem has ‘a binding secret’ and I think he means that its secret is the form, the container that makes and keeps the language alive.  A poem needs to do more than sit well-behaved on the page, being passive:  reading a poem is an integrative experience, the poem is a living entity, and the poet’s love for the poem will find the poem the needed form, enabling the ‘inner coherence’ of the poem to flow freely within that form, be it formally-traditional or experimental in the extreme.  There’s much also to be gained from starting at the other end, with form, and seeing if that generates living language, to ascertain if that way of writing permits fidelity to inner experience. 

5.1.What do you mean by “fidelity to lived experience”?

The phrase ‘fidelity to lived experience’ is a quotation from George Whalley’s ‘Poetic Process’.  It is an incredibly thought-provoking book that I go back to many times.  Whalley suggests that in writing poetry a key element very early on in the process is the charge of feeling and value created by the poet’s encounter with reality.  Whalley says that a poem works by ‘communicating feeling of an intricate and ordered kind.’  He uses quantum theory as an analogy through which to understand the coming-into-being of a poem.  Like everything that matters in life, this is complicated!  But by centring the perception of reality at the core of a poem he opens an amazing door of possibilities, and his writings have given me permission to address the oddness. the intensity, and  the relevance of the nature of reality as expressed in poems…And yet reality dissolves when we hold it in language.   So the holding and the dissolving in language is perhaps also the poem.  What is the reality of Lyonesse?   Is it my grief?  Is it the grief of facing human extinction and climate change?  Is it the grief of the twentieth and the twenty-first century, and the sense that human beings have failed at being custodians of the planet, and don’t deserve to survive?  Is it human folly?  It is all of these, though I have studiously avoided polemic and the climate change bandwagon in Lyonesse..    Lyonesse is paradox. Is living in imagination but dead historically.   Why is the world so beautiful and yet so despoiled?  Yet I don’t want to limit myself to theorising about reality, or Lyonesse, I work in language, that is all I can say, language that is allied to my own lived experience.

6. When I read it all the TV images of folk in Hebden Bridge, and a year or so ago when we had a lot of rain in Summer, flood victims kept coming to mind.

That’s interesting. The associations are there, aren’t they?  A few years ago after a lot of extreme rain the Thames at Staines flooded, and streets nearby were flooded, and we were concerned for my mum’s house.  Although she is a way from the river she’s near a stream, and the fear was that the water would come up through drains.  Didn’t happen, but yes, water will go the way it wants.  Inexorable.

7. How important is nature to you in Lyonesse and the sequence that follows it?

We’ve seen how in a crisis of the magnitude of the pandemic how important being out of doors, being in nature has become for people, and I think it is a basic part of being human.  In Lyonesse I imagined the forest being just outside the city, and that the city had gardens and parks.  And yes, evoking and portraying the natural landscape of Lyonesse before the inundation, and  the sea-floor situation of the sunk Lyonesse was an essential thing to do.  Bringing human nature into engagement with wider nature made outer and inner places to explore.  In ‘New Lamps for Old’ nature is woven into memory and the past.  I find it quite difficult to write about nature in relation to the two collections, because I don’t see it as set apart from any of the ongoing experiences I’m writing about, it is woven in, not a separate ‘thing’ I insert into the poems.  It is there in the air the poems breathe.   And often I only discern important threads and themes after the poems are written in first drafts.  The poems in process give me back the purpose and strategy I need to complete them.  So nature is inherent and embedded in the writing.  Is one element more important than another?  I hope all the elements work together to complete the poems.

