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 Ocular or metaphorical welcome, unpublished/published work welcome.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

The Sestina Form

Wendy Pratt Writing

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I work mainly in free verse these days, a style of poetry that has its own subtle structure, but after finishing up my last collection When I Think of My Body as a Horse, I find myself returning to traditional structured forms for the next collection. Why am I returning to structured forms? Because the topics that I am dealing with are difficult to pin down. I’m trying to bring several points in time into the same poem, for example. Working within a structure is almost like using an extra layer of figurative language, it allows me to communicate that concept without being too obvious about it. The structure is able to convey something extra about the content. I find that the people I work with are often afraid of structured forms, but structured forms are just another tool in the poet’s tool box…

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Review of ‘Sherry and Sparkly’ by Maureen Cullen & Patricia M. Osborne

Nigel Kent - Poet and Reviewer

Today something new again. This time I’m reviewing the latest in the Hedgehog Poetry Press series of poetry conversations, Sherry and Sparkly, (Hedgehog Poetry Press, 2021) between Patricia M. Osborne (who is no stranger to these pages) and Maureen Cullen.

This pamphlet constitutes a conversation between two poets reminiscing about and reflecting upon their common experiences, starting with their experiences of childhood in the fifties and sixties. Unsurprisingly many of the poems focus on the impact of change upon them. In Osborne’s Isolated we see her recollecting the moment when as a young girl she had to cope with a change of school due to her family’s move away from Bolton. The environment is bewildering and alienating for her: she has no option but to ‘follow’, she ‘shuffle(s) round/ back and forth, late/ for class, past/ identical staircases/ toilets, cloakrooms, coats/ blue doors, yellow walls-‘, the syntax and rhythm perfectly…

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#NationalTreeWeek 3. Please join and contribute along with Anjum Wasim Dar, Peter J. Donnelly, Yvonne Marjot, Jane Newberry, Jenni Wynn Hyatt and myself in celebrating trees. I will feature your published/unpublished poetry/short prose/artworks about trees. Please include a short third person bio.

trees by anjum wasim dar

-artwork by Anjum Wasim Dar

Trees miss people too
I know this as true
for this year
I have not been
able to be with one
we planted just outside
our small cottage,
I have not been
able to stand close
to touch it
smile at it
feel its leaves
or remove
the extra twigs
that grow
just like that
because I was ill and on bedrest
-Only a few flowers bloomed
perhaps to tell me
that it is there for me
no more blossoms
have appeared
-I know they are waiting
for me
to climb the stairs
step on the terrace
and console them
to speak to comfort
and smile
I have missed the
communication with Nature
as Nature seems to have missed me…
O’Dear People ‘ See
The Truth in Trees Flowers
Rain Clouds and Birds
Who holds their wings
as they fly high
with the unseen breeze
and then with a
Message return to The Trees’


-Anjum Wasim Dar

One Day on Dartmoor

One day I must return to Fingle Woods
to do again the walk I once did
with my great-uncle and aunt.
Morning coffee at the Inn
by the bridge over the Teign,
a picnic in a meadow,
leave time to take in Castle Drogo,
then back to Drewsteignton.

I will try not to be sad
that he is no longer with us,
she too old to walk there again,
that they cannot show me
the way they knew so well.

Instead I will rejoice
at the work they helped to start
to restore the ancient woods;
to protect the land and what lives on it –
redstarts, wood warblers, pied flycatchers.

I wish I could return each year
as the birds do, or lived closer
like my loved ones.
My memory of that day
is like the leaves on the conifers. Constant.

-Peter J Donnelly

Summer King

Ash,
Summer Tree:
last of them all you stand bare,
reaching over my garden.
Great, grey arms you hold out,
claiming as much future territory as possible.

Huge, looming, swelling with life –
holding it in check –
summer dammed up in your purple buds,
waiting.
Waiting for all the other trees to bloom and open.
Choosing your moment.

