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Ian Clarke

Mr Tuckwood

Yellow caped, fingers numb,
traipsing to carbolic air again,
to the taste of blood and rust,
a barren desk scarred,
goal-posts fog-deep in mud.

Then the lazy buzz of summer –
a tan-smooth thigh, a freckled shoulder
mapping the breeze,
until I hunkered down again –

Plantagenet, Tudor,
how cobwebs were gathered to staunch and scab,
how his father came home from the trenches,
his growl throttle-thick, where he lay flush to the earth,
a hare snug in its form.

I remember his chairs on tables, fingers on lips,
his map of wind, seaweed, a fir cone
to tell the weather.

And how he crumpled,
how the afternoon darkened
to a fall of snow,
that he, finger to the wind,
said was on the way.

How walking home that last summer
across a field of wheat ripe with silence,
I thought of him, his name lichened, nettled
where dandelions and groundsel buckle tarmac,
take root, come up for air.

Ian Clarke.  Fenland ex pat poet living in Harrogate. Published widely in anthologies and in magazines. A regular reader on the Yorkshire poetry scene. Latest book Owl Lit published by Dempsey and Windle (2017).

Ruth Taaffe


Past midnight. Paros, Greece. July
the sweetest month
to be alive, eighteen.
A dust-quiet street, a breather
from the dancing night

when a wavering man with white hair
came by us two
sitting as we were
on a bakery step closed
in between loaves and fishing
secretly for compliments
or catches with each other

he turned
unfocused to us
closer than breath
and said

“If you bottled what you have
between you now
and sold it as perfume
you’d make a fortune.”

I still remember your eyes
your name. Brown hands huge
slender, holding mine.
I keep this night bottled
and breathe it in from time to time.

Ruth Taaffe is from Manchester, UK and currently lives in Singapore where she is the Head of English at an International School. Ruth is an MA student of Creative Writing with Lancaster University and some of her poems have been published in the online journal Creative Writing Ink as well as in print in Acumen.

Bethany W Pope

The Visitation

Over a decade later, I returned.
We drove past the run-down McDonald’s, through
the solitary crossroad (with one dangling,
unreliable streetlight) next to
City Hall and the peeling antiques shop
where I used to steal comics. My husband
cranked up the radio when we passed
the field where I saw the songbirds bound up,
flattened by twine in square hay bales. I
remembered the feel of their dead feathers.
I had entered that old familiar state, that
dangerous (necessary) cold I wore
when I was desperate. I drove without
the GPS. I’ll always know my way
home. On campus, past the white clapboard church
Where children spat chewed fragments of the Host
onto the dusty floor while I prayed
and dug my nails into my palms until
they bled, past the office where my social
worker lurked, hunched behind her plywood desk,
and the defunct high-school where I left behind
a tooth. I parked the rental in front
of the cottage where I spent my first year.
The windows were dark (not blind) and there
were dead leaves and a rusted tricycle
husking the porch. No one lived there anymore,
except my ghost. I could still smell the bright
residue of blood and bleach; the scent
of my loss. I could feel Fallon’s breath,
hot and sweet on my neck, and the cold line
of her razorblade shiv tracing the veins
in my throat. My husband said, ‘You don’t have
to do this.’ He said, ‘You’ve made it. I’m proud
of you. You know you can rest.’ I walked
around the high stone walls, the decayed
camellias, until I found the window
whose bars I could never seem to pry
away and break. I’d brought a copy
of the book I wrote and I held it
so that the cover showed, ‘You can take
the picture now. I’m ready.’ There was a click.
Then we climbed into the car again
(a rental, without memory) and drove.

Ceinwen Haydon

Piazza Di Santa Marta

I share my outside table,
my glass of wine,
with dust-winged moths
drawn toward guttering candles –
the bar’s front window
catches my flat image,
framed by floral, twisted iron.

I glimpse my facsimile.
Bleached features, leeched of hope.
My lime-green dress drapes insults
over creased flesh and creaking bones.

Then, tectonic plates shift time.
My old lover happens by
with sightless eyes. His silver cane
taps apart curtained memories

My dizzied pulse quickens,
fancy flares again. Invisible, I gaze,
through billowed smoke,
see once more the twilit windowpane.
I am caught. Reflected, smudged –
a fey impression of my younger self.

Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon
Ceinwen lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, and writes short stories and poetry. She has been widely published in web magazines and in print anthologies. She has an MA in Creative Writing [Newcastle 2017]. She believes everyone’s voice counts.


Hongri Yuan

Strings of The Light of Dawn

When I plucked strings of the light of dawn
A golden lightning burned a huge city
The undulating hills in distance twinkled the ruby smile
Vaguely there came acoustic resonance of the bell
from the center vault of heaven
Who have seen that the palace was towering outside the sky
The gods smiled with stately grace and raised their glass
And a large ship approached from another galaxy
They came from a huge platinum city
Their ships were much faster than the speed of light
Ever visited the earth billions of years ago
They brought new technology
To make the steel have a wonderful spiritualism
Their eyes can perspect the heaven and the world
Heart is as bright as the sun
And body is as transparent as diamond



Hongri Yuan, born in China in 1962, is a poet and philosopher interested particularly in creation. Representative works include Platinum City, The City of Gold, Golden Paradise , Gold Sun and Golden Giant. His poetry has been published in the UK, USA ,India ,New Zealand, Canada and Nigeria.

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