Poem, Poetry

Carolyn Oulton

Where I Was When You Saw Me There

An unfastened window,
blossom clambering
through tree tops
hand over hand.
A twist of notes.
Blackbird, strokes polished
as a skater’s, skidding
grease-winged overhead.

I still don’t know how
I got there; not like that.
Not by those daisies,
not astride the fat
white marble of a hen
pulling herself towards
the shade’s mosaic
on ropes of air.

Not riding a sky steeped blue
at its apex, turning shabby
on a washing line,
the odd soapy cloth shape
running over gesturing
hedgerows – news
just coming in that they’ve
cancelled my thunder storm.

Even with a chimney pot,
enough stray twigs
to be going on with, a well
and yes a few stone steps –
I don’t know how I got there.
Still, it’s where I was that day.
Back wriggling into the earth
and a face full of clouds.

Carolyn Oulton is Professor of Victorian Literature and Director of the International Centre for Victorian Women Writers at Canterbury Christ Church University. She is the project lead for https://kent-maps.online/ in collaboration with JSTOR Labs. Her most recent collection is Accidental Fruit (Worple). 

Poem, Poetry

Anthony Watts

for Julie

Cow Parsley, earliest to face
Emergent Spring,
Along the bright May verges flings
A froth of lace.

Rough Chervil lolls a dusty tongue
In ripening June –
Trusts that hot weather, should it come,
Will not last long.

Hedge Parsley, upright, brittle, clean,
In August bears
The banner of the burnished year’s
Unvanquished green.

Anthony Watts has been writing ‘seriously’ for about 40 years.  He has won prizes in poetry competitions and has had poems published in many magazines and anthologies.  His latest collection is Stiles (Paekakariki Press).  His main interests are poetry, music, walking and binge thinking. 

Poem, Poetry

The Colour of Light – Anne Steward

We are delighted to help celebrate the twenty seventh publication from Maytree Press by sharing two poems from Anne Steward’s new collection, The Colour of Light.

Anne, an award winning writer from Huddersfield, has had work featured in numerous publications and her debut collection, Casting for Words, was published by CMP Press as part of an award by The National Association of Writers’ Groups.

In The Colour of Light we find the poet at a time of national lockdown looking back on the places, people and events that had once been her world. A sequence that slowly emerges from a philosophical investigation of the natural world and concludes with the echoes of life seen through the ripples of water.

An extraordinary collection that you will want to read again and again.

‘Anne Steward’s poetry is a miracle of observation. Her photographer’s eye and philosophical mindset gives us writing to feed both the senses and the soul.’ James Nash.

You can join Anne on-line this Friday (2 July) at 7pm for the official launch of The Colour of Light. Joining Anne will be guest readers Tim Taylor, George Simmons and, offering a preview of her forthcoming Maytree collection, Nicola Warwick. Simply email maytreepress@gmail.com with the word LIGHT in the title field for an invite.

The Colour of Light

Colour is left-over light,
where matter takes in
colours rejected,
to be caught by our eye
and artists of all schools
studiously recording
what they believe
they see. 

So …a sunflower eats rays
and throws back yellows
that shout of sunshine.

Dust at sunset
to mist hills to distance
as refracted, reflected light
giddily mixes tones to soft,
as a child, playing with paint,
will mix bright, clear tints,
then is surprised
that the colour is mud.

Light does it better,
but then, it has had time.

Ovid is Bloody Annoyed
(After reading the story of his exile)

What is this land, this foreign soil
that I have been newly exiled upon?
They speak, but, dear gods…
I cannot bring myself to mimic sounds
that grate so on my cultured ear.
My lovely Latin fails to impress
these clumsy-mouthed oafs. 
I must be grateful, so you say 
that I am, at all, allowed to stay.
There are options that could be worse
but if I have to eat more of that dish
so foul, and well, so simply coarse,
I may elect to take myself
and meekly walk out there, alone
where barbarians have their lair
and offer up my infected heart
for them to lance with their deadly darts
and let free the poison of this place
that I can never call my home.

The Colour of Light is now available direct from the author, from all good book shops and on-line direct from the publisher: The Colour of Light by Anne Steward | Maytree Press (bigcartel.com)

Poem, Poetry

Ellen Taggert

The Girl Museum

They walk past us in rows;
raise your arm,
yes, they like that pose.
We are paper girls,
soft and malleable.
We are wooden girls,
we will do as you please.
I am made of soft earth
that parts and folds,
shifting rivulets of sand;
you like it when I bend.
But, you do not like:
when I hammer on the glass,
with fists that are angry missiles of discontent.
You do not like:
when we dig sharp nails into our cheeks,
drawing blood,
painting ourselves with battle scars.
Our twisted faces are more honest than our painted counterparts;
but honesty isn’t what you came here for.
A bit of me crumbles
and you call it wear and tear.

Ellen Taggart is a writer born to Northern Irish parents in Cape Town, South Africa. She primarily writes fiction bordering on the magical and/or speculative, as well as creative nonfiction and poetry. She recently graduated with a First-Class Honours in History from the University of London and her studies in feminism, race and sexuality play a significant role in her writing. She can be found at www.scrivenbooks.wordpress.com.

Poem, Poetry

Alicia Byrne Keane

Frozen berries

Days where you know it will be sunny all day
keep coming to mind; unmoving frost blue
and the reach of trees.
I think of pottery
& how faience is such a nice word,
a subtle bend in the middle of it,
sounds like it could mean petal or tongue:
nothing that might show its history
in filigree patterns. I guess this is all
an attempted flourish, really, trying
to live well in greyness.
You feel the mud pressed around you
sometimes in this half-basement of a
house, we seem to emerge from the
Blend the little handful of
dark stars, beautiful and time lapsed
into the shape of implosion.
Pour out and pause:
refrain from thinking of their flecks
as a galaxy, you have done enough harm.
Indigo hearts trailing a fine hesitation,
these sad insides.
You couldn’t paint it
but for a lip.

Alicia Byrne Keane is a PhD student working on an Irish Research Council-funded thesis in translated literature at Trinity College Dublin. Alicia’s Pushcart Prize-nominated poetry has been published in The Moth, The Colorado Review, The Cardiff Review, The Berkeley Poetry Review, Banshee, Abridged, and the Honest Ulsterman.