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 12th


The Silver Darlings (After the Wick disaster 1848)

Was that what we called them?
As they slipped between our hands,
from gutting table to salter
to packer to barrel, clogs in time.
We never minded the rising red,
the stink that told you of home.

From what I remember, the day was ordinary,
August heat, and a fleet sea sortie.
set south, on the Lammas tide,
out beyond the bay to the horizon,
a night fall, nets shot – waiting.
Everyone breathed with the wind.

Some did read the signs in the sky –
turned before the angry clouds
chased them back to shore,
For the last time. In the growling gale.
columns of air, walls of water,
before they knew it they were on the rocks.

We watched, spectators sewn together
in hope, willing them back in on wings
and moonlight. One by one, briny gauntlet
ran,wood kissing wood in awkward embrace.
The maths worked out like this, thirty seven gone,
equals sixty three fatherless children,
seventeen widows.
Nobody sails the lammas tide

for fear and superstition.
What have we learnt?
That a small keel will not favour a strong swell,
that fore and aft you must do more, always.
Ninety four over thirty was enough for our small town,
Black Saturday is still a thing.
There is no memorial though,
the sea always made a pact,
to keep hold of the dead.

= Ali Jones


Variants of blue fish
Uniformly line the dresser runner
My sister bought for us in
East Africa, some years ago now.
They keep order
All day and night,
A neat school
An ornament to the dresser,
That decorates our bedroom,
Storing ornaments for the body.
But what decorates our souls?
We need loaves along with our fishes,
Humility along with our pride,
Chaos along with the order of
Fish swimming on white linen.


Kill It My Sister

screams at the fish flap
gasp for air on Flamborough’s

Summer warmed stone quay
where moments before
we lobbed our line
into an income of waves.

Smash its brains out. Its what
You’re supposed to do.
You’re scared.

As the fish eyes memorise my face.
You do it then. I say.

and recall our glee.
Caught one! she shouts.

You do it. I say,
as the fish struggles for air.

I caught it, Its your turn,

I remember when we got the reel
talked of bringing a fish
home for tea, for mam and dad.

I throw the fish back.

Coward, she says.

-Paul Brookes

Fish in the Hand

Slippery landlord

doesn’t wear a mask,
thinks the pandemic
can’t touch his fat wallet.
He demands we let him in,
thinks the law is on his side.
Ask Mr. Mayor,
we shout.
Ask Mr. Policeman.
Ask the family next door
whose matriarch died.
See that barricade on the door?
That’s for you Mr. Fish in the Hand.
You aren’t coming inside.

-Susan Richardson


Tuna looks brighter in water than on plate

-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


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