On a Silk Thread
(in response to JC 6)
She balances on a silk thread,
good at games of hiding and seeking.
When light bleeds through the cracks,
she becomes darkness,
swallows the sun when shadows overtake her.
When I close my eyes I am her,
floating through rooms,
With eyes open,
I teeter on a pane of glass,
blemished and cautious,
poised on the edge of a life unrequited.
If you stay with me,
if I fall into midnight wrapped in your arms,
if you watch me dream
and pretend to love me,
maybe I will wake up transformed,
holding the sun in unscathed hands.
What kind of night is best,
I ask the mouse,
for a harvest? The stars
were supposed to know
but they stopped speaking to us
when our unsleeping cities
shouted them down. From space
we must be a constant howl. Why
would anything keep raising
its voice. I’m not sure how far I ran
or who was more surprised
to find a warm parcel of pulse out here
wrapped tight against the engine
of his breath. But his fur makes jewels
of my question, condensed
to something real and delicate
for him to carry. I feel it leave me, the quick oil
of him flows the race of thorns, cogs born
to tick the forage. I will lie down
in the weeds, tell him everything
I’m still so hungry
to say before I go. Watch
the deft weave of his gathering
wipe free all my want
on the poke of many needles
that never touch him once.
There Once Was A Cat
There once was a striped cat.
Sleeping peacefully in the sun on a doormat.
When he was awakened by a man in cravat.
Later he told me that,
I should have been suspicious of the top hat.
But frankly I thought he was playing an aristocrat.
They started to chitchat.
About sunspots and why he preferred the taste of mice over rats.
Then the man started to scratch his ears and his head pat.
Before the cat knew what the man was aiming at.
He felt himself squashed flat.
He was trapped within a chapeau claque.
The man was an unskilled magician that,
had promised a rich lady he could make a cat appear from his hat
Imagine the lady’s surprise when he produced her own sweet puss angry as a wildcat.
Inspired by all three paintings, by Jane Cornwell, John Law and Kerfe Roig
We tangle things with less artistry than nature,
the rights and the wrongs,
make humanity a moral question.
We twist genes and patterns to suit,
reject the unwanted, unfashionable,
regardless of species,
the earth is in chains drawn by fellow men
and the beasts we took from the plains
and caged in breeding pens,
sky is wired, plotted, satellite-droned,
watched, observed, tracked,
and the skeins are fewer every season.
Yet in the tangled wasteland
beneath the web of wires,
the cycles still turn blossom to berry,
the small insignificant things
slip beneath the net.
When The Cherries Come Back
(Inspired by Jane Cornwell’s 6th Painting)
“Hello blossoms, good day creature.”
Quiver those high-tension wires.
Vibrate, greet, and pass.
cheeps, blooms, plunges, and wanes when
the dour wind’s whim whips everything.
My daughter whispers to her sister,
“See, I told you, they folk back –
those cherries, those flitting lochs of the ravening eyes
of some wood-mouse.”
Perchance, not everything, or perchance, she is right.
Everything does home once more,
and years or eons have gone in-between,
Chernobyls later, cities after;
only two daughters whispering in this field –
their knees drown beneath the blue-green grass,
whispering in the air saying, “Hello. Goodbye.”
Inspired by JL6 and JC6
She’s small, like a little mouse, curled into a recess
the newspaper not much insulation—old news,
homelessness, but new for her.
Was it her stepdad’s roving hands, the job she lost,
the rent she owed? Perhaps she was mentally ill, a veteran, a drug addict–
In a fitful sleep, she dreams of spring,
filling her small rodent body with tender berries and leaves—
all the people gone, their power plants silent.
-Merril D Smith
It was here, well, just up there
that he last worked. Windows boarded
up where he spent time watching
people passing by. Making up stories
about their lives. Trying to avoid thinking
about his next drink. A distraction.
He’d stopped thinking about drink
long ago. Stuck in this underpass;
grimy, damp, and occasional wind tunnel.
Wandering the soiled streets by day.
He sometimes fantasised about being
a tramp, a hobo from his childhood.
Wandering the countryside, feasting
on wild fruit and stealing vegetables
from a farmer’s garden like Peter Rabbit.
Fashioning a home from branches
and leaves, sleeping to the hoots
of owls and screeching fox.
Hoots of derision and screeching tyres.
A cat that crossed the underpass
to avoid him. Feasting on bin leftovers.
Stealing if he could get away with it.
One day he hoped to wake up
from this nightmare. Or maybe not.
Born into a round world of grasses hung
by a thin thread from a tall stalk. My mam
weaved our home until sharp blades span and wrung
tiny life out of her, shredded our home.
Now I orbit these tall berried bushes, tail
a strand I use as a fourth claw to swing
and reach the succulent spheres, I regale
my fellow mice with tales of mighty things
that stand astride held together by threads,
that spark blue in thunder storms amid flash
and rumble. Never see them move but head
in crowds closer to our homes like blades thrash.
Always what we build is temporary,
Always survive, comfort secondary
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
-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.
is a sea-obsessed poet from Aotearoa. His work has been widely published internationally, in print and online, and has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He’s a co-editor at Ice Floe Press and a poetry contributing editor at Barren Magazine. You’ll find him and a lot of sea photography on Twitter @SeaGoatScreams or on Facebook @AnkhSpiceSeaGoatScreamsPoetry.
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
Frank has been writing poems for many years and is a founder member of Mexborough Read to Write group facilitated by Ian Park. His knowledge and skill have increased since being an active member of the group. He had one pamphlet to his name “ Nantcol Sonnets” 9 sonnets one per day of a week camping in wet and windy Wales. (Available on eBay). He has a second pamphlet awaiting publication “The Story of Soldier A” charting his time in the Army and its aftermath.
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.