Jenny Hill

 

 

 

The Concise British Flora in Colour
The Reverend W Keble Martin, 1965

Netting the soul
of meadow, woodland, towan,
with one thousand,
four hundred and eighty-six portraits,
you travelled the veins of these islands;
gathered the common, rare, valued, unloved.
Smocked each page
with the colours of plain truth.

I cannot think otherwise than this:
that your sermons strode the pews
like wiry stems of oat grass,
sowing its whiskered ears
over your congregation;
that you captured a marriage
with linked fingers of convulvulus,
one-day shimmer of pink and white
in fierce, unrepentant entanglement;
marked death in the parish
with meadow saffron’s brief shine
of sun-gold stamens.
And lifted, as treasure
your communion cup,
the five-petalled white  chalice
of a dog rose.

 

Jenny Hill‘s first collection was Voices of the First World War (available on Amazon).  Jenny has had poems published in Ink, Sweat and Tears, Orbis, Strix, and was winner of the Poetry Society Members’ competition in 2017.

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Philip Foster

 

 

 

Coast Redwood

When we come across her in the bluebells,
stretched out flat, she says Sequoia Sempervirens
is the tallest living species of tree on Earth,
altogether more ancient and venerable than, say,
the Douglas Fir or the Small-leaved Lime.
In the field, in the monastry of its own greening,
the line of this snapped tree is an empire
becoming its dark ages, shifting from iambic
to chaotic Northern gutterals, reverting
from supply chains and Agmen formate
to oiled hair and heroism. Sometimes she wakes
from pipedreams and can’t breathe because of
how dirty the ward is, unaware of the year
or month, or the meaning of the word medicine.

 

 

Philip Foster lives in Hebden Bridge. He was a founder member of the Albert Poets, in Huddersfield, and has won Ilkley and Arvon prizes. Most recently he has been a regular contributor to Pennine Platform.

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Anna Blasiak

 

 

 

Havana

Sorrow crumbles down everywhere.
Gaping holes on Malecon filled with stones.
Yes, Hemingway drank his mojitos and daiquiris here.
Yes, you can drink there too.
Just watch out for rake-thin, sad dogs.

Deserted Plaza de la Revolution still resounds
with Fidel’s speeches.

This city is already an apparition.
This city eats itself.

 

 

Anna Blasiak is a poet and translator. She writes poetry in Polish and in English (Off_Press, Women Online Writing, Exiled Ink and Modern Poetry in Translation). She has been shortlisted for several major poetry competitions in Poland. Her first book in Polish is due in 2019. More: annablasiak.com.

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Clive Donovan

 

 

 

The Guided Tour

They are nothing but casual tourists, ambling,
with their ice-creams and stapled pamphlets,
happily careless of the wretched history
attached to these ancient barracks;

charred flesh and fractured bones,
the lingering stink of something worse,
as the guide drones on
with his unamusing jokes and torture anecdotes.

Cracks in the floor assume absurd significance.
Corridors hump and writhe with importance.
The hungry walls close in keenly
as if to testify their witnessing.

Here ended the lives of rebels and martyrs,
bruised and scorched, crushed in screws and stretched:
Mediaeval apparatus blood-washed with pain
and an angry bell outside clangs loud

in rough narrow passages threading waves
through the stony maze
of this crude instrument of power.
Fingering mortar, I scrape it cruelly with my nail.

Pressured by the karmic force of unpurged debt,
I struggle to keep up
with the solid pack of customers ahead,
about to enter the cake shop.

Oh how do people dare to live?
How dare to sing?
Looking up for guidance I see
lounging pikemen pretending to be clouds.

 

 

Clive Donovan devotes himself full-time to poetry and has published in a wide variety of magazines including The Journal, Agenda, Acumen, Poetry Salzburg Review, Prole, Stand and Ink Sweat and Tears. He lives in the creative atmosphere of Totnes in Devon, U.K. often walking along the River Dart for inspiration. His friends say he is overdue a debut collection.

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Golnoosh Nour

 

 

 

Blood Days

Break all our delicate cups, my love
Shatter their bleeding flowers like you
shattered us. I don’t mind; because I was
that bad kid, the best student at the back of the class
sleeplessly studying stoplessly
for all the exams, writing the right
replies to those wrong questions, and yet
cheating just to make sure all my responses
were conspicuously correct. That I’d get the best grade to
appease my distressed self and expectant parents.
And of course, the addictive thrill of cheating
the drumming heartbeat, the slippery fingers, the sweaty pen
A forbidden book open, under the desk, on my trembling lap
or inked solutions on toilet papers emerging from my grey sleeves.

A retired magician making ends meet in a red circus
ten magicians chewing raw meat, blood oozing
through their teeth.
Ten thousand magicians murmuring your name, a
visceral curse in my scorching ears.

Break everything you please
just beware that loving and hurting you were the
last things I wanted to do, like those cheating days,
a treacherous teenager, trapped, in my dark school.

 

 

Golnoosh Nour is the author the poetry collection Sorrows of the Sun which was published in 2017 under her pseudonym Sogol Sur. She has performed both her prose and poetry in numerous literary events across the UK. Golnoosh just completed a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing. She teaches prose and poetry at Birkbeck and The University of East London.

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Martyn Crucefix

 

 

 

Beside the artist’s pool

Small birds brink
the garden hedge
its glossy tall green
no shady barrier

more a plaything
to rise up and over
their gaze wedded
to the pool’s eye

where they execute
one dip-up motion
the pool crying
its lyric of white

and azure—each bird’s
pale breast takes
the reflected blue
of what its thirst

drives it to—
each dip each dive
each muscular shove
leaves a kissing-ring

one fading mark
as bills scoop clear
the flickering badge
of blue is pinned

to each white breast
then wings adjust
up—agilely away—
each bird ascending

a swerve of white
so it must appear
there’s nothing here
actually changing

 

 

Martyn Crucefix has translated Rilke’s Duino Elegies and Sonnets to Orpheus (both Enitharmon Press) and the Daodejing (Enitharmon, 2016). Most recent original poetry: The Lovely Disciplines (Seren, 2017) and forthcoming from Hercules Editions, Cargo of Limbs (Autumn, 2019). More at http://www.martyncrucefix.com

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