..day 23 ..

sonja benskin mesher

..day 23..

the radio says it is palm sunday

i remember that story and i also
remember palm toffee
so vividly

now there is a word

i liked the banana split bar

@ 3d

my pocket money on wednesday
i guess that is when mum got her

national assistance

we use to hit it with mum’s hammer
to break it, then suck it soft. i still

have that hammer in the third drawer

it is a real panic if i cannot find it there

it is named
mummy’s hammer

of course

of course the numbers are now greater
each morning. they say they will lessen
at some point

she asked if i will sell my drawings after
i said that i do not know

i just does them
fixes them & puts
them in that box

i wonder if you can still buy that toffee

i will go…

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Excerpt from Catalogue d’oiseaux – Aaron Tucker

IceFloe Press

& across is the Hamburger Bahnhof
symmetrical with two flanking towers white & regal horizon
former terminus, culmination of rail networks
we move up its promenade, enter, open the whole of its cavernous centre
long echo & bellowing trains still ringing, still vibrant
the gallery quiet, & when I linger slightly I see you in that empty space
you, tiny against white, under large metal arches, joining dozens of feet above
this building with remnants of utility, now converted aesthetics, pristine & giant
& I catch up to you, thinking how we must look, two figures nearly swallowed
by the expanse of this building, & moving towards an exit along the side
receding, gone we cross through a simulated subway station, pale green tiles
replicated graffiti & then into an impossibly long hallway
globe lights hanging regularly an optical illusion
the stretch of it, as if created by mirrors, projects

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Extraordinary Times call For…

Wendy Pratt Writing


…whatever is right for you.

For some of us, this means carrying on as near to normal as possible. I work from home anyway and I am self employed, the pandemic has caused a big chunk of lost earnings in the form of festival bookings and workshop bookings, but thankfully most of my ‘bread and butter work’ is done from my home, online. I am still running my online workshops which, touch wood, even in a market in which everyone is now teaching online out of necessity, still appear to be popular. I am still mentoring writers. Not much, then, has changed in my working life, except my husband who is also working from home now, is putting me to shame with his strict routine and enthusiasm. I have seen a version of him, the work version, that I haven’t really seen before. Work-Husband is a very slick, confident person…

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My annual National Poetry Month ekphrastic challenge has become a collaboration between Jane Cornwell (artist), and poets Susan Richardson, Samantha, Jay Gandhi, Ali Jones and myself. April 4th



Sometimes it takes a blast from above to wake
us up.
a crack of energy smacking the air, electricity,
ripe and dangerous.

Sometimes it takes a storm to clear the decks,
the pitch and glitter,
to roll us dangerously from tide to time,
nearly capsizing, but righting just in time.

Sometimes it takes a long night of the blackest depths,
to take us far underground,
where there are no promises
of return words fade away.

Sometimes it takes a near apocalypse
to make you seen the lone tree,
reaching for tomorrow,
always striving on, as clouds break to full sun.

-Ali Jones

My Flame

flickers cold shadows over your skin,
dances into your curves as a cloud
passes over a valley its shadow dips
towards a swerve of water,

the dark copse darkened by the sip
the sup of clear water that beckons
my tongue taste its brightnesses
that is the perfume in your curves.

-Paul Brookes


(for Sarah)

After my mother died,
feathers seemed to tumble
from the sky,
small patches of light piercing
through the grip of a tempest,
appearing in the most unlikely places.

The first one I found on the white shag rug
that covered my bedroom floor,
dark as ink with red
running through it like veins,
as I danced alone to Earth Wind and Fire,
my mother’s favorite band.

Another, bushy and plentiful,
spotted like the tail of a calico cat,
I found nestled on the seat next to me
in an empty movie theater.

Marking a page in my most treasured book,
one my mother had given me as a gift,
I discovered a feather so delicate,
it could only have come from a dove.

For years I kept every feather I found,
on car seats and park benches,
in coat pockets and buried in coin purses.
I believed each feather was a message,
my mother reaching out
from wherever people go when they die.

I didn’t know Sarah then.

We met decades later,
when grief colored
every inch of her landscape,
strength and sorrow inseparable.

The morning her mother died,
a feather appeared,
breathless like a petal,
in the middle of my kitchen floor.

-Susan Richardson


Horizon is grey except
a patch of white—
Dark skies have
disowned this chunk.

This odd man travels
tirelessly with clouds
to align itself over
a stripped barren tree.

All other trees in
the vicinity are green.

-Jay Gandhi


Faced with the eye of the storm,
I find my roots are too deep to run.
I wither as I wait.
“This too shall pass.”


“Home” : A Pagan’s Year (Stubborn Sod, The Headpoke And Firewedding, Our Ghost’s Holiday.) A creative exploration of sources used to create my poetry series, featuring the cracking art of Marcel Herms.

Stubborn Sod

contents plus added text

stubborn sod april

Stubborn Sod April Home


is a very old poem of mine. I wrote in when I was living in Bristol and my sister, mam and dad were here in Barnsley. I guess it registers a kind of homesickness for the Yorkshire landscape and moors. In a sense due to “Stay At Home” Corvid-19 we are all in enforced hibernation waiting for the ice to crack and for our rivers to flow again.

