Two poems from Rebecca Bird


Tell me how it is up there
dancing with the nocturnes,
does Jesus still carry an IV?

Down here it’s gotten worse
as people begin to rehearse
turning around the Sun without you.

Now I’ve done the walk of 2am
the slate hedges, road glowing black
the lamps all milk-eyed
& the stars staring back.

& I know the list
who will love me now?
will they still love me now?

as you ask them to
let you be you.
but now the answer stalls

like a flight,
you: remembered
as a boy,
& forgotten as a light.




You can carry something around
for years without the visible symptoms.
Finding your arms brambled in white

or the colour from your face
washing straight down the plughole.
There was a friend of mine

with a big laugh. Like smoke,
it could glue to the air for hours.
It would shrink into hair, you’d find

long strands in the shower tray.
We saw it last in her bedroom,
maybe it had danced before

she finally threaded,
above the door like mistletoe

the sad plant
never itself kissed.




Rebecca Bird was born in 1991 and grew up in Devon. She has previously been published in
journals including The Rialto, Cake, The Interpreter’s House, Envoi, Under the Radar and Poetry Quarterly. She graduated in 2014 with a BA (Hons) Creative Writing and English from De Montfort University.

Monet’s Lilies by Monica Suswin


If I was not fascinated with this flow
of human-kind shuffling their startling
display of foot-wear which keep the plump,
the spindly, the squat and rakish tall on the move.
All these bodies with an astounding array of head-size

makes me wonder how neural pathways
branch out and filter all this information
inside each individual skull safe-guarding
a mass of soft tissue as eyes fix more often
to a bright screen than a painting

glowing. If I could gaze at these lilies
for sixty seconds without this juggernaut
of a side-show or better still if I was in Giverny
in summer looking over to that Japanese foot-bridge

or perhaps if I was there in 1916 en plein air
watching the portly white-suited artist daubing,
daubing his brush, his palette of colour,
daubing light onto canvas. If I could look

and lose myself in shades of green, strokes of pink,
white, yellow and never glance at the gold-edged frame.
If I could shut my mind to soldiers dying in trenches,
migrants drowning in oceans and people
blasted to bits in public places

but not now not in this museum in this city
Yes, then these lilies would divert me to an inner space.



Monica is a writer with a focus on creative therapeutic writing. She has been published in half-a-dozen anthologies in the series Writing for Therapy and Personal Development (Jessica Kingsley Publishers).

Monica runs Cabin on the Hill – a retreat for women writers in Sussex and offers workshops and sessions on the healing power of writing.




Canterbury poet of the year 2016

There’s not much time left before this year’s competition closes. Having won last year (spent the money and drunk the wine – yes you win both!) I have the honour of being on this year’s judging panel.

The deadline for entries is 17 June after which the judges select a longlist of about 40 poems which will be published in the Poet of the Year Anthology. Once the shortlist has been selected the poets are invited to read their work at the Awards Evening on Friday 7 October. The winner is announced on the night.

The winning poet will received the University of Kent Prize of £200 and the title of Poet of the Year, second prize is £100 and third £50. In addition the Best Read Poem, as read by the poet him or herself, receives a bottle of Sparkling Wine, and the People’s Choice, the audience’s favourite poem, receives £25.

Full details here

Here’s my poem from last year. Bon chance!


I’m beginning to like strangers for their hollowness,
the way there’s no knowing what’s inside them
no matter how close you stand. You can check out
the lining of their coats for a giveaway shimmer

or search the home-sewn seams of a woman
two seats ahead on the Grimsby bus, note how
she hangs her head as if listening to something far off –
an accordion humming by the Seine,

a French Resistance radio cluttering airwaves:
Ici Londres ! Les Français parlent aux Français.
She has needle-thin lips, a cloud of knitting on her lap,
stains from last night’s supper on her jumper.

I wonder if she sent coded messages after songs –
there’s a flood at the telephone exchange,
a detour on the road to Cleethorpes, a wedding
to rearrange somewhere south of Waltham.

I get off before her, pass her knuckled-down body,
scavenge for a hint, a scent, a secret past.
The doors shudder open – I pour myself out
like hard water in sullen rain, hear the click-click

of the bus sign flicking: Laceby, Healing, Harbrough
know my stranger will lose herself on Roman roads
and not know how to ask her way home:
Ici Londres ! Les Français parlent aux Français.

Two poems from Maria Isakova Bennett

Love Letter

The colour of you at the station today
is nothing I know the shade of –
you are a green myth;
the clothes you bought for me still hold our scent.
Your skin buzzes in my hands –
I can always see water-stars when I’m close to you.
Remember our first bed –
maroon and cream
and how the sheets made us feel Bedouin?
Stills of every place we slept silver through me –
there are lights flickering at midnight windows.
Do you see the stars darling: the way we keep striving?

First published in Crannog 39, June 2015


leans in close –
strikes his breast like a confession
offers his open hand to me
strikes his breast
offers his open hand

big love, he says
shakes his head
presses his lips like a prayer
closes his eyes, and I close mine
and feel a shift
like the stagger of a lift
and a fall to where
some words can only be felt

Habibi: Arabic for my love;

First published in Abridged July 2015

Maria Isakova Bennett

Maria’s poetry and reviews have been published widely in, amongst others, Bare Fiction, Tears in the Fence, Crannog, Envoi, Southword, Orbis, The Interpreter’s House, and Manchester Review.

She was highly commended in the Gregory O’ Donoghue Poetry Competition, shortlisted in the Munster Literature Chapbook Competition, and awarded first prize in the Ver Open Competition judged by Clare Pollard in 2014.

