My annual National Poetry Month ekphrastic challenge has become a collaboration between Jane Cornwell (artist), and poets Susan Richardson, Samantha Terrell, Jay Gandhi, Dai Fry, Ali Jones and myself. April 19th (Now with audio!)


The Secret Keepers

You would not believe
the things we have seen,
done here under a moon’s
full bone-white eye.

The man who wanted to win
came and looked at the stars
and measured our bodies
with his cold blue gaze.

We moved, a millimetre here,
a fraction there, so he never
quite got it right. We knew
his intentions weren’t exactly

as honourable as he told us
they were. There is no fooling us,
we who have stood here so long
that we have forgotten what we are for.

It doesn’t matter though, we shift and pitch
and always find a new role to play.
Sometimes we hold space for promises
and goodbyes, though we prefer other things.

It is true that we can’t be counted
at least not in human ways. We like
to tease and trick, because what else
are stones supposed to do with everything?

If we just hold on, we will become harder
and more distant, impossible to decipher.
This way is better for our kind, to keep
things going – understanding was never
part of the great diviner’s plan you know.

-Ali Jones

Sadness is a positive emotion

I want to drill holes
in the concrete ground,
thrust my feet inside
and stand in calmness.

Yes, I am lonely & alone.
My companion who promised
that she will face
every storm with me has left
before the first storm has began.

Near the railings of the ground
there are sunflowers
which sparkle in the sunshine.

Hope is trying hard to find me:
my feet are grounded.

-Jay Gandhi

Neolithic Era

Did the Neolithic
Gaze upon the dandelions?
Or, did they graze upon them instead?
And, what was the significance of their stones?

We tread upon dandelions,
And cover the earth in concrete,
Whilst searching the past for answers
To questions the present readily provides.

If only we would gaze upon the fields,
Bask in the sun,
Call our current existence to the task
Of plodding, yes, but lightly.

-Samantha Terrell

“For there is no man without fault, no man without a burden, no man sufficient to himself, no man wise enough to himself but we must bear together, comfort together, help together, teach and admonish together.” -T. ‘A Kempis

A Garden of Time

Flowers creep out from beneath the frost,
bloom through the chaos of battle fields
and the unrelenting wreckage of disease.
They weave themselves into the landscape,
spread fragrance over the backs of relics.
Some stand tall, with faces open to the sun,
others sit quietly, whispering on top of the soil,
strewn like stars over the expanse of seasons.
They are given as gestures of love and regret,
placed on graves and coveted at weddings.
I chose to have them inked into my skin,
petals sprinkled across my feet and ankles,
vines and blossoms winding up my arms,
spilling gracefully over my shoulders,
a garden of time that turns something ugly
into something permanent and beautiful.

-Susan Richardson

The Rung Down

ring of blue rocks eroded,
schtum inner circle,
gong orchestra gone

stand tuneless rock
dumbfound broken
notes drummed out

gust between clefts
spit spat rain flits
cracks, shatters clack

back into unheard
till heard by inspired
knock on rock echoes

Megalithic lithophones
ring of blue stones decoded
orchestra clangs elsewhere.

Yearly lion’s teeth clocks
gust blows into seed float
above and around, inbetween

stood standing memory site,
soundscape escaped
now found traced source
of sea carried sound

-Paul Brookes

Neolithic Flowers

Eternity’s span
this arch of stars,
counts time beyond
ten finger tips.

Into wicker’s rest.
Fill this grave
with a crush
of wild flowers.

Mixed meadows
delicate pastels
and fine perfumes,
grace your memory.

Unbearable grief
and beauty speak
under the voice.

Why must our ways
always be run,
through a curtain
of dying flowers
and falling tears.

© Dai Fry 20th February 2020.

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:


is an x social worker and a present poet. Image is all but flow is good too. So many interesting things… Published in Black bough Poetry, Re-Side, The Hellebore, The Pangolin Review. He will not stop.

Twitter                  @thnargg


Audio/Visual.       @IntPoetryCircle #InternationalPoetryCircle Twitter

-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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