Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Caleb Parkin

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews

I am honoured and privileged that the following writers local, national and international have agreed to be interviewed by me. I gave the writers three options: an emailed list of questions or a more fluid interview via messenger, or an interview about their latest book, or a combination of these.

The usual ground is covered about motivation, daily routines and work ethic, but some surprises too. Some of these poets you may know, others may be new to you. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I do.

Caleb Parkin picture

Caleb Parkin

is a day-glo queero techno eco poet & facilitator, based in Bristol. He won second prize in the National Poetry Competition 2016, first in the Winchester Poetry Prize 2017, and various other competition shortlists. He has poems published in The Rialto, Poetry Review, Under the Radar, Butcher’s Dog, Coast to Coast to Coast, Strix, Magma, Envoi, Lighthouse, Finished Creatures, Tentacular and Molly Bloom. He tutors for Poetry Society, Poetry School and First Story. In 2019, he completed an MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes through Metanoia Institute and was awarded Arts Council DYCP funding to explore queer ecopoetry in his first collection. From October 2020, he’ll be the third Bristol City Poet.

The Interview

1. What inspired you to write poetry?

I really started to get into poetry as a teen (as lots of poets do, I suspect). At the time, your GCSE English Language could be a longer-form piece of work which, for me, was a folder full of poems. I found it not long ago, with various early experiments with poetry! That definitely set something in motion for me, for which I’m really grateful. My family are really wordy, though I’m the only big ‘w’ Writer – we’re playful about language and absurd humour, all of which finds its way into my writing.

2. Who introduced you to poetry?

My earliest memory of poetry is likely my elder sisters reading me silly poems and stories – one I especially remember about a duck, where she’d replace a lot of the nouns with things like ‘pots and pans’ to make it really surreal. Which I loved, and still do.

At secondary school, it was my English teacher, Mr Charleston (see above re the GCSE task). Actually, I re-met him in the last couple of years when performing at Poetry in Aldeburgh (I’m from the Essex-Suffolk border). It was delightful to reconnect in the context of being an adult, practising poet – a path he was very instrumental in setting me on. He’s running a bookshop now, of course.

3. How aware were you of the dominating presence of older poets?

If you mean, by the ‘canon’ – then I guess the curriculum is set up to really push those now, to its detriment. It wasn’t quite as such growing up – but being state schooled during the Section 28 era (which was only repealed in 2003, to many people’s surprise) there was a total lack of queer poets or very little queer culture on my horizon growing up. Some of the work I do now with school sessions is certainly about redressing this balance, offering students a wider range of queer and intersectional poetry voices.

Thankfully, I did have other experiences and exposure to poets and poetry, including a reading I remember at Colchester Sixth Form College with John Cooper Clarke and Martin Newell, supported by the now very well-known Luke Wright – who was in the year above me at College! (He got straight on with the poetry, whereas I meandered off before coming back to it…)

4. What is your daily writing routine?

Oh gosh, I don’t have one! It varies hugely for me. I go through cycles of being more generative, then periods of time where I’m focused on editing – which I view very much as part of the writing process. I like Don Paterson’s idea of the ‘wild red eye’ of writing and ‘cool blue eye’ of editing – often too much focus is placed on the former. That inspirational phase of writing is important, but there’s a whole load of other ways to be nourishing your writing skills and ‘craft’. So whether I’m writing, reading poems or criticism, critiquing other poets’ work, researching a course I’m hosting…Is see it all as part of being a poet.

5. What motivates you to write?

For me, poetry is a way through the world. In my own practice, it’s helped me to process experiences by containing them and extending a hand to others through that poem. So there’s a wellbeing aspect, for sure (I graduated with an MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes in 2019). Sometimes when I haven’t been writing much, Poetry feels like it’s following me around, tapping me on the shoulder. And then I have to pay attention to it.

When I do sit down to write, it’s usually great fun – I love the surprises that crop up when you write, the way the thinking and mechanical action of pen on paper, flow together. By practising this regularly, there are those moments where something pops out and you feel like you downloaded it from a spaceship. Something numinous, but which also has the beginnings – with crafting, editing – of articulating exactly what you wanted.

6. What is your work ethic?

I view writing and tutoring/facilitating/education as two wings on a bird/plane. When I’m researching a course, I’m still involved in poetry and ‘being a poet’. There’s this idea of a ‘network of enterprises’ – or a portfolio, most people call it – and I like having lots of things on the go (up to a point). Working full-time in one place never suited me, so I’m delighted to largely structure my own time and order my work in a way which feels sustainable and enjoyable. Most days, the joy of this carries me through and I get a lot done!

I also view myself as part of an ecology, so really like making time to join people up, spot ways that people might collaborate, generate my own collaborations, and so on – in order to be a part of that ecology. This is also part of the work of being a poet, I think, and what makes it such a lovely world to be in. It’s not a ‘zero sum game’! There’s not a finite amount of poetry or creativity or joy – they’re endless, and we should work to share them, celebrate each other and create opportunities.

7. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?

Growing up, I read widely and particularly enjoyed those infused with sci-fi, fantasy and the surreal. These included Kurt Vonnegut, H G Wells, H P Lovecraft; I love Margaret Atwood as a writer who spans amazing fiction and poetry – and still enjoy her work now.

As a teenager, I read ‘Beloved’ by Toni Morrison as my A-Level personal study and remember reading it in bed and weeping, especially some of the chapters where Morrison experiments with voice and form so effectively and affectingly.

Poetry-wise, I liked (and still like) contemporary stuff which plays with form, language and experiments with what a poem can be. Moments of E E Cummings appearing on the curriculum were those where I really perked up and often I’m looking to make free with language like that, while still reaching a reader – which Cummings’ work does so well.

8. Who of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?

I do think we’re in a lineage and various traditions, blends of tradition, and that includes of queer poets – so I wish I’d been more aware of those who came before me, but am catching up now. The contemporary queer poetry scene is incredibly rich and writers like Ocean Vuong, Danez Smith, John McCullough and more particularly inspire me to push what I do with my own practice further, to write better and take more risks. From a ‘leisure reading’ perspective, I adore David Sedaris for his ability to balance wicked, incisive humour, with poignancy and bathos – the way he can turn in a moment. Sometimes I’m looking for that in my poems too.

9. Why do you write?

I think I’ve mentioned this above, but a big factor is enjoyment, play and experimentation. Not knowing where an idea will take you is so invigorating – and then when that’s really developed and gets shared and someone gets it, or really doesn’t! Those are really exciting moments in human connection, including where it connects with something in someone that isn’t easy, or might be a point for discussion. (I’ll always say that in workshops when we read a poem: do you like it? Do you really dislike it? Both are useful.) Poetry opens out questions and I’m hoping to do that with my work – especially in my new role as Bristol City Poet – while also, yes, making people laugh and introducing them to new, peculiar ideas.

10. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”

Eek! There’s so much to this. It depends on what you want to write and why, of course.

If you’re in poetry, then you’ve got to know that it’s the thing you’re here to do and that you’ll do it anyway, even if poetry ‘success’ never arrives. But if you are committed to it and keep learning, growing, practising, then as I said above, I think, hope, there’s plenty for everyone.

As a poet friend of mine said, “There are contexts in which it’s much easier to be excellent”.
There are lots of structural reasons why some poets find it harder to get on than others (race, class, gender, geography, dis/ability, sexuality, and so on) – so I don’t want to seem glib about this. These factors can make it even harder to access opportunities; there are subtleties to all of these facets of identity; and intersectional identities (ie which span more than one of these tags) exist and need to be heard!

