#NationalMarineWeek 2021 24th July – 8th August. Sixth Day July 29th Saltwater Fish-Life. Have you written unpublished/published poetry/artwork about Saltwater Fish-Life, mammals such as Whales are included ? Poetry and Artworks/photo challenge. When a week is sixteen days to account for the tides in Britain. Here are the first eight day themes: July 24th: Seawatch, July 25th: Rock-pools, July 26th: Seabirds And Seals, July 27th: The Strandline, July 28th: Sand Dunes And Salt-Marshes, July 29th: Fish-Life, July 30th: What Marine Life Does For Us. July 31st: Beachcombing. Please submit your poems and artwork by DM to me, or send a message via my WordPress “The Wombwell Rainbow” contact screen or my FB “Paul Brookes-Writer and Photographer”

Sixth Day – Fish-Life

Marcel 1

We are little children of the sea by Marcel Herms

Marcel 2

Dolphin Dreaming by Marcel Herms

Fish in the sea

they always look like
they want a kiss

from a dry-land stranger
when in truth, they are gasping their last

with a barb shooting out
of their aquatic tenderness
their eyes glued to your face

-Elizabeth Moura

Traveller by Annest Gwilym

Golden Child by Annest Gwilym

“Traveller” and “Golden Child by Annest Gwilym

European Eel better 1

 

European Eel better 2

Extracts from “The European Eel” by Steve Ely, Longbarrow Press, 2021 https://longbarrowpress.com/current-publications/steve-ely

ANGLERFISHBLOBFISHCLOWNFISHFLOUNDERNARWHALNAUTILUSSEAHORSESTARDINE

-Pam Flitt and Ivor Folio

The Marine Sonnets

The Sturgeon

Bottom feeder. I live in two waters.
Sense their electric impulses vibrate,
suck into my mouth all their shells and claws.
Soon move from Deep to brackish water. Wait

until I am used to warmer Narrow,
release my sticky eggs. My babies swim
seaward. Get used to brackish in Shallow
before move into Deep, not over rim.

Above dredge our living, scarifying
life, haul us up into light and dryness.
Harvest our babies before their birthing.
Hunted my ancestors rich meatiness.

Deep returned I may leap, keep the reason
a mystery, splash my flat sides, frisson.

-Paul Brookes

Bios And Links

–Pam Flitt and Ivor Folio

write and perform spoken word, comedy and song in and around the Kent & Sussex borders. They have occasionally roamed further afield on their “Posh Villages Tour”, which they initially embarked upon just prior to the first lockdown, and hope to pick up where they left off for as long as Boris and Covid-19 allow. They have graced the stages of many local festivals both as performers and as coordinators of “Voices” spoken word events, and appear regularly on BBC local Radio. In recent months they have been working flat-out with a small committee of like-minded poets from The Kent & Sussex Poetry Society to organise and deliver The Tunbridge Wells Poetry Festival (15-27 August).

-Annest Gwilym

‘Author of two books of poetry: Surfacing (2018) and What the Owl Taught Me (2020), both published by Lapwing Poetry. Annest has been published in many literary journals and anthologies, both online and in print, and placed in several writing competitions, winning one. She is a nominee for Best of the Net 2021.’

Steve Ely’s

poetry publications include Oswald’s Book of Hours (Smokestack, 2013), Englaland (Smokestack, 2015), Incendium Amoris (Smokestack, 2017), Bloody, proud and murderous men, adulterers and enemies of God (The High Window Press, 2018), Jubilate Messi (Shearsman, 2018), Zi-Zi Taah Taah Taah (Wild West Press, 2018) and Lectio Violant (Shearsman, 2021). He has also published a novel, Ratmen (Blackheath Books, 2012), and a biographical work, Ted Hughes’s South Yorkshire: Made in Mexborough (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015). He is Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Huddersfield.

#NationalMarineWeek 2021 24th July – 8th August. Fifth Day July 28th Sand Dunes And Saltmarshes. Have you written unpublished/published poetry/artwork about Sand dunes And Saltmarshes, or the objects in the photos below ? Poetry and Artworks/photo challenge. When a week is sixteen days to account for the tides in Britain. Here are the first eight day themes: July 24th: Seawatch, July 25th: Rock-pools, July 26th: Seabirds And Seals, July 27th: The Strandline, July 28th: Sand Dunes And Salt-Marshes, July 29th: Fish-Life, July 30th: What Marine Life Does For Us. July 31st: Beachcombing. Please submit your poems and artwork by DM to me, or send a message via my WordPress “The Wombwell Rainbow” contact screen or my FB “Paul Brookes-Writer and Photographer”

Fifth Day – Sand Dunes And Saltmarshes

sand dune spotter guide 1

sand dune spotter guide 2

Sand Dunes by Yvonne Marjot

-Sand Dune artwork by Yvonne Marjot

Watching at Spurn Point

Saltwort, sea-spurge, marram grass root in sand
scaffolds for the dunes that grow with the tides.
Softwood breakwaters branch to the headland
where black-headed gulls take wind driven rides.