One morning, suddenly,
greenness steals all the sunlight.
Shade claims my garden.
Grass yellows. Biting visitors thrive
in the cool dampness of your demesne.

High King of Summer:
you call it late, but there is no denying you.

A few weeks later you give it all back –
generous, wasteful, profligate with your treasure.
I stand under a rain of heavy confetti:
married to the King of Summer,
just as the year begins to turn.

(Tree Alphabet of the Celts: workshop with Aonghas MacNeacail, An Tobar, Mull, June 2005)

-Yvonne Marjot

The Speaking Tree

On such a day
it takes something compelling
to stir me out with
the rain horizontal, and mean
unforgiving wind yet in
that same wind’s sigh
comes the invitation from
the speaking tree.

Dank in remote woods,
at once different from her peers
with their straight pole trunks,
hers join at the base, split apart
then conjoin, natural Siamese twins,
disquieting yet magnetic;
behold – the speaking tree.

Like a celtic marriage spoon
entwined in unending union
powered by the wind’s breath,
rasping message from a hidden
mouth way above my head,
its timbre raucous like a jagged edge,
harsh truths from the speaking tree.

On this gale-torn day
the tree has much to say,
yet in the still summer silence
with insects droning in and out
she waits like an opera singer
in the wings, counting bars,
never missing a beat, for she –

she is the speaking tree.

-Jane Newberry

Voyeur

I snap the self-same view over and over
out of my window, spying on the trees.
I’m privy to their nakedness in winter;
in springtime watch them don their tender leaves.
I see them when respectable in summer
and catch them stripper-dancing in the fall;
I capture changing skies between their branches,
immortalise the warning pink of dawn.
I follow them in every kind of weather;
I know them wrapped in snow and veiled in rain;
I see the sunshine glint on fur and feather –
the self-same view but never twice the same.

-Jenni Wyn Hyatt

Yon Dream Ont Cross (Apologies to “The Dream of The Rood”)

Al tell thee best dream av ad
in any midneet while folk were fast on
a sees a reet cross tree,
a ghoast in plated gold
ringed by shiny moon fascinator,
jewels like worth summat glow worms
rahnd base, five more ont cross beam.
Throngs o’ God’s angels tacked on it.
This were no scam artists cross
but every heaven spirit and earth folk
had peepers on it: a see universe agog

And me, aware of wrong doing,
that native wood-beetle, eyed it too
felt a shiver of glory
from that cross barkskin beaten gold
wi jewels suited a cross a Jesus
and tha knows through all that gold barkskin
rattled folks bloodless yammering
how bleeding as stained crosses rightside.
Harrard an horrored
a that sullied wi leaked blood.

a lay there yonks
in agog sorrow fort Saviourcross
till me lug oyles heard glimmering cross pipe up:
“Ages since, I fetch back I were hacked
dahn at holt-edge, lugged off, hauled
shoulder heaved, squared top on a hill
adsed to a cross to carry wrong doers.
Then I see Christ, his balls ready fort hoisting.
For us there’s no flitting, no shirking on God’s mind to:
I might a fell on these folks. Then
God himsen, med himsen naked, to naked balls,
laid on us afore throngs of eyes
when saving on folks flitted in his bonce.
A shuddered at his touch, afeard splintering,
A had hold, I were raised as a cross,
hold heaven king high, afeard cracking.
They tapped dark iron in us: scars tha still can see,
A cannot bear ’em stroked.
They jeered at both on us.
A felt his blood seep from his side
as he sighed himsen upards.

Av seen pain on this hill
saw Christ as on vicious rack
then roilin’ storm clouds, death to sunblaze,
covered o’er that blaze on God: a glowering gloom
creation’s sorta: Christ on cross tree.
A see folk come forard, a felt splintered
as if added, but gev ne sen.
I were in their dannies, gore-wet, nail gashed.
They laid him art, a dead-weight atter ordeal,
final knackeredness. Then afore
murderers peepers, those folk med
a stone oyle and set Christ inside it.
Then late int day flitted knackered : left
Christ by himsen.