As such, I’d say to find your network and support, find those who are prepared to offer their experience and knowledge, establish that community – this will definitely bolster your confidence, resilience and potential. Groups like Malika’s Poetry Kitchen have been powerful in raising up voices that the wider poetry scene has missed out on before. It’s not just as simple as keeping at it – but building your networks will help you to do so.

From my perspective, being part of a critiquing group and tutoring/facilitating have been crucial in developing my work and making it sustainable. Making a living through poetry can be hard, so having the ability to host groups is important – and again, there are structural factors which prevent some poets becoming teachers.

I’m just in the process of setting up a couple of lots of free mentoring, for those who can’t access training or mentoring, to support specific skills in submitting work and facilitating groups – so I hope that this does a tiny bit to address this. I’ve benefitted from mentoring and training a great deal, so this is an effort to pass that on. I’ll post this up on my Twitter once this is good to go!

11. Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.

The big news is that I’ve just been appointed Bristol City Poet for 2020 – 22! I’m really looking forward to writing poems for the city which reflect on, celebrate and challenge what’s happening in the city I’ve made my home.

My pamphlet is in process and should be out with tall-lighthouse press, in the first quarter of 2021 – more on that as it emerges.

For the last year or so, I’ve had some Arts Council England Developing Your Creative Practice (DYCP) funding to write and edit a collection of poems around queer ecopoetry. This has been such a gift and the work has really progressed – I’m excited to see it evolve into a full-length publication. It feels like something really distinctive and unique is emerging.

I’m also involved in various poetry education projects, including the Beyond Words programme with Cheltenham Festivals, tutoring for Poetry School, a ‘Queering the Museum’ commission with Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM) Exeter – and investigating setting up an online Writers in Museums Network. I’ve probably forgotten something, but that’ll do for now.

More about my network of enterprises at: www.couldbethemoon.co.uk

Or find me on Twitter @CalebParkin or Insta @Couldbethemoon

..day 109..

sonja benskin mesher

..day 109..

i have counted & now
the counting stops soon

as

all is changing

i cleaned the kitchen yesterday
thoroughly
while outside it rain
quite thoroughly

i find that soon i may visit my
family, not be solitary

that i may travel further
that i must still be very
careful

so i cleaned the kitchen
thoroughly
and wondered about it all

i had got used to it james
quite used to it even
enjoyed it

therefore
i shall also make changes
now the kitchen is tidy

one +

shot_1352188558571

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Nine Poems by Rose Knapp with an art work by Robert Frede Kenter

IceFloe Press

Metamodernist Gnostic Vsrses


Asymmetrical asylum schizophrenic
Atomic Thomistic Information Age

Afghani racing thoughts racist subliminal

Demiurge dissociative apocryphal
Song of Songs cantos Acanonical

Magik magus’ halving Hellenic stalves
Hallucinatory hallowed Valentinus

Gnostial Gospels
Adonai Adorno Ad

Vermillion verses Heraclitian Augustinian automatist

Naga Narcissi Nagasaki
Surrealities Plurabelladonna

Nightshade Nero auto da Faye Augmentation

Heresies of Inverses historiographic

Poetically crystalline pristine prismatic pyramidal Pythia

Maniacal Czech cackling Affectivity Avignon absolutions absolutist

Absinthe verities Venus’ datura Datasethian Vicar Vis a viit idian

verisimilitude Assuming neon
neoplasticism

Neo-Plurabell platonic Forms
Neologisic neoplasmatic

Pegasus prismatic Prague
Prayerful contemplating

Voodoun Jamaican Jamesian Eschaton
Eschatological imperial imperativity

Via Nova Gnosis


Catatonic Cathay Cathar
Cis cityscape citadel
Vivarium vita nova gnosis

Schizoaffective


Maniacal cacophonous cackling cabalistic
Schizoaffective hallucinatory
Gravitational swirling sharp shadow DÆmons

Eckhartesque


Splitting delirious selves
Segment segregationist

Serpentine kerosene ketamine
Electronic electric Eckhartesque elves

Agnostic Singularities 


Agnostic Agni assonance
Distortion rings Dadaist acid

Asymmetrical pyramidal Pythia

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New #Arachnids Are Not Insects Day poetry challenge featuring Z D Dicks, Rachael Ikins, Anjum Wasir Dar, Ankh Spice, Carrie Etter, Debbie Strange, Neal Zetter, Lisa Johnston, Amy Evans Bauer, Lucy Whitehead, Colin Bancroft, Ankh Spice, Jim Start and myself. This is a totally separate opportunity from the insect challenge. No insects are here, except as prey. Submit your Spider poems here.

Monday: Spiders

Rachael Ikins orb weaver

Orb Weaver by Rachael Ikins

image0

Spider by Debbie Strange

a spider web

strummed by soft breezes . . .

we can

almost hear the song

of morning dew

Ephemerae 1C, Nov/18

-Debbie Strange

Amy Evans Spinnaret

-Dr. Amy Evans Bauer

Conor Kelly The Writing Spider

-Conor Kelly

Karner Blue

‘…a place called Karner, where in some pine barrens, on lupines, a little blue butterfly I have described and named ought to be out.’

Vladimir Nabokov

Because it used to be more populous in Illinois.

Because its wingspan is an inch.

Because it requires blue lupine.

Because to become blue, it has to ingest the leaves of a blue plant.

Because its scientific name, Lycaeides melissa samuelis, is mellifluous.

Because the female is not only blue but blue and orange and silver and black.

Because its beauty galvanizes collectors.

Because Nabokov named it.

Because its collection is criminal.

Because it lives in black oak savannahs and pine barrens.

Because it once produced landlocked seas.

Because it has declined ninety per cent in fifteen years.

Because it is.

– Carrie Etter

Early morning sailing

This ship of bones slips its moorings,

unslept, mapping wet

green currents

from porch to fence. In the east wind

of a new day all at sea, an orb-weaver

has draped her gifts; kind spokes

for my navigating. A dewed abacus, hawsers

struck with light – this vessel will hold

for one more day.

So if I ever tell you

‘I am tired of spiders’

their shimmerstring snares set

to catch the earth’s exhales, as morning

kicks open every sense

with the stupid magic of sailing bodies,

if I ever tell you this, know

there is a poet’s husk to plant –

stake out his ribs

for the finest webs.

-Ankh Spice

Tarantula Down Your Toilet

I’m the tarantula down your toilet

Your prowler in the pan

I want to bite and frighten you

Whatever way I can

I’ll nibble on your bottom

I’ll stalk you on the seat

‘Cause yes you’ve guessed

That human flesh

Is what I love to eat.

I’m the tarantula down your toilet

I’ve chosen here as home

Don’t linger on the loo too long

While playing with your phone

For when I’m feeling hungry

My fangs will make their mark

You’d better switch the light on

If you enter after dark.

I’m the tarantula down your toilet

You’ll hear me splash about

Prod me, poke me, push me

But I’m never moving out

I could live in your cupboard

Your kitchen, loft or shed

Yet in this bowl is where I roll

And where I’ve made my bed.