In 2015, Maria was shortlisted by Cinnamon Press, and placed second in the Poised Pen competition with her poem, The 57th Iron Man. Maria has appeared in The Best New British and Irish Poets 2016, and collaborates with poet Michael Brown on projects in galleries on Merseyside. Her debut pamphlet, Caveat, was published by Poetry Bus Ireland last year.

Rain by Stephen Bone


Each day the mercury crept up,
the horizon smudged with August heat,

our shirts mapped with sweat,
baked tarmac beneath our Raleigh wheels

passing gardens foxed like old prints,
dogs lolled in them indecent on their backs,

lengths of pink unsheathed;
hose pipes coiled, unused, forbidden.

Water precious as silver we shared baths
where we stopped or dipped flannels into feeble streams;

at night our skin a layer too much
as we sprawled or tangled on sepia grass.

Set To Continue, the news stands read.
The forecast held. In part.

‘ Rain’ first published by Carole Bromley for Yorkmix.



Stephen Bone has work to be featured in Indigo Dreams ‘ Sarasvati ‘.
Most recent work in Elbow Room poetry, Slim Volumes, Three Drops
From A cauldron and Picaroon Poetry. First collection ‘ In The Cinema’
published Playdead Press 2014.

Battered Moons Poetry Competition



Adjudicated by main judge Daljit Nagra and Cristina Navazo-Eguía Newton.




The competition is now open to entries.


1st Prize £700.

2nd Prize £200.

3rd Prize £100.

Four commendations of £25 each.

All three winning poems and four commendations will appear in the Battered Moons Poetry Pamphlet 2016.


Each poem submitted costs £5, or £3.50 each poem for multiple entries.

It is regretted that fees cannot be refunded.


To enter online, follow BATTERED MOONS ONLINE ENTRY

Postal entries should be sent to: Battered Moons Poetry Competition, c/o Hilda Sheehan, 28 Brunswick Street, Swindon, SN1 3NB, with a cheque payable to Battered Moons and a separate sheet with your personal details, including email address if available. Please write your name and phone number on the back of the cheque.


~ Open to any UK residents aged 18 or over at the time of entering.

~ The closing date is 30th June 2016.

~ All entries will be considered anonymously.

~ Judges Pascale Petit and Cristina Newton will read all the entries.

~ There is no limit on the number of entries a single entrant can make.

~ Postal entries will only be accepted when accompanied by a separate sheet with personal details, and payment.

~ For confirmation your postal entry has been received, please include a stamped addressed envelope/postcard marked ACKNOWLEDGEMENT with your entry.

~ Online entries will receive automatic confirmation at the time of submission.

~ Alterations cannot be made to poems once they have been entered.

~ Entries cannot be returned, so please keep a copy.

~The judges’ decision is final and neither the judges nor the staff will enter into any correspondence.

~ The competition organisers reserve the right to award joint prizes or not award prizes if, in the judges’ opinion, such an action is justified.

~ Entry implies acceptance of all the rules. Failure to comply with the entry requirements will result in disqualification.


All email entrants will receive an email notification of results. To receive a print version, enclose a stamped self-addressed envelope marked RESULTS. Alternatively, check the BATTERED MOONS website for details from 12th September 2016.


~ All poems must have a title and must not exceed 40 lines in length (excluding title and line spaces) and can be on any subject.

~ Entries must show no name, address or identifying marks other than the title.

~ Entries must be written in English and the original work of the entrant.

~ Entries must not have been published, self-published, published on a website or online public space or broadcast before 8th October 2016.


~ Winners and poets receiving commendations will be notified in September 2015 and invited to an awards event at the Poetry Swindon

Festival on Saturday 8th October 2016, where they will read their winning poems.

~ The winning and commended poems will appear in the Battered Moons Poetry Pamphlet alongside a poem by each of the   judges.

~ All winners and commended poets will be asked to provide a biography to appear with their winning poem on the Battered Moons

website and pamphlet, and a photograph for the website.

~ The copyright of each poem remains with the author. However, authors of the winning and commended poems, by entering the competition, grant Battered Moons the right to publish and/or broadcast their poem from September 2016.


When my mother was in psycho-geriatric by Sheila Jacob

When my mother was in Psycho-Geriatric

She fluttered towards me
with tiny rapid steps,
her eyes darting jet beads,
her hair a bedraggle of grey
as though she’d roosted
in dusty guttering,
found nowhere soft
to lay her head.

She plucked my sleeve,
showed me to her room,
perched on the bed’s edge
and chirped non-stop
about coins stolen
from her purse
and a big black man
who hid in the wardrobe,
loomed out one night,
scared her half to death.

She pecked angrily
amongst her clothes:
vests were missing too.

Her voice rose to a squawk
as she circled, quivered,
almost stumbled
against the window.

Roundel Poetry Competition Tonbridge – closing date 31st May


Roundel Poetry Competition 2016 – part of the Tonbridge Festival, July 2016

Entry Restricted to anyone 18 or over who lives, works or studies in the Borough
of Tonbridge and Malling.

Judge: Lynne Rees – Poet and Author – aka The Hungry Writer

Entry fee: £3 per poem No entry form required
First Prize: £100 Second Prize: £50 Third Prize: £25
Closing date 31 May 2016. Postal entries only.

Entries by 31 May to: The Competition Administrator, 3 Kendal Close, Tonbridge TN9 1LY

Cheques/POs payable to: Eric Beston. Please write ‘Roundel 2016’ on the back.

RULES Poems must be:

•the entrant’s original work

•written in English

•no longer than 40 lines (not including title or dedication)

•unpublished and not already accepted for publication

Poems will be judged anonymously and the judge will see each piece. No entrant may win more than one prize. Winners will be announced at a prizegiving ceremony on Wed 13 July at the Rose & Crown, High Street, Tonbridge. This will be a ticketed event. Results of the competition and winning poems will be published on this website.

For a copy of the flyer with competition details, please email: