Where past forgets, and future lies,
And slumber waits a distant prize,
Where snuffed out scents of candles rise,
I’ll meet you there, we’ll close our eyes.

And fingers find, our faces bound,
And words appear, but make no sound,
And pulses find a pace to keep,
I’ll meet you there, we’ll go to sleep.



© Greg Harwood

Picture 10047147, unattributed engraving, circa 1870s



Greg Harwood is new to poetry but has always been a keen songwriter. As a film composer, he started out as assistant to the late George Webley (Have I got News For You, The Office) and has since worked on over 30 short and feature length films. Find out more about his music, and potentially poetry, here:




Between rice bowls and candlelight

stretch moments

of perfect contentment.


Laughter waltzes with garlic prawns,

jives with olives,

pirouettes with wine.


Among tall rococo willow


bats flit a bold fandango.


Atom by atom past

suffering melts

in relentless gentleness.


Gravid time. Still air. A drop


from a leaf. A wish unspoken.


Goldfinch at their morning tasks

Sing willow songs

Of sunlit miracles.


Three cabbage whites, two dragonflies,

one thrush

distinguishing silences.


A baby toad, her thumbnail size,

its thumb

a perfect pinpoint marvel.


Moorchicks sprint along new

lily pads

playing at flight with stumpy wings.


And here’s a moorcock mate, green

claws spread

poised, slow to the ground. Balletic.


Light as a hop, soft as a

tune hummed

through a smile, warm as new laid eggs.


Such lightness, buoyancy, this


smiling warmth: could she be happy?



© Rosie Johnston
Picture 10505257, woodblock print, ink on paper, attributed to Ohara Koson



Rosie Johnston’s three poetry books, published by Lapwing Publications in Belfast, are Sweet Seventeens (2010), Orion (2012) and Bittersweet Seventeens (2014). Her poems have appeared or featured in Ink, Sweat & Tears, Hedgerow, London Grip, Culture NI, FourxFour and The Honest Ulsterman. She was commissioned to take part in Live Canon’s 154 Project (2016) celebrating Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary and has been poet in residence for the Cambridgeshire Wildlife Trust since 2014. She also reviews poetry for London Grip.  @RosieJpoet


Drunkard’s Cloak


All my problems were brewed, bottom to top, in a barrel,
every ill fermenting further when taken without water:
from cask to cup, from cup to jowl till I was well-oiled,
lushy, pickled and stiff, reeling ripe, three sheets to the wind,
fuddled and stewed, till I thumped the empty drum and met
the floor with a bow and the door with a shoe up my arse,
till nearly none a place would have me to fill their stools.
When a man’s money stops being good enough to take,
that’s when you’ve your head in the jakes, to be full as a goat
and still want more  –  I knew Trouble was my only friend,
forever casting up my accounts of the night before,
everyone else had left my house sure as time was called,
my next, and only, guests were the law.
Whoever said a judge is a sombre thing has not met those
that’ll drop the drunkard’s cloak around you,
I can hear his flesh-tub wibble with mirth as he does say
I must don a barrel about the streets, dry as dust, at that.
Though I may be spared spikes or whips or fines
I must take rotten apples aplenty to the head and, the next day,
remember how all the town saw me fall and roll and roll on.



© Jo Brandon

Picture 10045460, engraving by J Tookey, late 18th century



Jo Brandon was born in Essex in 1986 and raised in rural Lincolnshire. She graduated with a degree in Creative Writing from Bretton Hall, University of Leeds in 2007. Between 2008 and 2011 Jo was an editor of the literary e-zine Cadaverine, and her poetry has featured in various publications and anthologies including Poetry Review, Magma, Cake and Butcher’s Dog. Jo’s debut pamphlet, Phobia, was published by Valley Press in 2012. Her first full-length collection, The Learned Goose, followed in November 2015. She can be found online at




Draw the blinds and pour more coffee, pore over

the numbers with sticky digits, munching donuts.

We analyse the causes of childhood in a slimming

vest and Peter-Pan collar, fat ties, broad shoulder


pads, and puffy sleeves, crunch whole kilobytes

of data shuffled between ever-harder floppy disks.

We blow dust from clackety keyboards with tinned air.

Jotting and pointing, we lay wastepaper to rest,


request a screaming printout on a perforated,

green-striped page. It’s all the rage in silicone

these days to plump our figures, quicken the books.

