Day 1. My annual National Poetry Month 2023 ekphrastic challenge is a collaboration between artists Aaron Bowker, Beth Brooke, Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad, Sara Fatima Mir, and writers, Tim Fellows, Merril D. Smith, Anjum Wasim Dar, Jamie Woods, Lesley James, Lesley Curwen, Carrie Ann Golden, Jane Dougherty, Robert Frede Kenter, Tim Fellows, Paul Dyson, Frank Colley, Lynne Jensen Lampe and myself. April 1st.



Continuum (OVP1)– published in Tales from the Forest, Ireland.


Paul Dyson


It’s quiet and grey on the racecourse today.
The old grandstand sleeps, no bets placed,
no winners or losers, no tickets torn.
The winners enclosure is empty,
no chestnut or white flanks steaming
in the cool spring air. No cheers
for the mud-spattered jockey, adrenaline
still coursing through human and horse.
The silky shirt, green stars on a blue background,
yellow sleeves. Sparkling wine all round from
the owners, smacking the trainer on the back.
Number 7, 18/1, Paddy’s Point. Going heavy, soft
in places. Bookie pockets his cash. It’s the last race
of the day and the punters leave, the horses cooled
and led to their boxes. Everything is swept clean.
The noise slowly fades to the sound of birds and
a grey sky that dulled even the lushness of the
turf and the whiteness of the rails. Until the next race day.

A monochrome day
Drizzle coats an April land
Colours lost in time

The haiku was inspired by Beth Brooke’s monochrome image, extended to a haibun after a visit to Market Rasen racecourse.

Tim Fellows

One For Sorrow (inspired by all four images)

One is dead
and the rest of the tribe mourn;
their keening bouncing off
the chapel walls like antique pistol percussion.
Harbingers of sadness, reminders of grief.

We stand in lines of black and white
to salute you on your final journey.
You are laid out, not walking with the blackthorn stick
that we didn’t get the time to buy you.
You’re signature pocket watch, keeps time no longer.

I picture you tentatively walking away
across a tenebrous landscape,
monochrome mountains,
question mark tree silhouettes
cliffs born from fire.

Canvas tent pitched within a glade.
You arrive at the campfire
to cast keys and brooches from molten bronze.
Sparks drift away like tiny butterflies
in search of summer blooms

Gaynor Kane

The Old Man and His Cane

Time travels where the hair goes.
‘I can’ becomes ‘I cane’ and an old chestnut.
The first time the pun makes one laugh,
sometimes even on the second time
and then the carcass of the punchline
hangs in an abattoir. In one of his dream
my father limps down the rows of skinned bodies.
His memories’ flesh, fresh in such dreams, rot
the moment he wakes up. We pay no attention
to his complaints about the smell. The issue
seems similar to the joke. Time stinks, we know.

Kushal Poddar

Your Placard Alone Is Not Enough (BB1)

The mound protests
head above the battlefield and strategic water
standing firm against the incoming blur
of misted confusion and redirection.
A pimple to be burst,
a fly to be swatted out of the way
of Tiananmen tanks and riot police,
kettles boiling and crushed.

Change needs a mountain,
linked arms, daisy-chains and superglue,
height and precarious ledges alone
aren’t always enough
to prevent the grey fog bombing
from coercive skies
clouding peaks and smothering trees.

Jamie Woods

Spring walking (using AB, BB and OVP)

Walking these lanes where trees bow and sigh,
spring-budding between ploughed fields,
while wind sings
ancient songs.

Spring-budding between ploughed fields,
already green blowing,

while wind sings
of feathered

ancient songs

Jane Dougherty


Robert Frede Kemter

The Newly Petalled

butterfly dries before maiden flight. Furls in
to air, blossoms above wings of flowers
feathering pushed from winters grave, Morning
Mr Magpie. Three legged man walks away
from the world, a magpie looking for a
key that is behind him, unused and still.

Not true. All shakes. Nothing is ever still.
Stone moves, is moved. No permanence. Change in
this world is the only certainty a
vase in flux and in flux the cut flowers
and still images decay, photos still
discolour over time. Magpie morning

is never always forever morning.
Maintenance and restoration all still
conservation make memories a way
of keeping the freshness of flowers,
preservation, caught before loss, held in
before alterations, the drop of a

wing, decay of petals, the turn of a
page, the back of the old, unsteady morning
perhaps it carries freshly bought flowers
to the cemetery, home of the still,
even the dead alte, ever change in
their mouldering, always becoming away

never nearer movement ever away
as we grow older our images a
walking away or is it towards in
the living key of this magpie morning
we all wish all could be a dream of still
where nothing decays, nor rots like flowers

preservation of the fleeting flowers
prevention of endless going away
holding on with both steady hands to still
Can’t last as arms get tired, unsteady a
photograph, a painting holds the morning
at a slower decay rate than the life we’re in

(still, flowers) (in, away) (a, morning)

