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Leah Kean

What is This Pretty World?

Face-down cactus man,
your drought drowned in the river —
a wild potato is not a sweet pea.

For you
there is depth of bloom behind withered sparsity
and a curve of the world behind every cloud —

because what is this pretty world,
but an oyster
to be cracked open and devoured?

Imagination gives possibility to the ordinary —
sets all the intricacies of cities
in the palm of a single leaf.

Think of how our heaviest moments are brief.

One drop of rain
trickling down
can refresh an entire soul.

What is in this room? Nothing.

But out—swinging for fruit,
body soaked to the root,
you are hanging by the boughs

of a still virginal meadow.

Leah Keane is a native of Castlerea, County Roscommon, Ireland. She recently graduated from NUI Galway with a BA in English, German and Creative Writing. Unsurprisingly, she is now a barista. Leah has studied poetry under Kevin Higgins, and was longlisted for the Over the Edge New Writer of the Year competition in 2017. Her work has been published in Poetry Ireland Review and Skylight 47.

Clare Crossman

Dandelions 1962

At the derelict municipal garden,
we picked bunches from behind
the overgrown band stand.
Laburnum, (oriental lantern flowers),
Lilac (every drifting hem), cherry blossom
(old fashioned) and cow parsley (organza trace).

Some, we pressed under heavy books,
to lie between thick pages.
Kept in the dark, they lost their colour
their beauty faded to pale and tissue thin,
a list of names.
We wrote by hand in ink:
name, date when found.
Dandelions stained our fingers
and their intangible gossamer clocks,
drifted away like moths.

In winter, we would
conjure the flowers again:
with paints on paper, making a new book,
where they rambled in profusion
and were wild. Tumbling and falling
keeping the difference
of their own light and summer;
beyond classification.

Clare Crossman has published four collections of poetry. Her fourth is due to be published by Shoestring Press later in 2020. She has recently collaborated on a film offpoetry and conservation Waterlight about a chalk stream with the film maker James Murray White. More of her work can be seen at

Peter Donnelly


Their common name reminds us
of real drops of snow
which their blossom tells us
won’t be here for long.
They make us think of spring, rebirth,
relieve our January blues.

I only hope they are right,
that they won’t be killed
by the thing they say
is almost over,
like the daffodils that nowadays
often flower before them.

Yet we cannot blame the blooms
for deceit which we have caused.

Peter lives in York and has degrees from the University of Wales Lampeter in English and Creative Writing. He has been published in the South Bank Magazine, The Beach Hut and a few anthologies including Ripon Poetry Festival, League of Poets and The Baron Owl Trust.

Iain Twiddy


January, untrammelled cold,
dusk settling heavily through the boughs,
and cloud piling in like city dirt
in uproar, sweeping away the dust of stars,

and just because this little glint-
beak is deeply, darkly bushed, singing,
doesn’t mean he isn’t flying
anywhere near as fully as me.

Iain Twiddy studied literature at university and lived for several years in northern Japan. His poetry has appeared in The Poetry Review, Poetry Ireland Review, Stand, The London Magazine and elsewhere.

Because of the War – Aziz Dixon

We are delighted to help celebrate the launch of the second three trees edition from Maytree Press with the stunning debut from Aziz Dixon.

In this heartbreaking collection, the poet explores the fragility of peace from post war Britain to the war ravaged streets of Srebrenica.

A remarkable debut by a poet who I’m sure we will hear a lot more from in years to come.

Because of the War is available direct from Aziz or on-line from the Maytree Shop.


Because of the war

On holiday none of them liked us.
I was seven when I found out.
When we open our mouths
they hear screams,
my father said,
because of the war.

Now I know what they did,
my people to yours. You reach
across the toast crumbs,
catch my eye.
We share today, you say,
because of the war.


Safe inside

He was violent, drunk;
he taught you not to fight
and not to shout, but then you went,
were sent to war, you
and your brothers too. Your daughter learned
how not to fight, how not to shout.
She married one who could be
foul of mood,
rampaging when in pain.

Your DNA came down to me,
but I’ve been searching all these years
to make it stop, this generational curse,
to find if mint will grow in a pot,
will season life, although constrained.



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