Wombwell Rainbow Book Interview: Lost Reflections by David L O’Nan (Part Three)

lost reflections cover David L ONan Image by by HilLesha O’Nan, David’s wife while she was visiting West Virginia. -(he/him) David L O’Nan is a writer/founder of Fevers of the Mind Poetry & Art. He has several self-published books and curator of 5 Anthologies. His work can be found on www.feversofthemind.com .   You can see his work on Anti-Heroin Chic, Icefloe Press, Cajun Mutt Press, Royal Rose Mag, Dark Marrow, Ghost City Review, Nymphs Publishing, Spillwords, Punk Noir Mag and more.  And has been a Best of the Net Nominee in 2019. Interview Continued Q4: What is your daily writing  routine? A:  Unfortunately, I’m scattered.  I go into a week with a writing plan.  That soon becomes a broken puzzle.  I have Generalized Anxiety, ADHD, OCD and it is constantly trying to fit puzzles together and getting frustrated when the pieces don’t fit.   I don’t have a daily writing routine. I am happy when I can find the time to just write anything.  Sometimes, I come up with poem titles and work around that title to come up with material.  I am usually overly busy and get work done in spurts.  I either will write 5 poems within a couple days, or go a month without writing anything.  It is all according to my energy I am able to exude at that moment.  This is how it goes with my attempts at being an editor as well.   If I don’t feel I’m doing a good job at either writing or editing I can shut down for a bit. Q5: What subjects motivate you to write? A:  Usually, if I’m listening to more music at the time it will trigger my want to write.  When I’m listening to music that triggers emotions or anger then I’m more prone to pull out more material at a quicker time.  I’m mostly motivated to write about emotional triggers and less about an object placed in front of me.  I can be inspired to write though just by looking at artwork or listening to instrumental music.   I’m an overly emotional person, so the words, stories are squeezed out of tears, laughter, shakes and kicks.    A lot of it is bottled in and I walk around either silly or grouchy and then it comes out fully in writing. Q6: How do the writers you read when you were young influence your work today? A: The writers I read while young helped me develop a rhythm in my head to write.  I don’t always punctuate perfectly, I flow thoughts out freely.  I developed metaphor and rhythm from reading song lyrics and poetry throughout the years.  I write how I think and less about structure. I’m sure that doesn’t always win any points with other writers or sometimes editors.  If I tried to perfect structure I would de-construct my own structure.  These wires take quick photographs in my head for memories to capture so I can write out the images.  In characters I create, or in my own skin. Poems from “Lost Reflections” A BRAVE HEART, A REBELLIOUS HEART I was born into a natural rebellious state of mind With a dream of a brave heart, Yet there are no fears, Mishaps, nightmares when you trip in your freewill Can I preserve my rebellion for the ultimate battle, And the patience to Bind my heart to bravery A deep breath and realizing my challenges Defeating the consequences that lay inside your fears THE SAME In your arms i’ve died a million deaths The death called love The same flowing blood from two sacred hearts The blood is unity, of love That uncomfortable juice, that mythical feeling TRANSFERRING As a dream Thunderclaps Raining sheets And blinding wind whipping through my chest Through misery, love, torture & sin The needles, of screams ripping through the indentations of my skin I’m coughing out my spirit Swimming through a tornadic spin Eyes swallowing Transferring of breath The storm kissed my mind But ripped off the head THOSE SAME WHITE WALLS Fall apart Those same white walls Crumbling little ant eyes lost looking at the melting moon Forming solid as it smacks the ground A bridge for you to walk on To creep into that moon on a virgin night That you can hide inside the silence With all the stars to chatter, gossiping As lively as greed CRACK OF THE WIND With a crack of the wind The moans bend over a shaking house A winter’s bruise is calmed by the warmth of love The healing began when the coagulation broke And the freedom of mind rested the demons, The fears, the endless end Now, there is hope in a gust of wind Instead of inevitable destruction MALINGER He came in with a strut Pulled at their heartstrings A debonair heartbreaker Tried to blend into moonlight When his legend of notoriety, disgust spread He begins to mourn, becomes a malinger Observes all the crusting flakes of a noose Watch the nervous breakdown boil & dry ENGINEER I watched your engineer yourself from peasant to prophet While spirits swarm in your beds, frost coffins People began to believe a liar, a shade A sunlight’s fade Gossip drools from your false tongue THE RAILS A middle aged hobo with no charisma He lived out of a pitch black cavern Perception that he was a civilized reality Shows a pail, penurious, insipid train The rails are slippery to traverse only from Coma to coma Shall you live to your completion dream in muddy tunnels A FLEET They destroyed all in front of me A cagey crowd demeans me I try to escape my mind Pulled back under the tow of tears I begin to fleet through circles Hitting each wall over and over again Pushed back through the walls of fears Parasitic, they are ‘till only my bones REJECTED Clouds tied together by the ropes of light The request to empty our sky made by voided hearts The famous and the damned begin to pull with all their force The powers in the heavens rejected the request Instead, they vacuumed the seeds like crumbs. TAVERN In a morning fog A blistered old genius ripped from his mind Frozen out of the flesh Stumbled out of another tavern Another burning bridge Mortality questioned The abyss wrinkles up the wisdom Spotless thoughts define the defeated The war turned crystals into bullets

