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An aerial view of my childhood in the snow by Rachel Burns

An aerial view of my childhood in the snow

From the top of the hill you see an aerial view of your childhood in the snow.
The row of tiny houses where you lived nine-years-old, fields,
dib-dabs of cows & sheep, the farm, the abattoir & you feel like
you are lying on the psychoanalyst’s couch as he takes you back to your childhood
to when you were that frightened little girl, it makes you feel queasy on the inside
you don’t want to go back there, the memories fragile like broken egg shells
you want only to remember sledging down Duffold Hill
snow spray in your hair, snow filling your boots, all feelings numbed by the cold
the sound of the plastic coal sack moving too fast on compacted snow
your body defying gravity.

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Rachel Burns poetry has appeared recently in Poetry Salzburg Review and Ink, Sweat and Tears. She was runner-up in the BBC Poetry Proms competition 2019. Her poetry pamphlet, ‘a girl in a blue dress’ is published by Vane Women Press. (Nov/Dec 2019)
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Autumn Party – Clive Donovan

Autumn Party

She lets the light out, the light spills
Right out the barn door and they lie
On the orchard floor leaking
Gold light as they lie
And die on the orchard floor.
Mice and wasps take what they want.
The wind dries to sweetness
Shrivelled apples, uneaten figs,
Fuzzy white skins of orange.
Dizzy flies make merry on ferment,
Cat plumb crazy with a hazel nut.
A little dancing jig
In candlelight and fire-smoke.
Grinning American pumpkins, grotesque,
Fattened up with fertilizer.
Will there be soup and scorched potatoes?
Ritual tasting of chestnuts on burned tongues?

Around the fire the silver circle tightens
To an insulated ring of coated flesh
Between the golden blaze and black chill.
Always a single vacant space
Rotating, where the smoke exits and
Attracted spirits flock to fill the gap –
Voracious for earthly gossip
On this, their visiting day.
We pass long cigarettes,
Sit on bales of hay,
Puffing autumn away.
The yellow heart of the fire crackles
And subsumes our souls:
We are all but sparks in a stellar wind,
A little quicker than stars, much shorter lived.
But what splendid cheers are wrenched
And what prodigal showers flare
To drench the party when some body
Rises and boots a half-charred log!

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Clive Donovan devotes himself full-time to poetry and has published in a wide variety of magazines including The Journal, Agenda, Acumen, Poetry Salzburg Review, Prole, The Poetry Shed, Stand and The Transnational. He lives in the creative atmosphere of Totnes in Devon, U.K. often walking along the River Dart for inspiration. He is hoping to entice a publisher to print a first collection.

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Planet in Peril: An Anthology for Our Time – Ed. Isabelle Kenyon

Planet in Peril – Fly on the Wall Presspip

 

There has never been a more critical moment in this planet’s history. Ecosystems and species stand upon the precipice of extinction and await human action. Spurred by the urgency of the situation, Fly on the Wall Press has teamed up with WWF, The Climate Coalition, Dr Michelle Cain (Oxford University), former Derbyshire Poet Laureate, Helen Mort, and wildlife photographer, Emily Gellard, to create an anthology for our future.

“Planet in Peril” combines beautiful photography of endangered species and delicate ecosystems, with poetry designed to increase public awareness of the complex issues surrounding climate change. Photography and poetry alike reflects the damage already done to our planet and the urgency of the call to action, while the stark realities are factually laid out with the support of Dr Cain.

Planet in Peril: 20% of the profits from this book will be donated to The Climate Coalition and WWF.

When the sciences and the arts begin to work together, a powerful force is created. This anthology was founded on the belief that words have the power to change. Through poetry, photography and art, creatives across the globe, from the age of 8 to 80, have united to express the urgency of global warming, facing the facts but never losing hope.

“A new metaphor is as useful in the climate fight as a new solar panel design. We need poets engaged in this battle, and this volume is proof that in fact they’re in the vanguard!” Bill McKibben, Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College and leader of the anti-carbon campaign group 350.org.

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LAN
(Light at Night)
Kathy Zwick

Over-illumination, circadian disruption,
migrating geese fly out of sync.
Stress and headaches stalk shift workers,
dragonflies mistake shining asphalt for water.

Nocturnal animals stumble in the light,
melatonin readings jiggle out of kilter.
Environmental kerfuffles clog the headlines
as shimmering conurbations cavort in excess glitter.

Scotobiology – skyglow – light clutter
all add glitzy novel vocab.
But still, anti-oxidant levels wobble,
stutter, and dip too low.

Dazzle and disorientation balloon
way beyond our meek control.
As man-made light pollution disrupts,
old turtles waddle off the grid.

Despite all our glitzy novel vocab,
old turtles still waddle off the grid.

