Day 21. My annual National Poetry Month 2022 ekphrastic challenge is a collaboration between artists Gaynor Kane, John Phandal Law, Anjum Wasim Dar, and writers, Angi Plant, Tim Fellows, Math Jones, Merril D. Smith, Jamie Woods, Lesley James, Lesley Curwen, Carrie Ann Golden, Peter A., Barbara Leonhard, Jane Dougherty, Eloise Birnam-Wood, Jen Feroze, Vicky Allen, Simon Williams, Jona Roy, Beth Brooke, Caroline Johnstone, Lynne Jensen Lampe and myself. April 21st.

Day Twenty-one

GK21 Love_hearts

-Gaynor Kane – Love Hearts

AWD - 21 Double

-Anjum Wasim Dar – Double


-John Phandal Law

Garden Party (AWD21)

Rapphanus raphannistrum.
Rapture. French breakfast
radishes, sliced and
sauteed in butter and salt.
Oblong, magenta and white.
Or Easter egg radishes, round
and wrapped in pink, purple,
red, yellow. Sparklers and
Cherry Belles tumble
the produce case, waiting
for a snip and crunch. An
unassuming bit of glamour
underground. Party time
they lose flesh to knives.
linger on deli trays,
trade natural beauty
for commercial appeal.

—Lynne Jensen Lampe


So often the cliché
conceals a truth so
profound it exists in
plain sight but is not

Search classic Stax
from the late Sixties
you’ll find this track;
just look for William

title, which expresses
what the brave bereft
have learned A Smile
Can’t Hide (A Broken

-Peter A.

GK21 Love hearts

Largs Fun-fair 1963

flesh-coloured spex & see-through mac
I flirt with Timmy the goofy lad
who judders around the roundabout
in pouring rain with toothy pout

offers me soggy love-hearts

hair all plastered to streaming face
braces bared in the jerky chase
even though he resembles a frog
we chew our hearts, lean in to snog

-Lesley Curwen

I have always loved
watching children force a smile
for the camera.
Half grimacing, sometimes
with slightly upturned mouth,
sometimes not.

Or not showing teeth at all,
perhaps embarrassed
by Tooth Fairy gaps.

More often than not
seen in overpriced school photos.

-Tim Fellows

21 GK

In the sweetness of Love Hearts, palest purple hearts,
one an indictment to be happy, orders if you like,
the other a cartoon counterpoint of straight-mouthed
resignation. But which heart tastes the sweeter?
Choose one for a friend – which fits the bill?
What message do they need (or want) to hear?
No matter. Equal sour-sweet fizz on the tongue
if you choose right or wrong.
Choosing friendship is a bitter pill.

-Lesley James

21. [Double AWD20]

I am pinching my self blush-hard
To bring me up as red as you,
Underneath the table. Polishing,

Polishing so bright, I’m seen
As your reflection, as your dopple-
Ganger. How can I scratch

Another size into the air I never
Was. Scritching all my variation,
Can I not just be your double?

-Math Jones

To GK 21 Love_hearts and AWD 21 Double

A girl is misled to seek rescue
From her Prince Charming,
Her soul mate, protector.
He gazes into her eyes,
Looking for himself, or possibly
His mother.
She bends her smile to reflect his, or possibly
Her father’s.
Their steed, bloodied
By the weight of baggage
Stuffed with cracked mirrors.

-Barbara Leonhard


Light lapping the darkness,
unpeeling the pith from the fruit,
the sorrow behind the smile,

the underbellies
and shadows between sunbeams,
are all parts of the round whole,
the casing of the hole,
the velvet casket where treasure lies.

The pearl in the rugged oyster,
fox eyes in the dark,
kite wings tilting with the wind,
rose petals falling after rain,

all that flies and creeps,
runs, streams or whispers
among the leaves and upon the strand
is life.

-Jane Dougherty

after JPL21

In my thirties
I started planning for retirement,
stuffing loose change into ISAs and pensions
so when I get old
we’ll live our days out
in a little white cottage.
Swaying together, greying, peacefully
watching waves balance the shore
restoring stolen sands,
washing up seaweed and crabs.
In my forties it changed overnight
from ‘when I get old’ to ‘if’.
Now I’m considering
splashing the lot
on a fortnight in Florida
with the kids.

-Jamie Woods


I Am

(Inspired by all three images)

I am Janus-faced
smiling as I frown
ending a job, just
as I begin it

in a wave of motion, I swell,
an ebb and flow, a tide of becoming
a current of loss.

I am a chimera, the sea flows
through my veins, tiny salt crystals—
like stars–float
as my heart beats a tattoo,

wake and sleep, hope and despair.

I am time and timeless
a ripe apple and a seed newly planted
both here, both gone.

-Merril D. Smith


A mirror reflects
That exists in each
Tends to bring with it
Increased by tenfold

-Carrie Ann Golden

Bios And Links

-John Phandal Law

is 68. Lives in Mexborough. Retired teacher. Artist; musician; poet. Recently included in ‘Viral Verses‘ poetry volume. Married. 2 kids; 3 grandkids

-Gaynor Kane

Gaynor Kane lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where she is a part-time creative, involved in the local arts scene. She writes poetry and is an amateur artist and photographer. In all her creative activities she is looking to capture moments that might otherwise be missed. Discover more at

Twitter @gaynorkane

Facebook @gaynorkanepoet

Instagram @gaynorkanepoet

-Anjum Wasim Dar

started drawing at St Anne’s Presentation Convent High School, Rawalpindi.
Drawing was taught as a Core subject from  Kindergarten.
Anjum learnt the  skill of  Still Life, Sketching,  Landscape Drawing, Coloring  and Shading  She recalled the scented wax crayons and black  paper sketch books vividly.

