One Raven – by Kathleen Jones

That day by the lake
when you wouldn’t stop and
I made you and you stalked
off into the bracken and I sat
on the rock looking up
at the crag wondering why
do I always take it why
am I still here and then
saw a bird circling
as a crow circles its carrion –
but more slowly, wings spread wide
and the feathers fanned out against the sun
and it seemed larger and darker
with more history than a common scavenger
and then I knew I was watching an omen,
riding the thermal, effortless,
croaking a harsh truth.

Kathleen is a poet and biographer living in the north of England.  She has a couple of pamphlets published by Redbeck Press, a full collection with Templar Poetry, and is now working towards her second collection which features poems written while travelling among the First Nation people of British Columbia.

The nearly I hope will last a while longer – by Nicky Phillips

It’s nearly time; I know that.
Let me savour the moments,

relish my dashes to alter her clock,
March and October, since she remonstrated
with the vicar for being an hour late,

laugh about the night she presents herself at A&E,
scared witless by the regular bleeping in her ear,
leaving the smoke alarm, battery run down, at home,

delight in the funny sounds in her car
when the mechanic left the radio on
and she didn’t know she had one,

cherish the request to be taken to the consultant
about those marks from the cataract operations,
being unused to seeing her own wrinkles,

admire her jaunty steps into The Old Bell
to claim the Free WiFi offered outside,
thinking it was alcoholic.

I’m not quite ready to own the clock.

Nicky Phillips lives and writes in rural Hertfordshire, where she’s a member of Ware Poets. Her poems have appeared in Brittle Star, South Bank Poetry, and SOUTH; at Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Lake and Snakeskin; and in various anthologies. She delighted in being involved in Jo Bell’s ‘52’ Project.

Borrowing the Lawnmower – by Maurice Devitt

When I first asked the man five doors down,
he seemed reluctant, as though he wondered
would I bring it back and, if I did, would it ever be
the same. I bit my lip, promised to look after it
and wheeled it proudly away. There is something
about men and cylinder mowers, the whirr of the blades
gives first a feeling of calm, and then of control,
like walking a really obedient dog. As I passed,
I hailed this neighbour and that, careful not to draw
undue attention to the mower, but still that quiet
transaction passed between us. When I got home
I introduced it proudly to my wife who looked at me
nonplussed, very aware of the recent cost of paving
our back lawn but, conscious of the omerta that comes
bundled with marriage vows, she said nothing and I sat
it on the patio beside me, while I read and sipped wine,
only occasionally shared titbits, aware that
the slightest loosening of discipline can be disastrous.
I kept it three days, just enough to make him anxious
but not enough to make him call. Made sure it was Saturday
morning when I retraced my steps, neighbours revelling
in the bonding and closure, and, as he examined it
for bumps and scratches, I could swear I saw it smile.

Maurice Devitt was selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series and shortlisted for the Listowel Poetry Collection Competition in 2016. He won the Trocaire/Poetry Ireland Competition in 2015, he has been placed or shortlisted in many other competitions including the Patrick Kavanagh Award, Over the Edge New Writer Competition, Cuirt New Writing Award and the Doire Press International Chapbook Competition.