Day Twenty-Five. Special January Ekphrastic Challenge Jan 7th to February 6th. Please join writers Merril D Smith, Jim The Poet, Leela Soma, Holly York, Ailsa Crawley, Michael Dickel, Joy Fleming, Leela Soma, Hilary Otto, Godefroy Dronsart, Alan Gary Smith, Redcat, and myself as we respond to the remarkable art of Chris O’Connor, Marcel Herms and Kerfe Roig and others to arrive in the coming weeks. Sunday.

January 31st

Sin King (sinking), mixed media on paper, 30,3 x 21,1 cm, 2021 MH31

-Marcel Herms “Sin King Sinking”

Spectacle-Face-Phase MD31

-Michael Dickel “Spectacle-Face-Phase”


-Christine O’Connor

the strange KR31

-Kerfe Roig “The Strange”

Kerfe Roig’s – The Strange?

Off Season

A summer in spring, confused flora and fauna,
a summer suspended early, flowers
buds deep in earth, interred as autumn reds,
gold scarred dead leaves of burnished browns
a harvest of fruit and berries unoffered
glaciered infernos, carbon foot on planet
Earth fossilised, as man strives to reach outer space
horizons blink in wild rage as sun, moon, stars
dip into the sea, neither morning nor night
a midnight within a midnight.

-Leela Soma

Strange, Weird and Twisted

Strange rooms shrouded in gloom
Weird sounds echoing in tune
Twisted hallways leading to doom

Strange sights searing the eyes
Weird thoughts rapidly flashing by
Twisted emotions a chorus of cries

Strange voices calling away
Weird doors leading nowhere
Twisted pathways going astray

Strange is the trauma scarred view
Weird is the bullied souls milieu
Twisted is the heart lied to


KR, “The Strange” and MH31 “Sin King (Sinking)”

Wondrous and Strange

where fairies dwell in
but in-between,
in that center line, humans
live with paler hues

to see vibrant shades
or beyond
space and time,
defined in narrow bands—birth
death, and then the end.

But there he
fell, and she caught him—
Fairy Queen.
“Stay,” says she, but no, he wants
home and family.

So, he runs,
bumbles, stumbles, from
the wondrous
fairy place
of green and dancing flowers,
because he senses–knows

beneath the
glow, snapping teeth snarl
and bite, and
huge monsters,
alligator crawl, slither
from swamps, over walls–

it is not
the place for humans.
Our hearts must
wake in that
center line axis of earth,
sun, moon; we need smiles

and tears to
fall, but light always
behind the
shadows tall
and looming. We’re mortal, but
love everlasting.

-Merril D Smith

Spectacle-Face-Phase – MD31

The ears and nose have a lot to do
to hold the glasses for vision true.
Focus here, focus there,
ignore the rim when you stare.
Clean, clear glasses to show the eyes
detail. Aura and vivid colours materialize.

Is this just a fashion ? Am I going through a phase ?
Or will I have to wear them for the rest of my days ?
I`ll book the optician, see what he says.

30,Ja,2021 for the thirty-first of.
-Alan Gary Smith, inspired by Paul Brookes and the painter Michael Dickel.


Guide at Veuve Clicquot

Slide the saber along the body seam
to the lip to break the top of the neck away
leaving the neck open, ready to pour.

On each step was inscribed a vintage year
in this place where chalk had once been quarried
leaving an absence later filled by the presence

of champagne. We followed her short skirt,
high heels, Hermès scarf draped just so
up from the labyrinth cellar to the room

where our tongues would feel the tiny bubble
bursts. At home we might have dropped in raisins,
to watch them bounce in celebration.

-Holly York

Bios And Links

-Kerfe Roig

A resident of New York City, Kerfe Roig enjoys transforming words and images into something new.  Her poetry and art have been featured online by Right Hand Pointing, Silver Birch Press, Yellow Chair Review, The song is…, Pure Haiku, Visual Verse, The Light Ekphrastic, Scribe Base, The Zen Space, and The Wild Word, and published in Ella@100, Incandescent Mind, Pea River Journal, Fiction International: Fool, Noctua Review, The Raw Art Review, and several Nature Inspired anthologies. Follow her explorations on her blogs,  (which she does with her friend Nina), and, and see more of her work on her website

-Christine O’Connor

is an artist working in glass, metal, fibre and paint. Sometimes her work is based on photographs, but more often, she creates in the moment. She loves to play with texture and colour.

