K. S. Moore





A jagged edge of sunset gold
cuts the hillside.

Was it folly to build
this land a tower,
that it might fold
its heavenly green
over and over,

peer through
a monocle of window
to meet
the curious
and fanciful?

Remember the night
we tested its magic,
walked in a snowflake
chain of bodies,
stopped before
getting too close?

Remember the shape
of a witch’s shadow,
hat like a dagger,
arms rising to curse
our wicked intrusion,

her figure exposed
before flight?



K. S. Moore’s poetry has recently appeared in Atlanta Review, Mookychick, The Honest Ulsterman, Fly Press Magazine, Boyne Berries and The Stinging Fly.  Work is upcoming in The Stony Thursday Book, Verity La and with Broken Sleep Books. Blog: http://ksmoore.com/

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On the Ninth Day of Christmas we bring you Alwyn Marriage, Pat Edwards, K. S. Moore




Keeping it private

To escape disgrace,
outrun the wagging
tongues, she took
a break from home
by going to visit
her cousin.
Such happy days they
spent together there,
two young women
with so much to share.

Then he, shy, loving
and ready to accept
that things weren’t always
what they first appeared to be,
made arrangements for
a protracted visit to
his parents’ home.

The pair were welcomed there.
The aunts who had despaired
that he would ever produce
the longed-for heir to guarantee
the future of their family name,

had at the news, shaken their aged
locks in shame, but wouldn’t dream
of censure, accepted the surprising
gift from God, no questions asked,
shared their contact lists of friends
in far-off places, sent them off
with blessings to explore
lands far away from Bethlehem
or nosy Nazareth.



Alwyn Marriage’s ten books include poetry, fiction and non-fiction. Formerly university lecturer and CEO of two NGOs, she’s Managing Editor of Oversteps Books and research fellow at Surrey University. She gives poetry readings and workshops in Britain and abroad. Website: http://www.marriages.me.uk/alwyn/




Wise men in the city

The Christian preacher is debating with his Muslim brothers about the one true God, while Birmingham’s Christmas market sausage and gluhweins its way towards Black Friday. There are school kids doing surveys, ladies on a jolly and sales staff at pop-up stalls in the arcades earning Oscars for their performances. We keep seeing cute babies today, like their lonely mums only bring them out on wet Thursdays, when coffee shops are quieter and there’s a welcome at the inn. We walk round Selfridge’s for a laugh, only it’s not funny that a gaudy jumper costs eight hundred and fifty quid and a tie ninety five. This is more Three Kings territory and we are just simple shepherds, eyes dazzled by the shiny city. There’s a change of shift at the Christian soapbox and another beggar pockets a quid and mutters. Does any of this matter. Well, just think about it. Shoppers wear their little carrier bags like badges – Hilfiger, Victoria’s Secret, even Primark and we walk through the fruity waft of vapers who think they’re saving themselves from lung cancer. I think it matters a lot.



Pat Edwards is a poet, teacher, reviewer and performer from Mid Wales. Her work has appeared in Magma, Prole, Ink Sweat & Tears, Atrium and others. Pat hosts monthly Verbatim poetry open mic nights and curates Welshpool Poetry Festival.




Snow was an apparition

Snow was an apparition:
reach out to touch,
it disappears.

Snow spread its wings
for one white day:
flew and landed, flew and landed.

Snow gave us its body
built us to stand pure:
you can make your own impression.

The day I took the thrill
in my chest on a walk
to deliver a snowman,

I didn’t expect the cold
to creep into my boots —
a cold that hurt,

held me still, as I struggled
to trace my hollow steps
to the place I began with hope.



K. S. Moore‘s poetry has recently appeared in New Welsh Review, Spontaneity, Ink Sweat & Tears, The Stinging Fly and Southword. Work is upcoming in Atlanta Review. Shortlists have included: Trim Poetry Competition and Americymru West Coast Eisteddfod Poetry Competition.

