Helena Sanderson – Drielandenpunt…

Drielandenpunt/Dreiländereck/Trois Frontières

We play hopscotch between countries,
the checkpoints forever open,
and our mobiles roam from the Netherlands
to Germany, to Belgium, and back again.

In Belgium there’s a new viewing tower
stretching up and up and up, capturing vistas
of integration, from Aachen’s rebuilt streets
to Maastricht where this all began.

An information board in several languages
tells us about this strange wedge
of land, once four borders and more,
but which you can now truthfully say

has none.

 

Helena Sanderson is a Lancastrian writer with Cornish heritage. She gained a first-class honours degree in Humanities with Creative Writing and Art History with the Open University and will soon begin her Masters in History. Her poetry mainly is concerned with the intricacies and small details of life and landscape.

Harry Gallagher – Two Poems

Paris

The world has gotten smaller
and the slaughter, always far away,
is now upon the doorstep.
Young and old alike, strewn
like poppies in a tempest.

And time the thief cannot be re-bought.
La Vie En Rose is far too short.
Je te deteste is easier to say
than je t’adore today.

Mr Panico

In wartime Middlesbrough, as soon as Italy declared war on Britain, the previously loved Ice Cream family, the Panicos, began having their windows put in…

Today’s ice cream may contain
hundreds and thousands,
somewhat sharp on the tongue.
A shard ninety nine special.

As old Mr Panico combed
the remains of his windows
out of his scalp, the cares
of the world came to rest

on the shoulders of a sudden
accidental outsider as a town
full of mongrels, turned
on the little man who had made

their own children’s lives
that wee bit sweeter.

 

Harry Gallagher has been widely published and his third pamphlet, ‘Chasing The Sunset’ (Black Light Engine Room Press), is out now. He also co-runs The Stanza, a monthly poetry night just outside of Newcastle.  More info at www.harrygallagherpoet.wordpress.com

Gill Learner – Two Poems

Trattoria da Gigetto, Rome

for Megs

……….Our last evening. We ignore
the explored, chance a back alley. Euros short,
we frown from menu to menu until a terrace
under vines turning to autumn.
……….Paolo brings Martini Rossi
‘not for bill’, positions our rigatoni tenderly
on the table. When the Frascati is low,
he plants an abandoned half of Marino
between us. We count out notes, can’t rustle up
enough for thanks, slink off.
……….Two metres on is yet another
time-gnawed portico arrowing the cobalt,
and a curve of arena. We stumble close
through tipsy shadows.
……….High on a wall, a plaque.
The words that we can understand:
……….OTTOBRE 1943 …
……….EBREI …
………………..CAMPI DI STERMINIO.

 

Comprehension test

There was the clouded eye of the Friday fish, slatted seats
on trains, basins for breakfast drinks, and no flat bread.
The limestone Lycée swallowed us, stored us in cells,
bounced back our laughter down its corridors, sighed
from its drains at Midland vowels.

I looked up to the haughty on a catwalk, down on strollers
in the Bois from a fiacre which cost several thousand francs,
each sou a seedling dibbled from a tray and pressed
into a pot. With heels in holes from unfamiliar shoes,
the Champs Elysées saw me slipper-shod.

I learned to breathe garlic-Gauloise air, and the twist & flick
of table ‘foot’ from Rob of Loughborough. Tipsy on the scent
of coloured light in Notre Dame, I lost my girl’s-school heart
to Alistair who bought me grenadine. Even the crossing from Dieppe
couldn’t dim my longing to return.

Now there are different mysteries: blind-bend overtaking,
whether to retain the knife and fork, when does Bonjour
become Bonsoir, the favoured way of administering drugs,
graves like greenhouses, church clocks that double-chime
and how many kisses.

Published in The French Literary Review 12
and The Agister’s Experiment (Two Rivers Press, 2011)

 

Gill Learner lives in Reading. Her poetry has won several awards and been widely published in journals such as Acumen, The North and Poetry News, and in anthologies including Her Wings of Glass and Fanfare (Second Light Publications, 2014 & 2015) and The Day Destroyed (Wilfred Owen Association, 2015). Her first collection, The Agister’s Experiment (Two Rivers Press, 2011) was generously reviewed and her second, Chill Factor (June 2016) contains poems from Agenda 48/3–4 & 49/1. Read more at www.poetrypf.co.uk/gilllearnerpage.shtml.

