Farewell and thanks

The Open Mouse has now closed. After twenty years of posting poems, mostly twice weekly, the time has come for me to say thank you to all the poets who have sent me submissions over the years. Your work has pleased me a lot, and it has been a great pleasure to publish you. I wish you well in your poetic careers in the future.




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Terrence Sykes


we gathered in abandon
wild poppies

queen anne’s lace
along that old dirt road

arranged them in an
old porcelain pitcher

handle broken off
before we owned it

Copyright © Terrence Sykes 2018

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Gerard Rochford

Jesus Turns In His Grave
‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28.’
Behind the altar there is a scar on the wall,
a bricked up entrance revealed beneath a lintel.
In the graveyard lives lie scattered, engraved on stones,
flashy monuments, some with iron railings.
Rabbits graze – no wild flowers grow.
Soldiers, fishermen, couples, husbands, lairds.
Sarah – aged 2, from typhoid.
But outside the consecrated ground I search
for the suicide’s unmarked grave.
I find it there in the unkempt grass,
a heave of earth just visible,
as if even now he tries to rise
from beneath the heaviness of living.

Copyright © Gerard Rochford 2018

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Clive Donovan


She sidles up beside me
At the vegetable section.
They are washed, naked, smooth and ripe.

I am choosing what I like
– Not too long, not too stubby,
Certainly not broken.

Some are very long indeed,
Difficult to fit into
These skinny supermarket bags.

She arrives, but doesn’t linger
And, as our fingers nearly touch
In that almost intimate transaction,

We don’t make eye contact or talk
About the harvest or the weather, even,
As we delve and pilfer from that bright, slippery pile.

She doesn’t select the best, I know,
But hurries to the salad packs;
Leaves me in the aisle alone with all those tasty roots.

Copyright © Clive Donovan 2018

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Eileen Murphy: Two poems

Dog Tags

there was the grave
my sis and i had to dig in the yard
& then i had to find music
that didn’t make me cry
so hard i caused an accident on my drive to work

the sharp June sunlight sniggered
as dog tags jingled
my curly hair turned straight
in-between hair fell out

with a pure sleep,
& courteous waves
a hundred comrade dogs paddled my dog
to the mother-ship–
the water
the warmth
the left/right/left/right of it all

i had the plague
the rest of the summer
was a scorcher


it’s summer & the days never end
you’re a dot & a swim & a drink at the tiki bar
i’m a sunspot, a lawn, & a backlit dog
now is the time for lizarding by the pool
dressed in fancy next-to-nothings
now is the time for wilting in the quilt-like heat
when the pavement sizzles in the afternoon glare
we brace ourselves
for the Venusian air that gushes out
when we open our parked car’s door
autumn we glimpse from a million miles away
but fall’s held captive this year
& no one’s allowed to complain
except when your bald spots get sunburned

Copyright © Eileen Murphy 2018

A former Chicagolander, Eileen Murphy now lives 30 miles from Tampa with her husband, three dogs, and one cat. She teaches literature and English at Polk State College in Lakeland.

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Emma Guinness

Bird House

Wrinkled faces behind glass windows.
Ours are always open.
I see her. Her crystal blue eyes.
She can’t fly away.

White hair, gold earrings.
I wonder if she has a name.
Yellow cup, sippy lid,
But she’s not a baby.

Brodie thinks she’s just like her,
That one day she’ll jump outside.
Our house isn’t a prison.
I don’t have the heart to tell her.

Copyright © Emma Guinness 2018

Emma Guinness is a writer from Glasgow. She recently finished the manuscript for her first novel, be guid tae yer mammy, and has previously published in a number of journals including The Honest Ulsterman, From Glasgow to Saturn, and The Attic.

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Dora Wright

Baked to Perfection

His hands leave a trace of flour
where he touches me,
my face, my neck, my shoulders
later I shall look at them
and remember how skilful he was
a master of his craft

On the floor next to my clothes
his baker’s white’s lie discarded
our passions rise without the need for yeast
proving by the moment
shapes and forms
merging into one

Copyright © Dora Wright  2018

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