Day 21 is dedicated to the late Dai Fry who thoroughly enjoyed these challenges. He once DM’d me “Thanks Paul. This has been a brilliant project for me on so many levels. If you do this again some time I would really like to take part. Very Best Wishes Dai.” ###################################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 21st

Day 21


-Jane Cornwell

JL21 Miner


-John Law

KR21_into the mirror (remembering marisol)_wombwell

into the mirror

-Kerfe Roig

Hand over hand
In memory of Dai Fry

We were sleeping, here in the underbelly,
when you picked up the oar to row. Rivers
of waxing light bob their boats of dust into day
and I’m thinking about hands and how, offered, they open
into stars, stylised suns, an eye – shocked
to be so seen, like a child
might crayon. I’m thinking about them as anything
but quiet gloves. I’m thinking about how often
mine leap to help me say all this *this* and how
you knew that meant everything lurking
behind the breakers is too big to fathom
without some shell getting swept up. I’m thinking
about hauling on the rope, how delicate the callous
against the wheel, about five fragments of enormous
in the northern sky, how last night you’d have seen
Cassopeia offering her hand, wet with silver.
Palm up, fingers open to catch what drifts
into the dark – flashed to brilliance
and afterimage. Your wave, frozen in time.

-Ankh Spice

Polished Mirror Women – Dedicated to Marisol

Women appearing perfect everywhere
Painted, coiffed, pushed up and laced tight
Waiting for admirers to gawk and stare
Balancing on spikes as if ready for a fight

Painted, coiffed, pushed up and laced tight
No trauma, scars or sorrow the mirror shows
Balancing on spikes as if ready for a fight
No brilliant minds or passionate hearts glows

No trauma, scars or sorrow the mirror shows
Every advantage brought to the fore
No brilliant minds or passionate hearts glows
Polished dolls hiding so much more

Every advantage brought to the fore
Waiting for admirers to gawk and stare
Polished dolls hiding so much more
Women appearing perfect everywhere


Potential in the palm of your hand

Who knows?
the classics she’ll write
the masterpiece he’ll paint
the weight he will lift
the warmth she will give
lives saved
fortunes made
records broken
doors opened
can you see it little one?
your future
stretching away
just beyond the tip of your finger.

-Tony Walker

To a new child

Once there was a ball of gas, a cooling rock
swamped with growing, creeping things,
a star that lent its light to green and blue
and buttercups in the grass,

and from these fragments stone and scale,
fronds and feathers, the ever-growing crowd
marching down the days in their joys and sorrows,
you have come,

a fragment of a star,
a ripple of that first bird’s song,
a petal of the first rose
on the rood of time.

-Jane Dougherty

Into The Mirror

Glamour and gloom, Marley on my plate
Ozzy one of my five heads
Facing you famously and fabulously
Bouquet in one hand, chocolates in another
Four more warming themselves by the sun
Legs – two – girded in athletic gear, one of them
Not quite flesh and blood
Legs – two more – of fantasy and silk
A motley kind of heart, like a child’s craft project
Several kinds of smiles and grimaces, take your pick

I face you like this, all my faces on display
I stand before you a many-limbed deity
The kind they always associate with my people
I stand before you made somehow
Of many races and genders
Displaying my various proclivities and aptitudes
Like a strip of litmus paper waiting for the
Unknown element
To turn it some colour never seen before

In this variegated array I display myself to the scrutiny
Of one I wish to please, to impress, more than any other
In all my brooches and rings and bracelets
My gew-gaws and knick-knacks
My hats – so many hats – on my heads – so many heads
Facing forward, forward, so hopefully, fearfully staring
Into the mirror.

-Jayaprakash Satuyamurphy

Something so Small
(inspired by JC21)

Small things so often bring the greatest joy. A baby’s delicate hand wrapped around your fingers. Flower petals newly fallen on grass. Rosebuds and hummingbirds and lady bugs. The soothing sound of water trickling over pebbles. A smile, a laugh, a love letter in the form of Haiku.

Your tiny hand
Soft against my tear stained cheek
Brings springtime to my heart

-Susan Richardson


He didn’t consider his work to be art
as he sculpted rock with hydraulic skill.
Modern art left him cold, and he wasn’t
a fan of Rembrandt either.
His tunnels, like temples and catacombs,
remain; the walls scarred by centuries
of marks chiselled, hacked and drilled

that may, in some distant future time,
be discovered and pored over
by the archaeologists of the day.
Who will analyse these historic sites
and discuss the meaning of the words

Dave is a wanker

carved in the wooden column.

-Tim Fellows

Haiku on That Child’s Hand

(Inspired by Jane Cornwell’s 21st Painting)

the cloud rubbed light on the furry rug

her hand opens in her sleep
and closes again

-Kushal Poddar

Inspired by the images by Jane Cornwell and John Law

What Will Be

This small, soft hand, bath-cleaned
of sticky treats and all the business of a summer day–
mud-castle building, caterpillar catching, and treasure digging.

Like Daddy, as his pretend pick strikes the dirt.

And her heart lurched,
fluttered a canary-winged warning.
Not my son,
his cheeks sun-glowed, his nose freckled,
his deposition sunny,
not life-etched grey with
coal-tattooed lungs that rattled–
no more,

the darkness, dirt, and danger,
not for my son, the estranging underground life.
He will hear the blackbird sing,
and in the dappled light, he’ll dream.

-Merril D Smith

hold your hand open

hold your hand open
palm up
luck and starlight and magic will fall
while you sleep

hold your hand open
as you continue to grow
hold your heart open
as you continue to grow

-Simon Williams


In a narrow passage a mirror drills
for a familiar face that looks back
at itself and found says I am younger still
than that. It fails to see the inner fact

of glass so it drills more into us as we stare.
Mirror dust in our lungs makes each full breath
difficult. Mirrors fuel the world’s where
mirror dust endangers our health.

Mirror longs to be polished so it sees
clearly. A child’s hand splats play food smudges
Mirrors lens so it strains, barely perceives
half or parts of things based on half hunches.

Brain reconstructs gaps, makes shapes and colours.
Our past of might have beens and recovers.

-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 21 is dedicated to the late Dai Fry who thoroughly enjoyed these challenges. He once DM’d me “Thanks Paul. This has been a brilliant project for me on so many levels. If you do this again some time I would really like to take part. Very Best Wishes Dai.” ###################################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 21st

  1. Pingback: April poetry challenge day 21 – Jane Dougherty Writes

  2. Pingback: Polished Mirror Women – Dedicated to Marisol, April Ekphrastic Challenge – The world according to RedCat

  3. Pingback: What Will Be, Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 21 – Yesterday and today: Merril's historical musings

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