Coastal writing for wellness competition is now open…

Our inaugural coastal writing for wellness competition is now open.

Sole adjudicator: Deborah Harvey

There are few rules other than the subject of your writing should be inspired by the coast, nature and all it encompasses. How you decide to interpret this is up to you, providing your piece is either a poem (maximum of 40 lines, excluding title, any form welcome), or a Flash Fiction piece (maximum of 500 words, excluding title, no minimum). You can submit up to three pieces and these should be unpublished and not be submitted elsewhere for publication (personal blogs are exempt). There should be no identifying factors within your submission.

Rules for entry

The competition is open to anyone aged 16 or over and should be submitted in English. Typeset 12pt Times New Roman and aligned left unless essential to form. A Word document is preferred, although a PDF is acceptable.

Entry fee is £3.50 per piece, and up to a maximum of three pieces can be submitted. This can be a mix of poetry and flash fiction if you so wish.

Submissions should be sent in one document stating; COMPETITION and the title of work/s in the email subject. Within the body of the email should be, your name & preferred contact method along with the Pay Pal reference number. Therefore, you will need to pay via Pay Pal before emailing your submission. Once your submission has been received you will receive a confirmation email (this may not be immediate).

The email for submissions is; thebeachhut7@gmail.com

The Pay Pal address for payment is; thebeachhut7@gmail.com

There will be a 1st prize of £100.00 sterling and a 2nd prize of £50.00. Commended pieces will be at the discretion of the judge.

Unfortunately, at this time, we are only able to accept submissions by email.

We can not enter in any correspondence with entrants regarding their submissions. No changes can be made to your submission once it has been received.

The closing date for entries is; midnight on the 18th April 2020.

Winners will be announced on the website and via Twitter, the week beginning; 16th May 2020. If your entry is successful, you will be contacted prior to the announcement date.

Deborah Harvey’s poems have been published in journals and anthologies, broadcast on Radio 4’s Poetry Please, and awarded several major prizes. Her poetry collections, The Shadow Factory (2019), Breadcrumbs (2016), Map Reading for Beginners (2014), and Communion (2011), are published by Indigo Dreams, while her historical novel, Dart, appeared under their Tamar Books imprint in 2013. 

Deborah tweets as @DeborahEHarvey
Facebook ~ https://www.facebook.com/Deborah.Harvey.Writer/
Instagram ~ @deborah_harvey_poet
Website ~ https://theleapingword.com/

Saint Ninian’s Cave ~ A poem by Martin Locock

Saint Ninian’s Cave

After the narrow valley
The stream dips
Beneath the beach shingle

Over to the west
A rock shelf rises
To a dark triangle

The ancient shrine
So described, at least,
A shallow cave

A place of pilgrimage
Penitence, contemplation
Gratitude for safe return

Little here to stir the soul
I think; sea, sky, stone
But nothing special

Others
Have come before
They left objects

The serious have fashioned
Twig crosses, knotted
By twisted grass

Martin Locock

Martin Locock was born in Barrow-in-Furness in what is now Cumbria and was once Lancashire North of the Sands. He has lived near Swansea in South Wales for 30 years. He has published extensively on archaeological topics, and has written five collections of poetry, the most recent being Margin of Hope. He edited the anthology Poetry from Strata Florida: an anthology of work inspired by the Ystrad Fflur landscape, c. 1350-2013. He is currently working on a second novel while trying to publish his first. He is a member of Lampeter Writers’ Workshop. He tweets @mlocock

http://www.carregffylfan.co.uk/

Photo credit; View from St Ninian’s Cave © Adam Brooks https://www.geograph.org.uk/profile/7979 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Gurnard’s Head ~ A poem by Alison Lock

Gurnard’s Head

From Gurnard’s Head I stare
at a flawless day: the blues
of swirling azure, the deep
shades of a lapis sea.

I know this place – all
of its below, its beyond
– the ways it pivots.
I feel/fear nothing.

These granite rocks
are the gate-keepers
to the falling, the flying,
where I am left to float.

Alison Lock

Previously published in Revealing the Odour of Earth, Calder Valley Poetry, 2017.

Alison Lock’s writing focuses on the relationship of humans and the environment connecting an inner world with an exploration of land and sea. Her most recent publications are a short story collection A Witness of Waxwings, Cultured Llama Press (2017); and Revealing the Odour of Earth, Calder Valley Poetry (2017). She tweets @alilock4

http://www.alisonlock.com


Photo credit @edsonrosas at http://www.unsplash.com

TRANSITION ~ A poem by John Short

TRANSITION

Around the Mani

In those days no attempt
to catch the solitude
of dark peninsulas
snaking into ocean
when viewed from paths
to higher ground
and my broken old house
as rough as dusk-light.

They were barren times
now looking back,
but lack of inspiration
was eclipsed by geography
that took me on a ride
so when traversing
an emptiness of heart
thank god for wild places:

the sea-hammered cliffs,
blue lavender hills
and scattered pockets
of pebble coves
that lay unreachable
a distance below;
thorny goat-scrub, oregano,
images that root
and lodge in memory
while paper waits for ink.

John Short

John Short’s poems and stories have appeared widely in magazines such as Barcelona Ink, Envoi, Blue Nib, Frogmore Papers, The High Window, Orbis and Poetry Salzburg Review. Nominated for the Pushcart Prize last year, his debut pamphlet Unknown Territory will be published by Black Light Engine Room in 2020.

Photo credit @imiankuik at http://www.unsplash.com

Two poems by ~ Simon Williams

Morning Blue

Sea and sky in their acrylics,
before the surfers take their palette knives
and carve their abstracts through the white crests

before the fishing boats make a collage,
dragging their glue of nets through the tide’s pot,
highlighting their decks with silver,

before the pointillism of people
in their primary pants and tops,
their windbreaks like Kandinskys,

there is the bay’s Blue Period,
as if all other colours have gone by the by,
when the air brushes everybody out.

Simon Williams

*

Pebble on Sand

It’s all down to relative hardness,
one stone grinding on others,
a billion others from here to the cliff.

Some slurry down to sand,
when the rock is soft (a low Mohs index)
down to the royal yellow footprint-taker.

Some, made of stronger stuff,
tumble in the sea’s stone polish,
come up shining like a dolphin’s sweet.

