A hop, A skip, A jump
She carried you to the sea,
a push in the fluid of her womb,
negotiated slip of seaweed,
Ocean-cold, her feet placed
for a minute, just enough
to feel the pitch
of ice-sharp water,
a salt lick, undertow.
Later you’d do the same,
buoy me up in currents
of your own making,
keep me from the snag
of tides, the flood of foam.
Lynn Valentine writes between dog walks on the Black Isle. Her work has been published online and in anthologies. She is organising her first poetry collection under the mentorship of Cinnamon Press after winning a place on their Pencil competition. She tweets @dizzylynn
Photo credit ~ @camiliacastillo at http://www.unsplash.com
Patrick Williamson is English. The Parley Tree, Poets from French-speaking Africa and the Arab World (Arc Publications, 2012). Poetry: Traversi (2018), Beneficato (2015), Nel Santuario (2013; Menzione speciale della Giuria in the XV Concorso Guido Gozzano, 2014). Founding member of transnational literary agency Linguafranca.
Photo credit Dr Lou Luddington https://medium.com/do-contribute/the-power-of-limpets-115b577cf4a6
When there’s no horizon because blue
is a dictator, we sail across
to the Island of Turquoise
and treat our Billie to a holiday.
She likes to have a blue-plate special
at the Blue Mooring on Tuesdays.
Adirondack potatoes with blue cheese
dressing, and a blueberry pie for dessert.
Tuesdays have a primary air about them.
Afternoons you want to punch in the arm,
hold your breath till you’re blue in the face,
stay in the water till your lips turn blue.
We scour the sand for elusive seaglass.
Maalox bottles. I think of my brother’s
cobalt obsession, the time his Chartreux
swatted the tallest vase to the floor.
When Billie asks me for some happy news
I give her my ukulele. We sail back
under an indigo sky. Venus so bright,
it glows an iridescent blue. True.
Kymm Coveney lives in Spain, though she was born in Boston and grew up in a beach town in Massachusetts (1-4-3). A freelance translator and writer, she co-hosts PoémameBCN, a multilingual poetry recital series. Flash fiction, poems and translations can be found online through BetterLies ~ http://betterlies.blogspot.com/
She tweets @KymmInBarcelona
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The port was awash with crowds, bars, fast food and buses with engines running. Traffic. Fumes. Heat. Hassle. What on earth was she doing here? In her head she could hear his disgust at the colossal cruise ships out in the bay and his opinions on tourist traps and unreliable ferry services: ‘Call this a holiday!’ It was just as well he wasn’t actually here. ‘Let’s go island-hopping!’ he’d said but now….
The ferryboat’s eventual arrival distracted her. She knew perfectly well what to do; she’d already survived two weeks travelling to Sifnos, Antiparos, Paros and back to Santorini and had actually managed to strike up conversations with strangers, but she still kept hearing his words. ‘Find somewhere for your suitcase.’ She did as she was told. ‘Where are you going to sit? How about the cafe?’ She took in the crowds at the counter and decided to ignore him. ‘You can’t get up there- you know you’re always falling!’ He’d meant well but she’d stopped listening. She had to learn to please herself. The boat was already out in the Aegean by the time she had negotiated the stairs and managed to shoulder open the door and escape onto the top deck. Fresh air and space. At last.
A three-hour crossing. She had intended to read the novel she’d downloaded onto her iPad, but the setting sun soon put a stop to that. A dazzling display; blood orange, gold, crimson and coral, magenta streaks in an inky sea. ‘Just like The Odyssey!’ she thought, smiling to herself.
On a nearby table, four Greeks sporting gold wrist watches, smoked, laughed, drank, played cards. Their wives chatted at the next table, texting, bantering, bringing up trays of drinks. Even if he’d been with her, it wouldn’t have been like that. They’d have sat reading or sketching in silence; they had been content with each other, only speaking when something needed to be said or when he wanted to tell her something. Not that she had always listened even then. But it had been a companionable silence, not this continual nagging. Why was he doing this to her now? She knew he was gone, but he was everywhere.
A song burst; four men in harmony, singing some haunting lament as they threw down cards one by one. And then the women joined in; shrill and feisty, determined to be heard. At that point, she had to escape. Hidden in a quiet corner, she finally lost control; wept. ‘Ridiculous thing to do!’ she heard him whisper. She took no notice.
A breeze was stirring; the lights of Heraklion wavered like specks bobbing in the distance. As she watched them grow bigger and brighter, she felt calmer, focused on the lapping of the waves: it slowly dawned on her that, given time, his voice might begin to fade, and she might start to live again.
Decades ago, Dorothy Burrows taught Drama and wrote plays and the occasional short story. She won a few awards. After years of working in a museum, retirement is enabling her to enjoy creative writing again. Walking in the countryside and memories of a coastal childhood often feature in her poems. She tweets as @rambling_dot
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bits of me have changed
where my hard edge gets worn down
and the wounds are salted
strung up with the bubbles of dulse
every passing jellied creature
has bounced against me
frissoned the melting clay
found blood in the chalk
some things are beyond me
Laura McKee’s poems can be found in journals and online, including in Crannog, Butcher’s Dog, The Interpreter’s House, The Rialto, Molly Bloom, Ink Sweat & Tears. Also in anthologies, Mildly Erotic Verse (Emma Press), The Result is What you See Today (Smith|Doorstop). She tweets @Estlinin
Photo credit @chrissiey at http://www.unsplash.com
Crabbing at Walberswick
The biggest of the sixty-four we caught
that morning, King of crabs, reared up,
pincering the air, while, underneath,
the sixty three resigned to their fate,
had seen it all yesterday, the day before,
last summer when they were titchy and soft
and didn’t yet know they only had to wait
and the children would tip them back in
and run, squealing; that the day would go on,
the sun climb in the sky, and more lardons
be dangled on grubby pieces of string.