Marcel’s depiction of Aphrodite in image of April is telling, as is his prescient picture of a skull. The name April some say is an Etruscan derivation from the Greek Aphrodite, who was both a goddess of love and of war. It may also mean opening as in buds,

Kalimba by Petero Kalulé (Guillemot Press)

Tears in the Fence

A kalimba is an African instrument consisting of a wooden box and fingerlike metal tines which are plucked by thumbs, and an acoustic hole, which can also be used to make a sound, by hovering one’s thumbs over the hole. Watching it being played, I was struck by the handiness of the instrument, held in two hands like a mobile phone, the tines plucked as though the player is sending a text message.
It is easy to see the appeal of this instrument to a poet, particularly a poet deeply interested in music, like Petero Kalulé. The collection’s dedication reads ‘for all my friends: that these notations may vibrate close in y/our hands’. The physical book is shaped like a kalimba, and the cover is designed as one. The conceit is that, as we read Kalulé’s poetry, aloud or in our heads, we are playing an instrument. Whether Kalulé wants…

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The Black Silk Route, a poem by Ranjana Sharan Sinha

Jamie Dedes' THE POET BY DAY Webzine

Photograph courtesy of RezviMasood under CC BY-SA 4.0 license

Poverty is the worst form of violence.” Mahatma Gandhi, Indian political and spiritual leader

Out of the old
sepia-tinted tableau
frozen in my mind,
smoky and blurred,
the bubbly boy
leaps into life amid

tons of skinny children
swarming out of mudhouses
and running behind our blue car
giggling and shouting
in specks of dust!
He hardly knew then
that he was a child
created without a destiny!
Unfolding of years
made him struggle hard:
Too little food,
Long hours of work!
Poverty like a woodpecker
hammered into the
tender tree of his body:
Disadvantaged and
out-of-school the boy
suffered timeless traumas!
Sick and sorrowful
he was a drawning self–
Arms flailing!
Water splashing!
Many times he spoke
with God and prayed desperately,
but his prayers went unanswered!
Then with ascending hands
he looked at the skies–

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..day 21..

sonja benskin mesher

..day 21..

no one interacts much with me here
& i am just fine with it that as i have
said before

i also draw & write most days sometimes
hope for a lazy day which never happens
so we carry on
what to do with all this stuff is a good

to which i have no answer

at present they piles up neatly until i
find a suitable box for storage

i like particular boxes
quite partcular i am

there is a new one
small in the middle
of the floor now

you see it reminds
me of the visit to
that house by the mill
where there is a box
to stand on to be able
to see the mountain

i cannot go now
he says it is a
connection thing

she said it was odd

yet mostly folk leave me
alone here

and that…

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My annual National Poetry Month ekphrastic challenge has become a collaboration between Jane Cornwell (artist), and poets Susan Richardson, Samantha, Jay Gandhi, Ali Jones and myself. April 3rd



Can you remember when you held god,
close to your chest, and inhaled?
the animal warmth, butterfly heart,
the quiet still body, faking death,
fluttering a gentle warning in the chalice
of your palm.

Bring the bread up to your lips – here is the
body here is the blood.
We all do the same if we are left alone when
we can’t survive without another.
Sound alarm, if nobody comes, assume
a predator prowls – so mimic our end.

We knew we should never have touched the
hare, leveret beached in a quiet field,
mother flown far into the long grass, where
she waited with eyes like flaming torches,
helpless to intervene, as we passed the small
body, breathing in the enchantment.

When the church clock rang, the spell was
broken, wonderland now the back field again.
You placed the leveret back to earth, to root
into dash and scamper, box clever.
You took the breath of god with you,
clinging to your jacket like a hint of the hereafter.

-Ali Jones

Midwinter Is

all back to core and root,
scrapes off summer’s fat and muscle,
whitens the bones without leaves,
gust polishes dry skulls into mirrors,
bones into icy water,
a hollowed cavity
scratched out.

MidSummer is warm fur, throb
of our little hearts together
tickle of twitching hairs
as I hold close
my pet who snuggles then struggles
to leap out of  my arms,
a wilderness in its rabbit eyes.

Midwinter is a teenage lad, on
his haunches – dead rabbit head hill,
in one hand, penknife cold in other,
catches the blade on the bone
and scrapes away the fur,
gouges out orbital cavities,
back to the bowls,
excavates the hollows,
oozes cherry red blood.

Midwinter is midsummer.
Midsummer is midwinter.
Every year these memories
overlay one another

as reminders.

-Paul Brookes

as I comfort you,
your soft strength is evident.
you comfort me too.


While you Can

Love fiercely while you can.
Hold him to your heart
and breathe in the scent of rain
lingering on the soft petals of his fur.

Speak gently while you can.
Wrap him in the silence of your eyes,
whispering into his fragile ears
that he is safe in your embrace.

Be patient while you can.
Understand that we all feel afraid,
staring out into a world that can crumble89i89
at the touch of things we cannot see.

Be kind while you can.
Make sure he knows you love him,
and when he is ready,
set him free.

-Susan Richardson


Folks at school
tease me incessantly.
My colour is dull,
weight is double
and height is half —
enough fodder
for many days.
Every day when I
return home
my mother kisses
my forehead
and I feel
that I should live
for one more day.

-Jay Gandhi