Day Eight: Welcome to a special ekphrastic challenge for November. Artworks from Terry Chipp, Marcel Herms, MJ Saucer, P A Morbid, the inspiration for writers, Gaynor Kane, Peach Delphine, Sally O’Dowd, sonja benskin mesher, Anindita Sengupta, Liam Michael Stainsby, Helen Allison, Sarah Connor, Sarah Reeson, Holly York, Jane Dougherty, Gayle J Greenlea, Susan Darlington, Lydia Wist, Dai Fry, and myself. November 8th.

Day Eight

i speak, but You do not listen P A Morbid
i speak, but You do not listen by p a morbid
MH8 Charon, mixed media on paper, 22,4 x 30,6 cm, 2020
Charon by Marcel Herms

Willing Subjects

Frugally foraged plants
In situ – pricey house?
Indoors blends with outdoors
Outdoors an extension
Of the living quarters
Indoors an extension
Of the natural world
From my vantage point in
The best armchair there is
The best details are drawn

A Willing Subject”

Kind genuine eyes
Mirrors these values
And there’s no choice
The artist must capture
This purest form of beauty
If they a willing subject want to be

-Lydia Wist

For All I Know of Fear.

Forever in the moments
when the anger presses near –
disguised from head to toe
in the dirge and in the gear
and I have known of men in Sodom
and I have watched them disappear.
If you could bring me kindness –
then I would bring you fear.

I taught well enough on poetry
wrote the hate-lines and the jeers
in the dive bar and the trap house
with the broken, formless queers
and I want each man to know of,
you, fair mutineer
who sang the blues in Summer
when I sang on in fear.

I could play the blessed music
on our nights out on the pier
swim the waters of your tongue
from the darkened to the clear
while the spirit from your reefer
crawled my neck into my ear –
that was the night you saw me clearly
while I watched on in fear.

To the West Village in Autumn
watch the ghosts of Summer cheer
over whiskey by the boathouse
over dreamers flooding near
while a song you don’t remember
dwelled within your silent tear.
I would hear the words you whispered
and think nevermore on fear.

But there is a line outside the church-yard
and there is a ringing in my ear
there’s a hate that’s taken over
and it’s asked us what we hear
it’s a playground in the shadows
of a bitter, pointless spear
it’s a city built on nightmares
it’s a lifetime lost to fear.

-Liam Stainsby

Mogul Meets Charon

The dead do not always leave willingly
They dig in their heels, summon lawyers,

thumb their noses at the Ferryman
It was predictable you would violate

tradition, incite sedition, refuse your final
ride. You swore an oath by the Potomac

and broke it the same day. What is a river
to a god, but something to vanquish

between tee times? A baptism to bestow
super powers? Even Achilles found

he was not invincible. Nighthawk will
come for you at the appointed time

The psychopomp of your choice will ferry
you to Hades, a silver dollar on your lips

The American people have spoken
Celtic is in the House

It is what it is

– Gayle J. Greenlea

Dark River

River’s teeth salivating,
waiting bowed, primed
for mastication.
Time has named me
my psychopomp.
Charon’s boat awaits.

Now in journey’s time.
wood sits hollow a
bouncing on water’s skin.
A coin to the rower,
bent arms racked. To
take me speedy and dry
through deep gates.

Leaning back over
the stern
Stretching my arm
far over life’s stream,
I let my ray-bans slip
into the dark river.

-© Dai Fry 7th November 202


We opened the patio doors and windows,
curtains wafted like veils. She was laid out
in the corner in a pink floral dress,
like a bouquet in a wicker basket
floating on a white cloud.
When the mirrors were covered
and mass was said>br>
we slotted a coin under her tongue;
paying for her passage –
covering all bases.

-Gaynor Kane


If the moss peeled itself off the stone wall –
hundreds of eyelets unhooking from the surface –
it would fall into a velvet evening dress
that would swish past the beds of fern
and the ivy cross-stitching twigs to birch trees.

