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Clint Wastling

The Pilgrim Hare

No more to roam the fields or box on the fertile loam,
Or sniff and savour the air or watch the moon without a care,
Or run along a furrow with ears poised and primed
For the ever present danger of dog or man unkind.

I am the pilgrim hare which many seek but fewer find.
My satchel’s full to brimming with messages for mankind.
My staff is stout and strong as I start my pilgrimage
Round the churches, shrines and holy wells, this is my heritage.

Created by an unknown hand from pure limestone
I am St Mary’s pilgrim hare, feeling all alone,
five hundred years or more I waited by this arch
to see another winter, neither mad nor march.

And silent as a stone I wait for liberation
when I might join the other hares and sniff the air and watch the moon,
or chase a doe in mating as the summer hay grows strong.
Til then, I wait, it cannot come too soon.

Clint Wastling is a writer based in The East Riding of Yorkshire. His poetry has been widely published in the UK, Ireland and USA. He regularly performs at literature festivals including Ilkley, York and Fantasycon as well as organising workshops. His debut novel, Tyrants Rex, was published by Stairwell Books. Clint pamphlet, Layers, was published by Maytree Press in 2019.

Olivia Dawson

Elegant Sheep Moth
(Hemileuca Eglanterina)

I’m no stinky Goat moth clinging
to your hair like Velcro, my larvae won’t binge
on your ears or skin. I bloom

on sweeter scents of wild rose and lilac.
I’m a day-flying moth, fast as a hummingbird,
my tiny pink scales as chic as rubellite.

I hang out in high pastures, laze on sagebrush and pine.
Enticed by a hint of sun I’ll unfold my chevron wings, pose
like a pin-up for a selfie with sheep.

Olivia Dawson, originally from London, lives between London and the Sintra Hills in Portugal. She has a Creative Writing MA from Lancaster University and her poetry has been published in a wide variety of poetry magazines and anthologies. Her debut pamphlet, Unfolded, was published in 2020 by Maytree Press.

Susan Waters

When Suburbia Moved In Next Door

It was the same year
the peacocks died. We burned the shed
burned their bodies, stiff as March wind,
dense as newly cut wood.

When we looked up
from the tongues of flame,
we saw two women staring
at us from their bright new homes.
They passed back and forth a disgusted look.

They didn’t know we torched
the plot so the other animals,
pawing, as they would through rot,
wouldn’t get what took
the swagger from the peacocks
without a track of blood.

They didn’t know we kept the birds
for their color and their noise.
They were like decorations
from a party.

The women shook their heads
and before our eyes an opal tip of feather
floated upward, like an eye,
on the heat’s current.

Susan Waters started out as a journalist covering hard news in upstate New York and for 13 years was a magazine editor and writer at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary.  Her publishing credits are extensive. She has won 10 prizes in poetry and have been nominated twice for the Push Cart Prize in Poetry. Her chapbook Heat Lightning was published in 2017 by Orchard Street Press. Currently, she is Professor Emeritus at New Mexico Junior College.

Rosemary McLeish

Talking to the Dodo

I do know that you died, you and
all of your kind, a long time ago.
But I want to have this conversation
and the living don’t have the patience.
You know what it’s like to fall
into a lake of tears, to think you will
never reach dry land again, never
unruffle your bedraggled feathers.

My whole life has become a caucus race,
with no beginning and no end,
no rules, and no winners, only losers.
What I want to ask you, Dodo, is why
did you simply drop out of the story?
I’m afraid the same fate awaits me.
Granted you made a bit of a mark,
but it’s crumbling now, dust in the wind,
with all the other forgotten creatures
who didn’t give a thought to legacies
or heritage, or what people thought of them.
Who remembers your beautiful plumage now?
All we know is your extinction.

After all, you couldn’t even fly!
I’m not a flyer myself, the more I try
to take off into the blue empyrean,
the more I am grounded on this sad earth,
my colours fading, my voice moving
further off into the mute distance.
What undoes me is that when I am gone
no-one will rail against the unfairness
of it all, no-one will complain.
No-one will write me into a story,
even if only to drop me out of it again.
I won’t even be a wail on the wind.

Rosemary McLeish is a poet, published widely in journals and anthologies.  She won second prize in the MsLexia competition 2018 and the Bedford International Competition 2019. Her collections “I am a field” and “Defragmentation” are published by Wordsmithery.  Further details can be found on her website,

Jane Ayres

when i think of my father i see a kingfisher

a quiet man

you taught me everything you knew about birds
patterns of song/flight/feathers/flutter

seeing what many miss
so when i

spot a jennywren hiding beneath a hedge
hear the boldblackbird’s melody
the taptaptap of a green woodpecker

my heart responds like the tiny heartbeat
of a bird

don’t forget nature can be cruel you said
words translucent angel fish

as we walked together by the sun dappled river
the kaleidoscopic orangeblue flash of a kingfisher
vivid // vibrant skimming the reedy green

now remembering how cancer

your body spilling out from the inside
your words resonate

a quiet man

Based in the UK, Jane Ayres re-discovered poetry studying for a part-time MA in Creative Writing at the University of Kent, which she completed in 2019 at the age of 57. She enjoys Open Mic events, is fascinated by hybrid poetry/prose forms and has been published in Confluence, Postscript, DissonanceThe AgonistLighthouse, Viscaria and recently accepted for The North.

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