Marion Clarke

Further Tests

After news of the results, I am gripped by fear and confusion, then growing anger. What is the likely prognosis? What can be done to help? Why us again?

hawk shadow -
isn’t January supposed to be
about beginnings?

I begin consulting medical reference sites – several are too difficult to read, others offer some comfort.

lone gull
crying in the night
I surf the net

At dawn, cushioned by newly-found knowledge, I drift off to sleep,

tree fungus . . .
to hope

Copyright © Marion Clarke 2015

Marion Clarke, County Down based writer and artist, has had fiction and poetry published in a wide range of literary journals. Some of her artwork and poetry can be found at

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Maureen Weldon


We drove from Cork to Kinsale.

In a mauve-pink sky,
moon hung low, as though
bowing to the last rays of sun.

Shops, cafes, bars, were
brimming with Christmas.

The harbour almost filled with yachts
and evening fishing boats;
moorings softly clanking.

A dog barks, with a deep voice in the frosty air.

‘And where would you like to go now?’
my friend asks.

‘Over the hill to Summercove.’

We drove up the high-cliff road,
past Charles Fort
moon-wrapped and shadowed.

Descending into the cove –
I stood, stood gazing across the sea;
a sea so still, I thought,
it might be remembering
when I fished with my father.

‘We are rowing near the Lusitania.’ he said.
And he told me the sad and dreadful tale.

He told me about the Spanish Armada, wrecked
and fallen apart. How some survivors

I pictured dark-eyed colleens
wearing The Kinsale Cloak.

Snapping a photograph,
I returned to the car.
My heart a storm of memories.

[The Spanish Armada, or The Siege of Kinsale, 2nd October 1601 – 3rd January 1602]

Copyright © Maureen Weldon 2015

Maureen Weldon is a widely published poet. Most recently Terra Poetica Anthology, Poetry Scotland, The Sons of Camus International Journal. November 2014 her pamphlet Midnight Robin was published by Poetry Space Lt.. October 2014 she was invited to take part in an International Poetry Festival, Terra Poetica, Ukraine. A life-changing experience.

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David Subacchi


A rootless people
Wandering aimlessly
From bar
To bargain shop
Clinging to memories
Of sporting heroes
Reading of road accidents
And petty crimes
In the free papers
Where money lenders
Set out their stalls

A lethargic people
Unmoved by politics
By both ballot box
And revolution
Absent from hustings
Missing from polling stations
Bloated with fast food
Drowning in alcohol
Driven mad by wagers
On horses that seldom win

A godless people
Coming together only
To mark the steady march
From cradle to crematorium
Dressing as for the theatre
Or a children’s birthday party
An eyeless, vacant people
Overshadowed by despair
Deprived of dignity
Fearing every hungry wolf
That crosses their border.

Copyright © David Subacchi 2015

David Subacchi was born in Wales of Italian roots. He writes in both English and Welsh and performs his work regularly.

Cestrian Press has published two collections of his poems. ‘First Cut’ (2012) and ‘Hiding in Shadows’ (2014)

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Phil Wood


The crag like a humpback beached
in solitude, the cloth of sea mist
weathering her skin. I am lost
without a map, compass, and just
that cairn – a mocking grey finger
seemingly marking a path  – stacked
by whim not purpose. Below this cairn
gleams the moraine. There the wind
plays its tricks, sucks me in until I hear
the prayer of hands that lay the first stone –
a burial rock to lid the ghosting of bones.
The cairn sings – Cuiridh mi clach air do chàrn.
Chant and prayer, prayer and chant,
at the end, do we all clutch at words?
Myself? I have a whim to scrawl
a caveman’s bison. The stone I grasp
listens, waits and weighs my purpose.
I hear the whale songs of all those lost
in oceans of ice, a glacier grinding the rock
to crag and tail. I lay my hope on the cairn,
a gesture, a school’s mumbled prayer.

Copyright © Phil Wood 2015

Phil Wood works in a statistics office. Enjoys working with numbers and words. Recently published work can be found in online publications London Grip, The Recusant, The Stare’s Nest.

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Sally Long

Communion with My Ancestors

The priest and the boy
process across the fields,
while in the house a woman waits
filled with awe that the Son of God
should at the ringing of a bell stoop
to enter her home.
In the city the migrant
workers stream from the tenements,
and taking comfort
from the familiar words of home,
cradle Christ in their outstretched hands.
I watch from a distant land,
and in my mind’s eye see
the enraptured expression of the woman,
the fervent faces of the workers and wonder
with what sense of sacrilege
they would view me
their descendent,
as I take the bread
and break it.

Sally Long is studying for a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Exeter and edits Allegro Poetry Magazine.

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Roderick Manson


Hell’s teeth!
She’s looking at me.
She’s coming over.
I suppose she has to –
she is the host
and there’s absolutely no-one else here.

Where are they all?
This is a party, after all,
and everywhere else is just dead.
So, where are the guests?
Where’s all the food
and, for the love of God, where’s the drink?
I need a drink.
I really need a drink.
I really need a large drink.

She’s wearing that dress,
that almost-dress,
that makes so many statements at once
that they seamlessly merge into one.

I just say I’m sorry
I was half-an-hour late

and more than the penny drops.

Copyright © Roderick Manson 2015

Roderick Manson climbs mountains and writes poetry, often at the same time.  He lives in Blairgowrie with a cantankerous black cat called Schrodinger.

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John Irvine


Tides erode the Almond
into grains and silts
(and smaller still)
as it leads itself out
quietly seaward –
northward –
past bobbing yachts
and blackened tankers.

You find a half-melted sweet
and a blade of grass
in there with the lint
and your cut finger.
My good hand
accelerates a softly clenched fist,
thumb tucked in protecting the heart –
acknowledging all things on the move.

We’re lost on this silent coast,
on these flat sands, our fists
tightening to the distant cries
that might be fright, that might be joy
each moment harbouring an omen.

Everything is a warning sign –

and it looks like rain
over the Forth Road Bridge.

Copyright © John Irvine 2015

John Irvine is a writer and musician currently living in Edinburgh, Scotland. His poetry and short stories have been published, or are forthcoming, in: Poetry Scotland, Open Mouse, Blinking Cursor, Essence, Ink, Sweat & Tears, A Handful of Stones, South and Streetcake Magazine, amongst others. For more information please go to:

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