Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Poem by Paul Bavister


He grows rare shrubs
in the wood by the lake.

When they get buried
by wet leaves
I rake them clear.

This year a dose of the flu
meant I started late.
I was skint.

My stomach grumbled
with mould-fluffed bread.

After four hours
splintering frozen leaves
the apple and cheese
I'd packed for lunch
had frozen solid.

I swept deeper into the wood
and the ground softened
and butter-bright maggots
recoiled from the rake.

I took off my gloves
and picked one up.
I surprised myself.

Paul Bavister has published three collections of poetry, the most recent being The Prawn Season (Two Rivers Press).  He works as a gardener and also teaches creative writing for The University of Oxford and Birkbeck College, London.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Two Poems by ayaz daryl nielsen

The Country Road Continues

through a nearby county
into a neighboring state
I follow it to a small lake, pause
beside an evening moon's
reflection on quiet water as
the narrow, unpaved road climbs
beyond a hill, beyond eyesight,
eventually merging with
Trails of Tears, Silk Highways,
Bridges of Birds, crossing
deer paths through forests
and raspberry thickets and
fields of ripe watermelon . . .
but I, I seem content here
behind the driver's wheel
watching reflections of moonlight
and first stars Mars and Venus
upon a small lake
in a remote corner of a large
county in a neighboring state . . .
nodding, nodding   dreaming
of a grinning hometown
elder and mentor reaching
through the window
with his butcher knife and
neatly slicing my throat
from ear to ear . . .
leaping from the car
my shadow on the moonlit water
reveals my head, intact,
still upon my shoulders . . .

moon-silvery dust upon my shoes,
covered over and replaced by another
light layer with each hesitant step

cutting through, cutting through . . .
in moon-silver shoes,
beside reflections of
moonlight, Mars and Venus,
beginning again upon the road
of Silk Highways, ripe water-
melon and migrating buffalo
beyond this small lake in
a remote corner of a large
county in a neighboring state

Message for a Shy Dryad

Speak up!
Be gentle and persuasive
they're waiting for

your words

Talk with trembling leaves

They know your voice, your
bloodlines and passions

Speak of them, your
words within

autumn winds

Speak of the restlessness
of leaves

upon trees.

ayaz daryl nielsen, husband, father, veteran, x-roughneck (as on oil rigs) and x-hospice nurse, is editor of bear creek haiku (24+ years/116+ issues), his poetry's home include Lilliput ReviewYellow Mama, Verse Wisconsin, Shamrock, High Coupe and Shemom, he has earned some cherished awards and participated in worthy anthologies -- his poetry ensembles include Concentric Penumbra's of the Heart and Tumbleweeds Still Tumbling, and, in 2013, released an anthology of poetry titled The Poet's of Bear Creek -- beloved wife/poet Judith Partin-Nielsen, assistant Frosty, and! (translates as joie de vivre)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

A Poem by Allison Grayhurst


Walls shake
under the pressure of an ongoing storm.
The storm exhausts the
birds in flight and flings
squirrels to the ground.
The ground is hard with ice
and the lost promise of spring.
Spring, children wait for
under the volatile sky.
The sky is tuned by the fingers of time.
Time cannot give a chance accepted or refused
but is the measure by which all things move and die.
Die, the storm is thinning like the skin of a worn drum,
though leaving its signature on the road.
The road I base all my faith on is under my sleeve
sure of me, regardless if I turn or if I follow.

Allison Grayhurst is a full member of the League of Canadian Poets.  She has over 290 poems published in more than 175 international journals, magazines, and anthologies.  Her book Somewhere Falling was published by Beach Holme Publishers, a Porcepic Book, in Vancouver in 1995.  Since then she has published ten other books of poetry and four collections with Edge Unlimited Publishing.  Prior to the publication of Somewhere Falling she had a poetry book published, Common Dream, and four chapbooks published by The Plowman.  Her poetry chapbook The River is Blind was recently published by Ottawa publisher above/ground press December 2012.  She lives in Toronto with family.  She also sculpts, working with clay.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Two Poems by Wendy Elizabeth Ingersoll

Fear Itself

At the Museum of Natural History my granddaughters and I seek dinosaurs
but chance upon the tarantulas --

Goliath Birdeaters, Curly Hairs,
Greenbottle Blues, Chilean Fires --
in an attempt to minimize horror
I read the poster:

a tarantula's too big to dwell on his web but will spin
a trip line to lead to his warren,
where he waits,
enabling him to catch and eat.
My granddaughters are enthralled

             though I'm appalled.  But -- yet another sign on the wall:
             Though frightful, tarantula bites are not lethal
             to people.