I’m the tarantula down your toilet

Who’s causing you dismay

Don’t get ideas to calm your fears

By flushing me away

My kingdom is your bathroom

Where I can wander free

So pick a new location

When you have the need to pee

-Neal Zetter

Arachne

Weave words into each web

Those that ask forgiveness for mortal misgivings

Lintel scaffold with hanging thread

A grim reminder of shame and pride

Athena’s touch brought life

But what life is this trapped in tragic tangles

Where snagged raindrops mimic tears

Their wet globes a shining taunt to eight dry eyes

Feel vibrations shimmer silken lines

Heavy with cocooned memories

Mummified bundles of what came before

And will now never return

Tapestries woven on two legs

Whilst fast fingers wound warp weights

Sunlight spun into yarn as it warmed skin

Wisps of cloud layered in to lighten fabric

With colours added from rainbow wild flower palette

Its joyous creation celebrated with birdsong

As nature marvelled at how such beauty could appear from human hands

And what beauty it was, enough to turn a gods head

That too much was said from those ungrateful lips

Challenge came and judgment passed

Loom lost to goddess’ fury

So now all that’s left

Is that daily task of radial construction

Abdomen’s endless thread guided by leg

to form hypnotic spiral

Hung out as a handkerchief

A catch all for housemaids curses

-Lisa Johnston

Spider

I am watching a spider crawl

in circles, anticlockwise,

toward the centre of its web,

meting out its sticky silk,

deft legs weaving the thread,

pulling the weft taut, letting it go,

while wind buffets the doily

of elastic lace,

an almost invisible spiral

against the grey-bright clouds

woven so tightly it could trap

the tiniest wings.

Two centimetres from the centre

the spider stops and leaves a gap,

weaves itself a little seat,

a transparent lily pad. I wonder

if it grew tired, on the hottest

day of the year, or decided

to weave some emptiness

into its web

to let the breeze

blow through.

(A version of this poem was originally published in Amethyst Review, Ed. Dr Sarah Law, 19 December 2019)

-Lucy Whitehead

Spider in the Bath

We have all known the context of its struggle;

Up through the tunnelling darkness

Towards the smallest mote of light.

How long it climbs

It cannot say, nor know anything of destination,

But it is compelled to move upwards to brightness.

And when it stands in the abyssal white plain

And sees nothing but the curvature of space and time,

The dumb blankness of the world it has inherited,

That it has earned from its journey through blackness,

What can it do but wait, stupefied by the truth

Of an existence that tilts on the presence

Of a fate that comes to scoop

It up and drop it out of the window, back to a world

Coloured with distractions, wrapped in the shawls

Of infinity.

-Colin Bancroft

-ZZZHuntsman Spider poem by Z D Dicks

-Z D Dicks

Brotherhood of All Colors

With the advantage of two, antennae less,

With a desire for a journey to Antarctica

I, Loureedia Phoenixi just arrived from Iran

named after the famous actor villain ‘Joker’

For the Lord made me in the same image

with the red and white face, but black legs

I am not a racist spider, never would be, I

love all company, except ‘black widow’ and

‘Brown recluse’ both harm humans, both

live in the states, a family of Anthropods

‘hearing by the hair’ we velvet spiders are

charming and rare, collectively caring and

Community builders, striking a brotherhood

all colors, white black red white and brown.

Tiny but powerful, amazing in design and so

unique in action for three weeks on ground

You can see the movie Joker, but to see me

you will need a powerful magnifier machine

A spider with a strong velvet dress, a job to

contain the insects from devastating harvests

Discovering Loureedia spiders is challenging

for most of the year we rest in subterranean nests.

Anjum Wasim Dar

Copyright CER 2020

Eight Long Legs Adorned with Hairs

In corners of rooms and hidden under stairs
Under your bed , inside your shoe !!
Hairy ? , scary ? Monster ?
No it’s not true !
See me as your friend, a quiet housemate .
Won’t see me in the daytime , only when it’s late

=Jim Start

Pale Skin Over Bone

No muscle.

His arms a blackbirds legs.

With each visit his skull

more defined in hollows.

He says I have spiders

in my eyes even when I wear glasses

He asks for his specs cleaner.

and the blue plastic bowl

that blows.

-Paul Brookes

Camera360_2015_6_2_083945

Bios And Links

-Lisa Johnston

is based in the West Midlands and started writing poetry two years ago. She enjoys taking part in local Spoken Word events and recently appeared at PoArtry for Wolverhampton Literary Festival 2020, There is No Planet B, World Poetry Day, Positive Poetry, MHAW and World Oceans Day. Her work has been included in anthologies and most recently as part of the Haiflu project, a national project recording poetic responses to lockdown. She currently works to promote arts and culture in her local area through community projects.

-Carrie Etter

has published four collections of poetry, most recently The Weather in Normal (UK: Seren; US: Station Hill, 2018), a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. Her poems have appeared in Boston Review, The New Republic, The New Statesman, The Penguin Book of the Prose Poem, Poetry Review, TLS, and many other journals and anthologies internationally. Her next publication is a pamphlet, The Shooting Gallery (Verve, October 2020), of two series of prose poems exploring the conjunction of youth and violence.

=Jim Start

is 39 from Cornwall. He is a lorry driver who writes poetry and is also working on an adult book about child abuse and a children’s book

-Amy Evans Bauer’s

recent and umbels (Jonathan Williams prize, Shirt Pocket, 2020) follows PASS PORT (Shearsman, 2018) as part of her at-sea SOUND((ING))S. Her poetry includes Stalking Gerard Manley Hopkins (Woodland Pattern, 2016), and features in Poetics for the More than Human World (2020), Chicago Review, Molly Bloom and elsewhere. https://goldsmiths.academia.edu/AmyEvansBauer

Bitter Grass by Gëzim Hajdari Translated by Ian Seed (Shearsman Books)

Tears in the Fence

When in 1970 Isaiah Berlin delivered his Romanes Lecture on the subject of the Russian novelist Ivan Turgenev he emphasised the writer’s refusal to be drawn into the world of politics:

‘Nature, personal relationships, quality of feeling – these are what he understood best, these, and their expression in art…The conscious use of art for ends extraneous to itself, ideological, didactic, or utilitarian, and especially as a deliberate weapon in the class war, as demanded by the radicals of the sixties, was detestable to him.’

Six years after Berlin had delivered his talk the young Albanian poet Gëzim Hajdari was in his last year at high school and completing his volume of poems Bitter Grass. It was not permitted to be published by the government publication house in Tirana on account of it being a text that failed to deal with the theme of the socialist village and the…

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..day 108..

sonja benskin mesher

.day 108.

our thinking changes over time
doesn’t it?

these quiet times of isolation have
affected some
and they become startled at what is
still going on outside

with words and maybe misunderstanding

if there is a question
we  can research it to allow things to grow

they certainly will this weather
so much rain that i remain inside
this morning

no early walk have been soaked twice
recently
right through

hence comes the changes

i photograph at the window
yet you cannot feel the wet
from the image
nor feel the wind
for wind there is this time

perhaps the poet had done his job
for you james
and set you on your path?

you can think of him on your bicycle
his words & patterns
the flow of ideas
& this will remain forever with you

things stay here and sadly it all reappeared
while walking like a…

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National Insect Week Poetry Challenge: Take part with Laura McKee, Kate Mattacks@mypaperskin, Cheryl Moskovitz, Phil Sheppard, Andres Rojas, sonja benskin mesher, Ankh Spice, Ian Seed, Amy Evans Bauer, Yvonne Marjot, Ama Bolton, Debbie Strange, Rachel Deering, Ama Bolton, John McManus, Claudia Serea, Linda Imbler, Anjum Wasir Dar, Judi Sutherland, Dai Fry and myself. Monday: Dragonflies, Tuesday: Wasps And Bees, Wednesday: Ants, Thursday: Beetles, Friday: Butterflies, Saturday: Moths, Sunday: Flies and sundry insects. Email me and I will add yours to my daily WordPress posts, also posted to Twitter and Facebook. This is the final day , but you can still add to all the posts already published. Here are today’s: Flies and other sundry insects

Rachael Ikins skipper on Aster

“Skipper on Aster” by Rachael Ikins

Rachael Ikins sipping nectar

“Sipping Nectar” by Rachael Ikins

image4

Lady Birds by Debbie Strange

Cheryl Moskowitz Mosquito

Cheryl Moskowitz Not Alone

-Cheryl Moskowitz

Jo Weston “The Fawn And The Flea”. Please scroll down to the bottom of the link to see her video:

https://joweston1.wixsite.com/joweston/poetry-videos

beer can graveyard
the house fly
does another lap

surprise party
gnats congregate around
the toilet light

afternoon heat
a couple of flies rest
on the guard dog’s nose

a fly floats
around my pint glass —
lock in

-Johnny Haiku McManus

Laura McKee Water Boatman

As it appears in Ink, Sweat And Tears

-Laura McKee

Winged Arrivals

Suddenly jewelled green is bitter.
Under the hottest sun this year
thin legs land on skinned brown.

