mummy’s gone was all he said
he was holding me so tight
i couldn’t breathe
i wriggled and he let me go
we haven’t had any tea
it’s getting dark now
the house is cold
the stair is cold
i always sit here when i’m sad
or i have to think about things
he’s crying in his room now
daddy never cries
As a child she wandered the wilderness
Finding no gentleness
Only sticks of insult and stones of abuse
An unwilling jester without any use
Her heart grew cold and petrified
Her cheeks ashen by all the tears she cried
Her eyes saw no love or wonder
Her soul torn asunder
She thought herself an utter fool
So strange others found leave to be cruel
She thought she was born all wrong
Destined to never belong
Then one day she helped an old crone
Who seemed to know her, head to feet and skin to bone
– Girl you need to find your lune
Need to listen to your soul-hearts tune
From that day her life took a turn
In the coven she was never spurned
They taught her all they knew
Until she free and fearless grew
They showed her what it meant to be loved and cherished
They cared for her until she flourished
They knew how to heal the wounds abuse inflicts
Until she rose from the hell fire like a newborn Phoenix
She who had know ostracization firsthand
Became abandoned and abused souls firebrand
When the coven saw how she shielded and healed the wounded
The witches named her Dark Orchid
Responding to JC1 and JL1 for April 1, 2021
She used to play with friends,
wander with giggle-shouts through houses and yards,
shared classroom papers, projects, and lunches
together they were
no longer. Her small body—
so heart-heavy, slumped. She had loved her grandmother.
Now, she watched as from marsh to garden, a bittern flew.
stared at her with Grandmom’s eyes, and straight-beaked
pointed. Here is the path—she seemed to say–
remember me, remember this.
Alone once more, the girl stood, a tiny bit lighter.
-Merril D Smith
Foolsong is always a litany of questions:
Why do the stars quiver on their threads?
Why does the moon shiver in its orbit?
Why does the earth collapse into space?
If that is the moon, there in the sky
Then what is this in my hand?
Fool sings songs full of questions in
Fool’s piebald garments, fool sings
Songs full of keys, runs fingers through
Fool’s elf locks
Always, pup follows
Holding answers to other questions:
How we are anchored to our feet
How we see clearly in day or in night
How we sense friend or foe
How we show our teeth as a courtesy
With pup at heel and moon in hand
Fool cannot fall too far
Or land too hard.
– Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
In response to JC1
Words tell the story
“She had an altercation with a man in the car park”
Other words hurry to fill the gaps
Offerings to appease our disquiet, horror, hopelessness
Not again, still
Cascading images flow
Memories of raised fists,
Sharp voices cutting invisibly
Bloody ragged wounds gaping
Not again, still
A moment on the stairs,
Head bowed, breathing slowly,
Before rising, wondering no more
Not again, still.
Solipsistic Steps (KR1)
Life’s weighty darkness
Of lonely realisation
Arrests my ascent
The bittern calls
The bittern calls in the sedge by the lake,
the still grey water mirror of sky,
the bittern booms in the voice of the wind
in the crags and the swell in the caves of the sea.
To hear that deep and lonely call,
in a lonely place, where a lonely sky
throws back the lightweight feathered things
of hawk and hen and swallow flight,
is to touch the chords of the world outside,
the wild and harsh world, raw and brief,
of wind-ruffled fur, a nest full of eggs,
of winters too long and summers too brief,
and you go back to the inside that now feels cold,
with the wind in your head, heart full of regrets.
(Inspired by John Law’s 1st Painting – Bittern)
The tête-à-tête during Lord’s hunting trip
covers the local gossip,
but we talk bantam, and
the words whispered into existence die
whenever the ghillie spots
the flightline, and our guns thunder.
With the sleight of some cloudy hands
into dark blood, and if a gale’s coming,
we ignore those hints.
Ghllie, cannot you see that bittern,
shadowy in the water as if
its flesh has returned
to the peaceful nothing
even before we aim at it?
Cannot you? Does this make the game-bird a spirit,
and us the haunted
hunting in the sacred marshland
to awaken some greater rage?
Let’s return. Says Lord.
Can we? Is every act so easy? Our footsteps,
the odor of gunpowder, butts of cigarettes
all reeling back to this birth, then nothing,
then birth, more births, until
we stand naked, cavemen, afraid at the stirring water,
praying before the unknown, killing to survive?
A Mired-romble, Bog-bull. Thunder-Pumper,
rises out of this marsh desolation, lifts
quiet wings as I fumble camera,
zoom into your disappearance gifts.
Then we wait for your next quick appearance,
or bombleth in the myre, bull boom, wind throb.
cavity of waiting a resonance,
hold head in hands, for this flash bird to rob
us again a snap its magnificence.
Professionals clamp long lenses birdhide
inside sills , note points of your emergence,
draw lines of your flight, seemingly slow glide
into camouflage, as if reeds are clouds.
You a rare moon lifts this long day from shrouds.
