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Reminiscence by Clare Proctor

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Reminiscence

As if I have already met you
I hear your voice.

It drops like a pebble
into a pond.

It drops
into the pond
of my childhood.

Dad pours autumn water
into the mould
as I dance through bonfire smoke
being a witch
or on Top of the Pops.

Your voice drops
into the garden pond
when I am a child.

I feel it break the surface.
I hear its muffled flux
as it sinks underwater,
settles into the silt.

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Clare Proctor lives and teaches in Cumbria and is a member of the Brewery Poets. She has had poetry published in French Literary review and Shooter magazine.

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Bay O’ Sandquoy by Lydia Harris

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Bay O’ Sandquoy
1841

Neil Cameron

walks from Chalmersquoy to Cleatonbrae,
enumerates 114 males, 121 females.
The spring of his pocket watch is slack,
the sole of his left boot has come away.

46 North Parish

South of the iron gate,
two rooms,
roof sealed with lime.

A starfish is washed up on the step.
Outside a platform of flags
prised from the shore.

The fields at the back dip and rise,
where the Scollays of Ha’gock
wear paths up to the brae, down to the shore.

The Pier

crawls from an outcrop
on tortoise legs,
part boulder part slab.
Barnacles thicken its joints
and one wedge has dived
into the sand.
High tide, it slinks
between banners of kelp,
kisses the bellies of seals.

Wren on the track to Sandquoy

her notes struck from glasses
in the press at Brough.

Her wings handles of a bowl
carved for the bridal.

The wind unspools her over gorse,
over the flags of the slap.

The Aurora Comes Home

George lowers the sails.
Euphane spreads the catch on the stones.
Sea wallops their door, sucks under the flags,
whispers into the sand at the base of the house.
She’s scratched her name over the hearth.
Wisps of hair pulled from her brush
bowl over the fields to Cleat,
past the pool, the base of the kiln,
across the ridge of brown weed.
The noust is full, the oars point to the moon.

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After retirement from teaching, Lydia Harris made her home in the Orkney Island of Westray.

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Bella with White Collar by William Bedford

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BELLA WITH WHITE COLLAR*
‘Dressed all in white or all in black, she has long been
haunting my paintings, the great central image of my art.’ Chagall.

All I had to do was open my window
and in streamed the blueness of the sky,
love and flowers for my beloved Bella.

We were alone at last in the country:
the pig in the sty and the horse in the field,
the moon climbing high behind the trees.

Married we could fly to our canvas heaven:
waltzing wild flowers round a warm kitchen.
The Birthday became Bella with White Collar,

and she is wilder than the harvest bells,
the clouds and the threshing trees,
the man and child I walk into my paintings.

I am The Poet Reclining in my field,
though I refused to call my paintings poetry.
I refused to call my paintings anything.

‘How could you?’ the hostile crowd demanded.
Bread and circuses said Comrade Lenin.
But it was the acrobats who caught my eye.

And the flowers. When my fiddler returned,
he was still The Green Violinist.
Nothing could be the same when the colours died.

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*1917

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William Bedford’s poetry, short stories and essays have appeared in over a hundred magazines worldwide. His Collecting Bottle Tops: Selected Poetry 1960-2008 was published in 2009. His selected short stories and non-fiction, None of the Cadillacs Was Pink, was also published in 2009. He was on the Editorial Board of Poetry Salzburg Review from 2007 to 2016, and was Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Oxford Brookes University from 2008 to 2011.

Recent collections include The Fen Dancing and The Bread Horse.

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Robin Houghton launches All the Relevant Gods – Tuesday 22nd February 2018

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All the Relevant Gods has an impressive range of reference which bestows a strong sense of authority on its tone. It is geographically various but sure-footed in its evocation of here versus elsewhere, and it manages to ground its more abstract references, to science and music, in a vivid concreteness, so that it deploys the specific to hint evocatively at larger concerns.

Ian Gregson

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The Little Things by Austin Davis

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The Little Things

In the
three minutes
between
night and day,

the grinning moon
decided to share
it’s pale spotlight

with you,
sitting cross legged
in the dark grass,

caramel hair
sheathed around
my neck.

Like the
midwest woods
on a
cloudy afternoon,

I watched your eyes
break from their
brown cocoon.

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Austin Davis is a young poet living in Mesa, Arizona. Austin has been published widely, and most recently his work can be found in Pif Magazine and Folded Word. The Moon and Her Ocean (Fowlpox Press) was published in 2017, and currently, Austin is working with Moran Press on a full length collection.

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Neural Pathways by Ceinwen Haydon

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Neural Pathways

I flinch
when you raise your hand
and my palms cover my face
as you wave

the cadence of a gravel voice
stirs my father’s shade

I see my brother’s old tears
drop rust-red from worn guttering
overflowing with winter rain

a sixties’ song throbs
electrifies my nerves
and rouses my arthritic knees
to dance teenage dreams
There’s Always Something There to Remind Me

harsh voices overheard in passing on the street
unleash ghosts of thumping hands and caustic words
my mother’s fury
you’re so bad     one day you’ll make me kill you     so you will

once   I wrote a note after she beat me
dear mummy you don’t love me anymore
I’m sorry but I hate you
she found it hidden under my pillow

a stranger’s eyes echo yours     my first love
and the curve of a neck
retreating in a crowd
brings you back across fifty years

I once spent hours in old churches
seeking god                       the great no show
yet now I’m old
Artemis and Seeshat wink from time to time
bright stars between tall dark trees at sunset

and their kindness
chucks my chin with tenderness
shoos my childhood spankings
and unwise loves into the long grass

and my nerves rewire to new reflexes
and pluck beauty from the here and now

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Artemis – Hellenic goddess of the hunt, wilderness, childbirth and virginity Seeshat – Egyptian goddess of wisdom, knowledge and writing ‘There’s Always Something There to Remind Me’ Song by Sandie Shaw 1965.