It would glide over the mud that runs smooth
at the edge of the falls and pause to listen
to the wind as it conducts the rustle of leaves
and the brook’s crystal-cut spray; to watch
butterflies dance over blankets of wild garlic.

It’s to the wearer of this dress
that you offer a tarnished two-pence piece.
Push it into a dry pocket in the wall
until your index finger can go no further
and promise that one day you’ll return.

-Susan Darlington


There is no getting away from it,
the end, no escape;
the dark river beckons that leads to a darker sea.
There is no escape when the time comes,
but does the order have to be so cold?

They accepted, antique minds formed in the military mould,
minds that understood only obedience
and the swift implacable justice of the stars.
But we, I?

Who is this messenger who will not even show his face,
whose the silent barque that slips through oiled waters
with only one destination, no sight-seeing along the way?

I will not pay to have the journey made easy.
I will not take the hand that pulls free souls from life
to cross the water.
I will not go silent slick as oil into the shadows
where no bird sings, no joy in green things shooting
breaks the chill and profound silence.

If there is to be no more light,
I can at least refuse the nothing of oblivion,
and embrace the vast unsleeping comfort of the night.

-Jane Dougherty

Hockey Styx

I hate wearing the mask
but they say it protects
me and others from
the deadly teeth-bearing fungus,
a hoax for sure. Whether
I’m offsides or icing,
frozen crystals fly
from my skates as they slice
grooves into the silvery
surface. An assist!
A goal! All I need
is your blood for my Gordie Howe hat trick.
Come skate with me across the river.

-Holly York

:: do not wish ::

day 8.
or any day. do not wish to hide
do not wish to run

to take the boat and steer
to take the hiatus i fear

it crossed so many times
each time delivering
some time sinking

while we are shouting that
we do not wish to die
my son


wrote of it before
the last crossing

having paid the price we hope to be delivered
knowing that in depth we drown


the island blessed
sandy tracks to wander
in memory
like birds we flew

now it comes commercial
no crossing


I speak but you do not listen

Flame balances upon wick
nourished by candle, the wax
of each day pools at our feet,
we speak of greens, chartreuse,
collards, the gelatin of leaves,
citrus once flowered within us
each breath an exhalation of spice.

Words we carve from shell fragments
sea polished , you could assemble
into a conch of hearing,
or fill glass jars for another day,
oystercatchers dig me out of wet sand,
black skimmers thread the needle
stitching each wave, tumbled smoothness
another black bird comes for me
feathered with night
emptier than moon,
my words remain for you
scattered, shards of tongue.


You say silence is the bolster
these dreams rest against,
eyes and lips are the easiest
memory, hands already out of focus.

The voice swims around in my head
sometimes surfacing, an exhalation,
then the deep breath, somewhere
once we held delight in our hands
briefly, how easily the sea
fills my mouth with bouyancy
how slowly your image
fades with memory.


Tree of breath, rooted in sternum
spine of green, flowing limbs,
we establish thicket in the understory
of utterance, oak and palm
sweetbay and cypress,
flesh you cultivate, tassled
heavy with milk we scrape from the corn
for gritted bread,
we consume so much verdure
grinding the bones
of this land for a last supper
before the reckoning.


River was not meant for passage
outflow and drainage of a basin
unremarked by travelers, seeking
the headwaters only to circle back
to the ford, a steep bank
rickety quay.

“The bed is both river and ferryboat”
he would say, standing over me
one hand of tide on my thigh
“We can haggle over the price,
but you’ll pay”
loose change on the sole,
floorboards have defined my life,
river curving as spine, boat
gently rocking, steadily making way,
fragrance of a dark shore
filling all my senses.

-Peach Delphine


1. PA Morbid

The silent moon
They stitched up her mouth
to silence her, reached for her eyes
to stop her tears –
mercury falling on the rooftop –
stars streaming from the sky –
but she slipped from the grasp
of their red hands.
Crescent she cuts like a blade,
full she floats high,
secrets building inside –
a mountain of words,
fear, anger –
she vomits them into
her mouth,
swallows them again,
afraid of choking.