Simon Williams

Simon Williams (http://www.simonwilliams.info) has eight published collections, his latest being a co-authored pamphlet with Susan Taylor, The Weather House (www.indigodreams.co.uk/williams-taylor/4594076848), which is also touring in performance. Simon was elected The Bard of Exeter in 2013, founded the large-format magazine, The Broadsheet and is developing a one-man poetry show, Cosmic Latte. He tweets @greatbigbadger

Photo credit @hookie1001 at http://www.unsplash.com

Submissions are now CLOSED

  1. We welcome submissions of poetry, flash fiction and the occasional short story that specifically, and also loosely, follows a coastal theme. Use your imagination! We enjoy pieces that are contemporary and that may have been hiding under rocks for fear of being discovered. We particularly celebrate writing that has healed, or been part of a journey. That has been a cathartic process and is to be celebrated as such.
  2. Please email your poetry (up to 45 lines) flash fiction (up to 500 words) and the occasional short story (up to 1,500), in one Word document, titles excluded. Accompanied by a short (up to 50 words) third person bio. We would prefer unpublished pieces, it’s always nice to be able to publish a new great piece, but, pieces that have already been published, will be considered. Please state where published when submitting.
  3. Copyright remains with the author at all times, but we appreciate the celebration of your first publication should you go on to have the piece published elsewhere.
  4. We will not enter into discussions about rejection of pieces, and whilst we appreciate that this can be disheartening (yes, we have been there), please do not take the rejection personally, for it is not intended to be so. We will wish you good luck elsewhere. Never give up, and remember, this is not a competition.
  5. We are sorry, but at this moment in time, we do not pay for any submissions accepted.
  6. We aim to reply within two weeks of submission date (although please do not hold us to this) and rest assured, every submission will be read. Acceptance, as perviously stated, is not on merit of previous publications or awesomeness, but on pieces that we feel reflect what we are aiming to showcase her at The Beach Hut.
  7. Please submit your pieces (no more than three, which can be a mix of poetry and fiction) to; thebeachhut7@gmail.com We will post here when submissions are closed.
  8. Please do not resubmit for a further two months, regardless of acceptance or rejection.
  9. Please read all of the above carefully.
  10. We are crazy, coastal loving, word consuming, volunteers; we don’t get paid for this. Please be respectful.
  11. We actively encourage writing as a wellbeing tool. To heal and to use nature as your inspiration and we wish you well on your journey.
  12. Submissions will be closing from 6th January 2020 (midnight) and will reopen again on the 30th March 2020.

Sea (St Clair, 19th November 2017) ~ A poem by Shereen Asha Murugayah

Sea
St Clair, 19 November 2017

Tracking the sand
in perfect blue–green,
you leave a deep shine
rising from her face.

None of what you whisper is for me
so I slip this shell in my pocket,
let the sand trail warm there.

The next time I reach in,
I will remember
sand caking my toes
and your waves breaking me clean.

Shereen Asha Murugayah

Shereen Asha Murugayah was born and bred in Kuala Lumpur and lives in Dunedin. She received her PhD in biochemistry this year. Her poems have appeared in Rambutan Literary, The New Zealand Poetry Yearbook 2018 and Right Hand Pointing. She tweets as @Shereen_Asha

Photo credit @estherann at http://www.unsplash.com

Hebridean Seaweed Soup ~ A poem by Bruach Mhor

Hebridean Seaweed Soup

Sea Whistle? A broth of Dead Man’s Rope?
A fusion of Fucus flavours:
Bladderwrack, Spiral Wrack, Channelled Wrack?

Or perhaps a mash of Devil’s Apron/
bulbous prongs of Velvet Horn?
Something named only in Gaelic, with a little garlic?
Each summer evening, after a long Atlantic swim
(no skins), I cook and try the day’s find,
ranging ever further out onto rarely visited skerries of taste.

Bruach Mhor

An earlier version has been previously published by Ekphrastic Review.

Bruach Mhor lives by a loch, is transitioning into a seal, tries to walk mindfully. His poems have most recently appeared in Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Lake, Re-Side, Morphrog, The Broken Spine Artists Collective, Plumwood Mountain, Poetry Village, Emerald (Monstrous Regiment). He tweets as @dolphins_two

Photo credit @wolfgang_hasslemann at http://www.unsplash.com

BALTIMORE, COUNTY CORK ~ A poem by Maureen Weldon

BALTIMORE, COUNTY CORK

That day,
sky, mountains, cliffs and glorious wind-swept air.

How could I not dance?
Dance among sea pinks and spongy grasses.

Climb sheer rugged rocks.
‘To the Beacon,’ my friend called.

There, secure between two boulders, I looked down,
down on smoke-blue, sun-diamond sea.

Maureen Weldon

Previously published in Poetry Space Winter Showcase 2016, Edited by Johanna Boal

Maureen Weldon is Irish. 2014 represented Wales at Ukraine’s Terra Poetica. Her poetry has been widely published, including Crannog, Poetry Scotland, Open Mouse, Vsesvit, Ink Sweat & Tears. She has published five chapbooks, latest, 2014 ‘Midnight Robin’ Poetry Space Ltd. Now hugely looking forward to her Red Squirrel Press Pamphlet in 2020

Photo credit @bumbleandmoss http://www.tinamedwardswriter.com

Comino ~ A poem by Graham Burchell

Comino

One hill of a rock worried with holes
and margined with turquoise sea.

One crusty cheese, a brie perhaps, pecked at,
punctuated with moulds of olive and grey.

One infant between its mother Gozo
and its father Malta:

one Comino (cumin seed), a dry child
holding its head above water,

one at peace in the smell of its own skin –
baby skin, limestone – upper coralline,

one sedimentary compaction that whispers
and waves to ferry boats too grand to call.

Graham Burchell

Graham Burchell lives in Devon and has four published collections. He is a 2013 Hawthornden Fellow, winner of the 2015 Stanza competition, runner up in the BBC Proms Poetry Competition 2016, a 3rd prize winner in the 2017 Bridport Prize, a poem highly commended in the 2018 Forward prize for best single poem. He is one of five that organises the Teignmouth Poetry Festival.

http://www.poetryteignmouth.com/festival-2020.html

Photo credit @egle_sidaraviciute at http://www.unsplash.com

Tuscan Sea Scenes ~ A poem by Jenny Robb

Tuscan Sea Scenes

The Caribbean white sands of Vada
have lost their spring banks of seaweed.
Fishing lines and tattered plastic lace
mingle with towels and migrant men
patrolling and selling, wave after wave.

In Rosignano Solvay
the factory with its pluming towers
releases bi-carbonate waste
into turquoise sea.
Tuscan town and village life survives.

In Pomaia red-robed buddhist monks
meditate, watching fields
roll down to a distant milky sea.
The lowering sun anoints it with gold
in defiance of fading light.

From the Castellina hills
a fiery mushroom cloud sunset,
barely disturbs the slate sea.

Jenny Robb


Jenny lives in Liverpool and has been writing poetry since her teens but only seriously since retiring. She is an ex social worker/NHS worker. She loves Italy and visits as often as possible. She has poems in The Morning Star, in a forthcoming George Eliot anthology, (Yaffle Press), and in the next issue of Nightingale and Sparrow literary magazine. She tweets @jirobb


Photo credit @m_d_adventures at http://www.unsplash.com

Sea Salt Breath ~ A poem by Ryan Dodge

Sea Salt Breath

The closer I grow
to the land of sand,
the unmistakable

scent of salty air;
natural, cleansing, freshness.
Each breath of serenity

fills my lungs and mind;
old pains swept away
straight out to sea.

I know they’ll be
sent back to me;
waves come and go.

But my home is the shore
on the edge
of blue eternity.

Ryan Dodge

Ryan Dodge is a writer of poetry and fiction, currently living in Los Angeles. When not writing, he is printing letterpress at Iron Curtain Press, enjoying the married life, and talking to his cats like they’re children. He has previously been published in The Dawntreader, Penwood Review and Chantwood Magazine.