8. Another theme that runs through it is music, sea shanties, Lully lullay, and so on.

When there’s not a pandemic on, here in Falmouth every June we have an International Sea Shanty Festival, and thousands of people come to enjoy it, you can’t turn a corner in Fal without a group of shanty singers being there singing away.  So they were in my mind.  But more seriously, when Katrina Naomi did a close-reading of an early draft of Lyonesse, among her comments, she flagged up the point that a lot of the titles of the poems were very neutral.  And then I realised, yes,  I’d put quite a lot of holding-pattern titles into Lyonesse.  I thought a lot about livening up the titles and eventually I realised that sea-shanties would give more force to the titles.  I think that musicality is an important part of poetry, it musn’t just be written for the eye, but for the ear.  I listen to music, mostly Radio 3, when I’m working, or reading, in fact I just have it on all day and have done since I was in my 20s, and so I think all that music has soaked into me, and is present in the poems.  And the Lully lullay is from an Old English poem I’ve always loved.  A friend of mine is planning to set some Lyonesse poems to music,  as songs, which will be thrilling.

9. “New Lamps For Old” is very different in tone and texture to “Lyonesse”. There seems to be a lot more journeys recounted and a lot of rain.

Yes, there is rain, and this is our constant companion in Cornwall!  

In ‘New Lamps’ I go back in time to memories of life with Peter, but I’m also writing about my life after Peter.  

A couple of years after his death in 2003 I went back to work as a freelance creative writer, running poetry workshops, tutoring on residential courses, and mentoring individual poets.  I was very involved in the poetry world also as a judge of many poetry competitions.  This work involved a lot of travel, and I also travelled for pleasure, and these journeys have woven themselves into the poems.  

The title ‘New Lamps for Old’ is intended to convey the complex, difficult yet also liberating process of making a new life after a marriage of almost 33 years.  Liberating because Peter had suffered from Parkinson’s Disease in the last years of his life, and so our life in general narrowed down a great deal.  I am thinking in respect of the title that our old life with all its shared illuminations (old lamps) has ended, and I am in the situation of needed to find new lamps, new purpose, new ways of being (involving work and travel and change).  A lot of rain?  Yes, I think there is a strand in the book where I am alone in our house and it is often raining, and I am meditating on change or struggling with fears and sadness.  

So a very transitional feeling comes in at times, and the discoveries of travel, and the sense of poetry as a lifeline through a complicated time. 

I made a lot of new friends via my teaching and travels, and friendship is key to poems in the second volume.  

I think there is much more of the  interior life in ‘New Lamps’, whereas the Lyonesse poems are more extrovert, and the ‘I’ there is at a considerable remove from my own self, an invented ‘I’.  In ‘New Lamps’ the ‘I’ of the poems is  centrally me, speaking my experience.  They are on the brink, often, finding equilibrium,  of charting that journey from bereavement to reflection, to a calmer inwardness.  The ‘Swarthmoor Hall, Ulverston’ sequence, written on a retreat at Swarthmoor Hall, is a meditation written on and around the anniversary of Peter’s death.  It rains in Cumbria a lot, also!

During the writing of these poems I spent periods of time near London, either when working, or visiting family and friends, and so the thread of London poems that appears in my 2017 collection, Will You Walk a Little Faster, continues on into several  poems as London was such a part of my changed life.  Visits to friends in Normandie also feature,  as in ‘Village of La Baleine’.  There are poems drawn from visits to art galleries (Kandinsky at the Tate) (Ruby Loftus…)

So yes, the tone and the texture are very different from Lyonesse, with its oceanic sweep, and its otherworldliness/under the waves-ness, and its slantwise look at climate change…I suppose in a way Lyonesse has more a feeling of theatre about it, where New Lamps poems are often meditative and questioning.  In these poems I am encountering and reporting  processes of widowhood with its new possibilities and old sorrows.  Many of the New Lamps poems are written for sheer pleasure of the thing, of course, as in Ann Boleyn’s Music Book.  But overall the poems try to say, this is where the poet was, thinking/feeling these things, considering her options, welcoming new landscapes, and opening new doors while remembering the door to and of the past.