2. TC12

Conversation with Sigmund
So Herr Doktor
what do you see?
Peering through the mist
into my broken dreams,
my ugly fantasies,
my thoughts unspoken.
Your bright eye
inspects my faults,
my empty breasts,
my cold hands,
the lies I whisper
and the truths I swallow,
like ice-cubes,
freezing as they burn.

3. MJS8

Live with the generosity of trees
she told me, hands open
to give. A bird might fly from them.
She gave like a rose bush gives
scent and colour, gave freely,
abundantly – her eyes
were apples, and her lips were apples,
her hands open like flowers,
she gave with gratitude.

4. MH8

if you ride with me
I’ll teach you to forget –
first your reading glasses,
and the names of friends,
of children – they will fade,
almost unnoticed. Your wife
will disappear into the smoke,
your childhood will just slip away,
then words will go, un-needed,
and unheeded, until
you’re blank, white clean,
nuzzling for the nipple,
wailing in the night.

5. TC8

Winter nights
A face emerges,
blossoming like a bruise spreads –
maybe moonlight
casts a sort of spell,
a grey veil. Maybe
it’s just shadows,
smoke hanging too heavy
in the winter air.
My breath forms clouds
in front of me,
my own breath
deludes me.

-Sarah Connor

8. Charron, Untitled

teeth bearing fungus
smiles, beguiling
legend’s river
never crying:
styx, held in darkness
self, awareness

-Sarah Reeson

Bios and Links

-Terry Chipp

grew up in Thurnscoe and ia now living in Doncaster via Wath Grammar school, Doncaster Art College, Bede College in Durham and 30 years teaching.

He sold his first painting at the Goldthorpe Welfare Hall annual exhibition at the age of 17 and he haven’t stopped painting since.

He escaped the classroom 20 years ago to devote more time to his artwork.  Since then he has set up his own studio in Doncaster, exhibited across the north of England as a member of the Leeds Fine Artists group and had his painting demonstrations featured on the SAA’s Painting and drawing TV channel.  Further afield he has accepted invitations to work with international artists’ groups in Spain, Macedonia, Montenegro and USA where his paintings are held in public and private collections. In 2018 he had a solo exhibition in Warsaw, Poland and a joint exhibition in Germany.

His pictures cover a wide range of styles and subjects from abstract to photo-realism though he frequently returns to his main loves of landscape and people.

Visitors are welcome at his studio in the old Art College on Church View, Doncaster.


Facebook:  Terry Chipp Fine Art Painting


-Marcel Herms

is a Dutch visual artist. He is also one of the two men behind the publishing house Petrichor. Freedom is very important in the visual work of Marcel Herms. In his paintings he can express who he really is in complete freedom. Without the social barriers of everyday life.
There is a strong relationship with music. Like music, Herms’ art is about autonomy, freedom, passion, color and rhythm. You can hear the rhythm of the colors, the rhythm of the brushstrokes, the raging cry of the pencil, the subtle melody of a collage. The figures in his paintings rotate around you in shock, they are heavily abstracted, making it unclear what they are doing. Sometimes they look like people, monsters, children or animals, or something in between. Sometimes they disappear to be replaced immediately or to take on a different guise. The paintings invite the viewer to join this journey. Free-spirited.

He collaborates with many different authors, poets, visual artists and audio artists from around the world and his work is published by many different publishers.

