Beate Sigriddaughter: five poems


yellow flower
close to the ground
butterfly wings
flutter off
my yearning
for certainty
of petal or wing
and applause



You might want to know how tall she was,
or what color her hair or the cat’s fur—
just tall enough and of such colors
that something like the edge of a flame
leapt over my heart and stayed for a moment.
Then she turned around and walked upstairs
and ever since the world has felt a little brighter.



Crippled by rules
I want to deepen
my unkempt roots.



There was a god, an early god,
who was bored with paradise
and got banished,
but apparently not far enough.



where words catch
their breath
come then invent
a language made of humming
bird wings
pine needles ticking
at your feet
in gentle wind the sea
anemone obey the water
starfish plump orange
and purple cling to rock
and life on
all sides of silence

fragrant rock in summer
sun carries eternity
with effortless caress
and amber wind barely
distinguished from touch

come and inhale the sky
the full moon later
marbled with storm

everything ancient
suddenly comes
into substance yes
there you are love
in the corner of a sunset
in the freckles of a stone

Copyright © Beate Sigriddaughter 2017

Beate Sigriddaughter,, lives and write in Silver City, New Mexico (Land of Enchantment), USA.

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Frank Gillougley: Three poems


A window shutter opens onto a fleeting sight
of a child’s yellow dimpled ball kicked up a hill –
of a father and his brother, their wives and kids,
in a municipal Sunday park, just as if it were yesterday.
Borne by the wind through the trees, the ball
wavered in its flight, beset in its purposelessness.
Fifty years on, the significance is plain –
it was really more balloon than ball, in the grip
of many cold and calculating gravities.



Do we turn and go back,
back to find where we lost the way,
back to when it all began to unravel?
At what point was the potential lost,
our lives a different track taken?

I remember it well.

I was seventeen and a half and only a boy, but a boy
that could apparently paint and big Ian McCulloch,
a tutor at that time, the painter of Adam and Eva
(Pat Lally’s bête noire) in the Royal Glasgow Concert Hall,
looked at my work and smiled and told me how ‘really rather good’
it all was, and I knew, over forty years ago, that there was
my lost thesis, right there and then, sometime back in 1976.

And now, travelling to work beneath this morning sky
of frosted cars and kitchen roofs, life-long dreams,
like still lone figures, stand on empty platforms.



Walking in Indian file beneath an open sky,
our hands trickle through swathes of tall dry grasses.
Stubborn hawthorns punctuate this rutted track,
their arthritic joints bearing green leaves.
In time, we reach our destination;
of Drumtassie Burn up by Black Loch, where
a herd of cows crest a hillock and stare out at us
like a posse of big-eared cowboy clowns.
They’ve read this script so many times before:
Strangers come to town; strangers leave.


Copyright © Frank Gillougley 2017

Frank Gillougley (27.7.59) above all else (bar God, of course), believes in the hugely comforting power of a chosen word. He has had 3 slim volumes of work published by Lapwing Press, Belfast.

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Sam Payne

My Botanist, aged three

In the garden where a mother can find peace
in the shade of a magnolia tree, I watched
my botanist, aged three, study the molecular
structure of a leaf. Her tiny fingers held it up
to the light, turned it over and over before
growing bored and letting it fall. From there, she
continued collecting petals and leaves
and stashed these behind rocks and plant pots
and squealed when a butterfly joined us
but instantly obeyed the finger touched to my lips.
She watched with those big brown eyes
as I caught the butterfly and when I felt the flicker
of flight against my palm, I thought, how small
is its heart? And does it feel the weight of things
like love and life and letting go?

Copyright © Sam Payne 2017

Sam Payne is a writer living in Devon.

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Phil Wood: Two poems


The bowl of cawl warming your chat,
but through the glass Castell Harlech
sits squat and broods. The stone fed fat
on local blood must grip the land –
for here, both you and I, say ‘diolch’.
We walk the ramparts hand in hand.


Tethered to the bank,
distant from ebb and flow,
his boat with red paint
weathered away –
as though the owner
had no where to go.

But under the bridge
sails a catamaran
like an eager lover
splashing out to sea –
her painted bow
craved by waves.

My brother, once a ferryman,
a fisherman, a harbour
of dreams – furrows
his brow, drags colours
across canvas –
the rust of seagull voices.

Copyright © Phil Wood 2017

Phil Wood works in a statistics office. He enjoys working with numbers and words. His writing can be found in various publications, most recently in: The Lampeter Review and Clear Poetry.

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Judith Taylor


I haven’t been anywhere, or done anything.
When I had falling dreams, I fell
out of some bright fairground ride
towards this corner of the grass beside the toolshed.

And there’s the wall with the honeysuckle gatepost
I was sitting next to
when I was called inside
to witness Armstrong’s one step

told I would read it someday
in the history books. Which came true:
and every time I see it there, it’s the pink and yellow
honeysuckle blossom I remember.

There’s more. Not all benign, but there’s no undoing it.
When the place is bought by nobody I know
when I can’t set foot there any longer
still it will be my childhood home.

I won’t see if the honeysuckle’s gone
or the wall demolished, and the toolshed
will always have that brown, badly-repaired door.

When I used to dream of falling
I would wake as soon as I touched the grass.
The last time, I remembered as I tumbled through the air
I would end at home. And when I woke, that was the dream
gone forever.

Copyright © Judith Taylor 2017

Judith Taylor comes from Perthshire and now lives and works in Aberdeen. Her first full-length collection, Not in nightingale country, will be published by Red Squirrel Press in autumn 2017.

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Mike Ferguson

Reasons for Going to War

Speaking of shins, mine are whores
with enticing come-ons to any

accidental knocks or scuffs or outright
attacks as long as new scabs and then

scarring can be added to the existing
mass destruction after the years of

terrorising – I mean, an outsider’s
look could rip the skin it’s so thin from

whatever is actually left of flesh on the
narrow bones, and I swear my shins

can’t last two weeks without going to
war which would also explain the other

injury not that anyone could give a
reason no matter how hard they tried.

Copyright © Mike Ferguson 2017

Mike Ferguson’s most recent collection of poetry is the sonnets chapbook Precarious Real [Maquette Press, 2016].

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Stefanie Bennett


Since there’s the scarcity
Of timbre to it, what
Is it that’s
Been fleeced
From me?

Separate tables! A bogus
Wine waiter! And
The tuning-fork
Of a sublet

Be quick. Either way
The minions
Play; and
In the wings
Has grown

Copyright © Stefanie Bennett 2017

Stefanie Bennett is an ex-blues singer and musician. ‘The Vanishing’, published by
Walleah Press, is Stefanie’s latest poetry title, available from Walleah and Amazon

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