10. What fascinates you about ekphrastic writing, using paintings as inspirations?

I love going to galleries, and museums.  Visiting a good or sympatico exhibition is like plugging one’s whole spirit into a spirit generator, so that one is rinsed through with art, or energised by a museum’s objects.  Going to an exhibition is also a way of being free from the demands of poetry!  Devoted as I am to those demands, to enter an art exhibition as observer/participant/admirer and to have no professional responsibilities at all, but simply to be there to respond, is a very nourishing experience, and I greatly miss these visits since the pandemic changed things.  I enjoy curatorial text, and often take notes.  In the Kandinsky exhibition I became fascinated with the many different body-languages pf peoples’ responses to these paintings, and I imagined these in the poem as people swimming through the galleries in different ways.  Ruby Loftus, in Dame Laura Knights’ 1942 painting, fascinated me, I felt a real connection with her, and tried to give a sense of her personality in the poem.  So ekphrastic writing offers us the riches of close attention to another art form, of innumerable thresholds into worlds, and personalities.  Sometimes a painting will remind us of things in our own lives.  When I used to run poetry writing workshops I often used postcards from art exhibitions, and sometimes I gave everyone the same image .  I was always struck by how variously each poet responded to the image, some choosing a tiny detail, others giving a comprehensive overview.  An image gives you permission to write, it is a good solution to writers’ block, the fear of the blank page.  But I write poems inspired by paintings because I fall in love with them, or from a feeling that the painting has requested me to write a poem about it.  A kind of imploring, or a temptation.  It has been said often, elsewhere, that going to exhibitions has replaced going to church, and the intensity of feeling that can be experienced from a gallery visit does have a similar resonance.

11. After having read the book what do you wish the reader to leave with?

Readers are individuals so reactions will be as individual. 

 I hope that the reader finds in the book what s/he hoped for, or found something different or unexpected that had meaning for them.  

I hope the reader goes away wanting to write something of their own. 

I hope that the reader enjoys it above all,  gains pleasure from reading the book, pleasure is a very important thing!.  

But one of the best things written about how poems have their effect comes from Paul Valery (in his ‘Poetry and Abstract Thought’):

‘…the poem makes poetry happen in the mind of the reader or listener.  It happens first to the poet, and in the course of writing, the poet eventually makes something, a little machine, one that for the reader produces discoveries, connections, glimmers of expression.  Whatever it does, it can do again and again, as many times as we need it.’

I would love a reader to experience that from reading Lyonesse.

#30DaysWild 1st-30th June. Day Fifteen. Watch A Wild Webcam. 30 Days Wild is The Wildlife Trusts’ annual nature challenge where they ask the nation to do one ‘wild’ thing a day every day throughout June. Your daily Random Acts of Wildness can be anything you like – litter-picking, birdwatching, puddle-splashing, you name it! I would love to feature your published/unpublished photos/artworks/writing on your random acts. Please contact me.

Day Fifteen

webcam 30 Days Wild

https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/webcams

 

 

https://www.brockholes.org/wildlife-cameras

https://www.norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk/news-and-articles/wildlife-cameras/view-all-wildlife-cameras

 

https://www.somersetwildlife.org/swtbarnowls

KESTREL CAM

I had imagined rapid-fire laying
after a heavy gravidity:
one after one after one after one
and a concentrated brooding.

Not one left in its newness, uneasy
whilst the falcon grew round inside,
flew quick flights around the nest-scrape
to ease the next’s passage. One.
After one. After one. Not till the fourth
did the lens fill with the female
covering all dedicatedly, chasing the male away
at food handoff time, tucking her head
this way and that, closing one eye
and sleep-watching. Shifting in high winds
that sang merry hell, spinning her about.
She faced them down, whilst underneath
eggs warmed, rocked, finally cracked open
loosing mouths equally fed, despite
size and age disparity. Feathers grew,
displaced down; soon they fledged.
One. After one. After one.

The last one sickened and failed.
Statistics say three out of four
beats the odds, but my thoughts
hover, play merry hell: a sudden decline,
a shuffling out of lens-reach.
Dying off-camera. Achieving in its last act
near-human privacy. The others flying on.