Kelptown by Carol Watts (Shearsman Books)

Tears in the Fence

Kemptown in Brighton is the point of departure forKelptown, in which Carol Watts studies and investigates the effects of what we have lost because of global warming, a change in climate conditions and the consequent lack of connections with nature. The language of the poems has a fragmented quality that is emphasised by deliberately hallucinatory links that express the dire situation we are experiencing today. The picture of the spinach leaf with beating blood cells on the cover of the book symbolises this connection between human and nature that should be re-established to revitalise our world in a more hopeful vision.

The collection is divided into four parts that trace a journey from observation and witnessing and apocalyptic descriptions of a world drowning in rising tides and burning forest fires to possible alternatives of ‘DeExtinction’ and community projects. This is not only a way to take care of…

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#folktober. Day Seven. “Sheela Na Gig” Broadening the theme, have you created any published/unpublished poetry/short prose/artworks about female empowerment? I will feature all contributions on today’s blog.

Sheela Na Gig

sheela na gig

kilpeck sheela na gig

Sheela Na Gig, Rodel
Such a long road to drive.
I find you weathered by Harris winds,
worn in the smirr of rain,
hollowed, unholy mother.

I seek your protection, projection
of fertility, one stopped hand
holding a child or a lamb;
the other lost in a shape
that meant something once.

My barren belly
concaves in the wet
afternoon, my waterproof
the only second skin I’ll own.

Yet there’s hope in your arms,
the cleft in your legs, an open
on the rough bricks of stone.

-Lynn Valentine

wom empowerment anjum wasim dar

-artwork by Anjum Wasim Dar

Do Not
Do not make me sit
before a mirror
in which my eyes meet those
of a bald stranger
You hate it but
Long hair is grace
It gives me space
It is nature’s gifted power.

-anjum wasim dar
CER Copyright 2021


She is rising from the earth to sing
Her age old story on drums
That beat in heart rhythm
And carry on the wind crying
For help and guidance
So she can gather strength
As she walks through fire
Her clay body molding to new shape
Life pieced apart and rebuilt stronger.
He is behind her watchful as she dances
And sings incantations to evoke elders
The forgotten ones, remembering how
To bring them forward he is waiting
For her to signal the way ahead
The time to move on
She whirls lights from the fire catching
Skirts that dance as though alight
Her trance from now to wherever
Is watched with bated breath
She will dance faster, slower, faster
Not stopping until the answer is there
Only then will exhaustion take her
Her words before sleep to be passed
Among the gathering folk
Whispers from person to person
Man to woman, child to adult
She said the goddess spoke to her
Our mission is to carry on before the fire
Listening to the earth and saving her
The message has never changed
We carry on dancing and drumming
The earth is passing the message herself
We must listen for her roar could deafen
Even those who want to silence her.



Sheela Na Gig

I sit in stone above this church door.
You must crane your neck to see me carved here.
I am bald naked my pendulous raw
breasts hang just above my spread legs. Come near.

Life enters and returns to me. What
is it about me that fascinates you?
Celebrate my fertility and shock
of my age. Once I was hidden from view.

I was in darkness, a cloth thrown over
me. Somebody was ashamed of what they
saw in me. Cloth lifted, life unsmothered.
Folk passing through my door see my display.

I don’t know why I was placed so high up.
I look down, vulnerable, opened up.

-Paul Brookes

Bio and Links

-Ailsa Cawley

has been writing stories, poems and verses since she was a child. 
It’s not always what is considered poetry by some, as she isn’t a lover of sweet, schmaltzy rhymes! 
She is currently writing her first novel. A psychological thriller with a paranormal element, and she hopes to bring out a poetry collection one day! 
She lives on the Isle of Skye. While some of her poetry is written from personal experience, others are written from her slightly dark and twisted  imagination. 

-Lynn Valentine

Lynn Valentine’s debut poetry collection will be published by Cinnamon Press in April 2022, after winning their Literature Award. She has a Scots language pamphlet ‘A Glimmer o Stars’ out with Hedgehog Poetry Press, after winning their dialect competition in 2020.  She was recently awarded runner-up place in the Scots category of the Wigtown Poetry Prize.