Shrill calling terns flock glorious in flight
until they drop, dive the ebb, dive the flood.
At the tide line blossoms of black and white
oystercatchers probing estuarine mud.

Migrating birds don’t mimic clouds by choice
as their journeys cross shadowing the sun.
All the raucous cries sounding like the voice
of the wind, waves and sand never outrun.

Saltwort, sea-spurge, marram grass root in sand
scaffolds for the dunes that grow with the tides.
Softwood breakwaters branch to the headland
where black-headed gulls take wind driven rides.

Shrill calling terns flock glorious in flight
until they drop, dive the ebb, dive the flood.
At the tide line blossoms of black and white
oystercatchers probing estuarine mud.

Migrating birds don’t mimic clouds by choice
as their journeys cross shadowing the sun.
All the raucous cries sounding like the voice
of the wind, waves and sand never outrun.

-Julia Corbett

The Stopper by Rob Miles

Skylark

Who would have guessed
its insignificance,
that here on the path
it could be a sparrow
only skinnier?

Then it rises
with that distinctive flight
like the way I cycle
hell for leather
then a glorious freewheeling

-Carole Bromley

SAND DUNES & SALTMARSHES 
Romney Marsh 1066

Englalond greets us with the smell of eggy fart;
salt marshes reek of death.
This is our gift to Harold;
we expect a crown in return.

The marram grass clings in tufts
like wild, lime-haired Picts,
having hurled themselves over Hadrian’s wall;
who cannot now occupy the land for long.

The striped square sail grinds into soft sand
not on a broad bay as planned.
Already the midges are out in opposition,
but no shield-bearing Saxons.

There is no Matilda in sight –
fine new flagship bought by Duke William’s wife.
Other than a hooded figure boiling crabs
there are no signs of human habitation.

Our fleet-footed scout catches this serf
while the rest of us wobble on sea-legs.
Turns out we’re in Romney,
a good thirty miles east of the invasion fleet.

This whole affair is ill-fated –
Storms in the Seine estuary
nearly sunk us before we set off.

Great sand dunes slip and slide,
under hoof and underfoot,
of sweaty retainers in iron-ringed hauberks
grumbling about lack of water.

William intends
to establish a beach head
fortify the coast against counter-attack.

We risk his wrath arriving late for a battle,
need to know the lie of the land.
The man chained to our mast was born in Mercia,
tells me we are in Cent.

The slave raises his head and laughs.
Dozens of boats are in the water,
men swarming with spears and bows.
Too many; we must away.

-John Wolf 28th July 2021.

dreams by Leela Soma

-Leela Soma

Blooming

A celandine went first,
and if we had ever looked, we would have known
it was a freeze-frame of a live firework,
we would have expected
the violence that sparked from the inside out,
the heat petalling sweetly,
each stamen springing a hellmouth.

A rose caught,
thorns spitting pop-pop-pop from the stem,
the leaves crisping, and as an afterthought,
the buds, like charged kisses,
lipped the flames to ragwort and vetch.
An oxeye daisy burst,
white-hot in its eagerness.

We dialled nine-nine-nine,
we called the press, but our words burned away,
and as day bloomed into evening time,
the honeysuckle, its lashes
glowing in the last light of the sun,
tipped a long wink to Venus
and blew like an H-bomb.

-Nina Parmenter

The Marine Sonnets:

The Sand Dune

A youngster I am blown about, scatter.
Roots arrive, dig into me, I grow here, hid
behind something from elsewhere, what matters.
Marram grass. Youngsters make a seaward bid,

sheltering me. I am background. My lime
rich shell sand, home to burrowing bees, quick
digger Wasps, sand swimming sand snakes.
In time
I grow older, taller, more chaotic.

Soon I may have a lake and marsh grass,
Later Sea buckthorn, birch. I am woodland.
My oaks rise, sunlight blooms through leaves, wings pass
in between branches. My youth blown sand.

I was near a sea but now I’m forest.
I hear my trees converse. Life never rests.

Bios And Links

-Julie Corbett

lives in Holderness and sometimes writes a poem. Her poetry has been published in anthologies and journals, including Spokes, Magma, The Fib Review, and The Right Eyed Deer.