I watch wondering.

How can that beautiful peacocked metallic hue
associate with this dull stench?

Hand gloved in plastic bag
I encompass the gathering point,
remove the flies feast.

I long to reclaim that brightest of greens
take it back for Barcelona days,
but the tainting odour lingers.

-Sue Finch

Cockroaches

The Stalls crowd eating salmon at the bar
suspected nothing of the teeming mass,
a cast of thousands underneath the fridge
that held their ices for the interval,
their chocolate, strawberry and vanilla tubs.
One night, some careless usher dropped his change;
we had to move the thing to get it up.
Out came the cockroaches, big, little, large,
by ones and twos at first, dazed by the lights,
they straggled on. Then came a seething crowd,
returning veterans from Waterloo.
We left the room, lacking the killer drive.
The crackling-creaking-rustling quickly stopped.
They’d all returned to their ancestral home.

In time, some trendy so-and-so decreed
(ignoring the past visits of the Thames),
the basement decor needed livening up.
He had it done in smart brown hessian
to show off theatre prints, costume designs
from plays, grey aluminium-framed, for sale.
The Thirties’ paintwork was all covered up,
and things got warmer. He’d not bargained for
the insects having his same sense of taste,
brown sacking, just what any roach would love.
They did too. What a Spring they had, up, down
and round about. They even did things by
the cloakroom hatch, rode on velvet jackets,
drowned in gin.

-FIona Pitt-Kethley

Insect

Walking by the council houses in the falling snow, I thought I saw someone waving to me from a downstairs window. Yet when I got close enough to press my face against the frosty glass, I realised I had been mistaken; there was only a family watching television. Looking more closely still however, I saw myself walking on the screen. The youngest daughter was crying because the way I dragged my crushed leg behind me reminded her of an insect.

(From Shifting Registers, Shearsman, 2011)

Flies

in their armies
crawl across the stinging desert,
eyes begging the horizon to
meet them.

The sun is a metal mirror
reflecting, shooting the sting into
black backs till they
wilt yellow;
die;

crumble into,
become a part of, that
sand they once crept on –
the white dust
of their ancestors.

Ian Seed In The Heat fly poem

-Ian Seed

Cicada nymphs spend years deep underground
then (should) emerge in the cool night to shed their skins.

That summer afternoon
you became a mother
for three days, and a tree
for three minutes. She’d emerged too early,
the small brown spaceship of her body
launched to the surface
by the tumult of a fallen oak. The sound
a woman looses when her bare leg
is persistently climbed by tiny hooked crampons
is shrill and bounces the eardrums. Cicada
choirs echo the same – perhaps
that’s how you bonded so deeply
with an insect. So tender
as she slowed, her skin hardening
in the sun, so carefully her stiff feet
pinned into cradle-cracks of branch. Once in a lifetime
or never, may all of us witness something born
again. And this creature, transparent as a body
of water, fighting from a split rock. Becoming deep
impossible with setting vein, aurora blood-
inked by sky and leaf and petal. Her wings twisted
awry too fast, betrayed by time
of day. The female of this species
stays silent. She watched us
quietly, complaining never
of our strange delight
our stranger grief
until she left this brief, hard light.

-Ankh Spice

Rachel Deering Blue bottle 426px-Osias_Beert_-_Flowers_in_a_German_tigerware_vase,_with_a_bluebottle_fly_and_a_Red_Admiral_butterfly,_on_a_ledge

File:Osias Beert – Flowers in a German tigerware vase, with a bluebottle fly and a Red Admiral butterfly, on a ledge.jpeg

Rachel Deering Bluebottle

Bluebottle by Rachel Deering

Bluebottle

Funeral directors of blow flies arrive,
always punctual to manage the dead,
compound eyes range a corpse
with an efficient fervour,
appropriate the decay required
to feed and lay their gentles,
and despite their necessity,
their indisputable place
in the order of things –
we are disgusted –
death is not a nursery for the young.
Unashamedly, they wear their colours
with pride, electric blue and green,
polished to a mirrored sheen,
bristled, claw-toed, filigree-winged:
beautiful, in fact, and yet,
the buzz – the noise of corruption,
the bold pronouncement of the presence
of the proximity of death;
mortality hovers, frightens,
darts to take flight from my swat.

Rachel Deering.

The Lonely Fly

Looking for love?????
Must like fresh vomit,
taste with your feet.
Enjoy walking upside down
and be fond of defecting
whenever you land.

In it for the buzz.
Young and single male fly
with a zany sense of humour
and a love of travel.
Life’s short, so live a little.
No spiders need apply

PS Must lay your own eggs.

-Dai Fry

Upside Down with a Hundred Eyes

Grapes are sour in Antarctica
But we have abundant decaying
matter, all over the world a scatter
to lay our fine family eggs,

From the Order of Diptera, almost
all terrestrial habitats are ours, a
hundred eyes to see, nothing is hid
from land or sea,

The only weapon we dread is the ‘swat’
ever present by the dining table spread.
We live on a liquid diet, Ah God did not
bless us with teeth, but designed us to

Taste food with our legs and feet,we can
walk up side down, anywhere green or
brown, fear us-
Fear Us more, than Covid-19, the
dangerous part lies with the eyes in between.

We can survive all pesticides insecticides,
be a nuisance with our buzzing noises
carry diseases all around in the air, on ground
cover the fruit or food, we will find the way around.
We the flies are magnificent in minuteness.

-anjum wasim dar
Copyright CER 2020

Musca domestica

I drive you mad
I’m the least of things
cruising just out of reach
on cellophane wings

in through the keyhole
looking for meat
I walk on the ceiling
on six sticky feet

I spit on your food
I sample your beer
I shit on your lampshade
I buzz in your ear

I sit on your breakfast
and wash my face
I land on your neck
and leave a kiss

I land in your hair
you shake me out
I land on your cheek
bloody cheek you shout

I land on the baby
I land on the cot
I take off backwards
to evade the swat

I see in slow-motion
I see in the dark
I sleep on the pelmet
I’m up with the lark

I breed at great speed
to replace the dead
I’m the least of things
and I drive you mad

-Ama Bolton

specodesichneumon rhyssabittacusaprocita

.flies.

day of flies, warm weather.
say what you will.it is
not
my fault .
the day begins.

sbm.

. flying things.

surround this area,
live inside. loving
lamps ,damp october air.
shadow, films
with out words, stuttering.
moths, yes i usually write
of moths, now long legs
come into play. outside
planes fly over, estuary
birds call. autumn.

sbm.

My Millipede

I’ve never met the millipede
That lives within these walls.
From baby-steps pattering ear-filled
To stomping wheelie bin thunder above
But I’ve seen the forlorn piles of shoes
Clogging up the hall
Holding the imprint of his resolve
Believing he is owed all the odd socks
Liberated laundry rebel
When he leaves
I shall miss the perennial warm-toed thief
We’ll shake many hands
A long farewell of regal waving
Scurrying to standstill
Steve.

-Kate Mattacks@mypaperskin

Incubation

So this is what I’ve arrived at—this mouthful existence,
this pale-green that even breath might break. There is no sky.