#NationalPoetryDay2021 This years theme is “Choice”. What is your favourite poem that a friend has written, and why? I will feature all contributions on this post today.

National Poetry Day 2021

national poetry day image

-Matthew Clegg says

@fayay ‘s (Fay Musselwhite’s)’Goat Boy’ is right up there for me; I love @JMThras ‘s ‘Our Man’ sequence; @Joe_coghlan‘s [brand new] ‘John Clare in Norfolk’ sequence have been on my mind a lot recently, though there have been others over the years, may others.

Taken from the collection Our Man. Buy the book here: https://jamiethrasivoulou.bigcartel.c… Video produced by: Idle Work Factory
Taken from the collection Our Man. Buy the book here: https://jamiethrasivoulou.bigcartel.c… Video produced by: Idle Work Factory

Blood And Icecream 1 Matt Clegg (2)

-Matthew Clegg from his collection “West North East, Longbarrow Press, 2013). Chosen by Jamie Thrasivoulou.

winters lockdown by Andy McGregor

-Andy MacGregor. Chosen by Regine Ebner who says “‘The north wind’s a crooked jailer’… Like much of his poetry, it has a deep, haunting feel but this one ends with a wisp of hope that moves me every time.”


We’ve tucked the skylights in, stapled the curtains
to the wall. Still the night won’t close,
not completely. In a pale orbit of your hair I sit

watching the sky as if what it does it does so
with purpose, like these dusky string lights
that pass for the souls of orange groves

drawn back to Los Angeles by the August heat.
I turn them off. You’re inside with a migraine,
refusing your pills. Even a seed could plant itself

in your throat, a strawberry’s, a spider’s, a man’s.
When your skull struck the concrete
like a match, some light went out for good and now

I must hold you through each eclipse, each passing
shadow of that other world—the one
where I caught you or your last lover hadn’t

sunk black holes in the drywall with your head.
No one meant to hurt you forever,
not when you asked if you looked like Jean Seberg

and I said, Yes, as Joan of Arc, or when you said,
Tell me the truth, and I told you
how the moon returns from being impossibly thin,

how gravity clings to our missing pieces and one day
they will close a lid on the sun
and kings, priests, soldiers will tremble and pray.

-Nicholas Yingling. Chosen by Kari Flickinger. She says “Like most poems by  @Donyingling  this one makes me weep every time I read it.


Bios and Links

-Regine Ebner

is a teacher in Tucson, Arizona.  Her poetry has been featured in Black Bough Poems, Consilience, Sledgehammer Lit, Loft Books and others.  She loves and writes about the great Sonoran Desert of the American Southwest. 

-Kari Flickinger

is the author of The Gull and the Bell Tower (Femme Salvé Books). She has a new chapbook forthcoming. Her work has been nominated for Best of the Net and the SFPA Rhysling Award. She is an alumna of UC Berkeley.

-Matthew Clegg

was born in Leeds in 1969. He received an Eric Gregory Award in 1997, and from 1999-2001 he was poet in residence at the Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere. His published works include Lost Between Stations (https://longbarrowpress.com/current-publications/matthew-clegg/… ), West North East (https://westnortheast.wordpress.com ), The Navigators (…https://matthewcleggthenavigators.wordpress.com ) and Cazique (https://longbarrowpress.com/2018/10/19/cazique/…). He has worked as a Literature Officer for Arts Council England, and has taught at Sheffield University Lifelong Learning, and for the Open College of Arts. He currently lectures in creative writing at Derby University, and he lives in Sheffield.

Wombwell Rainbow Book Interview: Lost Reflections by David L O’Nan (Part Two)

lost reflections cover David L ONan

Image by by HilLesha O’Nan, David’s wife while she was visiting West Virginia.

-(he/him) David L O’Nan

is a writer/founder of Fevers of the Mind Poetry & Art. He has several self-published books and curator of 5 Anthologies. His work can be found on www.feversofthemind.com .   You can see his work on Anti-Heroin Chic, Icefloe Press, Cajun Mutt Press, Royal Rose Mag, Dark Marrow, Ghost City Review, Nymphs Publishing,

Spillwords, Punk Noir Mag and more.  And has been a Best of the Net Nominee in 2019.

Interview Continued

Q2: What was it about Plath and Sexton that appealed to you? 

