On the Twelfth Day of Christmas we bring you Laura Davies, Marc Woodward and Debbie Strange



Spinning tops in Bethlehem

Pa was keen to be rid of me
gave me the little boat
just a board really
told me to enjoy myself.

Ma said I looked
like a walnut
all bundled up
on half a shell.

Me and the other kids
out on the lake
sliding on the ice
spinning tops.

Pa had to register us.
We came on the cart
it wasn’t far –
some came from across Judea.

Romans and their questions-
who we knew,
where we lived.
Who knew they cared?

Soldiers came
with the lists.
National security they said.
No spinning tops after that.



Laura Davis travels a lot. The people, landscapes and stories of the places she visits – and, in this case, as Bruegel imagined them -inspire her writing. Her poetry has previously appeared in Ink Sweat and Tears (November 2017). @LaDaBel




Winter Blues Club

Tonight I’ll play slide
in that pine floor
bar down town.
The sea will hurl pebbles
on the street outside
and the storm will
hit and swing
the hanging sign.

January darkness
wraps a reason
round the flatscreens,
fires and hot dinners
of front rooms,
and I know the crowd
will be slimmer
than a Mississippi chance
but, hey…
my fingers need the dance.

And it’s alright
for there are stories
to be sung,
and only a rough night –
   a night for Rojo
   at the crossroads,
   rain on tin shacks,
   engine house hobos;
   a night for black
   dog harp howls –
can stand witness
with any wink
of honesty.

So I’ll forsake the fire for
the pick and pull of strings,
the rattle of brass or glass
over rosewood board,
while pebbles clatter
at the shaking door.
Robin lifts his dobro,
Bill clears his throat,
no one plays Summertime
not even as a joke…



Marc Woodward is a musician and poet living in the rural West Country. He has been widely published and his chapbook A Fright Of Jays is available from Maquette Press.





Debbie Strange is an award-winning Canadian short form poet and haiga artist. Keibooks released her full-length poetry collection, Warp and Weft: Tanka Threads, in 2015. Folded Word released her haiku chapbook, A Year Unfolding, in 2017.

Note: This haiga received the World Haiku Association’s Haiga Award of Excellence in 2015


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