Frank Gillougley


A goods train rolls past with old testament thunder.
In the breeze, the golden awning shades the seat beneath;
a hunched up blue bolster balances the composition.

I wonder who once set up court here and heard
the same tücskök by the thin and sandy Rákos
in the heat of the afternoon, wearing big
blue velvet flouncy hats and thick stocking hose.

In the afternoon, we walk through next door’s garden
to visit Otto, whose friend’s funeral is today.
Making ready for this once in a lifetime event
in his unshaven state, he greets us in his dressing gown.
Olympic Judo is on the telly. His friend was just 58.

Our enquiry about the house is mundane,
(yet these two disparate ideas can happily co-exist)
in that a garden boundary runs through
a discarded leviathan of a wagon
abandoned without a thought to legal right.
No one remembers how it got there.

Growing older, our surrogate families of youth
have been supplanted by surrogate cultures.
I’ll never have or desire a flag to live beneath.

Copyright © Frank Gillougley 2016

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Paul Brookes

A Wonder

In spring morning haze,
out of a red brick council house,
a  bothered standing hawk
steals the wide eyed wonder
of a radged bairn who reaches
upwards with pudgy hands to grasp
her silver underside and blue head.

The wonder bawls as it arcs in her claws
over buried mines and call
centre natter to a high perch
in weed racked ruins of an Old Hall.

The wonder refuses warm remains
of voles and mice,
desperate feathered mam returns
with scavenged chips, naan bread and pizza,

In noon summer shimmer
she pushes wonder to fly,
but it falls out the cup,
grasps stone wall in its drop.

Soon, a cuckoo, wonder heaves
the other nippers out their home,
into an autumn mid afternoon
of burnished fallen leaves,

or, bored at mothers twitter
wonder cannot garner,
breaks its fellow fledglings bones.

Soon too big for home,
wonder falls to earth,
and snaps its spine.

Kestrel mam covers wonder’s face
with her wing in winter night
gust, then abandons it
to foxfood and worms.

Copyright © Paul Brookes 2016

Paul Brookes is a Yorkshireman. Plain spoken,
except when he’s writing.

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Simon Cockle

Bag for Life

Now, I ask of you:
what kind of life
is measured in bags?

Forced into a boot
without ceremony,
between jump leads
and a spare tyre jack?
Or ten years of trips
to the out-of-town store
until torn by the spines
of a never-used pineapple?

Folded neatly in half
and found under my death-bed
the morning they cleared
the house for the last time

or crushed at the foot
of a ravine as the Sun
engulfs the Earth
at the very end of Time –

its atoms already
merging with stardust?
Is this the life we imagine,
together, when you offer me

this bag?

Copyright © Simon Cockle 2016

I am a poet from Hertfordshire, writing as part of Poetry ID, a Stanza of the Poetry Society.  My poems have been published in iOTA, the London Progressive Journal and Pantheon Magazine, amongst others.

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David Mark Williams

Buddha Man on the Beach

Conspicuous in black trousers
and crisp white shirt
among the early birds working out,

he walks the promenade to the measure
of a slow, deliberate breath.
On the beach he becomes

a seated figure in an orange robe
to face the sun sliding free
of the wooded ridge.

Let me burn, his body says,
let these bones show white as an x-ray.
He offers no target.

There is nothing but the moment
which itself is nothing,
wave upon wave, breath after breath.

When the boat arrives
chugging close to the shore
to jet wash the pebbles, he does not move

and the boatmen do as they always do,
spray either side of him,
leave him there on a long dry line.

Copyright © David Mark Williams 2016

David Mark Williams lives in Castle Douglas, south west Scotland. He has won prizes for his poetry in the UK and New Zealand. His debut collection, The Odd Sock Exchange, was published by Cinnamon Press in 2015.

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Rosie Mapplebeck

Beltane feast

Its May. The beacon of Beltane’s past has burnt away
Daylight stretches out, making fourteen hours’ work a welcome norm and
Salad crops invested in every shovelful of mud surround

Orange Tips appear, to flicker over a Lady’s Smock and caress
Broccoli flowers, white as maiden’s gowns
Cuckoo and chiffchaff chant in desert tongues

Around the roof-slates, blued by bright sky, hum a thousand Mason bees
Mud-nested, infested pollen-sticky rivals for apple’s bounty
Thriving well while honeybees dwindle although fed

Prizing every crack, glueing any slack
Stabilising fractured homes and our broken
Landscapes, Nature heals our tears

From pond-weeds emerge minute frogs, fresh and brightly skinned
From piles of paving slabs come quick-sided newts, tails lashing
From new-leafed hedgerows tender nestlings wobble, waiting to be led

Garden store box, wooden sheds secrete curves of woven mosses, enclosing
Wee wrens who will sing away our winter woes while
The spirits of incoming Africa chatter solar praise through clear azure day.

Copyright © Rosie Mapplebeck 2016

Rosie’s poetry has been published by Glasgow Review of Books, Poetry Scotland, Fairacre Press and in both ‘Lonely’ and ‘Love’: and Word on the Streets magazine. She hosts live literary events in Ayr and takes story walks round Ayrshire. She is presently creating a heritage trail for Ayr.

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Kevin Casey

Thrown Aground
The man who has experienced shipwreck shudders even at a calm sea.

The river unwound in sepia bows across the valley floor, and the boy’s metal boat clattered, planed off, soft hand on the open throttle. The tight hum of it, and the warm June sun, and the river mildly chiding the prow as it skimmed across her tranquil face– shhhhhh… Then the river arced east toward the sun, but the boat did not, the boy distracted by some motion along the darkened shore; the keel cut into the bank’s gray silt, the hull thrown dry, beached in a breath. The motor leaped from the transom, churning, its blades hungry in the empty air — whirring in search of something to cut. The river unburdened of the boat, and the boat itself emptied of the boy, he fights the disbelief of reason, lifts his face from the mud and conducts that cold arithmetic of counting limbs and scanning sand for his own thick crimson. But, thrown aground, the sole change perceived was that now — with each navigation error and every misstep he might make that full summer long and well beyond — the dour, upbraiding voice he would hear, that had been his father’s stern reproof tempered with care, was now the echo of those relentless blades, motor roaring, ravening and indifferent.

Copyright © Kevin Casey 2016

Kevin Casey’s work has appeared recently in Rust+Moth, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Gulf Stream, Chiron Review, and other publications. His chapbook “The wind considers everything” was published by Flutter Press last year, the full-length collection And Waking… was published this year by Bottom Dog Press.

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Terrence Sykes


along field’s edge
clinging – longing
for first frost
dreams & chicory
cut down to  straw
unborn children
scythed into oblivion

searching  for that
field guide to religions
stumbled upon
store truth
pass along plants
watered by bitter wine
artesian baptismal fountain
until colors mutated

unsung hymnal
overgrown pastures
eroded turmeric
stained soil
archaic greenhouse
suspended arbutus galaxy
as the last sparks of day
mute into void

Copyright © Terrence Sykes 2016

Terrence Sykes was born and raised in the rural coal mining region of southwestern Virginia and this isolation brought forth the theme of remembrance to his creations, whether real or imagined.  His poetry – photography – flash fiction  have been published in India, Scotland, Spain and the USA.

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