Poem, Poetry

Craig Dobson


Less a border than an end of choice:
marsh land, mists, cries to frighten any night.
Beyond are stone lands; beyond those: ice.
Law here favours the living.

Furs, amber, mammoth calves,
whale snout, slaves and dirt-strong
spirit, moving both ways
like souls uncertain of themselves.

Business happens quick, never alone.
Dogs smell fear, wolves and the weak.
Grey tomorrow, grey today.
What must is done, then stole away.

All the cold of stone and water
worshipping only wind: gulls for seraph,
moans for prayer, a god of storms
to wash off blood. Those with fire die for it.

Litter migrates north. Oils, plastic, the jitter
of nuclear spill. Currents pass on
what isn’t eaten by the starving shoals;
nothing is wasted save regret.

The real trade’s in ghosts, though:
the myths of myths of more. For those,
men go farther still, into cold so fast
they’re young again before they die –

just before – the flint kindnesses
giving in, the greed freezing their eyes
to dream the wounded time again,
striking nothing’s richest need.

Craig’s been published in Acumen, Agenda, Antiphon, Butcher’s Dog, Crannóg, The Frogmore Papers, Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Interpreter’s House, The London Magazine, Magma, Neon, New Welsh Review, The North, Orbis, Pennine Platform, Poetry Ireland Review, Poetry Salzburg Review, The Poetry Village, Prole, The Rialto, Stand, Southword and Under The Radar.

Friday Feature

Someone Is Missing Me by Tina Tamsho-Thomas

This week our Friday Feature celebrates the marvellous Someone Is Missing Me by Tina Tansho-Thomas (Fly On The Wall Press).

Akulah Agbami, Artistic Director of Sheba Soul Ensemble, writes: “In this highly readable, sorely needed collection, Tina Tamsho-Thomas tackles subjects close to many people’s hearts. There are personal poems and political poems; poems designed to make you grin and others to evoke remembrance of horrors past. Some poems catapult us to the heart of Jamaica, or stir us in our front rooms: as we sip our tea, we are encouraged to expect ‘cake, not crumbs.’ Others teach us how we can mend a broken heart. Some poems deal with emotional, complex questions, such as excluded, absent fathers and the continuing colonialist onslaught on Africa. Someone Is Missing Me celebrates the enduring spiritual relationship between Tina and her excluded, Nigerian father. This collection is guaranteed to empower Black women who seek out her wisdom and is an exhortation to re-position ourselves, to assume our rightful stature.”

CarnivalMoss Side Style

The park transformed
by marquee tents,
Black music throbs and beats.
Festive air-fried chicken scents,
long-time friends I meet.
Friends of now and yesterday,
fond memories come to mind,
acquaintances, ex-lovers,
those I left behind.
Is that Corrina over there?
not seen her for a while,
heard she’d locked herself indoors,
it’s good to see her smile.

The babies out in numbers
are mostly golden brown,
Black and White mix easily
when carnival’s in town.
The force are out less forcibly
strollin’ round in twos,
I’d even let them dance with me,
if they could sing the blues!

Welcome to the Millennium

Manchester – linked by Metro lines,
football teams, urban regeneration schemes
and music dreams are made of.

Ancient mills and warehouses
host all night raves, where Ecstasy
extends night into day and in the morning,
manufactures nightmares.

City of commerce and business-like
relationships, cleaned canal ways, café society,
alfresco with attitude, unless unemployed,
undervalued and homeless.

Manchester – city of enterprise,
entrepreneurial drive, car-free zones,
broken homes, pipe dreams,
regeneration schemes.

Welcome to the Millennium.

About the author:

Tina Otito Tamsho-Thomas is a published writer, poet, spoken word artist, writer-in residence, playwright, Black Writing Development pioneer and Human Rights Advocate. Her unique, forthcoming memoir Haunted By The Truth explores identity, adolescence and belonging. Her poem ‘Like Never Before’ was runner up in the Black Artists On The Move, Virtually Living, International Poetry competition 2020. Her work can be found in several anthologies including Red: Contemporary Black British Poetry, Sexual Attraction Revealed and Brown Eyes. Her poetry collection is Someone Is Missing Me, published by Fly on the Wall Press.

Someone Is Missing Me is available now direct from the Fly On The Wall Press online shop: Someone Is Missing Me by Tina Tamsho-Thomas | flyonthewallpoetry (flyonthewallpress.co.uk)

Poem, Poetry

Tim Dwyer

As Different As We Are

The young inmates nearly trusted me-
their streets had been my streets
before they were born.

We knew late night joy
riding out back of the last subway car,
crossing the bridge into Brooklyn.

