Leda Meets Helen
She is fresh on this globe from my globed belly and I am too scared to look. I dread the moment she opens her eyes. She could have his black beads.
I unwrap her. Not a feather in sight. I turn her over and over with delight, run my fingers over her human down. Her toes are angular, unwebbed. Her neck cannot hold up her head. Her lips are soft, pink, unfed.
I will never teach her to swim.
I will never dress her in white.
Angharad Walker graduated from the University of Warwick with a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing in 2013. She lives and works in London.Read More
We ate our meals with hair-raising intensity.
Corked our ears in the joy of savouring,
bored by repetition as the iron grip of history
held Dad in full throat.
His achievements poured over our meals like sauce,
invited cheers, a promise to follow.
We felt pounded. Rolled like dough
into ginger-bread replicas.
His bright-future plans hot as spice in our eyes.
His hope as urgent as a pregnant woman’s
craving for chutney and ice cream.
Everything became easier with compliance
—silence helped to brave both lives
—ours, in which we climbed, grazed knees,
peered through knot holes, scrumped apples,
and the one Dad lived for us, neat as napiery.
Our lives were a table laid with possibilities,
birthday cakes markers of endurance,
taking us closer to success, wealth, comfort for him
in his white-haired armchair years.
His voice would flavour the very air,
wrap our fingers en-croute as they clutched knives,
forks, held just so, as he desired.
We would simply wonder what pudding might be.
Miki Byrne has had three collections of poetry published and work included in over 170 respected poetry magazines/anthologies. She has won poetry competitions, been placed in others and read on both Radio and TV. Miki began reading her work in a Bikers club in Birmingham.Read More
August’s Pick of the Month comes with the wonderfully quirky title ‘My Mother Visits the Dissection Room‘ which in itself demands that you read it. And it is clear from our voters’ response to it that the poem does not disappoint!
Eliot North is a doctor, educator and writer who lives and works in the North East. Commended in the National Poetry Competition 2014, she made The Crab Man into a Filmpoem with artist and filmmaker Alastair Cook. She loves to collaborate.
Eliot has asked that her £10 prize be donated to the mental health charity MIND.
My Mother Visits the Dissection Room
She said she wanted to go there.
So I pulled some strings,
read her the rules.
“Sensible shoes?” she said.
“Yes Mother. Plus clothes
you don’t mind ruined.
Fixers, they don’t wash out.
The smell will get you,
but not of death. More chemicals
like wax and rubber.”
But my mother, being my mother
didn’t seem to mind.
Walked right up to the
stuck her hand inside.
“You won’t even know
I’m here,” she said.
Pulled on a dark-blue lab coat.
as I unzipped the body bag,
revealed cavities and cages.
Stood on tiptoes to peer inside,
scribbled in her notebook.
So I placed a stool
three feet away;
her territory and mine.
When the students filed in
they looked at her,
the older woman with colourful shoes.
Whilst I quizzed the students,
she daubed her paints.
At the end they crowded round her.
Admired her line and
brave use of colour
whilst I put the organs back.
As the students left
she called out to them.
“Call me Poppy!” she cried.
They waved from the door.
“Weren’t they interesting?
What a wonderful body,
all those nooks and crannies.”
I slung the heart in a plastic bag.
Looked at my watch
before herding her out.
Then as we went to the door
she turned round and said,
“Shall we say the same time next week?”
Author’s Note: My mother has never actually visited the Dissection Room.
Voters comments included:
Original quirky and wonderful blend of mood/tone
…it’s a poem which jiggles my thoughts on what a poem is – quietly insightful, gentle, humourous and kindly observant (with a wry smile) and for the beautifully timed line ‘you won’t even know I’m here’
An intriguing subject and some subtle humour.
Witty and enjoyable read!
Quirky perky tone. Very visual and full of action.
I can just picture this event!
I liked it’s vivid-ness
The colourful character of the mum is clearly conveyed.
I love the contrasting view from the mum, I love the lyrical flow and I love the meter
Worker Ant Monologue
Alone among thousands
We don’t even talk
if it’s not about work
If we did we’d say
how happy we are
Together, not lonely
how can you be lonely
when so damn together?
Nods to work/life
balance from top brass
An email went round
nest softball practice
We’re all too tired
to bother turning up
It’s not even really
our thing anyway
so back home to a box set
Licking their legs
honeydew ready meal
Satiated if not satisfied
Then head down;
today’s hundredth power-nap
Busy bees, us ants
busy busy busy
This is all for us
or if not for us exactly
For a greater good:
Roll up, step up
for our happy
Gary W. Hartley does daft, vaguely-poetic things on stage under the moniker Gary From Leeds. His debut collection, Your Attempt to Enjoy These Poems is Considered Unsatisfactory, is out soon on Listen Softly London Press. Twitter: @garyfromleedsRead More
Then take one end to draw it close
around my shoulders. Let it flow
like a mountain burn about my neck but
leave at least an inch below my lips
where speech denies the thistle.
They say the best pulls through a wedding band,
but this is plaid.
Bunch it, grow it kraken-like, pleated,
tartened into that twilled, hidden part of me,
made from heather and peat-smoked whisky,
oatmeal and sheep. Fasten it with a silver clan pin.
Bellow my name Fortune like a red stag in rut,
dancing on a Cap of Maintenance.
Throw Campbell and Douglas battles around
my shoulders. Let them fold against the weather,
storm-proofed and heavy as the granite hills. Show me
skirling in the wind, sloughing off brine-hurled surf
against the island cliffs. Show me wild.
Sarah Passingham has published three books of non-fiction and a libretto. Her collection, Hoad and Other Stories was published in 2014. She began writing poetry to improve her prose, then found she couldn’t stop. Twitter: @SarahsarieRead More
Tony Rickaby’s current practice reflects on walks around South London, where he lives. Recently he has written for Litro Magazine, Stepaway Magazine, ken*again, experiential-experimental-literature, Sugar Mule, The Whistling Fire and Fox Chase Review. His book Detours was published in 2014.Read More