November and everywhere turns mouse,
garden no longer good enough though
the compost heap smoulders with rot of apples.
The mice brush by inside discharging dark
pellets of shit, nips of urine, craze
of footprints. The air grows furred, weighs
heavy with whiskers, a particular brown-grey
colour scheme, rushing of small rodents.
He is frightened to open cupboards, too scared
to sleep, to become part of the scurry.
He puts down poison, traps, peppermint spray,
packed up clothes for a holiday.
The last item to sneak into his steamer trunk?
A wee sleekit beastie—mouse.
Lynn Valentine’s poetry collection, Life’s Stink and Honey, was published by Cinnamon Press in 2022 after winning their literature award. Her Scots language pamphlet, A Glimmer o Stars, was published by Hedgehog Poetry in 2021. Lynn is on Twitter @dizzylynn
Not an Epic
With my attention span,
I don’t write long poems
hanging off the ends of sentences
veering into the weather forecast
scattered wordy periods.
I chance the occasional romance
with assonance but like snow in May,
it bewilders me so I let it melt
away. I’ve always felt
I am four stanzas average,
five and I risk an accidental plummet
into my shopping list. Boy with a mullet
on Shop Street, don’t go bringing
back hairstyles that should only ever
be fish...pie mix, juice, not from
Terri Metcalfe has been published in Abridged, A New Ulster, Green Ink Poetry, Spilling Cocoa and Skylight 47. She was shortlisted for the Open Window 2023 mentorship programme and will be a featured reader at the 20th anniversary of Over The Edge Literary Events held in Galway this January.
I wish I were a vicar
I wish I were a vicar
penned by Agatha Christie,
I’d visit many well-known faces
who ‘d kindly ask, ‘More tea?’
I wish I were a vicar
in one of Christie’s books,
I’d wander round the place bemused
I’d wear befuddled looks.
And if I were a vicar,
one that Agatha had penned,
I’d find bodies in my library,
exclaim, ‘Good Grief! Heaven forfend!’
As a black and white penned vicar
I’d live on countless pages,
in many different languages,
and truly live for ages.
I need to get stuff from the local mart,
but then my stupid car just will not start.
I ring the garage, but they cannot come
until a week on Thursday, minimum.
The buses are on strike, so they’re no use;
I silently bombard them with abuse.
A taxi then I guess, and hang the cost,
but time goes by – I think they must be lost.
At last a car arrives outside my gate
and toots as if to say it’s me that’s late.
I gallop down the drive and can’t resist
a much relieved internal pump of fist.
My head explodes when we get to the store;
I’ve left my wallet by the kitchen door
Trevor retired in 2013, and decided to write a novel. Stalled on chapter 3, he ventured into poetry. He has been published in anthologies and magazines in UK and USA, plus his own book in 2017. Trevor has read at several Literary Festivals, and regularly contributes at poetry/spoken word groups.
Cousin Ken from Cockermouth Cumbria
Has a wholesome rhythm to it.
I loved him living there.
When friends asked after my cousin Ken
I would say ‘Oh, Cousin Ken? He’s well, still living in
And then he called with his new address
making him cousin Ken from Romney Marsh, Kent.
I’ll never forgive him for this.
Hilary lives in Bristol close to the River Avon. She resides there with her partner and three dogs. Has been previously published by Templar Press, Bristol Poetrycan, Leaf, Velvet, Obsessed with Pipework, Exeter Broadsheet and Mr Garnham. Still planning to submit enough poems for a collection and still finding excuses not to send them off.
Despair at the arrogance
of the paleontological diktat
“sauropods ate leaves.”
Instead, give thanks.
100 million-year-old sauropod
footprints have now been found.
At a Chinese restaurant.
In appreciation of Douglas Adams,
who first noticed where biros go.
Hairbrushes have now joined
biros and socks as sentient life forms
with an irresistible homing urge –
watch them wriggling through
those ladders in time’s fabric,
catching their bristles
on filaments of space
off to their ideal planet
where every surface
is as smooth and bald
as a billiard ball.
After a misspent youth in libraries and museums, and some time in between, Sarah has finally achieved her dream job in Lichfield working for the Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum (and book shop). She writes for fun and enjoys swimming.
Practically since the dawn of history
English spelling has been a mystery.
And everything you ever learn’ll
Not prepare you for the r in colonel.
Do not expect a tidy law
To explain the end of Arkansas.
Spelling is just a rough mnemonic
And not reliably always phonic.
Sarah Lawson lives in London, originally from Indiana, educated in the US and Scotland; has published poetry pamphlets and two collections; translates from French, Spanish, and Dutch; has also written one play, one novel, and two memoirs.
We applaud the little ant
for its strong community;
we venerate the bee
for its firm autocracy.
We might commend the wasp
for it also has a grasp
of the above.
Alas for it, its sting
makes us want to kill the thing.
My name is Gill McEvoy, previously published by both Happenstance Press and Cinnamon press, now with Hedgehog Press. I won the Michael Marks Award in 2015 for my pamphlet “The First Telling” (happenstance Press 2014. I currently live in Devon which hasn’t been a bit warm and sunny of late. Probably a bad choice!
A joke in French
We had it tough. Miss Finnegan,
hair bunned so tight it stretched her face
taut, gave it a lift plastic surgeons
could only dream of. When she took Religon,
fine! French brought out her psychopathy.
She terrified us, stalked our dreams
like a sexless sadist from a video nasty.
I have lost all hope. You lot are a disgrace,
she'd say, her head boiling without steam.
But get her talking about Jesus
turning water into wine, or talking Zacchaeus
down from his tree, and she was a love!
And man, she could make her pupils laugh:
Remember it this way: one egg is un eouf.