             Saving grace!  When venom strikes, just proceed down the wall
             to the dinosaur hall.


Outside the drizzled window of our river home,
a possum treads with resolve across the meadow mown,

her sodden gaze directed at the further border,
where raggedy grass averts the lick of rain's gather.

This farm is her farm too, here she was born, here
she bore her children.  Her mettled venture from the trees,

such purpose in her plod toward expected refuge,
twins our coming home.  We rest before the prospect,

recall that recent day we watched the drenched wind rant
across the river, bluster our cove's accord, take breath and

billow the walls, uproot the poles of the tent arrayed
for our wedding feast.  I could barely contain my terror that day.

Traveling there to here has been a crossing resolute
as that of the possum before us, marching through fescue.

Wendy Elizabeth Ingersoll's book Grace Only Follows won the 2010 National Federation of Press Women Contest and was a finalist for Drake University's 2012 Emerging Writer Prize.  Her poems have appeared in Naugatuck River Review, Passager, Caesura, Controlled Burn, Broadkill Review, and been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.  She is a retired piano teacher.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A Poem by Sarah Flint

Sing Your Heart Out
She sang her heart out
to the owls who sighed and shifted in high trees.
He sang his heart out
for the new day but the moon melted the dawn.
She sang her heart out
by silent rivers and heard the murmur of mud.
He sang his heart out
through deep days of winter and made ice weep.
She sang her heart out
quietly and light came gladly.
He sang his heart out
of his mouth and it howled in the dark.
She sang her heart out
into the wind and warm rain fell.
He sang his heart out
for love and wet leaves whispered.
They sang their hearts out
together until there was no more sound.
The mountains took over the tune and
sang out their hearts.
Sarah Flint lives in the West Country of the UK and for several years has written about diverse interests including gardening, cooking and climbing.  At present she likes to write poetry.  She enjoys playing with words and tries to put them in an interesting order.  Her poetry has been published by The Pygmy Giant, Message in a Bottle, and she has been runner-up in the Mountaineering Council of Scotland Poetry competition.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Three Poems by Linda Gamble

A Shell in My Pocket

Days pile up in drifts,
trapped between slate sky's
downward sag and earth's
pressing desolation.
Snow's moldy black remnants
dot the street.  Wind bullies me,
gusts at my bulk, whistles
past my ears.  I struggle,
boots filled with winter's weight.

Hands buried deep in pockets,
forage amid crumpled Kleenex,
cellophaned mints,
a long lost button, till . . .
there, bottom left corner,
cheering crescent, chosen
last summer, planted here in fall.
I finger its scalloped edge, inhale
its still salty scent,      smile
walk on.


Dive in -
Waves crash
loosen life's debris,
              free me
from its drowning power.

Limbs tingle,
head clears,     alert
to scent of amniotic brine.
Lungs expand,
salt-licked lips
taste life.  I pull

each swell to me
match their steady cadence
with my pulse,     water flows
over me, -through me
we are one.  Weightless
I float in mother's arms,

Suspended Animation

Yardstick high
Noah's fingers splay
on the sliding glass door
breath stops short
condenses on the cold pane
fogs the world.

Rain drums on the turtle sandbox
sealed in its green plastic shell.
Goldfish swim beneath plops
in a polka-dot pond,    wagon
shiny in its raincoat lies   open
to the sky, filling itself.

Splat!  Just above his head
a raindrop hits the window.
He traces it's path past his face.
Even in this dry cocoon, he hears
ducks squawking at the lake
imagines them happily paddling
in circles, flapping and dipping.

