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, Samantha Terrell, Dai Fry, Carrie Ann Golden, sonja benskin mesher, Rich Follett, Don Beukes, Elizabeth Moura and myself. May 12th

12MF 12


Once bought a bottle of Jack Daniels for forty euros,
in a truck stop, somewhere, and drank it, snowed in,
on a grey-peak mountainside, and when vomited, early
into white, coffee mugs, wondered how bad the head
would be in three to four hours, when the sun would not
rise, but would gleam again across the snow pine forests,
an old tree stump, halved tuna sandwich with St. Bernard.

-Alex Mazey

Exposing the Light

In the farmhouse
Of my youth,
Remnants of
Wallpaper over wallpaper
Peeled from walls to
Reveal crumbling plaster underneath
Dried in place on ancient lath.
I didn’t know not to pull and pick at it,
Dropping crusty bits to the hardwood floors
To be swept up later.
Peering curious eyes
Behind the layers to see inside –
All the while, making it worse.
Sometimes, streams of sunlight
Would shine through.
Probing messy situations
Can shed light.


Hidden Patterns

A gentle fading,
apparent under grey paint.
Beauty from passing times.

As lonely words woken
from a shoebox diary.
Lifted from lace dreams
by curious children.
Sepia ink, pressed petals
all tied with yellow ribbon.
Bedded in lilac tissue.

Bitter at the old decay
Sleeping years have wrought,
I stare… but you
will not resolve for me.

As old pain lessens
a new loss presents.
Fresh with a hurt that is
not immediately clear.

©️ Dai Fry 11th May 2020.

Journey to Fluweeltjie
(Part Two)

Memories of Tiervlei – As Sekueb Nodmai bravely entered the
treacherous lake of souls, feeling an ominous stirring of water boiling,
he could not help thinking of his foretold quest to save his beloved
kingdom, ruled by his brave father, Tenamêske – A land of many
suns and moons, of friends and enemies, of secrets and stories, of
ancient bones and stones, now whispering through his whole being –
Guiding him to bravely swim through this lake of souls, not knowing
What will become of him but his own fears compares to nothing
Just thinking of what will be unleashed if he fails in this foretold
mission to secure eons more of the lives of his mense in Tiervlei.
Only he can ensure the survival of his proud nation, his final mission.

Lake of Souls – It began as a mere ripple over the surface of the
Lake but Sekueb knew this was the moment he was born for –
Crossing the lake of souls alive, to reach the source of lewe
in a place called Fluweeltjie. He could sense several hands
trying to drag him below to this bottomless lake but they could
not possibly know what the Oracle presented to him –
Powder of boegoe, dust of knoffel and tears from suurvygies.
He dived below and released his precious gifts, instantly killing
these souls who dared to challenge him, underestimating him!

In the distance, beyond the iron tree forest, he could see the
glow of a Skeeloog guardian, holding up what he came for –
A beker containing essence of Vroteiers, gathered from
the tears of a Skoenderlap, a giver of life, before its own
sacrificial death, its wings disintegrating as her tears were falling –
The Skeeloog beckoned Sekueb to take the precious beker and
Pointed the way out, beyond the pillar of klopdisselboom, where
a meisie was waiting to take him back through the screeching
waterfall to emerge unscathed at the gates of Tiervlei…

©Don Beukes

Day 12 Sonja

continuing from 10 + 11

totalling 21 and the nightmare
continues into another day the

orange thing reappearing even
on andrew marr

I always imagined watching that
on tv
if I did not work on sunday, now
on furlough find I can
yet the colour comes again

smothering thoughts of a pleasant day
suffocating, melding mouth and those

shades defining

now I have to say that I usually like
the colour as items yet maybe not
as entity

I face the slate
and bleed red

I dare not think on tomorrow



The plaster is cracked
in the stately rooms, off limits
day and night,
scraps of wallpaper
flutter, like blind butterflies.
Floorboards all creak; some
splinter under the weight
of memory. Memory.
There, where a forehead
poked a rounded hole;
there where many hands
crawled up and down
the discolored lead paint,
discolored even then.
Even then.
Lastly, the windows;
they are gloriously smashed.
Wind brings in quiet dust,
And I ask myself,
who was this?

-Elizabeth Moura

Callimachus doomed the Minotaur

They immortalised his bellowing as cruel
and the ghost of that word travelled
with its knee pressed into his spine
just above the place his tail swept for stars.

We are so willing to forget
that he was Asterion
the son of the silver-chased vault
not an earthly beast at all – but then
we always lusted for understandable monsters.

After he fell, his spirit fled from the hillock
of his great heavy hide
left stinking in the Knossos sun,
and into the cool grey mountains, still
trailing that cruel-mouthed kite, its mortalling tongue.
Written the wrong shape to ascend.

Perhaps he did bellow as he ran
but tone travels dimly between worlds.
Perhaps he bellows still, just like the mountain itself
always has, the groanings
of its quake-tortured bones
so very much like an enormous bull
anticipating the mythic – his true name lost,
in monstrous distress.

-Ankh Spice


Shamash and Kali
whirl in molten ecstasy—
thus, new worlds are born

-Rich Follett

Poem for day 12 #2

One’s life
Could be seen in two ways
Like a broken pottery beyond repair
Like a journey filled with peaks and valleys.

-Carrie Ann Golden

A Cracked Mountain

murals isolation on an inside wall.
Wear a mask against the dust.
climb over boulders, down valleys
of sinew and bone caught in these four walls.

Listen to your own heartbeat,
increased bird calls through an open window,
slap of your own slippers, crackle of crisp
packets put away after a shop expedition
where you wait patiently, watch for other
folk coming too close, wait behind lines.

Cross the road when others are in your path.
Arrive home to the loud radio, tell yourself
you put it on only for your pet cockatiel.
Unpack the bread, the pasta, the wine bottle
of fears, tidy them away into reasonable
cupboards. Watch another boxset of recent drama
in which all characters shake hands, hug,
unmasked, ungloved: domestic dramas are alien worlds.

A cracked and pealing wall is a vista of mountains
you climb everyday for the fresh air of another place.

-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.

-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

-Elizabeth Moura

lives in a converted factory and works with elders. She has had poetry, flash fiction or photographs published in online and print publications Human/Kind Journal, Rose Quartz Poetry Magazine, Hawk & Whippoorwill, The Cormorant, Radical: A Lit Zine, Chrysanthemum, Occulum, Flash, Paragraph Planet, and Flash Fiction Magazine. On Twitter @mourapoet, Instagram mourathepoet and mourastudio.wordpress.com.

-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:


-Sue Harpham

is an admin worker, currently not in work Married, 2 sons. Loves poetry and words. She considers herself a writer of scribble rather than a poet. She has written a novel and is using her spare time to finally get it published (self-publishing) which has been an ambition of her for the last 10 years.

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, Samantha Terrell, Dai Fry, Carrie Ann Golden, sonja benskin mesher, Rich Follett, Don Beukes, Elizabeth Moura and myself. May 12th

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