Seth Crook

Tor Mor, Look East

No great inspiration in this naming.
  Tor Mor, Bruach Mhor: big hill.
Our distant Ben More tempts a gaze.

From here I can spot un-roaded ruins:
  Wintertown, populated by foxgloves,
doorless doorways, ambling hooves.

Downhill, The Loch of the Pot of Iona
offers a shimmering promise of fish.
Inside dry stone walls, adders doze.

I point, name Gorrie’s Leap, imagine.
Some cliffs are a kind of fairy hill:
nobody at home, but with a dizzy music.

Copyright © Seth Crook 2017

Seth Crook rarely leaves Mull. His poems have most recently appeared in Northwords Now, Pushing Out The Boat, Envoi, Antiphon, The Rialto.

Please note that The Open Mouse is taking a break during August, and will be back in September.

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John Grey



The entire class
detest the eyes
that match so evenly
the brown cheeks and brow
and glitter like the gemstones
that dangle from her coffee-colored arms.
But much worse is her tongue.
She can’t say her name
so they can understand it.

Every scribbled note,
every whispered strand of gossip,
takes as its subject
the new girl in the fourth row,
the one the teacher introduced
as being from some place
called Guatemala
and how everyone should
make the effort to welcome her.
Now, even that teacher
has lost faith in her own words.
If she didn’t have the girl’s name
written down phonetically,
she wouldn’t understand it either.

And yet she’s doing well in class
despite her struggles with the language
and her tears for the words on the bathroom wall
that read, “Go home spick.”
She changes it to “Go home Ximena”
and stays

Copyright © John Grey 2017

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, Stillwater Review and Big Muddy Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Columbia College Literary Review and Spoon River Poetry Review.

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Charles Kell

Bandit Hand
Grab the grackle’s wet
wing festering in the lemon

twilight. I’ll dip this lit
finger in the flood & finally

sign the court document. In our
shrinking backyard stands

the falling swing-set
where we held A.A. meetings.

I stole the word, our record.
Slid the secret note saying what

I heard in the rusted weft
of the oval tube. We stood

in a circle—a wheel inside
of the air, like the wheel that took

the prophet Ezekiel—discussing
night crimes. Condemned sliver,

gnarled knuckle. Let go finally of
everything you clutched & tried

to drag to the bottom of the sea.
Looking low with slit eye sockets

I see little white Christmas lights
strung around your head shine

like phosphorous in the night

Copyright © Charles Kell 2017

Charles Kell is a PhD student at The University of Rhode Island and editor of The Ocean State Review. He teaches in Rhode Island and Connecticut.

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Robert Nisbet

Widower Davies craves an easefulness,
sits by the hum of fires. It’s near to spring
and it’s light now, light in the evenings.

The blackbird’s back, the lyricist.
His song meets the moment without seam,
would scarcely disconcert a prayer.

The bird is singing about sex and birth.
He’s defending territory, resolutely bright
in voice and clarity and sense of self.

And here, by spring-and-winter fires,
Davies mulls the moment’s merger,
loving the vividness of procreation’s song.

Copyright © Robert Nisbet 2017

 Robert Nisbet is a poet from Pembrokeshire who has published widely in Britain and the United States. Recent poems in Prole, The North and Clementine Unbound.


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Julian Dobson: Two poems

Divette beach

Change comes golden, grain by grain,

on a spent spring afternoon, sea icy warm,

lichen sunflowering black granite,

a half-breeze cradling a small oblong of heat;

change arrives in finger-strokes of waves,

the stop of a gull’s cry, shoes placed side by side,

a half-breath, half a memory of ambition.

This sand was once as solid as your dreams.


There’s a way the fading light catches

the creep of water, as if to drench in brilliance

what it abandons: meanderings of mud,

swirlings of sand-eels, deepening trees;

the inching of the evening train

across the flimsy estuary bridge.

In the town the waft of fish and chips

sucks families from the beach, drowsies them

with sprinklings of salt and vinegar.

The breeze whispers Septembers,

grey clouds of school uniforms, windows

without coasts, without horizons.

Copyright © Julian Dobson 2017

Julian Dobson lives in Sheffield, England, home of the famous Henderson’s Relish. His poems have appeared in publications including Brittle Star, The Interpreter’s House and Acumen, and on a bus in Guernsey. More of his work is at

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Cathy Whitfield


They’re commoner now.  Since the crash
you see them flocking together,
demanding their rights.  ‘Me, me, me!’
But these sharp-suited opportunists
have come down in the world.
See those bloodshot eyes?
That’s from slumming it with the hoi-polloi,
grubbing for existence, turning over rocks
to see what crawls out. They’re forced to live
on a diet of worms when what they crave
is the salt slip of shellfish.
But there’s not an oyster to be had.
‘Not a single fucking oyster!’

Copyright © Cathy Whitfield 2017

I am a writer who lives in Scotland, close to both mountains and sea.

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Paul Waring

A Long Walk

the Irish Sea and Mersey meet with iron fists
winter still slices through March days that
make cloaked crows distrust black clouds

that blanket Liverpool towers in ghost-town
mist and haunt high above this grave where
New Brighton’s Eiffel stood, a ballroom

where the Beatles played, now lego-estate-
still-life, stamp-sized gardens in cul-de-sacs
standing atop timber steps down to the prom

past foraging grounds of sandpiper
and redshank, camouflaged by spring tide.
as silver arrows stab through storm clouds

to sharpen the lens on Liverpool’s waterfront
I embark the aged ferry, distant Cheshire hills
outlined above waves that stretch out like space.

Copyright © Paul Waring 2017

Paul Waring, a retired clinical psychologist, was once a menswear fashion designer and, in the 1980’s, a singer/songwriter in Liverpool. His work has been published by Reach Poetry.

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