Bios and Links
“Am 68. Live in Mexborough. Retired teacher. Artist; musician; poet. Recently included in ‘Viral Verses’ poetry volume. Married. 2 kids; 3 grandkids.”
likes drawing and painting children, animals, landscapes and food. She specialises in watercolour, mixed media, coloured pencil, lino cut and print, textile design. Jane can help you out with adobe indesign for your layout needs, photoshop and adobe illustrator. She graduated with a ba(hons) design from Glasgow School of art, age 20.
She has exhibited with the rsw at the national gallery of scotland, SSA, Knock Castle Gallery, Glasgow Group, Paisley Art Institute, MacMillan Exhibition at Bonhams, Edinburgh, The House For An Art Lover, Pittenweem Arts Festival, Compass Gallery, The Revive Show, East Linton Art Exhibition and Strathkelvin Annual Art Exhibition.
Her website is: https://www.janecornwell.co.uk/
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, https://methodtwomadness.wordpress.com/ (which she does with her friend Nina), and https://kblog.blog/, and see more of her work on her website http://kerferoig.com/
is a poet and writer from Chesterfield whose poetry is heavily influenced by his background in the Derbyshire coalfields – family, mining, politics, and that mix of industry and countryside that so many mining areas had. People can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of the pamphlet or visit http://timfellows13.blogspot.com for recent poems
is a writer based in Bangalore, India. His books include the novella Strength Of Water (2019) and the poetry collection Broken Cup (2020). He used to write horror, but now it’s anyone’s guess.
-Anjum Wasim Dar
Born in Srinagar (Indian Occupied )Kashmir,Migrant Pakistani.Educated at St Anne’s Presentation Convent Rawalpindi. MA in English MA in History ( Ancient Indo-Pak Elective) CPE Cert.of Proficiency in English Cambridge UK. -Dip.TEFL AIOU Open Uni. Islamabad Pakistan.Writing poems articles and stories since 1980.Published Poet.Awarded Poet of Merit Bronze Medal 2000 USA .Worked as Creative Writer Teacher Trainer. Educational Consultant by Profession.Published http://Poet.Author of 3 Adventure Novels (Series) 7 Times Winner NANOWRIMO 2011- 2019.
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 https://janedougherty.wordpress.com/
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.
Read more at redcat.wordpress.com
An author and a father, Kushal Poddar, edited a magazine – ‘Words Surfacing’, authored seven volumes including ‘The Circus Came To My Island’, ‘A Place For Your Ghost Animals’, ‘Eternity Restoration Project- Selected and New Poems’ and ‘Herding My Thoughts To The Slaughterhouse-A Prequel’. His works have been translated in ten languages. Forthcoming book is Postmarked ‘Quarantine’ (IceFloe Press, Canada)
Find and follow him at amazon.com/author/kushalpoddar_thepoet
Author Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/KushalTheWriter/
-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.
By day Tony climbs the greasy pole of clinical hierarchy. Not yet at the top but high enough to feel the pole sway and have his grip challenged by the envious wind of achievement. Looking down on the pates and gazes of his own history, at times he feels dizzy with lonely pride. By night he takes solace, swapping scalpel for scripts and begins his training and climbing again, in the creative world of writing. His writing is an attempt to unify the twenty-four hours. @surgicalscribe seeks to connect the clinical and creative arts of surgery, science and writing. Hoping to do for medicine and surgery through creative writing what Prof Cox has done for physics with television.
So, he practices his art.
-A L E K
lives and works in Edinburgh, where running clears his head and creates space for ideas. He publishes short stories and poems on www.simonsalento.com
- Poet, Writer, Author, Small Press Publisher/Editor, Mentor/Tutor/Coach
- Living a rural life, inspired and surrounded by nature, pondering and writing about life’s many puzzles and complexities, a gentle activist.
- 2008 – current Mansfield A&P Show poetry judge
- 2010 Hay Festival Most Beautiful Tweet shortlist
- 2018 Mansfield Haiku on the Footpath competition winner
- 2020 Mansfield Bushy Tales Poetry Award winner “Musing in the time of Covid”
- 2020 Mansfield Bushy Tales Chapbook contributor
- Twitter @gentleanne
Paul is a shop assistant, who lives in a cat house full of teddy bears. His first play was performed at The Gulbenkian Theatre, Hull. His chapbooks include The Fabulous Invention Of Barnsley, (Dearne Community Arts, 1993). The Headpoke and Firewedding (Alien Buddha Press, 2017), A World Where and She Needs That Edge (Nixes Mate Press, 2017, 2018) The Spermbot Blues (OpPRESS, 2017), Port Of Souls (Alien Buddha Press, 2018), Please Take Change (Cyberwit.net, 2018), Stubborn Sod, with Marcel Herms (artist) (Alien Buddha Press, 2019), As Folk Over Yonder ( Afterworld Books, 2019). Forthcoming Khoshhali with Hiva Moazed (artist), Our Ghost’s Holiday (Final book of threesome “A Pagan’s Year”) . He is a contributing writer of Literati Magazine and Editor of Wombwell Rainbow Interviews. Had work broadcast on BBC Radio 3 The Verb and videos of his Self Isolation sonnet sequence featured by Barnsley Museums and Hear My Voice Barnsley. He also does photography commissions and his family history articles have appeared in The Liverpool Family History magazine.