Welcome to a special ekphrastic challenge for May. Artworks from Mary Frances, James Knight and Sue Harpham will be the inspiration for writers, Alex Mazey, Ankh Spice, Anjum Wasim Dar, James Knight, Samantha Terrell, Dai Fry, Carrie Ann Golden, sonja menskin mesher, Rich Follett, Don Beukes and myself. May 1st.

May 1May 1st sonja drawing

..looks like you are drowning..

part one

looks like you are drowning &
hope i am wrong. i can see the
the turn about in water.

i have done that too
pat says that i have paid the price
but i wonder

i hope
you survive
come clean
your feathers.

fly high

if not
i will lay a petal
and think of you

as i think of the others
that drowned before you
that had no feathers

part two,

it looks like you are drowning
shall I jump in to save you and maybe
sink myself
or shall I wait to see
to lay a flower at our feet

part three

maybe you are not drowning really
that I made it up and you are dancing
like the others

while people die and we lay flowers
in memoriam

part four

you are floating maybe; I did that for hours
went spongy, now face reality and
I still think that you are drowning
like the others.

-sonja benskin mesher

concrete reasoning

gray day: i am
out for a walk when
a sidewalk camellia
begs myriad questions:

runaway bride?

garden club mishap?
rejected proposal?
hothouse runaway?
centerpiece rebel?

confronted by the unexplained,
the human drive to make order from chaos
is relentless.

whatever the story,
the end is the same:
beauty appears and
we can only wonder …

with a schedule to keep
and no answers at hand
i press onward,
feeling the inner bloom
of nascent gratitude.

-Rich Follett

MF 1


Every time I find clay in the garden, beneath a rosebush, say,
I find slate too. This is just something I have noticed over the
course of a year. It is not necessary to mention these things,
especially now, I suppose. I am not happy unless I’m pouring
something – tomato feed. I am Philip Levine’s Burial Rights,
I recall Bei Dao. These days, I feel the trick to a good carpark,
to feel anything, is my proximity to this flower arrangement.

JK 1


A story of three fish might be
fish bones in a field for birds.
Koi feeding, koi feed in a
garden centre, at the next
junction. Fish bent back over
backwards, in blue paint.
Scattered to the water’s edge
a handful of dirt, to a handful
of colour, blue scales at the
centre of the field, a water
mark, a stone left unturned.

-Alex Mazey

The Life of Petals

We use flowers to mark occasions–
Weddings and funerals.
The petals linger only briefly,
But the sentiment still hangs
Heavy in the air, years after
Like pollen
That settled over and over again
On our patio table and chairs,
All those long Midwestern summers
When heat robbed our lungs of breath. And
Wildflowers, not cut-storebought ones, marked a different time,
Of an everyday type.
Now, cut flowers feel gluttonous to me.
And petals bless us with
The gentleness of how life ought to be.


Utopia Burning

Warnings ignored from many a social
self appointed warlord
Echoes of dissident discord striking
a high-pitched off key note
As hungry flames lick and lash causing
an apocalyptic molten urban and
suburban foretold mess
Whispered by familiar oracles
their verbal miracles documenting their
fiery cautionary chronicles
Of systems slowly imploding temperaments
exploding fake veneers and smiles
exfoliating as ignorant masses squawk
for a helping hand from those
witnessing their demise and burning
squirming shedding acid tears for
Utopia burning…

© Don Beukes

Still Silent

No sound, water jelly flat,
so still it hurts my ears.
Even sun slides silently
into autumn’s metal light.

All jamboree, clang and din
now far away in time.
Even breath is offensive here,
in case of ripple and slapping rocks.

I cannot read or turn a page
lest a mumble or paper scrape,
escape and shatter the loch.
Like a breaking glass to
a rousing cheer,
as all that knowledge gets out.

So I stare at reflections
in late day waters
reliable quiet, but maybe
their heat is not that hot.

©️ Dai Fry 30th April 2020.

The sweet flower’s heart
Wilting on the cold, hard slab
My love’s final gift

-Carrie Ann Golden


You lay beautiful and gasping
alone on Tithonian stone.
A sudden fall from grace,
petal broken angel:
forage for sweeper winds.

Transient as summer days.
Temperate these forevers soon
fade to winter grey.
Dog-day memories
cannot abide short-day cold.