Long atter soldier’s lottery natter
and cold rigor on Christ’s limbs,
us kept our places, drahned wi blood.
Then they sets to
felling us,
bury us in delved grahned, but disciples, friends fahned us…
put on us barkskin o’ gold an silver.

so nar tha knows, how sorra warped
me flesh, how malice worked with spintering iron.
Now it’s time for earth foak and whole marvel
on creation to cow eye this sign.
God-son were racked on us, so now ma glimmerin’
haunts heavens, can heal
all who afeard for us. Am honoured
by Christ above all forest trees
as God favoured Mary above all women folk.’

Then by mesen, thrilled, me spirit high,
let mesen rave that I can seek what a av seen,
saviour-cross: a peace with mesen that yearns
a help on earth. Few mates still livin’ nar :
most are int manor on heaven, av fetched upards.
Now, daily, I listen art
fort cross-tree in my earthly nappin’,
to lead us from this flitting life
into great manor of heaven
where God has set a right feast.

May God-Son and Ghost be mates,
who were nailed to death for folk ages since :
a saviour as gin us life,
that we may put wood int oyle in heaven.

-Paul Brookes (First published in “The Headpoke And Firewedding”, second hand still available.

Bios And Links

-Jenni Wyn Hyatt

was born in Maesteg in 1942 but now lives in Derbyshire. A former English teacher, she did not start writing poetry until she was in her late sixties.

She has been published in a number of poetry journals both in print and online. Her subjects include nature, childhood memories, human tragedy, people and places and humorous verse. She also enjoys writing in short forms such as haiku.

She has published two collections, Perhaps One Day (2017) and Striped Scarves and Coal Dust (2019).

-Jane Newberry

is a late-emerging poet, after 30 years of motherhood and a career in music education. March 2020 saw the publication of Big Green Crocodile (Otter-Barry Books).

Published by The Emma Press, South Magazine and online, Jane lives in Cornwall.

-Peter J Donnelly

lives in York where he works as a hospital secretary. He has a degree in English Literature and a MA in Creative Writing from the University of Wales Lampeter.

He has been published in various magazines and anthologies, including Writer’s Egg where ‘Survival’ previously appeared.  ‘Peppered Moth’ was included in the Ripon Poetry Festival anthology ‘Seeing Things’. ‘One Day on Dartmoor’ was highly commended in the Barn Owl Trust competition and published in their anthology ‘Wildlife Words’. It was also published online by the National Trust on their Fingle Woods webpage.

#IDPWD2021 International Day of People With Disability. I will feature your published/unpublished poetry/short prose/artworks about this issue. Please include a short third person bio.

IDOPWD 2021

 A recollection:

I remember it well. Aged 17 and being told I’d not be able to have a ‘normal’ job, or life or anything that other people did. Why? Because at 13 I was diagnosed with epilepsy. I’d already been told by my consultant that anything I wanted was possible. Mainly, because I was stubborn, he said. Adding, that’s a good thing, by the way.

So, in a job centre aged 17, to be patted on the arm like you’d pat a pet dog, and told to give up any dreams or hopes now. Then, because you were kind enough to help, you might find me a little job in a quiet office counting parking tickets that was the limit.

I might not do anything exciting for work, but I chose it. I do the things I want to, when I  want to. I might have listened to you thinking my life at 17 was over.

You told me at 17 my life was effectively over. That I’d live a life alone, without children. I’d never have a job I enjoyed or go beyond the city I grew up in. I should be afraid.

Then and there I decided I would do what I wanted and I have.

I have hidden disabilities and unless I tell people which I’m fairly open about doing, you wouldn’t know. I travel as I want, I have the child I wanted. I have like anyone else had jobs I’ve loved and hated. I’ve fought my own corner. Lived and written my own stories.

Don’t do what that woman tried to do to me. Don’t try and destroy someone’s hope. Don’t assume anything of anyone. Just because the internet says it doesn’t mean it’s right.