Note: In the absence of nesting peregrines, http://www.worcester.gov.uk/peregrine/ provided a live link to some city kestrels a few years ago.

-Jennifer A McGowan (first published in Obsessed with Pipework)

The Insect Sonnets (an occasional series) by Paul Brookes

Fevers of the Mind

Dragonfly, Insect, Wings, Winged

1. Sweet Pollen

Bigger wing beat gusts me from sweet pollen
billows, I must stick to its surface amid
buffet and blast. Now heavier, taken,
away from scented trail back home I skid.
Track my trail through vibration pulses, map
I will dance when home is reached to tell all
where sweet pollen will be found, waggle tap
the route after unloading my food haul.
As light fades our head sensors flop, my legs
wrap around others, I rehearse my days
forage, retrace my flight, my complex steps
mark vibration changes that radiate.
Bright warmth lifts our heads from sleep to again,
find our memory way, avoid harsh rain. 

2. We Poisoners l Ingest, store poison for feathers, her. Changed in white she must be stillness. I wait outside her cocoon, her wings fettered, unstretched, un-inflated, I pass fullness, into her with a generous capsuled gift, attracted by her poison…

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Book Review: The Pregnancy Diaries Vol. 1 by Googie McCabe

Content Catnip

Infused with the vast and never-ending love of a mum for her unborn daughter, The Pregnancy Diaries Volume 1 is an absolutely hilarious, witty and enjoyable romp through pregnancy from conception to birth. Any woman who has given birth (or any supportive man who has gone along for the journey) will be able to relate to this book and thoroughly enjoy it.

Book Review: The Pregnancy Diaries Vol. 1 by Googie McCabe

The wit and self-deprecating humour of this book is laugh out loud funny. In fact I snorted out cups of tea and coffee while reading it. The drawings and words that accompany the week-by-week updates of Googie’s ever-expanding belly, from ‘bean’ to beautiful human being, are filled with an odd kind of joy, combined with visceral pain and laughter.

Book Review: The Pregnancy Diaries Vol. 1 by Googie McCabe

They said about the pregnancy glow…it hasn’t even brushed against me! Where’s the glow goddamit it? Where’s the glow?

The Pregnancy Diaries Vol. 1

This book explodes a lot…

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#30DaysWild 1st-30th June. Day Fourteen. Help Create A Hedgehog Highway. 30 Days Wild is The Wildlife Trusts’ annual nature challenge where they ask the nation to do one ‘wild’ thing a day every day throughout June. Your daily Random Acts of Wildness can be anything you like – litter-picking, birdwatching, puddle-splashing, you name it! I would love to feature your published/unpublished photos/artworks/writing on your random acts. Please contact me.

Day Fourteen

hedgehog

HIBERNATION

slow
slow

slow
slow

measure each breath
by the seasons

curl up
into self-tight kernel

don’t let go

-Dr. Jennifer A. McGowan

..hedgehog..

i have been out looking

for you

amongst the knapweed

amongst the flowers

cut those brambles that may stick

to your prickles

we left it longer

the tidying this year

so as not to be a slave to it

and rewards are endless

good it has become a fashion with the climate

changing

it always did make sense to me

others thought not in the past

we have a a past, it keeps reminding me

rewilding.

-sonja benskin mensher

Hognap

I’m a gobbler of slugs,
beetles, caterpillars, snails,
a digger, a climber, a swimmer.
dusk heralds my ‘to do’ time,
spring, summer, autumn.

By Halloween I’m a fat forager
for leaves in suburban gardens,
wilted countryside bracken,
reeds by a bittern’s hiding ground.
I’m a busy builder in a hidden pocket,
maybe a hedgerow, tree root,
under logs, under sheds.

Locate my hibernaculum, if you can,
insulated, watertight, fit for winter torpor,
a refuge for my heartbeat of twenty per minute.

Do not disturb.

-Maggie Mackay

Published in ‘For the Silent’, Indigo Dreams Publishing

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-Googie McCabe. 

