One Poem by Ellen Jeanne Archer

Still in Motion

From the bus in the gray rain through the streaked blurred window
In the distance, in the clearing, in the asphalt, in the grass
               amongst the green furred trees and fuzzy grass
A young man
Shooting hoops in the rain cold against the warm air.
He throws the ball, its orange merging into his bright blue sweater.
All there is is green and orange and that blue, bluer than the darkened sky.
In the dusky air, ball and body heavy with the rain, he perseveres.
               Alone.
So many there beside him, this team of one.
People waiting, elsewhere far away from this concentrated effort.
The noises of the world die down, overcome by the boy
who beats the ball against the asphalt hidden in the grass.

 

Ellen Jeanne Archer is a Bronx-based poet. She teaches students with autism at a special education Bronx high school. She has been writing poetry for over 20 years

One Poem by Derek Brown

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

Woman with Roses

She has gathered her rosebuds.
She knows what is coming.
Watch her intently,
as she stands before you
with her auburn hair,
and her strange resignation.

In another, different time
she was aware, alive.
And yet she is here, now.
Observe her closely,
then look further, beyond
her silent and painted window.

 

Derek Brown was born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland. He has previously been published in various New Voices Press anthologies, Omphalos Issue 12, Amethyst Review and Nine Muses Poetry.

One Poem by E A M Harris

Shared Discomfort

Follow me onto
the high moors and stone-filled slopes
uncosy home of backpacks and weatherproofs,
where
raindrops peck like fairy dragon nips
and gravity
speaks, crescendo, in steep uphills.

Together
watch the bald summit invite clouds,
pregnant with tomorrow’s rain,
to low-fly
cliffs that leer above their corries
with
grey, granitic frowns.

Disturb
the sly burns seeping among the tussocks
and, along
the ridge, the hard-earthed track
hoofed by
sheep and deer, year on year on year.

Tonight we’ll find
the valley of the hovering hawk,
where old
words cough from dead throats,
and the road
leading to the roofless inn
and its black, still moat.

 

E. A. M. Harris has been writing for some years and several of her poems and flash stories have appeared in print and online magazines and anthologies. She blogs at http://eamharris.com/ and tweets as E A M Harris @Eah1E.

One Poem by James Bell

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

gathered rosebuds

i.m. Muriel Foster

the rosebuds are long dead now
withered to dust – though
my hands look nice as they hold the bowl –
sterling silver as I recall

Waterhouse said the roses are symbolic
there’s white for innocence
red for when you are in your bloom –
he has a mix of buds in there

said it was to do with the passage of time
can see what he meant now –
asked if I knew a Robert Herrick out of the blue
can’t say I do I said

he left it like that as was his way –
I like the set of my head here
and my auburn hair nicely gathered up –
I loved wearing that dress

I guess all my rosebuds have been gathered
call me John long gone
I’m sure he wouldn’t want to paint me now
though it’s nice to see how I was

 

James Bell is Scottish and now lives in France. He has written and published poetry for twenty years. At present he is at work on his first short story collection.

One Poem by Lou Smith

Snowdonia National Park

We passed bumblebees hovering clumsily near hedges
the intense green of sheep-filled pastures
crossed narrow stone bridges low over rapids
to reach the mountains streaked with lilac flowers
we climbed slippery grey shale
the stone pathway steep to the sky
a moment when I couldn’t go any further
afraid to keep climbing
you scrambled higher and higher
to see how high you could go
even though you are the one scared of heights
from our separate spots we watched
people below stopping their cars at the edge of the lake
to stretch and breathe the summer air
then the Hawks came
around the side of the mountain
so close their sonic boom
almost knocked us off our feet
they passed us in a moment
swooping across the lake
disappearing silence

 

Lou Smith’s poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including Wasafiri, Mascara Literary Review, Caribbean Quarterly, s x Salon and Hecate. Her debut book of poetry riversalt was published by Flying Island Books in 2015. Lou holds a PhD in Creative Writing from The University of Melbourne, Australia. http://www.lousmith.net

One Poem by Charlotte Hamrick

Pine

Walking past a neighbor’s house, I pause
to smell the pine. A tree shoots up into the sky,
its long pliant needles pointing as if to say,
Look at the sky, the earth, the air full of flying things!
But, instead, I close my eyes and pull in a deep breath
of the sharp green scent so familiar it’s a part of me.
The sounds of the city fade as a hushed needle-covered
path rises up and I walk into my childhood.

 

Charlotte Hamrick lives in New Orleans with her husband and a menagerie of rescued pets. Her poetry, prose, and photography has been published in numerous online and print journals.

One Poem by Rebecca Clifford

Driving In

a feral spots me exiting the house
               vacates the property at the speed of sound
she’s hunting mice this soft day
lawn needs mowing – always when it rains
poplar, a yellow torch scraping clouds
dogwood and spirea flame, glow, a lit fuse
               along the rail fence

truck grrrowls over three-quarter crush and run,
coughs displeasure at moving
we’re sluggish, we two

on the verge, bushes slouch
gravid with pendulous moist berries
satin caped grackles
  heckle our progress along the rutted road

gravel turns to tar and chip turns to tarmacadam
changes from two to four lanes, a median
               kilometres from thirty screech to one-twenty
wetness whispers off auto tires
               trucks with airbrakes and UltraCountry 109
bully past

                              no one signals lane changes

 

Rebecca Clifford has published works in Tower Poetry Anthologies, Tamaracks Anthology of Canadian Poetry, The Banister, The Rural Route, and similar publications. In 2017 and 2018 she won the Haldimand Country Poetry Contests. Rebecca writes for amusement, pleasure, sport, and general sanity. She lives in rural Ontario, Canada.

One Poem by Diane Jackman

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

final curtain

down
this
ribbed and
stony track
through concertina
folded flames and pitch-black skirts, tint
of my mortal sin
alone I
step to
my
end

 

Diane Jackman’s poetry has appeared in magazines and anthologies; winner of Liverpool, Deddington, Café Writers’ Norfolk Prize, librettist for “Pinocchio” (Kings’ Singers/LSO), author of seven published children’s books and many stories. Her passions are Anglo-Saxon literature and medieval rabbit warrens.

One Poem by Richard Leach

Another Babel Poem

In fact
the builders
of the tower
to heaven
reached it.
They got there.
They came to
heaven’s floor
and cut a hole
in it and climbed
up through and
looked around.
When they came
back down they
babbled because
they had no words
for the music
they had heard.

 

Richard Leach is a poet and visual artist in Stamford, Connecticut. His sacred poetry has been set to music by many composers and is widely published and sung. He posts secular poetry online and collects it in self-published books, available at lulu.com/rleach

One Poem by Paul Waring

Terminal

Today neat rows of plastic anthuriums
lack empathy. And birdsong breezing
sweet notes from nearby oaks
does little to lighten dread.

I’ve seen this consultant enough to know
news is not good. A split-second sense;
his staged welcome, self-conscious as
an audition.

Mr Bell, left fist clenched to quell
a cough, delivers his script with practised
compassion. My only words: that bad?
Within three months?

Deafening tick-tocks count time—
time to shake hands with the present
and its past; time to let go of the future.
Now every sleep, a rehearsal for death.

 

Paul Waring is a retired clinical psychologist who once designed menswear and was a singer/songwriter in Liverpool bands. A 2018 Pushcart Prize nominee, Paul has had poems published in Prole, The High Window, Atrium, Algebra of Owls, Amaryllis, Clear Poetry, Strix, Marble Poetry, Lampeter Review and others. https://waringwords.wordpress.com