-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.


RedCat’s love for music and dance sings clearly in The Poet’s Symphony (Raw Earth Ink, 2020). Passion for rhythms and rhymes, syllabic feets and metres. All born out of childhood and adolescence spent reading, singing, dancing and acting.

Her writing spans love, life, mythology, environment, depression and surviving trauma.

Originally from the deep woods, this fiery redhead now makes home in Stockholm, Sweden, where you might normally run into her dancing the night away in one of the city’s techno clubs.


-Merril D Smith

is a historian and poet. She lives in southern New Jersey, where she is inspired by her walks along the Delaware River. She’s the author of several books on history, gender, and sexuality. Her poetry has been published in journals and anthologies, including Black Bough Poetry, Nightingale and Sparrow, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Fevers of the Mind.

-Godefroy Dronsart

is a writer, teacher, and musician currently residing near Paris. His poetry has appeared in Lunar Poetry, PostBLANK, Paris Lit Up, The Belleville Park Pages, and Twin Pies Literary among others. His first chapbook, “The Manual” (Sweat Drenched Press, 2020), explores the space between poetry, prose, and gamebooks. He has a sweet tooth for all things experimental, modernist, and strange. Follow him on Twitter and his Bandcamp for electronic explorations.

-Joy Fleming

Born in County Down, Joy has studied, mothered and worked in Scotland since 1980. Brief excursions to follow her heart, back to NI mid-1990’s and England for first round Covid-lockdown ’19, Joy is currently back living in Glasgow. Joy’s first poem was accepted as part of the C. S. Lewis themed Poetry Jukebox curation A Deeper Country in Belfast in 2019. This poem, Ricochet was published in The Poets’ Republic Issue 8 Autumn 2020. A love of reading poetry is now accompanied by sporadic writing of poetic lines which spill out as an apparent by-product of processing dark and sorrowful days.   

-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.

-Alan Gary Smith

A Lincolnshire Ludensian living in Grimsby who built up his poetic stance after visiting Doncaster and Mexborough during his real ale and comedic music searches. Surprised to find a recent DNA check leaned heavily towards being a strong mix of Scottish, East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. A sixty year old baldy who loves Julie, astronomy and chocolate; after giving up on football and telly.

-Hilary Otto

is an English poet based in Barcelona. Her work has featured in Popshot, Black Bough Poetry, AIOTB, Ink, Sweat and Tears, and The Blue Nib, among other publications. She received her first Pushcart Prize Nomination and performed at the Cheltenham Poetry Festival. She tweets at @hilaryotto

-Jim young

 is an old poet living in Mumbles on The Gower. He does most of his writing from his beach hut at Rotherslade – still waiting for the blue plaque

Anjum Wasim Dar was born in Srinagar (Indian Occupied )Kashmir, She is a migrant Pakistani.Educated at
St Anne’s Presentation Convent Rawalpindi she has a Masters degree  in English Literature and  History (
Ancient Indo-Pak  Elective) CPE Cert.of Proficiency in English from Cambridge
UK. , a Diploma in TEFL from AIOU Open Uni. Islamabad Pakistan. She has been writing poems,

 articles and stories since 1980.A published  poet Anjum was awarded  Poet of Merit Bronze Medal in  2000 by ISP International Society of Poets and USA .

She has worked as Creative Writer at Channel 7 Adv. Company Islamabad, and as a Teacher Educator for  Fauji Foundation Education Network Inservice Teachers  

Educational Consultant by Profession. 

Author of 3 Adventure Novels (Series) Fiction..

#ChildrensMentalHealthWeek 1-7th February Artwork and Writing challenge. The theme for this year is “Express Yourself” It is about finding ways to share feelings, thoughts and ideas, through creativity. Especially in these Covid times how are we caring for our children’s mental health? Have you or your children/students made artworks about their mental health? Have you or your children/students written published/unpublished about their mental health? Please DM me or message my WordPress blog and I will feature you your children’s creativity.