Carole Bromley is a York-based poet, stanza rep for the Poetry Society, winner of a number of prizes including the Bridport and the 2019 Hamish Canham Award. Latest publication, a pamphlet, Sodium 136, from Calder Valley Poetry. She tweets @CaroleBromley1
Photo credit @davidclode at http://www.unsplash.com
ate the fly
that drank the sweat
as he rode through reeds
from the Cow’s Mouth.
Where is my father?
He asks the king
who says Before I answer
you must bathe
and calls his daughter
who takes the boy
helps him into
a low clay bath
sealed with painted
dolphins and blue waves
and with her fingers
presses salt and dust
from his pores
tips jugs of water
on his head then
lifts him by one armpit
to stand beside the tub
rubs scented oil
into his frame
takes a blade
peels a skim of oil
and skin from spine
with a lighter balm
so he is ready
to hear Nestor say
should have returned
ten years ago.
You are alone.
SANDY PYLOS – Odysseus’s son Telemachus came from Ithaca to ‘Sandy Pylos’ (the Iliad) looking for his Dad. Nestor, the king of Pylos, had been with Odysseus at Troy (another beach side place). This tale is told by Homer. When they excavated Nestor’s palace, they found a clay-lined, stone bath. ‘The Cow’s Mouth’ is a beautiful beach near Pylos.
Chris Hardy lives in Sussex and has travelled widely. His poems have been published in many magazines, anthologies and websites. He is in LiTTLe MACHiNe http://www.little-machine.com performing settings of well known poems. Chris’s collection ‘Sunshine at the end of the world’, was published by Indigo Dreams.
Photo credit https://www.afar.com/places/nestors-cave-messinia
At the Beach
Sandcastles that soon will
Be palaces of the past,
As the tide starts to turn
And the last line is cast.
Collecting razor shells
and spent onion rings
and what might
be the throat of a mermaid,
Who now no longer sings.
Grains of glass that
Once may have
been her heart.
A never on a sundae
from an ice cream cart.
We dance like demons
At the hem of the sea
Jumping in front of waves
Nowhere else in the world
That we’d ever want be.
The gulls with eyes
as cloudless as the dead.
And an evening playing cards
And a sand soaked bed.
The moon over the ocean.
(Our mother while away)
If it rains for the next fortnight
We will still have had today
BERNARD PEARSON: Lives in Oswestry. His work has appeared in; Aesthetica Magazine and The Edinburgh Review, Crossways, Patchwork, FourxFour, Landscapes ( an anthology). In 2017 a selection of his poetry ‘In Free Fall’ was published by Leaf by Leaf Press. In 2019 he won second prize in The Aurora Poetry Competition. He tweets @BernardPearso19
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A WRITER’S BEACH
An exultation of larks . . . murmuration
of starlings . . . a garrulousness of gulls?
As I follow the lip of froth, sea birds
by the dozen lift off, only to resettle
further down the beach, nestling in the sand
like warm-blooded stones: an artist’s installation.
Amidst their screaming conviviality,
I note the feathers that mark their passage:
a long curving grey, a dainty white comma,
and this – a downy, chocolate brown – each find
a perfect quill. Clearly, what brings me here
isn’t simply the white-lipped waves beneath
ink-splattered skies, but these birds, oceanic
birds on the wing – each lending me a pen.
Alice Kavounas is an American poet, a graduate of Vassar, published by Shearsman. This poem is included in her fourth and latest collection Abandoned Gardens, Selected & New Poems. She has lived in NY and London and moved to Cornwall over 30 years ago. Alice is a tutor with The Poetry School London. She created the poetry in place app Words in Air, with developer John Kennedy. She tweets @alice_kavounas
Photo credit ~ @treesforanya at http://www.unsplash.com
A mist curls where
born of deserts
meet the cold wash
of the Atlantic.
The tide reveals
plates of grey lias,
stacked stone books
slipping into pools,
where oystercatchers pick
at the slate sheets,
searching for winkles
Time slips here too.
It coils like the fossils,
a fractal spiral
endless and returning.
Take the path from the beach,
past the shale kiln with ivy
smoking from the chimney,
past the teashop couched
in a chantry’s broken walls.
Do not pause.
You will be lost here,
a grain of sand in a galaxy.
Zoe Brooks is from Gloucestershire. Indigo Dreams will be publishing Zoe’s first full collection in 2020. Her poems have appeared in various magazines, most recently in Obsessed With Pipework, Prole, Dreamcatcher and The Fenland Reed. Her long poem “Fool’s Paradise” received the EPIC award for best poetry ebook 2013. She tweets @ ZoeBrooks2
Ophelia in Kitakyushu
You loved green May
sprigs and branches,
and billowing tufts of
maidenhair. Your pale
cheeks puffed out, you
tangled up in violets,
a saint with bloodless lips,
two pilgrims still heart-
pink as kiku florets.
And ghost-eyed children
shriven in maelstroms
and a gale of sifting
ashes, and adored you.
Then they reverenced
you, drowned sparrow,
like a fair jeweled city
buried in riverine mud
where frail candle-boats
caress the water’s surface.
Richard Manly Heiman
In preparing for the 2008 exhibition of Millais’ paintings in Japan, it was decided not to use his Ophelia in advertising the exhibition, for fear that it might incite impressionable young Japanese girls to suicide.
Richard Manly Heiman lives in the pines of the Sierra Nevada. He works as an English teacher and writes when the kids are at recess. Richard has been published by Rattle, Into the Void, Spiritus (Johns Hopkins U.), and elsewhere. He is a Pushcart also-ran and his URL is poetrick.com. He tweets @poetrmh
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