He tweets @ryandodgewrites

https://ryandodge23.wixsite.com/writing

Photo credit @solamander at http://www.unsplash.com

The wading bird ~ A poem by Gail Ingram

The wading bird

When I think of bitterns, I’m sad
I haven’t seen one

since that time I mucked out
the horse paddocks. I was 12.

It lived in the boundary ditch.
I don’t think it looked at me

but I studied it
for quite some time.

Long neck, the most striking thing
feathers dappled brown

beak pointed upwards, gullet
exposed to the sky

as if frozen, perhaps it knew
I was there after all. That day

it was warm, the zephyrs carried
the dusty smell of horses.

I never saw it again
but when certain people say

a bittern’s been sighted along the track
or at the end of another estuary

I take longer to walk that way,
staring over the bank to the settlers’ shore

where steam engines used to blow
and wonder if it’s hiding

or camouflaged in the brown reeds
because I don’t want to die

without seeing another bittern
booming to the breeze.

Gail Ingram

Gail Ingram writes and lives in Christchurch, NZ. She is the author of Contents Under Pressure (2019 Pūkeko Publications). Her poetry has been widely published and anthologized. In 2019 she won the Caselberg International Poetry Prize. She was also the winner of NZPS International Poetry Competition 2016. She is a poetry editor for takahē magazine and a short fiction editor for Flash Frontier: An Adventure in Short Fiction. More at https://www.theseventhletter.nz/

Photo credit @ https://www.norfolk-norwich.com/news/spotting-the-elusive-bittern-in-norfolk.php

Poems by Penelope Shuttle from her forthcoming collection ~ Lyonesse

When and If

you write about Lyonesse
write in silver ink on scarlet parchment

describe lions and sea-gardens
but never mention

the life of Christ
His all-seeing eyes are blind to Lyonesse

If and when
you draw a map of our metropolis

include every sundial and boulevard
paint the circling city walls bright

as a marriage belt woven of ten colour-silks
two more than the rainbow for Lethowsow

When and if
you record the day the Fool of Leonnoyes

heard a golden Lion roar a warning
every hour on the hour

Fool who watched the city slip under the wave
but never said a word

tell that to the credulous world
straight from the water-horse’s gob

Penelope Shuttle

Inscribed on a Stela found on the seabed

down here
no one cares
if you’re honest or a liar
rich or poor
the only virtue here
is how much
you’ve forgotten
of that blood-boltered world
above the shiver
and pound
of the waves
you must forget everything
says Lyonesse
everything but
down
here

Penelope Shuttle

Penelope Shuttle lives in Cornwall, and is President of the Falmouth Poetry Group. She has published many collections of poems, most recently Lzrd: Poems from The Lizard Peninsula (with Alyson Hallett) November 2018, IDP, and Will You Walk a Little Faster? Bloodaxe, May 2017. Forthcoming: Lyonesse, from Bloodaxe, Spring 2021.

http://www.penelopeshuttle.co.uk

Tweeting as @penelopeshuttle

Photo credit @yamispap at http://www.unsplash.com

Before The Rot Sets In ~ A poem by Alun Robert

Before The Rot Sets In

Cut. Sliced. Planed.

I weathered in a drying yard
seasoned with my siblings.
Preserved for my strength, my close grain.
Chosen by my master.

Thought I would be here for a year or two
not decades, but I am.
Experienced proxigen tides.
The storm of ’53.
Waves crashing
intense flooding.
Dutchmen flying loose from their moorings.

Have longitudinal cracks from incliment weather.
Have lichen for my beret.
Spartina worshipping my base.
Black ants cajoling, deep inside my crevises.
Had holes bored into me
to secure horizontal planks of oak
restraining rampant costal erosion but
we are as effective as Canute
lasting to nearly last summer
before the rot sets in.

Alun Robert

A Scot of Irish ancestry, Alun Robert is a prolific creator of lyrical free verse achieving success in poetry competitions. His work has been widely published in British, Irish and North American literary magazines, anthologies and ezines. In September 2019, he was Featured Writer for the Federation of Writers Scotland.

Photo credit @gamevogue at http://www.unsplash.com

I married sea glass ~ A poem by Rachel Burns

I married sea glass

Bean green and smooth in the hand
the taste of salt on my lips.
A gabble of gulls flocked white
as I walked with the tide
past shipwrecks, past the drowned.
Swam with bottlenose dolphins
and harbour seals
until the chains of the shipwrecks
caught in my hair
pulled me down
saltwater filled my lungs.
The drowned gathered to watch.
I held the bean green sea glass
like a hymn to a requiem mass.

Rachel Burns

Rachel Burns is published recently in Crannog, Poetry Salzburg Review, Ink, Sweat & Tears and is anthologised in #MeToo poetry anthology & Pale Fire, New Writing on the Moon. She was placed in poetry competitions Keats-Shelley Poetry Prize 2017, Primers Four and BBC Poetry Proms Competition 2019. She has a poetry pamphlet published December 2019 with Vane Women Press, ‘a girl in a blue dress’. She tweets as @RachelLBurnsme

Photo credit @janasabeth at http://www.unsplash.com

BEACHING ~ A poem by Jennifer McGowan

BEACHING

Pebbles and bone
not yet ground to sand
chirp and tumble in chorus.

A sharp crack:
one dividing,
a step closer to land.

Tides drill keyholes
into the rocks. No key
will ever open them

into a bloody chamber,
or any new world.
One last time

we walk hand in hand
through the salt-sting.

Jennifer McGowan

Obtaining her MA and PhD from the University of Wales, Jennifer has performed in many countries, both spoken word and unspoken word (mime). She likes to hide in the fifteenth century, only with modern plumbing.

http://www.jennifermcgowan.com

Photo credit @eastonmok at http://www.unsplash.com

Coasting ~ A poem by Chaucer Cameron

Coasting

Gretna Green
she still believes
in fairytales

pier on fire
only mud beneath waves
kittiwakes hover

silent movie
the house next door
has no blinds

sunset in winter
sudden downpour
they make a lovely couple

empty beach
white sand between toes

Chaucer Cameron

Chaucer Cameron has been published in journals and online including: The North 63 (forthcoming) and I am Not a Silent Poet. Her film poems have screened internationally at film and poetry festivals, including: Zebra (Berlin) Athens and Ledbury. Chaucer created Wild Whispers an international poetry film project. She runs poetry-film workshops in the UK and is co-editor of Poetry Film Live. She tweets @ChaucerCameron


Further information can be found by visiting the below links…
http://poetryfilmlive.com/
https://elephantsfootprint.com/
https://bigpoetryweekend.com

Photo credit @timothypaulsmith_436580_sink at http://www.unsplash.com

At Anchor, Las Cuevitas ~ A poem by Katy McKinney

At Anchor, Las Cuevitas

This is not one of those nights
when the empty wine bottle
will lurch from the table
then roll to the left, roll to the right
(for hours,) when the wind will play
the stays and shrouds, wail unearthly harmonics,
when the unlatched cupboards will spew their plates
to shatter on the floor.

This is not one of those nights
when we’ll listen for drug boats,
worry about being boarded.