.
Our Coral Reefs
Shaula Peinke, 16

The sun has bleached our
Coral reefs, and we do
Not care. We have better things to do,
And now they’re pearly white, the colour
Celebrities in coloured silk bleach their teeth to be.

It looks lovely in their photographs, but not
Protruding from sandy planes in murky, grey
streaked waters. Like a sugar sculpture stood still
On a medieval dinner display
They crumble, and decay, until nothing is left.

They’re the colour of ceilings, now, artificial
As paint, they would not be this way
In normal circumstances.
This lack of colour is unwelcome here,
White is the brand of death, yet
The sun still steals the salmon stain, leaving
The desperate flag of surrender, pure white,
Too weak to wave,
Left unseen, ignored and alone.
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This project will extend beyond print media, however. Our children and our children’s children will have to live with the potentially irreversible effects of climate change. Consequently, Fly on the Wall Press proposes a number of initiatives intended to involve and educate children of all ages in this project. School writing workshops will take place across Greater Manchester and Derbyshire initially and the book will tour a number of cities and festivals to tackle climate change lethargy.

Further details and details of how to purchase the anthology can be found at www.flyonthewallpoetry.co.uk. Workshop enquiries should be addressed to isabellekenyon@hotmail.co.uk

Subscribe to their mailing list: https://www.flyonthewallpoetry.co.uk/subscribe-to-my-mailing-list

Fly on the Wall Press

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Escape by Sharon Phillips

Escape

Mid-November, damp: hands numb
in knitted mittens, wet tarmac blinking
red and gold, names in lights outside
the Odeon, blurry windows of a bus

and on its top deck a hand clearing
portholes in the glass. Come on,
you’ll get lost. You trotted to keep up,
past the queue outside the chip shop
and big men who bellowed mind out
as they shifted stacks of tea crates,
past Carwardine’s Cafe, till your mum
stopped at a gallery’s spotlit display:

a landscape on an easel, of a clearing
in a wood, the foliage rust and amber,
white pebbles on the bed of a stream.
Imagine walking off, into that picture,
she said, half to you, half to herself.

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Sharon’s poems have been published online and in print; her poem ‘Epiphany’ was highly commended in the Bridport Prize (2019). She won the Borderlines Poetry Competition in 2017 and was among the winners of the Poetry Society Members’ Competition in November 2018. She lives in Otley, West Yorkshire.

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The Comfort of Trees – Margaret Beston

The Comfort of Trees

Apples rot on leaf-soaked ground,
the Beaver moon hangs orange
in the sky. It is the dark time of year,
and she is drowning. If she threw
apple peel across her shoulder
would it spell his name? Will he
rush to her, lower an ash branch
strong enough for her to cling to,
draw her close to him as they glide
past avenues of poplars. And when
they reach the comfort of cool earth,
will they lie together embraced
by healing willow, let the caress
of leaves sweep away their tears.

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Black Dog – Ian C. Smith

Black Dog

She comes around, working day done, collects his newspaper as usual, checking if he has died in reclusion, he wonders, imagining himself as an amateur self-portrait, attic junk, paint hardened within a darkened frame, or an old tobacco tin, its shine, like secrets, obscured by age. He reads his paper before neighbours rise, quiet hours ahead of his busy road’s clamour preferred to obduracy’s rueful choir that dogs him until sleep these riven years. She left her car at home, downtown from his place, for exercise, tells him a dark striped dog, a mastiff, the police said, menaced her as she walked from work. The animal’s owner chased the unregistered beast, restrained it, guiltily apologising, she says, still shaken. As light through coloured glass falls on her hair he notices scant grey in it despite these years, thinks, when she finishes relating the skirmish before leaving abruptly, also as usual, he should have put his arm around her, mentioned how her hair worn that way looks pretty. Above his computer he blue-tacked a decades-old photo, her in yellow shorts complementing tanned legs in wanderlust days posing with a bike in the Hudson Valley. A slavering dog had stopped their ride, forcing retreat. He fashioned jousting lances from fallen boughs, led their charge like a gallant knight of yore, pedalling full tilt, yelling with gusto, her cycling one-handed towards trouble, in faith on his wheel, the dog turning tail. He pictures the scene as Picasso might have painted it, their glorious colour lit by the sun’s warmth that distant day, as he waits for yet another indigo evening to swiftly head his way.

*****

Ian C Smith’s work has appeared in, Amsterdam Quarterly, Antipodes, cordite, Poetry New Zealand, Poetry Salzburg Review, Southerly, & Two-Thirds North.  His seventh book is wonder sadness madness joy, Ginninderra (Port Adelaide).  He writes in the Gippsland Lakes area of Victoria, and on Flinders Island, Tasmania.