Link: http://ksmoore.com/

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‘Truth’ for National Poetry Day: Linda Rose Parkes, Marc Woodward, K. S. Moore




A True Version

honest to god
i can’t bear
to look at myself
in the mirror

i stalk her she’s my new poem in her fitted coat and high heels on the number 10 bus         put bars on the lines

last night
i told him
Megan’s seeing
a married guy

in the morning she’ll wake to cadence and pauses    rhythms of wingbeat flocking the page

that’s good
he says
if it
her happy

she’ll soon forget her passionless marriage when i leave her here for others to find

then i say so you
don’t mind
if i start fucking

let’s hope they bring food    let’s trust they bring fresh hope   that she isn’t alone in this fortress i’ve built her

that’s how low
we’ve sunk

i hear calling in my sleep     she wants to go home    she wants her own grievance    

i can’t
to see
these days

she wants the truth of her own shadow 


Linda Rose Parkes lives in the Channel Islands and has published four collections, the latest, This Close, was launched last winter. She continues to run poetry workshops and is also a painter.




Confessional Poetry

So how long have you truly felt this way?
When we converse about your infancy
I have the sense there’s more you need to say.
Sadly I think you’re withholding on me.
It’s always the same. Novels say too much,
they go on and on, I can’t shut them up.
But you Poems? Always I’m left guessing.
You just smirk there. Hinting, half confessing.
Yeah, we both know you’ve done a little time;
you’ve stolen stuff to get yourself a ‘line’.
And this thing about being a sonnet
in a past life. Just grow up – be honest!
All poems can change – and that includes you.
Of course you must really, truly, want to…



Marc Woodward is a poet and musician living in the rural West Country.He has been widely published in journals, anthologies and online sites.  His collections include  A Fright of Jays available from Maquette Press (2015) and Hide Songs from Green Bottle Press (2018). www.marcwoodwardpoetry.blogspot.co.uk




What I have to Say

Can I tell you
before it’s tarnished?
Before the lichen crust
absolves me of need to share?

Well, listen:
this is a bud of a story,
a soft shoot, weepy-
green leaf of a dream;
it is all yours
if you hear

what I have to say
is blooming on my tongue.
It is rare,
it is syrup
in my pharynx.

As it spills,
I feel it leave
like a lover
with an eye on my heart;
with a tug
at the tears
held back
from my teens.

Can’t reign it in,
this runaway . . .




K. S. Moore‘s poetry has recently appeared in New Welsh Review, Spontaneity, Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Stinging Fly and Southword. Work is upcoming in Other Terrain and Atlanta Review. Shortlists have included: Trim Poetry Competition and Americymru West Coast Eisteddfod Poetry Competition.

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K. S. Moore



The Changeling Spiders

The changeling spiders
borrow their skull-heads
from fairies, who leave them
in corners, to spin out earthly
imaginings of themselves,

haunt and drop with
bent-thorn legs, a
dance they were born to
execute softly. Their webs
are dirty grey chains,

hung at the highest points
in each room, they take
time to break, grow back,
are stubborn, hold me
unclean, ashamed.



K. S. Moore‘s poetry has recently appeared in New Welsh Review, The Honest Ulsterman, Boyne Berries, The Lonely Crowd, The Stinging Fly and Southword. Shortlists have included: Trim Poetry Competition, Americymru West Coast Eisteddfod Poetry Competition and Blog Awards Ireland.  http://ksmoore.com/

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K. S. Moore




Foldout Body

My new foldout body,
has bones I can feel
and the cold lives easy,

wedged between muscle
and cartilage, stone-like,
my limbs hold winter.

I fold up, hiding the one
piece of flesh I possess,
since having my daughters.

The curve is empty
of person now, and the self
that blossomed in pre-baby years
has emptied and rebuilt twice.

I call for layers, they dress
me with sheets and I lie in
sympathy, willing sleep,

for my children,
for me,
for a soul unstilled.




K. S. Moore‘s poetry has recently appeared in Southword, The Stinging Fly and Crannog.  She has work forthcoming in The Lonely Crowd.  K. S. Moore’s work has also featured in Ink Sweat and Tears, And Other Poems, and The Bohemyth. http://ksmoore.com/


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K. S. Moore




Off the Rails

At midnight, the town
travels, swallowing snake-
joined, dot to dot
houses, breathing through
windows, illusion borne
currents, electric gold,
mirrored and flaming.