To err is human, to cover up requires a screen.


Who knows? One day this whole computer thing

might crash the marketplace, and go mainstream.



© Robert Peake

Picture 10985092, photograph by T del Amo, 1990s



Robert Peake is an American-born poet living near London. He created the Transatlantic Poetry series, bringing poets together for live online readings and conversations. His film-poems collaborations have been widely screened in the US and Europe. He is a poetry surgery tutor for the Poetry Society in Hertfordshire, and writes for the Huffington Post. His collection Cyclone is forthcoming in July 2018 from Nine Arches Press.


Skating Alone


The clean cut of my blades through the ice pleases my ear and makes

A thin powder beside the two parallel lines which I see

As I curve automatically into a figure of eight.

I admire the motif, repeat it again and again

Until the emotion released cools in the mist of my breath.

This frozen lake is grey, like the sky, except where my skates slice,

Leaving their trail with its ruffle of fondant adjacent.

Far away at the margin, trees blossom with snow, dots moving

Under them, muted. No sound can I hear but of my own making

Leaning into the lunges, or should I say slides, quickly now

As I follow the impulse to glide on down the river.

What if I follow my whim, let it take me on to the sea?



© Vivien Freeman, from the novel Rose Alleyn, 2017

Picture 10184106, unattributed photograph, 1950s



Vivien Freeman grew up in North London and studied History of Art at the University of East Anglia. She then settled in Ware, Hertfordshire, with her two children and their father. In Ware Vivien studied Creative Writing with the writer and artist, Frances Wilson, a dear friend. She went on to teach Creative Writing herself for many years and is a published poet and novelist. Her historical novel, Rose Alleyn, set in the year 1900, was published in 2017 and is available as a Kindle download at Amazon. Her work recently appeared in a poetry anthology, The Tree Line (Worple Press, 2017), in support of The Woodland Trust. She is a script reader with a leading agency and is also a grandmother. She now lives in the Vale of Glamorgan with her husband, the poet John Freeman.




The only thing is glass –

Between me and the force

Of water, crashing

Against the boulders.


Picking up beetles:

Insect larvae, molluscs;

Whilst dropping off

Nourishment in minerals.


The male dipper sits

On his rock-cafe –

Watchful and waiting

To wade the tapestry.


In this small slit of time;

My thirst is quenched

My senses caressed,

Every pearl soothed.


I’m in my element

In the silent fall,

And my spirits rise;

As the dipper dives.


The cafe owner opens

The window to the noise;

Silence falling into

The water-fall,


Crashing the lazy bay-

Window of thought.



© Helen Harrison

Picture 10057243, watercolour by Robert Gillmor



Originally from the Wirral in England, born to Irish parents, Helen Harrison has been living in Ireland most of her adult life. She was awarded funding during 2014 from The Arts Council of Northern Ireland for a seven-day course studying poetry at The Poets House in Donegal. She has read poetry on The Creative Flow, Dundalk FM, and at various venues around Ireland. Many poems have appeared in journals and magazines. While a person who enjoys the rural life and growing flowers and herbs and foraging from the wild, she often gets the travel bug and writing is inspired by these journeys. Her first collection of poetry, The Last Fire, was published by Lapwing in 2015. Some of her poetry can be found here:


Only this of me


Tris Boukes Bay, Skyros, 23 April 1915


The sun in the west
dropping behind a mountain,
the dark following
from the east,
keeping its distance,
knowing it must win,
and the sea
cool, deep,

In the end
a rectangle of iron and marble
shows where they stopped.

Thirty minutes climb
with their awkward load
through rocks and trees.

An hour’s digging,
lower the body
into the trench.

Ram the cross
into the dirt
above his head.

Stand back,
shout the order,
fire in the night.

Turn away,
shouldering spades,
pickaxes, guns.

Not the first
or last
to be forsaken.

Row out
to the city of ships
glittering in the bay.
Sail at dawn,
the sea road that
Achilles took,
north east
for the Dardanelles.


© Chris Hardy

Picture 10220346, photograph, circa 1915


Rupert Brooke died on his way to Gallipoli. He was buried by his friends on the Greek island of Skyros: most of them also didn’t survive WW1. His grave is a silent, remote spot above the bay where the fleet anchored. Brooke and his friends were classical scholars, enthralled to be returning to the land of Troy: Achilles, the hero of the Iliad, went from Skyros to the Trojan war.