On this night, Venus
will lay her wake on the water.
The ocean, for once, will hold itself still.
Invisible dolphins will circle the boat,
in the dark: only their breath.

Come below with me
to the nest we’ve made
of orange sheets and sweat.
Toss your salty clothes on the floor.

Climb into the cradle formed
by these slant wooden walls and my arms.

Kiss the fear from my lips.
Let the day sift from you.

On this night, the anchor will hold.

Katy McKinney

Katy McKinney lives in the Pacific Northwest for much of the year, and on a sailboat in Mexico for the remainder. She has published poems in a variety of print and online journals, as well as in several anthologies. She is the author of one book of poems, Fireproofing the Woods.

http://www.katymckinney.com

Photo credit @acastillejos at http://www.unsplash.com

Found Footsteps in the Sand ~ A poem by Sheila Aldous

Found Footsteps in the Sand

Found the trails of molluscs
washed away before the tide
could tell their tale

Found the cormorant
still as a statue
his ebony body, talking

Found a tree its leaves
the hair of a dead dog
floating by

Found the seagull hovering
landing his message:
this log is my log

Found the seal
grinning up close
spreading his word

Found the girl running
young limbs breaking
feathered lines of retreating waves

Found her footprints in the sand
unreadable in the surf.

Sheila Aldous

Sheila Aldous lives by the River Teign and often walks down the beach to the smugglers’ tunnel. She has been widely published in several journals and has won the Yeovil Prize for Poetry. She has been short-listed for the Bridport Prize. Her collections Paper Boats and Patterns of All Made Things were published in 2018 and 2019. Sheila can be contacted at paperboatsteignmouth@gmail.com

Photo credit @rawfilm at http://www.unsplash.com

TRACKS ~ A poem by John Grey

TRACKS

Tracks come easy to the world…
a line of forks in snow,
dour imprints in the mud,
tiny blots on shifting sand.
My footprints are forgotten
the moment they are made
but these spoors speak of
movement, hunger, the camaraderie
of flocks and packs and herds.
The paw is a mighty story teller.
The hoof speaks from an hour before.
Talons are brief messages
for heads to separate
their barred owls from their hawks.
I walk a beach, a thousand crisscrossed journeys:
sanderlings, snipes, ruddy turnstones.
The tide rolls in, intent on blotting
out these tales.
But that just gifts the laughing gulls
something else to laugh about.

John Grey

John Grey is an Australian poet and US resident. He is published in
That, Dunes Review, Poetry East and North Dakota Quarterly with work
upcoming in Qwerty, Thin Air, Dalhousie Review and failbetter.

Photo credit @topazspirit at http://www.unsplash.com

From Brean Down ~ A poem by Sharon Phillips

From Brean Down

The puddled beach reflects a cloud
that floats off to glistening mudflats,
then to Steep Holm, Flat Holm, Wales
over water thick and brown with silt,

though from the Down, you can see
how the murky waves catch the light
so a blue lustre glazes their crests
and a day long forgotten comes back:

brown sea with a blue iridescence,
strong hands on your waist, lifting you
onto a donkey, its sweet dusty smell,
the shreds of pale straw in its mane,
Dad holding you safe in the saddle.

Sharon Phillips

Sharon’s poems have been published in print and online. She won the Borderlines Poetry Competition in 2017, was among the winners of the Poetry Society Members’ Competition in November 2018 and was Highly Commended in the Bridport Prize (2019). Sharon has recently moved to Otley, in West Yorkshire, from the Isle of Portland. She tweets @sharoncowling

http://www.outtograss.wordpress.com

Photo credit Sally Griffiths at https://www.thewestonmercury.co.uk/news/can-you-visit-steep-holm-island-1-5232312

Dolphins ~ A poem by Peter Burrows

Dolphins

How many years were we so close, passing by
these same villages on family drives:
the harbour, the beach, climbing rocks unseeing
beyond our own world. No helpful signs back then
that such wonders we thought existed only
on TV were chasing shoals along this same stretch,
each summer. Fleeting moments missed – a gift
for that day – blessing anew a pastime and place.

Decades later, you returned. Further north,
nearer to shore, soon alone. But reaching out
and shown the seasons’ rhythm, you happened
upon them in those same haunts. On my annual
visits, I still stand where I used to stand
looking out to claim what was always there.

Peter Burrows

Peter Burrows’ poems have appeared widely. His poem Tracey Lithgow was shortlisted for theHedgehog Press 2019 Cupid’s Arrow Poetry Prize, and he was a co-winner in the Hedgehog Press 2019 Tree Poets Nature anthology.

http://www.peterburrowspoetry.wordpress.com

He tweets @Peter_Burrows74

https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/news/our-pick-scotlands-east-coast-beaches/0015893/ photo credit

Starfish ~ A poem by Pippa Little

Starfish

Draped akimbo
on warm stone, limp as
gingerbread
or Hands of Glory –

after turn of tide
left curled in yellow buckets
drying out, old socks
beside a picnic:

in half light
as day recedes
something stirs –
nothing to see

they lift
as one
and flit,

weary spaceships
far from home.

Pippa Little

Pippa Little has two collections, Overwintering (Carcanet 2012) and Twist (Arc 2017). She runs reflective writing workshops for first year Newcastle University students for the Royal Literary Fund. Her poetry is widely published in magazines, on radio, film and in anthologies. She leads poetry workshops, mentors and writes reviews. She tweets @pippalittle1

Photo credit @mattartz at http://www.unsplash.com

WE WALK THE BEACH ~ A poem by Gareth Culshaw

WE WALK THE BEACH

That day on the beach at Llandanwg.
The sky pressing itself against the sea,
pushed waves from the other side
of this eye we call earth. Our soles grappled
with pebbles, eyesight – splintered by
the lemon light. We talked with the gulls
that promised rain but brought a gust.
Seaweed – wet dreadlocks of a history
we have never seen. Jellyfish, solder blobs
of a tide that took away last night’s stars.
Left us with a horizon that flamed itself
far out, far out, but we carried on
along the pregnant curve of water
in hope the pebbles thin to sand
allow our steps to print the sky.
My right shoulder held the pots of houses
that hem a village that is split by a road,
we will use to travel home.
Mountains were lizard teeth against a froth
of cloud. People’s kitchen voices gobbled up
by the waves hush. We carried on. Knowing
on my left, a liquid tongue, licks away
at a place we all call home.

Gareth Culshaw

Gareth lives in Wales. His first collection came out in 2018 by Futurecycle called The Miner. In 2020, his second collection, Shadows of Tryfan is released. He is an MFA student at Manchester Met. Also nominated for Best of the Net. Gareth’s first collection, ‘The Miner’ is available now at: http://gcwculshaw.moonfruit.com/

He tweets @Culshawpoetry1

YouTube Channel – Gareth Culshaw Poetry – https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TZHzyZDnBU4

Photo credit by Emma Leeke ~ https://dioni.co.uk/cottages/traditional-seaside-holiday-cottage-in-llandanwg-glan-y-mor/attachment/llandanwg-beach-nearby/

The Collectors ~ A poem by Alison Jones

The Collectors

Brighton beach, midsummer,
the elements caress each other,
as if winning attention is a great competition.
Which piece of plastic shines brightest on the rocks?

