The Fallen Tree
The winds had returned by the time
I finally got around to finding the spot
they had all been talking about.
On another day, it could have been one of any
silenced contender littering the muddy ridge.
But when I saw it, I knew. Fallen back
from the top bank onto the sloping field –
appearing as if mid-fall – its weight
taken by the land. Bushels flailing, grasping air,
writhing in the wind, I half-circled
sizing its shapeless mass spread out
like a grounded hot-air balloon.
The nosing dog backed off
as it fanned alive once more.
Then ceased to stillness. Its fluttered feathers fell,
darkened. Had those across the water heard
its leafy collapse, its unseasonal crash?
Bending down to stroke the once sunned,
slipped crown that stood high
and anonymous among the lined crowd,
had I realised before what lives lived
in such an abundance of leaves –
almost stepping on the still-attached acorns
resting at my feet.
Peter Burrows is a librarian in the North West of England. His poems have appeared in The North, The Interpreter’s House, Ink, Sweat and Tears, and most recently in Coast to Coast to Coast, Marble Poetry, The Curlew, Dodging the Rain, Bonnie’s Crew, and shortlisted in the Hedgehog Press Cupid’s Arrow competition.
Respect is not mere etiquette,
a bow or a certain posture
that ushers you in and out.
It is not a well-measured smile
that one’s face wears before the world.
It is not some florid morning or evening greeting
that bequeaths contentment
with a flattering or complementary word.
It is not a kiss stamped on one’s hand,
the indelible imprint of the gallant.
It is not a bunch of flowers, which are bound to wilt.
It is a deed that does not demand a favour in return.
It does not keep you waiting in suspense
to show the other’s ascendance .
It is lending an ear to your troubles when no one is around.
It is a word that does not disparage the essence you uphold.
It sweetens the sour and curtails the monotone.
It is courtesy reincarnated as support.
It is a type of reverence for your innermost thoughts.
It forgives your faults.
Susie Gharib is a graduate of the University of Strathclyde with
a Ph.D. on the work of D.H. Lawrence. Her poetry and fiction have
appeared in multiple venues including The Curlew, The Pennsylvania
Literary Journal, The Ink Pantry, A New Ulster, Adelaide Literary
Magazine, Down in the Dirt, Mad Swirl.
Today we celebrate the launch of our first anthology, The Cotton Grass Appreciation Society. Published by Maytree Press, the collection features forty seven poems inspired by the South Pennine landscapes, towns and people. The book features poems by Simon Armitage, Tom Weir, Hannah Stone, Jo Haslam, Gaia Holmes and many more. We’ll be celebrating the launch today with editors, David Coldwell and Mark Kelley at the Marsden Walking Festival where an array of poets featured in the collection will be joining us at Marsden Library from 6pm. Join us if you can.
You can order your copy now direct from our on-line shop – dare we say; it makes a perfect stocking filler.
At the Kitchen Table
The late spring snow
catches us off-guard,
drifts against the henhouse wall,
blots out the distant moors.
And here, in this borrowed house,
we watch, transfixed,
brave the blizzard
to throw scraps for the birds,
half-wishing it could always be like this.
Just you and I
at the kitchen table—
your crossword, my novel,
the weekend papers,
the last bottle of oak-aged red
waiting on the shelf.
Yet we know
the snow will thaw by morning,
and we’ll drive down the lane
for bread and logs,
ice-melt from the trees
pattering on the bonnet.
Then, too soon,
the workday grind will call us back
to the small house in the town,
where everything is a little less bright
and a little less kind.
As we leave,
the weather will change again,
the brilliant shine of it
making us smile,
and I’ll point out a newborn lamb,
his ears luminous, backlit by the sun,
as he watches us drive away.
He slips the record from its sleeve,
flips it in his palms,
and with a flick of the wrist
sends it spinning through the air.
Goodbye, Pat Boone,
At well above seventy-eight rpm,
disc after disc goes flying to its death.
In each explosion, a shellac memory,
So long, Lonnie Donegan,
Make way for the Beatles,
Joe Williams is a writer and performing poet from Leeds. His verse novella, ‘An Otley Run’, was shortlisted for the Best Novella category in the 2019 Saboteur Awards. It was published by Half Moon Books, who also published his pamphlet ‘Killing the Piano’ in 2017.
Ah yes, the Rhymers. We were
dissipated, given to drink
and wild pronouncements.
We were bold, but
doomed poetically, personally
for adherence to reverie
Though our verses were democratic
our lives… anarchic
and as I have written before
the center could not hold.
Josh Medsker is a New Jersey poet, originally from Alaska. He is the author of five chapbooks of poetry, and his writing has appeared in many publications, including: Contemporary American Voices, The Brooklyn Rail, The Review Review, Haiku Journal, and Red Savina Review. For a complete list of Josh Medsker’s publications, please visit his website. (www.joshmedsker.com)
in her youth
his mother’s facility
and unnerve with
the swiftest wit
an expert on
ear and eye
his father too
was troubled by
a court case
but oscar had
much more to lose
Terry lives in Brisbane, Australia when not travelling. He worked in the public service for decades and was inspired to write after seeing Michael Dransfield poems in The Australian newspaper when a teenager. He has been published in Australia and abroad since retiring.
Today we celebrate the launch of the Maytree pamphlet Keepsake from Leeds based writer Kayleigh Campbell. Described as a haunting debut, the poems in Keepsake vividly illustrate the journey of a young women into parenthood. Themes of loss, love, anxiety and transition are underscored by the brutality of post-natal depression and family break-up. Written with heartbreaking honesty, this is a collection that will stay with you long after the last page.
You can purchase a copy of Keepsake from the Maytree shop here
There will be a special launch event in Leeds on the 12 September – details here
Kayleigh will also be at Waterstones in Huddersfield to celebrate National Poetry Day on October 3 2019 where she will be reading and signing copies of Keepsake and discussing some of the themes and issues raised in the book.
People asked if we were going to Christen you.
Though my father believes in redemption to get to heaven
and that temptation keeps the path straight to hell
and though I can see the appeal of bodies
huddled together in pews each longing
for the same kind of belonging
and in turn belonging together,
I sin and I’m peaceful for that.
There is no man in my sky, only clouds
that darken then scatter like clockwork.
But here in this bath, as your dad
holds you to my breast
I almost go to sprinkle water
upon your newborn head.