Only the flatness of blood and feelers. Taut for release
is the world, a flood that will engulf even the sky.

Frog, snake and hawk—all sound the same under water. I float
a bird in the lagoon as if it were the sky.

Soon, the hungers will take me in their arms and pollen
will light everything in yellow drifts. Soon, nothing but sky.

And yet there’s nothing colder than the rooms of waiting,
told nothing, knowing nothing. It’s easier to forsake sky,

to accept this incarceration as permanent,
a cell no key may breach. I grow still as the sky.

Hour by hour even the slightest breeze can kill. Stealth
lodges in my veins, a song. There is a lowering of sky.

Time slides like sheets of rain. Inside me, something opens,
anemone of many petals. It must be the sky.

-Anindita Sengupta

Mayflies by Andres Rojas

-Andres Rojas

The centipede that liked to read

The centipede
Loved to read
From her head to her very last toe
There’s mystery afoot
One in each book
And fifty books on the go

The ladybirds
Like the words
The leeches like the pictures
The caterpillars
Like creepy thrillers
The spiders ones with witches

When the sun gets low
The glow worms glow
To light up every last word
Then she marks all the pages
(that takes her ages)
And they dream of the stories they’ve heard

-Phil Sheppard

Fly

I would melt a frozen orchid
in my mouth until it blossoms,
cradle the mosaic of a shattered
snail in my hands, fuse it whole,
breathe orbs of sunlight through
the ether to the chrysalis
of your body, turn your sickness
into strength.

But instead,
this summer afternoon, I scoop
a meniscus-flattened fly
from the bathtub, dab
the pool of wetness from around
its waterlogged remains,
blow like a miniature zephyr
until I sense
an almost imperceptible stirring,
gentle twitch of consciousness.

A single glistening
thread unpeels from human skin.
Six black legs spring
against hot pink finger,
separation of bodies,
shake of slick wings,
a moment of orientation,
suddenly flight.

This I can do
again and again,
give someone else
another chance at life.

(Anti-Heroin Chic, December 2019, Peace – Kindness – Sensitivity issue, Ed. James Diaz)

-Lucy Whitehead

Humming Tree

This Olearia:
every floret holds a hum.
Hoverfly heaven.

Midge

A midge is a fly
with a look in its eye:
here’s my itchy surprise.

-Yvonne Marjot

Amy Evans Quell

-Amy Evans Bauer

Fly Me To The Moon
(One Day in the Life of a Fly)

Born at dawn in this nightclub lounge,
I’ve got a talent that may astound.
I might be only a bug without a stinger,
But, no razzing, I’m quite a singer.
Give me Blues or Dixieland,
A little swing, I’ll swing it, Man!

And as for requests, this one’s the bomb,
Old Bart wrote well when he wrote this song.
A snappy tune worthy of sharin’
Sung also by Frankie and Bobby Darin.

(It was the first song played on the moon
by Buzz Aldrin. Hey—Buzz! Dig it, Pally!!)

So, you’ve got me, the zippy crooner
Belting out a tune that once went lunar,
Bringing out the smooch in honeymooners,
Making me feel like a floating ballooner.

So, I ain’t a poet,
Don’t I know it!

La-la-la-it’s cold up here in the air.

Wait!! Is that a lounge lizard
that just sat down in front
and is sticking out his ton..?!!!!!!

-Linda Imbler

Ode To A Katyadid

Ode To A Katydid

Katydid, your appearance beguiles —
Resembling that which does not dwell
Among the creeping.

Silent and separate from the choir,
You slowly slink beneath the sunlight as a specter,
So rare to behold.

Exquisite beauty so easily overshadowed
By the bittersweet song of your ensemble,
And so elusive to the human eye!

Katydid, bask in Summer’s glow while the sun still allows,
And when the day is done, sing your measures of
The season’s sorrowful song.

Your symphony awaits and
Your audience knows that your notes
Will yield to snowflakes and shivers before too long.

-Rachel B. Baxter (previously published in Medium)

 

dead houseflies
litter my windowsill
blindsided
not even compound eyes
see the way out of here

Undertow Tanka Review 7, Sept/15

-Debbie Strange

wild carrots in the meadows
a horsefly settles on Queen Anne’s lace

The Asahi Shimbun

away from the crowd
estuary fireflies
and I

Creatrix 45 Haiku June 2019 Issue.

isolation
on a sultry night
mosquitos

Pangolin Review, Covid-19 May 2020

orphan
a fly shares
her begging-bowl

FemkuMag 2, July 2018 and
Wind Flowers – the Red Moon Anthology 2019 and
https://www.redmoonpress.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=32&products_id=324

long month
the cicada’s cry
yet to arrive

Re-side Issue 3, Winter 2019

very s l o w l y
a sudden swat
misses the fly

Shot Glass Journal Issue #31 May 2020

Christina_minerbee_bleachedbutterfly[84027]

a yellow jacket miner emerges
the secrets

A haiga in the inaugural issue of Bleached Butterfly Magazine

-Christina Chin

Bios and Links</strong

-Christina Chin

is from Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia. Recently she won two of City Soka Saitama’s 2020 prizes. She is the 1st place winner of the 34th Annual Cherry Blossom Sakura
Festival 2020 Haiku Contest hosted by University of Alabama’s
Capstone International Center. Her photo-haiku won a Grand Prix Award in the 8th Setouchi Matsuyama International Contest in 2019. She is published in the multilingual Haiku Anthology (Volumes 3-5) and the International Spring Saijiki. Christina is published in Haikukai (俳句界) one of Japan’s biggest monthly haiku magazines. Her poems appear in many journals including AHS Frogpond Journal, the Red Moon Anthology, Akitsu Quarterly Journal, The Asahi Shimbun, ESUJ-Haiku, Presence, Chrysanthemum, The Cicada’s Cry, The Zen Space, Wales Haiku Journal, Prune Juice, Failed Haiku and Cattails (UHTS).
You can find Christina Chin online at WordPress: https://christinachin99blog.wordpress.com/. She also maintains an ongoing scheduled blog of featured and published haiku: https://haikuzyg.blogspot.com/.
Twitter:
https://twitter.com/Christina_haiku?s=09
Instagram:
https://instagram.com/zygby22

-Anindita Sengupta

is the author of City of Water (2010) and Walk Like Monsters (2016). Her work is in several anthologies and in Plume, Asian Cha, One, Bombay Literary Journal, High Desert Journal and others. She has been a Charles Wallace Fellow, and has received awards from TFA India and Muse India. She is from Mumbai and currently lives in Los Angeles. www.aninditasengupta.com

-John McManus

is an award winning Haiku poet from Carlisle, Cumbria, England. He’s the author of Inside His Time Machine (Iron Press, 2016) and After The Rain (Bones, 2019)

-Rachel Deering

is a teacher who lives in Bath with a cat. She loves history, folklore, nature, science, art and literature. She has been published in a few journals and anthologies here and there. In January, 2020 Cerasus Poetry published her debut collection, ‘Crown of Eggshell’. Rachel contributes regularly to ABCTales writing under the name of onemorething.

-Rachael Ikins

Associate Editor Clare Songbirds Publishing House, Auburn NY

https://www.claresongbirdspub.com/shop/featured-authors/rachael-ikins/

2020 NLAPW Biennial Letters Competition 3rd prize Childrens category

2019 Faulkner Finalist, 2019-20 Vinnie Ream semi-finalist, 2018 Independent Book Award winner (poetry), 2013, 2018 CNY Book Award nominee, 2016, 2018 Pushcart nominee

Www.writerraebeth.wordpress.com

https://m.facebook.com/RachaelIkinsPoetryandBooks/

@poetreeinmoshun on Instagram

@writerraebeth on Tumblr

@nestl493 on Twitter

-Ama Bolton

is a writer, editor and book-artist and convenes a Stanza group in Somerset.