Who says “Here are some images documenting the interspecies tension between the hedgehogs and the Badgers in my garden. “

The Hedgehog

My brother came back with another’s smell,
so we ate him. Mam would eat all us too,
if we smelt different. Nose, ears keen tell
what cream and brown shapes on our dark pursue.

That was then. Last dark I circled, circled
her. She puffed, snorted loud to keep me off.
Others came. I squeaked at them. Lowered
my head, raised my spines, clucked, one coughed,

I butted his sides. He rolled. They all left.
Afterwards I leave. Sniff long bellies, hard backs
I crack their shells, squelch the soft tasty rest.
Need to eat more. Not fat enough won’t last

Cold time. Found this damp dark in here. It’s why
I chirp and whiffle, splat out quills and sigh.

Bios and links

-Googie McCabe

-Paul Brookes

Born in Poland in the last century, currently living in the UK, where will probably expire at some point. Self-taught ‘artist’,  office worker during day; a doodler and dreamer at night.  Mother of two girls – a future philosopher and a future assassin.

Googie McCabe Doodles of a Nobody — Googie McCabe

Brightwork by Suzannah V Evans (Guillemot Press)

Tears in the Fence

Amongst the poems, in prose and verse, of her latest pamphletBrightwork– a follow up to last year’s excellentMarine Objects / Some Language– Suzannah V. Evans translates a number of pieces by Francis Ponge, minimally adapting their imagery to the localised milieu of a boatyard. In ‘Rain’, for example, a poem of deft attention and delicate syllabic patterning, the manifold action of rainfall is shifted from Ponge’s Paris courtyard to ‘the boatyard’, while scalar comparisons for water droplets – ‘un grain de blé’, ‘un pois’, ‘une bille’ – are swapped for boatbuilding paraphernalia – ‘pin head’, ‘copper rove’, ‘shackle’. Another poem, ‘Puffin, the little Hillyard’, retitles Ponge’s ‘La Barque’, allowing a new perspective on a classic wooden yacht (and on Ponge’s poem).

Direct homage to Ponge is a savvy move on Evans’s part, allowing a more nuanced appreciation of the qualities of attention she’s cultivating in her…

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#30DaysWild 1st-30th June. Day Thirteen. Create A Moth Trap. 30 Days Wild is The Wildlife Trusts’ annual nature challenge where they ask the nation to do one ‘wild’ thing a day every day throughout June. Your daily Random Acts of Wildness can be anything you like – litter-picking, birdwatching, puddle-splashing, you name it! I would love to feature your published/unpublished photos/artworks/writing on your random acts. Please contact me.

Day Thirteen

Moth Trap 30 Days WildDebbie Strange Dying Moth

-Debbie Strange

HEART’S GRAIL

I begged a Robin yesterday
if he had seen a Rose.
He cocked his head
and wryly said
that I should not suppose
a feathered creature
such as he would know
where Beauty grows.

Today, I stopped a Bumble Bee
for, surely, he would see,
from buzzing
back and forth all day,
if rose-buds graced a tree.
But Bumble Bee
just looked aslant
and would not tell me why.
He only said
he’d search the Earth
if I would search the Sky,

THE YOUNG GARDENER MAKES HIS EXCUSES

A weed is not a flower.
But once rooted both will flourish.

Given sunshine and rain
in equal measure
a weed may grow tall as a hollyhock.

Or creep though alleyways or
over fences and walls
as pretty and as modest as aubretia.

A weed may bring its kisses to pavements and ginnels
cover life’s cracks with
coloured stars.

And speedwell, celandine and
doves-foot cranesbill
creeping buttercup and blushing red clover.

Should we not admit these to be
as lovely as the harebell —
though nor scented like the sweet-pea or
the honeysuckle?

Likewise cowslips, the cuckoo flower
snakes head fritillary
pink campion, valerian
shimmering Queen Anne’s lace?

A weed is not a flower; a flower is not a weed.

But the bumble bee sips
where he finds most sweetness
and the butterfly dances after beauty.

