Stuart Henson

 

 

 

Ten Ways Of Looking At Turbines

 

 

White spoors:

the hillside’s bacilli.

 

Absorbed into mist

their cloak of invisibility.

 

Or far out, flittered like butterflies

on a cabbage-blue sea.

 

Rotating bow ties.

Surrealist comedy.

 

Narcissi, in love with themselves—

or tall, pale lilies.

 

Recessive, like cruciform stones

in a cemetery.

 

In high relief on a blue-glazed round:

new objects of piety.

 

Of three minds: their three blades

brandished unceasingly.

 

All day they scratch

at the low clouds’ bellies.

 

Sky wide.  Wind free.

Money for somebody.

 

 

Stuart Henson’s most recent collection is The Odin Stone (Shoestring Press).  Feast of Fools, a book of poems and scraperboard drawings in collaboration with artist Bill Sanderson, was published in 2015. This is his website: stuarthenson.co.uk

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Ian Glass

 

 

 

Shelter

 

It starts with a whisper,

closing from the West

ripples across stooped hills,

grows grumbling to a moan.

 

Light dips behind low clouds;

wind presses clothes to limbs,

then rain slants sideways

cold from the weighted sky.

 

We crouch by tall stones, curling

weakness behind their enduring bulk;

safe in the hollow of the moment,

while the day blows into tomorrow.

 

 

 

Ian Glass was raised in Northumberland, lives in Worcestershire and has two grown-up daughters.  He trained as an engineer but when not writing he works mostly as a computer programmer.  Ian’s poems are contemplative and inward looking, unless they are about monsters, thermodynamics or the Worcestershire section of the M5 motorway. His poetry has appeared in Ink, Sweat and Tears and Algebra of Owls.

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Alan Price Reviews ‘In the Scullery with John Keats’ by Louise Warren

 

 

I’m fortunate to live in Camden and be very close to Keats house in Hampstead. This September I was on holiday in Rome and visited the house where Keats died and also the English cemetery where he’s buried. An image of the young, poor, battered by illness Keats resonates for me in those locations, whilst on Hampstead Heath I conjure up the Cockney poet out for a lively walk.

When I read Louise Warren’s In the Scullery with John Keats I encountered four poems where Keats, flitting round like a mischievous ghost, is re-located to a contemporary North London and Devon. In the book’s title poem, Keats comes into deep focus with the objects in his house. A dead rabbit in the kitchen swings on its hook. Keats startles you by daring the poet to touch it. It swings as “the camera missed a trick”. Then, in the next poem, he’s in the garden and after that the bedroom. At each dislocation, Warren makes you feel the increasing force of his presence. An erotic rolling over in a field of wheat into a Devon sea occurs. Warren’s imagination takes flight and she will “roll beneath him like a pin.” In the last Keats poem, In the Underground with John Keats a train pulls in at Chalk farm tube station. At this “he leant against the mast of a ship / he watched the moon rise up in a slop basin / it was all tales to him and poems.”

What’s so terrific about these Keats poems are their cheekiness, strangeness and subversive antics. It’s as if we where watching an old Ken Russell TV arts drama about a Romantic poet. All that’s missing is a wild music soundtrack. However Louise Warren’s often long rhythmic lines supply their own musical pulse.

“I smelt the heat of his arms the soft dip below his throat”

Even longer musical lines are conveyed in other poems. It’s brilliantly on show in the very moving, Sedgemoor Ward. This poem about a dying man (her father?) observing the hospital ward and the view of the countryside from his window ends on a note of hope.

“We gather our things
Outside the water and light make their strange perpetual motion.”

The elongation of that final line beautifully expresses the continuous flow of life still continuing in the face of an approaching death. It comes back full circle to the water and light mentioned in the poem’s first line. Nature may remain cyclic and indifferent. But not the poet. She has to record our very human act of carrying on.

The Language of Flowers is an eloquent example of how Warren can stretch out a fine lyrical line, only to follow it with words that collar it back to a sensual apprehension of a botanist’s study, when he enters with grass soaking through his boots.

It, a slight weak rain swelling the air to a woollen thickness.
Unlike the air in his study which is proper, as paper is, and the vapour
Of thin soup. An uncoaxed fire. A fear of sweating.”

