Day 14. My annual National Poetry Month 2021 ekphrastic challenge is a collaboration between artists John Law, Kerfe Roig, Jane Cornwell, and writers Ankh Spice, Jane Dougherty, Redcat, Jayaprakash Satyamurthy, Simon Williams, Susan Richardson, Tim Fellows, Anjum Wasim Dar, Tony Walker, Merril D Smith, and me. April 14th

Day 14


-Jane Cornwell

JL14 Sheffield


-John Law

KR14_shadow people_wombwell

Shadow people

-Kerfe Roig

Tanka for the Flowers
(inspired by JC14)

Beyond castle walls
flowers blooming in mauve hues
remind me of you
A kiss we shared in Springtime
lingers in the Autumn dusk

-Susan Richardson

Urban plan

When it dawns you are a city
it’s a heavy responsibility. In your streets
everyone is hungry all the time, eating
of your dust. I read that skin flakes are, to a mite,
something like a bowl of cornflakes. After breakfast,
I will the behemoth to its feet, an earthquake
of indecision, my somewheres sounding tiny sirens.
Should I warn them about this latest inevitable change
of climate, what will befall us all
when I subside into the sea, one flawed brick
at a time? It might be easier on everyone
not to see it coming. I’ve run along the crumbly edge
of these cliffs so many times, matter-of-fact
that rocks bounce free, that soles slip
of their own accord. There’s never been any plan
except to finally reach the wide field beyond
the walls, to sink down into grass so cool, so sweet,
everything you carry leaps to feed it.

-Ankh Spice

Creeping up on the city from ground level,
Newcomers let’s be, gazing between stems and stalks
Petals and leaves, at that glowing settlement ahead
Its lights stealing stars from our skies and eyes
Its tendrils reaching out for everything

Out of this dawn reverie let us step
Into the centre of some teeming town
Schools of architecture clashing, zoning incoherent
Factories and shops and godowns and apartments
A hive that makes nothing quite so sweet as honey

And there, in a corner, let’s get closer,
A clearing, some earth, some trees, some shade
A bench. Let’s sit and talk about shadow people
About black-eyed kids, about tulpas and skinwalkers
Let’s talk about how all the ways we contrive
To look at each other from across an uncanny valley

Let’s drop down to ground level now, shrug off
Panorama and human scale
Now we can see them. In shadows. Like faded inkblots
On the torn paper of the frayed ends of the city
And its dispensation to use and produce and nurture and shelter

Shadow people. Barely seen.

Zoom out.

Palimpsest of building styles

Zoom out.

City afar, seen through stems and stalks

Zoom out.

Zoom out.

Shadows and stars. Clouds and dust.

Shadows. People.

Fade out.

-Jayaprakash Satyamurphy

Inspired by all three images

On the edge of every town
there’s a derelict place,
where the wildflowers grow
among tumbled stones
of an industry long dead
and a past we’ve all forgot.

And among the peaceful stones
where the wildflowers blow,
in the arches still left standing
where trams once slept,
or where rail tracks crossed the river
where stevedores barked,
are encampments of the outcasts
where the shadow people live.

On the edge of every town,
at the end of every tether,
at the back of every mind,
and the limit of its patience,

is a mired misunderstanding
on both sides, and the outcome
is, instead of peace and wildflowers,
grow the burning seeds of hatred.

-Jane Dougherty

Steel City

City and folk alike calved from White rose and Black stone
Forged, purified, cast by pals, thee, thine, in the crucible of home
Industrial roots washed and watered, fed and nourished
On the Don, Sheaf, Loxley, Rivelin and Porter Brook flourished
Strong steel skeleton holding all up proud
Molten metal in the veins of this Yorkshire crowd
On each day of the week not just Wednesday, all united
Across river deep or mountain high one day all re-united.

-Tony Walker

Inspired by all three works of art

The Shadow People

It began—after The Before. You remember?
When the world was colored with optimism,
primary colors and pastels, sun-spackled roofs, rose gardens,
blue skies? Even the winter ice sparkled with trapped starlight.
We went to work and school and shows,
traveling on buses and trains through the city.

I used to make up stories about the people we saw in the windows—
the little girl with the dandelion, the woman
who danced in a red dress? All those windows dark now.
Please say you remember.

Then cough by cough, the world turned greyer.
The flowers lost their brilliant hues, fragrances disappeared.
And the shadow people came.

They walked out of my dreams
to gather around the TV set–strangely drawn to it.
They follow me now, almost eagerly, like ghost puppies.

They have no faces, but they look like me. Haunted.