Chris Hardy has travelled widely and now lives in London. His poems have been published in Stand, Tears in the Fence, The Dark Horse, The Interpreter’s House, The North, The Rialto, ink sweat and tears, the compass magazine and many other places. He is in LiTTLe MACHiNe (described by Carol Ann Duffy as ‘The most brilliant music and poetry band in the world’), performing their settings of well-known poems at literary events in the UK and abroad. His fourth collection, Sunshine at the end of the world, was published in August 2017 by Indigo Dreams. Roger McGough said about the book: ‘A guitarist as well as a poet Chris Hardy consistently hits the right note, never hits a false note’, and Peter Kennedy, in London Grip says, ’Chris writes vivid, expository poetry often heavy with portent and mystery. Each of these poems is a story as beautifully muscular and slippery as an eel’.


My Right Arm


You were my right arm. Holding me up to stop me from falling over.
For two years, my bones strengthened and each vein throbbed,
threatening to puncture like a dam under pressure.

That was how much love it could hold, my right arm; no more, no less.
I wanted to travel without you. My right arm. We fought, we agreed,
we disagreed. I wept and you left me there, temporarily. Out in the cold.

So we floated around, like two separate entities: limbless.
But we couldn’t bear the distance so we came back together.
My severed arm was reattached.

I stitched you back on and you were part of my fabric again.
Here I am now. Like a wounded soldier. I go on because I must.
Lifeless. Back to where we were before.

Only this time, I’m not sure you’re coming back.


© Natalie Baker

Picture 10100785, illustration by G H Ford, 1867


Natalie Baker is a London-based freelance writer and editor. Her poems and fiction have been featured in Synaesthesia Magazine and The Bacon Review, and she regularly contributes to the Bloody Good Period blog. Read her personal blog here and find her on Twitter @NataBake


Madame Fortuna


Lift the flap, duck inside her booth,
settle in to lamplight, honey,

seeker after truth: pay your dues,
let the tea leaves rest and stew

put your palm in hers. When she looks
into your eyes La Fortuna sees the future

smiles in your beaker, fog clears,
here comes the handsome stranger: wait.

Disappointment.  In her view the visitor
is just you, alone, stranded in the dark.



© Dominic James

Picture 10216564, unattributed photograph, 1902



Dominic James lives with his partner Helen near Stroud in Gloucestershire. He has been writing poetry for ten years and is a longtime member of Richmond’s Bright Scarf group, which occasionally mounts poetic evenings thinly spread between Hungerford and Sherrington, and most recently in West Greenwich Library. A latecomer to the form, Dominic is an admirer of Lowell and Blake and learns what he can from the recent greats. His favourite current poets include Alice Oswald and Hannah Lowe. Dominic has been published online and in print by, among others: Poetry Pulse, Ink Sweat & Tears, The Cannon’s Mouth and Kudzu Review. His collection, Pilgrim Station, was published in December 2016 by SPM Publications and his blog is sometimes updated at:


Nuwara Eliya


Nuwara Eliya is a town in the mountains of Sri Lanka where Samuel White Baker, artist and big game hunter, set up an agricultural community from where he brutally slaughtered many hundreds of animals.   



The shore holds no footprints

where the big game hunter

once stood knee-deep in the lake,

the buffalo cornered,


its bellowing about to unecho

with its blood in the water.


The sum of the breath

of all the creatures he hunted

is now dust

on tusk and horn


or bone fragments

buried under scrub.

The prey was the island,

its land a trophy.


Its edges always uneasy –

always pounded by currents

at cross-purposes

full of separations,



invasion, colonisation

bedded down

in the pestle and mortar of water.



© Rebecca Gethin

Picture 10546836, illustration by Samuel White Baker, 1854



Rebecca Gethin lives on Dartmoor in Devon. She had two pamphlets published in 2017: All the Time in the World by Cinnamon Press (who also previously published her full collection and two novels) and A Sprig of Rowan by Three Drops Press. She has been a Hawthornden Scholar and has had a Pushcart nomination. She edited A Poetry of Elephants, an anthology of poems to raise  money for DSWT, an elephant orphanage in Kenya which was shortlisted for a Saboteur Award. She currently runs the Poetry School Seminar in Plymouth every month. Her website is