Phil Wood – Cardiff 2015

Cardiff 2015

Last week’s hero hiding
within a sleeping bag,
huddling shadows beneath
the concrete columns
of civic hall.

Through the broken dream
a glint of transience
as if another IED
illuminates pointlessness
in the desert sky.

Last week’s hero wakes.
Sleeps. Wakes again.
The frost nibbles a quota
of toes and nose
with sniper precision.

Phil Wood works in a statistics office. He enjoys working with numbers and words. Published work can be found in various publications, most recently in: Sein und Werden, The Black Sheep Journal, Poet and Geek, the anthology Wherever You Roam.

Sally Long – Two Poems


Eliminate the deficit,
cap welfare spending,
build firmer economic foundations,
strong, effective government,
prosperity and well-being.
Proclaim good news to the poor,
freedom for the prisoners,
recovery of sight for the blind,
set the oppressed free;
the year of the Lord’s favour.

Border Crossing

A soldier’s word starts the race:
we run dragging our children
like water in our wake,
old men stumble,
old women hobble,
all of us run, stumble, hobble,
propelled by desperation,
heading for the border towards
our finishing line.

Sally Long has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East London and is a PhD student at Exeter. She has had poems published in magazines including Agenda, Haiku Quarterly, Ink, Sweat and Tears, London Grip, Snakeskin and has work forthcoming in Poetry Salzburg Review. Sally edits Allegro Poetry Magazine. and is a member of Ver Poets.

Eileen Carney Hulme – Two Poems

Larger than Life

This is how you walked
into a room, like a meteor
had landed or some great
moon that kissed the floor.
I watch you walk towards
me and all my edges fall
away. Funny how you never
think of endings when the sky
delivers everything you need.
It’s like a charm, the way
I seek an open door.


Trains leave without ceremony
without tears. I am here
today, with my small bag spilling
none of its secrets. It sits in the morning
sun, like a promise of summer
like a long breath held
like it has somewhere to go.

For information about Eileen Carney’s poetry collections Stroking The Air and The Space Between Rain please visit
To purchase a copy of The Space Between Rain and read an extract from the book please visit

Richard Carpenter #walktogethertowork


At 08.50 on 7/7 ten years on
he walked down the garden path
to harvest a crop of peas
growing from six foot vines –
green Alderman from his plastic tunnel,
Ezethas Krombek Blauwschok
purple podded in an outside bed.
He placed them as a bundle
in his satchel with the beans –
three different broads with labels
lost so he could not tell one from ‘tother.
A few early sprouts of broccoli
that he’d not expected until spring’s
hungry gap.

He didn’t take his camera
as he performed a daily task.
He didn’t follow twitter –
the social call to capture
the image of his daily chores.
He did wonder how to say a prayer
as our leaders laid their wreaths
at the fifty two now standing
straight in London’s central park.
How to say a prayer for George
whose bus was opened up
as if it was a sardine can
by Hasib Hussain’s satchel bomb.

At 11.30 he will sit in silence
to say his prayer for fifty two
slaughtered by the satchel bombs
on their way to work ten years ago;

thirty who sought Tunisia’s sun
gunned down two weeks ago.

The fourth London satchel bomb on 7/7/2005 blew open a London bus at Tavistock Square. The driver, George Psaradakis survived. Hasib Hussain, who carried the bomb, was slain.

James Graham – Simon Bolívar

Simon Bolívar

His battles are best not told
in a poem. Like Agamemnon
he sent men to their deaths,
but the Homeric does not suit him.

At the expense of blood
he scoured away the last conquistadors,
herders of slave-miners, pilferers
of Inca gold.

But he did better: a refusal
fit for modern epic. Called Liberator,
welcomed in Lima, Bogotá, Caracas
with flowers and songs, he was offered
the coveted jackpot prize that fires
Caesars and Buonapartes:

Dictator. He reflected,
and refused. Giving
the following reason:

You cannot make a just society
with instruments of repression.
It must be done by talking, voting,
thinking: the long hard way.
However much is left undone
when we are old, we must bequeath.

Let us begin.


James Graham was born in 1939 in Ayrshire, Scotland, in a rural cottage lit by oil lamps. He was a teacher for thirty years, but would rather have been a best-selling author. Apart from teaching and writing, he has done a good deal of protesting – from CND to Stop the War, joining demonstrations and heckling politicians from Harold MacMillan to Tony Blair. Most recently he has been an active campaigner with Amnesty International.

His work has appeared in numerous print and online magazines, and his third collection is due to be published by Troubador Press later this year.

