The Collected Special Ekphrastic Challenge for May 2020. The Next Two Days. Artworks from Mary Frances, James Knight and Sue Harpham the inspiration for writers: Alex Mazey, Ankh Spice, Samantha Terrell, Dai Fry, Carrie Ann Golden, sonja benskin mesher, Rich Follett, Don Beukes, Yvonne Marjot, and Paul Brookes

May Ekphrastic challenge white 2[78440] Acknowledgements Thankyou to Jane Cornwell for designing the front cover

May 21st

MF 21

Twilight Asylum

Frozen Eyes – Daily prodding confused nodding
Yes sir no ma’am, ‘You’re not my mother!’ – Look
into my eyes stop fidgeting widen your eyes stop
complaining look up – ‘Shut up I am fed up shut your
trap you old hag!’ Now calm down look this way no
that way are you even still here? Stop fidgeting!

Midnight Lullaby – Nocturnal healing cries soothe
my sore blood shot eyes as the midnight owl echoes
my existential meandering melody of suppressed
forced emotions blamed for defensive contortions
whilst the mocking laughing of a fox unleashes
my lost hoarse voice to violently protest in this
hell-hole confused constrictive nest my inner mess!
I rock myself to sleep as my broken emotions tend
to seep into my darkest demon alley sleep slipping
into the deep branded a confused helpless creep.

Morning Symphony – A bell a voice a familiar knell
a bark from a despised morning lark, ‘Up up no
no messing about mouth open pills down swallow
now, ‘ Fuck off fly off sign out you old bat enough!’
A familiar hypnotising melody booming in the
background in a far corner of the sterile room – A
lonely moaner crying out for attention even just a
brush of human touch but it is not meant for us
as we are drugged and hypnotised in our beloved
cursed twilight asylum sucking in provided helium…

-Don Beukes


The liquidation of all referentials, the sediment in a tea pot, tea leaves
peeling away like bright – I don’t want to repeat myself – like tinned
wonton soup. Once bought a tin of wonton soup, and read the label,
out loud, outside, enjoyed the delicate transparency of a clear broth,
and dumpling sriracha – can taste like battery acid, I have been told,
by those who know better, know the Möbius of a straw, a pork bone,
shrimp swimming in a blue tank, behind the white, moulded recliner.

-Alex Mazey

Day 21 sonjagrey
no pattern left
blunt letters

I have posted then many times with
comments on the larger buildings
up the road

in remission

some places come hardy
with time and some sort
of aging

some people come much the same
numbers adding to the years and

are you one of those james
or do you look at the building
the marks
and wonder

say nothing james

this is all a challenge this year

while some are ignored
not explored

you can’t get round the back
there are watchmen and signs

saying, shouting to get back, get back


Next Sepia

In this next age
a sepia dawn will break
and sustain.

End time dust clouds,
shifting umbrae lands.
Now all are
crawlers, gloamers
in twilight sun rays.

First television
then just the sound,
now sometimes
distant radio, deep
far into the brown.

Some mouldy cheese
or black edged leaf.
The last vitamin D,
piled in quarters.

What was the argument?
Toilet paper, hand sanitiser,
people in old boats.

We let their children drown.
Watched them sink
into our northern seas.

Then a doubter wrapped
in self anger/
poisoned by malaria tablets,
pushed the button.

© Dai Fry 20th May 2020.

Columbarium with Brugmansia

In the quiet silver wind
datura becomes a hardy ghost.
Tendrils black with fleeing light,
Trumpets white as the mushroom-moon,
the only movements here.
Whoever planted that vine
in sorrowing soil by the wall
chose it by commoner’s name.
But no trumpets of angels rip the air
and there’s no salt from the clouds
when at last I find you there.
Grey as ashes, hidden well
behind the woody ropes of clamber
dangling sickly lamps.
Your name, that Mr., sits
as uneasy on my shoulders
as it always has, and when I brace,
uncling that vine, to be quite sure,
the plant’s persistence pulls us free.
What’s left – a fading hint of letters.
An absence none can read.

-Ankh Spice


Staring through the jagged hole
At the torn, diseased world
Tethering my soul
My eyes are drawn
Towards the windows like magnetic poles
Quickening my spirit
When I spot a sparkle of snow
Revealing a new world
Where life still glows
Leaning at the edge
This could be just a mirage, I know
Reaching for the dream
I let go

-Carrie Anne Golden


echoed lives peer through
decades of paint, grime, and pain—
walls talk in layers

-Rich Follett

Sue Day 5


There’s something relaxing
About a boot,
On a foot,
On a leg

I’ve caught myself
Staring down
At my own
After a day of labor, satisfied –

When the legs
Are weak, tired twigs
Ready to snap, but the whole body’s spared
By heavy, solid tree-stumps
On those fragile ends,

Providing strength
For next steps,
With the simple knowledge of
Strong, experienced feet


The King

is an institution reflected in a puddle.
Crenellations are his crown.
He wears an office of windows

He sits in the puddle muses
why his fool wears a pointed hat
and all the notices are so decayed
he cannot discern their meaning.

Perhaps he is a prison where folk
cannot see out.
Perhaps he is an old hospital
that used to be a workhouse.

The fool jingles his cap.
The king does not know
the damp rots his bricks,
does not feel the flood.