Paul Brookes

Bios and Links

Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad

is an Indian-Australian painter, poet, and improv pianist. She is a self-taught artist who has been painting and exhibiting for over 20 years. Her work has been featured in several journals including Amsterdam Quarterly yearbook, Pithead Chapel, Two Thirds North, Kissing Dynamite Poetry,  and Stonecoast Review. She has been nominated multiple times for the Best of the Net. She lives and works in Sydney on the traditional lands of The Eora Nation.  Find her @oormilaprahlad and

Sara Fatima Mir

Born on the 26th of July, 2007, in Islamabad , Sara Fatima is a Pakistani of Kashmiri origin. Gifted by nature with an inborn aesthetic sense, she is passionate about art. It is not just a hobby for her, rather it is a well settled heart and soul, way of life which inspires her to visualize the fine beauty and form in the world around. She has won numerous art competitions at school level. She is a natural artist and has completed the following two Courses : a) Graphic Designing -2020 b) Resin Art Skills -2022 from the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Finishing School, Islamabad Capital Territory Pakistan. This learning has further enhanced her artistic skills . International Participation in Art and Poetry Project: Rucksack A Global Poetry Patchwork 2022 A Poetry Project by Ms Antje Stehn of Italy and Mamta Sagar of India. Sara made a Teapot with the help of dried teabags. A requirement .Its image is on display at the Poetry Museum Italy. Sara Fatima Mir believes Art connects people by portraying their lives. Different people, different drawings, different stories. Using all sorts of mediums, she flaunts her amateur talent and aspires to learn more to become the best version of herself. Please Follow her on Instagram @sketchfilez

Beth Brooke

is a Dorset-based poet and her writing is grounded in the Wessex landscape and history. Her debut pamphlet, A Landscape With Birds was published by Hedgehog Poetry in July 2022. Her second pamphlet, Transformations, will be published by Hedgehog next year. The poems are all inspired by the work of Dame Elisabeth Frink, the sculptor and artist.

Aaron Bowker

based in the United States is a super self-critical Virgo, walking a path between worlds while dabbling in art, photography, and poetry. Poems have been featured in Failed Haiku, Cold Moon Journal, The Wombwell Rainbow, and Heterodox Haiku Journal, with art featured in The Hooghly Review, The Wombwell Rainbow, and Black & White Haifa/Haisha. Special thank you to Jerome Berglund for being my mentor and pushing me to limits otherwise unexplored.

Robert Frede Kenter

is a writer, pushcart nominee & visual artist with work in many venues, on line and in print, incl: Storms Journal, Anthropocene, Fevers Of, Acropolis Journal, CutbowQuarterly, Anti-heroin chic and many others, as well as books including EDEN (2021) a visual poetry collection, and Audacity of Form (ice floe press, 2019). Work in anthologies: Book of Penteract (Penteract Press, 2022), and Seeing in Tongues, an anthology forthcoming from Steel Incisors (2023). Robert is publisher & EIC of Ice Floe Press,

Jamie Woods

Swansea-based Jamie Woods is poet-in-residence at the charity Leukaemia Care. His work has been published in Poetry Wales, Lucent Dreaming, Ink Sweat & Tears and more. Jamie’s debut pamphlet Rebel Blood Cells is out in June, and can be pre-ordered from

Jane Dougherty

lives and works in southwest France. A Pushcart Prize nominee, her poems and stories have been published in magazines and journals including Ogham Stone, the Ekphrastic Review, Black Bough Poetry, ink sweat and tears, Gleam, Nightingale & Sparrow, Green Ink and Brilliant Flash Fiction. She blogs at Her poetry chapbooks, thicker than water and birds and other feathers were published in October and November 2020.

Paul Dyson

is from Swinton, Rotherham, in the West Riding of Yorkshire.
He says –

“We all have an urge to be creative
whether it’s art, poetry, music . . .
or just putting together flat pack furniture,
being creative keeps us alive and feeling human”

Paul gave up his day job 5 years ago to dabble in art, poetry and music, and hopes the passion in his Art reaches and touches the hearts of fellow humans too.

Merril D. Smith

lives in southern New Jersey near the Delaware River. Her poetry has been published in journals including Black Bough Poetry, Anti-Heroin Chic, Acropolis, and Humana Obscura, and anthologies, such as the recent Our Own Coordinates: Poems about Dementia (Sidhe Press). Her full-length poetry collection, River Ghosts, was published by Nightingale & Sparrow Press, and was a Black Bough Poetry Book of the Month.

Twitter: @merril_mds  Instagram: mdsmithnj  Blog:

Tim Fellows

is a writer from Chesterfield in Derbyshire whose ideas are heavily influenced by his background in the local coalfields, where industry and nature lived side by side. His first pamphlet “Heritage” was published in 2019. His poetic influences range from Blake to Owen, Causley to Cooper-Clarke and more recently the idea of imagistic poetry and the work of Spanish poet Miguel Hernandez.

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