Philip Rush




The Last Carthusian

The large metal bell
with which I call myself
to prayer is wanted
by a museum.

I sing
in an affected accent
the responses
to the psalms

but the jackdaws
which laugh at me
from the roof
are not fooled.

In a refectory
which is chilly
and brown
I eat in silence.

In the afternoon
I put about me
a rougher
and larger cassock

and tend
my small garden,
its seedlings
and its slow herbs.

I sit on a wooden chair
and contemplate
the chitting
of potatoes.

On clear days
the sunset
will set the stone



Having led a largely peripatetic life for several years, playing the violin and exploring foreign lands on foot and by bus, Philip Rush now lives in a small Cotswold cottage in a small hillside village.  He runs a small publishing enterprise which helps local poets both to see their work in print and to share it at readings and elsewhere.  Every now and again, when he is able to do so, he catches a train for the continent or for the more remote parts of Great Britain. Some of his poems are in Carcanet’s New Poetries IV, Bloodaxe’s Hwaet! and in various pamphlets from Yew Tree Press.

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Julia Stothard





I am growing grass
inside my ribs;
fluted blades
twisting their leading edge
in meadows of flesh.

There are fields of this.
Where the lark has left,
the wind gusts through –
I have become
its hollow short-cut and you

are corridors distant,
marked up and waiting
to become the gates
they enter through
to meet you.

They graft new branches
onto the heart,
cut paths into scars
that I will follow
to find you.

The nettles rise and fall
yet the pain
is still green by spring
when the flowers begin
to bloom in the heartland.



Julia Stothard lives in Middlesex and works as a data analyst within the retail industry, currently finding inspiration for poetry in an industrial landscape. Her micropoetry can be found @TerzaVerse on twitter.


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Alexandra Corrin-Tachibana




Realisation about a friend

and deliberately
you draw
information out of me

the way my son
eats a strawberry
holding firmly
onto the green stem
sucking it down
to the pulp



Alexandra Corrin-Tachibana lived in Japan for 10 years. She holds an MA in Writing Poetry from Newcastle University, was shortlisted for the Fish Publishing Prize 2018, and read at the American Writer’s Program Conference, in Portland Oregon this year.

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Liz Lefroy





Inside, it’s containment: a smooth shell curving
away into itself, taut around a thin membrane
which closes on its viscous, one-celled strength;

and it’s a silent circling of mass, unused to air,
unexposed to the risk of strange heats,
to the feel and pulse of whatever might change it.

It asks for the sure tap tap against a bowl,
for the press in and parting of thumbs,
for brokenness.



Liz Lefroy is a Senior Lecturer in Social Care at Wrexham Glyndŵr University. She was winner of the 2011 Roy Fisher Prize and 2016 Café Writers Prize and published three pamphlets, most recently Mending The Ordinary.

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December 2019’s Pick of the Month: Vote for Your Favourite Poem Now!

Our shortlist for December 2019’s #PickoftheMonth, the last of the decade, reflects the unease that has pervaded the year. Some poems have come from our #12DaysOf… Christmas feature but these are not scenes of comfort and joy. Santa’s ‘girls’ are striking back in ‘His Daughters’ by Joanne Key, Pippa Little looks to the past and the ‘Sparklen Bottle’ of her grandmother’s ‘winterdark house’ and we are falling into an unknown, dystopian future in John Greening‘s ‘At Christmas’? Mick Corrigan hints at a similar fate in ‘No more ordinary mornings’ and Matt Merritt‘s ‘Peninkulma’ also suggests an unknown threat. Perhaps the wry humour of Anita Goveas with ‘Titles of my autobiography I have discarded’ shows how to cope.

All six of the shortlist have been chosen by Helen or Kate or received the most attention on social media. They can be found below or by clicking on ‘Vote for your December 2019 Pick of the Month′ in the Categories list to your right on the screen.

Voting has now closed. December’s ‘Pick’ will be announced on Sunday 19th January.

The winner each month will be sent a £10 book giftcard or, if preferred, a donation of the same amount will be made to a chosen charity. In the event of the winner being from outside the UK mainland, we will make every effort to provide a reasonable alternative. All shortlisted poetry Picks, provided they remain unpublished and meet other eligibility criteria, will be considered as IS&T submissions for the annual Forward Prize for Best Single Poem.

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Mary Wight





She brought thoughts,
words rather than grapes,
slipped out among
laundered clothes.

Little offerings best
but today he wanted more
and she couldn’t deny him.
Her tongue spilled stories

he devoured, egged her on
until the cough again,
for a cardboard bowl.

After he risked a laugh,
as if to test
he could, it still worked.
It did—

that look in his eyes—
both of them wanted more.
He raised
a plastic tumbler, toasted the day.



Mary Wight lives in the Scottish Borders. Her poetry has appeared in magazines and anthologies, most recently StrixNew Writing Scotland, Firth, Envoi and The Blue Nib.

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Dave Stacey




Morning has broken

Please bear with me
one tiny moment
while I try to explain:

listen: a speck
of a half-fledged
sparrow doesn’t sit

at the top thin twig
of a late winter tree
and throat

his half-formed song
for all he is worth,
which isn’t that much,

at the breaking
of this overcast day,
this turning of the Earth,

this faint sensation
of warmth,
for no good reason.



Dave Stacey is based in London. His poems have recently appeared in Gyroscope Review, The Cabinet of Heed, Bonnie’s Crew, Dodging The Rain, Eye Flash and Picaroon Poetry.

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