Beautiful Creatures, Poem, Poetry

Nigel King

The Good Friday Sheep

The nave echoed with bleating.
Sheep crammed into pews;
shaggy Wensleydales, tidy Suffolks,
Blue Texels, Portlands, Border Leicesters.

The air was thick with lanolin
and fresh droppings.
Ryeland wethers nibbled on the hassocks,
a Herdwick Ram scrambled up
to drink from the font.

The sheep looked around
in semi-darkness, saw statues
of bearded elders clutching crooks,
a mural of a younger man
cradling a lamb.

They spotted more lambs,
carved on pillars, headstones,
painted high in the sky
above the multitude, radiant as the sun.

This was their place, built in their honour,
kept from them for centuries
until this day, when they found
the paths and precincts empty,
the great doors swung open.

Neither man nor dog
can take it from them now.

Nigel King lives in Almondbury, Huddersfield. His poetry is shaped by family memories, myth, history and science fiction (amongst other things). His pamphlet, What I Love About Daleks, was published by Calder Valley Poetry (2017). In his day job he is Professor in Applied Psychology at the University of Huddersfield.

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Beautiful Creatures, Poem, Poetry

Carol Casey

Toad Medicine

toad changes Earth changes
as she moves across Her belly
like a lover,
like mother and child
like kindness.

Frumpy, lumpy sack of blood,
bones, heart, intelligence,
graceful airborne,
jelly bag landing,
pay attention

to small, vulnerable, never-made-
much-of black eyes
that penetrate; the breathing
in your hand that
whispers secrets.

Love the earth, love the secret
that cradles you here, be
the kindness that moves
you. Set me free.
Wash your hands.

Carol Casey lives in Blyth, Ontario, Canada. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and has appeared in publications including The Leaf, The Prairie Journal, Synaeresis and a number of anthologies, most recently, Much Madness, Divinest Sense, Tending the Fire and i am what becomes of broken branch.

Beautiful Creatures, Poem, Poetry

Jane Lovell


 In the forest
 the last willow tit is listening
 to the wind carry away
 her song,
                 is listening
 to the wind
 bring back its silence.

 We have her song
               in our hearts,
 on our screens,
 interpret the algorithms
 to engineer a new carrier
 for its pine-needle notes:

 soft moss feathers,
 the thinnest eggshell skull,
 legs, stalks
                from a beech leaf
 and a beak of thorn.

 We shall create a flurry,
 a cloud,
                a tide of them,
 set them free to flit
 into the forests

               where the air
 will come alive
 and the days whirr
               with the brilliance
 of wing and song.

Jane Lovell is an award-winning poet whose work focuses on our relationship with the planet and its wildlife. Her latest collection This Tilting Earth is published by Seren. Jane also writes for Dark Mountain and Elementum Journal. She is Writer-in-Residence at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve. Her new collection 'God of Lost Ways' is forthcoming from Indigo Dreams Press later this year.
Her website is here:

Beautiful Creatures, Poem, Poetry

Emily Thompson

The Swan Ballet

Across the glass lake
you float regally;
aloof, majestic.

Silently you travel
shroud in beauty;
pure, indifferent.

Leda knew your truth
as you rise in battle –
you love eternal
fight with passion,
harsh, explosive.

Emily lives in Marsden, tucked between the Peak District and South Pennine hills. She studied literature at university and she is passionate about sharing her love of the outdoors – a space she draws inspiration from, particularly her local moorland landscape.