Thomas Clark: Three poems in translation

On Takin Doun a Tirlis

The tethert sticks are wizzent nou, doun fawin,
The leafs that growe fae pumpkins scrank an sma.
Juist in time, the flouers whitely appen,
The green leafs o the vines hae dwyned awa.
The insects o the hairst mak ceaseless noise.
Whit hae the sparraes dreamt at close o day?
This warld is but a cauld thing, an a waste,
Still, human life haed its beginnings tae.

(Frae Du Fu)
Wha, abuin the muild,
Noo ah growe auld,
Sall cry me freend?
The firs o Takasago saund
This bairn aince kenned.

(Frae Fujiwara no Okikaze)

Nicht Snaw

That late awready. Ma pillae’s cauld. Ma twilt.
Ma windae bricht anenst it, ah see that nou.
Ah feel the snaw lin wechtie on the nicht,
At the edge o time, the sneckin o bamboo.

(Frae Bai Juyi)

Copyright © Thomas Clark 2016

Thomas Clark is a writer and poet who is currently poet-in-residence at Selkirk FC. His first collection, “Intae the Snaw”, was published by Gatehouse in 2015. He blogs about writing at

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Stella Wulf

The Legends of Trees

They astound you, these Colossi, close ranks of solidarity,
rallied against the startling revelations of a sun-struck world.
Rooted in chapters set down by the press of time,

they thrill you with their mighty epics, sagas of endurance
and sinew, while they rock in the crook of their rugged limbs,
the cradles of feather-wisp fledglings.

They leave you to fathom their enigma while they whisper
shush-shush lullabies to their open-mouthed secrets,
roosted in their mossy pavilions.

Sometimes, swayed by a wheedling breeze, they sigh
in a softening of resolve, splay cracking fingers to let in
a play of light. An illuminating ray sends you sifting

through a Lilliputian army of bluebells, spears of snowdrops,
oceans of periwinkle – spathes of verse rooting in the litter
of storeys, shed through the rote of seasons.

Find your fable unfurling in the mulch of legend.
Chase its tale through the spurs to the highest spires
until it leaves you breathless.
Watch it soar to the far-fetched blue.


Copyright © Stella Wulf 2016

Stella Wulf is currently working towards an MA in Creative Writing with Lancaster University. Her work has been widely published and has appeared in several anthologies including The Very Best of 52, three drops from a cauldron, and the Clear Poetry Anthology. She is also an artist and her work can be seen on her website:


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Philip Stuckey

Rock of Ages

My face is weathering like the wall
that salt and sand erodes.
As seasons pass like scudding clouds
and mosses find footholds.
How hard the stone compared to me
who chips and cracks so easily,
with time and tide, the ebb and flow,
the school of knocks, the tales of woe.
And yet I feel alright with that;
the lines, the furrows all,
as on the rock I place my back
and hear the seagulls call.

Copyright © Philip Stuckey 2016

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Sharon Larkin

Snail on a razor blade

She has a penchant for life on the edge,

her abode never quite fixed, travels light,

takes the refuge of last resort –

her fragile, backpack-bivouac.

Soon crushed, her soft flesh oozes

with the invitation to abuse.

He’s a sharp customer, edgy,

ever-ready to slice a nemesis

apart with his ever-present shiv.

Their meeting seems inevitable.

She slinks herself along the length

of his blade. It slits. She feels herself

split. This is self-harm par-excellence.

Her whole body’s on the line.

Copyright © Sharon Larkin 2016

Sharon Larkin’s poetry has been widely published in magazines, on-line and in anthologies (Cinnamon, Indigo Dreams  and Eyewear). She is chair of Cheltenham Arts Council and Hon Sec of Cheltenham Poetry Society, and blogs at Coming up with the Words

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Finola Scott

Still Breakfast
  Puglia Sept ‘15

At double shuttered windows
moleskin peaches wait in shadow,
remember orchards.

Plums glow dark, rich as royalty.
Golden flesh nests
armoured stones.

Green-jacketed, leather-sheathed
walnuts cradle battered wombs,
butter ripe at the core.

Fig pouches tumble plump,
black-speckled promise of
a thousand trees.

In the cool of curved walls
under a light-filled dome
round the trulli table, the women

pick over sun-gifted bounty,

the South in their nails, cut out
blemishes, find their voices.

Copyright © Finola Scott 2016

Finola Scott’s poems and short stories are published in anthologies and magazines including The Ofi Press, Raum, Dactyl ,The Lake, Poets Republic.
She is pleased to be mentored this year on the Clydebuilt Scheme by Liz Lochead. A performance poet, she is proud to be a slam-winning granny.

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Edwin Stockdale

Layers of Narcissus

Spring, 1553

Lady Mary Grey,
small for age.
Her mother, Frances, Duchess
of Suffolk, tells her
she’s betrothed
to a middle-aged man,
Lord Grey of Wilton.
his face maimed
by a Scottish pike.

Aged eight,
Mary returns
to play
with her two dolls:
one has a gown
of crimson,
the other velvet white.
She strokes
the narcissus-shaded fabric.

Copyright © Edwin Stockdale 2016

Edwin Stockdale is the author of Aventurine, a pamphlet published by Red Squirrel Press in September 2014.  He lives in Leeds, works as an SEN Teacher, and is studying for an MA in Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham.

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Mandy Macdonald

Parallel furrows

She is singing as she works,
crouched close over the curly-kale seedlings.
He smiles — it’s not ‘Rainy Day Blues’, his latest earworm,
It’s Handel.
That’s how they are.
On his side of the plot, nearer the roaring road,
He stoops to the spade, hoicks up
buttercup and ground elder,

chisels the boundary of the new bed
straight as the recycled railway sleepers he will use to edge it.
In the two bars’ rest between gobbets of traffic
A madrigal of goldfinches flashes past,
masked for a Venetian carnival.
She switches to Monteverdi.

Pale March sun casts starveling shadows
across the land.
She is remembering the night shifts,
long nights, this time of year,

when he would never get home in daylight.
Across town, his office would be lit by dancing screens,
eloquent curves of isobars, winds, rain patterns,
wave heights — if you knew how to read them.
She, writing crosslegged at her beloved desk,
saving the world one woman at a time
— or so she hoped —
weeding and pruning, tending each sentence
till it glowed with conviction, would have persuaded a stone.
After midnight, they would phone,
nothing much to say, hearing
each other’s music beyond the words, the darkened city
between them, apart together, keeping time.

Copyright © Mandy Macdonald 2016

Mandy Macdonald is an Australian writer and editor living in Aberdeen and trying to make sense of the 21st – and earlier – centuries. She returned to poetry after many years via the 52 project in 2014. You can find her in excellent company in such places as The Fat Damsel, Grey Hen Press, Triadae, and I am not a silent poet. When not writing, she sings.


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