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 You can submit up to three pieces and these should be unpublished and not be submitted elsewhere for publication (personal blogs are exempt).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; email@example.com
The Pay Pal address for payment is; firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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
Photo credit @jplenio at http://www.unsplash.com
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
Photo credit @desipris at http://www.unsplash.com
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
Photo credit @thedakotacorbin at http://www.unsplash.com
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
Photo credit @domenika at http://www.unsplash.com
Gulls dive-bomb each other,
squabble over perching rights
on chimney pots,
throw back their heads
in raucous chorus,
rip rubbish sacks to shreds,
steal chicks from nests
and eat them on the roofs
then launch into the sky
to soar on thermals,
sharp white wings
against the blue.
Juliet is an adult education tutor and conservation volunteer living in Edinburgh, UK. She blogs at http://craftygreenpoet.blogspot.com/ and tweets @craftygreenpoet. Her poetry has been widely published including in Mslexia and in the form of cupcakes.
Photo credit @rskjerven at http://www.unsplash.com
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
Gratitude for safe return
Little here to stir the soul
I think; sea, sky, stone
But nothing special
Have come before
They left objects
The serious have fashioned
Twig crosses, knotted
By twisted grass
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
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.
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
Photo credit @edsonrosas at http://www.unsplash.com
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’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
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.
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 (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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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 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.
Photo credit @egle_sidaraviciute at http://www.unsplash.com
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 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
The closer I grow
to the land of sand,
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 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
Photo credit @solamander at http://www.unsplash.com
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 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/
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
Inscribed on a Stela found on the seabed
no one cares
if you’re honest or a liar
rich or poor
the only virtue here
is how much
of that blood-boltered world
above the shiver
of the waves
you must forget everything
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.
Tweeting as @penelopeshuttle
Photo credit @yamispap at http://www.unsplash.com
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.
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.
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
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 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
Pebbles and bone
not yet ground to sand
chirp and tumble in chorus.
A sharp crack:
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.
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.
Photo credit @eastonmok at http://www.unsplash.com
she still believes
pier on fire
only mud beneath waves
the house next door
has no blinds
sunset in winter
they make a lovely couple
white sand between toes
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
Photo credit @timothypaulsmith_436580_sink at http://www.unsplash.com
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 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.
Photo credit @acastillejos at http://www.unsplash.com
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
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 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 email@example.com
Photo credit @rawfilm at http://www.unsplash.com
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 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
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’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
Photo credit Sally Griffiths at https://www.thewestonmercury.co.uk/news/can-you-visit-steep-holm-island-1-5232312
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’ 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.
He tweets @Peter_Burrows74
on warm stone, limp as
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
far from home.
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
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 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