Tossed by a gust of wind
a red ball rolls across
the sodden lawn, settles
in a puddle near the old shed.
His foot itches to kick it.

Linda Gamble is a retired reading specialist from New Jersey.  She has previously published poems in Edison Literary Review, Mused, A Long Story Short, and Camel Saloon.  A poem in US 1 Worksheets is to be published in the spring.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Poem by B.T. Joy

Reading Jinzhu Ridge 
      Dry blooms are shivering in the varnish trees. 
Lines of white daffodils bend on greenish hills. 
Wang Wei is up on Jinzhu Ridge again, 
not a buddhist yet, but writing buddhist poems.
I imagine this as some time before the war. 
The spring wind tugs childishly on his grey robes. 
Out of the sharp grief he felt, thin as a bird, 
under the shade of his dead mother’s shrine
I see him smiling beneath his thinning facial hair. 
Never one to write about the things people do 
he has found the most direct road over mountains; 
a path that even the woodcutter doesn’t know.   
B.T. Joy is a Scottish poet and fiction writer living and working in Glasgow. He has published poetry and short fiction in journals, magazines, anthologies and podcasts worldwide; including poetry in Forward Poetry, Poetry Quarterly, Presence, Bottle Rockets, Frogpond and The Newtowner and horror stories in Static Movement, Surreal Grotesque, James Ward Kirk Fiction, Human Echoes, MircoHorror, Flashes In The Dark, SQ Magazine and Forgotten Tomb Press. After receiving his honours degree in Creative Writing and Film Studies in 2009 he went on, in 2012, to receive a PGDE from Strathclyde University and has since taught as a High School English teacher. He is also the author of two volumes of haiku In The Arms Of The Wind (2010) and The Reeds That Tilt The Sky (2011). His haiga have appeared with the World Haiku Association, Haiga Online and Daily Haiga. He was one of six writers nominated for The Ravenglass Poetry Press Competition of 2012; judged by Don Paterson. For further information on writing and publications please visit the writer’s website:

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Poem by Harmony Hodges

The Octopus
The soft bulbous protuberance paused
one tentacle palpated a
dead fish
Seven arms still swam
dancing through murky water
until a shark approached
the never ending ball of camouflage
rolled across the ocean floor
a gliding mass of mystery
Composing musical lyrics across the water
humming love notes written by
punctuated with spilled ink
Harmony Hodges is a mixed media artist living in Portland Oregon. She writes poetry and fiction. Her writing has appeared in With Painted Words.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Poem by Joanna M. Weston

I Meant to Tell You      

in my last letter
about the downy woodpecker
that hit the window
and lay stunned
on the door-step
wings outspread
each marking clear

how we stood
behind the window
hoped and prayed
that wings would stir

we returned to the window
again  and again

the fourth time
there was a movement
a lift    a whirr
into flight

I meant to tell you
but I’m too late
- you have gone

Joanna M. Weston is married; has two cats, multiple spiders, a herd of deer, and two derelict hen-houses.  Her middle-reader, ‘Those Blue Shoes', published by Clarity House Press; and poetry, ‘A Summer Father’, published by Frontenac House of Calgary. Her eBooks found at her blog:

Sunday, February 9, 2014

A Poem by Paula Weld-Cary

Forward Motion
As I walk through springtime woods,
I cup my ear to a thicket
And hear the half notes of young birds
Scattered through the trees,
All the murmuring from nests:
I will see, I will sing, I will fly
Midway up a cherry tree,
I find three newly-hatched robins
And return to them each day
To watch  their feathers unfurl
Their wings unfold, their bodies stretch,
To watch them preen, flutter, spill from the nest
As I contemplate the beauty of forward motion.
Paula Weld-Cary’s poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and has appeared in many journals such as Nimrod, Slab, Main Street Rag, Atlanta Review, Southern Humanities Review, Portland Review, and Cream City Review. She lives and writes in Rochester, New York.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Two Poems By Your Editor, A.J. Huffman

Twinkle Twinkle

Little starfish
flicker beneath layers of darkening
water.  Clouds of sand shift over
their shapes, a reflection
of night’s sky.  I touch this almost
reality, my fingers shock
its expanse.  For a moment
it prickles, before settling
back into its eerie looking-glass
impersonation of what lies

Sand Castle

Broken shell, tossed.  Turned
sideways.  Sole spire shining
in the sun.  Abandoned
beach spanning in every direction.
An arid moat.  Waiting, flagless,
for a wandering king.

