SANDY PYLOS ~ A poem by Chris Hardy


The chameleon
ate the fly
that drank the sweat
of Telemachus
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
sacrum sternum
belly breast
re-anoints him
with a lighter balm

so he is ready
to hear Nestor say
should have returned
ten years ago.
You are alone.

Chris Hardy

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 performing settings of well known poems. Chris’s collection ‘Sunshine at the end of the world’, was published by Indigo Dreams.

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At the Beach ~ A poem by Bernard Pearson

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

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 WRITERS BEACH ~ A poem by Alice Kavounas


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

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

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SOMERSET BEACH ~ A poem by Zoe Brooks


A mist curls where
sandstone cliffs
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
among ammonites.
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

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

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Ophelia in Kitakyushu ~ A poem by Richard Manly Heiman

Ophelia in Kitakyushu

You loved green May
sprigs and branches,
snatched forget-me-nots
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
recalled fire-blossoms
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 He tweets @poetrmh

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