An empty chocolate digestive packet
lies on the desk in a nest of crumbs.
Underneath, a GCSE timetable,
already half struck through in red.
Einaudi is doing his best
to keep things calm.
I hand her a cup of tea; she stretches
for it, knocking Dante to the floor.
It isn’t the smile I note, but those dark pools
of panic that no amount of kindness,
extra Italian lessons or trips to Venice
can dilute. How to remind her that we all have
different strengths? Through the window
there’s the first glimpse of cowslip,
a sky of cracked gold, her crazy spaniel, doing tricks.
She giggles. I hold out her guitar. She grabs it.
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.
wind brings the gulls
to a hover
and they drop down out of it
sand stretches north
and south forever
there are colonies
of hardy bathers
by the lifeguard’s chair
have gone beyond all that
allowing the waves’ wildness
to lure us on
the broken shell you find
half smoothed is strange
to our European eyes
the seals watch us
more astutely than we them
we find the wind
in our faces
and home an ocean away
Stuart Nunn is a retired FE lecturer living in South Gloucestershire. He belongs to poetry groups in Cheltenham and Cherington (near Tetbury). He is chairman of an athletics club, but never runs.
I wrote your name,
in chalk, on stone,
beside the black water pool
that reaches down into night
and where light is extinguished
and all heat, neutralised.
And I drew a heart,
on stone, in chalk,
beside your name,
on the edge of that pool
where water sinks to deepest black
and where night is manufactured
in the stolid stare of eternity.
And I wrote ‘forever’.
Matt Nicholson is a poet from the East Riding of Yorkshire. He writes and performs just about anywhere that people will let him, and his debut collection, There and back (to see how far it is) is to be published in October of this year by The King’s England Press.
the priest conceals himself
a thurible swings
a haze of incense looms
over the coffin fills
the congregation’s throats
the nuns hushed by ritual
lower heads to pray
for their Sister her Sin
avoid meeting his eyes
know the fall
of his gaze
Lesley lives in Dorset. Her poetry has been published online, including Long Exposure and the Poetry Kit website, and in magazines and anthologies, including: Tears in the Fence, The Interpreter’s House, Sarasvati, Reach and The Butchers Dog. Recent awards in competitions include Chipping Sodbury 2014, Poetry Kit 2015 and Poetry Kit Members Competition March 2016.
Now isn’t it the case that when you’re a young man
you always wake up with a hard-on,
and if you’re in a hurry it can get in the way
between you and the sink
as you brush your teeth in the morning but –
if you are not in a hurry –
if you are a student say, of the arts perhaps,
then you might have time to reflect on the difference
between the narrow plastic shaft of the toothbrush
and your own stiff cock, thick and generous,
which you take in your other hand
and back across the landing,
over the arctic lino barefoot,
you may pad back to your bedsit bed
where the girl lies sleeping
and forget Dr Drakakis.
Go hang his tutorial on Spencer’s Faerie Queen,
for in your arms, cleaving to you, drowsy for love,
you hold an enchantress of your own.
And later, yes later, there will be time;
there will be time for study and duty
but today let it be for love and youth
to go dancing down the worried streets,
beyond mortgaged lives and market places
to city parks with wider skies. And wine. Wine aplenty,
laughter and tears, dreams and kisses then, enough for poetry.
When cherries are ripe they must be eaten.
So make no apology – sorry Dr Drakakis –
make no apology, but celebrate. Celebrate.
Consult an artist if in doubt, consult the poet.
I could not pin down Boltini for a bio, but he is a Yorkshire poet with a unique and beguiling voice. His collection Narrow Ruled Feint with Margin is available here from Otley Word Feast Press.