Do ask yourself if you’re being biased, it’s not difficult to stop for a second. Do ask how you can understand what someone deals with. Do ask questions of everyone, because one condition can have many outcomes.

Just be a thoughtful, sensitive human. That’s all. Disabled doesn’t make you dead.

-Ailsa

© AilsaCawley2021

Bios And Links

The High Window, Winter 2021: First Instalment

The High Window

Logo revisedHere is the first instalment of the Winter 2021 issue of The High Window.  The following new material can be accessed via the top menu:

1. A selection of homegrown and international Poetry from 37 poets.

2. Poetry by Tess Taylor, the Featured American Poet.

3.  An Essay by Omar Sabbagh on Sudeep Sen’s Anthropocene, including a selection of Sudeep’s poetry.

4. A valedictory feature from Stella Wulf, who has been The High Window‘s Resident Artist in 2021.

There is also a radio broadcast in the Editor’s Spot featuring poetry from Sicilian Elephants, his latest collection from Two Rivers Press.

The second instalment will be published in another two weeks.

Enjoy!

David

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The High Window Resident Artist: Stella Wulf

The High Window

stella

*****

Claire Jefferson (who writes under the pseudonym Stella Wulf) was born in Lancashire, but grew up in North Wales. She moved to France in 2000 where she and her husband bought a large derelict property at the foot of the Pyrenees. Living on site and tackling one room at a time, she is now, more than twenty years on, banging in the last nail and working on plans for a new-build project.

Despite a lifelong love of poetry, Claire came to writing late in life in an epiphanic moment whilst painting doors. It became an obsession fuelled by Jo Bell’s 52 group, culminating in a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing, from Lancaster University.

Claire is a qualified interior designer, but it is only with the luxury of time that she has been able to pursue her passion for painting, exhibiting in several galleries and selling her paintings worldwide. She…

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The Featured American Poet, Winter 2021: Tess Taylor

The High Window

tess taylor

*****

Tess Taylor, hailed by  Ilya Kaminsky  as ‘the poet for our moment’ resides in El Cerrito, California. Her poems have received international acclaim.  Taylor’s chapbook, The Misremembered World, was selected by Eavan Boland for the Poetry Society of America’s inaugural chapbook competition. The San Francisco Chronicle called her first book, The Forage House,  ‘stunning,’ and it was a finalist for the Believer Poetry Award.  Her second book, Work & Days—a farm journal for a small organic farm—was called ‘our moment’s Georgic’ by Harvard based critic Stephanie Burt, and named one of the 10 best books of poetry in 2016 by the New York Times.  Last West, Taylor’s third book, is a hybrid photo and poetry book. Retracing the steps of Dorothea Lange in California, Taylor documents the  haunting echoes between past and present.  Taylor’s fourth book of poems, Rift Zone, traces literal and metaphoric fault…

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Winter 2021 Poetry Draft

#NationalTreeWeek 2. I will feature your published/unpublished poetry/short prose/artworks about trees. Please include a short third person bio.

tree in snow by Anjum wasim dar

Tree in Snow

We grow as Nature ordains
never complain and bear the pains
from black to grey, green to brown
one by one we fall to the ground
Our duty done with full obedience
spreading freshness and fragrance
with peaceful quietude we surrender
making space for others in elegance.
This is The Truth This is The Call
This is The Providence of The Fall
Be it Oak, Pine Fir or Kowhai
Sown ‘n Grown, This is The Final Cry’.

-Anjum Wasim Dar

tree diagram

Tree Law

-Jennifer Roche

If we were trees
(after Tom Weir’s “Glass”)

Some of us were profligate, we were sycamore, we bolted,
trampled gardens. We were full of sap. We were headlong.
and
some of us were yew that puts down roots in graveyard loam
and closes up the mouths of the dead
and
some of us were holly, glossy, sharp and bitter We were all unkind
and
some of us were silver birch, we went everywhere like witchlight,
asked nothing of the ground; we could live on air;
we drank light. We danced
and
some of us were oak, and some of us grew straight as the mast
of a good ship, and some grew stunted, rooted among lichens,
and there was gold in our grain
and
some of us were old from birth, all wire and sinew,
we were hawthorns, our spines wicked against the browsing tongues of beasts
and
some of us were evergreen, fast growing pine, lush spruce,
lined up for the saw, the axe, how easily we split
and
all of us knew what all trees know, which is the art
of letting go. Every year we practice dying
because every one of us will burn. One way or another

-John Foggin

I choose.

