‘Truth’ for National Poetry Day: Linda Rose Parkes, Marc Woodward, K. S. Moore




A True Version

honest to god
i can’t bear
to look at myself
in the mirror

i stalk her she’s my new poem in her fitted coat and high heels on the number 10 bus         put bars on the lines

last night
i told him
Megan’s seeing
a married guy

in the morning she’ll wake to cadence and pauses    rhythms of wingbeat flocking the page

that’s good
he says
if it
her happy

she’ll soon forget her passionless marriage when i leave her here for others to find

then i say so you
don’t mind
if i start fucking

let’s hope they bring food    let’s trust they bring fresh hope   that she isn’t alone in this fortress i’ve built her

that’s how low
we’ve sunk

i hear calling in my sleep     she wants to go home    she wants her own grievance    

i can’t
to see
these days

she wants the truth of her own shadow 


Linda Rose Parkes lives in the Channel Islands and has published four collections, the latest, This Close, was launched last winter. She continues to run poetry workshops and is also a painter.




Confessional Poetry

So how long have you truly felt this way?
When we converse about your infancy
I have the sense there’s more you need to say.
Sadly I think you’re withholding on me.
It’s always the same. Novels say too much,
they go on and on, I can’t shut them up.
But you Poems? Always I’m left guessing.
You just smirk there. Hinting, half confessing.
Yeah, we both know you’ve done a little time;
you’ve stolen stuff to get yourself a ‘line’.
And this thing about being a sonnet
in a past life. Just grow up – be honest!
All poems can change – and that includes you.
Of course you must really, truly, want to…



Marc Woodward is a poet and musician living in the rural West Country.He has been widely published in journals, anthologies and online sites.  His collections include  A Fright of Jays available from Maquette Press (2015) and Hide Songs from Green Bottle Press (2018). www.marcwoodwardpoetry.blogspot.co.uk




What I have to Say

Can I tell you
before it’s tarnished?
Before the lichen crust
absolves me of need to share?

Well, listen:
this is a bud of a story,
a soft shoot, weepy-
green leaf of a dream;
it is all yours
if you hear

what I have to say
is blooming on my tongue.
It is rare,
it is syrup
in my pharynx.

As it spills,
I feel it leave
like a lover
with an eye on my heart;
with a tug
at the tears
held back
from my teens.

Can’t reign it in,
this runaway . . .




K. S. Moore‘s poetry has recently appeared in New Welsh Review, Spontaneity, Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Stinging Fly and Southword. Work is upcoming in Other Terrain and Atlanta Review. Shortlists have included: Trim Poetry Competition and Americymru West Coast Eisteddfod Poetry Competition.

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‘Truth’ for National Poetry Day: M.E.Muir, Tristan Moss, Carolyn Oulton




The News from Italy  

I turn the corner of a Tuscan hill
and face the curiosity of sunflowers

where have you?
when did you?
why are you?

lost it / lose it / losing it

the essence of yellow
is demanding answers
but only the sun replies

to force a swivelling turn
from east to west
parading a new alignment

for an Italian sunset
will cover every question
with gold dust

and the conversation of sunflowers.


M.E.Muir is a Scot living in London with poems recently published in magazines including Dawntreader, The Curlew, Morphrog, London Grip and the anthology What the Peacock Replied.




Doxa *

on the rectangular pane,
seeming to believe transparency
must give way, a wasp does not stray
across the four-inch plastic frame,
to where an open window waits.

*a common belief or opinion



Tristan Moss lives in York with his partner and two young children. He has recently had poems published in Ink Sweat & Tears, The Poetry Shed, Snakeskin, Picaroon Poetry and Algebra of Owls.

Note: This poem first appeared in London Grip in Spring 2019




Drawing the Lines

I’m not making it up.
Socks edging along
the washing line, pinks
and a thousand tiny creases
on bedclothes, shattering
like autumn sea,
or say the split
running into fractures
through hot summer earth.
I could no more make it up
than that child in the shop,
near the magazines,
could walk on purpose
so convincingly like a child;
legs tensed at the knee,
arms awkwardly placed
away from the body as if
he were preparing
to walk on ice.



Carolyn Oulton is Professor of Victorian Literature and Programme Lead for Creative and Professional Writing at Canterbury Christ Church University. Her most recent collection Accidental Fruit is published by Worple Press. Her website is at carolynoulton.co.uk

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‘Truth’ for National Poetry Day: Rachel Burns, Julie Maclean, Lindz McLeod





The defendant’s elderly mother tells you
she can’t hear very well.

You listen to the graphic descriptions
of the child images her son viewed on his computer

like a punch in the stomach.
You have children, you are a mother.

His mother’s face twists as if she is sucking
on a lemon. She clutches her handbag

straining to hear the barrister
as he discusses each count

and the custodial guidelines.
You listen to the judge’s

summing up, thinking about
how you will avoid the truth

how you will skirt over the facts
if she asks. For you know

his mother probably hears more than she lets on
selective hearing makes the truth

that much easier to swallow.