-Carole Bromley

is a York-based poet writing for both adults (latest collection, The Peregrine Falcons of York Minster, Valley Press, 2020) and children ( Blast Off! Smith Doorstop, 2017)

Pen Kease: How to Build a Serving Man

The High Window

Pen Kease is both poet and visual artist but has only recently begun to explore the relationship between the two. Her poems have been published in a range of literary magazines and websites, including The Interpreter’s House, Atrium, Ink Sweat and Tears and Prole Magazine. She lives in South Oxfordshire with husband and cat.

Pen Kease3.jpg

NB: You can read the poems which accompany each image by clicking on the titles. (Ed)

****

PK 1 THEY'RE STILL HERE

they’re still here

*****

PK 2 Serving man

how to build a serving man

*****

PK 3 CAREER MISCARRIED

a career miscarried

******

housewives

housewives 1950s

*****

PK 5 THESE DAYS

these days

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#NationalMarineWeek 2021 24th July – 8th August. Fourth Day July 27th The Strandline. Waves carry debris including seaweed and driftwood, which pile up and form the strandline – this is a shoreline higher than the water level. Here, just beyond normal reach of the waves, a few plants including oraches, prickly saltwort. Have you written unpublished/published poetry/artwork about The Strandline, or the objects in the photos below ? Poetry and Artworks/photo challenge. When a week is sixteen days to account for the tides in Britain. Here are the first eight day themes: July 24th: Seawatch, July 25th: Rock-pools, July 26th: Seabirds And Seals, July 27th: The Strandline, July 28th: Sand Dunes And Salt-Marshes, July 29th: Fish-Life, July 30th: What Marine Life Does For Us. July 31st: Beachcombing. Please submit your poems and artwork by DM to me, or send a message via my WordPress “The Wombwell Rainbow” contact screen or my FB “Paul Brookes-Writer and Photographer”

Day Four-The Strandline

strandline spottershoreline detective strandline

 

mermaid purseheart urchin

Mermaid’s Purse and Heart Urchin Photos by Andy MacGregor

Heart urchin

Was it a spring storm,
surging over headlands,
barrelling across dunes
and breaking

the steady rhythm of the shore
in its season of accumulation
that brought this buried
treasure to the surface?

It’s given me pause
to think how something so fragile –
this hollow chimaera
of porcelain and lace –

could withstand it here
out in the open, a coast
ruthless and unfeeling
as the sea before it,

yet fall to pieces
in my clumsy hands.

-Andy MacGregor 

Timberline montana by ms evans

-M.S. Evans (part five of photo and poetic sequence first published by IceFloe Press “Butte, America” – Poems and photos by M.S. Evans – IceFloe Press

THE STRANDLINE 

Beyond high tide’s reach
a pile of debris lies dumped,
like trench tools,
by a retreating army.

Salt-blistered steaming seaweed,
softly sea-blasted driftwood, tangles
with net remnants, snags of plastic,
scribbles of fishing line.

The Prickly Saltwort;
tolerant but not user friendly,
stodges each conversation
like groynes holding back the tide.

The fresh-water folk by contrast, are young;
new-blood vibrant.
Lloyd has four years left to retirement;
he will grind them out doing things his way.

Runes etched on the reaper’s blade read ‘Budget Cuts’.
Lloyd does not work for Corporate,
his service doesn’t generate income;
he’s below the strandline.

Beyond high tide’s reach
a pallid pile of paper-thin people
pretend
to care what happens him.

A tiny Octopus lurches
from this tidal refuse pile
toward rock-pools;
safety of shallows.

A Seagull watches from Sales.
Like Tom Cruise in Top Gun,
The Stevester takes to the air;

-John Wolf 27th July 2021.

strandline.8strandline.7strandline.6

strandline.5

All four photos by Annest Gwilym

Bladderwrack by Julian

strandline.5

All four photos by Annest Gwilym

Bladderwrack by Julian

Sea Star

From a finback whale’s whisper
she is born of a storm
in an estuary, torn
between ocean and sky

A girl of sea stars
she clings to clouds
but always returns
to the call of the deep

In life, she craves love
found in two places,
tears herself
from celeste to sea

In neither, complete


-Lisa Alletson

A Strandline

I welcome the abandoned, discarded
and lost. My creatures scavenge arrivals.
Sandhoppers hide in day under stranded
debris, emerge to feed when darkness calls.

Find in me ambergris from a sperm whales
intestines, sea beans, coconuts and sea
hearts, plastic packaging and nurdles,
egg capsules of sharks, skates and rays, spongy

pale whelk egg cases, cuttlebones, moulted
crab shells. I am never the same. Four tides
change my shape, what I am, how I’m molded.
I can’t hold on to you, others decide.