A.J. Huffman has published seven solo chapbooks and one joint chapbook through various small presses.  She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, and the winner of the 2012 Promise of Light Haiku Contest.  Her poetry, fiction, and haiku have appeared in hundreds of national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, Bone Orchard, EgoPHobia, Kritya, and Offerta Speciale, in which her work appeared in both English and Italian translation.  She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Two Poems by Michael Lee Johnson

Days Pass
Days pass,
cold is winter,
at night, sparrows hide in shrubs.
Tame doves at bird feeder
do not count days
no cares.
Cut Grass in Snow
All daylong
night is my storm lantern.
I carry it into the farmland
cutting into my harvest emotions
covered by snow
edge them in half
in front of me
see me open, bleeding.
I am seed like a small orange
pit me out and devour me
spit pulp and seed
I step on jagged edges
of my feelings, sense my pain
cut stretched skin with glass shavings
torture under toes hurt bad with pain.
Pitch that stuff with dark
black top tar if it makes
you feel relief.
Do not laugh at me, a circus clown down,
I am 66; my dimples show smiles, ripples, age.
This day is a lawn mower
even in Canadian December.
Machinery is shacked-up, covered.
I plow beneath the white surface
cut rotten leaves beneath settled snow.
The aggravation,
cultivation nonsense hell with my runny nose.
In spring, the grass never pops up right.
All day, night is my storm lantern.
MICHAEL LEE JOHNSON lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era:  now known as the Itasca, IL poet.  Today he is a poet, freelance writer, photographer who experiments with poetography (blending poetry with photography), and small business owner in Itasca, Illinois, who has been published in more than 750 small press magazines in 26 countries, he edits 7 poetry sites.  Michael is the author of The Lost American:  From Exile to Freedom (136 pages book), several chapbooks of poetry, including From Which Place the Morning Rises and Challenge of Night and Day, and Chicago Poems.  He also has over 69 poetry videos on YouTube.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Three Poems by Byron Beynon

The slick would engulf
the conscious coastline into disorder,
facing a wintry sea
the estuary braced
against nature's principles,
the prescriptive balance threatened
by a stench like genocide, 
the malevolence of human actions,
mute dollops
on a treasure of sands;
the praised mythology of dolphins,
the guillemots, cormorants, grey seals aground,
their character despoiled
on a torn signature of shore, 
a matted warrant,
the covering tide their pall.

These are the jewels
that only the sharp eye
can imagine,
the humility of nature
primed liked explosives
to shock the unsuspecting mind;
an interval
when knowledge can intervene
on this arched journey,
as time's technology pauses
allowing the laboratory of the senses to arrive. 

Bracelet Bay
I watch for a curve of lucid sea
with a swell searching incessantly
for a delicate wrist inland.
The shirr of parallel waves
folding like linen onto the shore,
sound and movement 
glistening with the blood
burnished by the friction of salt
and innocent air.
Fine features of torn, 
the pitch of place,
a cadence free
on a shelf of steady rock,
with a line 
by an erosion of walkers
on a scar of paths
discovering the way towards home.
Byron Beynon lives in Wales. His latest collection is The Echoing Coastline (Agenda Editions).

Saturday, February 1, 2014

A Poem by Diane Webster

Puddle Passage

The puddle assimilates the girl’s feet
into amputated reflection rippling
like shivers across the surface
as she crosses with shoes and socks
balanced in outstretched hands
wanting her passage unnoticed
like a mosquito surfing wind
until shore as each foot emerges
in minimal disturbance,
a seashell glistening for discovery.

Diane Webster's goal is to remain open to poetry ideas in everyday life or nature or an overheard phrase and to write from her perspective at the moment. Many nights she falls asleep juggling images to fit into a poem. Her work has appeared in "ken*again," "Illya's Honey," "Red River Review" and other literary magazines.