Never Say No To A Muffin, by Hilary Willmott 

Never say no to a muffin

At least that would be my advice.

They’re not always offered you daily

Yet sometimes you’re offered one twice.

Never say no to a muffin

Whether you want one or not

Lie back and enjoy the occasion

and remember they’re best taken hot.

Never say no to a muffin

You could sometimes share with close friends

But I feel they’re best taken solo

Whilst others would say it depends

Never say no to a muffin

Whilst indulging please don’t try to talk

You must focus on total enjoyment

And never attempt a brisk walk

Never say no to a muffin

I’ve devoured every one that I’ve had

Though I try to avoid those with sprinkles

As somehow they make me feel bad
Hilary Willmott has been writing since her schooldays many, many decades ago. She sees poetry as a companion who is much braver than she, taking her to places she wouldn’t dare venture on her own. She has been published by Templar Press, Flarestack and Velvet. She has also been shortlisted for national competitions. She lives in the south west of England, by the river, with her partner and a menagerie of rescued animals.


Rearranging My Pants Drawer, by Simon Williams

Pants take up a corner, front right

and I obviously remove stored pants

to put freshly washed ones at the bottom

before replacing the others, to ensure rotation.


This is for Y-fronts, of course,

hard-line M&S stuff. Calvin Klein

boxers are for those happy to be seen

in pants alone, who have hangers for them.


Around the triangle of Y-fronts

are socks, balled-up as my father showed me,

two layers, moved from back to front

as the front ones are taken out and worn.


So now you know, and this is where

I tie the action to the stream of English Poetry,

hinting at the drawers of Wordsworth

and how Dorothy most probably arranged them.


How Shakespeare, beneath his hose,

went commando, with just a codpiece

to maintain control. It was this free and easy life

which gave him time for all the other stuff.


But Homer had it best, Greek weather

and a single robe, all the cloth he needed.

With the time saved from underwear arrangement,

he could spend longer polishing his brogues.


On the coming of snow, by Susan Taylor

One day, no, it was one night actually,

it snowed in our village –

no, it’s not a proper village,

just a hamlet on Dartmoor –

no, not on Dartmoor,

technically on the edge of the moor,

with a proper little village chapel

and a proper little village pub –

oh, and a phone box

and a war memorial, of course –

you’ve got to have a war memorial.


This snow we had was Dartmoor snow –

proper stuff, settling properly,

looking convincingly fantastic.

The light was snow light

and snow light is something to see,

clean and pure as best grade moonlight –

ever so white, ever so bright,

but, sort of, even gentler and lighter.


No messing about,

this was snow you could take a shovel too

and move in obligingly proper cubes,

like a giant’s version of cubed sugar.

Sam and Ellie from the barn

at the bottom of our garden,

(it isn’t a barn anymore, it’s a proper house

and our garden’s a proper country garden,

with scruffy cobbled areas,

a perfumery of a rosebush in summer

and comfrey all over the place)

Sam and Ellie had got up very early.

They were young teenagers, at this stage,

replaying Christmas and we heard them,

before the light came in, building a snowman,

excitedly giggling, under the one streetlamp

by the sad little war memorial.



When it was light we looked out

of our little window

to see the result of their handiwork

and there it was –

a five foot tall penis, complete with balls

and a riot of twigs pushed in

around the scrotum,

which added the perfect touch of knowledge

and intimacy to their masterpiece.


I thought of Rome and of Pompei

and our honeymooning, appropriately, there.

Thanks to Sam and Ellie,

it all came flooding back – our wayward nights

among those mosaics of outrageous cocks.

We looked at them (it was allowed back then)

and we saw how a man weighed his equipment

on marketplace scales, to measure his manhood,

to do it justice. And, as if this wasn’t enough,

he commissioned, as door guardian,

a beautiful giant hard-on.


They didn’t need red Ferraris back then, or

drunken fisherman’s tell-tale stretched out arms –

these Roman lads, they had their talents.

Wouldn’t it be kind of awesome

to have such a monument, ornament,

sacred prick outside your house –

a good deal more show-stopping

than a garden gnome pissing.


Nobody in our village took down

Sam and Ellie’s potent, enormous confection –

they knew it was temporary, after all.

Frank took a picture and put it up on the web

under local news. It was the biggest thing

that had happened in Scoriton for a long time,

and it lasted a satisfyingly long time,

being checked and rechecked

on how well it stood up,

until it was inevitably spent.



Being mindful, I was put in mind

of the road junction at Dartington,

and the huge phallus once daubed

on the tarmac there,

This one, also, given enough hairs

to make a pair of balls convincing.


The good people of Dartington,

unlike the ancient populace of Athens,

for instance, who were well known

for their love of Priapus and his genitalia,

exercised their democratic right

and complained to the local council,

just as moorland ramblers would do here,

I guess, if we swapped our stone pixy

on the mounting block outside our door

for a much larger erection.
Susan Taylor lives on Dartmoor and loves the enigma of rural living. Her latest poetry collection is Temporal Bones from Oversteps Books. A new work, The Weather House, written with poet Simon Williams, appears shortly from Indigo Dreams. Watch out for The Weather House poetry show next year! See




Cock and Balls by Tom Sastry

From the beer garden

of the Prince of Wales

on Gloucester Road,



you can see a high wall of white brick

clean as the tiled splashbacks

in the washrooms of expensive restaurants.


What we want

is not always

what is good for us.


