John Ellis – by Natalie Scott

Executioner of Edith Thompson, 1923


She had to be carried to the shed
but it wasn’t like they said
that she “disintegrated as a human creature”.

She was restrained and intoxicated
so it couldn’t have been like they said
that she “screamed all the way”.

She did bleed from her private parts
but it wasn’t like they said
that her “insides fell out”.

She was autopsied and declared
so it couldn’t have been like they said
that “the drop was a coffin birth”.





Natalie Scott is a Teesside-based poet and educator with a PhD in Creative Writing. She has collections published by Indigo Dreams, Bradshaw Books and Mudfog, as well as many appearances in literary journals including Ambit, Agenda and Orbis. Her collection Berth – Voices of the Titanic was awarded runner-up for the Cork Literary Review Manuscript Competition, 2011. Her latest project Rare Birds – Voices of Holloway Prison was awarded funding from the Arts Council of England.

Alone and together – by Jackie Biggs

A city that snares
slow rhythms
(Federico Garcia Lorca)



A river flows through
afternoon’s slow heat
Lorca’s pace

(together and alone
juntos y solo)

babble at café tables
rises and drops into shadow
by the waterside

sun falls through trees
the flicker of fresh leaves
in green spring

(solo y juntos
alone and together)

wine is red, time is yellow
the rhythm of the river is ours
for this hour adrift.




Jackie Biggs has had poetry published in many magazines and anthologies, both in print and online. Her first poetry collection, The Spaces in Between, was published in September 2015 by Pinewood Press (Swansea). She is a member of the four-woman poetry performance group, The Rockhoppers. Some of her poetry appears on her blog: Twitter: @JackieNews

Time to Vote – Sept/Oct Readers’ Choice Poem

In September and October these were the five poems that generated the most engagement/reaction with readers over multiple media platforms, and are shortlisted for the bi-monthly mug prize. Please vote and make a poet happy today.

The poll will close with the announcement of the winning poem on 10th November.