Poem, Poetry

Rose Lennard

One way to see an otter

I will take you to a place I know
we’ll wait for the incoming tide
to lift the slick flat strands of kelp
for the soft saltwater
to run its gentle fingers through the weed
opening spaces for a hunter’s tumble turns,
while we hunker downwind
scentless and hidden,
waiting, field glasses poised.

And maybe in that stillness
where the breathing loch
is easy, and the oystercatchers rest,
a slight splash, the way the silken water
parts around a shape, dark,
that could be rock, or bladderwrack
but for its grace and purpose,
will capture our attention

and breathless we will watch
as she ties our hearts in knots
binds them in the ribbons of her flow
as she goes about the business of an otter:
diving, catching crabs, rising sleek upon a boulder,
the fierce way her killer’s teeth
make a mess of shell and flesh
pink tongue as she crunches open-jawed,
muzzle haloed by bristle of whiskers,
her coat breaking into spikes
along lithe arc of hunched spine,
how she lifts her tail to spraint,
slips quickly back under
the sea loch’s silver skin.

And you will never be the same again.
You will go back into your life
like a man who’s glimpsed a ghost, or
been visited by angels;
shaken by the intimation
of a truth more vital, undone
by the press of nature’s palm
upon your chest.

Rose is a rewilder, garden designer, ephemeral artist, environmental activist and writer. Her writing is rooted in a lifelong deep connection to the natural world. In her spare time she grows organic vegetables and goes for long walks.

Poem, Poetry

Richard Carpenter

The Chandler

His father taught him how to form the models:
the swollen leg that drags across the floor,
the hand left weak and useless by the palsy,
the head visited by insistent pain.

His father taught him how to run a workshop:
how to keep the ledger to satisfy the tally man,
how to keep a record when he’s paid his help,
how to keep a check on orders.

His father is not here now to advise him:
to help him raise a loan to keep afloat,
to put an arm around his shoulders as he weeps,
to guide him when he has to let her go.

His father taught him how to form the models:
the guild master who will not help him furlough,
the drunken youths clustering the streets,
the adviser making his own rules.

His father showed him where to put the wick
and watch the models burn down slowly,
listen as the flame gutters in the draughts,
mutter revenge spells to the molten wax.

Richard Carpenter is a GP who has been writing since his retirement. He is a member of York Stanza. ‘Dippy Thumbs a Lift’ gained a second prize in 2019 YorkMix children’s poetry competition.

Poem, Poetry

Mark Goodwin

i saw a

hollowed fox as

hollowed as a
wall of dry

balanced stones

wind held
fox’s red

as fox


along a gently

boundary now

i hear fox
paws dab

softly old


Mark Goodwin is a poet-sound-artist, and speaks and writes in various ways. He has books with various poetry houses including Leafe Press, Longbarrow Press,  Shearsman Books, & The Red Ceilings Press. Mark lives with his partner on a narrowboat just north of Leicester.

Twitter: @kramawoodgin
Bandcamp: https://markgoodwin-poet-sound-artist.bandcamp.com

Poem, Poetry

Neil Elder

The theme is …

This is where I duck out;
the moon’s too big for just one person.

Give me a tiny moonstone to write about,
or better still, a moon shaped stone
that fits upon my palm.

Like the stone I took away from the shore
the day I gave an urn of ashes to the sea:
a trade that, like the tide,
keeps returning you to me.

Neil won the Cinnamon Press Debut Collection Prize with The Space Between Us, and he won their pamphlet prize with Codes of Conduct. He is widely published and his latest pamphlet, Like This,  arrives from 4Word Press in August 2021.

 Twitter @Eldersville

Blog/Website = https://neilelderpoetry.wordpress.com/

Poem, Poetry

Sarah L Dixon

The only monsters I am scared of are those I invent
(line from Frank Dixon, aged 7)

The one with the long arms
that breathes itself flat
as I reach inside the wardrobe
to check for intruders.
Its arms are looping in and out of hangers.

Or the one that crunches gravel
behind me on dark country drives
or breaks branches as I think
the woods have become eerily silent
for 2pm on a Tuesday.

Or the one that lies beside me
mimicking the pattern of this week’s duvet.
Today it had sunrise hair and triangle toes,
is constructed of rusts and mustards.
It will weigh down my night in all the wrong places
and whisper the most annoying songs,
but only one line, over and over,
so I wake, confused and repeating it at dawn.

Sarah L Dixon lives in Linthwaite, Huddersfield. Sarah’s inspiration comes from being in and by water and adventures with her son, Frank. Sarah misses pubs, poetry adventures in other cities and seeing the sea. http://thequietcompere.co.uk/