#MentalHealthAwarenessWeek. 10th-16th May. Day six. This years theme is Nature. How has nature helped your, or other folks mental health? Have you made artworks or written unpublished/published work about it? Please DM me, or send a message via my WordPress site. The week: Monday: Find nature wherever you are. Tuesday: Using all your senses connect with nature. Wednesday: Get out into nature. Thursday: Bring nature to you. Friday: Exercise in nature. Saturday: Combine nature with creativity. Sunday: Protect Nature.

Day Six: Combine nature with creativity

Mental Health Awareness 2021 poster

-Masquerading As Rocks, written and performed by Kathryn Cowley


Here are her muses, ocean borne,
beach combed. Her teenage confusions
and mumbling frozen tongue that can win
no arguments bring her out here, where
stories are written in a language
she understands.

Endless tourists snap their picturesque
romance of seals and seabirds, the painted
clinker-built boats. She doesn’t talk to them,
hooded parka pulled tight, alone on beach
below ancient stone pier, touching base
with her realm.

Among the Sulphur perfumed seaweed,
things speak to her. Blue, blue, fishing nets
twisted into gordian knots. Barbed wire, rusted
orange and no friend of the unwary. A yellow
fish-box. A clear bottle of Klondyker’s vodka –
a mostly empty message.

Excited tourists photograph a pod of orcas,
she sees oil rigs, trawlers netting vast subsidies,
a white sheep skull poking ridiculous teeth
through the weed. She pockets a lava rock
from Iceland, maybe sell it to a tourist after,
maybe not.

And here, a bird with a broken neck, bright
feathers catching sun, dead eye pinned to the sky
perhaps homesick. If she could only speak
to others as this bird speaks to her, say
all that matters, ever matters, is to
honour the world before you.

Originally published The New Shetlander

-Maxine Rose Munro

voice by fokkina mcdonnell




It has been wet for days. The sun is a fading memory,
squeezed beneath these swaddling clouds. Compressed,

her outline smudges blood and mud across the sodden sky.
Her skin turns black and blue under the violence of the storm.

The weather is dictating terms. Invading ocean roars, heaves
its bulk onto the land, drowning out the little cries of birds.

Her throat shapes anxious sounds beneath her tattered coat.
No-one here will hear her prayers. Stone deaf in its rage,

the supine land will lie in wait. Soon it will have its say.
It coils its spring. It does not care what becomes of her.

-Clare O’Brien (First published by Lunate, March 2020)


You have driven us for years.
Counting our notes like sheep, urging us over storm-weathered hills.

Our cries are nothing to you.
Some you catch, stretching them beyond your rhythm, into the dark.

Some of us you call, softly at first;
Some you flay alive, the sound reverberating as you feed.

Sated, you are tender then;
caressing our bones, draping our wet skins over the chords to dry.

-Clare O’ Brien (first published by Nightingale & Sparrow, May 2020)

water by Jane LaForge

-Jane Rosenberg LaForge from her collection, Medusa’s Daughter, Animal Heart Press



I’ve strayed too far from this mud, this earth
to which we all belong,
I will plunge my hands into the cool soil
and feel fresh roots strike forth
from my fingertips
anchoring this trembling heart
within the land.

-Charlotte Olivet

I Create

Something to care for, saved on this blessed earth.
A poem’s words walk into wilderness.
A painting is a deep focus, unearths
details, how trees frame, repairs

Folk in my head seem quieter in woods,
and in the cemetery. I usually
only hear the loud mouthy ones, the no goods.
Now, I listen to quiet ones slowly.

Some are no goods too, but most, not. Listen,
They tell me woodland air is sacredness.
Keen, I write and sketch, all senses sharpen.
I never knew here, in my inwardness.

Outside of myself there are outside selves.
Too many is a burden, all is wealth.

-Paul Brookes

Bios and Links

-Jane Rosenberg LaForge

writes poetry, fiction, and occasional essays from her home in New York. She has published four chapbooks of poetry and three full-length collections, the most recent being MEDUSA’S DAUGHTER from Animal Heart Press. Her novel, SISTERHOOD OF THE INFAMOUS from New Meridian Arts Press, was inspired by the life of her sister, a one-time punk rocker and prodigy in mathematics. She also is the author of the novel, THE HAWKMAN: A FAIRY TALE OF THE GREAT WAR (Amberjack Publishing 2018) and an experimental memoir,  AN UNSUITABLE PRINCESS (Jaded Ibis Press 2014). More information is at jane-rosenberg-laforge.com 

-Jo Fearon

Is Public Sector Administrator and hobby poet. Second of Ian McMillan’s guest Hear My Voice Sonnets on You Tube. Soon to be published in HMV Barnsley 2020 competition anthology.  Passionate about live music especially rock/blues/punk. Aiming to devote more time to what I love. Rediscovered love of writing the past 2 years.

-Maxine Rose Munro

writes in English and her native Shetlandic Scots. She is widely published in the UK and beyond, both in print and online. She runs First Steps in Poetry, which offers feedback to beginner poets. More here http://www.maxinerosemunro.com

Kathryn Southworth was born in Blackpool, Lancashire, and now lives in Camden Town, London and Prinknash, Gloucestershire.  She is married with three surviving children and three grandchildren.

She has always written poetry but returned to it in earnest only after a long career as an academic in midlands universities. She was a founding fellow of the English Association, Head of English and Cultural Studies at the University of Wolverhampton and held senior management posts there and at Newman University and also worked for the Quality Assurance Agency. She has been a governor of the Camden and Islington Mental Health Trust and is currently a governor of Rose Bruford College of Drama and Theatre Arts.

She has published poetry and reviews in several magazines and anthologies and reads at a number of London poetry venues, including the Poetry Café and Torriano Meeting House. The literary canon informs her writing, as does her Catholic faith, surreptitiously.

-Dr Sara Louise Wheeler

has Waardenburg Syndrome Type 1, a genetic condition which affects her physical appearance as well as her hearing. She writes the column ‘O’r gororau’ (from the borders) for Barddas Welsh poetry magazine and her poetry, belles lettres and artwork has been published by Unique Poetry Journal, Dark Poets Club, Fahmidan Journal, Cloverleaf Zine, and 3am Magazine. Sara is currently writing an autobiographical bildungsroman opera called The Silver Princess, funded by Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru. Originally from Wrecsam in North East Wales, she now lives on the Wirral peninsula with her husband Peter and their pet tortoise Kahless

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