Rachel Burns has poetry published in Crannog, Poetry Salzburg Review, Algebra of Owls and is anthologized in Poems for Grenfell Tower, Poems for the NHS and #MeToo. She has a poetry pamphlet forthcoming with Vane Women Press.





Now that you’ve left me

for the desert
and a red rock
i thought i’d be
listening for cars
on gravel
a door slamming
and I do watch out
for shadows
on white tiles
shivers of light
on the walls
mistake the head
of papyrus tossed
in the wind
for the head
of a bad man
but I’m listening more
to myself
sounding the rhythm
of each day
and what it gives
in solitude
in stillness
i’m not reaching
into the past
for some old love 
but thinking of
sweet potato curry
seeds I have to plant
more than anything
a solitary chair
in my eyrie
my eye
to a galaxy in flux
the way it reinvents itself 
the view I mean
and i’m surprised
to find i have no fear
and few regrets
except one
the fear of
your return



Julie Maclean is the author of four pamphlets, including a collaboration with Terry Quinn, and one full collection, When I Saw Jimi,  available here:  www.juliemacleanwriter.com

Note: This poem first appeared in Under the Radar, 2018






When we drove up the coast.
I saw so many bodies.
Two hedgehogs, one seagull. I have questions—
what happened to the gull? I can understand
The hedgehogs but not the gull; surely, surely
it would have been higher, freer,
not stuck to the gluedried earth.
like I am. I would never have flown near
any car         if I was a gull.
I would remember
To avoid people.
One hare too, but that was different.
The ribcage was exposed, a bite taken from the
Heart            body left intact
A fitting warning.
The stars have dusted you with love;
they cried out while my lips compared.
I swallow all your thrown mistakes,
the grape-sour taste of lesson learned.
I wonder how fast we need to be going
For the asphalt to knock me out.



Lindz McLeod has published poetry with Wingless Dreamer, Passaic/Völuspá,  Meat For Tea: the Valley Review, Indie Blu(e) anthologies, and For Women Who Roar, with work forthcoming in Coffin Bell and Sunbeam anthologies. @lindzmcleod

Note: This poem first appeared in Prometheus Dreaming

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Jim Bennett




The memory of trees

I wrote a letter to you
signed   dated   folded
and put it in the cleft
of the branches of a tree

I made sure to touch a leaf
pinch it gently    so the tree
would retain
this epigenetic marker

in this way it carries us
into its future
and I do not have to cut
hearts and initials

instead this gentle wound
is not demonstrative
or ostentatious and although
you may never know

and the letter may be lost
it is something that the tree
and I will remember
each in our own way



Jim Bennett has written 74  books and numerous chapbooks and pamphlets in a 48 year career as a poet.  Jim lives near Liverpool in the UK and tours giving readings of his work throughout the year.  He is widely published and has won many competitions and awards for poetry and performance. He runs www.poetrykit.org one of the world’s most successful internet sites for poets.


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Lance Lee




Autumn Choice

Now just russet oaks and those leaves
Indian red      smolder among the woods’
dwarf pines and bare maples.  Of all
the myriad summer songs just a few notes
make plain the silence. Elsewhere autumn
feeds into winters’ fevers on urban streets:
crowds surge, windows glow with all
we think we need: all can be bought, and all
seems endlessly reborn.

I am torn between
the hectic surge and the root that hoards
its strength in silence. Tonight as the season’s
first nor-easter prowls around the house
and strips the forest clean and drowns all song
with its howls, I choose an end to each season:
I don’t believe fever on fever equals life.
A man needs the slow down and ingathering
of his power to defy winter with another spring
however the years blow past.




Lance Lee is a past Creative Writing Fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts, and expects  Elemental Natures,  a selected prose and poetry, his seventh book of poetry, this fall. He publishes widely in both the UK and US: he lives in Los Angeles, with family too in London

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Jane Pearn





arrives in a blink
lands light as a coat of dust
bounces on spindle legs
sharp glance around
dips head
neat stab at crumb of moving soil
tilts neck
bright berry eye
lace-strutted shoulders lift wings
flurry into hawthorn
blends with dapple
and chorus



Jane Pearn lives in the Scottish Borders.  She has two published poetry pamphlets. She was longlisted in the 2018 National Poetry Competition, and is one of the winners in the 2019 Guernsey International ‘Poems on the Move’ Competition.

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Phil Vernon





He rides a train
through slow flat land:
nothing to see
but horizon,

then wanders clumps of yellowed grass
and sand,
and sets a wounded beetle
on a stone.

With awkward clattering
a lone jackdaw
and takes its unexpected prey.

Sometimes he waits all week
for a metaphor,
then two – or more –
turn up in a day.



Phil Vernon’s poems have appeared in magazines, journals and websites. A micro-collection, This Quieter Shore, was published by Hedgehog in 2019, and a full collection is forthcoming from Sentinel www.philvernon.net/category/poetry.

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