Beneath a steel grey sky, beside gunmetal shimmer,
we walk, leaning into the wind, ice-cream and fairings
our worthy ballast. We carry the remains in a sturdy cloth bag.

Busily, a man with a machine sweeps the foreshore,
swooping, arcs mapping the day’s contours,
holding hopes of a worthy hoard.
He tries to constellate things back together.

Beneath his breath, my son whispers,
he’ll only find bottle tops and other problems
My eyes question, so he continues to tell me the truth.
We reach for our black bag and make our own collection.
a few wrappers from France, a bottle that maybe Chinese.

Besides, I know what real treasure is,
and he raises a shining pebble – here –
between finger and thumb is a miracle of time.
I pick up rope and fishing line, disentangle a crab,
long dead, ensnared by mistake, never rescued.

We are shaped by the circular breathing seas.
In that moment, I know that a child’s wisdom is right.
There will never be conflict with nature for me.
One person cannot hold it back, yet each time we visit,
like others, we kneel in prayer and gather debris.

Brighton beach, midsummer,
grey sea, hard sky, bringing me all the lessons I need,
the challenges of having enough and cleaning up,
to keep the magic and wonder possible to hold,
in a small hand’s grasp.

Alison Jones

Alison Jones is a teacher, and writer with work published in a variety of places, from Poetry Ireland Review, Proletarian Poetry and The Interpreter’s House, to The Green Parent Magazine and The Guardian. She has a particular interest in the role of nature in literature and is a champion of contemporary poetry in the secondary school classroom. Her pamphlet, ‘Heartwood’ was published by Indigo Dreams in 2018, with a second pamphlet. ‘Omega’, and a full collection forthcoming in 2020.
https://www.indigodreams.co.uk/alison-jones/4594492474

Photo credit @bjhguenn at http://www.unsplash.com

Seaside ~ A poem by Paul Brookes

Seaside

at seven gob full of sticky
pink cloud, sucks on column
of lettered sugar, giggles
in mechanical whirl.

at seventeen lugs full of raucous beat
fills our no confidence,
and, if lucky, a fumble
in the wet between her thighs
beneath the pier.

at fifty seven, another beach
of quiet silver haired contentment
a bench of rich silence
to admire the soft waves lap
and digest a good meal.

Paul Brookes

Paul Brookes is a shop asst. His chapbooks include The Headpoke and Firewedding (Alien Buddha Press, 2017), She Needs That Edge (Nixes Mate Press, 2017 2018) The Spermbot Blues (OpPRESS, 2017), Please Take Change (Cyberwit.net, 2018), As Folk Over Yonder ( Afterworld Books, 2019). He edits The Wombwell Rainbow Interviews. He tweets @PaulDragonwolf1

https://thewombwellrainbow.com/

https://m.facebook.com/PaulBrookesWriter

Photo credit @jcreamer898 at http://www.unsplash.com

One Summer: Orcas in the Bay ~ A poem by Wes Lee

One Summer: Orcas in the Bay

We began excitedly moving out of the sea —
not in a furious tumble the way
we would at the sight of a shark.

Lines of cars stopped on the road,
people climbing out to raise their hands
above their eyes.

A swirling fracas as they thrashed under the waves.
The huge male surfacing in front of us barely
ten feet away.

‘Probably hunting something. Most likely stingrays,’
someone said.

And after, it felt as if we’d been pumped with helium.
As if earth’s gravity had loosened its grip
and all the parts of us were trying to lift off.

Telling the story again.
Wanting to hear it from each other’s lips;
provoking each other to embellish it.

Polishing each aspect.
Then we set it down.

Wes Lee

Won second prize in The Takahē Monica Taylor Poetry Prize 2017, judged by Elizabeth Smither.

Wes Lee’s writing has appeared in a number of journals and anthologies, including
The Stinging Fly, Poetry London, Magma, The London Magazine, Poetry New Zealand, The Australian Poetry Journal, The Stony Thursday Book. She has won a number of awards for her poetry, most recently the Poetry New Zealand Prize 2019 (Massey University Press). Her latest collection is By the Lapels (Steele Roberts Aotearoa, 2019).

http://www.weslee.co.nz

Photo credit @vicsemprini at http://www.unsplash.com

Clouds Reflected ~ A poem by Angela Topping

Clouds Reflected

Even a puddle can do this:
become a piece of sky
layered with trees
beside the wild garlic.

Angela Topping

Angela Topping has 8 collections and 4 pamphlets of poetry to her name. She is a former Writer in Residence at Gladstone’s Library, and her work has appeared in quality journals and over 100 anthologies. She tweets @AngelaTopping

https://angelatopping.wordpress.com/

Photo credit @thesollers at http://www.unsplash.com

A Conference Of Crows ~ A poem by Paul Waring

A Conference Of Crows

They paint black coats
on fence poles, perched
close to the waterfront

arms behind backs
stern as schoolmasters
in gowns at assembly

stare fearless into wind
raging from Irish Sea
taking turns to caw

strategy in corvid code.
A morning conference
with murderous intent –

shared intelligence
about feeding grounds,
comings and goings

and timing of raids
from nearby nests;
family and friends

await news broken
like fresh-baked bread –
the agenda for the day.

Paul Waring

First published by Rat’s Ass Review, 2017

Paul Waring’s poems have been published in a number of journals, anthologies and online magazines. He was awarded second place in the 2019 Yaffle Prize and commended in the Welshpool Poetry Competition. ‘Quotidian’, his debut pamphlet, is published by Yaffle Press. His WordPress site is https://waringwords.blog and he tweets at @drpaulwaring

Photo credit @hannes_wolf at http://www.unsplash.com

Lyngbakr ~ A poem by Dominic Weston

Lyngbakr

An Icelander, eight centuries past, wrote of a sea beast so vast
that heather, perhaps even trees, took root across its back –
looming above the Arctic waters it could be perilously
mistaken for an island

In northern Botswana the stark rise and fall of Sable Hill breaks
like a whale’s back above the eternally flat and wide Kalahari
the bone-dry spring denudes its pelt of Appleleaf and Acacia,
giving it a moth-eaten air

Sable lies in wait, at the shallow edge of a landlocked fossil sea
whose waves, now long gone, once scoured its craggy flanks
and rolled the rocky parings smooth, then buried them
as huge shoals of pebbles

Every century slides onwards slowly for the immense Lyngbakr,
with its salt-rimed, barnacle-blind eyes below the surface
it is unaware that the sun has stolen the water, and the wind
has replaced it with sand

But, on a night when the sheet metal moon shudders up high
and turns the flatlands to steel, Sable is slick and sleek again
and it recalls the endless mineral cold of the Greenland Sea
and why it had to leave

Dominic Weston


First published in Skylight 47

Dominic Weston produces wildlife programmes, runs over hills and writes poetry. His work can often be about family, the natural world, or both – frequently undercut by a slick of darkness. Form and pattern dictate the work on the page, but he has also gone off piste into Poetry Film. He tweets @Limescale

http://www.dominic@flipflopfilms.com

Photo credit @anniespratt at http://www.unsplash.com

On Walking to Fleet Church ~ A poem by Tee Francis

On Walking to Fleet Church

We trod the ancient coastal path
warm-baked on an April Sunday.
Felt the thud of our feet lay down
the desk-bound work of a digital week.
Swung the wind-worn kissing gate,
The Fleet stretched out its long sand arm,
held us close in the glistening heat.

