Tuesday, 29 December 2015

2 poems by Richard Skinner

Black Water Side

Your mind is a house full of people running through rooms
looking for keys. Doors slam, but far away,
so softly you’re not even sure you heard it. Turn
the door knob and step into the freezing landscape.
Notice the weeping willow bending over the beck.
The black water now runs red.

Your life is here, made up of minutes, hours, naps,
errands, routine. The little things have to be enough.
The valley is reduced to the side of a fell and cloud coming in.
The sheep are cragfast, the deer keep falling down.
You’ve nowhere else to go and you’re sure of it now—
this is the wrong mountain.

Richard’s poems have appeared in numerous publications including Faber’s First Pressings and The Interpreter’s House and have been longlisted for the National Poetry Competition. His debut collection, the light user scheme, was published by Smokestack in 2013. His new pamphlet is Terrace (Smokestack, 2015). He is also the editor of two poetry anthologies: #1PoetryAnthology (Vanguard Editions, 2014) and The Ecchoing Green: Poems Inspired by William Blake (The Big Blake Project, 2015). He is Director of the Fiction Programme at Faber Academy. He also runs Vanguard Readings and its publishing arm Vanguard Editions.

Previously published poem (8/12/2013)


A man sweeps a field
armed with a metal detector,
the plate aching to find
the sternum bone or shield
of some Saxon lord and protector.

My radar reaches three feet
and searches for the band
dropped somewhere long ago
after losing all the heat
and the half-life of your hand.

The eyes of a submariner
lock on the ghostly green ring
as the sonar scans the immensity,
his finger presses on the monitor
and ricochets into the ocean, one long single ping. 

Richard Skinner has published three novels, all with Faber & Faber. His poetry collection, the light user scheme, is published by Smokestack.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

A poem by Mike Pringle

Mike loves words and has been writing them down for ever, with a number of books under his name. But he also loves pictures and has been creating them for even longer, with even more books under his name.

Although not often inspired to poetic forms, in recent times Mike’s appreciation of poetry has grown to the extent of his producing images made of text, some which definitely fall under the broadest definition of the term.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

A poem by Roger Desy


— their population browsing overpowers the buds and bark
of hibernating saplings — they do of course cause damage

— however never the destruction of their environment

no matter how bitter the winter — never the roots of grass —

the fields erupt again in spring — the incidental damage
decays to nutrients that germinate renewal into new growth

— injuries grow their scars and heal — as latent second buds
under the tips of spurs nipped off to satisfy survival

fill in the space filled out to full leaf in the sun — nothing

is missing — nothing taken — and though their own survival at times
forecasts starvation — satiety even in famine is given back

into the nakedness of the humility it came from — it’s rare

almost unnatural — to find even debris of their remains in woods

— more than unnatural that the ground they trespassed — grazed
to its exhaustion — blow stubble of spent furrows into windy dust

(natural was first printed in Poetry Salzburg Review, Spring 2014)

About Roger Desy
I write lyrics, often sonnets, trying to give an old form new room, perhaps a new freedom. 

I taught literature and creative writing and edited technical manuals.  But I’ve remained grounded in lyric poetry. Samples are in Cider Press Review, Kenyon Review, Mid-American Review, Poet Lore, South Carolina Review, and other journals.

I like to think that observing nature in the throes of its phenomena preserves not only nature and the observations but saves us as well.