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Murzban F. Shroff

Fragile

A guileless little butterfly that once flew around my ears
is lying broken on the ground in a wilting mass of tears

It rose too high, it rose too soon, much beyond its depth
Did it have to meet its end in circling blades of death?

I hold its softness in my hands, my fingers much too bold
to offer comfort to its wings, remnants of a whole

What did it do to deserve this, this placid creature of grace
Did it have to suffer the pains known to the human race?

If this be the will of God, it’s a funny system, I say
One that lets beauty know: there’s a heavy price to pay.


Murzban Shroff is a Mumbai-based author of three books: Breathless in Bombay (stories), Waiting for Jonathan Koshy (novel) and Fasttrack Fiction (digital shorts). To date, he has published fiction with over 65 literary journals in the U.S. and garnered 6 Pushcart Prize nominations. He is also the recipient of the John Gilgun Fiction Award.

Murzban’s short story collection, Breathless in Bombay was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize as the best debut from Europe and South Asia, and was rated by the Guardian as among the ten best Mumbai books. His novel, Waiting for Jonathan Koshy, was a finalist for the Horatio Nelson Fiction Prize and has been published in India and China.

A collection of digital shorts, Fasttrack Fiction, is a one-of-its-kind project created specially for cell phone readers. 

Murzban’s fourth book, Third Eye Rising, will be published later this year, with an independent house in New York. 

Will Daunt

Arnside Knott
LA5 0BL

Colours are leaving early as July
dries draining the greens that clothe its usual
flux of maybe-cloud breaks from days away
and family-fed cook ups of duty-cum-
guilt served out on greasy lawns         The Knott's not
far         above Arnside's covert homes that queue
to hear the rattled rack of trains         salt marsh
lambs and folk reversing from their memories
Up there I saw it all       the sanded shades
of river-slouch        the bay a sheet of stains.



Will Daunt recently edited Eddie Wainwright’s selected poems: Pleading At The Bar of Truth, and his sixth collection of poetry Landed was published by Lapwing in 2013. Gerard Manley Hopkins: the Lydiate Connections was published in 2019, and he’s reviewed for Envoi, Pulsar, New Hope International and Tears in the Fence.

The sequence ENGLAND EDGING features 100 poems of 100 syllables.

Leah Kean

What is This Pretty World?

Face-down cactus man,
your drought drowned in the river —
a wild potato is not a sweet pea.

For you
there is depth of bloom behind withered sparsity
and a curve of the world behind every cloud —

because what is this pretty world,
but an oyster
to be cracked open and devoured?

Imagination gives possibility to the ordinary —
sets all the intricacies of cities
in the palm of a single leaf.

Think of how our heaviest moments are brief.

One drop of rain
trickling down
can refresh an entire soul.

What is in this room? Nothing.

But out—swinging for fruit,
body soaked to the root,
you are hanging by the boughs

of a still virginal meadow.

Leah Keane is a native of Castlerea, County Roscommon, Ireland. She recently graduated from NUI Galway with a BA in English, German and Creative Writing. Unsurprisingly, she is now a barista. Leah has studied poetry under Kevin Higgins, and was longlisted for the Over the Edge New Writer of the Year competition in 2017. Her work has been published in Poetry Ireland Review and Skylight 47.

Clare Crossman

Dandelions 1962

At the derelict municipal garden,
we picked bunches from behind
the overgrown band stand.
Laburnum, (oriental lantern flowers),
Lilac (every drifting hem), cherry blossom
(old fashioned) and cow parsley (organza trace).

Some, we pressed under heavy books,
to lie between thick pages.
Kept in the dark, they lost their colour
their beauty faded to pale and tissue thin,
a list of names.
We wrote by hand in ink:
name, date when found.
Dandelions stained our fingers
and their intangible gossamer clocks,
drifted away like moths.

In winter, we would
conjure the flowers again:
with paints on paper, making a new book,
where they rambled in profusion
and were wild. Tumbling and falling
keeping the difference
of their own light and summer;
beyond classification.

Clare Crossman has published four collections of poetry. Her fourth is due to be published by Shoestring Press later in 2020. She has recently collaborated on a film offpoetry and conservation Waterlight about a chalk stream with the film maker James Murray White. More of her work can be seen at https://clarecrossman.net

Peter Donnelly

Galanthus

Their common name reminds us
of real drops of snow
which their blossom tells us
won’t be here for long.
They make us think of spring, rebirth,
relieve our January blues.

I only hope they are right,
that they won’t be killed
by the thing they say
is almost over,
like the daffodils that nowadays
often flower before them.

Yet we cannot blame the blooms
for deceit which we have caused.

Peter lives in York and has degrees from the University of Wales Lampeter in English and Creative Writing. He has been published in the South Bank Magazine, The Beach Hut and a few anthologies including Ripon Poetry Festival, League of Poets and The Baron Owl Trust.

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