I’m not permanent, secure or stable.
Have to let you go. Inevitable

-Paul Brookes

Bios And Links

-Lisa Alletson

grew up in South Africa and the UK, and now lives in Canada. She has poetry forthcoming or published in New Ohio Review, The Lumiere Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, SilverBirch Press, Bangalore Review, Beyond Words, Osmosis Press, and Dodging the Rain. She writes daily on Twitter at @LotusTongue.

-M.S. Evans

is a Pushcart nominated poet and visual artist residing in Butte, Montana. Her work has appeared in Black Bough Poetry, Ice Floe Press, Anti-Heroin ChicFeralFevers of the Mind, and Green Ink Poetry, among others.

Twitter: @SeaNettleInk

Instagram: @seanettleart

-Julian Brasington

lives in North Wales.  His poems have appeared most recently in Ink Sweat & Tears, Stand, Ink Drinkers Poetry, Channel, Dust, Dreich, Black Bough Poetry, and in the newspaper Morning Star.

#NationalMarineWeek 2021 24th July – 8th August. Third Day July 26th Seabirds And Seals. Have you written unpublished/published poetry/artwork about Seabirds And Seals? Poetry and Artworks/photo challenge. When a week is sixteen days to account for the tides in Britain. Here are the first eight day themes: July 24th: Seawatch, July 25th: Rock-pools, July 26th: Seabirds And Seals, July 27th: The Strandline, July 28th: Sand Dunes And Salt-Marshes, July 29th: Fish-Life, July 30th: What Marine Life Does For Us. July 31st: Beachcombing. Please submit your poems and artwork by DM to me, or send a message via my WordPress “The Wombwell Rainbow” contact screen or my FB “Paul Brookes-Writer and Photographer”

Third Day – Seabirds And Seals

ChristinaChin_Sanderlings_Wombwell Rainbow

-Christina Chin

Leopard Seals


Strange music
strained through moaning ice
drifts over textured white
from the saw-edged
fliptop jaws of
cold killers,
penguin eaters,
who sing
to find love.

-Charlotte Oliver

Seagull Sequence 

Wrong Turn

Seagulls flock
in snow coats
above the jewelled lake,

a wrong turn
inland
away from the sea.

High amongst clouds,
formations dance
without sound

flip up and down,
stop, turn around, split,
aim for invasion.

White wings fall
like tissue paper
on rippled waves.

Invasion from Brighton

Gallant geese evacuate,
driven out by snowy invaders,
seagulls squawk to claim their victory.

Mottled mallard and widgeon
scatter to sheltered bays,
concealed from flocks of snow-white birds
that hover above the storm-kissed lake.

Red-beaked moorhens veiled from view,
bide their time for militant gulls to rocket away
and evacuees return.

Water Harmony

Triumphant geese
return to fold,
wings spread,
joyful gabble.

Yellow croci spring
up in green,
pink camellias cluster
the circle of sun-washed water.

Coots and moorhens
boasting red and white beaks
chug along
creating ripples.

Mallard and widgeon
emerge from hiding,
a pure white
feathered duck in tow.

Published in Sarasvati Magazine 2017
Ingenue Magazine Issue 27 2019/20
Taxus Baccata – The Hedgehog Poetry Press 2020

– Patricia M Osborne

CORMORANT

Solitary,
on a perch of dark rock
eyes upon the sea.
I watched you poised likewise
Sea Raven, onyx-backed sculpture.
My Jurassic reflection
across the slow-swirling bay.

Only you, spear-faced talisman,
Had power to dive or fly.
Three realms at your spreading feet.

Crunch of pebbles at the end
of my scrambling descent-
clumsy in just one dimension,
and I looked again.

Just a mercury skin ripple
Beneath where you’d been.

-Polly Oliver

Black headed gull by Cath Barton

-Cath Barton “Black Headed Gull”

AIR RIDER

There is a certain way the sun strikes the sleek snow of a gull’s breast
turning in a flighty February sky that’s rippled with Northern sea shades
of ice blue, white-cap clouds, uncertain grey;
That, though miles inland, brings a cold flush
to a stagnant pool of being. Muddied with emotion
churned by rounds of murky interaction.
Change it says, is easy. Dip your wing-tip to the past,
Turn, beak to the wind – and ride it alone with exhilaration.

-Polly Oliver

Steven Stokes haiku 2

PETREL 

A sheen, spread for miles
across pristine marine,
Like a Starling’s back
sent from source,
An oil pipe
burning
in Iraq.

Saint Peter walks on water,
To spend a life upon wing
The Storm, by-named
just does this
miraculous
thing.

These birds cannot walk
they affect a kind of
shuffle. Support
themselves on Tarsi –
Greek island ? No
Foot-bones.

