Nine of Wands
Welcome to The Garden
The child found the archway
and entered the garden. Wet hands
pressed brief starfish into the moss
cushioning the bricks as she steadied herself, all new
to this walking thing. After her, a green landscape wept
thick rain, puddled a creation myth of tardigrades
singing for the five tributaries, the goddess
who had seen fit to seed them from her baby fingers.
You would have said the child carried nothing
and the cloud-cataracts of her eyes did not reflect
any sky you would recognise. By the third step
she had doomed a race of grass-dwelling moons,
had startled a new shade of pink to mean eve–
ning is inevitable but also morning will be beautiful
and she could replicate the roly-polys
of worms being silently valuable, eating and excreting
all the riches of her lengthening shadow.
There were nine strong stakes planted firmly
in the weeds, each hoping out a different kind of leaf
that would feed her and hurt her by turns.
There was no wrong choice. Nothing was burning.
Her grip was very strong now
and the pluck was sure
and clean, though the earth sighed from the hole
in her side as the thorn eased free. Worms rolled in
quietly to fill up the wound. When the child left, the garden
was more alive or more dead everywhere
she’d ever touched. She carried tenderly her poison
and her panacea, and the dark mouth of the arch called
¬–you did everything right. Now you must return¬¬–
and that held no fear for her at all.
jealously pushed from the land
sanctuary stretching away from harm
Drifting on the tide
reaching attempting to repair the East coast’s rent
up-stream searching for the safety of a mate
The sea takes,
places erodes builds changes satisfies its’ needs
that man can only heed, obey or suffer
Yesterday, today, tomorrow
never the same, constantly changing so as never the same.
You’ve been through hell
But outwardly nobody can tell
You look confident and strong
But in your heart you just want to belong
Your mind keeps saying they are all reading you wrong
You’ve picked yourself up more times than you care to count
You’ve survived more that most will ever have to surmount
Yet you see yourself as flawed and weak
As someone who have no right to love and support seek
Instead of seeing how your experiences have made you unique
I know you are ready to give up
That you’ve started to fear each sunup
But I’m here to let you know
You can this darkness to outgrow
That your indomitable spirit shines with a blinding glow
Yourself is the only one you need to forgive
Not anyone who’s been abusive
You’ve been taught to see yourself as wrong
But you are brave and bold and strong
You are worthy of love and to belong
But you have to let your walls down just a little bit
You have to acknowledge how badly you’ve been hurt and hit
You have to let trustworthy people in
Needing others is human, not a sin
Then your new life can truly begin
A Child born During the Pestilence
(Inspired by Jane Cornwell’s 26th Painting)
I spin an Alice alternative
for you, dear child on my lap.
You have a shortbread biscuit.
You have one manatee doll.
You have nowhere to go and
no one else to meet but us.
In a normal time you may have
gone to the playfield, and
I may have leaned against the net,
watched your progress
as you grow in jump-cuts step by step.
I hold you, tell you, this is a time of all
alternative tales, era of pestilence,
and I hold you dear; in the lore
we find a rabbit hole to suck back into the past.
Nine of Wands
A priest or scribe since the dawn of civilization
I have spent each turn of this karmic wheel
In deeds of word and spirit, not strength and action
Maybe that’s why I am always at the end of my tether
My flesh is frail, a mere vessel
Maybe that’s why I make myself so resolute
Each of these lines is a wand, a staff, a stylus I grip
Beneath galaxies, in a galaxy, feet on earth
Head in clouds but eyes firm I face everything. Even rebirth.
The Way He Loves
(inspired by JC26)
The gentleness begins in his eyes,
In the way he gazes at a small child
It comes to life in his hands,
In the way he touches gifts of nature
It resides in the core of his heart
In the way he loves
Alone in the desert,
the clear night air raised bumps
on his unfeeling skin. His eyes
were raised, a billion sparkling
His only focus was the comet,
screaming in an endless vacuum,
propelled without purpose,
not even instinct. Flicked into motion,
crossing the frontier.
The nine wands, painstakingly
inverted in the hard ground, seemed
to gleam in the moon’s half light.
They said that it would bypass
Earth, as far removed
as the aircraft he saw leaving trails
in the hot blue skies. But he knew
that there was more to the Universe
than Science, and the wands would
bring it to him.
Here, to this spot. Soon.
When you were
inspired by Jane Cornwell
You don’t remember how you were
when she was too tiny to play
big-boy games, and you would be rough
and muddy from outside games,
breathless and red, with gentle hands,
and she would smile her baby smile,
front teeth already grey from falls
trying to follow you around.
You called her Ballisto
and played rockets with her
and rolling on the floor,
noise games with anything
that rang shrilled bleeped.
You were puppies from the same litter
and now both grown
she has started a litter of her own.
I wonder, will those rockets
and stars and silly noisy songs
fall from their orbit of memory
into your wondering smile?
Nine of Wands
upright, cradles a baby in its arms.
Every time spent, every close hug,
is marram grass holding Spurn against harm
of waves. Every wand breaks water’s tug.
Reversed, bairn has no arms, no cradle rock.
Abandoned .No time spent. Forced to fend. Nowt
holds the spit together so separate life stops,
It is part energy of ocean’s clout.
Chance is for our times of dark confusion.
Lucidity challenges delusion.
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 email@example.com 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
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.