Approaching the tunnel,
we gazed at the uncertain promises
of the city’s countless lights.

Tim Dwyer is the author of Smithy Of Our Longings (Lapwing). His poems have recently appeared in Cyphers and Hold Open The Door, the Irish Poetry chair anthology, and forthcoming in Amethyst, Atrium, and The High Window. He moved recently from the U.S. and now lives in Bangor, Northern Ireland.


Geoffrey Heptonstall


The house they built became my parents’ life.
Some trees grew and others fell
levelling the foundations
in ploughed clay and sand
of marsh islet earth.

They found fragments,
neither memory nor myth,
but a history marked on discarded maps,
a settlement no-one has seen.

Capable hands had carved the stones.
Spires of gothic fingers
traced the indented detail
to the master’s taste.
Mannered, on high ground,
was evidence of grandeur
that had passed with the shifts of the river,
defining the boundaries of parish
and what an eye may possess.

The new house was never still.
The sense, the shadow, almost the sound,
would haunt our presumption.
It was not a place to be alone.
Now it is somewhere remembered
other children listen for our tread.

Geoffrey Heptonstall’s publications include  a novel, Heaven’s Invention [Black Wolf], and two poetry collections, The Rites of Paradise and Sappho’s Moon [Cyberwit]. He has written a number of plays and monologues.  His radio work includes The Upstart Crow [BBC Radio3]. For several years he was a reviewer for The London Magazine.

Friday Feature, Poetry

The Sound Recordist – Seán Street

Today we celebrate the anticipated new release from writer, producer and presenter, Seán Street.

The Sound Recordist (Maytree Press) has developed from the author’s lifetime working with sound, reflecting on its crucial place within and around us. The sequence comes directly from listening, using the metaphor of the microphone and recording machine as a non-judgemental witness to place and history, through pain and cruelty to the consolations and inspirations of art and music and the natural world, finally moving towards a quest for silence and stillness. 

Isolation, alienation, exile and loneliness are themes; but above all the human voice – its dialects, timbres and its sense of communicating a self is a recurring motif.

Early Show
Sheep in Fog above Llanfair

Transmission of signals on the edge of things
audible as the eye learns how to listen.
They emerge gradually. Notes on dim staves –
pauses in silence – these clouds with their nut eyes.

Meanwhile telephony marches up the hill
on speechless lines publishing its blank paper’s
white noise until blind voices wake. Fog hears it
but it doesn’t listen, soundproofing the world –

turning things anechoic – until sun burns
through, pouring between mountains, soaking valleys
back to language. And there it is, the remade
grammar of fields, this random punctuation,

the opening sky cueing ‘play-record’ again.
Light-patterns shaping pure music into dance.

Listening with a Spider

Steady summer rain on a low flat roof,
two of us listening, tense with waiting,
each in our corner, and this warm straight sound.

Outside, foliage drinking. The beech trees,
the rain given voice by what it touches,
what it falls onto when the gutters burst.

There are years held in it, and at once now
as always, but time is only this thin,
through a low flat roof, and we are sharers,

a life is as long as one raindrop’s beat
and then the next. We are inside a drum,
nothing for it but to listen, locked down.

What will we take from this, the two of us?
The comfort of the moment in this cave, 
the kindness of stasis, safety of it.

Seán Street has published nine previous poetry collections, the most recent being Camera Obscura (Rockingham Press, 2016). His anthology, Radio Waves – Poems About the Wireless was published by Enitharmon in 2004. Prose includes The Wreck of the Deutschland, a study of the historical background to the great poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins (Souvenir Press, 1992) and The Dymock Poets (Seren 1994/14.) Works relating to sound aesthetics include The Poetry of Radio: The Colour of Sound (Routledge, 2013/14) and The Memory of Sound: Preserving the Sonic Past (Routledge, 2015/16). Between 2017 and 2019, he wrote a further trilogy of books for Palgrave on the theme of sound and its relationship to poetics and philosophy, and his most recent publication on the subject is The Sound of a Room: Memory and the Auditory Presence of Place (Routledge, 2020). His plays have been performed by Salisbury Playhouse and the Royal Theatre, Northampton, both in-house and on tour, and his film-poem, Elias, commissioned by Salisbury Cathedral for their Magna Carta anniversary celebrations, was produced in 2015 by Red Balloon Productions. He has worked in radio for much of his life, writing and presenting features for BBC Radio, and for a number of other global broadcasters.

He is Emeritus Professor at Bournemouth University.

Read a review here: The Sound Recordist by Seán Street (Maytree Press) | Tears in the Fence

The Sound Recordist – available on-line: The Sound Recordist by Seán Street | Maytree Press (bigcartel.com)