-Paul Brookes


For next steps

‘Grey as ashes, hidden well.
the king does not know

May 22nd




Dominos stacked, threes and fives, in close proximity to a limoncello.
Once fell in love with a hotel secretary, a strong word for limerence,
for all things, ontological systems. The limerence I feel towards every
day things, every day people, a game of threes and fives on a wooden
table, in a bar, somewhere in the world. There are places in this world
where the mountains will give you headaches, drinking water, bottled
water in a vending machine, in a carpark, elsewhere, on a park bench.

=Alex Mazey


Wrapped in roots of long ago.
We left our trees for rich alluvial plains.
For millennia we walked the ground,
Now we live in towers and yearn for forests.

©️ Dai Fry 21st May 2020.

urban primeval

leaves are teeth, and bricks—
in a world turned upside down,
everything threatens

-Rich Follett

Day 21 sonja


there are no pins,
no easy way to fix
some things.

this time, we wait
to see the outcome.
mended plates aren’t funny,
scaffold a life.
don’t laugh, it may
happen to you.

the patterns and priorities
listen, repeat the
random insects.
build another way.




We’re taught
Skeletons are the
Inside of us,
But bones
Were never the real core.
It’s marrow
That contains
The DNA imprint –
Connects bodies to brains,
Holds the shudder of
New beginnings.
Marrow is
Blood, oxygen, more –
Low frequency
Radio-wave energy,
Hot blue flame
Of life.


Sue Day 3

That Tree

That rambling Bramley never stopped
swelling fruit. That first time you peeled
an apple to make a monkey’s tail of it.
That jaunty spiral, dangling. That monkey
who watched from his clambersome branch
desiring two things equally and at once:
to eat it up sour just as fast as it grew,
to hold his breath to will it longer
and longer, sweetly unsnapped
until the very last turn of the knife.
When the tree lay down exhausted
of fruiting, that knife, it found her too – carved
her skin for those who had visited her living.
You did not carve a monkey.
That mourner. That boy
who could never sit still at all, except rocked
by the wind and entranced
by some small magic. That still and empty wood
that is the body of a loved one. That snap
of the spiral once we stop growing.
That always desiring two things
equally and at once. That sour.
Oh, that sweet.

-Ankh Spice

The Residents

Daylight Blues – A newly married housewife repeating
repetitive chores staring at limited doors to nowhere dreams silent screams reminiscing happier scenes filled with boisterous laughter her voice now muted her worth rather
diminished to expected forced duties or face marital barking from an insecure domineering jealous failing weakling –

Homecoming – I hear him enter but these paper thin walls reveal domestic dark wars from neighbours existing in shadows some not even let out by drunken pathetic weaklings!
I hear her defend herself she’s had enough – A rushed scuffle something hitting the wall, I step back shaken, nauseous.

The Argument – How dare you talk back to me do you really think you are something without me, somehow free?
Shut up get out I have had enough of your acid accusations
your midnight liaisons – I dare you to touch me but you won’t you spineless coward, I know what you really are you make me sick! Your fiery cutting words have no effect anymore so either you leave or I will get my brother to sort you out –
Oh yeah? You really want to take that chance? I dare you hah!

Midnight Echoes – A voice a thump or a lamp falling but what about the muffled calling a hurried whisper – A door banging!
A shot, frozen to the spot liquid legs feet like mud – Should I?
A grinding a dragging floors creaking, oh God what is all this about? A knock! Heavy breathing a thud a scrape what…hello?

-© Don Beukes


A partly unfolded
map of reflections.
Green veins.
Stilled into concrete

Every map, every blueprint
a mirror to the explorer.

Shows organs that beat,
Veins, routes towards the beat

Wires electrify inside a scaffold
of bones. So every action
becomes a roadway.

We are our creations.

-Paul Brookes


Hot blue flame

you did not carve a monkey

a mirror to the explorer.

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 (

As a singer-songwriter, Rich has released five albums of independent contemporary folk music. His latest. Somewhere in the Stars, is available at 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 and its affiliates.Chapbook: Ebola (West Chester University Poetry Center, 2014)

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

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

-Paul Brookes

is a shop asst. Lives in a cat house full of teddy bears. His chapbooks include The Fabulous Invention Of Barnsley, (Dearne Community Arts, 1993). The Headpoke and Firewedding (Alien Buddha Press, 2017), A World Where and She Needs That Edge (Nixes Mate Press, 2017, 2018) The Spermbot Blues (OpPRESS, 2017), Port Of Souls (Alien Buddha Press, 2018), Please Take Change (, 2018), Stubborn Sod, with Marcel Herms (artist) (Alien Buddha Press, 2019), As Folk Over Yonder ( Afterworld Books, 2019). Forthcoming Khoshhali with Hiva Moazed (artist), Our Ghost’s Holiday (Final book of threesome “A Pagan’s Year”) . He is a contributing writer of Literati Magazine and Editor of Wombwell Rainbow Interviews.

-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.


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 “The Collected Special Ekphrastic Challenge for May 2020. The Next Two Days. Artworks from Mary Frances, James Knight and Sue Harpham the inspiration for writers: Alex Mazey, Ankh Spice, Samantha Terrell, Dai Fry, Carrie Ann Golden, sonja benskin mesher, Rich Follett, Don Beukes, Yvonne Marjot, and Paul Brookes

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