A big old strong tree, gnarled
like an olive and full of owls –
Loll on in its generous shade
inhaling that uniquely exotic fragrance;
the power to command every quote and
epigram carried by the bees,
ivy-league messengers sweetly laden
with the harmony of the spheres.

-Jane Newberry

Be that tree,

standing strong, in all conditions.
Growing and stretching
arms towards the sky
completely free, still,
grounded deep in the past.
– Omar Kay

Artful
Love grows like a tree;
you never see it happen
but we have blossom.

-Lawrence Moore

Mulch
I wrote about you on a maple leaf.
Pushed for space, my words were brief.
They blew away with a sudden gust
and will turn to compost,
just like us.
-Lawrence Moore

Rowan

Mountain ash: I banish witches,
Grace hillsides, straddle ditches,
Greet spring, green as grasses,
Hold court as summer passes.

Red as winter cheeks, my berries
Pucker your mouth, like sour cherries.
Jelly rich in C and A
Wakens taste, keeps colds at bay.

Autumn’s gift gives winter savour,
To lend meat a piquant flavour.
I hold fast, through squall and blast,
To greet the living sun at last.

Bride of storm, the lightning flash:
Red-crowned rowan, mountain ash.

-Yvonne Marjot

Lament for Lemon Trees

I hate to slice a lemon
and cut through a pip

that’s green inside.
It’s like cracking an egg

and finding the foetus
of a chicken. But the seed

would have sprouted,
the chick would not.

I think of the tree
I could have grown

like those that touched the ceiling
at Elmfield Gardens,

had to be left behind,
too tall for the new house.

-Peter J. Donnelly

Bios And Links

John Foggin

lives in West Yorkshire where he writes an occasional poetry blog : the great fogginzo’s cobweb.

He was one of the winners of the Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition [2015]. His latest collection was Dark Watchers [Calder Valley Poetry: 2019]

-Jane Newberry

is a late-emerging poet, after 30 years of motherhood and a career in music education. March 2020 saw the publication of Big Green Crocodile (Otter-Barry Books).

Published by The Emma Press, South Magazine and online, Jane lives in Cornwall.

-Lawrence Moore

has been writing poems – some silly, some serious – since childhood. He lives in Portsmouth, England with his husband Matt and nine mostly well behaved cats. He has poetry published at, among others, DreichPink Plastic HouseFevers of the MindSarasvati and The Madrigal. @LawrenceMooreUK

-Peter J Donnelly

lives in York where he works as a hospital secretary. He has a degree in English Literature and a MA in Creative Writing from the University of Wales Lampeter.

He has been published in various magazines and anthologies, including Writer’s Egg where ‘Survival’ previously appeared.  ‘Peppered Moth’ was included in the Ripon Poetry Festival anthology ‘Seeing Things’. ‘One Day on Dartmoor’ was highly commended in the Barn Owl Trust competition and published in their anthology ‘Wildlife Words’. It was also published online by the National Trust on their Fingle Woods webpage.

#NationalTreeWeek I will feature your published/unpublished poetry/short prose/artworks about trees. Please include a short third person bio.

IMG20210415165416

The Barkskin – photo by Paul Brookes

So light passes through every leaf

From leaf
I long to learn
to let light
through every cell.

What is this light passes through leaf?

When the leaf does not eclipse my eye,
the light lands where I can see it,
subsumed in other light
(or being more mobile than leaf, perhaps I
am the one with agency to eclipse).