In my mind I control
it, a plastic snake
snapping, each click
of each segment
a jut of its hipless,
wavering song.

Holding the train
between thumb
and forefinger,
I throw the trails
from each mapped out
journey, lacing the paths
of luminous strangers,
chained like fairy-lit pearls.

The span of my hand,
a flesh-webbed cloud,
covers their eyes and
becomes their earth,
until I let go and they
hurtle, back into
timetabled stops and changes.



K. S. Moore blogs at ksmoore.com and was recently shortlisted for Blog Awards Ireland. She was a Flash Mob 2013 finalist and has been published in FlashFlood, The Bohemyth and Writing.ie. She has work forthcoming in The Seventh Quarry.

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James Naiden reviews ‘Invisible Strings’ by Jim Moore

This delicately rendered collection has many durable insights conveyed simply, almost epigrammatically. These poems have clarity as well as many saddening, irrefutable truths, a mixture of both prose as poetry and poetry as prose, although the dominant genre is poetry. This is Jim Moore’s sixth collection. His first book, The New Body (Pittsburgh, 1975), appeared when he was thirty-two.

Full disclosure: I am a mere three months younger than this poet, so when he writes about the near-despair of aging, his own or those he sees in his beloved Saint Paul or in Spoleto (his adopted home in Italy), his insights have an unstoppable truth-telling (as Richard Wilbur once described Ruth Stone’s poems). The deaths of one’s parents, for instance, and later remembering them beset the poet, as in the opening part of “Love In The Ruins”:

I remember my mother toward the end,

folding the tablecloth after dinner

so carefully,

as if it were the flag

of a country that no longer existed,

but once had ruled the world.


Or later in the fourth part of the poem, whence the book’s title, there is a sentient theme that if the poet keeps busy at his craft, he will live and not have to die any time soon:

I vow to write five poems today,

look down and see a crow

rising into thick snow on 5th Avenue

as if pulled by invisible strings

and already

there is only one to go.


The brief portrayal has always been a hallmark of Moore’s work ever since he began publishing his poems more than four decades ago. As such, Invisible Strings has many short though complementary parts, rendered into mellifluous sequences. In this vein, too, the poet has always been aware of injustices. Earlier in his career, he might have thought as a writer he could do something about inequities and wartime killing. Boris Pasternak’s admonition here is worth recalling: a poet, or any artist, must witness, describe what is seen. But to do more than this is to risk bitter disillusionment, even premature death. Moore serves as an eloquent witness. He may be in Saint Paul or Spoleto, but he’s fully aware of starkness and unbidden death elsewhere, as in “Poem Without An Ending”:

Listening to acorns fall

such a lovely sound

I thought it was the whole poem

until I saw the girl in the paper

with the mussed hair

the bombed bus

no one bothering yet

to close those two black eyes


For anyone who has experienced rejection after a long relationship, the memories can be poignant, lasting a lifetime. The following short poem, punctuation in the title, will allow perspective – maybe:



I have forgotten many things.

but I do remember

the bank of clover along the freeway

we were passing thirty years ago

when someone I loved made clear to me

it was over.


Rather than unremitting bleakness, Moore’s poems can also display wry insight and subtle humor. This volume is dedicated to his wife, the photographer JoAnn Verburg, hence the book’s epigram to her, and what a milestone means, as in the third section of “Anniversary”:

One bird, then another


begins to sing

outside the store

where you try on dresses.

The black is beautiful,

But so, too, is the blue.


To find love again after disappointment is always good. Moore can still recognize irony in one sentence toward the end of a long prose-poem titled “My Swallows Again” – written in Spoleto: “How can you not love a country where the meter maids wear high heels?” Except for this longer effort at the book’s end, Moore indents every other line in these poems, as if to slow down one’s reading, as Renee Emerson has suggested. Variance in poetic strategy is always a risk, but the reader does stop and think, even reread – and this has a salubrious effect.

Invisible Strings is a book of strengths, evoking the onrush of getting older – it’s always a rude awareness – and having to say good-bye to those one cherishes along the byways of mortality. Born in mid-1943, Jim Moore should have many poems and collections of this high quality still to come.



Invisible Strings was published by Graywolf Press in 2011.  Order your copy here




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