Subject of Fine Arts at Intermediate level at Govt.College for Women Rawalpindi,   was stopped by the Indo Pak War of 1965. Anjum continued her passion for art privately.
Her job as a Teacher Instructor allowed her to pursue Art work designing and preparing  Thematic Bulletin Boards and Low cost teaching Aids with the Fauji Foundation Teacher’s Training Institute Rawalpindi.
This won her the National Education Award 1998.
Completing  a Course in Graphic Designing  at NICON Academy Rawalpindi , Anjum began working as a Digital Artist, On Line, registered her Own Firm CER Creative Education Resources 2004 and is a Member of DRN Drawing Research Network UK  and
With her artistic skills she plans and conducts “Environment Awareness Workshops for Children” and is a member of and
CER Participated in World Environment Day and Earth Day Programs 2011-2013
“Face of Climate Change”
Anjum  loves Nature, landscapes and abstract imagery. Works with pencils, crayons and  the Software ArtRage 2.0  and MyPaint.

Anjum Wasim Dar’s Art Portfolio  can be accessed  here:

-Merril D. Smith

lives in southern New Jersey near the Delaware River. Her poetry has been published in several poetry journals and anthologies, including Black Bough Poetry, Anti-Heroin Chic,  Fevers of the Mind, and Nightingale and Sparrow. Her first full-length poetry collection, River Ghosts, is forthcoming from Nightingale & Sparrow Press.  Twitter: @merril_mds  Instagram: mdsmithnj  Website/blog:

-Lesley James(she/her)

is a teacher and writer. She was shortlisted for Love Reading UK’s 2022 Very Short Story Award. Featured flash can be found in The Broken Spine, FullHouseLitMag and RoiFaineant. Kathryn O’Driscoll selected her poem Empty for Full House’s 2021 mental health live reading and forthcoming podcast. Brian Moses, The Dirigible Balloon and Parakeet Magazine have published some of her writing for children.

-Lynne Jensen Lampe

has poems in or forthcoming from Figure 1, Olney Magazine, Yemassee, Moist Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. Also to come is her chapbook Talk Smack to a Hurricane (Ice Floe Press, 2022) about mothers, daughters, and mental illness. She was a 2020 Red Wheelbarrow Poetry Prize finalist. Born in Newfoundland and raised in the Deep South, she lives in mid-Missouri where she edits academic books and journals. Visit her at Twitter: @LJensenLampe.

-Math Jones

is London-born, but is now based in Oxford. He has two books published: Sabrina Bridge, a poetry collection, from Black Pear Press (2017), and The Knotsman, a collection of verse, rhyme, prose and poetic monologue, which tell of the life and times of a C17th cunning-man. Much of his verse comes out of mythology and folklore: encounters with the uncanny and unseen. Also, as words written for Pagan ritual or as praise poems for a multitude of goddesses and gods. He is a trained actor and performs his poems widely.

-Caroline Johnstone

is an author and poet from Northern Ireland now living in Scotland. She has been published widely including Poetry Scotland, The Blue Nib and Marble Poetry. She loves spending time with her grandchildren, curling up with a good book and champagne or cocktails in no particular order. 

-Lesley Curwen

is a poet and sailor living in Plymouth. She often writes about loss, rescues and the sea.

Her work has been published in anthologies from Arachne Press, Nine Pens, Quay Words, Slate, snakeskin, and soon by BrokenSpine and Broken Sleep.  

Her poetic relationship with sound has been helped by her work as a BBC broadcaster, editing words on screen.

-Carrie Ann Golden

is from the mystical Adirondack Mountains now living on a farmstead in the Red River Valley of North Dakota (USA). She writes dark fiction and poetry. A Deafblind, her work has been published in places such as GFT Press, Doll Hospital Journal, The Hungry Chimera, Asylum Ink, Piker Press, Edify Fiction and others. You can find her on her writing blog as well as Medium and Twitter.  

-Jen Feroze

lives by the sea in Essex with her husband and two small children. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in a variety of publications including Ink Sweat & Tears, Chestnut Review, Atrium and The Madrigal. Her first collection, The Colour of Hope, was published in 2020 and she’s currently working on a chapbook of poems about early motherhood. 

-Paul Brookes

is a shop asst in a supermarket. Lives in a cat house full of teddy bears. First play performed at The Gulbenkian Theatre, Hull.  His chapbooks include The Fabulous Invention Of Barnsley, (Dearne Community Arts, 1993). A World Where and She Needs That Edge (Nixes Mate Press, 2017, 2018) The Spermbot Blues (OpPRESS, 2017), Please Take Change (, 2018), As Folk Over Yonder ( Afterworld Books, 2019). He is a contributing writer of Literati Magazine and Editor of Wombwell Rainbow Interviews, book reviews and  challenges. 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. Most recent is a poetry collaboration with artworker Jane Cornwell: “Wonderland in Alice, plus other ways of seeing”, (JCStudio Press, 2021)

3 thoughts on “Day 21. My annual National Poetry Month 2022 ekphrastic challenge is a collaboration between artists Gaynor Kane, John Phandal Law, Anjum Wasim Dar, and writers, Angi Plant, Tim Fellows, Math Jones, Merril D. Smith, Jamie Woods, Lesley James, Lesley Curwen, Carrie Ann Golden, Peter A., Barbara Leonhard, Jane Dougherty, Eloise Birnam-Wood, Jen Feroze, Vicky Allen, Simon Williams, Jona Roy, Beth Brooke, Caroline Johnstone, Lynne Jensen Lampe and myself. April 21st.

  1. Pingback: One – Jane Dougherty Writes

  2. Pingback: Day 21 Ekphrastic Challenge, My Poem, I Am – Yesterday and today: Merril's historical musings

  3. Pingback: NaPoWriMo 2022 day 21 – Charlotte Hamrick

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.