Place 2 Be Children's Mental Health Week

Please follow the link for free resources

Nightmare Storms – A Villanelle –Ekprastic Challenge, January 30

The world according to RedCat

Kerfe Roig – The Heat Breaks

In her dark mind towering thunderheads
Better to break than to abuse conform
Sparkling dreams and fragile dreams beaten dead

No pink dawn breaking to be seen ahead
The sky full of bruised clouds aching to storm
In her dark mind towering thunderheads

Starved, strangled passion bleeding out blood-red
No space for dreams outside the prescribed norm
Sparkling dreams and fragile dreams beaten dead

Clinging to sanity by a thin thread
Stuck screaming unheard in protective form
In her dark mind towering thunderheads

Trapped in a black vortex of clawing dread
Demons, nightmares and evil spirits swarm
Sparkling dreams and fragile dreams beaten dead

Shivering cold in a lonely blue bed
Dreaming of being held in embrace warm
In her dark mind towering thunderheads
Sparkling dreams and fragile dreams beaten dead


The form is a Villanelle in pentameter, meaning five feet per line…

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Two Chopsticks and a Pencil for the Hyacinths — Josephine Corcoran

A lovely neighbour brought over the gift of a bowl of hyacinths when the year was brand new, and now, in the very last weekend of January, three pale yellow flowers have bloomed gloriously and our hallway is filled with a sweet and spicy scent that we have grown to appreciate (we weren’t sure, at […]

Two Chopsticks and a Pencil for the Hyacinths — Josephine Corcoran

A Dream

Yesterday and today: Merril's historical musings

I dream of water–
tiny sea-tongues lick and spray the rocks,
and purple shadows prance;
a sparkle-dance, in blue expanse,
the gulls’ wings in white flutter.

From a red boat,
the laughter floats,
turns clouds to golden-yellow flowers.

And if the wind whispers,
what do you want?
I’d say all this–
and a thousand pink-petalled springs,
the light of peace,
and you.

My collaborative poem with the Magnetic Poetry Oracle and Odilon Redon. The Oracle seems to be in a good mood today.

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Sunday Poem – Sarah Littlefeather Demick

Kim Moore

I’m tentatively starting this blog post by saying I’m feeling a lot better this week.  It’s been two weeks and 5 days since my emergency operation, but I’ve been gradually getting back to normal for most of this week.

I’m the first person to admit I’m not the best at taking it easy but I’ve been left with little choice after my recent adventures.  The strangest thing has been limiting myself to doing one, or at the most, two activities a day so I don’t get too tired.  Normally, I just charge about from one thing to the other, but this level of normality is not possible yet.

Monday was supposed to be a day of working on the RD1 form, but I got distracted by a poem.  It’s been sitting in my folder for a while now in first draft form, but it suddenly felt ready to be worked…

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January News

Kim Moore

Plans For The Blog

I’m hoping to be posting here at least once a month with a poem from a collection that I’ve loved. Now that my PhD is finished, I’m finally finding a bit more time to read poetry collections and I’ve read some amazing books this month. I used to post a poem every Sunday, but I can’t keep up with the pace of that any more. But I think I can keep up with posting one poem a month along with an update of what I’ve been up to.

January Freelance Life

January has been absolutely full-on. In a normal year, January is usually a pretty quiet month in the life of a freelancer. Most literary organisations are making plans for the rest of the year – there’s not many gigs around as people recover from Christmas (or at least this is what I’ve found in…

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Ekphrastic Challenge: Day Twenty-Four

Yesterday and today: Merril's historical musings

For Paul Brookes’ Ekphrastic Challenge, Day Twenty-four, my poem responds to the work below by Kerfe Roig and Christine O’Connor.

Color Wheels

In autumn chill, leaves flame
against the bluest blue, then
the moon whispers the sky to violet hues,

“Be still,” she calls out to the wind,
but he doesn’t listen, just roars winter in.

I knit a blanket of grey-wooled dreams.
I window-gaze, wrapped up in it,
till I can open the panes wide

to greenery and pink-tipped spring,
and listen to the mockingbird determinedly sing.

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