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.
Fostering an Elephant
So far, no one has complained
about the late-night tanker truck
deliveries. She’s only a baby.
Drinks gallons of milk. We go
directly to a dairy. It’s expensive,
but who cares? I think the neighbors
A golden retriever or a Siamese
cat would have been ideal- we
live in a small house, with a
smaller backyard- but for the
elephant, it was us or the poachers-
so we took her in.
The kids are wild about her.
Walk her without complaint.
They promised to keep the yard
clean- My wife and I do most
of the pooper scoopering. We
When the constant trumpeting
began, we piled into the mini-van,
rushed her to the vet. She said
there was nothing wrong with
the elephant physically. Turns out
elephants are matriarchal- I think
she missed her family. She seems
to be settling in with mine.
I’m crazy about her too- built her
a house outback. When it’s warm,
she sleeps there. She’s smart. Easy
to train. Remembers everything-
Never has to be told things twice.
Matthew Sisson’s poetry has appeared in journals ranging from the “Harvard Review Online,” to “JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association.” He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and read his work on NPR’s “On Point.” His First book, “Please, Call Me Moby,” was published by the Pecan Grove Press, St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, Texas.
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.
I can’t tell you anything about
the moment time stood still
as your world rearranged itself
feeling your heart silently crack
this fracture will mend
only those who really know you see the scars
you have the gift to conjure memories
hear a voice who scolds you for being sad
as refracted light on glistening tears sparkle
to know an unconditional love until the last breath
I am not exempt from the conclusion of this world
grief is a multitasking emotion
being happy and sad in the same moment
not something you fully know
until it's your front row at the funeral
there, long after the last sympathy card,
it becomes part of you
Susan Coyle is based in Galway and has been writing poetry since 2019.
She attends “Over the Edge” writing workshops with Kevin Higgins in Galway.
She has had poems published in North West Words, Pendemic.ie and Vox Galvia section of “Galway Advertiser”
Mindfulness + Beauty
It’s the second Monday after I quit-
five years is epic, I can rest for a bit. Indulgences are strategic when shown the exit, I’ll get no sympathy if I wear a target.
On the morning of my pedi,
I can’t find my glasses, can’t seem to get ready
I take a Xanax, try to keep my gaze steady
get behind the wheel, text goodbye to the family. At the Beauty Spa I extend my swollen foot
to the technician who kneels at her habitual spot. She’s tired and practical, I’m deep in thought- my relaxation imperative seems overwrought.
I leave with toes the color of wine
not blissed out or bitter, I’ll settle for fine.
Heather Nelson has been a student of poetry since college, where she developed her thesis project under the guidance of CD Wright and Peter Gizzi at Brown University in 1991. She returned to writing in 2011 and has since been published in Ekphrastic Review, Lily Poetry Review, Free State Review, Spoon River Review and others. She currently leads a local free-write, runs writing workshops for high school students and hosts a book group in Cambridge, Mass. She has been active in the Boston area literary scene since she began writing, and has taught classes at Grub Street, planned events for Litcrawl, organized author talks and other activities. Heather has a manuscript of poetry titled “Motherland” out looking for a home and continues to write, and is already thinking about her next book of poetry!
Stiffed over a couple of continents,
you arrive, a strange-patterned flatness.
My six pairs of vacuum-packed socks.
A minimal method to post merino,
knitted-up bits of running Greek keys,
orange chevrons and lined tiny fish.
One dozen ribbed ankles all drill up one side.
Flip over for overlaps of bright toes.
Sealed-in little labels offer real heat.
But, I must burst your pristine rigidity,
pierce your unbubbled tight wonder,
turn you into soft, just workaday wear.
A Practical Woman
She used to sigh
throw eyes to heaven
push feet, irritated, into slippers
at first comedic bars of Yakety Sax
when nurses in scant uniform
came on, to buzz and bend
in frantic rhythm round
the suspect wheelchair patient,
pursue in tottering, mindless
swarm, the masquerading nimrod
in the fleeing doctor’s coat.