Barry Charman – Naked In Death

Naked in Death

The appetite of progress

All these buildings
– once-
are carcasses now

You look, and see
straight through them
unfinished totems of renewal
that stand like abandoned altars

The bones of
something half familiar
are on display, naked in death
for all to see

Where is this progress now?

Where does it sit
smiling lazily to itself
picking the filth of dreams from its teeth?

You might wonder this
but you will never know
This is the abstract nature
of both appetite and progress

Either way
move along

Barry Charman is a writer living in North London. He has been published in various magazines, including Ambit, Popshot, The Alarmist and Firewords Quarterly. He has had poems published online and in print, most recently in The Linnet’s Wings, and Leading Edge. He has a blog at

Kathleen Bell – aftermath

                        so, in the end
we stacked them anyhow,
forgot to grieve, forgot
even, what  corpses are –
                        just so much freight,
such ache and stretch of arms,
a muscle torn,
a shoulder wrenched,
                        and day wore on.
We carried.
                        Most we burned.
They charred like any other flesh
and it was hot, slow work.
When we were done, we found
a few remained.
                        These took our love.
We cherished them
even before we learned their names.
We know the dead are lost
and hold the living fast.

Kathleen Bell’s poems have been published in a number of magazines including PN Review, New Walk, Under the Radar and Litter, and in the anthologies A Speaking Silence and Crystal Voices. Her 2014 Oystercatcher pamphlet at the memory exchange was shortlisted for a Saboteur Award. She is currently working on a long sequence of poems about James Watt, provisionally titled Jamie’s Book of Ingenuity. Kathleen, who also writes fiction, teaches Creative Writing at De Montfort University.

Thomas Ovans – A financier resists an increase in the statutory minimum wage

A financier resists an increase in the statutory minimum wage

it’s all about
maintaining differentials
don’t you see?

To earn my salary
and bonus shares
I have to get up early,
come to London
from deep in rural Surrey –
or my weekend pied a terre
in Normandy –

and stare at screens
of unforgiving figures,
keep my ear
close to gossip’s groundswell
always fearful
in case a tiny slip
of mouth or mouse-click
gives anything away.

Why live like that
except for due reward?
If I could make
the same amount by staying
close to home
to empty litter bins
or clean out drains
or help the elderly
it’s obvious
I’d do it like a shot.

But then there’d be
another tricky question:
who would ever bother
giving up the time
to take care of the markets?

Thomas Ovans has a background in technical writing and editing but has been a long-time reader of poetry and has finally begun writing it as well.  Hs poems have appeared in Smiths Knoll, Ink Sweat & Tears, Message in a Bottle and London Grip.  He also reviews poetry for London Grip

Chris Hemingway – What if Groundhog Day

What if Groundhog Day

replaced Christmas
as a winter festival ?

If Christ was succeeded
by a sardonic weatherman,
and the Virgin Mary
by a 90’s romcom stalwart ?

The groundhog;
prolonging winter
through a fear of it’s own shadow,
would cut a sombre figure
as a festive beast.

and TV schedules
would abandon their rich
vistas of programming,
for an endless cycle of repeats and reruns.
Oh, ok.

What if our faith
had just two tenets ?
to constantly look to the past
until your mistakes are corrected.
and that nothing can change.

What if you woke up on May 8th,
with a cavalier majority,
to say that it’s so ?

Chris Hemingway is a poet and singer-songwriter from Cheltenham, who, as well as previously on The Stare’s Nest has been published in Lunar Poetry and Caduceus magazines.  He has a self-published collection of lyrics and poetry (Cigarettes and Daffodils, available from , has appeared at Cheltenham Poetry and Literature Festivals, and recently guested on Winchcombe Radio’s “Poetry Waves” broadcasts.

Rachel Playforth – At the club

At the club

Johannesburg, 2014

The greenkeepers make their circuit,
treading the cancelled boundaries of six old farms.
A high white wall redraws the map.
An artificial lake surrounds the putting green,
and someone somewhere
is always watering a border,
or trimming, flattening the grass,
easing the way for big men
in their bright shirts and regulation socks.
By the door is a dress code
engraved and gilded with all the permanence of
the honour roll of Captains on the wall.
Beyond the gates the gum trees tower
growing and spreading in bone-dry earth.

Rachel Playforth is a librarian working in international development by day, an editor and writer by night. Currently serving on the editorial board of the Frogmore Press and working towards a first poetry collection, she lives in Sussex with her family and a large collection of half-completed cryptic crosswords.