 

Carolyn Richardson – Europe for Beginners

Europe for Beginners

A Primer in Failings, Accountability & Transparency

What’ll happen to the butter?

In the Beginning was the Word and the Word was…
but I’ve forgotten it.
well it began with Greece and Rome
Cradle of Civilisation

and latterly the
Treaty of Rome.
but why Rome for chrissakes
an Empire that fell,crumbled?

You were built not
on stone but sheafs
not wheat but paper
and

what about all the
butter?

repurposed
reimagined
a house of cards
big dreams
yadda yadda yadda

history tends to does this
segues into
greed
fights and fisticuffs
fleeces, veal crates
and so much
butter

what will remain when the fat Eurocrats melt?
when the cut down forests for your paper, regrow ?
who knows?
will the dirty hidden
stories turn into binary?
bad dreams for superannauated penpushers?

and what happens with the
butter?

should we forget ourselves in the wine lakes?
admit it
it’s what we are always known for it
refuse to learn foreign languages
fight
insist on chips, wary of seafood
more fighting
suspicious of anywhere “abroad”

should we stay with the Empire?
it’s got to be a good thing
shake up our island mentality
can’t we?

embrace the olive oil
adopt a Med diet
stop fighting at football matches
pour oil on troubled waters

oh and
ditch the
butter.

Lesley Quayle – I Choose To Be French

I Choose To Be French

Stick a pin in a Europe, find one place on this earth,
Unleash your chosen kin, ignoring random roots,
The imponderable accident of your birth,
Be who you want to be, fly free, sans parachute.

“No man’s an island”(Donne), no woman either (Me)
Surely origins can be a moveable feast?
Why stick around these shores, Parochial-On-Sea,
When there’s much better fare, out there, elsewhere, off piste?

I’m bored with Scottish blood, un-Brit me, it’s no wrench
From haggis, kilts and Burns, I’m not taking the piss,
Bonjour wine and Rimbaud, for I choose to be French,
(And a bit of Oo La La never goes amiss.)

 

Lesley Quayle is Scottish, but she writes poems in English and occasionally Franglais. She can sing songs in the Gallic just as well as Billy Connolly can and she can give that Edith Piaf a run for her money with the chorus of Je Ne Regrette Rien. She likes Camembert and Cheddar and has been known to make Boeuf Bourguignon using Aberdeen Angus. European? Moi? Oh Aye.

Gareth Writer-Davies – Two Poems

Figolu

in the morning
we had crusty bread that tasted of salt

and waved at British drivers
as we headed south

I made a hundred
on the beach at St Tropez

with one sou
bought a packet of figolu

and savoured
the taste of almost home

 

Gingham

A Muse upon the European Union

the folds of your dress
suggest

that in formal patterns
you breathe

but though the squares
are uniform

the warp and weft
are a yarn

of amour soi
(what lies beneath)

 

 

Gareth Writer-Davies was Commended in the Prole Laureate Competition in 2015, Specially Commended in the Welsh Poetry Competition and Highly Commended in the Sherborne Open Poetry Competition.Shortlisted for the Bridport Prize and the Erbacce Prize in 2014, Highly Commended, Geoff Stevens Memorial Prize in 2013 and 2012.

His pamphlet “Bodies”, was published in 2015 through Indigo Dreams.

http://www.indigodreams.co.uk/gareth-writer-davies/4587920255

 

Geraldine Green – Greek Woman

Greek Woman

Today I swam with a woman
who sang to the seagulls

she sang of midnight
she sang of poverty
she sang of fear
she sang to the sea.

Today I swam with a woman who sang of the broken

she sang to the sparrows
and she sang to me.

She sang of winter, of hunger and starving.
She sang of sorrow, she sang of greed.
She sang of hope, the fallen and dying.

Today she sang her song to me.

She sang of the spring that lives in her island
she sang of its wars, its people, its famines.

She sang of Athens, soup kitchens, hunger
of people queuing for food from Crete –
onions tomatoes bread and water.

She sang to the seagulls she sang to me.

She sang her song of cleaners and soldiers
she sang of the sailors, the driven, the hopeless
she sang of her sisters and brothers and poets
mothers of children whose lives hold no future.

She sang her song of the sea to me.

