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E.A.M. Harris

The Poetry Village

Don’t Break the Tea Circle

The room sweeps from front porch to back lawn.
The Chinese carpet grips billowing seats
guarded by gold brocade cushions; curtains
swagger at the windows. We stand, them and us,
a circle round a coffee table.
I arrange a smile, ‘Her end was peaceful.’ My smile
repeats in great-aunt’s lips, her eyes
spy on the carpet, ‘So thoughtful to come this way.
Do have some tea,’
passing the Doulton and silver jug. My feet
are killing; she could say ‘… a seat.’ We go on standing;
even the bump. ‘You could’ve phoned.’ Cousin with bump.
I drink. She sighs. An old quarrel wearies
round the chairs, but cushions and flounces are battlements.
No rest for the past.
Loose covers beckon, my skirt would blend,
but sitting is an armoured declaration. I stand.

There’s refuge in tradition: the weather glossed
with traffic jams and roads. We…

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Rachel Kerr

The Poetry Village

360 Degree Review

i

I got it verbatim,
what they all thought,
the rush of frustration
only just missing my kidneys.
The times they said nothing –
a growing ball of paperclips,
pay issues and early departures,
winding me with its momentum.
And before I knew it, the ducking
was done and I was floating
in pond weed, being professional.

I can push upstream
like this for a hundred more
meetings, from hare moon
to harvest, making it work.
Watch me. And if it should come,
the baying, the rope, the stake
on the platform, that day I will
step up and, in the fraction
of the second there will be,
I will raise my hand and point
and you will know me.

ii

Afterwards, she picked her sharpest kitchen knife
and sliced a perfect semi-circle, scooped out the contents
and, as if to dine, laid down her best pieces…

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Christopher Hopkins

The Poetry Village

The Empty Chapel of Your Eyes

With the dying
of the softest light,
the lamp light calls
to the north stars
as the caged bird
closed up
to the swallow-tailed will,

and somewhere
an hour or two in the light dust west,
colours
are compacting,
like a torch light pressed
hard against the pinkest skin.

The infra sounds
are climbing into bed
with us.
You rest our eyes
in your palm of solace,
as a candlelight vigil.
Skin is translucent
in the colour blue,
(here,
but not here).

The marble light reflection
in the chapel of our eyes,
doesn’t burn as bright
as burnt wings
or the jointed bones
of Orion’s frozen copse,
and like my body
powerless.
All of these heavenly bodies
are without spines,
without warmth.
There is no freedom in the cold,
like a star
in the glare
of the Sun’s accomplice,
that spoiling moon.
My love,

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Dick Jones

The Poetry Village

Morgan, Mulligan and Me

‘My Funny Valentine’
Art Farmer – trumpet
Gerry Mulligan – baritone sax
Bill Crow – bass
Dave Bailey – drums

There was
it seemed
a chance
after all

a chance
that in spite
of the thick
cat curve of

Morgan’s midnight
hair; the
electric green
surveillance of

those Cleopatra
eyes; the
devastating scorn
of that

elevated lip,
she might
just notice me
for all my looks

laughable un-
photographable.
A neutral party
told me late

one Tuesday
after lunch
and with all of
break before us
(this for the price
of my last
French cigarette)
that you had

a thing
a real thing
a kink for a
saxophone.

Where all
the other girls
had things for
a kiss-curl fall

or a hand
drooped limp
at the wrist
or a hip-switch

twist away from
the microphone
you favoured
the blue smoke

of a saxophone.
So it was…

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Hannah Stone

The Poetry Village

Easter Hail Stones, Hanlith Moor 

The sky is surly today,
reluctant to twist the veil
and clothe us in its blue lining.

Spring trees are barely clad,
still stretch out their limbs
in dark longing.

After Gordale Scar refuses us
the moors embrace our feet;
saturated soil clogs our boots.

Then, sudden and brutal,
the weather front drops its pretence,
drapes us with white-out.

Hail stones beat and batter
any flesh exposed to its blows.
Visibility shrinks before our gaze.

This cold pierces Gortex layers,
stabs to the bones.
Cheeks redden from its flail.

Then, it is as if a hand
reaches down and lifts the scourge,
switches on the light.

There is a lane, pointing
in roughly the right direction.
On naked elders, birds start to celebrate.

We breathe new life
into stinging fingers,
raise bruised faces to the sun.

Hannah Stone has been widely anthologized and published…

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Martin Bewick

The Poetry Village

A Viewfinder

The pasture greyed, the rattling beck mute
behind secondary glazing, the fizz of pylons too,
in a day of scarce light. The aperture of a former
home is wide as the hours require, and
each year now we shovel our signifiers,
brushing leaves across our yards as the wind
lifts. But there is no wind. Beyond the old
neighbours’ place, twenty on foot and four in
the car, an ombré smudge of tones settles –
hawthorn, sodden, briars sagging, and mud
deep, kicked up by cows gone to the byre
for milking, or fell sheep, if there were sheep.
The power station, a blackened copse somewhere
about the edge of land, fading, its cooling
towers merged with vapours that lift, sink,
sink as the sea of Hibernia turns away, its
back brushing the pile of exhausted chimneys,
almost gone, almost deconstructed. Concrete
follies of a folly in a…

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Alison Lock

The Poetry Village

The Blessing

After you were born, we planted a tree
– a sapling pear.

The glint of a spade in the afternoon sun; a signal
for the soil to nourish with tenderness

a ritual renewed by the sound of a new born’s snuffle.
In time, the blossom is as white as your flesh

is pink.  Fragile heads flicker in the breeze.
A salutation to Hera.

Then come the fruits, kernels of creation.
Each one a single drop of tear.

Time waits for the flight of an angel’s wing;
as our abundant crop hails his first cry, our blessing

and so you were born
– a slow motion memory of pear parting tree.

The Blessing was originally published in A Slither of Air (2011) Indigo Dreams Publishing

Alison Lock is a poet and author of six publications – three poetry collections, two collections of short stories, and a fantasy novella. Her…

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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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