Thomas Clark

 

 

 

A Hero’s Deith

 

Still he shidders, an staunds wi his swuird, an threitens,

kiverin wi breuken shield his kist’s remains,

nou, his een are plowt intae infineet shaidae,

spirin frae lips that lin thair hero’s sang.

Faur awa, twa seelent raens watch

The warriour arise wi shaidae weengs.

In the nicht o thae weengs, his een, bricht as day,

as flicht unnertaken, intae the lip o sky.

 

 

 

The Craws

 

Ower the hime o battle,

An the jargle o warriours,

Passes a slaw beat o weengs;

An oorie craik is haurd

As the twa craws come,

Messengers daurk an divine,

And laund on the shooders o God,

An speak tae his ear.

 

 

In Valhalla

 

A reid hime rings. Shields an spears a-dundert

intae a lang, uncannie rair.

Fae gapin mooths, the bluidy wounds sproot

purpie rivers.

An smuirichs, an lauchter,

An a mort-heid fou

o mead, for whilk

burnin wi fiver, deid warriours thirst.

 

 

Thomas Clark is a Glaswegian poet, writer and filmmaker whose work has most recently been featured in Lallans, Southlight, The Eildon Tree, New Voices Press and Dream Catcher amongst others. He can be found at twitter.com/ClashCityClarky.

 

Note: These poems are free translations into Scots dialect of originals by the Bolivian poet Ricardo Jaimes Freyre.

 

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Helen Birtwell

 

Rescue

 

They’d found him as usual up Pendle Hill,

and as usual the police car stopped at number 26.

 

Here we are Mrs Higginbottom, safe and sound.

The young policeman spoke gently as he guided his passenger.

 

Josh was wearing his choir suit and stiff butterfly collar -

proper Sunday attire for these last sixty years.

 

He’d a fine bass, had been choirmaster

at Carr Road Baptists, practically all his life.

 

Tricking Florrie with the pills had been easy,

as was setting out for Sabden, his birthplace.

 

He sang All Things Bright and Beautiful

as he made for the purple headed mountain.

 

She tenderly helped him inside.

Anything you’d like Josh – mean and potato pie?

 

Aren’t thee Florrie Lindley?

and don’t thee think it’s time we were wed?

 

 

Helen Birtwell has scribbled to not much account all her life. After gaining a B.A.Hons.in English Lit as a mature student of 55 and a Creative Writing Course organised by U.E.A.,she developed an an interest  in writing poetry and is stll doing so

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David Marshall

 

 

The Hunters in the Snow

 

After Pieter Breughel the Elder

 

I love the perspective, the trees all straight,

Four horizontal lines, dark, receding.

 

The sense of cold creeping out of the frame,

Frozen; a picture in time and place.

 

A child watching the fire in the foreground,

Two stokers, a man lifting a table.

 

Poor pickings for hunters in winter,

Even the dogs follow dejectedly.

 

On the horizon by jagged mountains,

A bird dips, caught between sky and the snow.

 

 

 

David Marshall is a UK based poet and teacher. His poetry is influenced strongly by art, music and the things around him, usually people he meets on the London underground or his cats. He has been published by the e-zines Mardibooks, Whisker and The Crocodile and New Cartography, as well as in print with Miracle Magazine. This is his website.

 

 

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Dick Jones

 

The Sheds

 

Sheds: haunches nestled into

banked earth.  Cow parsley, ragwort,

bedding high sides.  Blunt faces

nose-ringed with hanging padlocks.

 

Inside, a stook of exhausted

spades, a knackered

wheelbarrow, face-down,

a crippled bike, kept for spares.

 

Here, where the sheds are,

clocks run slow.  One man,

slouched in a doorway,

hand-rolls a cigarette.

 

Another taps out a briar

onto a windowsill

and then repacks the bowl.

Rapt, he stares across the match flame.

 

Kids roll and scatter,

break like high-tide

at the allotment’s edge.

They watch, uncomprehending,

 

the semaphore of sweet-peas,

rocking, bean-rows, carrot-tops;

the closed and secret faces

of the sheds.

 

The sun goes down

behind the recreation ground,

Breaking ranks, shadow-wrapped,

the houses sidle in.

