A winter sun sinking, binoculars twitching,
fingers cupping fat lenses, green necks stretching,
post-tea families pulling children from the RSPB shop complaining,
late arrivals running, faces fraught with anxiety asking,
‘Are they here yet?’ Gasping,
‘Where’s the best place to view?
On the hill? By the reeds? Near the woods?’
I don’t know. They never do the same thing twice.
A flicker across the top of tall alders, down to graze
among sheep with ‘seen it all before’ expressions.
The clans are on the move, starting to gather;
from the Transporter Bridge, the pylons of Pill,
Dock Street-upper and lower,
the roof of St Barnabus-now an arts centre- and the bus stops in town.
‘Look! Over there!’
Mudflats wobble like blancmange in the Bristol Channel-
a Welsh Caribbean-silver, shivering.
Heads roll and loll, turn left, right, up, down,
spectator sport, a moving picture in pointillism.
‘How do they do it? Why do they do it?’
Birds balloon and breed in a sky-shoal life of their own,
bigger and bigger, twisting, turning, counterpointing,
faster and faster forming giants that echo the world below.
‘What can you see?’
‘A monster cod, parading poodles, a double-helix, a piñata.’
‘More, we want more.’
without warning the piñata collapses,
A swell of Starling sweets drop,
float into the reeds of the Gwent Wetlands,
their bed secured for another November night.
Let’s stop marching in lines.
Let’s have no more titles.
Let’s free Majesties and Excellencies—
even Honourable Members—
of their heavy coats, now the sun is shining.
Let’s have a president
like José Mujica of Uruguay,
whose greatest pleasure is to sit in his garden
with cushions at his back,
gently scratching the head
of his ancient three-legged dog, Manuela.
Let’s stop trying to be perfect.
Let’s stop marching in lines.
Dorothy Yamamoto lives in Oxford, writes about animals (in prose as well as in poetry), and helps to run poetry group Oxford Stanza 2. Her collection, Landscape with a Hundred Bridges, is available through her webpage http://www.poetrypf.co.uk/dorothyyamamotopage.html
Rafters trap the booming sky
and soar, in a hand-held video
of the factory’s last days. The camera
cranes to follow flaking uprights,
yellow-painted, through the chill.
Holed access roads unravel knots
of sheds, a wingspan wide, the roosts
of Hunters, Harriers and Hawks.
Its old name sticks. The Hawker
estate’s rebuilt as cul-de-sacs,
its villas illustrate a cellular
subdivision: each a powerhouse.
Jump jets recast as MPVs,
commuters hum on honeysuckle currents,
flying in and out, industrious,
as if the hangar has become a hive.
View from the Hill
I could convince myself
we drew the river’s curve
right there, and wound
it across the water meadow
with its flourish of buttercups,
just for the pleasure
of clothing our story
in cow parsley and hawthorn,
and of letting May’s fresh energy
propel us further upstream,
beyond the tidal surge,
past a trio of fruit trees,
and I could be persuaded
that its braided promise
flowed from honeyed limestone
where two tributaries met.
Fiona Larkin teaches English for a charity in Kingston upon Thames. Her poems have appeared in SOUTH Poetry Magazine and have been accepted by South Bank Poetry and The Oxford Magazine.
The Retired Doctor’s Allotment
Look at that necklace of cherry tomatoes bright as
hedgerow berries strung along vines of bryony
his harvest festival of marrows and tasselled sweetcorn
a wealth, a diverse burgeoning abundance.
How different it is from the wrecked soil of the farmed fields –
panned earth, a wide waste of dead stalks,
the hedge, flailed low, barren of bird food;
unloved, the land worked for money only.
Sarah Watkinson is a plant scientist with a 2012 degree in creative writing from Oxford University. Her poetry has appeared in print in Pennine Platform, Tips for Writers and in anthologies, and online at the Poet’s House, Oxford, The Stare’s Nest, Fake Poems and Waterlines. In 2014 she was second in the Swindon Poetry Festival Competition and shortlisted at the Ilkley Literature Festival Poetry competition.
here a girl
may not learn . here
a girl may not
have pleasure . here
a girl is just
a cunt which cooks
they have faces
these girls . in Chibok
they have names
they have faces . they
are not cunts
like death is not a noun
like fear is not a word
& we’re all disabled
to some degree , imperfect
bodies around imperfect minds
, all somewhere
in the gender
& hiding behind masks
. trying to look good
in the hall of mirrors
unbalanced & looking
for shoulders to stand on
Reuben Woolley, born in Chesterfield, now living and working in Zaragoza, Spain. Poems published in Domestic Cherry and forthcoming in Tears in the Fence and in the online magazines, Ink Sweat & Tears, Bone Orchard Poetry,Nutshells and Nuggets and The Screech Owl. His first collection, the king is dead, was published in July 2014 by Oneiros Books.