Oystercatchers, egrets and terns
stalked the Chesil Beach lagoon
while we turned driftwood, shells and thoughts.
In peace, we walked to the small stone church,
ushered in by field-spun larks; the grassland
laced with fritillaries and bees.
We communed in the blessing of this day,
exhaled our praise into the breeze.

Tee Francis

On Walking to Fleet Church was first published in The Curlew 2017

Tee Francis lives in Dorset and performs her poetry in the South West. Her pamphlet, Sherbet Lemons, was published in 2019. She holds an MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes and is interested in the use of poetry and journaling to overcome procrastination and to navigate complex PTSD.

Website: feelwrite.co.uk
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/feelwriteUK/ She tweets @TeeFrancisPoet


Photo credit: the author

Sea Dreams ~ Flash Fiction by Angi Holden

Sea Dreams

‘Describe it to me,’ the therapist says.
She leans back against the cool black leather and closes her eyes.
‘It’s always the same,’ she says. ‘There’s a long, flat beach. Sand the palest gold you could imagine. As far as you can see, no-one. Not a soul. The sea is so far out it would take minutes to walk to the edge.’ She opens her eyes and begins to sit up. ‘It’s ridiculous. I live in Nebraska, about as far from the sea as you could get. I’ve not seen the ocean since I was a child.’
The therapist shakes his head and motions her to lay back.
‘Your dream,’ he says. ‘The beach.’ She closes her eyes again.
‘I have a towel. A round one; always a round towel. I lay it on the sand where I know the tide will turn. I know the exact spot. I relax on the towel and wait for the waves to creep towards me, knowing that just as they reach my feet the tide will turn. Every time it does. But sometimes, once or twice a month, this man appears.’ She stops and draws a deep breath. The room is silent apart from the rhythm of raindrops against the window.
‘Describe him,’ the therapist says.
‘He is tall and fair. It’s the wrong sort of beach, but he looks like a surfer, tanned and athletic. There is a fluid balance to his movements.’
‘Do you know him?’ the therapist asks.
‘No. Never seen him before.’ Her lie is emphatic, perhaps a little too quick. Her lids are still closed and she does not see the therapist raise an eyebrow. ‘He is a little too perfect, you know? Flawless. Like someone from a book, or a model from a fashion shoot. He smiles but just as I think he might speak he turns and grabs the waves, actually grabs them, like they’re linen sheets. He runs towards the dunes, pulling the waves behind him, covering me in the sea.’ She stops abruptly. The rain continues to patter against the windowpane.
‘Does it frighten you?’ the therapist asks.
‘No. I feel immense calm. The sea is warm and I can breathe, even though I’m covered in water. I can see tiny fish darting between fronds of seaweed, and there are pearly shells underfoot. But the man has gone and I need to find him. That’s when I wake up.’ She opens her eyes. The clock on the mantelpiece shows her hour is nearly up. The therapist suggests some exercises she might consider and reminds her to write up her dream diary.
‘We’ll talk some more next week,’ he says, watching her go.
As she leaves the therapist spots the shimmer of sand beside the chair, the lustre of small pearlescent shells crushed beneath her shoes. And without needing to slip his hand into his jacket pocket, he knows he will find a single mermaid’s purse, pale and translucent, its tendrils still soft and damp.

Angi Holden

First published by Visual Verse ~ https://visualverse.org/submissions/sea-dreams/

Angi Holden’s poetry and short-fictions explore the environment, family history and personal experience. Her pamphlet Spools of Thread won the Mother’s Milk Pamphlet Prize. Her short story Painting Stones for Virginia was a 2018 Cheshire Prize for Literature prize winner. Her work is currently shortlisted for the Lichfield Cathedral Prize. She tweets @josephsyard

Photo credit @jfelise at http://www.unsplash.com

The Widow Maker ~ A poem by The Beach Huts co-editor, Tina M Edwards

Tina M Edwards is an internationally published poet and writer of flash fiction. She is an advocate of writing for wellbeing and in particular the benefits this has for C/PTSD sufferers. She is co-editor at The Beach Hut, a new online writing platform which celebrates the inspiration of the coast and nature. Her debut novel is due to be published in the summer of 2020.

The boy who walked into the sea ~ A poem by Ruthie Starling

The Boy who walked into the sea

You travelled so far inland
you no longer heard her voice
ignored all her reminders.
The hiss of your salty blood
taste of your tears, cascade of your hair –
how could she make it clearer?

You no longer sensed her whispers
felt her throbbing need to absorb you
yet she has drawn you back to the shoreline
sure as tide-pull, hauled to account
for all the distance between then and now
let her wash away those yesterdays

she will percuss waves of soft sound magic
gently in your ears, tickling air and bubbles
piping if only, melting fire to ice
she’ll shower you with spindrift kisses
stop your mouth with gifts of liquid emeralds,
reclaim you as her own

Ruthie Starling

Ruthie Starling worked for many years as a psychotherapist.She lives in Shropshire as both writer and artist, where she writes with warmth, inspired by nature, family and mythology. Her belief in the unity of all living things underpins her work. Published by Emma Press, Fairacre Press, Three Drops, As Above, so Below. She tweets as @ruthiestarling

Photo credit @daiga_ellaby at http://www.unsplash.com

Busking on Broadstairs Beach ~ A poem by Lesley Quayle

Busking on Broadstairs Beach

The night was liquid,
a sultry, heady brew
when we unlocked the music,
cool plains of sax
and smoky coils
of rhythm from an old guitar,
no rush when the song,
smooth as a dark river,
smooched the air.

Out across gold water
cruised by moon
and the whisky glow
of the promenade lights,
it streamed like sparks,
grazing sea now and then,
laidback, sighing.

From somewhere
the hurdy gurdy gabble
of a fairground organ
waddled into the night,
bumped into our busking,
made us turn up the volume
till an irate romeo chased us –
coitus interruptus-

sax and sex one summer night
on Broadstairs beach.

Lesley Quayle

Lesley Quayle is a widely published, prizewinning poet and a folk/blues singer, currently living in Dorset. Her poetry collection, Sessions, was published by Indigo dreams and her latest pamphlet, Black Bicycle, was published last year by 4Word Independent poetry press. She tweets @lesley_quayle

Photo credit @nihaldemirci at http://www.unsplash.com

Méduses ~ A poem by Dru Marland

Méduses

Some things the sea gives back to you;
Blue of the sky, the odd drowned thing;
And sometimes when it’s resting between storms
You can lean over the gunwale,
Peer down through a silence
That at first seems black
But is an endless absence,
With distant galaxies of jellyfish.

Dru Marland

Dru Marland used to work at sea on big ships but now lives quietly among the voles on the Kennet and Avon canal, drawing pictures. Her illustrated collection Drawn Chorus (an alphabet of birds) was published in 2007 by Gert Macky Books. Dru tweets @Dru_Marland.