Ceinwen previously worked as a Probation Officer, a Mental Health Social Worker and Practice Educator. She lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, and writes short stories and poetry. She has been published in web magazines and print anthologies. These include Fiction on the Web, Literally Stories, Alliterati, Stepaway, Poets Speak (whilst they still can), Three Drops from the Cauldron, Obsessed with Pipework, Picaroon, Amaryllis, Algebra of Owls, Write to be Counted, The Lake and Riggwelter. She graduated from her MA in Creative Writing at Newcastle University in December 2017. She believes everyone’s voice counts.

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Half Past Ten on a Sunday Night by Fletch Fletcher

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HALF PAST TEN ON A SUNDAY NIGHT

Half past ten on a Sunday night
He says, don’t read Bukowski
He’ll get under your skin.
I won’t, I say.
I don’t even know who Bukowski is
Until he pulls out a broken book.

If you can’t drink like a pro, he says
Fight with your fists, he says
Sleep with crazy women
And nail words to the page
Don’t read Bukowski.
I won’t, I say and check my phone.

Half past ten on a Sunday night
The pub is a holding pen for the hopeless
And he’s been my best friend for nearly an hour.
He shows me a pad splattered with scribble
And offers to read me some words
But then loses his balance
And ends up on the floor.

Outside, on the beer beaten streets
I check the kebab shop and see it empty.
The owner is slumped at the counter
Defeat written all over his shish-meat face
His empty-till eyes just begging me to come in
And save him from everything that’s bad in the world
But we both know it’s too late for any of that.

Half past ten on a Sunday night
Nobody gets out alive.

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Fletcher works as a cold call salesman by day, and run London Experimental Film Festival and write raw poetry by night.  He has been published in: Poetry Bus, E-List, Northern Lights. Fletcher write poetry that’s honest, written from the gut, nailed to the page.
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Desire by Sandra Tappenden

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Desire
‘The widow wants only to speak to the dead one, to sustain and preserve him’ Sandra M. Gilbert

No more Minions
for you and me I thought
in the shadow of Caradon Hill
in the car going to register your death

no more wincing at ‘Cheesewring’
no more hoofing round the Hurlers
no more hand outstretched
to hoist me up slippery slopes

no more uphill ‘push push push’
in your Ganges instructor voice
no more lone black sheep
surprised beside the old mine

or pony with hanging dong or wind song
in the transmitter`s wires
no more photos of you on top of the world
or ‘Cheers’ with tea-filled travel mugs

no more gentlemanly turned back as I
peed behind rocks unable to master
the Shewee you bought as a gift
no more striding out together

no more walking talks about
sex and death and absurdity
no more getting lost in each other
no more Minions for us

*envoi*
I trust that two foot long
luminous phallus we stumbled upon
in the bitter cold scrub
is still out there

Gilbert, S.M., (2006), Death`s Door: Modern Dying and the Ways We Grieve, New York: Norton, p.37

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Sandra Tappenden is the author of poetry collections ‘Speed’ (Salt, 2007), and ‘Bags of Mostly Water’ (Original plus, 2003). She has written reviews, performed in an improv outfit called Juice, and had work in anthologies such as ‘Identity Parade’ (Bloodaxe, 2010), and ‘From Hepworth`s Garden Out’ (Shearsman, 2010). She once interviewed Marina Warner at Ways with Words and was terrified. Currently working on her dissertation for an English and Creative Writing BA at Plymouth University.

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This by Steve Komarnycky

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This

happened as trees do slowly
Each new twig a parting
Of the ways continually
A place the birds could sing,
Reading the Braille of sky
And now it sieves the light
For nuggets of gold

To cast a shadowy forest
On the walls of our study,
Its branches fruited with books,
A cold coffee, two laptops.
It watches us. The dog
With eyes of Baltic amber
The cat’s whiskers

Spun from sunlight, your face
Enraptured as the jay alights,
His wings with epaulettes
Of summer sky. One day
We will stop talking and listen
To the most important thing
It has to say. For now it signs

With many hands, frantically,
Being deaf. I listen but don’t see.

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Steve Komarnyckyj’s literary translations and poems have appeared in Index on Censorship, Modern Poetry in Translation and many other journals. He is the holder of two PEN awards and a highly regarded English language poet whose work has been described as articulating “what it means to be human” (Sean Street). He runs Kalyna Language Press with his partner Susie and three domestic cats.

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The Interpreter’s House Poetry Competition closes 31st January 2018

HOUSE%20SHARP.jpgFirst Prize           £500
Second Prize     £150
Third Prize         £100

Competition​ ​closes: 31st January 2018

Entry​ ​Fees:

£4 for a single poem
£10 for three poems

Judge:

ZaffirKunial

 Zaffar Kunial published a pamphlet in the Faber New Poets series in 2014 and was Poet-in-Residence at the Wordsworth Trust the same year. In 2011 he won third prize in the National Poetry Competition with ‘Hill Speak’.

With Steve Ely, Denise Riley and Warsan Shire, he contributed to The Pity, a series of new poems commissioned and published by the Poetry Society as a response to the centenary of the First World War. The Pity commissions were premiered live at Purcell Room, Southbank Centre, on 2 October, National Poetry Day, 2014, accompanied by background visuals by Robert Peake.
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