Richard Feynman’s Last Act
When he was beyond words
and lying in Los Angeles,
he fluttered his fingers on the sheet
like a touch typist or a pianist.
The nurse said ‘He’s not trying
to communicate. It’s involuntary’.
In a lecture years before,
he’d said all science starts with a guess,
but if experiments don’t agree,
no matter how elegant the idea,
the guess is wrong.
You have to make another.
In the bed Richard raised his arms,
gestured there was nothing up his sleeves
and went for one last trick.
No need for a diagram, this time,
just experimental evidence.
He stuck out his tongue.
Note: Prof Richard Feynman won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1965 for his work on Quantum Electrodynamics, which included an innovative system of notation, called Feynman diagrams.
Simon Williams is a poet from Devon. He tweets @GreatBigBadger
‘Loin des oiseaux, des troupeaux, des villageoises…’
Larme, Arthur Rimbaud
What were we drinking? As if
nothing mattered but this: a wash
of vinegar for the eye
now tired of passionate
perspectives. Keep small hope
in a cup of old wine.
Cheers, pal, for the golden vodka,
we are now the urine swallowers –
So raise me high, raise me high,
let’s brave the tor together,
pick the apples, red and green,
a tent of sky for shelter…
and here are the deer herds
of the mind, the fabulous pursuit,
where mutated constellations
have tangled your boots…
and here’s a Siberian kayak,
a bearskin for Lake Baikal,
organic light, a bridge of cloud, hold on
to a violin by Marc Chagall…
for the pound shop’s a Saharan bazaar,
the bookie’s a place of prayer
and look, grail knights are gathering
at the army recruitment centre…
What were we drinking? A hundred
years passing in a day. Wanderers,
with wallets full of leaves,
thinking escape while preparing to stay.
Kristian Evans is a poet and artist from Bridgend who lives in Kenfig. His first pamphlet of poems is forthcoming from HappenStance in 2015. He writes ‘A Kenfig Journal‘ for the environmental charity Sustainable Wales.http://www.sustainablewales.org.uk/a-kenfig-journal/in-the-rock-pool.html He is on Twitter @kenfigdunes
The Silent Majority
It’s not the silent majority that concern me,
it’s those who claim to speak for them.
It’s not the whispers in the shadows that scare me
it’s those who seek to amplify them.
It’s not the faceless bureaucrats I resent
it’s the cash-rich smiles of their critics
It’s not the border footfall that worries me
it’s the footholds found from its exaggeration
Chris Hemingway is a poet and songwriter from Cheltenham, he has self-published a collection of poems and lyrics “Cigarettes and Daffodils” and has also been published in Caduceus Magazine and anthologies for two writing groups; Glos Ink (Gloucester) and Polygon Poets (Bristol). Recently he has read at Cheltenham Poetry and Literature Festivals, as well as Bristol Festival of Nature. He co-runs the ‘Compound’ collaborative writing project for Cheltenham Poetry Festival and is a member of the “52” on-line poetry group.
Do It Yourself
When Vivaldi randomly interrupted by news flashes
is a form of water torture you wouldn’t wish on your frenemy.
When the courier says “between one and three”
you know it’ll be nearer three and maybe half past.
When you spend your time picking
short, interruptible chores instead of getting stuff done.
When the courier says “this is your time slot,” not “is this convenient?”
subtext: make it convenient or we’ll put you back in the queue.
When you can no longer tell a recorded message
from the live, call-centre singsong of a human.
When your peripheral vision improves
because you’ve always one eye on the clock.
When an automatic response says you’ll get a response in two weeks
and you wonder if you’re supposed to follow them up
or if this is an internal procedure notice leaking from a building
where you’re treated as if you’re a zero hours contract temp
who somehow miraculously knows the employee manual.
Where you know you will get processed but never answered.