Simon Collings



A study in anatomy


If you believe humans have shrunk through history,

that the giant in our troupe is a throwback to an age

of towering heroes, what does that make me?

A creature of the future? An advanced stage

of human development? It gets a laugh. I play

the trumpet with my feet, embroider with my toes.

The crowd gawps in wonder. I tell them, one day

people with limbs will be on display in freak shows.


At one time a heifer with two heads was the star turn

on the bill – both mouths chewing cud. She died

of colic. Now a monkey fills the top position.

He resembles me in size, which attracts the odd snide

remark. Not that I care. If we’re talking similarity,

I’ve seen many a looker-on scratching at his balls.

That jaw cracking a nut, that stooped frame, free-

hanging arms – who’s aping who? They’re animals.


Earlier I had tea with the acquisitive Mr Hunter.

‘Living things have a tendency,’ he said, ‘to deformity.’

He wants my twisted carcass, this connoisseur

of oddities. He talked about ‘variation’ and why

there are so many living creatures. That’s heresy

I told him. He smiled complacently. I like his proposition.

It would be something to help in a future discovery.

Twenty pounds cash. I have no love for this skeleton.





 Simon Collings lives in Oxford, UK. He has published both poetry and short fiction. For more information see 


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Oliver J. Dibben





roman holiday



in my head

you walked

across the sacred squares of Rome,

papal fancies, golden towers

(scraping the inside of my skull)

and on

until the Tuscan Sun

addressed your spine

and wished it good day

caressed your shoulder blades

then stopped,

attention drawn instead

to your doll’s face

as your dull heart

-so pumped full of no mood-

thought nothing of me




Oliver J. Dibben is a poet who works between London and Cordoba

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Iona Milburn





The moon reaches through

the crack in the curtain

to draw on the wall.

‘You do not belong here,’

she says, ‘not unless

you are dreaming.’

‘But they’re expecting me,

I reply, ‘and dreaming

is not allowed.’


I open the front door

and draw a rectangle

over the threshold.

She asks me,

Why are you out here? 

‘I have to,’ I reply, ‘I’m sorry.’

She asks, Where are you going?

‘To work,’ I reply.

But where  are you going? she asks.

‘I don’t know,’ I reply.



Iona Milburn is from Bristol and teaches Religious Studies. She is most inspired to write when by the sea, up mountains or people watching

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Dee Rivaz














Woman Cursing the Moon

(After Miroslav Holub: Man Cursing the Sea)



just climbed to the top of the hill

and started cursing the moon:


stupid moon, stupid fat-faced moon,

fatuous copy of a pregnant belly;

beachcomber mauling the tideline;

creeping ghost of a snail

obscuring the stars with its slimy trail;

anorexic cheese,

starving itself almost to death;

 satellitic sychophant,

trying so hard to be pale and interesting;

trailing around after the sun, sucking in its stomach;

fiddling with the sea, interrogating caves

month after month;

insomniac, playing with itself;


moon, you barren dusty rock of a womb -


So for a while she cursed the moon,

which stroked her head

like an anxious mother.



Then she came down and threw

nettles, oat straw,  skullcap, hips

into the moony pond.


There you are, moon, she said

and went on her way.



Dee Rivaz is a Community Artist in North Wales working from the premise that ‘there is nothing new under the sun’. She uses wild, found and recycled materials to create narratives and poetry in mixed media.

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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


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


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Helen Birtwell




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 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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