This causes the poem to abruptly stop. Fear. Sweating. Anxiety is manifest. Then the poem re-commences with an amazing sensual assault.

“Wild Honeysuckle arouses his nostrils, and sharp unmade twigs
Dig into his skin, lift the hair from his scalp, disrobe him.”

Warren’s poems are elegantly paced and tightly worded constructions. Her subject matter is eclectic. A dead poets visitations, the sky at night, the dance of a curtain, country common names, John Tenniel’s drawing of the white rabbit for Lewis Carrols’s Alice, balconies at night and gall wasp samples. These are poems that are equally disconcerting and engaging, tender and prickly; both influenced by fairy tales and nursery rhymes that can morph into menace and sudden darkness. Or humour and tenderness that root out an uncertain light in the dark. Louis Warren has a highly original take on her invented worlds. She’s a demanding poet. That’s a big positive in my book. You have to make the imaginative leap and succumb to her style. Yet the effort proves richly rewarding.

Like her previous book, A Child’s Last Picture Book of the Zoo, the Keats titled pamphlet shows Warren’s continuing strong development. She’s a remarkable writer, not for everyone, but definitely for my taste. A memorably haunting voice in the current poetry scene producing highly individualistic work, that’s very good indeed.

 

 

 
Order your copy of  In the Scullery with John Keats (Cinnamon Press)  by Louise Warren here: www.cinnamonpress.com

 

 

 

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Stuart Buck

 

 

 

On the Surface of the Moon

 

my friend tells me he cannot see the lights on the surface of the moon

because there is a patch of the bad thing in his heart

so I tell him to look now

at the sinking birds kissing the taller plants around us

he can still cry in his car at night, alone

now that the radio is playing cadenza

the birds and the notes falling as one

and time is a loop not a line

so now he is the lights on the surface of the moon

i am a teardrop, alone

the radio kisses the tall plants

my heart is a bird

 

 

 

Stuart Buck is a poet living in Wrexham. He has been writing for five years, during which time he has been published widely both online and in print. His debut Casually Discussing the Infinite received positive reviews and will be followed up by a shorter collection this year. He can be found @stuartmbuck and his book can be purchased here – http://amzn.to/2scvF8K

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Adam Sear

 

 

The Crowman

 

