Parish without postcode A sink-hole opens, just where the Priory sat in scrutiny of tweedy textures on Hengistbury Head and, beyond, on asterisks of sunlight that dazzle jet-skiers who ruffle the Solent. Bones of a thousand years drop in underneath … Continue reading
Anorexic The elephant in the room is growing smaller even as we sit here. Her skin today is somewhere between grey and khaki, and I am fairly certain that underneath the gorgeous shawl soft hairs are growing along her spine. … Continue reading
The Wise Child I remember he fled from the fogdrop moors with the dawn and the bells of December beyond, calling morning to the streets while winter wept beneath the trees. A sleeping me before the door glowed on behind … Continue reading
Into the Wood 3.15 Relaxation. A new class. It makes us anxious. She places a white orchid on the padded table. There is a torn label on the plastic pot saying REDUCED. Something for you to contemplate. Nature is so … Continue reading
Game in a Dutch Castle It is the pity of it, all those lives stuffed on their pedestals, dead. And a kind of shame pervades my pity too – as if voyeur at some nasty game. I shouldn’t be here … Continue reading
Opus 131 That opening slow rising-and-falling tune on the first violin, emerging out of silence, descending to the understanding welcome offered by second violin, viola, and cello so discreet I scarcely hear it, does for me what I think the … Continue reading
Things I Have Advertently and Inadvertently Taught My Daughters This Past Year No one is wholly good or wholly bad. (with one or two exceptions) A movie scene with a woman being a warrior can make up for badly-written dialogue … Continue reading
Answering Julia Copus
Yes, Julia, love can be like spilt tea,
inching up through us, warm and sweet,
sepia-coloured, you describe it –
but when it steals in unbidden,
that first timid stain (should you resist)
will embed itself, bleeding like raw meat
dense and violet, its fist of iron
ever-present, binding yet purblind,
drumming senselessly. Unanswerable,
not mere autocrat, but anarchist,
it breaks every rule – its rivers,
like arteries starved of oxygen, double
back to that place before you knew
love – and how it was to be
you being you.
Answering Julia Copus by Sandra Galton received a special mention in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (November 2017) judged by Abegail Morley.
I slept and dreamt of the Amazon,
unhooked a river
and it became an endless souk.
I crafted an apple –
that crisp dead fruit became a tiny wall of glass.
I breathed three stars into a clock
and they shook to tell me my brother was there.
I spoke to an echo
and a woman’s voice cried an electric crackle.
I heard a bluebird tweet
and it carved a troll of ancient granite.
I searched in the dust of God’s library
and found a tome shaped like my face.
I hunted for Jesus amongst the chatter
and a million prophets appeared in the smoke.
At night, when I breathe,
it is with a machine
without which I would die.
I would suffocate in the very air
that feeds the bats and the hyenas
and the crying babies in their mother’s arms.
One day, I asked a changeling
whether I needed to use technology
and he scattered ten thousand flowers on the floor
which spelt out the words
‘Without me, you are nothing.’
Machine by Martin Wildman received a special mention in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (November 2017) judged by Abegail Morley.
Lately she’d promised not to paddle in the sea
or ride her bike, instead she stayed inside,
pill packets left in rows on the dressing table.
A stickler for no waste – pulverised left-overs,
stewed teabags squeezed to feed cuttings,
calendar pictures made into thank you cards.
She made collages from dried fish bones, tops
of poppy heads, toothpaste tops shaped
as rocks – green splintered glass as forest trees.
In summer months she’d drive down south;
whole mornings in her Morris Minor, driving
on A roads, B roads, sandwiches and flasks of tea.
She’d sit with grandchildren on her knee
playing games with words in a Collins Graphic
English Dictionary – spelling out the impossible.
I suppose we shouldn’t have been surprised,
a shrill voice enquiring ‘are you next of kin?’
We couldn’t find our map, like us, it was missing.
The Call by Audrey Ardern-Jones was commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (November 2017) judged by Abegail Morley.