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The Ghost Hospital

Today we celebrate the Maytree Press launch of The Ghost Hospital by Pauline Rowe.

Described by 2019 T S Eliot shortlisted poet, Deryn Rees-Jones as a ‘remarkable book’, we might be slightly biased but have to agree.

Pauline will be launching the collection with a special reading at Liverpool’s Open Eye Gallery on the 21 November – more details here

If you can’t wait for the launch, or unable to get to Liverpool, then you can get your hands on this very special book over at the Maytree shop – here

Bequest

I bequeath him my skull
(inside which he leads another life),

my hip bones, the roots of my teeth, my scars,
the ones tight with secrets like lieder,
the ones that ache when it rains.

I go back in dreams to that cold kitchen,
stirring porridge on a 2-ring stove.

I didn’t see the devil that winter
nor dress even the smallest tree.

I forgot the accommodations of ribbons
though there was frost enough for two.

It replays itself, his head to one side,
playful, keeping his word, so real
I can taste his breath.

My desire then was a pearl –
perfect, no start, no end, no memory of grit.

 

Kayleigh Campbell

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.

 

Baptism

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.

 

Colin Dardis

Burnt Out Car on Glenshane Pass

“That wouldn’t have been done in daylight.”
Mind you, there’s traffic here all the time
the countryside never at sleep.

Perhaps the flames were awaiting flakes
of snow to dampen its crime, turning
metalwork to eggshell, lustre to dust.

Then thieves tramping back home,
full of drunken exhilaration,
or perhaps, the morning meeting

with insurance claims, paperwork,
the value of guilt inked inside
a little white box of unknowing.

 

 

Colin Dardis was one of Eyewear Publishing’s Best New British and Irish Poets 2016, with a collection with Eyewear, the x of y, forthcoming in 2018. His work has been published widely throughout Ireland, the UK and USA. Colin also co-runs Poetry NI and is the online editor for Lagan Press. www.colindardispoet.co.uk

 

Martin Bewick

A Viewfinder

The pasture greyed, the rattling beck mute
behind secondary glazing, the fizz of pylons too,
in a day of scarce light. The aperture of a former
home is wide as the hours require, and
each year now we shovel our signifiers,
brushing leaves across our yards as the wind
lifts. But there is no wind. Beyond the old
neighbours’ place, twenty on foot and four in
the car, an ombré smudge of tones settles –
hawthorn, sodden, briars sagging, and mud
deep, kicked up by cows gone to the byre
for milking, or fell sheep, if there were sheep.
The power station, a blackened copse somewhere
about the edge of land, fading, its cooling
towers merged with vapours that lift, sink,
sink as the sea of Hibernia turns away, its
back brushing the pile of exhausted chimneys,
almost gone, almost deconstructed. Concrete
follies of a folly in a half-life of feeding families
now lost in their own decommission. Kids now
all grown up with kids of their own and those kids
with kids. In this the division between subject and
object. Ambiguity felt as uncommon knowledge,
as our own approximate selves, knowledge frozen
to make fear dormant, fear of nothing, foam
surfing across the pebbles, the air still and
no new windmills turning beyond our vision.
This attenuated point between fog and rain.
Beyond where the trees stood, the trees cut down
where the west is lost to water. The invisible men
who packed the market squares gone back
south for new contracts, their rented terraces at
the edge of towns vacant, earth settling from that
last ploughing, our minding of this, recurring,
seen through a blue filter and smear of vaseline
and clearing some hairs from before your eyes.
Taking photos on an old SLR as if we lived here,
still. A next horizon never really reached,
only encountered in thought again, again

 

MW Bewick’s first collection of poetry, Scarecrow, was published in 2017. He is the co-founder of independent publisher Dunlin Press and an organiser at Poetrywivenhoe in Essex, where he lives. Recent publication credits include London Grip, The Sentinel Literary Quarterly, Coast to Coast to Coast and The Interpreter’s House. @mwbewick

 

Carola Groom

Earth Science News

It says on the news
small things are dying.
Insects and human sperm
are three-quarters gone.

I will plough my fears
into the earth. I will shake
kisses from an envelope
and plant them on you.

Flowers grow on your face,
bright and rampant but
they brown and shrivel.
Seed-heads swell and burst.

Oh husbandry! How the spores
rattle as they fly, six legs
like wind-chimes and wings
of rainbow cellophane!

But that cold hill I ploughed
is barren, as the Romans knew
and others have since learned.
In the brackish furrows

my fears grow wriggling tails
and burrow deep by instinct,
till questing little heads
meet the ovum at the core.

It says on the news
there’ll be a slowdown
in our planet’s rate of spin.
Next year I harvest earthquakes.

 

Carola Groom is a Saddleworth-based writer and social researcher. She writes novels and poems, and has some experience as a book reviewer and leader of creative writing sessions in schools.