 

 

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Becoming Autumn – Jacquie Wyatt

Becoming Autumn

Every winter I promise myself
next year I’ll be out there,
become the summer, breathing
sun-cream, sweet peas
dazed by the fervour
of full sunlight, tickled
by grasses in bloom.

Drop this life of views
from fast train windows,
flashes of things
I yearn to explore, but
……….they’ve gone
……………………….past.

Today I picked
the last roar of roses,
took them inside,
colour and scent seeping,
imperfect, blemished, fading:
all living louder
than we did before.

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Dazzle Ship – Jessica Mookherjee

Dazzle Ship

*Dazzle camouflage (also known as Razzle Dazzle or Dazzle painting) was a military camouflage paint scheme used on ships, during World War I and II. The idea is credited to the artist Norman Wilkinson, used to disrupt vision, forerunner of modern pop art design.

Into this low falling search light, I’m a camouflage
of stripes disrupting this empty ocean. You are a battleship
marooned in this house. Everything turns up as I keep still.

A becoming of fragments, sediment collects to crumble
in colours of dead leaves disguised as person. I walk
into a garden, where I’m greened with aphid. It’s Autumn

and I’m on alert, sonar, radar might kill music, expose,
gives me away. It’s the sound of a washing machine,
the wind, a car alarm – insistent, broken-laughter green.

The stupid light is dimmed and I repeat our history tapped
in morse code on your shoulder. I can’t make you out.
I remind you the war ended in the Autumn. We can make art.

You give me an old box camera, show me three fingers left
on your rifle hand, I don’t know what it means as I stride
with darkness on my face hoping I can dazzle on the horizon.

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Jessica Mookherjee is a poet of Bengali origin. She grew up in Wales and now lives in Kent. She has been published in many print and online journals including Agenda, The Journal, The North, Rialto, Under the Radar and Antiphon, Salzburg Review and Bare Fiction as well as poetry anthologies.She was highly commended for best single poem in the Forward Prize 2017.  She is author of two pamphlets, “The Swell” (TellTale Press in 2016) and Joyride (Black Light Engine Room Press 2017). She is author of two full poetry collections, Flood (2018, Cultured Llama) and her second, Tigress is published by Nine Arches Press ( 2019). She is co-editor of Against the Grain Poetry Press (alongside Abegail Morley and Karen Dennision). https://thejessicapoet.wordpress.com

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November Morning in the Cul-de-sac by Steve Xerri

November Morning in the Cul-de-sac

Birch tree skeletons in a ring
glassily immobile as if sunk

under floodwater, as if all changes
have been gone through

and this the world’s last state,
sky the blue of a bird’s egg,

rooftiles the whitened scales
of the serpent biting its own tail :

till the standstill shears from the force
of jackdaws’ wingbeats rowing

in steady flight across the air – that,
and the restless flitting of your gaze,

your ribcage
…………riding irrepressible breath,
commonplace thought
…………..running
……………………..quicksilver.

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Steve Xerri is a former teacher, musician & designer now making pots and writing poetry. He won the title of Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year 2017, and his work has been published or is forthcoming in Acumen, Amaryllis, Atrium, Brittle Star, Cinnamon anthology From Hallows to Harvest, Clear Poetry, Envoi, Fresh Air Poetry, Ink Sweat and Tears, Ó Bhéal anthology ‘Five Words Vol XII’, The Clearing, The Interpreter’s House, Picaroon, The Poetry Shed, Poetry Society Newsletter, Proletarian Poetry, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, Stride Magazine and Words For The Wild.

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Black Foot by Jill Munro

Black Foot

There’s a bold black-footed ewe that visited us last summer,
gently nosed us as we dozed and snored in garden chairs

to learn the new scents of us, allow our strokes, to heft herself to us.
She is not ours – she wears the stamped gold and purple ear-tags of another

but for those ochred, long and lazy afternoons she roamed our lawn,
stamped three white feet, one black, into our earth, left her leavings.

The normal autumn came and she was taken from her proper work
of grazing down the forest, keeping our heathland in good order.

We don’t know what will become of her, whether she will ever
visit our open-gated garden for another season in the spring

or if she will only return there, find her way to our small patch,
chew the grass through these words, these lines, be hefted to this page.

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Jill Munro has been published in major poetry magazines including The Frogmore Press, Popshot Quarterly and The Rialto. She won the O’Bheal Five Words International Poetry competition 2017/18. Jill’s debut collection ‘Man from La Paz’ was published in 2015 by Green Bottle Press. She won the Fair Acre Press Pamphlet Competition 2015 with ‘The Quilted Multiverse’, published April 2016. Jill was awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship in 2018 and has recently been shortlisted for the Bridport Poetry Prize 2019.