Linda Atterton

Take Down The Stars

Take down the stars,
They were just fairy lights,
Tell the man upon the moon,
To pack his things and go,
Before it turns to chalk.
Pin the sun to the horizon,
Or let it set,
The minute that it climbs the sky,
Then fall and join the clouds,
That scuttle to the ground,
And pile like snow.
Command the tide to stop the waves,
Just where they are,
And freeze the sea to glass,
The seagulls skate upon.
I wish there was a way,
To stop the room from spinning,
For everything you said,
To just have been a dream,
I tell you later.
Later I will build a world without you,
A day will do for now.

Copyright © Linda Atterton 2017

Linda Atterton is a poet and author who is also a clinical psychologist. You can find  out more about her writing on her website,

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Catherine Eunson

Time’s brief

To rearrange and redesign
all the small sand –
each separate grain
to be included.

Terms and progress of this fundamental contract
will remain under constant review
and multiple results from consultative testings
will become available twice daily
via regular shoreline downloaders
hence ensuring public access.

Project partners must additionally achieve
a concomitant dissemination
of this reassurance:

though waves buffet
            and though there is much
            sometimes catastrophic
            all will
            be settled.

Please share.

Copyright © Catherine Eunson 2017

Catherine and her family lived in Benbecula for 20 years, where she also produced music for a CD of Pauline Prior-Pitt’s ‘North Uist Sea Poems’.

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Judith Taylor: Two poems


She’s a voice, they say
but when did you hear a human voice
sing such grace

in baroque quintets and ragtime bands alike?

lilt through the ornaments
and lament with so much reason?

like a low star
then slide on up and scatter notes
far and wide, a firework
under the blackwood skies of the Jazz Age?

This is the world as sung to you by a long-
serving, sensible
weary angel

compassionate after all she’s seen but
not deceived.

Her saddest song
has a whisper deep inside
of translunary laughter:

the sorrows of all the people of all the world
shadow the phrases
she makes dance.

And with such sweet tears
– you realise
when it’s too late – she sings

that same old song again
for you, distingué lovers
so newly met in the garden


That small deceptive bend
in what seems like a fast straight, where the boy-
racers would come to grief – remember?

Now the scars on the big sycamore tree
have all grown over

and the last of the silk flowers tied to it
are tattered, grey, that were kept
renewed through all these years.

I saw her once: a red-haired woman
middle-aged, in a pink top
wading into the ditch, her armful of artificial sunflowers
held high above the nettles

and her car parked in the bend
where everything northbound had to swerve around it
into the hidden traffic
coming the other way.

Like she could care
her heart dead
to the world, her only thought in that corner

not to forget him
not to permit forgetting him.

Where has she gone
to leave his garlands fading?
Has she laid down outliving him
after so long, her beautiful

careless boy?
What but death could keep her away
from the place of pilgrimage he gave her
by this cold road?

And who is left behind now
to remember all that sorrow
or to lay flowers
(and where in the world) for her?

Judith Taylor comes from Perthshire and now lives and works in Aberdeen. Her first full-length collection, Not in Nightingale Country, is out now from Red Squirrel Press.

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Maggie Mackay

On Considering Courage

Six apple trees
and companion ladders,
six wooden rungs.
Blossom showers grass tufts,
casting snow rings on the earth.

I plant one bare foot on the first spar
and curve my arthritis, feeling for wood.
My hands clench the sides.
I raise my head as if it’s on a taut string
heavenward, exhale on a wobble,
pull in my core.

Up and higher I rise into air
above checked hues of the earth,
not looking down. And then I do.
A kind of heart surgery is happening
tying leaking vessels, like in a documentary
about stress or birds’ fear of falling.

And birdsong bursts through.
One blackbird thrashes in undergrowth,
his mate feasts on a windfall apple,
a third spikes me with a stare.
I fly with another through green.

Copyright © Maggie Mackay 2017

Maggie Mackay, a Scot and recent Manchester Metropolitan University MA Poetry graduate, has work in print and online such as Amaryllis, Algebra of Owls, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Prole, Three Drops Press and Atrium.

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Stephen Barnaby


When I grew up here
Hundreds of miles from the other kids
I was oblivious

When I moved to Edinburgh
Realised what I’d missed
Clothes, music, tribal groupings, presumptions of cool,

I was angry

When I return
To bleak, barren beauty
Technically Highlands but nothing to do with Highlands
More a slab of Norse Orkney
Broken loose, drifted, re-attached

I am grateful

Copyright © Stephen Barnaby 2017

Stephen Barnaby once wrote silly 50 word biographies but now pens terrifyingly serious ones, about having two collections of fifty word epics, plus one of actual proper short stories, illustrating Alan Gay’s poetry pamphlet ‘Habitus,’ and hosting The Musselburgh Hotpot, a monthly open floor performance night held, surprisingly, in Musselburgh.

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Stefanie Bennett



No one lives here any more, so how
is it you found me
slap-happily accosted by chores?

Yes, it’s the Sabbath, and dare
I objurgate your
Sunday best’s just too solemn

for my taste. Wise up. The young
could do with a good rumble – just
ask that

punk berating parrot how Homeric
underpinnings took flight
the day I evened old scores…

But why not cut
to the crux
of the crime. Ah!

Mentoring is narcissism’s
elixir. Naturally I’ll
give it spin, only next time

send me a newborn.

Copyright © Stefanie Bennett 2017

Stefanie Bennett has published several volumes of poetry, a novel, & a libretto.
Her latest poetry title ‘The Vanishing’ is available from Walleah Press.

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Suzy Aspley

The Shore

Tattered flags flap gently in a North Sea breeze.

The mighty North Sea.

Early fishermen shoulder rods and buckets full of ripe smelling bait.

A tractor harrows sand neatly in rows.

Diesel fumes whipped away in the salted wind.

Children dig for treasure and gather shells with plastic buckets and spades.

Later emptying pockets of small change into slot machines

Before chips and ice cream at Minchella’s.

Dogs gallop their joy on golden sands. Water laps the shore.

The red Groyne lighthouse standing proud on the pier.

Watching the Kobenhavn ferry.

My grandad’s favourite place.

Copyright © Suzy Aspley 2017

Suzy’s a former journalist originally from the North-east of England, but has been in Scotland for more than 20 years.  Now living in the beautiful Trossachs, she’s writing short stories and has started a novel based in her local area. Her day job is in NHS communications.

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