What are you,
I wonder?
A love certified in
Bacchus’s dance
or a loved one
certified and boxed
in tears and brown ale.

©️ Dai Fry 30th March 2020.

The giant fish takes back the myth

The morning before she was to become a story
the sea was baited quiet, the kind that silks

all desire down to swish. To decide to leap
from one cool world to another just for breakfast

is to bare your colours to the scaling knife of the wind,
and she did – her fireback beacon launched

for the brief protein of flying legs. How often we fail
to see that dark hull waiting, we beasts so full up

with the rush of living for our risks.
And the shape of the poised hero held no meaning, to a fish

but oh the shimmerhook, like all the moons
her eye’s nightcoin had ever purchased

from deep beneath the water, and there is the lust, the swish-
-and want. The glowworm crescent to silver her belly.

We all want to shine in fullness.
Only heroes are given names in these stories.

For her need she was translated
into an island, and I am running the delicate gasp of her jaws

in the shape of this coast, forever straining for the hook
and still called only fish

even with all we have made of her. Every time I desire
to transcend my quiet water, I forget the heroes

and leap from her skin, and hope
that landing empty

but with one eye fixed on the moon
every night after this will be enough.

-Ankh Spice

Beheaded Camelia’s

delicate red petals last longer on the less travelled path.
Flash of disappearing red lace, paper thin survival.
Unbroken in bright sunlight, bright on grey stone.
Destruction stays at home to avoid destruction.

The red wing is allowed space to revolve reflect in water.
“Temporary” like the word “soon”, a duration undecided.

-Paul Brookes

Bios and Links

-Alex Mazey

(b.1991) received his MA (distinction) from Keele University in 2017. He later won The Roy Fisher Prize for Poetry with his debut pamphlet, ‘Bread and Salt’ (Flarestack, TBA). He was also the recipient of a Creative Future Writers’ Award in 2019. His poetry has featured regularly in anthologies and literary press magazines, most notably in The London Magazine. His collection of essays, ‘Living in Disneyland’, will be available from Broken Sleep Books in October 2020. Alex spent 2018 as a resident of The People’s Republic of China, where he taught the English Language in a school run by the Ministry of Education. His writing has been described as ‘wry and knowing,’ with ‘an edge that tears rather than cuts or deals blows.’

Twitter: @AlexzanderMazey

Instagram: alexmazey

Here is my interview of Alex:


-Rich Follett

is a High School English and Creative Writing teacher who has been writing poems and songs for more than forty years. His poems have been featured in numerous online and print journals, including BlazeVox, The Montucky Review, Paraphilia, Leaf Garden Press and the late Felino Soriano’s CounterExample Poetics, for which he was a featured artist. Three volumes of poetry, Responsorials (with Constance Stadler), Silence, Inhabited, and Human &c. are available through NeoPoiesis Press (www.neopoiesispress.com.)

As a singer-songwriter, Rich has released five albums of independent contemporary folk music. His latest. Somewhere in the Stars, is available at http://www.richfollett.com. He lives with his wife Mary Ruth Alred Follett in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, where he also pursues his interests as a professional actor, playwright, and director.

-Ankh Spice

is a sea-obsessed poet from Aotearoa (NZ). His poetry has appeared in a wide range of international publications and has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He truly believes that words have the power to change the place we’re in, and you’ll find him doing his best to prove it on

Twitter: @SeaGoatScreams
or on Facebook: @AnkhSpiceSeaGoatScreamsPoetry

-Carrie Ann Golden

is a deafblind writer from the mystical Adirondack Mountains now living on a farmstead in northeastern North Dakota. She writes dark fiction and poetry. Her work has been published in places like Piker Press, Edify Fiction, Doll Hospital Journal, The Hungry Chimera, GFT Press, Asylum Ink, and Visual Verse.