-Merril D Smith

Sheffield 1979

A city, whose blood was molten steel,
waited for me in September sun.
Concrete flats loomed over the station
as the diesel fumes of weary trains
lay in the valley air.

Long gone, the veil of sulphur
that clogged this city’s lungs
to the sound of rattling cream trams.
Still, it had a hole in its road

and arches on the Wicker. Pride
in its knives, sharp and without stain.
There I rode a paternoster
(for no good reason), breathed in Hendo’s,

discovered the 2p bus fare
on the number 60 to Crimicar Lane,
treacly beer at the Frog and Parrot
and the love of my life.

-Tim Fellows

Shadow People Before My Eyes – A Triple Triolet

Shadow people before my eyes
Drifting aimlessly through their lives
Foggy as rainy crying skies
Shadow people before my eyes
Fading as sorrow’s darkness rise
Remembering just negatives
Shadow people before my eyes
Drifting aimlessly through their lives

Nobody holds then as they cry
No one a kind helping hand gives
Sorrow without friends multiply
Nobody holds then as they cry
Nobody these souls fortify
They are dark depressions captives
Nobody holds then as they cry
No one a kind helping hand gives

Shadow people before my eyes
What can get then to see bright life
Fading away ‘til their souls dies
Shadow people before my eyes
Unable to see the blue skies
Lost without finding hope inside
Shadow people before my eyes
What can get then to see bright life


Shadows’ Identities Interchange

(Inspired by Kerfe Roig’s 14th Painting – Shadow People and Jane Cornwell’s 14th Painting)

Buried in his own garden,
my uncle stares at those roots
hung at his eye-level,
night-blooms flourished inches above –
his heaven, an eternal screensaver
slowly shifting with the seasons,
and then there sit those shadow people
on the pavement outside,
and sometimes while
trying to converse with those,
he realizes some are alive. He forgets.
He disremembers what being alive leads to,
and he repeats every act again and again.

Tonight the shadow people endures a drizzle;
wind dissolves them into one; for a tick
they become a watercolor of one large hair ball;
when they part, their souls and ids have been exchanged.
Buried, my uncle breathes in the rain.
The flowers lash at each other as if
their household hosts a party,
and a quarrel has sprawled over a decision
regarding those shadows watching
them cavort from the insurmountable social-distance.
Ah, drama! Chuckles my uncle,
wishes he could have invited me to observe
the way we used to, like invisibles,
like shadows watching others.

-Kushal Poddar

spring thoughts spring feeling
flowers scissored blue paper
always alive now

-Simon Williams

My Ancestors

are shadow people who appear in wills,
advertisements and newspapers, no photos.
Take William Laurence who lived on a hill,
a Quaker incomer to Sheffield’s roads.

A Linen Draper up Moorfields where thieves
stole linen from front of the shop. All I know.
Wildflowers, shadow flowers, whose names leave
my head as I see them in a meadow.

One has name but no image, one image
but no name. I wonder at delicate
shape of stems and petals. Absorb page
after page of Victorians love and hate.

I try to make some kind of rounded sense
based on a scarcity of evidence.

-Paul Brookes

Bios and Links

-John Law

“Am 68. Live in Mexborough. Retired teacher. Artist; musician; poet. Recently included in ‘Viral Verses’ poetry volume. Married. 2 kids; 3 grandkids.”

-Jane Cornwell

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:

-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

-Tim Fellows

 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 for a copy of the pamphlet or visit for recent poems

-Jayaprakash Satyamurthy

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.

-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


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.

-Tony Walker

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.

-Ankh Spice

 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.

-Simon Williams

lives and works in Edinburgh, where running clears his head and creates space for ideas. He publishes short stories and poems on

Paul Brookes

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 (, 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.

4 thoughts on “Day 14. My annual National Poetry Month 2021 ekphrastic challenge is a collaboration between artists John Law, Kerfe Roig, Jane Cornwell, and writers Ankh Spice, Jane Dougherty, Redcat, Jayaprakash Satyamurthy, Simon Williams, Susan Richardson, Tim Fellows, Anjum Wasim Dar, Tony Walker, Merril D Smith, and me. April 14th

  1. Pingback: The Shadow People: Ekphrastic Challenge, Day14 – Yesterday and today: Merril's historical musings

  2. Pingback: Shadow People Before My Eyes – A Triple Triolet, April Ekphrastic Challenge – The world according to RedCat

  3. Pingback: April poetry challenge day 14 – Jane Dougherty Writes

  4. Pingback: NaPoWriMo Day 14 – Zouxzoux

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