A: Well, my brother Ethan had a collection of Anne Sexton’s poems.  I never knew imagery could have been expressed so emotionally prior to that.   The use of metaphors to describe misery, love, humor,lust, depression & death were endless. It opened up the Pandora’s Box of words to me.  After Anne Sexton. Then it was Plath, Kerouac,  Burroughs, Ginsberg, Maya Angelou, and the influences keep growing. Lorca, Neruda, and now modern poets that I now talk to is fascinating when before writers and poets was folklore to me.  Now it is an identification to me when I’m not just a father, husband, worker at a finance fileroom. I can escape to the mythical world that seems so real for me that is writing and hiding in other people’s dirt. Their words cover me.

Q3: How aware are and were you of the dominating presence of older poets traditional and contemporary?   A: Well in school, I didn’t always fully understand poetry from pre 1900, or maybe it was just

A: A symptom of having undiagnosed ADHD.  I enjoyed history and learning about lives of people, other writers.  However, it didn’t take me until after High School Years to want to know more about poetry tradition.  Keats, Poe, Blake, Yeats, etc.   I have kind of backtracked in my history in knowledge of poetry.  I am a student, but I hate to be forced to write a certain way. I don’t always fully understand meaning behind older poetry until I can look over numerous times.   As in contemporary poetry I didn’t really think it was as wide spreading (yet needs to be even more so) until after I began reading at open mics, and then hosting my own series of poetry.  I felt the only poetry that was being read was attempts at beat poetry & street poetry.  Trying to be edgy, yet nothing having a full story inside the lines. It took me to do research myself, getting involved mostly on Twitter to fully understand there are still poets that have the love to write.  (Not a facebook fan much and don’t have Instagram)

Poetry From “Lost Reflections”


As a lonely twister eats away our town
A whistle blows through your frail bones,
As fragile as parchment paper
The decanter crashes to the kitchen floor
Your blue eyes live like a suicide
Skin itches to a burn
Your courage lost in a circadian rhythm of change
All the songs are now lost
You left
The woods are spotless


A strong ocean wave hits
A target of heart
Of our prayers
A body in tremors
Where the scent of rose overcomes
A murder truck stop
A Friday night
A haunted bedroom
In the waves we vision the sky
That sky that becomes one with the ground, now
And we spin through our skin
And become lucid


We still get those no trespassing signs
With barbed wire cutting our hands
Our enemies waving us through
Smiles eating at the precious air
Be aware
Those are jagged halos
Pricking at your mortal vision
They pick you up with a soaked hook
Creating new paint for an old soul
To an artillery of clouds
Watch the ashes electrocute in the wind


In the sand is the answer
To the fossils of many sacred bubbles
That burst from the ocean waves
Across the clouds,
The angels in tears
Fanning in new funerals
Sending out new invitations


Oh, the pianos fall
And we see in the distance
A heaven warps in the warm keys
From a melted soul
A ghost she left hovering little tiny dust of miracles
Sonatas for the Gods
She waltzed herself away too soon
Hanging by 1 finger on the Clementi Moon.


Maimed by the luminescence
Shedding my light through
The thinning dim bulbs veiled as skin
I have become ravenous for ripe thought
Accused of being the eccentric appendage –
To a derailing mind
My last decree of love written faintly
“in dark skies where our fears dine”


Beyond the beauty of the seas
Are the bending spoons
With the masked freedom
I freeze when touched
In polygon corners
With red tearducts reflecting
Back at my maddening smile
Clouds of ducks fill the air
Bald eagles cripple in my steps
When the world gets sick
And the angels are replaced by snake oil salesmen
Caught and immobile
They move in
And they are hungry
The appetite for the apple
And the throbbing heart of the wolf


In a parade by your kingdom
You soak up all the attention
As boastful and hungry as the lion
You, with the smile that you own as bulletproof
Everyone will treat you like you’re the only power
Watch out for the wires
They are falling and surging
The underlings have today
And they crush flies with bare hands


My friends are the bleeding carnival
They are also grocery store garbage
That are artistic,
They are also codeine driven
Sometimes they crawl out of their graves
Long enough to be birthday revolutionaries.


If only I could crash through the center of your soul and eradicate the negativity of your past.
And paint your crippling mind into purity and hope I would.
When all is lost
A shadow shakes and will sunshine follow, or does it stay hidden?
A coward behind loose clouds


She crawled lazily as a spider
Through the cracks of the walls
Inside your heart of a bleeding moment
A voice was ulcered out of a gypsy phantom
The sky opened up, and sung a bruised harmony
The spider had to climb into a human’s hair
To hide away from the fears
Until the last raindrop pimpled the ground
And it was safe to be free again

#WorldTeachers Day we pay tribute to the invaluable contribution of teachers to students, communities and societies. It’s vital that teachers are heard, supported & empowered. https://en.unesco.org/commemorations/worldteachersday. Have you created any published/unpublished poetry/short prose/artworks celebrating teachers and teaching? I will feature your work on this blog today.

