‘The card given out at his funeral’ by Claire Cox is our Pick of the Month for February 2019


You looked, you read, you voted and the ‘beautiful and disquieting poem’ that is Claire Cox’s ‘The card given out at his funeral’ is the IS&T Pick of the Month for February.

Born in Hong Kong, Claire now lives and works in Oxfordshire. She is Associate Editor for ignitionpress, and is currently a part-time practice-based PhD student at Royal Holloway, University of London studying poetry and disaster.

She has asked that her £10 ‘prize’ be donated to the Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospitals Charity.


The card given out at his funeral

has no obituary. No order of service.
Just his name, curlicued and slant,
year of birth, hyphen, year of death.

Above that, an old print plate of his
reproduced landscape-wise, its surface
sectioned into eighths, each eighth quizzing

depth of cut, luminescence, blackness,
how acid bites, how resin resists.
‘Fig. A’ points to pale ripples:

a thumbprint in negative,
dabbed there momentarily –
his brief experiment in flesh.




Other voters’ comments included:

Hit me in the heart – understated, interesting use of language … her poem stayed with me the most… e.g. how we are all but ‘a short experiment in flesh’.

Beautiful, restrained and powerful

I like its economy and unexpectedness.

I love this poem’s allusiveness, its brevity, its poignance.

Oh the sadness.

A surprising, and beautifully detailed memorial to the printmaker.

Such a gentle reverie and homily of a lost much loved one. Gentle, spiritual, thoughtful and with grace

The simplicity of the form and language allows the grief to speak forth without rhetoric.

simply written yet finely crafted

A brief but recognisable representation of a life.

Beautifully written and resonant.

An extraordinary poem- superbly crafted

I liked the baldness of the opening stanza and the concreteness of details.

It tells a story, but in a stark way. Heartfelt


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Indy Clark





You see it first;
Iridescent against the house,
A song of light beneath the roof
As twilight falls.

We watch the dance,
The bioluminescent signal
A spark of hope;
I squeeze your hand.

Unlock the door,
The light fades to the edge of eyes
And inside, darkness turns to leave
A whole world open.




Indy Clark is a songwriter, poet, and academic, originally from England but now living in Australia. He teaches at the University of Queensland and his most recent book about poetry is Thomas Hardy’s Pastoral: An Unkindly May (Palgrave Macmillan)

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Sam Smith




[sub]urban sprawl: night storage for commuters

sacred monsters, knaves and fools
crowblack the night comes flapping


have walked into
something soft

(a perfumed corpse?)

mind’s graffiti
shouts ALARM!

rotating in the dark
a life coming apart
like old underwear

words / images / images of words
slip between the seams

one wolf eats another



Sam Smith is editor of The Journal magazine and publisher of Original Plus books. Author of several novels and collections of poetry, he presently lives in Blaengarw, South Wales.

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Lawrence Wilson





it feels rather strange to say that I
no longer have a car. Farewell to Olaf
ancient Polo, seventeen and not
in best of health. To fix the oil leak
repair speedometer, align the wheels
would cost a great deal more than he was worth

and yet—it hurts, somehow, to say goodbye
to such a faithful friend. So battered, slow
up hills, and petrol-greedy, running hot
in summer, cold in winter… How to speak
of countless trips to work and back? I feel
ashamed, a bit—I sold him cheap. It hurts

to sign the papers, walk away. I stroke
the wing mirror, leave him with the tattooed bloke.



Lawrence Wilson grew up near Chicago, Illinois, and has degrees in drama, education and interdisciplinary art. He emigrated to the UK in 2005. He sings and acts professionally and has exhibited his pottery, sculpture, installations, prints, photography and artist’s books in the UK and the USA and online. His fiction, poetry, essays and reviews have appeared in Albedo One, Agenda, Three Drops in the Cauldron, Paper Swans Press (Best of British, The Poetry of Roses, The Pocket Poetry Book of Marriage, The Pocket Poetry Book of Cricket and The Darker Side of Love), Poet’s Cove, Art and Academe, The Prairie Light Review, The Art of Monhegan Island, on Salon.com, Monhegan.com and in other journals and collections.   His first collection, The April Poems,was published in 2016, and Another April in 2017.

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Stefan Mohamed




Attempt at Self Portrait

syntax puddle

half-hearted marathon runner with piano key mouth

flea the other fleas would rather not suck blood with

hastily customised avatar for whoever is behind my face

nice cold cup of sarcastic fridge magnet wisdom

drunk note written on phone, forgotten for five months

lengthy self-deprecating anecdote at a rubbish party

jacket you think is cool but you know other people disagree so you don’t wear it, coward

anxious, sickly Instagram filter

slowly unravelling spool of HTML

telltale pornographic science fiction paperback left on psychiatrist’s couch, certain pages folded over

meme you made in Photoshop when you still weren’t really sure what they are

extensively publicised state-of-the-art spider web reveal on Spiderbite Massacre Remembrance Tuesday

wacky face drawn on carelessly with marker pen



Stefan Mohamed is a poet and author based in Bristol.  His novels Falling Leaves and the Bitter Sixteen Trilogy are published by Salt Publishing, and poetry collection PANIC! is published by Burning  Eye Books. Website is stefmo.co.uk . Tweets: @stefmowords

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Paul Ings



Out There

The new veranda is unfinished and unwalled
but various chairs and a paint-splattered table
are placed out there in unfettered spaciousness
by impatience to savour realizations approach.

The mind easily fills in the rest but finds
it doesn’t care to; this open merry display
of anticipation is breeze-buffeted, hence a thing,
and exulted in sunlight for passers-by to see.

Our laughter is clappered off bare concrete
and hobnobs with the croaking of the crows on high;
not near yet neither far but on equal terms of Here.
Unique: this consciously coming into being

to decadent sips of prematurely popped
golden bubbly; it was you popped the question
if there’s any point in actual completion
which had us laughing uproariously at the time.





Paul Ings born Bournemouth 1971, Poetry in The Reader, The Interpreter’s House, Salzburg Poetry Review, South, etc., anthologies: Hildegard (Poetry on the Lake), (Hammond House) and Cornwall (Palores Publications), translations of Czech poetry (BODY Literature), and reviews in Czech journal Plav.

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