The name means ‘home lover’
like pigeons fired from traps
they return to nest
on the same cliffs.
Call to a chick,
an odd sound
like puppy’s
whine.

“What’s for tea mum ?”
Shrimps, squid, sand eels, sushi.
I’ve brought your favourite-
purple sail jellyfish.

Cousin to the Albatross
a wild-wind-wanderer;
Shearwater-brother
he’s a Manxman.

The Galápagos has a dark-rump,
The Réunion’s endangered.
The Snow’s pure white.
The Petrel is the world’s smallest seabird,

-John Wolf 26th July 2021

Herring Gulls by Annest Gwilym

-Annest Gwilym (From her collection “What The Owl Taught Me”)

Cormorant, Starfish, Seagull by Annest GwilymSeal At Play by Annest GwilymSeals in the currents by annest gwilym

-All in Annest Gwilym’s wonderful collection “What The Owl Taught Me”

haiku 1 by steven stokes

SEAGULL IMMIGRANTS

A seagull hangs from a lamp standard.
How it got there is hard to deduce.
Just what balance of circumstance
Left it twirling in a polythene noose?

Revenge killing for a stolen chip?
Would someone pre-meditate slaughter
And go to all that time and expense

Just “pour encourager les autres?”

A calamitous coincidence

Would seem too far-fetched for this gibbet;

Which leaves us with only one answer –

It’s a Damien Hirst exhibit.

This put me in mind of the day when
I thought death dealt me a drive-by glance
As I tucked into a ham roll on
The Terrace, Market Jew Street, Penzance.

All I could see for a second was
A new world that was pristine-clean white
As sun-dappled feathers embraced me…
Was this the so-called ‘tunnel of light’?

Fluttering wings…an angel perhaps,
Pulled at my hands with religious zeal.
Me, too heavy for heaven maybe,
Should have plumped for that weight-watcher’s meal

My life came back with a caveat;
That the beak-shaped breach in my torn roll
Told me – you must cover up your croust
When eating al fresco in Cornwall.

Some say the problem’s quite out of hand;
In fact it’s decidedly nasty.
In St Ives you take out insurance
When buying a medium steak pasty.

Once the dust (and ham roll) had settled,
I attached to that seagull no blame.
In seeking to provide for her child;
Wouldn’t we all of us do the same?

Then I pick up my morning paper –
A tabloid that works by detrition.
The ‘hard-working tax-payers’ bible,
Made whole by its sins of omission.

The first thing I see is the headline –
“Worst winter ever…white-walkers due!”
“Diabetes is out of control”
And there’s a Canderel shortage too.

First Rumanians, Bulgarians…
Now giant hornets are ‘swarming’ here.
Day after day of these headlines that
Are served up to instil me with fear.

One week they tell me to take statins –
Then the next to avoid like the plague
They’re making me scared of ev’rything
Except myself and William Hague.

It comes with me into the bathroom
And I read it while sat on the loo.
I’m a martyr to constipation…
For a while stuck on page number two.

Later I stare through the window at
A lone seagull chick hunched in the rain.
Her hard-working mother is tireless
As she feeds her again and again.

I suppose I’ve been lucky in life.
Free school milk and free education,
Full employment and with not much done
My house is worth a small fortune.

National care ‘from cradle to grave’.
My homeland has not had to face war.
All in all, I’ve had quite a good life;
Then I pick up my paper once more.

And sneer as the ‘beautiful people’
Parade in what passes for fashion.
So many problems despite their wealth.
I’ve already lost all compassion.

Told of the scams of the ‘so-called’ poor.
More fiddling than Stephane Grapelli.
Arrogant, wryly, living the life.
I’ve seen some of them on the telly.

That seagull chick is looking distressed.
Imagine if mum never returns.
I’ll surely ring the RSPB
And notify them of my concerns.

I recalled that instance in Penzance
And my brush with death’s dominion;
Seagull and I together broke bread
In an act of social communion.

But my paper seems to imply that
It’s time for a big conversation
Whether seagulls’ ASBO behaviour
Makes them worthy of preservation.

Our prime minister has suggested
That it is time to take these birds out.
A gull once stole ham from his sandwich.
It left the pesto dressing no doubt.

It seems they’ve formed themselves into gangs
Just like a scene from Hitchcock’s The Birds.
The article overpowered me…
I succumbed to a blitzkrieg of words.

Marauders’, ‘menace’, ‘rats of the sky’.
So, the language began to take hold.
‘Evil’, ‘destructive’, ‘malignant’…’foul’…
As overwrought adjectives unfold.

These dive-bombing gulls spray faeces
Like some kind of incontinent Stuka;
And Tippi Hedren gives helpful tips –
One of which involves a bazooka!