World Teacher’s Day

Mr Benway by Marcel Herms

Dr. Benway teaches, mixed media on paper, 21 x 29,7 cm, 2019

-Marcel Herms

Baudelaire: If it wasn’t for bad luck …

The High Window

baudelaire photobaudelaire sig


N.B. The original text for each poem s can be accessed by clicking on its French title. [Ed.]


Charles Baudelaire:  Five Poems Translated by Stuart Henson


Le Jeu

Stretched on their tired chaises-longues, the ancient whores:
too much foundation, too much rouge, they ooze
a feral scent of sweat and musk; their eyes
hollow, compelling; rattling cheap rhinestones in thin ears.

Around the baize their lipless faces glimmer,
cratered like moons, and their arthritic claws
stretch eagerly to grasp the dice, the wheel’s shimmer,
and stuff slim pickings down their dingy bras.

Lamps swing pale saucers from the sooted beams,
too weak to cast more than a yellow stain
across the brows of geniuses who prostitute their poems
of love and truth for something more mundane.

It’s here like Dante in his reverie
you’ll find me, guideless and silent, seated alone
in a corner, leaning and shivering

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#folktober. Day Six. “The Mermaid of Marden” Broadening the theme, have you created any published/unpublished poetry/short prose/artworks about mermaids? I will feature all contributions on today’s blog.

Day Six – “The Mermaid of Marden”

mermaid by Marcel herms

-Marcel Herms (from “Belly Laughs”, a children’s poetry book he did with Chelsea Bergeron.)

Cold Fish

Everywhere I look, there are fish. In the plaster decoration of the columns, woven silkily into tapestries on the walls, cunningly carved into the oaken backs of chairs, painted boldly onto earthenware jugs of ale. Fish, too, on the trestle tables. Trout and tench lie on platters, salmon in kettles, perch and carp on pewter plates. Sprinkled with samphire, salt cod and mackerel swim in green sauce. In the centre, a giant dish of lampreys.
At the head of the table, presiding over everything, the Prime Warden of the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers sits, looking for all the world like a lamprey himself. Those flat eyes, the grey chinless face, that gaping mouth with yellow snaggle teeth. He looks across with what he thinks is a smile. I see it for what it really is. He wishes to clamp that funnel mouth on me, rub his clammy body against mine. I have been instructed to be polite so I suppress a shudder, nod then look away.
I fix my eyes on a great tapestry which shows the coat of arms of this respected guild. In the centre, there’s a crown with leaping dolphins. To the left, an armoured merman bears a falchion, to the right, a mermaid holds a mirror. This is how he would have me, I think – a mermaid upon land, unable to run. Her hair is unloosed in a coppery curtain, swept back from naked breasts between which rests a heavy jewel on a golden chain. I touch the smooth ruby at my neck, a gift bought with salty coins and given to my father as bait. I am in the wicker trap already, waiting for the hand to reach in and grasp me round the gills.

-Ann Cuthbert


She straddles the hull of an upturned fishing boat
Sunburnt tail dipped carelessly in the indigo rock pool below

Early morning haze clings to the halo of mermaid curls
Framing a face wise before its time; flicking the wayward

strands behind her ears, her focus travels across the Sound
to the far shore, framed by an outcrop of stark lewisian gneiss

looming mysteriously, its edges glinting through lifting mist,
evoking the gentle mood of watercolours by Peploe or Caddell

On the incoming tide a silent rip current curls furtively ashore,
white spume pulling back fiercely from the rock-strewn beach.

Far across the Sound a boatman is launching his weathered craft;
snaked coils of rope securing the rusty lobster cages to the bulwarks.

She sees him, but as yet he cannot see her; only the chug chug
of the reluctant motor is audible, groaning as it toils across the inlet.

He waves across to her, shielding his brow with youthful hand;
the allure of her beauty hot in his head, lips plump with promise.

She carves a love-heart in the bleached sand, mindful of the time…
They have but a scant hour of Cupid’s grace before the tide turns.

A frisson of sweet anticipation courses through her scaly skin……..
The lilt of her Silkie song luring him innocently in on the dawn tide.

-Margaret Royall (This is an adaptation from an original poem called Love on a Hebridean beach ( published in my Hedgehog Press Stickleback)

Cloudy With a Chance of Mermaids

She’s long from the sea,
solidified in arched yearning,
elbows to the sky,
tail twisted fetchingly
under her.

When it rains, there are still
no fish and no salt.
Nothing of that remains,
if ever she knew it,
mythic creature that she is,
become garden ornament
in her old age.

