Kate Noakes




Into L’Orangerie

I’m not ready to yield to the notion of garden
chalky-soft and muted, a green mat so bright
in the sun it silvers, jewels scribble flowers
life-size, bold, holding the year’s nectar

but on dark days when river-wind over gravel
bites at my heels, chases me
I can see how it might work as I step unnoticed
over the brass rail and slip into the walls.

At pond’s edge, my feet take root, my arms
branch and break into leaf, my fingertips
weep into the water. Purples and blues
are my last colours, air rushes my bark
and at sunset, I fire.



Kate Noakes‘ fifth collection is Tattoo on Crow Street (Parthian, 2015). Her website (boomslangpoetry.blogspot.com) is archived by the National Library of Wales. She was elected to the Welsh Academy in 2011. She lives between Paris and London.

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Andrew Button





Three Giraffes

Passing them in my car
on the way to work,
I saw three giraffes
in the rush hour jungle.
The tallest staring straight ahead,
the middle one turning traffic wards
and the smallest eyeing the heavens.
Stranded amidst the wreckage
of this garden centre car park
commandeered by builders’ huts
and construction site clutter.
Full size replicas
abandoned by the wire fence,
rope leads cut,
force fed roadwork views.
Silently pleading on the sentimental frequency
for someone with suitable transport
to affect their escape from neglect,
the indifference of hard hats
and fall out of brick dust rain.
In their plastic despair,
Toys ‘R’ Us looms like a savannah.




Andrew Button lives in Market Bosworth, Leicestershire. He has had poems published in various magazines including Orbis, The Interpreter’s House, Canon’s Mouth and Under the Radar. Andrew enjoys the thrill of open mic performance when not working as a librarian in Warwick.

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Vote for your IS&T November 2016 ‘Pick of the Month’


Time once more to choose your Pick of the Month, this time for November 2016. So tear yourself away from Christmas/holiday shopping and take a few moments to pick your favourite from the shortlist of six below (or see the ‘Vote for your Pick of the Month for November 2016’ in the Categories list to your right on the screen).

These have either been chosen by Helen and Kate or received the most attention on social media.

You can VOTE HERE. Voting will close at 9pm on Wednesday 14th December.

The winner each month will be sent a £10 book giftcard or, if preferred, a donation of the same amount will be made to a chosen charity. In the event of the winner being from outside the UK mainland, we will make every effort to provide a reasonable alternative.

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John Hawkhead


riding a pale horse
up the needle to a vein
slipping through shadows


another mottle
on the back of her hand
the slow IV drip


threads of dark crimson
coiling through liquid gold
sunlit catheter



John Hawkhead is a writer of haiku and other short poetry forms. He is a recent winner of the 2016 Lincoln Underground international haiku competition and a previous winner of the Haiku Foundation’s international haiku competition. His work has been published all over the world and his book of poetry and haiku Witness is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iTunes.

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Stephen Nelson




The Sun Spear

You are pierced, it’s true,
and the sun has seared your child flesh;
but since we share a flame,
and since we spin like spirits in a ceilidh of flames,
I am split and seared with you,
kilted to our wounds
by a fine, sharp pin, sawn from the bone.

It’s not enough to scorch the wound,
or smudge our flesh with sage;
we need to bathe in sea water,
allow a salted, sizzling ecstasy to our veins,
as if a galaxy of butterflies could beat the waves with their wings,
and lift the drowning infant into the arms
of a broken mother.

Then we might at last caress the pain,
sew it to the infinite comfort
of a new born mythology,
without the kiss of guilt,
or bite of history
as kindling.




Stephen Nelson is the author of Lunar Poems for New Religions (KFS Press) and Thorn Corners (erbacce-press). His latest book is a Xerolage of visual poetry called Arcturian Punctuationhttp://xexoxial.org/is/xerolage61/by/stephen_nelson. He blogs visual poetry at www.afterlights-vispo.tumblr.com.

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Paul Little


‘If it’s New Daffodils to be Dying in May’

Taking online lessons in how to best greet that
certain someone if bumping into them again
didn’t prepare me at all
for someone just looking quite like that “certain someone”
walking in and disturbing the reading and my beer.

So, escaping out of a window and falling off towards
the scene of our last great failure, I stepped onto
some daffodils
dying in a window box on the sill. It was then my fellow drinkers
suggested the title ‘If it’s New Daffodils to be Dying in May’.

And on reaching the last stanza I sense a colouring occur
an interruption making clear
a simple lyric poem
attempting an escape from a simple lyric poem
in recognising quite a few have been taken in this way.




Paul Little works and lives in London. He has written for Litro magazine; writes about music every week on his blog Going For A Song; and was shortlisted for the 2013 Bridport Poetry Prize.


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