George Fripley

 

 

 

On the Train to Stafford (OMG)

 

 

While the Leicestershire countryside

ambled by the window

(Oh my god!)

its  lush green hues and rolling hills

sparkling in the sun’s glow

(Oh my god – no!)

beneath old church spires reaching

up into an azure sky

(Oh. My. GO-OD! You’re kidding?)

that soared above thatched roofs of quaint

villages that passed on by

(OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD!)

I thought about the peace and quiet

that made these journeys such

(No! No! No! OH-MY GO-OD!)

a pleasant memory of my youth

before the advent of touch

(EEIIUUW!!! Oh my-god)

screens and mobile phones on trains

to distract from scenic country lanes

Omigod! Omigod! Oh my god!

 

 

 

 

 

George Fripley writes poetry and fiction. He also blogs on whatever comes to mind. He has had a dozen poems published both in the UK and Australia and has also published a collection of poems entitled Silence… available though Amazon.co.uk. He blogs at www.anothergrumpycommuter.wordpress.com 

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Linda Rose Parkes

 

 

 

Bovine

 

 

A field has sprung up on the first floor landing

where a bull cranes his large-boned head

towards her, disbudded horns nudging the wool,

sunlight tinkering through the grasses.

She tries to coax him, wheedle him down

with fresh greens. But now

he holds her with his black stare …

head lowered, blood beating, thunder

about to bellow through the walls

as the clock hand shudders … her life

a cardboard box of limits, of scales,

tape measures and set squares;

so when the bull-browed god strolled in –

bull god of rain and fecundating power,

of exuberant storm winds – she saw

only bovine; then stricken

in his glare, she’s held there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Linda Rose Parkes was born in Jersey, Channel Island, and studied literature  at U.E.A. Poet and lyricist, her third collection Familiars was published by Hearing Eye in November, 2014.

 

 

 

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Rowan Middleton

 

 

 

The East Wing                       

 

 

 

My footsteps echo across the marble floor

as I follow the tak tak of the caretaker’s stick.

Above, the last of the evening light burns

in the cupola and I can just make out

the glass cases that jut from every wall.

We pass an iron cage of stuffed ducklings

who follow their mother across a Perspex sheet.

I peer inside but the caretaker grabs my elbow

and I trail in his wake of drivel and pricking steps

till we reach a pale statue at the end of the hall.

 

The caretaker turns and looks me in the eye

his voice is dry as breadcrumbs, thin as a draught:

‘Do you remember your promise not to touch?’

I nod and he presses a button at the base of the plinth.

A glow spreads over the statue and it starts to revolve.

Her eyelids flicker open – forget-me-not blue

her breasts are pale lilies and her dress

is the soft cascade of a beech hedge fresh with leaf.

She holds out her hand – I look round at the caretaker

he shakes his head and grasps his cane with a shiver

but she just smiles and I reach forward, it’s like

slipping a hand into a summer river.

Something creaks behind me, slams shut:

the caretaker has drawn a knife from a classroom desk.

He advances, tilting it slowly from side to side,

I cast about me, wrench a torch from the wall

cleave the air, wave it across his path

drive him backwards, down the street of cages.

I trap him in a corner but he slips

out of a window.

 

I stare into the night,

scan the dim outlines of stump and boulder.

At last, I fasten the casement, feel the weight

of a clutch of keys that dangle at my belt,

smell the scent of lilies at my side.

 

 

 

 

Rowan Middleton’s work has appeared in journals such as Acumen, The London Magazine and  THE SHOp. He currently teaches Creative Writing at the University of Gloucestershire.

 

 

 

 

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Marg Roberts

 

 

 

Minster Towers

 

I sit where I always sit in the pink chair with wings.

There are no magazine or papers here.

My mother’s eyes close, her pinnie dappled with porridge

Her hands warming mine. Blue hands. Blue from my walk

Across Saturday market, across the car park

Through the door that only lets you in.

 

I sit where I always sit in the pink chair with wings.

Jean shrieks, My mother died, then my brother died.

My father, he had cancer.

We drink tea. We watch the blossom blow.

I was ready to go. I wanted to go. They were mean.

We remember the sea. We talk of the waves. We feel the cold.

I got ready in my dress. They were mean

Because they wouldn’t let me go.

Jean remembers the sea and its waves and wants to see them again.

 

My mother cradles the past like a favourite child

Too wrapped in her world to risk the outside.

 

 

 

Marg Roberts writes poems and prose. Her poems have been  published in Orbis, Cannon’s Mouth, Coffee House. She was Warwick’s Poet  Laureate 2009-10. Some of her published work can be found at :  margspoems.weebly. com.

Note: Minster Towers was the name of a residential home in Yorkshire for people with dementia.

 

 

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Sally Douglas

 

 

Wayland the Smith

 

 

He moved into cars.

It was inevitable

with no more ploughs to mend

or horses left with a silver penny

for a special overnight job.

 

There was still a bit of welding

you know, axles and stuff

though he had oxy to do it now

bright but soulless

and anyway all you can get these days is mild steel

not the real wrought stuff

its sinews strong with glassy slag –

so what’s the point?

 

And empty days he manned the single one-armed pump

snuffed up petrol fumes

to clear his head.

 

Still hobbled

from that old wound to his hamstrings.

But he managed. Folk admired him.

 

The youngsters thought he was a

character.

 

He died, I think.

 

 

 

 

Sally Douglas lives in Devon, UK. She has been published in various journals, including The Rialto, Ambit and Envoi. Her collection Candling the Eggs is published by Cinnamon Press. She blogs very intermittently at http://sallydouglas.blogspot.co.uk  where a selection of her poetry, including extracts from the book, can be found. Twitter : @SallyDPoet

 

 

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Josep Chanzà

 

 

 

Conversation

 

The night he was taken

my father’s fingers danced

like icy spiders:

dab-dab-dab at

his hospital gown.

He talked to his drip

obliged to welcome every drop

to the coven of wild spirits

digging their heels on his skin.

The white sheets

dressed him

with elegant urgency,

trembling robes

for a lord of the gin.

 

Is this life? I asked

Death, nearby, suggested

answers on a postcard

and dad dictated me many

sat at the tavern of his mind.

I couldn’t keep up.

The ancient matron

cut a smile

when she saw

us holding hands.

She joined in,

holding dad’s heart.

 

I don’t think often of that night

I fear if I do

all those short-legged words

will burst out of some cocoon

and stick to me

like glue.

 

 

Josep Chanzà writes poetry in English and Catalan. He reads his work regularly at The Blind Poet in Edinburgh, where he lives. He keeps a blog (clearlightbulb.tumblr.com ) where he writes the imagined lives of some the city’s inhabitants.

 

 

 

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Dominic Bond

 

 

 

Suited:

 

His suit needed nothing added to it

such was the force with which

it argues his case.

 

My Dad’s were always pristine,

somewhere between a

bank manager and headmaster,

 

to look at him you’d think he

had nothing to worry about.

He’s the smartest Dad

 

everyone used to say,

feeling the power a suit purveys

on eyes used to mud and bruises.

 

His last days were spent in pyjamas,

faint hair on his head, like a child

wanting it all to stop. He looked

out of place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dominic  Bond loves to watch and listen. He loves to create, show a mirror to the world he lives in. Dominic has appeared twice on the Poetry Super Highway, Cultured Vultures and Word Bohemia amongst others, and hopes he has said something to appreciate.

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