Why she reminds me
of that diner in Baltimore
I cannot fathom.
Those unsmiling women,
their white uniformed backs
alien as whales,
their grey heads netted,
only turned to serve
in that cool white refuge
from the street’s sweat.

No mermaids in their lives,
though it’s true I never saw
beneath the counter level
where no doubt
bound fishy parts worked
for something less
than change.

-Kyla Houbolt

Mermaid on the number 3

I know she is a mermaid because her hair
is the exact blue of a chromis fish
and is lit with yellowy-green streaks
like sunlight reaching down to a reef.
If I dove my face into its depths it would,
I know, smell of ozone and drying nets.
Her coat is sand-bank brown. Her nails, I note,
are coral coloured. Watching from behind
as she rolls a cigarette, I’m still sure
(in spite of nicotine stained fingers)
that should I turn to look as I alight
her tail will be coiled, thick and muscular
between the frowsy bus seats, and my eyes
will meet the full on glimmer of her scales.

-Emma Purshouse

‘THE MERMAID’ – SPOKEN WORD BY LAURA JANE ROUND from Itching Kidney Productions on Vimeo.

The Ghost of Duntulm Castle

You will I’m sure have heard of the ghost of Duntulm Castle. I’ll specify which I mean, as there are a few keeping one another company. If each of them wailing can be classed as companionship. 

The one I mean is the nursemaid who was set adrift in a boat, as punishment for the death of her young charge, who fell from the window of the castle and was killed. 

This is what really happened that night and beyond.

She was indeed put on a boat to be dashed to death on the rocks, or starve, whichever came first. The chance she would go mad is not an impossible one either. 

And yet, she was not killed. Nor did she drown or any other gruesome thing hoped at the time. 

In that boat, on that night, she learned that stories were true. That dreams she’d long had were not just dreams. The images in her mind last night existed. 

As the boat drifted away she sat there, calmly accepting of her fate. Spiteful voices on the shore came on the wind, desperate to see her panic set in. 

Once she realises there’s no food, or water she’s going to panic. Once she notices that she’s adrift with no oars, and no way of getting home, she’s headed into a storm and certain death

On and on the gleeful voices went, happy to watch another suffer. It meant that today they were safe from the wrath of the masters. The blame was apportioned elsewhere. Joining the mob meant safety. And the boat sailed out of view. It was dark early that night and the baying crowd were disappointed that they could not watch longer. The sun set, blood red in the sky and the near darkness plunged straight after it. 

‘What was that noise?’ One of the villagers said, knowing what he’d heard wasn’t human. 

‘Ach, it’s the dogs, the foxes maybe. What’s wrong with you?’ Laughed his wife, still wishing she’d seen the girl panic at least. A new song to waulk the tweed with tomorrow. Yet, the wilful girl denied them that. 

He looked back towards the sea but saw nothing there, as he expected. The noise lay ahead. At the edge of the copse of trees, that led to the home they shared. 

They hurried along, for who wants to walk in the dark? 

Stepping into the copse he stopped as he came face to face with the noise he’d heard. A wolf. It looked balefully towards him, or so he thought. He tried to push his wife behind him, but she was too busy complaining about this and that. As quickly as the animal appeared, it was gone. Not an apparition, it just slunk quietly away. Lifting it’s top lip in a silent snarl, and it’s eyes flashing red, terrifying the man. 

When he tried to explain to his wife what he’d seen she laughed. 

‘You’re afraid, husband. We were not sending out some demon there, just a stupid girl. But, if you keep saying ridiculous things, we’ll be the next on a boat to nowhere. Do you hear me?’ She hissed in his face. He felt her spittle spray his cheeks like a mild sea fret. He looked back towards the water and as expected he saw nothing. Except on the shore what appeared to be a pair of shoes. But, of course, could be the kelp that dragged under the boat. He would check tomorrow. 

They carried on home. She feeling her husband was afraid of shadows and filled with anger at him. He sure she couldn’t see what was in front of her, but resigned to it. 

The next morning dawned cold and bright. The air was fresh and crisp. Winter was on the way. 

On his way to the shore to check on the shoes that haunted his dreams, the man crossed again through the patch of woodland and looked carefully for the wolf, of which there was no sign. 

His feet carried him a little faster to the shore, and he licked the salt from his lips. Felt it pulling his skin tightly. He loved this feeling. 

Looking out to sea there was a seal playing. His eyes must be playing tricks. It appeared to be waving at him. Much as he knew it was foolish, he returned the wave. The seal disappeared from view. 

For eight days the man returned, each day the seal appeared to wave and on his return wave, disappeared. On the ninth day he waited and seeing nothing, was about to leave. However, he heard a voice beside him that told him something he’d long suspected was true. 

The shoes he’d found on that first day. He’d moved them and hidden them within the rocks. 