-Kate Mattacks@mypaperskin–

I’m a researcher at the University of Reading with the Stories of Ageing Project. I support therapeutic writing workshops in hospitals and prisons. Trying to write more poetry, feed 3 dogs and be more human…

-CHERYL MOSKOWITZ

writes poetry for adults and children. Her most recent publication is THE CORONA COLLECTION – A CONVERSATION. http://www.coronacollectionpoetry.com Cheryl’s website is http://www.cherylmoskowitz.com

=Andres Rojas

is the author of the chapbook Looking for What Isn’t There (Paper Nautilus Press Debut Series Winner, 2019) and the audio-only chapbook The Season of the Dead (EAT Poems, 2016). His poetry has been featured in the Best New Poets series and has appeared in, among others, AGNI, Barrow Street, Colorado Review, Massachusetts Review, New England Review, and Poetry Northwest.

-Yvonne Marjot

-FIona Pitt-Kethley

is the author of more than 20 books published by Chatto, Abacus, Salt, Peter Owen and others. SHe lives in Spain.

is a lost kiwi, now living on a Scottish island. She has been making up stories and poems for as long as she can remember. Her first volume of poetry, The Knitted Curiosity Cabinet, won the Brit Writers Award for poetry in 2012. She loves her job, running a small public library, and has published four novels and a book of short stories. Twitter handle: @alayanabeth

-sonja benskin mesher

born , Bournemouth.

now

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:

https://thewombwellrainbow.com/2018/10/16/wombwell-rainbow-interviews-sonja-benskin-mesher/

-Ian Seed’s

latest collection of poetry is Operations of Water (Knives, Forks and Spoons Press, 2020). His collection of prose poems, The Underground Cabaret, will be published by Shearsman in autumn 2020.

-Phil Sheppard

is a writer and illustrator from Doncaster. A former primary school teacher, he is currently working as Doncaster’s Senior Project Officer for the National Literacy Trust. His website is http://www.philshepp.com

National Insect Week Poetry Challenge: Take part with Anna Kisby, Lucy Whitehead, Geraldine Clarkson, Colin Bancroft, Elizabeth Moura, Debbie Strange, Karlo Sevilla, Dr. M. W. Bewick, Samantha Merz, sonja benskin mesher, Chris Jones, Jay Caldwell, David Rudd-Mitchell, Yvonne Marjot, Susanna Lee, David Pollard, Mark Grainger, Samantha Merz, Bethany Mitchell, Charlie Ulyatt, Claudia Serea, Michelle Stevens, M. T. Simon, Anjum Wasir Dar, Jim (the Poet) Young, Devon Marsh, Graham Bibby, Briony Collins, Dai Fry and myself. Monday: Dragonflies, Tuesday: Wasps And Bees, Wednesday: Ants, Thursday: Beetles, Friday: Butterflies, Saturday: Moths, Sunday: Flies. Email me and I will add yours to my daily WordPress posts, also posted to Twitter and Facebook. You can still add to all the posts already published. Here are today’s: Moths

Dinting Fields by Jay Cladwell in Places Of Poetry

-Dinting Fields by Jay Caldwell, originally published in Places Of Poetry. Published by kind permission

Nuns Galore

I remember a time when the desert wasn’t metaphor,
when I was inserted there, for dry-throated reasons,
for years. A tree outside my cell leaved itself after rain
with lime parakeets and open-handed moths cloaking
the trunk with heavy wings of serge.
A decent desert, worth its salt. A sister-lined system.
The desert isn’t the desert unless it is too big for you.
This spiritual wilding lacks waymarkers and bounds.
And we were desert mothers and accomplices,
engendering puddle-babies and preening date palms;
aspersing them with quarter-buckets of day-old
well water, when it could be spared:
until they poked out flaring devils’ tongues—
which seemed to give a focus.

Days Round like the Moon

Mapped to the urban (but the soul can live on a little green,
can thrive on a tree; witness Coleridge’s patch of sky),
they nonetheless call themselves women of the blue flowers,
who flow back to the source, small and pink-breasted, multifoliate,
stamens alight. They will never be obsolete, women of the blue faces,
women of the blue fleeces, their tongues plumped up, giving rue,
dealing it like it was a winning hand at rummy, a many-wristed mother
wiping little mouths with a muslin napkin, while slow white moths
gather at the door. During Compline on the radio, a husband makes a pass
at the agency cook, who takes it all in her athletic stride. At day’s end,
the rhythm of the hours pauses on its cusp and the women reclothe
themselves in midnight blue, clutching the stars, women of the blue faeces,
dusting the moon and sinking down naked to dawn and Lauds.

-Geraldine Clarkson

David Pollard Moths

-David Pollard

moths on the screen door
light is a wicked thing
blinding the hopeful
drawing in fragile creatures
looking for something real

-Elizabeth Moura

a hammock
of tent caterpillars
sags with dew . . .
our differing opinions
on the nature of beauty

tanka published in Atlas Poetica Special Feature, January 2018

bind my body
with spanworm silk
lay me down
in a shaded garden
until I turn to earth

tanka published in Atlas Poetica Special Feature, August 2019

-Debbie Strange

cicada
lichen

lizard
moth

-Charley Ulyatt (Published in Hummingbird)

MOTH-KU

lamp lamp lamp lamp lamp
lamp lamp lamp lamp lamp lamp lamp
lamp lamp lamp lamp lamp

=Susanna Lee

Faceless extinctions

A moth arrives like a small hand passing over my face
and when I open my eyes a heartbeat thuds against my
bedside shade. Leave your window ajar and your lamp lit –
why, that’s an invitation, says he. White ermine, little prince.

It was all my fault. No sooner had he nested than I requested
him gone. My insides spun him a silk cocoon, simple to sweep.
He had no face. A moth is a butterfly as a weed is a flower
alighting in the wrong place. Garden tiger, he grew.

A moth arrives like tinnitus, but listen and he stills his wings.
He only begins again on his own terms. Tell me my name?
he asks and won’t stop, like I am a light-trap and he is stunning
himself. Blood-vein, a lost boy looking for his shadow.

It was a hospital bed in strip-light. How uselessly we witness
the faceless. Our windscreens are clean of winged-reminders
of what is lost. In each of my hands, a small hand of the living.
Notice these night-thoughts and let them go. V-moths, thinning.

-Anna Kisby (originally published in Ink, Sweat and Tears)

The Butterfly will be admired,
While moths are often less desired.

-David Rudd-Mitchell

bronwen griffiths moth hailku

-bronwen griffiths

Chris Jones Moth Collectors

-Chris Jones

Colin Bancroft Moth poem

-Colin Bancroft

The large moth that flew in

It poked me in the cheek, trying to fly into my mouth, seeking refuge as if it were a word I uttered long time ago and now awakened from the dead.

Moth, from Old English moththe, Middle Dutch motte, Old Norse motti—were you a sound from sleep, a muffled cry? Were you spoken in error in the wrong ear, unintelligible, soft? Were you lost, looking for meaning down my throat?

Were you the comet moth, the black witch, the luna or the Gypsy, the emperor’s gum, good god, the dark dagger, dusky brocade, the death’s hand, the flame, the ghost, the shark, the snout, or the true lover’s knot? Were you November, or winter?

I’ll never know. I picked you up and threw you out into the night.

-Claudia Serea

Moth

This crypt still place
of twisted sheets,
a midnight room
black wings in flight.

I wake and struggle
to free my tangle
understand where
and how I lie.