A thick haze of smoke still lay across the fields. From just a few yards away, the scavengers were all but invisible as they performed their grim, yet profitable task.
The two Englishmen worked methodically, stripping the dead of their now redundant Earthly possessions.
‘We’d better get a move on lad, storm’s coming back…’ said the elder man. ‘Bodies’ll be sinking.’
‘Bloody mud,’ said the younger. ‘Bloody rain.’
‘Now, Tom, ’twas the bloody mud and rain lost Boney the battle…’ Old Pilton laughed as he admonished the youth, and his fat, whiskery cheeks wobbled.
Tom fell back into his habitual sulky silence; he thought Pilton a coward and a fool. The old man had hidden during the battle, and crept out only when the danger had passed and there was a chance of grabbing spoils. Feeling disgust at his companion, Tom knelt to remove the boots from another fallen comrade.
There was a piercing crack, like cannon-fire, and Tom jumped to his feet.
‘Told you, boy,’ said the old-timer, ‘thunder…’
Out of the mist, a tall figure emerged. He stalked towards them on spindly legs, a frayed, dark cloak flapping around his skeletal frame like the feathers of a corvid.
‘What’s this bastard want?’ said Tom.
‘Careful, Tom,’ said Pilton. ‘Easy, now…’ He put a hand on the youth’s arm. ‘There’s dangerous sorts on a battlefield.’ He chuckled softly. ‘You could easily get yerself killed…’
Tom shook off the restraining hand, and shouted at the interloper. ‘This is our place! Get yourself another patch!’
Pilton’s eyes widened as the stranger drew closer.
‘Tom, we ‘ave to go. We ‘ave to go now, lad. ’Tis the Crowman…’ He tried to pull Tom away, but the youth seemed rooted to the spot. ‘Come, lad, come… We can’t stay here…’
The old man gave up. Knowing that he had to save himself, he dropped his loot, and scurried blindly into the fog. Whatever else he met out there would be preferable to this.
The Crowman folded his frame almost double, and, neck extended like an inquisitive bird, inspected the ruined head of the nearest corpse. Rejecting this one, he moved on to the next, then another. On finding what he wanted, he pulled a rusted iron implement from his cloak and began extracting teeth.
Tom stared as the Crowman pulled tooth after tooth, roots and all, from the lifeless skulls. The dead men stared back, as they posthumously donated their precious canines and incisors. Each came free with a crack, followed by a gruesome sucking sound, as if the deceased were trying to resist this plunder; a final act of defiance.
Although molars were too difficult to remove for most in the trade – there was no real market for them – the Crowman took the odd few for his private collection. Besides, he liked to keep his hand in, just in case. After all, fashions changed. The purloined teeth were dropped with a clatter into a large leather pouch strung around his scrawny neck.
His gruesome work complete for now, the Crowman stood and regarded Tom for the first time. ‘Thirsty work, boy,’ he said, his voice a rattling whisper. The Crowman extended a filthy hand, stained crimson with the gore of his victims. Immediately, Tom reached inside his stolen, bloodied coat, and gripped a scavenged flask of rum. His throat constricting, he handed it over. As the Crowman gulped it down, Tom tried to back away. He found that he could not.
‘Your feet are stuck, lad. Stand about gawping and you’re bound to sink in these conditions.’
The Crowman grinned. His teeth were yellow, not through decay, but because they were solid gold. The burnished metal glowed dimly, despite the lack of daylight. These were the hard-won profits of his strange occupation. Easy to carry, hard to lose; unless of course he ended up dead on a battlefield.
‘I’m sorry, mister,’ said Tom. He felt himself slide a little further into the stinking, blood-drenched mud.
Bloody mud.
’Can you help me get out?’
The Crowman drained the last of the rum from the flask, and tossed it to the ground. ‘Of course,’ he said. ‘But there’s a price…’
‘What price?’ said Tom.
‘Open wide,’ said the Crowman.

 

 

Adam Sear lives in Northamptonshire. He writes short stories and creative non-fiction. He is currently studying part-time for an MA in Creative Writing with the Open University. His interests include: cosmology, sci-fi, history and the natural world.

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Karen Hodgson Pryce

 

 

 

Blind

 

Eyelids still sewn, wild kitten rabbit

dip-hopped across our path:

where mum, what eat, who there.

 

In the field, crow blew at a hankied beak,

crossed its legs, cawed bone

pretended to read the Gazette.

 

We pondered rabbit’s fate,

my reaching hands were stayed.

It’s true. Not everything is saved

by taking it home.

 

 

 

Karen Hodgson Pryce lives in the Cairngorms area of Scotland. Her poetry has been published in Landfall, an Anthology by New Voices Press, Butcher’s Dog, The Learned Pig, The Poets’ Republic, Mslexia, Open Mouse and Ink, Sweat & Tears. Her short story was Commended in the Neil Gunn Writing Competition 2017.

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Sascha Aurora Akhtar

 

I want

2 b naked

on your regal

mountain

I want

2 absorb

your hand with mine

from fingertip

2 palm, 2 finger

tip

 

 

 

 

Sascha Aurora Akhtar, is a trans-race, multi-dimensional, sub rosa poeto/story-bot. She was patented in Pakistan. Had upgrades in pre- 9/11 U.S.A. Was released onto shelves in the U.K. Her roboto-poetics have been widely anthologised and translated into Armenian, Portuguese, Galician, Russian, Dutch and Polish. Anthologies include Cathecism: Poems for Pussy Riot (2012) and Out of Everywhere (Reality Street, 2015). She has also been part of poetry protests – Against Rape (Peony Moon, 2014), Solidarity Park Poetry – Poems for the Turkish resistance (Ed. 2013). Her most recent poetry collection is 199 Japanese Names for Japanese Trees (Shearsman UK, 2016).  Her story The Nature of Wounds appeared in STORGY in 2017. Women:Poetry:Migration, an anthology (Theenk Books: Edited by Jane Joritz-Nakagawa) is upcoming in 2018 with poems from A Year In Clouds. 

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