-Jane Dougherty

writes novels, short stories and lots of poems. Among her publications is her first chapbook of poetry, thicker than water. She is also a regular contributor to Visual Verse and the Ekphrastic Review. You can find her on twitter @MJDougherty33 and on her blog

-Peach Delphine

is a queer poet from Tampa, Florida. Infatuated with what remains of the undeveloped Gulf coast. Former cook. Has had poems in Cypress Press, Feral Poetry, IceFloe Press, Petrichor. Can be found on Twitter@Peach Delphine

-Dai Fry

is a poet living on the south coast of England. Originally from Swansea. Wales was and still is a huge influence on everything. My pen is my brush. Twitter:  



-Susan Darlington

Susan Darlington’s poetry regularly explores the female experience through nature-based symbolism and stories of transformation. It has been published in Fragmented Voices, Algebra Of Owls, Dreams Walking, and Anti-Heroin Chic among others. Her debut collection, ‘Under The Devil’s Moon’, was published by Penniless Press Publications (2015). Follow her @S_sanDarlington    

-Holly York

lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her two large, frightening lapdogs. A PhD in French language and literature, she has retired from teaching French to university students, as well as from fierce competition in martial arts and distance running. She has produced the chapbooks Backwards Through the Rekroy Wen, Scapes, and Postcard Poetry 2020. When she isn’t hard at work writing poems in English, she might be found reading them in French to her long-suffering grandchildren, who don’t yet speak French.

-Gayle J. Greenlea

is an award-winning poet and counselor for survivors of sexual and gender-related violence. Her poem, “Wonderland”, received the Australian Poetry Prod Award in 2011. She shortlisted and longlisted for the Fish Poetry Prize in 2013, and debuted her first novel Zero Gravity at the KGB Literary Bar in Manhattan in 2016. Her work has been published in St. Julian Press, Rebelle Society, A Time to Speak, Astronomy Magazine, Headline Poetry and Press and The Australian Health Review.

-Helen Allison

lives in the North East of Scotland. Her first poetry collection ‘ Tree standing small’ was published in 2018 with Clochoderick Press. Her work has appeared in journals and magazines in print and online and she is working towards a second collection.

-Lydia Wist

Like someone who tries out hats or other samples before making a final decision, experimenting with different ideas and techniques is how Lydia spends some of her time. This allows for other portions of time to speak through the lens of fiction, creative nonfiction and art. You can find her work at Cargo Collective , Lydia Wist Creative and on Twitter @Lydiawist.

Website links:

-Sarah Connor

lives in the wild, wet, south-west of England, surrounded by mud and apple trees. She writes poems to make sense of the world, and would rather weed than wash up.

-sonja benskin mesher

-Liam Stainsby

holds a bachelor in English Literature and Creative Writing and is a secondary school teacher of English and Creative Writing. Liam is currently writing his first, professional collection of poetry entitled Borders that explores poetry from all around the world. Liam also Co-Hosts a movie discussion podcast entitled: The Pick and Mix Podcast. Liam writes under the pseudonym ‘Michael The Poet’ 

Links: WordPress:

Twitter: stainsby_liam

Instagram: Michael The Poet

-Sarah Reeson

is 54, married and a mother of two, who has been writing and telling stories since childhood. Over the last decade she has utilised writing not just as entertainment, but as a means to improve personal communication skills. That process unexpectedly uncovered increasingly difficult and unpleasant feelings, many forgotten for decades. Diagnosed as a historic trauma survivor in May 2019, Mental health issues had previously hindered the entirety of her adult life: the shift into writing as expression and part of a larger journey into self-awareness began to slowly unwind for her from the past, providing inspiration and focus for a late career change as a multidisciplined artist.


One thought on “Day Eight: Welcome to a special ekphrastic challenge for November. Artworks from Terry Chipp, Marcel Herms, MJ Saucer, P A Morbid, the inspiration for writers, Gaynor Kane, Peach Delphine, Sally O’Dowd, sonja benskin mesher, Anindita Sengupta, Liam Michael Stainsby, Helen Allison, Sarah Connor, Sarah Reeson, Holly York, Jane Dougherty, Gayle J Greenlea, Susan Darlington, Lydia Wist, Dai Fry, and myself. November 8th.

  1. Pingback: November Ekphrastic Challenge: Day 8 – Jane Dougherty Writes

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