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Stephen Kingsnorth – The Earth Shadow Poems

Welcome to Earth Shadow.

Over the coming months we’ll be showcasing a series of poems from writers from around the world based on themes of climate change and the environment.


Dusky Cloud

What cloud formation,
storm gathering phenomenon,
that the dark should so plunge and curl?
Curving like first grim screen-saver,
twirling without pinwheel stick,
how the sweep, when gust holds still,
how dusky changes into night,
charcoal to the shade of grey?
Till they on pier-pile-starlings
or girders settle, flight-
murmurations fill
the wheeling sky.

Stephen Kingsnorth, retired from ministry in the Methodist Church, has had pieces accepted for publication by Nine Muses Poetry; Voices Poetry Blog; Eunoia Review; Runcible Spoon; Ink Sweat and Tears; The Poetry Village; The Seventh Quarry; Gold Dust; From the Edge and Allegro Poetry Magazines.



Earth’s shadow or Earth shadow is the shadow that Earth itself casts onto its atmosphere and into outer space, toward the antisolar point. During twilight (both early dusk and late dawn), the shadow’s visible fringe (sometimes called the dark segment or twilight wedge) appears in a clear sky as a dark and diffused band low above the horizon.

Sarah James

The Rising Sun

Each year new smiles skim the water’s surface,
as light composes selfies in pools of shallow stillness.

Children race kites across the beach, chase balls,
or launch their bodies from rocks – in hope
of lifting skyward, though shadows tie their feet.

Skipping footprints leave a trail that can’t outlast
the tide, all traces wiped clear. In every scoured shell,
the squawk of swooping seagulls.

Rarely, on dawn’s shorelines: the drift and loop,
loop and drift, of an Icarus feather spun loose.

Sarah James is an award-winning poet, fiction writer, journalist and photographer. Her latest full collection is plenty-fish (Nine Arches Press) and she has a poem in Maytree Press’s  The Cotton Grass Appreciation Society inspired by the South Pennines. Her website is at

Dipo Baruna-Effi

The Game

Level five is one metre away
I cleave to it, like a baby to its mother

Moments like this are what I dreamt
Years collide and gift themselves as one

Anxiety stabs me from all angles
Eye, neck, thigh, wrist, gut, mind, heart

Isolation sneaks in not long after
Pushing out the fresh air I left the door ajar for

Level three is a warm velvet blanket
God has glued me so I can’t jump down

I attempt to get into the driving seat
It repels me ‘cause we’re both control freaks

Songs of heartbreak and love play
I lip sync with volumes of vim as rare tears flow

You’ll never see me complete this

Dipo Baruwa-Etti is a poet, playwright and filmmaker. As a poet, he has been published in The Good Journal, Ink Sweat & Tears, Amaryllis, and had his work showcased nationwide as part of End Hunger UK’s touring exhibition on food insecurity. Website:

The Kingdom – Matt Duggan

To celebrate the latest release from Maytree Press we welcome Matt Duggan back to the Village with two poems from his latest collection.

Released on the 10 April 2020, The Kingdom has already received some wonderful reviews and you can read the latest by Glynn Young here

The Kingdom is available now direct from the author or from the Maytree Shop with free UK post and packing. Each book comes with a free art card featuring the cover art by David Coldwell. Inside the shop you’ll also find The Ghost Hospital by Pauline Rowe and The Collective Nouns for Birds by Amanda Huggins – both recently shortlisted in the 2020 Saboteur Awards and currently fighting it out for top prize. Why not treat yourself and vote for your favourite. Maytree Shop

Reflections on my 49th Year

I dreamt that we were once beautiful
kicking white leaves in autumn daylight —
collecting cloud speech bubbles
while we danced on crystal paths of sun
allowing the breeze to ease around my body.

Hear that sound — like birds in flight
whispering as the rats are singing;
ears have sharpened teeth
when time can be so ruthless?

How praise became a crooked blade —
a reflection held inside a tinted mask
that only smiled at its own self-deception.

We hear the price of folly
stripped away as a disguise for a dime of popularism —
how those actors came and went —
like changing costumes in a badly performed
tragedy of somebody else’s life.


Drinking with Dylan

Floor and bar look exactly the same;
I see a black and white picture of you
holding a lily-white tankard
sitting where I am sitting today.

Mirrors are still hanging in some of the same places
if slightly jarred by the front door;
broken neon sign outside the Tavern
flashing with an irregular luminous beat.

The white clock behind the bar
has miraculously stopped at 19.53
where we smell corndogs and cigarettes —

drilling men with blue and yellow safety hats
curse the sounds drifting by cement gaps
in large windows and high silver towers

peaking skyward into a bright red diesel mass
where aluminium shaped angels filled my sky.



Matt was born in Bristol 1971 and now lives in Newport, Wales with his partner Kelly. His poems have appeared in many journals including Potomac Review, Foxtrot Uniform, Dodging the Rain, Here Comes Everyone, Osiris Poetry Journal, The Blue Nib, The Poetry Village, The Journal, The Dawntreader, The High Window, The Ghost City Review, L’ Ephemere Review, Confluence, Marble and Polarity. In 2015, Matt won the Erbacce Prize for Poetry with his first full collection of poems Dystopia 38.10 (erbacce-press). Matt won the Into the Void Poetry Prize in 2017 with his poem, Elegy for Magdalene. 

Matt has previously published two chapbooks: One Million Tiny Cuts (Clare Song Birds Publishing House) and A Season in Another World (Thirty West Publishing House). In 2019 Matt was one of the winners of the Naji Naaman Literary Prize (Honours for Complete Works). His second full collection Woodworm (Hedgehog Poetry Press) was published in July 2019.


king close



Bill Cotter

Creek in Drought

It sauntered, once, regular
In its slow coming and going,
A delight for every childhood explorer,
Never completely still, quietly whispering,
Bubbling or murmuring, even if, sometimes, just to itself.

Now, dry between scoured slopes in this gully,
It lies, the victim, not of unthinking chance,
But of belief in the threadbare mythology,
The long, much publicised romance
Of ‘Jobs and growth’.

Conditions, we are told, will always turn.
Our wide brown land will be forgiving.
Forget the jabbering priests and their false, green doctrine.
Stand, loyal to tradition and let us together sing,
Loudly, definitively, in praise of ‘Jobs and Growth’.

But, only memories and ghosts flow here, now.
Discarded bottles, bland as mini tombstones, stand,
Plugged and tilted among dry, paper reeds. Fish plough
Their shallow graves in curdling mud or sand
And, here, only the crows laud ‘Jobs and growth’.

Bill Cotter has been published in journals in Australia, New Zealand,
New Deli and England. He has published a number of poetry collections, a
collection of short stories, a short play for voices and a historical
novel. He has won the Melbourne Shakespeare Society’s sonnet
competition and the International Library of Poetry competition.

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