Deterrents mooted like ‘flock off’ paint
Or specially-bred ‘super falcons’;
Although it seems the line was drawn
At skilled marksmen brought in from The Balkans.

I glared at the gull out the window
As she spewed the food into her chick.
Been down into town for her handouts;
Her ‘something for nothing’ makes me sick.

Didn’t they used to feed from the sea?
It was better when they stayed out there…
Coming here taking our pigeons’ jobs
And now just scrounging on our welfare.

These gulls can live up to forty years…
They’re so fit they’ll outlive our obese.
Will it extend to other bird types?
Imagine being harassed by geese.

A pox on these damnable seagulls,
Lame ducks, sick parrots and ill eagles.
A quote from the Society page
‘A shame we can’t hunt them with beagles.’

Despite all we give they’re not grateful.
Each one I see seems to be scowling
Hang ‘em high from every lamp-post…
If only to focus their fouling.

All passion spent I need to sit down
With tea and a caramel wafer
Calmed myself for the tenth time today…
Maybe it’s time I changed my paper?

Here’s the link to the YouTube video
https://youtu.be/M8VyVZU5n9A

-gray lightfoot

Harpy by Georgia Hilton

-Georgia Hilton

Gull

You coldly regard me
From your shit-smeared post.
Head bobbing, feathers ruffling, webbed feet pattering.
Yellow beak cracks open like a shell,
Gapes wide, splits head in two
And you scream your indignation to the sky
And the wind snatches it and hurls it
Against dizzying cliffs.

-Lisa Falshaw

The Marine Sonnets:

Herring Gull

The Sideways walker in my beak I drop
from Up to crack it open. My flockmates
and me enjoy the meat. I ask you to stop,
know me by my actions, my voice, translate

my language to yours, must note position
of my head, wings and tail, to my perch.
They’re stronger, bigger, spread wings expression
saying this is mine, I won’t share, go search

for your own. Wet Leaf fall we feed on soft squirm
appear out of soil, we trample ground
to make them rise. Her submissive begs stop
me attacking, upright I mew a sound.

Synchronise head tossings, I sick up rest
undigested meal for her. We choose nest.

Bios And Links

-Polly Oliver

is a broadcast journalist, freelance engagement consultant and writer in South Wales.

She writes poems for enjoyment – and when they land in her head. 

Her writing has appeared in various editions published by Back Bough Poetry, as well as the Wombwell Rainbow, The Tide Rises, Falls and has featured as Spillwords Author of the Month.

Pushcart nominated.

Steven Stokes

is a South Wales-based haikuist who began writing and sharing his poetry in 2020. Steven publishes his work via stevenlstokes.wordpress.com and three of his poems were included in the recent Dylan Thomas-inspired anthology ‘How Time has Ticked a Heaven Around the Stars’

-Cath Barton

is the author of two novellas: The Plankton Collector (2018, New Welsh Review) and Inthe Sweep of the Bay (2020, Louise Walters Books). The latter is set in Morecambe, where she took
this photo when she re-visited it recently. https://cathbarton.com/ @CathBarton1

-Charlotte Oliver

is a writer who lives in Scarborough, Yorkshire. She was the commissioned poet for BBC Radio York’s Make a Difference campaign and her work has appeared in wide range of newspapers, magazines and poetry journals. She runs poetry workshops in schools and she has poems upcoming in a number of publications, including Green Teeth’s Yorkshire Anthology, Black Bough’s Winter edition and Ice Floe’s Pandemic Love Anthology.

She tweets at @charlotteolivr 

#NationalMarineWeek 2021 24th July – 8th August. Second Day July 25th Rockpools. Have you written unpublished/published poetry/artwork about rockpools? Perhaps you explored them when you were young. Rockpools can be a small universe to themselves. Poetry and Artworks/photo challenge. When a week is sixteen days to account for the tides in Britain. Here are the first eight day themes: July 24th: Seawatch, July 25th: Rock-pools, July 26th: Seabirds And Seals, July 27th: The Strandline, July 28th: Sand Dunes And Salt-Marshes, July 29th: Fish-Life, July 30th: What Marine Life Does For Us. July 31st: Beachcombing. Please submit your poems and artwork by DM to me, or send a message via my WordPress “The Wombwell Rainbow” contact screen or my FB “Paul Brookes-Writer and Photographer”

Second Day – Rockpools

Rockpool id

 

rockpool

-Photo by Paul Brookes

ROCKPOOL 

Tide has risen and ebbed
leaving a seaweed deposit
salt-wracked and soggy
alive with shrimpy many-legged crawlers
guarding an empty mermaid’s purse.