-Anjum Wasir Dar

Born in Srinagar (Indian occupied Kashmir) in 1949. My family opted for and migrated to Pakistan after the (1947)Partition of India. Educated in St Anne’s Presentation Convent Rawalpindi.Graduated with Distinction in English Lang. & Literature in 1968 from the Punjab University. Won the All Round Best Student Cup.1968.
Obtained a Masters Degree in English Literature/American Studies Punjab University P.G. Diploma in TEFL from Allama Iqbal Open University Islamabad and a CPE from Cambridge University UK (LSE British Council)1991 Developing Educators in Pakistan Training Course sponsored by IFC & Bradford University 1999.Bronze Medal Poet of Merit Award by International Society of Poets & http://Poetry.com USA 2000 7 Times Winner NANOWRIMO, (National Novel Writing Month)
Adventure Novel ‘ The Adventures of the Multi Colored Lead People’ in the printing process.
Educator Writer since 1990 Editor College Magazine
Creative Writer English at Channel 7 Pvt Ltd Islamabad.National Education Award Winner 1998 for Research & Publications.

-sonja benskin mesher

born , Bournemouth.


lives and works in North Wales
as an independent artist

‘i am a multidisciplinary artist, crafting paint, charcoal, words and whatever comes to hand, to explain ideas and issues

words have not come easily. I draw on experience, remember and write. speak of a small life’.

Elected as a member of the Royal Cambrian Academy and the United Artists Society
The work has been in solo exhibitions through Wales and England, and in selected and solo worldwide.
Much of the work is now in both private, and public collections, and has been featured in several television documentaries, radio programmes and magazines.

Here is my interview of sonja benskin mesher:


-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 smashwords.com and its affiliates.Chapbook: Ebola (West Chester University Poetry Center, 2014)

Website: poetrybysamantha.weebly.com
Twitter: @honestypoetry

Here is my 2020 interview of her:


-Don Beukes

is a South African and British writer. He is the author of ‘The Salamander Chronicles’ (CTU) and ‘Icarus Rising-Volume 1’ (ABP), an ekphrastic collection. He taught English and Geography in both South Africa and the UK. His poetry has been anthologized in numerous collections and translated into Afrikaans, Persian, French and Albanian. He was nominated by Roxana Nastase, editor of Scarlet Leaf Review for the ‘Best of the Net’ in 2017 as well as the Pushcart Poetry Prize (USA) in 2016. He was published in his first SA Anthology ‘In Pursuit of Poetic Perfection’ in 2018 (Libbo Publishers) and his second ‘Cape Sounds’ in 2019 (Gavin Joachims Publishing). He is also an amateur photographer and his debut Photographic publication appeared in Spirit Fire Review in June 2019. His new book, ‘Sic Transit Gloria Mundi’/Thus Passes the Glory of this World’ is due to be published by Concrete Mist Press.

Here is my interview of Don Beukes:


-Dai Fry

is an old new poet. He worked in social care but now has no day job. A keen photographer and eater of literature and lurid covers. Fascinated by nature, physics, pagans, sea and storm. His poetry seeks to capture image and tell philosophical tales. Published in Black Bough Poetry, Re-Side, The Hellebore Press and the Pangolin Review. He can be seen reading on #InternationalPoetryCircle and regularly appears on #TopTweetTuesday.
Twitter. @thnargg
Web    seekingthedarklight.co.uk

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 (Cyberwit.net, 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.

-Mary Frances

is an artist and writer based in the UK. She takes a few photos every day, for inspiration and to use in her work. The images for this project were all taken in the last two years on walks during in the month of May. Her words and images have been published by Penteract Press, Metambesen, Ice Floe Press, Burning House Press, Inside the Outside, Luvina Rivista Literaria, and Lone Women in Flashes of Wilderness.

-James Knight

is an experimental poet and digital artist. His books include Void Voices (Hesterglock Press) and Self Portrait by Night (Sampson Low). His visual poems have been published in several places, including the Penteract Press anthology Reflections and Temporary Spaces (Pamenar Press). Chimera, a book of visual poems, is due from Penteract Press in July 2020.

Website: thebirdking.com.

Twitter: @badbadpoet

Here is my interview of James Knight:


2 thoughts on “Welcome to a special ekphrastic challenge for May. Artworks from Mary Frances, James Knight and Sue Harpham will be the inspiration for writers, Alex Mazey, Ankh Spice, Anjum Wasim Dar, James Knight, Samantha Terrell, Dai Fry, Carrie Ann Golden, sonja menskin mesher, Rich Follett, Don Beukes and myself. May 1st.

  1. Pingback: May #Poetry Challenge: Day One #Writing – A writer & her adolescent muse

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