She sang of workers unpaid for their labour
she sang of shipyards, of builders and teachers
whose spirits were crushed, whose lives lay in pieces
she sang of her country she sang of the free.

 

Geraldine Green’s passion for and knowledge of the natural world and its spiritual energies has its roots and takes its cue from home ground, her native Cumbria.  She has noted her ‘long and deep connection’ with Cumbria. She draws inspiration from light over water, tidal energy, the intent of the land combined with rich tellings of family and local memory.  But her poems and prose-poems also travel the roads and the seas:  from Cumbria to Kansas, New Mexico, Spain, Greece, New York, Skye and Turkey.

Writer-in-Residence Brantwood
http://www.brantwood.org.uk/event/writer-in-residence/
Assistant Editor Poetry Bay
www.poetrybay.com
http://geraldinegreensaltroad.blogspot.co.uk

Salt Road (pub. Indigo Dreams 2013)

 

Rachel Kerr – Two Poems

Self Portrait with Certificate

Black cloak, fake ermine
and the finally realised
promise of Dutch dreams,
foiled by necessity and seafaring,
smile to the world.

It’s all new to us,
the piece of paper –
proof – and English shores,
a woman serving
in an ice cream parlour.

I have your eyes,
your placid temperament,
your entire works of Shakespeare
bound in red with perfect
yellowing pages.

 

A Moroccan Waiter in Lanzarote

He wishes to come to England with me,
with his degree in Geology from Marrakesh,
his desire to better himself and his knowledge
of proverbs, his good English.
He does not flirt, except to say I am sweet,
unlike my coffee. He tells me of the desert.
He has also been to Nijmegan and Bedford,
but Scotland would be cold, and wet,
and yet…
There is a dark heat here;
the earth is stone, pock-marked,
the weight of mountains disgorged
across the malpais.

Perhaps we could work together?
When you find the right person
it doesn’t matter how small your house is,
if you belong together.

His eyes shine at mine
when I catch him out, refocus
on mirages beyond the parasoled horizon.
He frowns, romantically.

Camels climb the volcano’s edge:
passengers oddly balanced.

Cross your bridges when you are ready, not before,
he nods, sagely, fingers indicating the journey
across the chequered tablecloth.
I understand why you choose to travel alone.
Tomorrow is my day off…

 

Self Portrait with Certificate was previously published in To Be Decided (pub. Rachel Kerr) 2015. Copyright remains with Rachel Kerr.

A Moroccan Waiter in Lanzarote was previously published in The Word (pub. York St John University 2010), The Yellow Teapot (personal blog), and To Be Decided (pub. Rachel Kerr 2015). Copyright remains with Rachel Kerr.

Rachel Kerr lives in West Yorkshire with her partner, in between the river Aire and the Leeds Liverpool canal. When she’s not writing her own poetry and fiction, Rachel provides communications support to the education sector and marketing and copy writing services to SMEs. She is also a qualified English teacher and tutors a regular creative writing class in Bradford, is a some-time tutor for The Writer’s Academy (Random House), and occasionally runs her own workshops. Rachel’s poetry has appeared in UK magazines and in 2015 she self-published a pamphlet, To Be Decided.

Phil Wood – Two Poems

Calabria

A shepherd slumbers beneath an olive tree
whilst a crowd of bells
chime through an open gate.

The herder’s skin is baked as brown as clay.
An ant zigzags his furrowed face –
like a jazz note –
improvising.

The goats kid about in his empty hut –
one kicks a chair, tips a bowl
of lemons in the air.

The afternoon taps a somnolent beat.
The field’s a sheet of vermilion heat.
The goats feast, the old man sleeps.

 
Border Guard

All curling so close
to wire

I hear
a rainbow sigh.

 

Phil Wood works in a statistics office. He enjoys working with numbers and words. His poems can be found in various publications including: Dactyl, Autumn Sky Poetry and Ink Sweat and Tears.

Sarah Watkinson – Roman Sunset

Roman Sunset

Over the roofscape a smoke-ghost
rises, or darkens down in inky swirls,
shape-shifter of a million souls.

It is a thing, light as an idea, a shoal
that offers no purchase to a predator.

Out in the macquis, spent cartridges
mark the vanished warblers’ passing.
On Aphrodite’s island, migrants die.

Safe here, starlings swoop and settle.
Every bird knows its own roost, like me
in my pensione near the forum.

https://sarahcwatkinson.wordpress.com