What light passes through leaf?
With eye within the penumbra I can barely see it;
such bright light shuts my pupil:
I shun the glare involuntarily:
it lands in my iris.

What light comes through?
In the umbra I dilate.
I dilate as if on purpose–
purpose–iris–unfallen leaf

From leaf I long to learn
to unimpede,
to look less solid,
as I know I am as much space between atoms
as the space between stars.

-Karina Lutz

wounds

i want to know
bark intimately
by the bite
of early syrup.
i need the names
of the wrappings
around coarse
trees: the dry,
the thin-skinned,
the unravelling.
i must get familiar
with the flesh;
the pulped meat
like a jerky. my eyes
are pine blue.

— K Weber

Day-drenched

After a cloudburst, the tree
bark appears reptilian

especially the sweet
gum in its damp sloth

and the slither
of a slow trickle.

In unwavering verdure
the midday sneaks by, stainless.

Animal and insect resume
their wet warbling.

The robins disperse
from trunk and fence

as limpid sky invites
the bluest canopy.

The only video of this scene
will play in raw memory.

Baffled, batting eyes
adapt to the remediation

of sun in just this moment

***originally self-published in my 2019 collaborative poetry project, “This Assembly” (https://kweberandherwords.wordpress.com/2019/12/10/413/) featuring words donated by Tom Gumbert (reptilian), Oak Ayling (unwavering), Peach Delphine (verdure), Mathew Yates (warbling), Venus Davis (limpid), Reluctant Ringmaster (video), Cassie Coletta (baffled) & Madeleine Corley (remediation)

— K Weber

The Old Year

The satisfying crunch
of the grass underfoot
and branches newly jewelled
in first light

Watery sun bleeding
along the horizon
distant mists dispersing
as it climbs

Witnessing the garden
before the kettle boils
nothing much to report
of the old year

Scattered splash of yellow
and rust-red clinging on
with tendrils seeking still
a safer hold

These last few nasturtiums
whose heads wearily droop
till conquered by the frost
they’ll finally fall

The earth is sleeping now
you can hear the soil sigh
listen for what truth
you might discern

Then pause along the path
stare up at the ash tree
as if it held some lessons
you could learn

-Mick Jenkinson

Ash
(with all due respect to Richard Wilbur)

The High King of Summer, bent and ancient,
stands by my back door, bearing his crown.
The lawn respects his shade and dies, turning brown
and dry. My sons turn cartwheels and fence
with plastic swords across the throne room, bent
on mayhem, hardly noticing the regal frame
that looms over the garden. When I named
The Old King I did not intend prescience.

As autumn comes I watch him overwhelmed;
a poor, creeping end for Odin’s World Tree.
The King of Summer loses his crown and realm
to the usurping fungus: that sneaking, petty
thief. Generous giver: as ash keys fall like confetti,
will this year close the annals of the ash tree?

-Yvonne Marjot

Conkers on the Knavesmire

They remind me it’s mid September
despite the weather, an illusion

of summer, like the cows in the field
near the old Terry’s factory

are an illusion of the countryside.
They distract me from my déjà vu

of the last time I did this walk,
in the midst of lockdown.

It felt like summer then too,
though it was only April.

Low Moor, Hull Road Park,
St Nicholas’s Fields,

I’ve avoided them
like the painting by numbers

I started, as my grandad avoided loose tea.
A tea leaf on his tongue brought back the war.

-Peter J. Donnelly

Fountains Abbey

Built along the Skell by monks
banished from St Mary’s,
for the practical purpose
of the river, not the beauty
of the dale, to which they were blind,
how did they keep their faith
that harsh winter, in land
they considered only fit
for wild beasts? Did they foresee
that deer would one day graze
in neighbouring Studley Royal?
A Georgian garden they could never
have imagined, nor the Elizabethan hall,
their only shelter a thatched hut
by a great elm, their food
its leaves boiled in water
perhaps from the springs
that gave the monastery its name.
-Peter J Donnelly

Brain Tree not in Essex

From the Arcadia tree
I might pick the how-to
of simultaneous equations.
Tucked down a hole in the bark –
the key to the periodic table
and infusing the leaf tips
could release the power to
translate from any language

I choose.

