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Sarah Dixon

The Poetry Village

Our new house from the ale trail train

I spot it.
Know about over-dwellings
and this means we only own it
from the first floor.

Our attic window is open
and I see you wave.
You must be on a stool to do this.
Precarious.

I can’t always be there
to hold you
to warn you
not to reach up
as high as you can.

With a wobble of legs
I watch you grip the rim
and imagine you topple
and
fall

h
a
r
d

and
heavy.

I hear the impact of the earth.
Know you would not survive this.

I will you back in,
your bruised shins,
your dimpled bum,
your fingernails with an under-dwelling of soil
gathered by mud pie break-times
with new friends I can’t yet name.

I know what the front of our house looks like,
anyone who has travelled on the 184
and looked…

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Neil Clarkson

The Poetry Village

Manure

The dry air
had turned damp;
the cool stealth
of autumn.

We went to a friends
to collect the muck
the horse looked
on like we were
about to take its foal.

We shovelled fast in the cold;
the benevolence of steam
the comfort of straw.

Both of us pissed in it
to seal the goodness.
We spread it freely
then tarped the rest,
preserving nutrients from
leeching winter rain.

We didn’t yet have that
language of what
you take out
you must put back.

Neil Clarkson is a long-standing member of the Albert Poets, published in magazines including Pennine Platform, The Black Horse and Obsessed by Pipework. He has won prizes in numerous competitions. His debut collection, Build You Again from Wood, was published inFebruary 2017 by Calder Valley Poetry.

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Maria Isakova Bennett

The Poetry Village

It was a Sunday Night and the Hospital was Short Staffed

Hooked to a drip,
she abandons her father’s mizpah ring
into my hand,

falls back onto a pillow
and labours whispers that make no sense.
At midnight, a priest scurries to her bed.

I sit, stand, sit, until a nurse guides me
to a visitor’s room. In darkness,
at two in the morning hot tears slide to my ears,

while an on call surgeon gives her one last chance.
I shiver in the heat of June
and she’s out of it in morphine.

After thirty years of daily offerings,
when I need God, prayers come cold and rote,
pleas remain in my mouth.

A steady voice asks about next of kin,
a pen draws a line across a page
and I taxi home to my daughters.

*

Sometimes I sit with her possessions:
folded paper with one stitch of…

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Ben Jones

The Poetry Village

The Night I Did

When I first made the night, I did
The moonlight sloshed in jars
I pulled the blackness overhead
And pinned it there with stars
I spilled the moon a puddle
Like a ghost it rose aloft
I wove a gentle breeze, I did
A whisper in the trees, I hid
A lullaby to ease the lid
In silence, butter soft

I revelled in the night, I did
The shadow cast for me
I edged the world in silhouette
With silver filigree
I danced among the hollow trunks
And faded far from view
A tingle to the east, I spy
The purple glow of morning sky
A caution that the dawn is nigh
And I am overdue

Ben Jones lives in Leeds with his partner, children and dog. He has been writing poetry to pass the time for many years and, subsequently, doesn’t have many friends. He…

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Snow

All through the day snow has been falling

like stars out of place or angels or prayers; slivers of universe

with millions of possibilities that if singled out and caught by

a warm hand will pale to a tear

leaving only a memory

 

of a feathered touch or eyelash kiss.

From within we watch the new night sky

filter out its blanket of white

silencing the ground as it mimics

a clean sheets over our bodies.

 

Slowly the wind strengthens and like a wolf

the once silent fall becomes

an orchestra of science as

snow twists past street lights,

spirals over houses and dances past the last

 

bus that now takes a unknown diversion.

Snow defying gravity, soaring,

flailing and falling

onto a frozen landscape

that we watch developing

 

like a photograph;

the paper restless in chemicals,

a world in darkness with only

a muted oxide glow to guide our hands

and the sound of wolves now scratching at the door.

 

The snow shoulders farms

against the moor, fills lanes

once engraved through land,

amplifies the essence of our existence

and brings the last moving traffic to a dead stop.

 

We look down upon the village,

down towards the snow globe centre

where a clear web of lights

that once spiralled out from its core

slowly disappears.

 

Children make their escape to first floor rooms

taking treasured possessions and shelving

photographs, books and computer games

for safe keeping. They watch from relative safety

the commuters clearing driveways

 

throwing salt stone and filling kettles

ready for the bite of a morning unknown.

The snow and the wind continue

and together they conspire

to cover everything, leave nothing undone.

 

In the dawn grey light the children jump

from their bedrooms

and slide into drifts where garden walls

once stood. Without boundaries

the commuters give in and turn over,

 

their driveways scarred but slowly recovering.

At the reservoir skaters erect temporary

fencing and jostle for space

practising the latest toe picks and steps

in time to the click of the make shift

 

chair lift that now runs the length

of the banking much to the water board’s

disliking. An old man argues with a group of

German ski enthusiasts, who, unable to build houses,

are offered the chance

 

to take part in the first Pennine slalom

made of frozen sheep and stone. The snow continues.

And in the village where cars no longer exists

dog walkers turn out en-mass, carrying their plastic purple bags,

but deciding to turn back, much to each dog’s delight,

 

next to where the last bus was abandoned

with its lights still on and windows steamed and the driver

reported missing in the last hour as per company policy. The new school

head clambers over the football pitch regretting the early morning text

but looking at the plus of trying out her new coloured boots, one piece suite

 

and combination head scarf that works as both casual and smart.