While we guffawed merrily,
in a fashion then acceptable
for dullards and buffoons
she made toast and tea for us
noted contents of the cupboards,
rinsed cups and spoons,
pushed home the bolt –
used Page 3
(if one snuck in)
to light the fire
in the morning.
From Galway, Ireland, bern butler’s work has featured in Force 10, Ropes Anthology, Galway Review, North-West Words, Abridged, The Ireland Chair of Poetry, Dodging Rain, The Madrigal, Gnashing Teeth, Cuirt New Writing Showcase. She holds an MA Writing from NUI Galway.
On taking a poet to bed!
A big decision, I take my time
savouring lines images moods
metaphors. Considering palette.
Soft greens, vivid blues
maybe some orange zest
no red-hot lines or purple prose.
Yeats on tranquillity
Bee loud glade
leafy islands, flapping herons
drowsy water rats.
I’m partial to the waters and the wild, ready for dripping peace
Mind you, I like the muscularity of Robert Bly.
He’s nocturnal a walker like myself.
His lines about unknown dust waves breaking on shores
Energetic, maybe too much activity for night.
In the morning, I’m weary from pondering and wandering.
More drowsy water rat than graceful heron.
Ah, solitude, a book!
But I ‘m aware of the perils of eating alone
the benefits of sociability
I’ve read about long lasting Ikarians.
Morning rambles, herding sheep, coffee at three.
Aperitifs at 5.00.
So I ask Shamus Heaney to stop digging
to join me for an Irish fry-up.
Before you can say rashers there’s Jimmy Joyce
and Sam Beckett at the table.
Insisting, if you please they’ll both have eggs Freud!
Rona Fitzgerald ‘s poetry is published in UK, Scottish, Irish and US,
in print and online.
Recent publications include Dreich Number 8, Season 2, April 2021, Littoral Magazine 2021, The Brown Envelope Book, 2021, The Arbroath Anthology 2021, Marble Broadsheet September 21, Fixator Press September 21, Dreich Season 4 no 3 2022, A Fish Rots From the Head, Culture Matters 2022.
The weather was so good that I left
a poem unfinished on the desk,
swapped slippers for dancing shoes
and stepped out onto the street.
As I did, every door seemed to open
in sync, disgorging a series
of flawless figures, just about recognisable
as my neighbours, dressed uniformly
in chiffon and silk – greys, blues
and powdery pinks – falling
into geometric formation.
A man passed me a parasol
and I sashayed into the swell,
toes and heels in perfect time
to the lush music that enveloped
the scene, every movement
choreographed to a jaunty rhythm,
smiles appearing on even the cloudiest
faces. When we reached the end of the street
we twirled and bowed in concert,
hats and caps erupting into the sky
as the music crescendoed and started to fade.
Conversation turned to the rumour
that a famous musical director
had bought a house on the road
and we wondered would he really fit in.
A past winner of the Trocaire/Poetry Ireland and Poems for Patience competitions, he published his debut collection, ‘Growing Up in Colour’, with Doire Press in 2018.
Curator of the Irish Centre for Poetry Studies site, his Pushcart-nominated poem, ‘The Lion Tamer Dreams of Office Work’, was the title poem of an anthology published by Hibernian Writers in 2015.
rebelled in her teens,
took against her father’s
By 20 she had left Skaro
now glides the streets of Brixham,
never too close to the slipway.
doesn’t take well to jokes
about climbing stairs.
Lives in a bungalow, though.
She enjoys cool jazz,
looks straight to camera,
has a blue light on her forehead.
She believes she got the idea
from an Indian lady.
She dresses from Saltrock,
fleece hoodies hide her spiky hair,
to blend with other Brixham folk.
wears a bra with 48 cups,
often slips it off and sighs
at the end of a long day.
She knows little of love,
can be quite abrupt
but, oh, how she glides.
Simon Williams has been writing since his teens, when he was mentored at university by Roger McGough. He has nine collections, the latest being The Magpie Almanack (www.simonwilliams.info), from Vole, published December 2020. Simon was elected The Bard of Exeter in 2013, founded the large-format magazine, The Broadsheet and published the PLAY anthology in 2018.