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Roy Marshall

The Poetry Village

Seeing the Entomologist

He doesn’t know that a bee, drinking salt
from the pores on his wrist, is called
a Sweat Bee. Nor that a butterfly, fluttering by,
has memories of caterpillar life.

He rolls onto his stomach, shades his eyes,
says, ‘now you’re making it up.’ She laughs, her hair
a spill on the grass, counters,
‘google it if you like.’

He learns how a raft spider can submerge
for an hour, that Hawk moths have ears
on their mouths. She doesn’t know
that the lake remembers

every pebble you throw, and that
if a loved one dies, a body can fill
with grief, the way a water barrel
fills with sky.

Roy Marshall’s first pamphlet Gopagilla (2012) received favourable reviews in the TLS and elsewhere. His first full collection The Sun Bathers was shortlisted for the Michael Murphy Award, and a second collection The Great…

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Ken Evans

The Poetry Village

Waiting at Manchester Piccadilly

Platform 3 under Arrivals: the digital board
slides down a blazing candle-wick of all
the stations on the Trans-Pennine line:
Leeds, Bradford, Dewsbury, Huddersfield.

A grandchild cranes to see Nana through
tall legs, orbited by a crowd; a couple greet
for a first time; a group of lads go for beer
and curry and always, there is later.

Prosecco-fired hens from Stoke blow
into an inflatable man-doll; Nana appears
at the gate, her metal of news bent
inward, pendolino-style.

Ken Evans – Ken won Battered Moons and was runner-up in Poets & Players in 2016.
‘The Opposite of Defeat’ (Eyewear) featured work shortlisted in Bare Fiction’s pamphlet competition. A collection is due this summer. His poems feature in Envoi, Under the Radar, Lighthouse Literary Journal, The High Window, Obsessed with Pipework, and Interpreter’s House.

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Jo Haslam – Two Poems

The Poetry Village

Today we are delighted to feature two poems from Jo Haslam’s brand new collection, Fetch, published by Templar Poetry. The book will be launched with a special reading at Keats House on the 29 March. The collection draws on urban and rural landscapes, the world of painting, and experiences of displacement and loss to explore the evolving ties between family, culture and language.

Hoar Frost 

Whatever was lost to the open sky
is replaced by these drops of ghost water,
ice in its dreamstate blown from the mouth
of winter asleep, spreading its network
of furred spikes of moss and blanched fern.
What would it take to freeze each pearl
or fretted grass blade or touch them awake
to a world of rain? We look to the sky
laden with frost and cloud to release
its cold breath as whisper or iron word

 

 

Fritillary

What’s the meaning of…

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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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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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