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 16th


Hush Hush

When I was really small, we used to walk along a disused track,
still called the railway line. It wasn’t one of Beeching’s cuts,
but an old quarry service route, stone blasted, raining fossils,
in a red Marlestone fog. Nature had taken it back, of course.

I can remember, running far from my Mother’s grasping cries,
under charged boundaries, trying them with fingers and tongue –
waiting for the jolt, wanting to feel the danger, reminding me
to always remain anchored to the earth – a sapling still tentative.

One day, racing to the horizon, I found the old signal box.
door long gone, paint peeling, just the hint of memory.
A small banked hearth and singing kettle, a neat brushed uniform.
I didn’t see it a first, yet somehow I knew to bow my head.

There in the corner, a wheel of twigs and fur, garnished
With a twist of orange twine. We locked eyes and I knew
it was her space, retreating, never breaking contact, as if
caught in the spell of shell and yolk. She lifted over my head,

to show me a clutch of pale blue hopes. I walked back to my
Mother, not knowing whether to share surprise or keep silent.
Instead I called for sticklebacks resting a small blue bucket,
to slide slipstream again later. I always kept her secret safe.

-Ali Jones

This Egg Asks

his dad to take the egg cup
from him in the dark garden.
Joins his Good Egg disciples.

Later his disciple Bad Egg
Judas licks him
and he is arrested.

Soldiers break him,
His yolk bleeds.
Nailed to a cross

the egg gets wet
in a storm.
Taken down, wrapped,

he is placed in a box,
discovered to be empty,
the wrapper discarded.

Disciples go on an egg hunt.
Later learn he has risen
to the mouth of his dad.

-Paul Brookes

First day @ Job

Today the chick’s
shell has cracked.

It rubs its eyes
while it struggles
to get up on
its feet.

It will learn fast
to run fast; run
zigzag, cut lanes
& fly.

The world
is a beautiful
full of scavengers.

-Jay Gandhi

The Forgotten One

The one that came first
has flown the coop.
She was prettier than you,
had feathers made of gold.
The one who came second
died in a storm
that lasted thirty years.
He was kinder than you,
had feathers as delicate as petals.
Now it’s just you here,
sullen and plain,
feathers tattered like rags
and an egg that will never hatch.

-Susan Richardson

Anatomy of a Chicken

Red jungle-fowl descendant,
Gallus gallus,
Numbering 23.7 billion,
These are the real dominators Of the globe.
Perhaps it’s no wonder,
In Greece
They taught valor. But today,
This mighty omnivore
Is reduced to
General Tso’s and Tikki Masala.
The aggressor, become victim.
So, what’s a chicken made of?
Surely not fear,
But resignation.


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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