What does it signify in love’s high summer
if a whisper is is deemed
secret or lie?

-Abigail Elizabeth Ottley

UNIVERSE

A bee flies through space, loaded
with all it can hold. It does not wonder
at the miracle of itself. Merely persists
in a realm that has never heard a buzz.

This isn’t a metaphor.
There are no turtles all the way down.

Just a bee, finally spotting a place,
landing, pollinating a new planet.

-Jennifer A McGowan

(unpublished)

**************

NEW ENGLAND SHORE POEM

Here’s a real brainteaser:
a honeybee, flying out to sea.
What islands, what nectar,
what ambrosia call?

Sitting on the deck facing the Sound,
the whole raft of imponderables drift by
every six hours. What currents run
beneath the surface; why am I unmarried
at 53; what are the consequences
of freedom; and even, at high tide
when the kids dive in and shout,
what is black and white
and red all over. Shadows progress to shade.
The first leading edge of vapour
drifts in after sunset. The wind dies.
We’ll be socked in soon.
With dark fallen I can’t even see the water,
and all knowledge is revoked.
Minutiae consume me, become ritualized:
running the dustbuster after the dogs;
rearranging the photographs on the fridge;
polishing the leaves on the ficus;
the ceremonial unloading of the dishwasher.

Nestled under the crazy quilt,
I listen to the muteness outside.
The soft, repeated hush of the wavelets—
barely even ripples in this calm. The sudden report
and roll of an acorn on the roof.
Latimer booms in the distance;
the occasional ground swell
triggers a bell-buoy. Everything sleeps,
including me. But my dreams
remain alert and active: they quest
for love and success, light and absolution.
A bright streak in the darkness,
a flash of determined gold.
A honeybee at sea.

-Dr. Jennifer A. McGowan (from her chapbook Sounding)

Bees don’t have weekends
no resting easy for bees
each day is Monday

And a frivolity of verse:

Summer laughed
a humid breeze
the sight of a single rose

lifting her spirits
as a blizzard of bees
busied with purpose

-Kate Jenkinson

Colin Bancroft Moth poem

-Colin Bancroft

-M. W. Berwick from his book “Pomes Flixus” front cover below.

M W Bewick Pomes Flixus

MOTH – a sonnet

Defined by its fatal desire for more
Antennae ragged, blackened with the bright
And white-hot kernel at the candle’s core,
This soft-winged, heat-drunk warrior of light,
Charmed and enflamed by phototaxic lust
Re-gathers all its primitive life force
To smash its quivering body to grey dust
In its addiction-led, predestined course.
And just like them, though my own wing tips burn,
With junkie-like predictability
To your relentless, boiling sun I turn,
Flying towards destruction willingly.
Ash in my hair, my mouth, my bleeding eyes,
Dying to live within your fire the prize.

-Polly Oliver

ChristinaChin silk portière Cantos 2021

Haiga

moth wings
raising the silk portière
summer breeze

~Christina Chin
Cantos 2021

mothth 4mothth 3mothth 2mothth 1mothth 5

-mothth by sonja benskin mesher

Moths by Rachel Neithercut

-Rachel Neithercut as it appears in StreetCake

Papyrus Fragment

A buff-brown moth hovers
on temperature controlled neon,
displays paper thin wings,
ragged margins of ancient grass
speckled with alpha, omega, nu.

It darts, bares a blaze
of underwing to plain sight;
this endless, fragile need
to make a mark,
to come to light.

Restless

A hundred moths made a lattice
on blue-black window pane,
some the size of wrens,
others torn corners of paper:
a nightly frantic race of wings.
You were an erratic pulse,
a low flicker against inner
walls. I took you for an itch
for more, the reason why
I could never keep still

-Annette Skade
From Thimblerig

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Mothsmiths by sonja benskin mesher

Moths

In the light hours they burrow.
Walls accept, cracks and

inner crevices welcome.
Something borrowed from another blue,

wind-remnants, a miniature world
tucked in wings, known by rote

from all in flight before them.
Crepe-powder, talc, pollen.