The room lightens
monochromatic,
a landscape of shape
and shadow.

A large patterned
moth a terror to me.

A single flame,
a wooden box.
At last I sleep.

In this morning light
I opened the box,
it was empty.

-© Dai Fry 26th June 2020

A Lime Hawk Moth M W

-Dr. M.W. Bewick

The moth and the moon

The moth in my hand stopped
chained by the dust on my fingers.
Its fluttering receding with the moon
that it will never chase again.
The dust is mine
but the prized moth
that I thought was within my grasp
is now the moth and moon of a tragedy.
Forgive me.

-Jim (the poet) Young

.. mothth..

the mothth as collage.
a quiet ththing.

#jaw

(photo challenge)

mothth 1mothth 2mothth 3mothth 4mothth 5

-sbm

fire fetish

she reaches
for the flame,
and her fingertips
burst into moths…

=Karlo Sevilla

This piece was previously published here in Quatrain.fish: https://quatrain.fish/post/148500316772/karlo-sevilla on August 9, 2016.

 Queen Carola’s Parotia on the Pergola

There was a gypsy moth massacre
Searching under decaying wood to get to the heart of contentment
Queen Carola’s Parotia on the Pergola
Reminiscent of a young European Paola
I heard news reports that it would be too windy for the vessels to dock
Ignoring the coarse-haired drummer
Into the virtual portal, longing to feel the sun again
Getting carried by Sunday schemes in your Chevrolet Blue Blazer
In the middle of doubting myself before speaking out
Overjoyed when I saw you outside the drugstore
I’m glad you’re grounded because I don’t want you to leave
Just know I’m wide for you

-Samantha Merz
Vancouver, British Columbia

Queen Carola’s Parotia on the Pergola poem published online at Grey Thoughts on May 25, 2019.

Autograph

You watch inky glass warp
+ shimmer — speckled
with dust. A noctuid
on the windowpane. Silver
y quivering between lilac
stars, agitated as water.
One of you enshrouds
the night.

-Bethany Mitchell

There once was a tailor of cloth
Who fought with a wily old moth
He gave it his all
And it bounced off a wall
And landed fair square in his broth

-Graham Bibby

Poetry on Phentermine
Spring, 2017

Often, I truly believe I am not asking
too much because the words weigh
less than all the buds on my tongue
but I later find out they
Weigh more than all the stars
in the sky to the one I
am asking whomever that
may be…

Right now. I feel very afraid.
Of what I do not know.

the other night I saw a moth
that, as it turns out, wasn’t
there.
It fluttered, beating
against the wall opposite of
my bed then disappeared, taking
its shadow with it…
Maybe it was just that—a shadow
of a memory of a moth.

My brain is palpitating. And so too
the day.

Marie died and “took” Cindy with her.
Deborah died. Connie is
Slipping away. I don’t much
like that other lady.

When you feel too alive does
That make you a running, screaming, breathing
fire?

And when in fires form you become
The first alien moth on Earth
Drawing companions of a feather
To you to beat a horde of tiny wings
Against a wall. Leaving smoky
Impressions behind that say

“We were here.”

-M T Simon

Island Sonnets 1

Rarities

The Slender Scotch Burnet Moth clings on
To this yellow bloom, this basalt cliff:
The fragile edge of a fragmentary life
Confined to islands. Under the melting sun
Summer’s haze shimmers over the sea.
There’s a threat of cloud in the west. The wind spills
A scent of gorse flowers over the folded hills.
This warm day’s a welcome rarity.

There’s so much peace in my heart it’s almost pain.
I’m bracing myself to withstand the next surprise,
Which isn’t coming. Ever. Only summer lies
In the days ahead. I’m facing the curious, strange,
Singular thought that it may all be over and done.
I cling to that fragile edge and bask in the sun.

-Yvonne Marjot

Ghost Tree by Mark Grainger 2Ghost Tree by Mark Grainger

Debbie Strange Dying Moth

-Debbie Strange

dying moth” – haiga, Failed Haiku Journal of Senryu Vol.3, Issue 33, Sept/19

moth dust
my muse speaks
of distant stars

Stardust Haiku, issue 35, November 2019

exotic moth display
a dream fragment
surfaces

Acorn #44, spring 2020

a silver moth
among the strawberry roots
autumn chill

Otata 47, November 2019

a white moth
lingers at the window
new moon

Asahi Haikuist Network, 29 June 2018

new moon
silently a chrysalis
splits open

Asahi Haikuist Network, 29 June 2018

Suicidal Moths

Ignorant moths dancing around the flames,
Unaware they’re participating in suicidal games.
Blissful in their quest, heading for the light,
Oblivious of the consequence of their self-destructive plight.
Expecting their fluttering to result in a gain,
Not the inevitable feel of life consuming pain.
Unknowing that their bodies are set to bubble and froth,
They joyously dance around the light,
each in turn becoming . . .
another suicidal moth.

Michelle Stevens

The moth child

All night
nestled in
her shell of light
she sings
of her sadness.
Fluttering wings
surround her,
flashing silver
in the moonlight.
And when she is
afraid,
her body
dissolves
into a thousand
white moths
which disappear
into darkness.

pale autumn moon
who is knocking
at your door?

-Whitehead L, 2018, “The moth child’, in Scryptic: Magazine of Alternative Art and Literature 2.4, Eds S C Gagnon, L A Minor, p70

Missing the Transformation

Moth, we owe you
Our deepest apology.

Not for letting little hands
Capture you in caterpillar
Youth, tiny feet tickling
Wrists and forearm skin;

Not for placing you
In a plastic box,
Snapping shut the lid,
Watching you build a rough cocoon;

Nor for placing you atop
A catch-all table in the kitchen
To which we gravitated,
Observing you at perigee.

Instead, we apologize for
Forgetting you at Christmas.
You emerged and spread wings
In a vacant world,

Devoid of blooms, without a mate.
You are significant for the miracle
We failed to see. Rest now in our garden,
Transform once more for our benefit.

Forgive us for ignoring
Your advent in our home.

-Devon Marsh

she is suspended
between here and gone
a cobweb
catching the light
of this moth-winged life

A Hundred Gourds 4.1, Dec/14

-Debbie Strange

Power of The Moth

Yet un described
member of the Order of Lepidoptera
of the Paraphyletic group, one
of the 160,000 alive on this planet.
Think not of me as a butterfly
though I am a painted lady, breeding
in Royal State, beware I am deadly
my habitat disturbed, not comforting,

I hide and rest by day, not for fear of the
butterfly, I believe in peaceful coexistence,
having long witches’ nose, but not casting spells,
keratin I love, in silk cashmere wool angora fur,

Yes I often hit the wall, I am confused by light
but when I fly by it, I frighten the flame, I love
to play the game, I bite , chew from side to side
hiding in basements cool fabric folds , inside.

Nature created me to warn mankind of the
temporal world, whatever lies unused, I eat
and destroy, so world ends and I too die
or else so delicate , how long can I fly?

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth”,
where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves
break through and steal, but lay up for yourselves
treasures in heaven , away from moths and all decay.

-anjum wasim dar
Copyright CER 2020

Moth

She stares into the droplet of water
and pretends to be a bear.

Her body is covered in brown fur
and she has a bump, right where

her shoulders should be, like a
great grizzly that wanders through

forests of geysers at Yellowstone
or the snowfalls of Canada.

She’ll be dead before she sees the
world beyond the garden of

42 Arnold Avenue, where she was
born two months ago underneath

the lilac tree and filled her belly
on honeysuckle syrup. She sizes

herself up in the droplet – one of
the many mirrors of the rain.