Photo credit @arushee at http://www.unsplash.com

Vacation ~ Flash Fiction by Helen Laycock

Vacation

Dorothy Anderson loved and feared the sea in equal measure. She whiled away long summer days in a striped chair, placed in the doorway of her candy-coloured beach hut.

Today, her pleasure had been derived from watching a family, the parents relaxing in deckchairs, the little girl building and decorating sandcastles, and the boy digging.

The tide was rushing in as they left, and Dorothy was in a hurry to get her feet wet, just up to her ankles – her early evening ritual.

When the family returned the next day, the deep, deep hole had gone. And so had Dorothy.

Helen Laycock

Helen Laycock, previously a lead writer at Visual Verse, features in several editions of The Best of CafeLit. Recently longlisted by Mslexia, pieces are showcased in Popshot, Poems for Grenfell, Full Moon and Foxglove, The Caterpillar, Cabinet of Heed, Reflex Fiction and Lucent Dreaming, whose inaugural flash competition she won. She tweets as @helen_laycock

https://helenlaycock.wixsite.com/helen-laycock

Photo credit @helloimnick at http://www.unsplash.com

Annabel ~ A poem by Hilary Robinson

Annabel

We pretend she’s a girl, teach her to read.
She goes to school, has human friends
but we know one day we’ll lose her to the sea.

We learn to be patient, sit through hours
of seal displays at parks and zoos, remember
that first time she called to them. How they called back.

People notice when we’re at the pool
that she never seems to surface for a breath,
is more at home submerged.

Her toys are seals and when we sew it’s seals.
I have to stitch a fur cape for the felt one. She eyes
the fabric, imagines how it feels as skin.

Hilary Robinson

Inspired by Hilary’s youngest granddaughter, Annabel.

Hilary Robinson, from Saddleworth, has a Poetry MA from Manchester Metropolitan University. She’s been published in journals including Strix, Riggwelter, Obsessed with Pipework, Poetry Birmingham, Morning Star and the Interpreter’s House. 12 of her poems were published in a joint book, ‘Some Mothers Do,’ in 2018 (Beautiful Dragons Press).

Photo credit @digitech at http://www.unsplash.com

REFUGEES ~ A poem by Patrick Osada

REFUGEES

Escaping gunfire from the sea,
fear and blind panic drove them on
like any other refugees.
Without the loadstar of their lives –
away from the familiar –
they travelled unseen through the night
from far beyond the ocean’s swell.

Singing, they kept their spirits high,
they passed Black Rock and Castle Point
to swing into the broad Porthcuel…
Beyond moored boats with jangling sheets,
the sleeping Manor House at Place,
they lost their way and chose Porth Creek.

Into this elemental place
of mudflats, long abandoned boats,
they moved in on a changing tide.
Beneath the overhanging oaks
where brown stream narrows, up near Froe,
the tidal waters ebbed away.

Caught up in flotsam, debris, weed,
the party floundered in the creek
as channel water turned to shoals.
Poor gardeners raised the alarm –
as sun rose on the carnage there,
of those who travelled from the sea,
only a handful still survived.

Now mouths are stopped – their chant has gone
and eyes are blind to helping hands
as men humped bodies to the grass.
There’s tragedy, no respite won,
no refuge in this hostile land –
for those who’ve journeyed from so far
the sole lament is curlews’ song.

Patrick Osada

Previously published in How The Light Gets In ~ (Dempsey & Windle 2018)

In June 2008, a large pod of dolphins was discovered beached in the shallows of Porth Creek, Cornwall – 26 had died. It is believed that they had been panicked by explosions in Falmouth Bay during a naval exercise.

Patrick B. Osada recently retired as Reviews Editor for SOUTH Poetry Magazine. He has published six collections, How The Light Gets In was launched in June 2018. Patrick’s work has been broadcast on national and local radio and widely published in magazines, anthologies and on the internet.

http://www.poetry-patrickosada.co.uk


Photo credit @ https://www.cornwalllive.com/news/cornwall-news/cornwall-dolphins-first-native-english-951245

The Warriors Order of March ~ A poem by Nick Goldsmith (former Royal Marine)

The Warriors Order of March

Everyman eventually learns, through due course of simply being
that way back when in the beginning, only seeing was believing.

Warriors brave though still young, wanting to prove worth in this world
the future ahead yet to play out and waiting to be unfurled.

Meeting with the enemy out on the battlefield
where they think their destinies are meant to be fulfilled.

After standing and being counted, long day after day
now gone is the sense of adventure, where heroism once lay.

Left are the tormented and heavy of the heart
a fire baptised soul, now plays its new part.

Deep in the forest, with rich earth under our feet
come faces fresh from battle, where metal met the meat.

The older humbled warriors having endured and yet not yield
now choose to teach next to a fire, whilst sitting on their shield.

No longer to be a part of the defensive wall
where man must often make its stand or suffer the ultimate fall.

Standing shoulder to shoulder through thick and thin
now with help and not alone, facing the demons within.

What is almost certain, is the next call to war
again we will see young fearless souls who step up to the fore.

With the tasks they are given never quite being complete
it is back into the forest, with rich earth under our feet.

This cycle will continue, of this I am sure
for only those who go will know, what truly happens in war.

Nick Goldsmith (former Royal Marine)

Nick Goldsmith is a former Royal Marine Commando, having served his country for 11 years during which he had six operational deployments seeing action over 4 tours of Afghanistan and further afield in specialist overseas operations. In 2018, Nick left the military after developing CPTSD (Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) to found Hidden Valley Bushcraft, a specialist provider of outdoor education and recreational experiences based in the South West of England.

Nick openly shares his story promoting the benefits of the great outdoors, the therapeutic attributes of spending time amongst trees, plants and flowers, and the proven positive impact these have on mental health management. His article ‘Back to nature ~ A personal account of CPTSD’, was published in Trends in Urology and Men’s Health, and provides a candid insight into his personal experience of complex post-traumatic stress disorder and the treatment he received for it.

It is his unique inspirational story of overcoming massive odds through the application of positive growth mindset, that has seen him become the CEO of an award winning outdoor business, a published writer and public speaker. He is supported by his wife and business partner, Louise. They tweet @HVBushcraft

Photo credit @Samidge at http://www.unsplash.com

Hidden Valley Bushcraft ~ https://www.woodlandwarriorprogramme.org/

https://www.hiddenvalleybushcraft.co.uk/

https://rock2recovery.co.uk/

Maryport sea-wall ~ A poem by Sarah L Dixon

Maryport sea-wall

On one side
the disused railway
measured how much
our legs had grown.

Three steps between runners.
Two.
One easy stride.

The wall offers shelter
from needles, broken glass, condoms.

We turn sideways to inch through the gap.

To find shells, sea-glass
and have our hair pulled high and hard
by Irish sea squalls.

It is not the place
for loose-fitting hats,
full skirts or tie-dyed scarves.

The wall offers shelter
but stepping out makes me
part of the weather
and of nature.
Helps me embrace
my wild, un-walled self,
to enjoy a Sellafield sunset.