When they succumb to open
they make the house fly.

Catherine Graham (first published in Dusie)

Moths

No pain yet. White cells
move as if in stocking feet,
heel and toe to bone and pancreas.

Lamp-lit, she sits smoking
on the Scotchgarded sofa,
looks out at nothing because it’s dark.

The window is breaking
the sound of waves in the quarry.
The moths keep hitting the glass to get to her.

Catherine Graham, from Winterkill

Moth Resources

Sarah Gillespie’s stunning moth mezzotints on her website: https://www.sarahgillespie.co.uk/editions/page/2/

Night Moth by Sonya Mcghee

-Sonya McGhee

Moth!
There once was a tailor of cloth
Who fought with a wily old moth
He gave it his all
And it bounced off a wall
And landed fair square in his broth

-Graham Bibby

A Turnip Moth

Under I wait till dark. Light lessens. Beak
stab shakes where I am. Dark. Out from Under
chew tender stem. Move back Under when heat
of many Over brightens. Asunder

I dig. Push asunder. Turn and turn and
turn. Under under. Legs tendril lengthen.
Softness to float in the Over expand.
I hear now, inside trembles at sound when

others outside call in dark to know where
they are, and what meals move around the dark
Soft and wet I push asunder to air.
Listen in bright while softness rustles hard.

Even insects remember their young times.
Pests like weeds try to survive humankind.

-Paul Brookes

Bios and Links

-Polly Oliver

is a broadcast journalist, freelance engagement consultant and writer in South Wales.

She writes poems for enjoyment – and when they land in her head. 

Her writing has appeared in various editions published by Back Bough Poetry, as well as the Wombwell Rainbow, The Tide Rises, Falls and has featured as Spillwords Author of the Month.

Pushcart nominated.

-MW Bewick

is a writer and co-founder of the small indie publisher Dunlin Press. He grew up on the edge of the Lake District, lives in Wivenhoe, Essex. He is regularly published in poetry journals, also works as a journalist and sometimes lectures in creative writing. His second collection of poetry, Pomes Flixus, is available at https://dunlinpress.bigcartel.com/

-Annette Skade

is from Manchester, and has lived for many years on the Atlantic coast of Ireland. Most of her recent poems are about the sea, and her coastal community. Her poems are published in Ireland, the U.K., the U.S. and Australia, and her collection Thimblerig was published in 2013. She has just completed a PhD on the poetry of Anne Carson.

About Annette Skade

-Catherine Graham

is an award-winning novelist and poet. Her 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. Her debut novel Quarry won an Independent Publisher Book Awards gold medal for fiction, “The Very Best!” Book Awards for Best Fiction and was a finalist for the Sarton Women’s Book Award for Contemporary Fiction and Fred Kerner Book Award. She teaches creative writing at the University of Toronto where she won an Excellence in Teaching Award. A previous winner of TIFA’s Poetry NOW, she currently leads their monthly Book Club. Æther: an out-of-body lyric appears in 2020 with Wolsak & Wynn/Buckrider Books. www.catherinegraham.com. Tweets at @catgrahampoet

-Ann Cuthbert

writes and performs, usually with the Tees Women Poets Collective. Her work has been widely published online and in print, most recently in Dreich anthologies, Amethyst Review, Green Ink Poetry and the anthology Hard Times Happen (Black Pear Press.) She was Highly Commended in the 2021 YorkMix Poems for Children competition and her poem video, Dracula’s Café, was shown on BBC Upload Festival 2021. Her poetry chapbook Watching a Heron with Davey is published by Black Light Engine Room Press.

-Dave Green

lives and works in Sheffield.  For 30 years he worked in education with vulnerable and neurodiverse children before belatedly discovering that recent governments may not be prioritizing the marginalized in society.  Now he trains people in positive mental health and how to recover from the pandemic.  He writes poems, paints, chops logs, cycles everywhere and shops local.