Thank you for putting my shoes in a safe place. You are indeed a friend of the seal women. Do not be afraid, but never decide to swim out to me. You will surely drown. They will say when you’re old and beyond, that I haunt the castle. I’m not dead. I will return on the night they set me free, every year. My wolf is of no harm to you. He merely howls at the injustice of men. However, I am free and happy’ 

He made to turn, but feeling the wind pushing him forward heard her. ‘Please do not look at me. I wish you no harm or torment.’

For many years, the man returned to the shore. Sometimes there was a seal and sometimes not. He never confided in anyone, not even his wife.

Just before his own death, and long after his wife had passed on, he returned to the shore. Knowing that this would be the last visit here, and certain that the seal or the woman or whatever she was, would be long dead or moved on. Yet, he hoped that he might see it once more. There further away than usual, or it may have been his aged eyes was a seal and he was certain a hand raised in the surf. Long after she was gone he sat on the shingle beach, a huge stone his seat. His eyes drifted to the castle as darkness fell. He knew he should go home, but he felt rooted to the beach. Soon he would go home. Soon. 

There at the window from where the boy fell, little changed, was the girl who had been set adrift. Next to her, the wolf. Her head was thrown back and she emitted an ecstatic howl. The wolf joined her in pace and she stroked it happily. They both looked directly at the old man. 

He was found the next morning, by local fishermen on their way to sea for a catch in their small boat. He had a small satisfied smile on his face. In his hand he held a pair of shoes. 

Yet, to this day on a calm night you might hear her, wailing for the loss of her friend, if you listen carefully. Listen more carefully still and you might hear the old man sigh on the wind.

-Ailsa Cawley

The Mermaid of Marden

Run, rush, trickle, gush, ripple, dribble, flow,
I am a river-nymph and this I know:
he wasn’t the purest, neither the least
but he often gazed at me, that church priest.

Out in the shade of the sacred stone well,
he’d gaze on me, and he’d tug his bell.
Now I’ve seen smaller and I’ve seen bigger
but never was bell rung with more vigour.

On a night so cold it made fish shiver,
he carried his bell across my river.
Right over my silver tail he shook it,
he’d have given it to me – but I took it.

I took it and buried it with the rest:
it wasn’t the worst, but it wasn’t the best.

-Wes Viola

The Marden Mermaid

Bell banging, clattering keeps me awake.
so rope that held it snaps and it rolls here.
Sunk into my home this bright stream’s intake.
I wrap myself inside it, searchers near.

I sleep while twelve white freemartins with yokes
of sacred yew and mountain ash bands dredge
and men bind rope to bell, drawn out by folk
in needful silence. Raised to river’s edge,

I asleep inside. Excited driver
calls out, “In spite of all the devil’s in
hell, now we’ll land Marden’s great bell.”, diver
with bell I announce “If it had not been

for your wittern bands and your yew tree pin,

I’d have had your twelve freemartins in!”

*Freemartin was a sterile cow

-Paul Brookes

Bios And Links

-Ailsa Cawley

has been writing stories, poems and verses since she was a child. 
It’s not always what is considered poetry by some, as she isn’t a lover of sweet, schmaltzy rhymes! 
She is currently writing her first novel. A psychological thriller with a paranormal element, and she hopes to bring out a poetry collection one day! 
She lives on the Isle of Skye. While some of her poetry is written from personal experience, others are written from her slightly dark and twisted  imagination. 

-Emma Purshouse

is currently Poet Laureate for the City of Wolverhampton.  Her debut novel ‘Dogged’ was published by Ignite Books early in 2021.

Margaret Jean Royall 

is a poet with four published poetry books: a poetry pamphlet, Earth Magicke, (2021 Impspired Press), two poetry collections, Fording The Stream (2017, independently published), Where Flora Sings (2020, Hedgehog Press) and a memoir in prose and verse, The Road To Cleethorpes Pier (2020, Crumps Barn Studio). She has been shortlisted for several poetry prizes, won the Hedgehog Press’ collection competition (May 2020) and  her collection Where Flora Sings was nominated for the Laurel Prize. She has been widely published in journals and online, most recently Impspired, Blue Nib, Open Door, Flights ( Dragonfly) and Dreich. She has a new poetry collection, Aquamarine due out Nov 2021 from Impspired Press.

Margaret leads a poetry group in Nottinghamshire and is a regular performer at open mic events. She is currently writing her first novel and working on a third poetry collection.


Author blog page:Facebook.com/margaretbrowningroyall

Instagram: meggiepoet 

Website: https://margaretroyall.com/

Wombwell Rainbow Book Interview: Lost Reflections by David L O’Nan (Part One)

lost reflections cover David L ONan

Image by by HilLesha O’Nan, David’s wife while she was visiting West Virginia.

