Vote for Your Pick of the Month for August 2018

The long hot days of summer have drawn to a close but there is still time to take one last look back and vote for your Pick of the Month for August 2018. These shortlisted poems, wistful and reflective, with several inspired by music and one including a stop at a lonely diner, have either been chosen by Helen and Kate or received the most attention on social media.

Do take the time to go through the six exceptional poems below (or click on ‘Vote for your August 2018 Pick of the Month′ in the Categories list to your right on the screen.)

Voting is now closed.

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 All shortlisted poetry Picks, provided they remain unpublished and meet other eligibility criteria, will be considered as IS&T submissions for the annual Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. (‘Frequency Violet’ by Kate Edwards was a Pick of the Month for November 2017 and has just been Highly Commended by the 2018 judges. It features in The Forward Book of Poetry 2019.)

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Philip Rush



A Dose of Chaminade

At the end of the lawn
as you contemplate the gentle lake
and do your best to translate
the poetry of the crows,
you can hear against a small wind
the drawing-room piano.

It is playing a piece
called L’Ondine,
a piece which wears
an Edwardian bathing costume
and leaves a pool of water
on the parquet floor.

In a moment Nancy
will stand and wave at you
with one of her complicated waves
before she slips away
from the French windows.



Philip Rush runs Yew Tree Press in Stroud, a small press which focuses on poetry pamphlets.  His own poetry has appeared in UK, US and Irish journals, including, perhaps most recently in Obsessed with Pipework.  He was in Carcanet’s New Poetries IV

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Samuel Wilson-Fletcher




from Wave Diary


I would have swallows nesting in my church
and moss on the pews.
I would have the tide wash in
twice a day, to decorate the church
with sacred cuttlefish bones and rosaries of shells.
I would have the walls barnacled up to the knee,
and garlanding the altar, I would have weed.
I would have no door, so wind-blown seeds could lodge
and sprout around the rippled windows:
I would have wildflowers and blackberries and gorse.
My church would be quiet
like a meadow or a hedgerow or a cove.
I would seldom hold services.
In my church, I would have chattering swallows nesting in the rafters
and frogs in the font.




Samuel Wilson-Fletcher was born in London and now lives in Berlin. Sam has an undergraduate degree in chemistry and a master’s in physics. He is currently working towards a PhD in geology. He has also worked as a waiter, web designer, electrician and teacher.

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Isabelle Thompson




For Dad

After ‘The Lark Ascending’ by Vaughan Williams

When we walk down to the canal,
through the industrial estate with its units
of noise and smell, past the field,
so green I swear I can see every blade
needling its way through the alert earth,
you always stop at the sound of a skylark.

‘See if you can see it,’ you say, the light
hitting your bald lifted head, so soft
suddenly against the snow-blue sky.

I am as impatient as a parent with you,
and hurry us on through early spring’s
late snap of cold, forgetting

that this is your atheist’s prayer –
this spotting of birds, of fish;
the naming of every tree and tiny moss;
the pointing out of every pinprick of miracle
to an unbelieving daughter.





Isabelle Thompson is soon to graduate from Bath Spa University with a degree in Creative Writing. She has a place to study for an MA in poetry in September.

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Grant Guy




The Waitress Brought Him the Menu

his wife threw him out
told him he was not handsome
told him he was not romantic
told him he did not earn enough
told him he was a bore in bed

pulling the pickup out of the driveway
like a thunder clap over the Prairies
loneliness wrapped him up in a sad embrace
embraced what little remained human in him

he drove numb

he pulled his vintage ford v8 into a truck stop lot
he sat at the counter   3 stools b/w him three burly truckers
they reeked of cigarettes & diesel & sweat

the waitress brought him a menu
her eyes sd welcome    her heart was somewhere else
coffee   she asked     yes     he sd
he paused   his eyes lingered on the midnight angel
more than he should have      he turned to the menu

the truckers returned to their rigs
a purolator  driver sat at a booth by a window
jane   a coffee & hot beef sandwich    he sd with a wave

she returned to him    asked    are you ready to order
he tripped over his tongue     uhhhh     & blurted out   blt
his eyes followed her   she moved like a dancer

when she brought him his blt his fingers graced hers    good gracious

he was in love for at least the next 30 minutes

he ate    finished the last of his coffee with one gulp    paid the bill
before he stepped outside into the cloudless night
he turned to look at her one last time
she was too busy to look up at him    he thought     a hapless hope

she handed a menu to the 16 year old   trying to sober up

he stepped into the black night
loneliness kissed him on the lips
I love you    it sd




Grant Guy is a Canadian poet, writer and playwright. He has over one hundred poems and short stories published in internationally and five books . His plays include an adaptation of Paradise Lost and the Grand Inquisitor. He is the recipient of many grants and awards.

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Maryam Gatawa




…And tell the stars

Then tell the stars
To take their leave too
For within our breasts
Shines the inward light
To sail us through
These fields of darkness

Why wait for the gardens to
Bear you sweet roses
Or rent the cloaks of your hope
To greedy mighty whales

Go forth with your hoe
And till the fertile land
Plant upon its face
Sweet corns and grapes
And  when the winter knocks in
Tell her to stay
You have enough grains in your home.
Maryam Gatawa is a poet from northern Nigeria. Her works of poetry have been published in reputable journals inside Africa and overseas. She can be reached through facebook at ‘Maryam Gatawa’ and twitter @meegat12.

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Ezra Miles






The river has called for you. You step onto the light of day as you climb

out from a granite tunnel carved from the mantle. The water has formed

small grey pools in your feet and it soaks you. A pale spider is hanging

from a hollow tree dangling from its own silken atoms and you wrap y-

our fingers around it and feel its tension. The spider runs across your h-

ands and fingers and you turn them in the sunlight. You watch it melt i-

n the bright and appear again in the darkness. Its limbs are thin like hai-

r and you can barely feel it. Look at it. The river has called for you and

you need to answer. Your shoes have worn away and when you head do-

wn the shale path the rock wall turns from you. The ground has cut your

foot and the blood from your sole is mingling with the earth and its colo-

ur is changing. The hills are sloping down and the sun is muddled by the

cloud line forming. It means to punctuate the horizon with broken smoke

and jagged vapours and the air is damp and sticks in your chest and leave-

s moisture on your eyelids. You walk towards the heavy guttural river and

the water has thronged the shoreside marking silt wash across the bank an-

d dead leaf debris where it laps highest. The water bathes your bloodied fe-

et as you step into it and the current is callous in its rhythmic changings. Y-

ou dunk your head into the water and the cold migrates into your bones. Yo-

ur breath is sharp when you break the surface and you feel the cold of rivers

past and present and you think of every man woman and child who has stood

in this water and felt their heart race and their teeth chatter. The sky is now c-

learing. You look up and there is light rain falling. Your fingers look like river b-

eds. Beside you is the mountain.






Ezra Miles is a poet from London. His work explores the subconscious mind and is often concerned with the presence of unspoken violence within the family home. His poetry has previously appeared in Allegro Poetry and Poetry Pacific.

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