What the wall wants

is a spray-paint cock and balls

the height of a giraffe.


What we feel most sharply

is sometimes what is missing.


Suppose, next year, something happens:

a religious revival

a ban on aerosols

or maybe we just grow up


and no-one


sketches cartoon genitals


(except for one professor

of prehistoric art

who pretends to be disappointed

when her students snigger).


It would be a changed world!

Like a world without war

or cruelty.

A better world –

but less familiar.


Would you fit in such a world?

What would you talk about?

How would you know what you were for

or against?


May you never be shown

what clean air could do to your lungs,

how you have raged against justice,

or what you did to love

when it found you.
Tom Sastry is a poet and spoken word artist living in Bristol. He was chosen by Carol Ann Duffy as one of the 2016 Laureate’s Choice poets and his debut pamphlet Complicity was published by Smith/Doorstop in October 2016.


Letter from the Editor

Hello! My name is Robert Garnham, and I am the new editor of Spilling Cocoa.

I have spent the last few years performing whimsical poetry and spoken word around the UK at some of the top spoken word nights, such as Bang Said The Gun in London and Manchester, Hammer and Tongue in Bristol and Brighton, and I’ve taken shows to the Edinburgh Fringe. Oh, and last year I headlined at The Duplex in New York.

I’m really looking forward to reading submissions and publishing the best humorous poetry. Basically the editorial policy is, anything that makes me laugh, or that I might think will make you laugh! I’m looking to continue the good work of Jonathan and to maintain Spilling Cocoa as the online journal of choice for the discerning reader.

The email address is unchanged, at


If… by Howard Davies

If you can blame the problems of your nation
On the Muslims, and the Chinese, and the Jews,
On Mexican illegal immigration,
And on everyone who’s not as white as you;

If you can get the blacks to pin their hopes on you
And still be friendly with the Ku Klux Klan;
If you can get the broads to cast their votes for you
And still grab ’em by the pussy when you can;

If you can use your history of failure
As a ruse to bring your taxes down to zero;
And if, instead of thinking they should jail ya,
Folks think you’re smart, and hail you as a hero;

If you can garner roars and cheers aplenty
For a wall you’ve no intention to construct,
Then yours will be the world till 2020
And, what’s more my son… we’re absolutely f***ed.


Normal Dad by Jude Cowan Montague

for James Worse and Marlowe

Normal dad’s are nice dads,
normal dads are good,
normal dads do not have beards
and no one thinks they should.

Normal dads do not stare out
to see if there are ships.
Normal dads do not write pomes
or mess with English Lit.

Normal dads are not like you.
Normal dads aren’t cool.
Normal dads are more like them –
be normal! Toe the rule!

Jude Cowan Montague used to work as an archivist for Reuters and has written poetry about the news agency reports. She created and host a weekly radio show on Resonance FM called ‘The News Agents’. She has been an artist and a songwriter as well as a poet, since forever and you can drop in on her at her gallery in St Leonards-on-Sea which is called Montague Armstrong.


How to be an Extra Virgin by Pru Kitching

grow me slow and pick me quick
keep me hot but press me cold
taste me, sniff me, savour me slickly
handle me gentle and treat me like gold

bottle me green then screw me well in
package and label me, keep me apart
transport me safely from Italy, Spain
then shelve me and leave for some foody old fart

oh, forget it

Pru Kitching has worked at home and abroad in theatre and opera, was married to a painter, lives in beautiful Upper Weardale and is generally artsy fartsy. Her publications include two pamphlets: ‘All Aboard the Moving Staircase’ with Vane Women Press in 2004 and ‘The Kraków Egg’ with Arrowhead Press in 2009.


The Poets and the Thief by Marc Woodward

Ten poets in a room,
some imbibing wine,
when from the back a
ruckus started.

“A thief! A thief!
he’ll rob us blind –
he’s here to steal
our work, our souls,
our sacred lines!”

“Don’t be so dramatic dear..”
another replied “..and anyway – did I really hear
‘rob us blind’? good grief, oh dear!
Don’t you think you could do better here?”

“Yes..” a third spoke up
“..and to speak of ‘soul’
is over used and meaningless,
surely you agree?”

There then followed a hubbub:
much exclamation, declamation,
formal decree
and general hullabaloo

during which

the thief slipped away
with a sack of poems
he’d craftily purloined,
but, I’m sad to say,
very few were new
or freshly coined…

Marc Woodward is a poet and musician from Devon. His writing reflects his rural surroundings and often has a macabre undercurrent. He has been published widely including at Ink, Sweat & Tears, Prole, Avis, The Jawline Review and The Poetry Society and  Guardian sites as well as in anthologies from Forward, Sentinel, OWF and Ravenshead. His recent chapbook ‘A Fright of Jays’ is available from Maquette Press.


Traffic Jam Sandwich by Heather Wastie

In the heat of it
a slice of tomato
has skidded on mayonnaise
and ended up straddling the crust

Layers of lettuce leaves
are held up behind it,
limp slivers of cucumber
losing their cool

At the centre of it all
is a slow-moving wedge
of well-matured cheddar
heavily laden with pickle

In the care home’s crowded corridor
Iris is stationary, thinking of lunch.
I like jam sandwiches, she says.
This poem is for her.

Poet, singer, songwriter and actor Heather Wastie is The Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2015/16. In 2013 she was Writer in Residence at the Museum of Carpet, Kidderminster. She has published four illustrated poetry collections and has a busy schedule of commissions and performances.