The snow continues. Warning signs that have flashed

through the night go out.

The wind howls. Roads disappear,

as does the ground floor of that row of terraced houses

 

nearest to the river now frozen to the shape of claws.

An Australian, visiting relatives for the first time, joins a group

of Finns who have all been prescribed light

and feel short changed. They make out

at a self built sauna hidden out of sight with a discarded barbeque,

 

garden shed and a selection of furs smuggled under clothing.

The Australian’s relatives, in some desperation,

follow snow angels on tree lined paths and join the group

naked in the drifts. The snow continues.

And last to move is the farmer who makes

 

a half hearted attempt to clear the lane

but misjudges the weight of the counterbalance

and upends like a duck, slipping from his seat to become

caught by the Saint Christopher around his neck

now half strangled on the tractor’s gear stick.

 

We give in and watch the snow fall.

We watch the village slowly fade from sight.

Darkness falls again. Villagers make their escape to higher ground,

walking on rooftops, as streets begin to drown.

First to go is the pub, then the bakery and the gallery.

 

Then the post office, convenience store

and charity shop. Gone is the off-licence,

the take-away  and flower market. Also

the doctor’s surgery, news agent,

haberdashery and selection of newly

 

opened cafe bars and restaurants

catering for individual tastes.

Gone is the police station, swimming baths, library

and school. And on the outskirts, where property

 

once made a better investment, the  Social,

Conservative, Liberal and Band clubs are all going under.

And the snow continues with no sign

of it ever petering out. From the hills

we see the distant city glow, the only

 

light in the valley, as the people hunker down

in make shift shelters where we listen to the sound

of our breathing amidst the cries of wolves

that leech out in the cover of snow. And we wait for the thaw,

wait in reverence with cold empty hands.

 

Snow first appeared in my debut pamphlet, Flowers by the Road, published by Templar Poetry in 2017. You can purchase a copy from the Templar Shop

Hilary Hughes

The Poetry Village provides an on-line platform for the best new poetry around – submissions are open .

The Poetry Village

Mr Oystercatcher

Oh Mr Oystercatcher, with your orange-red bill
and long scarlet legs; you make your way along
the shoreline, piping your call as you go.

Is it because this is your land, your territory?
Because you have young, safe in their nests?
Or because this wide stretch of cling film water
is yours, is yours to wade in, to fly over, to hunt from?

What right have I, in longing to stay in this place?
Today’s a new day, time to move on, discover, rest, reflect.

As a small parcel of seaweed floats north with the tide,
and you, Mr Oystercatcher, resume your wading, feeding,
I thank God for this special place and offer it to Him,
… and to you, Mr Oystercatcher!

Hilary is a North Yorkshire-based writer and poet whose passions are: faith, family, linguistics and language, landscape, people watching and travel; her writing is infused with…

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Nigel King

The Poetry Village

THE BEAUTIFUL DOGS

The town has many fine historic buildings,
an elegant Victorian park
and plenty to entice the discerning shopper,
though surely its most striking feature
is the profusion of Beautiful Dogs.

Take a stroll along the Regency high street
or the quiet banks of the river
– you’ll see them everywhere:

the Black Labrador whose coat shines
like coal fresh-cut from the seam,
the Basset with just the right look
of droll melancholy.

Watch the Saluki sashay
past designer boutiques,
the immaculate Spaniel toss her head
like a supermodel,
the Greyhound cock a geometric leg
on the statue of the Queen-Empress.

The owners themselves are not beautiful.
Some have dressed hastily, in odd socks,
some have a small crust of dried egg
on the corner of the mouth.
Their faces tell of unpaid bills,
long waits for the morning bus,
a Ready-Meal for one.

But when they meet…

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Penny Sharman

Penny Sharman features on the Platform today.

The Poetry Village

tide line

I know it’s constant
the ins and outs of flotsam
driftwood, plastic bottles,
neon fishing lines,
all coming at you
day after day
gagging sea turtles and angel fish,
night after night
garbage for a mermaid’s ritual,
the concrete groynes
piling up on the sand
a beachcomber’s Mona Lisa.

I know it’s constant
wave after wave
all coming at you
beating thunder to shingle,
but everything shifts
with this constancy,
a paper origami boat
lost at sea
white cliffs beaten
cat fish and molluscs
every rock pool surrenders
to the mighty
that inevitable drag
that phrase
water will always find its way.

Penny has been writing poetry for over 15 years, she has just completed her MA in Creative Writing at Edge Hill University. Penny has had several poems published in magazines such as The Interpreters House, Obsessed with Pipework, Beautiful Dragons, Outburst, Picaroon, Poetry Quarterly and others…

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Michael Brown

The Poetry Village

Annunciation

Someone arrives uninvited to tell you
what you couldn’t begin to believe:

how an uneventful life might change
in an hour or with a phrase.

Receive this with grace.
Feel how the ordinary word

coils like song in the spiral of the ear;
dream’s pitch, yet half-heard,

how physical, near. You can’t place
that felt note, known all along,

come to earth.

 

Michael’s work has been published widely including The Rialto, Butchers Dog, Crannog, The Moth and The North. He was selected by Clare Pollard for a Northern Writers’ Award (New North Poets) last year. The pamphlet, Undersong (2014) is available from Eyewear. His most recent pamphlet, Locations for a Soul appeared in 2016 from Templar Publishing.

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