-(he/him) David L O’Nan

is a writer/founder of Fevers of the Mind Poetry & Art. He has several self-published books and curator of 5 Anthologies. His work can be found on www.feversofthemind.com .   You can see his work on Anti-Heroin Chic, Icefloe Press, Cajun Mutt Press, Royal Rose Mag, Dark Marrow, Ghost City Review, Nymphs Publishing,

Spillwords, Punk Noir Mag and more.  And has been a Best of the Net Nominee in 2019.



Q1: When and why did you start writing poetry?

A: In my writing infancy I learned by listening to song lyrics & my brother always wrote poetry when a teenager.  I would listen to their stuff and attempt to write myself

Starting around 12.  I loved the Beatles and was often influenced by John Lennon at the time. I have always been slightly rebellious in my viewpoints.  I’ve always been anti-war,

Anti-bullying, anxious, and at times my favorite way to write was a dark humor or silly style.   I rarely re-visit that style, but it appears periodically in my work.   I became serious about writing

in my early twenties, heartbreak after heartbreak, falling in love easily (mostly with women that were not available it seemed) would lead more writing with angst.  I began listening to

Songwriters such as Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, Nick Drake, Jeff Buckley, Tom Waits, Bruce Springsteen, Marvin Gaye, Townes Van Zandt, Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Joni Mitchell,

Tori Amos.  Read more Plath, Sexton and always am adapting my influences.

Lost Reflections

  1. Where did the idea of for the book come from?

To collect those particular style of short poems. They mostly were adapted from word prompts on Twitter.

2. Why is the imagery usually through the eyes of another?

A lot of times I will write as a character. So I can form the thought of how I think a certain person would react. So you get a mix of me in with different characters I guess. You’ll see. It is like any of my writings. Just shorter. I try to cause reaction to my poems by the imagery since I am not always structurally sound.


We lived like stuck ants in a wine glass
In the red wine remnants
That was sifted impure
We lived like the homeless man,
Whose skin and jacket
Has become one with the epidermis
Who can believe our past truths, or fears?
We must be symphonia, forever
To a deaf vain psyche


Do you believe in monsters?
They speed past me every day
Then creep slowly by the staircases, or a window
This essay to be an urban folk legend
A paradigm of masking behaviors
Pockets with fading hands
Can we get away?
A freedom that makes predators out of choirboys


In white lines, broken coughs
It fills my chest with an extinct disease
In the distance I can hear harmonicas
From a desert
In a 1950’s jail
Only the demons listen in
To the blues that die
Like the TB Jailbirds


In the frame of heaven,
I became dust
Interceding with the sunlight of a narrow hallway
Dividing into millions of tiny poisons
A quotient of one malevolence
Why the hiding?
As the piling of sales papers and bills accumulate
Teases to aneurysms
Can I be more like Paul in Malta,
Impervious through faith ?


They opened the door to hatred hundreds of years ago
Every time we get that door to budge
Racist, sexist, bigotry, homophobic, narcissistic dictators
Put more magnets to our metal minds
To fail us til we become only tunnels
Dark as night
As dolls we can only blink.


As cold as always, a Nova Scotian night
A trail of colognes from Cape Breton Island
Led me to your ghost house
Surrounded by biblical figures stuck in a liar’s breath
Intermingling with the cold ectoplasm
They were war heroes
Soldiers that slept on sidewalks
Poverty beacons
Spirits had risen
And teasing us back to days of war
To the winds of napalm
That followed your mind back home
Hiding in shakes up North now
You feel like a fugitive, a forgery,
A disease.
But the ghosts will never leave.


The silence
Twin masks the Milky Way Galaxy
We have been immortal in multiple moons
Through the crust,
The magnets pulled us under
Into the winds of Neptune
We are trapped in the blue
So, all we have is love
In the silence
Put the seashells over our ears to cloud the alarms


Removed me from the healing of saints
Drowned a colony of us, like ants
Infernal flames
Remove me
I can’t feel the power
You keep painting over my smile
My laughter lost in the fabric of miles
You are the manic artist
With an evil eye
Paint me back to yesterday’s sky


I always feel like when the leaves change colors,
And then,
Inevitably, I will crumble
As the skies open up
Into a stinging
An oily downpour on my freckled
Crackling slip of skin
The rain trickles down into my heartbeats


Where has my time gone?
Driving home in this madness hour
A midnight moon overlooks your eyes
I see it swim through the clouds
Always moving
From freeways to dirt roads
Crashing through the gravel
And you are timeless,
Through it all
Back to my river
Hooks to the heart.