Sarah L Dixon

Sarah L Dixon lives in Linthwaite. Adding wax patterns to Wednesday was released by Three Drops Press in 2018. Her first book, The sky is cracked, was released by Half Moon Press in 2017. Sarah’s inspiration comes from being in and by water and adventures with her son, Frank.

10 Poets. 10 Minutes.

She tweets @QuietCompereMcr

Photo credit Peter Henry (Flickr)

https://hiveminer.com/flickr_hvmnd.cgi?method=GET&noform=t&tag_mode=all&search_type=User&sort=Interestingness&originput=www.peterhenryphotography.com&textinput=www.peterhenryphotography.com&photo_number=50&page=2&photo_type=250&sorting=Interestingness&search_domain=User

The blue lagoon – Abereiddy ~ A poem by Penny Sharman

The blue lagoon
Abereiddy

Here’s a different shade of sea, sanctuary,
her flooded quarry of blue and green,
her depths of being alone by cliffs.

Here’s where divers and seekers come,
the cormorants and shags, they bomb
memories into clay and volcanic ash.

Here’s a wealth of blue, hypnotic pool,
myth of slate and salted water, together
a depth of turquoise, teal, this sea foam.

Here lies the magic of cerulean peace,
a roundness below heights, the song
of choughs, melody of lapping tides.

Here’s where anyone stands with fear,
stares into a common mirror, pyrite and feldspar,
these sapphire dreams and lapis worries.

We all long for a Pan moment and mermaid tales.
We once knew nothing but rock and water, flesh
and scale, silver of fin, our daily smiles of ignorance.

Penny Sharman

Penny has been writing poetry for over 15 years. Her pamphlet Fair Ground published by Yaffle press and her collection Swim With Me In Deep Water can be purchased from her website: http://www.pennysharman.co.uk
Penny is also an artist and photographer inspired by wild and natural landscapes. She tweets @Penycharm

Photo credit @VisitWales by Richie Poor https://www.instagram.com/richies_incredible_britain/

Night in a beach cave ~ A poem by Jackie Biggs

Night in a beach cave

While I wait
grains of sand trickle over skin,

surround all my body.
As I sink into the hollow

rocks settle around me
and creak into comfy darkness.

Water bleeds from hanging walls
drips slow down slopes,

rock pleats into the push and shove
of sedimentary beds,

flow-folded plates
displaced into intense creases

of stress deformation, compaction.
A small fissure makes a flag of sky

as night edges away, grows colder.
Outside, waves thunder onto shore

and as I bury deeper
they shush and dispel to meet a horizon

where light catches sea breath.
At last, dawn arrives

sailing over the brink
to where I sigh in the dark.

Jackie Biggs

Jackie’s second poetry collection, Breakfast in Bed, was published in 2019 by Indigo Dreams Publishing. She was Highly Commended in the Welsh International Poetry Competition and the R S Thomas Festival Competition in 2019. She is a member of the Rockhoppers Coast to Coast Poets performance group. Twitter: @JackieNews

http://Jackie-news.blogspot.co.uk

Breakfast in Bed, info and order details here:  https://www.indigodreams.co.uk/jackie-biggs/4594692749

Photo credit ~ Jackie Biggs

Thorpeness to Aldeburgh ~ A poem by Hannah Stone

Thorpeness to Aldeburgh

Crepuscular walk through birch woods,
past the windmill and the house in the clouds.
Bracken ignited by the setting sun, and,
at the edge of a red field,
tractor ruts you could lose a shoe in.
The track is undecided between sand and mud;
where land runs out, I shift between beach and path.
The sky sucks up the last of the light,
and the sea is a great beast, quite calm for now,
its regular inhalations setting the pace
for my steps beneath the chewed fruit of the moon
which dodges the clouds.
Beneath streetlights, the houses are mostly blind,
but above them great juicy eyes of stars
stare at the winking satellites and planes.

Hannah Stone

Hannah Stone has published three volumes of poetry, and contributed to anthologies and collaborations and print and online journals. She convenes the poets/composers forum for Leeds Lieder festival, hosts monthly spoken events in Leeds, collaborates with two composers, runs creative workshops and takes an annual writing retreat on the Pembrokeshire coast.

Photo credit @pmason303 at http://www.unsplash.com

Sea Lover ~ Flash Fiction by Penny Blackburn

Sea Lover

Janey thinks he’s a bit of a hunk, but there’s something about him which chills me. Those blue eyes like shifting tides. I wouldn’t want to risk swimming in there.
He smiles and makes jokes, presents as an affable young man. But when I get too close I find unpleasant images seeping into my mind – drowned children and women with pockets full of stones.
I hear echoes of the last cries of sailors. Caught, as their ship cracks in two, between the deep blue sea and the devil. The dark shapes of sharks dart about him, malevolent and unstoppable.
He looks at the sea too long. The sea looks back.
He doesn’t blink.

Penny Blackburn

Penny Blackburn lives in the North East of England and writes poetry and short fiction. Her publications include pieces online in Bangor Literary Journal, Atrium and Picaroon and in print with Paper Swans Press, Reader’s Digest and Maytree Press. She is on Twitter and Facebook as @penbee8.

Photo credit @IanStauffer at http://www.unsplash.com

My Mother Always Painted in Blue ~ A poem by Victoria Bennett

My Mother Always Painted in Blue

She always wanted to live by the sea,
to feel herself consumed
by sky and light, exist
only at the wild edges

but she never moved,
remaining land-locked
and dreaming, afraid
that if she ever did

she would find her lost skin,
walk in to the water,
her body disappearing
into blue.

Victoria Bennett

Victoria Bennett is a poet, creative activist, full-time mother and founder of Wild Women Press. Her work focuses on the ways we remember and retell our personal narratives and how these shape us. Her pamphlet, To Start The Year from its Quiet Centre, is due for publication with Indigo Dreams in 2020. She tweets as @VikBeeWyld

Photo credit @sbittinger at http://www.unsplash.com

Beach Huts ~ A poem by Marc Woodward

Beach Huts

April means unlocking, sweeping off spiders
and sand; putting out to air the rug,
stripy beach towels and faded sun-loungers.
Checking the kettle, rinsing out the mugs,
closing the fridge for beer and lemonade.
Dusting down the body-boards, bucket, spade.

When they opened Springtide they found Alice,
still as a waxwork in a garden chair,
dry like blown sand, her dress nibbled by mice.
They’d never thought to search for her in there.
Police believed she’d gone to Birmingham
(judging from some grainy CCTV) –
back to where her own spring tide once ran.
Her rigid fist was locked around the key.

Marc Woodward

Marc Woodward is a musician and poet living in the rural English West Country.
He has been widely published. His collections includes A Fright of Jays (Maquette Press, 2015); and Hide Songs (Green Bottle Press, 2018). A further collection The Tin Lodes written collaboratively with poet Andy Brown is due from Indigo Dreams in 2020.

Marc tweets as @Marcomando

http://www.facebook.com/marcwoodwardartist

http://www.marcwoodwardpoetry.blogspot.com

Photo credit @thejoyoffilm at http://www.unsplash.com