My annual National Poetry Month ekphrastic challenge has become a collaboration between Jane Cornwell (artist), and poets Susan Richardson, Samantha, Jay Gandhi, Ali Jones and myself. April 2nd



One day, Jack and Jill walked out,
footsteps leading them, way from the town.
They trod through the mist beneath glimmering trees –
quiet watchers wreathed in verdant lichen gowns.

They walked velvet path, past beckoning swamps,
and warnings ignored, as tracks twist far away.
They wandered far into fairy tale lands,
where a spell kept them moving and they could never stay.

And all the while, the trees were listening –
to new beings travelling, the girl and the boy,
to the not quite grown ups, the people in between-
not old enough for choices, but just too old for toys.

The wise trees watched and the trees leaned in
wth their pooling woodland eyes and secret woodland ears,
and whispered sweet nothings, and sang spell melodies,
through dancing new spring leaves, and in rolling sap tears.

So little Jack and little Jill walked along the tracks,
Feet taking them beneath trees, never turning back.
Still, they wander on to the horizon’s gleam –
slipping the distance, through a nightmare’s crack.

-Ali Jones

Trees Hold Hands

above us, as we do below
and walk a hollow gate

a greenway without green

a tunnel, a way back
into a different womb.

Mam watches us as we get smaller,
and smaller, further and further away

as if we cannot and will not return.

She forgets the trees also hold hands
beneath us, so we walk through

a circle, a wreath of hands dancing in a ring.
So what appears lost will return again,

to green, a wreath is also a gift of flowers.

– Paul Brookes

In Dark Shadows

Silhouettes Of life
Wait calmly In their steadfast way,
Where not even sun’s ray
Can reach the dark floor
As moss creeps quietly
Beneath all those stalwart trees
Beyond woods’ door.
And birds have hushed their calls,
As winter demands its annual stall Of energy.
Creeping things too,
Though they still creep,
Do so, more deeply.
But, the shadowed forest is full!
In dens and nests,
Red foxes and colorful fowl sleep.
For dormancy, though dim, is not death.


Fallen Into Dusk

Gradients of time twist
and alter the colors of childhood,
memory disappearing into the marrow
of barren branches,
fading into fingers that pluck away color
and leave behind only shades of gray.

I try to keep one hand pressed firmly
into the memory of your touch,
how you soothed my sadness
and my bruises,
but the path to you has fallen into dusk,
the papery shards of my heart reduced to ash.

It is perpetual winter in my mind,
a landscape stripped bare to show the ache
that lurks beneath every budding flower.
It seems this is where I have always lived,
inside these pallid pages of clarity,
where the pain of missing you
lodges into my bones with familiar force.

-Susan Richardson


The trees have crossed
their branches to keep
me in the shade—
I prepare for my journey.
The branches once had leaves,
juicy fruits & beaming flowers;
all have withered in anxiety.
Come Fall, come spring,
the roots penetrate into every
corner of the earth and suck
every ounce of nutrition
and after all that these trees
have done for me,
all I will say is that they have
only done their duty.

-Jay Gandhi

Bios and links

-Jane Cornwell

likes drawing and painting children, animals, landscapes and food. She specialises in watercolour, mixed media, coloured pencil, lino cut and print, textile design. Jane can help you out with adobe indesign for your layout needs, photoshop and adobe illustrator. She graduated with a ba(hons) design from Glasgow School of art, age 20.

She has exhibited with the rsw at the national gallery of scotland, SSA, Knock Castle Gallery, Glasgow Group, Paisley Art Institute, MacMillan Exhibition at Bonhams, Edinburgh, The House For An Art Lover, Pittenweem Arts Festival, Compass Gallery, The Revive Show, East Linton Art Exhibition and Strathkelvin Annual Art Exhibition.

-Susan Richardson

is an award winning, internationally published poet. She is the author of “Things My Mother Left Behind”, coming from Potter’s Grove Press in 2020, and also writes the blog, “Stories from the Edge of Blindness”. You can find her on Twitter @floweringink, listen to her on YouTube, and read more of her work on her website.

Here is my updated 2018 interview of her:

-Ali Jones

is a teacher, and writer with work published in a variety of places, from Poetry Ireland Review, Proletarian Poetry and The Interpreter’s House, to The Green Parent Magazine and The Guardian. She has a particular interest in the role of nature in literature, and is a champion of contemporary poetry in the secondary school classroom.

Here is my 2019 interview of her:

-Jay Gandhi

is a Software Engineer by qualification, an accountant by profession, a budding Guitarist & a Yoga Sadhak at heart and a poet by his soul. Poetry intrigues him because it’s an art in which a simple yet profound skill of placing words next to each other can create something so touching and literally sweep him of the floor. He is 32-year-old Indian and stays in Mumbai. His works have appeared in the following places:
An ebook named “Pav-bhaji @ Achija” available in the Kindle format at The poem “Salsa; a self discovery” published in an anthology motivated by Late Sir APJ Abdul Kalam. The poem “High Caloried love” selected for an upcoming book “Once upon a meal” The poem “Strawberry Lip Balm” selected in the anthology “Talking to the poets” Four poems published in a bilingual anthology “Persian Sugar in English Tea” Vol.1 Two poems published in the anthology “Poets on the Run” compiled by RC James.

His poems have made it to the PoeTree blog and front pages of & In free time, he likes to walk for long distances.

Here is my 2018 interview with him:

-Samantha Terrell

is an American poet whose work emphasizes emotional integrity and social justice. She is the author of several eBooks including, Learning from Pompeii, Coffee for Neanderthals, Disgracing Lady Justice and others, available on and its affiliates.Chapbook: Ebola (West Chester University Poetry Center, 2014)

Twitter: @honestypoetry

Here is my 2020 interview of her:

-Paul Brookes

is a shop asst. Lives in a cat house full of teddy bears. His chapbooks include The Fabulous Invention Of Barnsley, (Dearne Community Arts, 1993). The Headpoke and Firewedding (Alien Buddha Press, 2017), A World Where and She Needs That Edge (Nixes Mate Press, 2017, 2018) The Spermbot Blues (OpPRESS, 2017), Port Of Souls (Alien Buddha Press, 2018), Please Take Change (, 2018), Stubborn Sod, with Marcel Herms (artist) (Alien Buddha Press, 2019), As Folk Over Yonder ( Afterworld Books, 2019). Forthcoming Khoshhali with Hiva Moazed (artist), Our Ghost’s Holiday (Final book of threesome “A Pagan’s Year”) . He is a contributing writer of Literati Magazine and Editor of Wombwell Rainbow Interviews.

YouTube; Poetry Is A Bag For Life

Twitter: @PaulDragonwolf1


Facebook: Paul Brookes – Writer and Photographer


2 thoughts on “My annual National Poetry Month ekphrastic challenge has become a collaboration between Jane Cornwell (artist), and poets Susan Richardson, Samantha, Jay Gandhi, Ali Jones and myself. April 2nd

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