Poo Stick Parade by Heather Wastie

Striders, stragglers
Dog poo wardens
Puddle patrols
Sloshers, stampers
Tottering slitherers
Towpath tramplers
with Nordic poles

Herded hubbub
That’ll do! Come by!
Chatter pack therapy
Out with shouts
Three wide, ten deep
Clogging up the airwaves
Peace churned up
by regimented nature-loving louts!

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.



Foxes Don’t Wear Gloves by Emily Koch

My shrink says that when I feel blue
what I need is a deep breath of green –
that there’s “truth in the beauty of nature”,
and besides, it’s a nice change of scene.

Problem is, I’ve got issues with trust.
I’m suspicious of people (and things)
who pretend to be something they’re not
to cover up lies, thefts and flings.

So when I went out in the country
with a guide to show me this from that,
I soon realised most plants were liars,
and their fraud sparked a panic attack.

Lamb’s Ear, Monkey’s Nose and Bear’s Foot
do not pass for the organs of beasts.
Bat’s wings are not green with red berries –
I was the fool in yet another deceit.

Cupid flies, so his car is redundant,
if a hare had a bell he would ring it,
I’m yet to see a fox wearing gloves
or a cow tease a bull in her slip.

Like hell is there truth out in nature –
plants lie just as well as the rest.
Stuff my shrink and his deep breath of green,
a stiff gin’s all I need when depressed.

Emily Koch is a writer and journalist living in Bristol. She writes short stories, flash fiction and poetry and recently finished her first novel.