A big old strong tree, gnarled
like an olive and full of owls –
Loll on in its generous shade
inhaling that uniquely exotic fragrance;
the power to command every quote and
epigram carried by the bees,
ivy-league messengers sweetly laden
with the harmony of the spheres.

-Jane Newberry

Woodbrains, woodbrides, woodwives

Grovemind, groovemind

synaptic branches
neuron tipped limbs
sacred grove recovery

oakbrain opens doors in my head
ashbrain spears my ideas
elmbrain plays the fey

electric gust moves limbs
inside my head

barkskin neural net
circumnavigates damage
fruited hemispheres
replenish, restore, reimagine

senses water roots
grove in my head
grooves in my head

between oaklimbs
between ashlimbs

her flaps of the wood
bride of the barkskin
her inner lips of the forest
fermented honey drip
not butterfly laced stained glass

fapleaf
lamina mulch make out

fragile doors into lust
nympha

tongue kindly these guardians

ashwives

grew from blossoming blood
of Sky’s balls and prick
hacked off by jagged edged
adamantine sickle wielded
by his son, Time,
goaded on by his mam, Earth,
distraught at Sky exiling
her one eyed bairns in hell.

Oakface

Blaze is agog at Oakface
funking it up in her dance.
Her dad is a river,
her body writhes,
as if under rocks,
tumbles o’er ravines.
Her mam is called ‘Many Gifts’.
She hums her mam’s sweet songs
as she dances.
Oakface wants nowt
of leering Blaze.

Oh, how cute! Oakface
is flushed when her friends
find a lost tortoise outside.

She sits down with her mates,
puts tortoise on her lap.
Tortoise writhes into a snake,
her friends scarper.

Snake becomes Blaze
who screws her
agin her will.

Sobbin’
pulled art an afeard
she runs to her dad,
River, and mam, Many Gifts.

Gives birth to bairn
she calls ‘Both’,
Takes him where a lotus
tree grows an hums her mam’s sweet songs
as she picks a flower

off of it
for bairn to play with,
blood trickles dahn
her wrist an ‘both’
feels his mam’s tit
harden as her feet
become roots
her flesh become
barkskin
of a poplar tree.

Lotus tree were woodbride
hiding from Penis
as were after her.

And bastard son of Blaze
is left pulled out
and bawling for his mam.

Whispering Forest

walk among us, as us

known as oakman
known as birchwoman
known as elmlad
known as ashlass

Each one gentle,
one is strong
one elegant
all older than they look

their voices not listened to
I talk to the tree
“Hug a tree
I am a tree
seen as signs of waywardness
to be laughed at,
pilloried and scorned.

later they will scream
when cut down
or have a limb amputated

we ought to listen.

-Paul Brookes (Excerpt from my book “The Headpoke And Firewedding”, still available second hand)

Bios And Links

-K Weber

has 6 online poetry book projects in digital and audio formats. Access these works at http://kweberandherwords.wordpress.com as well as all credits for her published writing, photography and more!

-Peter J Donnelly

lives in York where he works as a hospital secretary. He has a degree in English Literature and a MA in Creative Writing from the University of Wales Lampeter.

He has been published in various magazines and anthologies, including Writer’s Egg where ‘Survival’ previously appeared.  ‘Peppered Moth’ was included in the Ripon Poetry Festival anthology ‘Seeing Things’. ‘One Day on Dartmoor’ was highly commended in the Barn Owl Trust competition and published in their anthology ‘Wildlife Words’. It was also published online by the National Trust on their Fingle Woods webpage.

-Karina Lutz
worked as a sustainable energy advocate for three decades. Earlier, she received an MSJ from Medill School of Journalism and worked as an editor, reporter, and magazine publisher. She’s currently collaborating to launch a permaculture community, Listening Tree Cooperative.