Upon this mounded free food bank,
shore crabs skitter and fence.
Look deeper
into murky pools
where tiny land-locked sticklebacks cower
from an army of wellied children waving buckets and nets
who act out a ritual the same the world over.

Anemones wave their scarlet tentacles
like sore bumholes advertising for Anusol.
A starfish, bereft –
it needs current to turn end-over-end;
bring it morcels of food.

The catchers poke and prod
patches of weed to encourage and frighten
the denizens of this temporary littoral world
into revealing their presence.

Safe under armour
a limpet lies rock-clamped,
but a specialist arrives;
an Oyster Catches who dislodges it with bill prods,
lifts, smashes, scoops out snot-grey inner.

A dad picks up a whitish spiral shell
holds it up to the light and says
“Look Denny, there’s someone home !”
“It’s a Hermit Crab,” says junior, his delighted open face animated.

Blennies shuffle into rock cracks knowing they can wait.
A flip-flopping snorkeler
creates the wrong sort of waves.
But as he reaches a deeper part of the pool
shoving slimy kelp strands aside
something slides around his ankle
harder than you’d imagine
for a small suckered limb.
Another seven rubbery graspers
ivy around his leg like a russian vine.
They’re not hurting him, just investigating.

His watery ears barely hear the screaming;
somebody is slapping it with a spade
but they hit his leg instead.
He turns and lets out a wail,
sees foot long alien monster pour away.
Black ink floods the pool
as it dives to avoid the frenzied assault.

“It was at least six feet long, with teeth,” he tells Gran later,
improvising while looking at her tombstone dentures.
She bribes him to stop blubbering with a ninety nine.

-John Wolf 15th July 2021.

Green, red-edged, sharp and searching,
spiralling enquiringly in the air,
alighting jerkily onto rock faces,
mossy openings and mussel pools,
tearing the air with newness.

-Alison Dunhill (from her newly published pamphlet with SurVision, ‘As Pure as Coal Dust’)

 

low tide
gulls pluck their supper
from a rock pool

– Wendy Toth Notarnicola

The Rockpool

Before the tide turns I wend my own way.
Starfish tube-feet caress my mussel beds
Beadlet, snakelocks anemones snare prey,
sting it with their tentacles, and shore crabs

scrupulously pick over carcasses.
From under my fringing seaweed shannies
and prawns dart to shelter in crevices,
overhangs, safe and secure nooks and crannies.

One minute I am scorched by sharp sunlight,
next I’m cold enough to ripple shivers.
Soon it’ll wash over and we unite.
Soon I’ll have new creatures to discover.

In the wane I’ll have my own way,
again.
Every to and fro never the same.

-Paul Brookes

Bios and Links

Wendy Toth Notarnicola

is a freelance writer and editor from Long Valley, New Jersey. She enjoys reading, spending time with her husband and three children, going on nature walks, and playing flute in a community orchestra. She also enjoys writing haiku and short stories, and her work has been accepted for publication in several journals, including Everyday Fiction, Wales Haiku Journal, Presence, Poetry Pea, Frogpond, Hedgerow, and several anthologies.  She earned first place in the 2021 Capstone International Center Sakura Haiku Contest, honorable mention in the 34th Annual Sakura Festival Haiku Contest, and was a finalist in the 31st Ito En Oi Ocha Shinhaiku Contest, Japan.

Drop in by Phil Vernon

Nigel Kent - Poet

I’m delighted to welcome one of my favourite poets, Phil Vernon, to talk about El Tres de Mayo from his new collection, Poetry after Auschwitz.

El Tres de Mayo appears as the second poem in my collection Poetry After Auschwitz. A common theme in my poetry is the exploration of connections, often sensed, rather than seen, between people and peoples across time and place. El Tres de Mayo refers particularly to the connections between past, present and future, and how these are facilitated by or linked to the dynamic environment we share, down the centuries.

Inspiration

At first sight it seems to be an ekphrastic poem, inspired by Goya’s famous painting El Tres de Mayo, which depicts the execution by firing squad of Madrileños in the aftermath of their failed uprising against the Napoleonic military occupation in 1808. Art historian Kenneth Clarke described this painting as…

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Spinning To Mars by Meg Pokrass (Blue Light Press)

Tears in the Fence

Meg Pokrass’sSpinning to Marsis a kind of non-linear novella in flash that keeps circling back to romantic relationships that aren’t making it and clearly were never meant to be. Pokrass comes out of a tradition that includes Stewart Dybek, Pamela Painter, and Robert Olen Butler, each of whom are masters of flash fiction and who understand unsatisfying relationships. In Pokrass’s collection, we keep coming back to two people who don’t quite understand each other and don’t really seem to want to but would rather retreat into a world of books and cats.