When winter comes, she’ll dry up
with the leaves, never having

pawed her way through Alaska
and without feeling the warmth

of a cub’s scruff against her lips.
She drinks the droplet, watching

her reflection vanish for the sake
of a thirst still unsatisfied.

-Briony Collins

Bios and links

-Anna Kisby

is a Devon-based poet, archivist and author of the pamphlet All the Naked Daughters (Against the Grain Press, 2017). She won the Binsted Arts prize 2019, BBC Proms Poetry competition 2016, and was commended in Faber’s New Poets Scheme. In 2019 she collaborated on the project Creative Histories of Witchcraft and is subsequently working on a collection exploring historical magical practitioners.
Note: White ermines, Garden tigers, Blood-veins and V-moths are British moths on the verge of extinction.

Karlo Sevilla,

from Quezon City, Philippines, is the author of the full-length poetry collection, “Metro Manila Mammal” (Some Publishing, 2018), and the chapbook, “You” (Origami Poems Project, 2017). Recognized among The Best of Kitaab 2018 and twice nominated for the Best of the Net Anthology, his poems appear in the journals Philippines Graphic, Small Orange, Black Bough Poetry, Shot Glass Journal, detritus, Radius, Matter, The Daily Drunk, the anthology, “NOSTALGIYA, Antolohiya Ng Mga Tula” of Samahang Lazaro Francisco, and others.    

-Jim Young

– a poet from the Mumbles – who does most of his writing in his beach hut at Rotherslade Bay baitthelines.blogspot.com haikueye.blogspot.com

-Samantha Merz

Samantha’s Pinwheels poem was published in Reality Break Press’ Volume I Poetry Issue. Other poems by Samantha have been published by Polar Expressions Publishing, Grey Thoughts, Fevers of the Mind Poetry Digest, Nymphs, Malarkey Books and Poetry Festival. In 2019, Samantha self-published a collection of poetry called Kazoo.

-Bethany Mitchell

has an interest in poetry which can be read ecologically. She often researches place and landscape through site-specific writing. She recently reviewed Maria Sledmere’s nature sounds without nature sounds for amberflora, co-edited the zine VOICES in association with Nottingham Poetry Exchange, and her poems have been published or are forthcoming in Crêpe & Penn, Kissing Dynamite, lower ground 18 and (w)hole. She tweets @bethjmitch

-Yvonne Marjot
is a lost kiwi, now living on a Scottish island. She has been making up stories and poems for as long as she can remember. Her first volume of poetry, The Knitted Curiosity Cabinet, won the Brit Writers Award for poetry in 2012. She loves her job, running a small public library, and has published four novels and a book of short stories. Twitter handle: @alayanabeth

-Lucy Whitehead

writes haiku and poetry. Her haiku have been published widely in international journals and anthologies such as Acorn, Autumn Moon Haiku, bones, Frogpond, hedgerow, Modern Haiku, Otata, Presence, Prune Juice, The Heron’s Nest, and The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku 2018 and 2019. Her longer poetry has been published this year or is forthcoming in Broken Spine Artist Collective, Burning House Press, Clover and White, Kissing Dynamite Poetry, Parenthesis Journal, Pink Plastic House, Pussy Magic, 3 Moon Magazine, Re-side, and Twist in Time Magazine. You can find her on Twitter @blueirispoetry.

-M T Simon

reads and writes poetry of all forms but is especially fond of haiku/senryu, tanka and haibun. Her poetry has been published in several magazines both online and in hard copy. Most notably, she won first prize in the Dreamers Creative Writing Haiku Contest and was published in the Jul-Oct 2019 issue if that magazine. She is also an essay finalist and enjoys writing flash fiction, short stories and novels. Her first novel, Heart of Malice, came out in 2015 and another, Six Strings is soon to be released both are under the pen name: C Billie Brunson.

-Devon Marsh

served as a Navy pilot before a career in banking. His poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in The Lake, Poydras Review, The Timberline Review, Remembered Arts Journal, Black Bough Poetry, and periodicities: a journal of poetry and poetics. Devon lives in the North Carolina piedmont.

-Debbie Strange

is an internationally published short-form poet, haiga artist, and photographer whose creative passions connect her more closely to the world and to herself. She enjoys exploring the wilds with her husband in their lime green 1978 VW campervan. Debbie maintains a publications and awards archive at debbiemstrange.blogspot.com.

-Briony Collins

is a writer, artist, and actor based in North Wales, represented by DHH Literary Agency. Her career began when she won the 2016 Exeter Novel Prize. Since then she has gone on to publish poems with Agenda Magazine, Black Bough Poetry, Vociferous Press, and Creative Bangor. Last year, her short story ‘Citroen Sid’ was published by Retreat West to raise money for Indigo Volunteers, and her first play, For the Sake of the Jury was performed to packed audiences at the Victorian Christmas Festival in Beaumaris. She is currently the co-editor of Cape Magazine and co-host of the Altered Egos podcast. In addition to her writing, Briony enjoys directing and performing in plays. Most recently, she starred in Birdsong as Lieutenant Stephen Wraysford in a production for Bangor.

-Mark Grainger

was born in Sussex, but now translates financial reports for a living in Frankfurt, Germany, where he lives with his fiancée and their dog. Inspired by his grandfather, also a poet, he began writing poems to share with his family in 2018. When his output ballooned under the coronavirus lockdown, he began sharing ‘lockdown poetry’ on Twitter (@marktgrainger).

-‘Bronwen Griffiths

is the author of published two novels and two collections of flash fiction. She also writes poetry and attends the Rye Harbour poetry workshop (or used to before Covid). She lives on the East Sussex/Kent border.

-Chris Jones

lives in Sheffield and teaches at Hallam University. His last published poetry collection was Skin (Longbarrow Press, 2015).

=Geraldine Clarkson

lives in the UK Midlands and her first full poetry collection from which these two poems are taken is called Monica’s Overcoat of Flesh and is published by @NineArchesPress

-Charlie Ulyatt

A poet of two halves – Charlie Ulyatt started writing poetry in his early twenties with earlier short poems printed in publications including Haiku Quarterly, Purple Patch, Peace and Freedom, Iota and Sepia amongst others. He also self published a small booklet of predominantly small vignettes called ‘Scorched Wings’, before ‘semi retiring’ from poetry for a while to focus on improvised music.

The second half ‘kicked off’ a little over a year ago with a more minimalistic approach to poetry, allowing space for imagination and reflection. He has recently self published a small pamphlet entitled ‘Absent Stirring’ and a small 8 poem ‘beak book’, ‘Slow Day Ahead’ and has also had poems published in HQ Poetry Magazine and Hummingbird (US) along with poems included in a garden poetry project.

-David Pollard

has been furniture salesman, accountant, TEFL teacher and university lecturer. He got his three degrees from the University of Sussex and has since taught at the universities of Sussex, Essex and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem where he was a Lady Davis Scholar. His doctoral thesis was published as: The Poetry of Keats: Language and Experience (Harvester and Barnes & Noble). He has also published A KWIC Concordance to the Harvard Edition of Keats’ Letters, a novel, Nietzsche’s Footfalls (Self-published) and five volumes of poetry, patricides, Risk of Skin and Self-Portraits and Broken Voices (all from Waterloo Press), bedbound (from Perdika Press), Finis-terre (from Agenda) and Three Artists (from Lapwing Publications). He has translated from Gallego, French and German. He has also been published in other volumes and in learned journals and many reputable poetry magazines. He divides his time between Brighton on the South coast of England and a village on the Rias of Galicia.

There is a substantial article on his work which appeared in Research in Phenomenology and which can be read at:
http://www.davidpollard.net/david-pollard-and-philosoHi Paul,

phy-by-jason-m-wirth/

Further information can be found at
davidpollard.net
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Pollard_(author)