Sekhar Banerjee




Goethals Football field, Kurseong

I watch a lonesome Tibetan horse grazing
on the Goethals football field ; solitary clouds chew
sadness all morning here, as if, it is their staple food
at breakfast
The starving fog licks the whole body of the horse
like a swarm of blue fleas on a wound

Down the slope, rows of block- printed
white flags ponder over the psychology of the clouds,
and the flagpoles
offer Cartesian x-axis to the y-axis of the ground
to measure the winter sky’s elevation
Just before noon,
someone regularly yells at the sun here
for no reason
In the evening, I see a lonely human figure going
down the valley with the Tibetan horse with blue fog

In a strange language they converse



Sekhar Banerjee is a bilingual writer. He has four collections of poems and a monograph on an Indo-Nepal border tribe to his credit. He lives in Kolkata, India.

Read More

Niall M Oliver




The Unholy Spirit

If Jesus was the type to enjoy a drink, 
then the porcelain version pinned at our front door
would surely be happier than he looks

Beneath his feet, a round finger bowl,
eternally brimming with holy water.
Never a dry-dip in this house.

Topped with measures from Lourdes
and Medjugorje, or jars filled at the local monastery,
matters not, my mother pours away—

Meanwhile in the shed, my devoted father brews
brandy-ball poitín, and scratches his head
at his stash of unexpectedly empty containers.



Niall M Oliver is an Irish writer who has recently returned home with his wife and sons after a decade living in London. His poems have previously featured in The Honest Ulsterman, Boyne Berries, Fly On The Wall Press, Ink Sweat & Tears, Black Bough Poetry and others. He occasionally tweets, but only about Poetry and can be found at @NMOliverPoetry.

Read More

Word & Image from Jane Salmons



Black Coffee and Cigarettes

Close to the leaf a black raven
In nature what would happen normally is that dogs chase cats
Of course the zebra looks to the sky
They were naming them after household objects: 
the telephone, the aspidistra, the cuckoo clock
They cocoon to protect themselves from predators
Sometimes in birds’ nests, nests of mice, lizards scuttle
Perfect meals for bats
In another time, another age, Ingrid Bergman lights a Gauloise
She wears a sound-repelling cloak to indicate she is not edible
There’s a pretty frantic love life going on; he serenades her nightly
They grow on poisonous plants, strawberries, apples and pears
Pretend to be the same species.  Fly towards Saturn.



Jane Salmons lives in Stourbridge in the Black Country. She has recently completed an MA in Creative Writing with Distinction.  In addition to writing poetry, she enjoys creating handmade collage art.  You can find her work at:

Read More

Vote for your August 2020 Pick of the Month

It’s Pick of the Month time and the shortlist for August 2020 has a definite family feel about it. Are you drawn to either John Grey or Sam Hickford as they try to make connections in ‘To a Father I Never Knew’ and ‘Familiar Tissue’, or appreciate, and identify with, Sunyi Dean transforming into her mother in ‘Dust’. Is it Susie Wild with her husband ‘Nude, smoking, in the dawn doorway’ that captivates or Frank Dullaghan, his sister singing him to sleep (past, present and future merging) in ‘How to Escape and Other Theories’, deserving your interest? Or does Lucy Atkinson pull at every parental instinct as you watch Persephone emerge from Winter in ‘Sunspot’?

All six of the shortlist have been chosen by Helen or Kate or received the most attention on social media. They can be found below or by clicking on ‘Vote for Your August 2020 Pick of the Month′ in the Categories list to your right on the screen.

Voting is now closed. August’s Pick will be announced on Friday 18th September

For the coronavirus period, our normal Pick ‘prize’ of £10 towards the UK charity of your choice or a National Book Token will rise to £30*. Charities and booksellers, both, have been hit hard by the shutdown and we wanted to make a (admittedly very small) gesture of support.


*Book tokens can only be used within the UK and will be divided between £20 for the winning writer and a £10 token for the person of their choice.

Read More

Claire Aster




Red wine fruit flies

You came for the pear molasses
on my kitchen shelf

three tummies full of fruity goodness
recklessly rolling around
in this deep lagoon

without any thought
of how you might get out.



Claire Aster has always been a keen reader of poetry and this past year has began writing her own work. She lives with her dog Emma, in a small village on the Ayrshire Coast, Scotland.

Read More

David Belcher




Ask to know your people better

When my father goes to Edinburgh,
the hilly streets and crowds of tourists
make him grouchy. This is his mother’s country.
She is not there, he cannot touch the things
she touched but he sees and hears what made
the city his mother’s home;
cleaving together people and places
history becomes a road his grandchildren
look down, seeing the houses of ancestors,
small rooms containing real lives, smoke
from hearths rising above chimneys.




David Belcher is aged over 50, he lives on the north coast of Wales, and his most recent work has appeared in The Ekphrasic Review, Ink Sweat and Tears and Right Hand Pointing. David reads and writes poetry for enjoyment, and because it keeps him sane.

Read More