 

 

 

 

Dick Jones has been published in a number of magazines, print and online, including Orbis, The Interpreter’s House, Poetry Ireland Review, Qarrtsiluni, Westwords, Mipoesias, Three Candles, Other Poetry, Rattlesnake and Ouroboros Review. In 2010 he received a Pushcart nomination for his poem Sea Of Stars and his first collection, Ancient Lights, is published by Phoenicia Publishing

 

This poem first appeared in Other Poetry anthology Miracles and Clockwork 2005

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Daniel Roy Connelly

 

 

 

Songstress on Primetime Italian TV

 

Songstress what songstress

I see svelte teenage girls

in bikinis gyrating

while men watch

& women clap hands

in time to the band who

are all men

no they’re definitely lip-synching

in fact not even

 

damn                                    adverts

 

next up there are svelte teenage girls

in bikinis suspended

from meat hooks

while men in butchers’ hats

slap price tags on their arses

well not really from meat hooks but

you certainly get an idea of something

 

 

 

Daniel Roy Connelly was born in England but has spent much of his adult life being educated in Italy, India, Bangladesh, The USA and Scotland. Formerly a British diplomat, he has been an academic since 1999. He is currently an assistant professor of English Literature and Theatre at John Cabot University and The American University of Rome.

 

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James Naiden for National Poetry Month in the US and Canada

 

 

In Memory of Brian Donovan

 

1939-2013

 

Always – perhaps not always – you were genial

In imitation of now-gone personalities, perhaps

Drunk – that described person – and yourself, so

Much that it hurt to laugh, although strong beer

Gives a hint of perfection, jollity while standing

At the bar, not sitting – that would be passive

 

So that when recounting a quiver of passivity,

It was “up” the humor, quick as booze, standing

Or sitting, the wit had a lure of more than beer,

But whipping humor brought forth dexterously, so

Ironic, sharp, pointed as a stiletto, perhaps

Gone in the past, your New York roots genial

 

But observant as a professor of the past in a genial

Mood bought through alcohol, not always, perhaps

Not as mirthless as a desert or stone, so

Rampant is the need for lightness, froth through beer

If only in the brain, distorted pose while standing,

Drinking, elbows of the raconteur, not passive.

 

The opposite of vocative is not always passive,

Nor are the cymbals of talk had through standing

Alone, but with company. There, Brian, beer or no beer,

You were without peer, as if learnedness, a Ph.D. so

Unambitious could get you loved, possibly, perhaps,

But you said: “I’m not marriageable.” Still genial,

 

As if an aura of bachelor knighthood was your genial

Flag, no misogyny intended, you remained perhaps

The embodiment of time concealed, not yet forty, so

Unconcerned with time passing, not a reader, the beer

Of career goals – you were indifferent, as if standing

At the bar, reconciling the past could remake the passive,

 

The instance, now that your dissertation left passive,

Undecided, “an open question” – sitting or standing,

With a bloody mary or hops distilled as expensive beer,

The wraparound of years when I first knew you, so

Elemental in manner, undisturbed, I thought, perhaps

Keeping close to one’s home was more congenial.

 

Two weeks ago, was it, perhaps three, the genus of time

So forgotten, beer or wine, sitting, standing, hardly passive –

& then your heart expired in hospital, Wednesday evening last.

 

 

James Naiden’s third novel, The Chafings of Mortalswas published in 2011. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota and is a regular reviewer for IS&T.

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Fred Pollack for National Poetry Month in the US and Canada

 

 

 

In the Hallway

 

A girl pressing her cheek against a door,

doorjamb, or wall beside a door.

Crying probably, possibly

mumbling. That’s it.

Her face is turned away,

you can’t see if she’s pretty.

Which would make a difference

in your quotient of empathy

divided by reluctance

to get involved plus eventual impatience.

And if and how quickly

you escaped the sense

of not being a plausible

savior (someone she’d find

attractive when this is over), or –

long-cherished, firmly-held –

of helplessness. A novelist

cases the hallway, the smells and light,

social class as revealed

by her dress. Or should.

For my part, I (not making this

about me) check

the decaying file, the yellowed partial volume

of memory. Not finding her.

But she exists now, therefore always did

and will, and is both punishment and forgiveness.

 

 

 

Fred Pollack is the author of two book-length narrative poems, The Adventure  and Happiness, both published by Story Line Press.  Other poems in print and online journals.  Adjunct professor creative writing George Washington University.

 

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