Each flash story captures a moment in the life of two people who might or might not be the characters from the previous stories. It is never explicitly stated that this is the same woman often circling back to the same relationship, but we do see patterns repeating again and again. Throughout, it is familiar in…

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#NationalMarineWeek 2021 24th July – 8th August. First Day July 24th Seawatch. Poetry and Artworks/photo challenge. When a week is sixteen days to account for the tides in Britain. Here are the first eight day themes: July 24th: Seawatch, July 25th: Rock-pools, July 26th: Seabirds And Seals, July 27th: The Strandline, July 28th: Sand Dunes And Salt-Marshes, July 29th: Fish-Life, July 30th: What Marine Life Does For Us. July 31st: Beachcombing. Please submit your poems and artwork by DM to me, or send a message via my WordPress “The Wombwell Rainbow” contact screen or my FB “Paul Brookes-Writer and Photographer”

beach

-Photo by Paul Brookes

coast by laura McKee

-Laura McKee (The poem first appeared in The Beach Hut)

Catching the Chime of Ancient

The Highland road stretches behind us,
its dirt and diesel fumes
forgotten in the afternoon light.

We stand on silver-white sand now;
each grain squeaks beneath our bare toes
like dormice improvising a song.

In our hands powdered stars nestle,
trickling as our feet mark
two intertwining paths on Morar’s beach.

Rowans blow red-berried
in the shimmer of the Small Isles,
sky silent, watchful.

Immense blue and endless sand
still precariously balanced,
weighted by time and fossil.

Published in The Beach Hut

The Sea as a Fever

Inky black splashed beast, slashed by the growl
of a murderer, unleashing his delirious roar
like Heathcliff’s wail for Cathy through wind and fog,

uncorked, murky deep, black as a moor in November,
sting of salt spray, gallop of white horses into hell,
furious waves’ pull-tide wash, shuffle-crushed shingle

drag of human cargo, pitching up of weird beings,
Blackbeard’s grimace, bloodied booty, churned and tossed
one perfect storm, a throw-up like clearing guts of glue.

– Both by Maggie Mackay

The Marine Sonnets

The Seawatch


I watch the sea as the sea watches me.
The changing colour of my surfaces,
Waves blown by gust, what my tides, what my sea
leaves on the shoreline of my many faces.


The lagan and flotsam and derelict
and jetsam. Two buoys of my eyes bobbing
anchored in a silt of images mixed.
Always memories waxing and waning.


My inside sea watched by the sea outside.
Speaks to sea beasts moving in my blood.
I rise to where the waves move to imbibe
breath before I dive below livelihood.


The sea is me, I am the sea, watching.
I am a dying sea, a dried up thing

-Paul Brookes

Bios and Links

-Laura McKee’s

poems have appeared in Butcher’s Dog, The Interpreter’s House, The Rialto, Prole, Obsessed With Pipework, Stand, The Frogmore Papers, The Journal, Poetry Scotland, Poetry Salzburg Review, and anthologies from Smith|Doorstop and Emma Press. She was a winner in the Guernsey International Poetry Competition. Find her on Twitter: @LauraMcKee_fyeh

-Maggie Mackay

is an MA Poetry graduate of Manchester Metropolitan University with work in a number of online and print journals and anthologies. Several pieces have been shortlisted, commended in competitions, or nominated for the Forward Prize, Single Poem and the Pushcart Prize Her pamphlet ‘The Heart of the Run’, 2018 was published by Picaroon Poetry and her full collection ‘A West Coast Psalter’, Kelsay Books, is available now. In 2020 she was awarded a place in the Poetry Archive’s WordView permanent collection. She reviews poetry pamphlets at https://sphinxreview.co.uk (Happenstance Press) and loves to daydream with a dram.(Happenstance Press) and loves to daydream with a dram.  

Words Become Ashes: An Offering by Cindy Rinne (Bamboo Dart Press)

Tears in the Fence

Cindy Rinne’sWords Become Ashes: An Offeringis in part a reaction to the pandemic and in part a spiritual guidebook to healing from it. Rinne is a poet and fiber artist who designs clothing and wall hangings among other objects of art. This collection highlights her poetry and fiber art, and both discuss the ways that she has worked through this time of pain. She is a deeply spiritual person whose work seems to be guided by Buddhist philosophy.

One of the ways that Rinne has found strength is through her art, which is an emotional link to those women who have come before her. She writes about the strange phenomenon of natural places being closed. She is cut off from these places that feed her spirit. In “The Forest Is Closed,” she writes of a national park being shut down because of the quarantine, but she imagines a…

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