On waiting for a poetry journal’s acceptance/rejection email, by Terri Metcalfe

Cumbria native Terri Metcalfe moved to Ireland with her Mayo born partner and two children in 2019. From a down-to-earth, tools of the practical trade family, she only recently in her forties thought it acceptable that she might be a serious poet. Terri has endured several decades of mental and physical ill health which she draws on in her work. She has been published in Abridged, A New Ulster, Green Ink Poetry, Spilling Cocoa Over Martin Amis and Skylight 47, amongst others. 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 city library this coming January.

 

Dearly Beloved, by John Lawrence

Dearly Beloved

This poem is
gathered here

to celebrate
the matrimony
of Couplet and Tercet.

This poem is not to be entered into lightly.
Thus, we need to confess

that Couplet hath played
fast and loose
with a sestet, thrice,

and Tercet hath also succumbed
to the tenderness of carnal union

with a haiku, in an act of confused
orientation. Nonetheless,
as a measure of forgiveness

and a certain degree of apathy,
if no-one can show just cause
or impediment, I proclaim
Couplet and Tercet
to be a quintain.

John has recently moved to Cambridge (voluntarily) from Worcestershire, and writes poems (involuntarily) because he feels he has to or something bad might happen. He is a popular (reportedly) performer and has published a collection The Boy Who Couldn’t Say His Name.

 

Doctor Zeus, by Tom Barlow

Doctor Zeus

A poet in my online crit group
wrote that the unintentionally
comedic couplets in my new poem
remind her of Doctor Zeus and I

am taken with the image of lightning bolts
thrown for no reason at Yertle the Turtle,
for capriciousness makes a god a god.
I realize the Lord of Thunder would never

have allowed himself to be incarcerated
in verse meant to draw giggles
and the good Doctor Seuss would
never have written about Zeus the Moose

and his incestuous appetites, for there
was seldom any innocence in those old
ribald tales of characters fated to suffer
or deal out suffering or both. What

parent would be foolish enough to put
their child to bed with the story of a god
who eats his wife when Doctor Seuss offers
the epicurious Sam-I-Am
and his beloved eggs and ham?

Tom Barlow is an Ohio writer of poetry, short stories and novels. His attention deficit disorder has kept his pen whirling like a merry-go-round horse and poems like these are what have flown off as he desperately tries to convince the carny to stop the ride. See more at tombarlowauthor.com.

 

The Lighthouse Keeper, by Ben Macnair

Mr Jones, the Lighthouse Keeper,
had an ever increasing collection of masks,
finding them on Amazon,
going for a song on Ebay,
fading celebrities,
an Amazonian Warrior,
Donald Trump, the colour of desperation,
everyday waiting for the knock.
The Postman whistling his happy little tune,
handing over the packages,
waiting for the signatures,
the always offered cup of tea,
wanting to get away from the hundreds of faces,
with no eyes.

Mr Jones liked the silence,
time to himself,
with no disturbance,
no company.
So, when the four kids,
the two attractive ones,
the two unattractive ones,
and their Great Dane with his
liking for eight foot tall sandwiches,
called in, after being stranded
it all got a bit too much.

Mr Jones, tried on his masks,
finding the one with best fit,
and the worst intentions,
and scared the kids,
and that pesky, overweight dog right off,
but he forgot about the body in his back-yard,
the diamonds under the patio,
the blood on the roof,
from the previous tenants,
and the Police came and arrested him,
put him away for years.
No lawyer would take the case,
of a Lighthouse Keeper,
hiding behind someone else’s
plastic face.

 

I Wish I Were a Vicar, by Trisha Broomfield

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.

 

On taking a poet to bed!, by Rona Fitzgerald

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.
 

English Spelling, by Sarah Lawson

ENGLISH SPELLING

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.

 

 

A Mossy Rock in the Forest, by Robert Garnham

There's a mossy rock in the forest
A place I always like to go
A mossy rock in the woods
I go there when I'm feeling low.

And I sit on the rock in the moss
And it's hard and it makes me forget
I sit on the rock in the woods
If it’s damp it’ll make my bum wet

There's a mossy rock in the forest
Surrounded by foliage and leaves
And big arse rhododendrons
It's a place that puts me at my ease

And I sit on the rock in the moss
And the ground it's wet and spongy
And there's mushrooms sprouting up
And other types of fungi

There's a mossy rock in the forest
Its ok I suppose it could be worse
There are badgers and squirrels in the forest
That's it now I'm done with this verse

And I sit on rock in the moss
I only like to sit here a whiles
And the rock is not exactly comfy
You wouldn't want to sit here with piles

There's a mossy rock in the forest
the branches here are terribly scratchy
I try to watch some porn on my phone
But the WiFi signal here is patchy.

And I sit on the rock in the moss
And I sit on the rock in the moss
And I sit on the rock in the moss
And then my mind wanders off.

Robert Garnham has been performing LGBT comedy poetry around the UK for ten years at various fringes and festivals, and has had three collections published by Burning Eye. He has won slams in places such as London, Edinburgh and Swindon and headlined or featured at events such as Bang Said the Gun, Raise the Bar, and Milk and in 2019 was the Hammer and Tongue featured artist for a tour of the UK. He has supported artists such as John Hegley, Arthur Smith and Paul Sinha. His website is https://professorofwhimsy.com/

 

The Queen’s Secret Siberian Sisters, by Bryan Franco

Bryan Franco is from Brunswick, Maine, USA. He is published in the US, Australia, England, Ireland, and Scotland, has featured for poetry events in the US, Canada, England, Ireland, and Scotland; hosts Café Generalissimo Open Mic; his book Everything I Think Is All In My Mindwas published in 2021.

 

Jacqueline Wilson Lives Under my Bed, by Paula Gilfillan

Jacqueline Wilson Lives Under My Bed

Jacqueline Wilson lives under my bed,
eating cherries and berries as she
reads my stories scribbled on crumpled
paper. At a book signing, I
lured her into my wheely bag
with a tin of stuffed olives,
for I’m a fan as great
as any hurricane. Then, secreted her
beneath the squeaky springs and beside
the dusty socks. But every so
often, she grabs my ankle with
her ring laden fingers and pleads
to let her go. I reply,
‘One more story. Just one more.’

Bio:

Paula lives near Lockerbie with her family and an overly chatty cat. She likes scientific stuff, zombie films and books, and is partial to a slice of cake. She blogs on Twitter @paula_nicolson and Facebook as DeckyWriting.