One Poem by Eva Silver

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.


My thoughts are in yellow,
Highlighted, two paths,
Stuck between parallel worlds,
My hairs greying with indecision,
Alice in Wonderland, which one
Do I pick? Safety is bliss, but
Safety is stagnant, the other?
X marks the spot, looks like pain
But pain is growth, my feet
Are grounded, my heart
Sways east, break the comfort
Find your tongue, who told you
Not to speak? Break the curse,
Woman break that ceiling, pick
The one which makes your heart
Beat, you are fire, don’t shy away
Now, don’t shy away from your


Eva Silver – was inspired to start writing poetry after studying English Literature. Her writing is inspired by her travels, relationships and spirituality.

One Poem by Sammi Cox


She wants to get lost
In the woods
Not forever, of course
Just for a short while

She wants to experience
To be at one with nature
To commune with the trees
To listen to the birds
And hear the rustle of
Branches and leaves
As the wind blows

Without the accompanying
Background music of
The modern world
Whose message is
Always the same:

“Can’t stop now,
There’s still so much
To be done.”
Continue reading “One Poem by Sammi Cox”

One Poem by Lynn White

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

A Not So Still Life

What a strange tableau,
a still life
in a dream.
The birds flew over
and looked down on it,
but there was no place for them
to hang out,
to roost,
to dream.
So they didn’t care about the dust motes
escaping into the sunlight
floating like fairy dust
getting themselves organised
to follow their dream.
Did they escape
from the jar?
the bull is wondering
if they were ever inside
and the birds don’t care as usual,
hardly notice her dog emerging
from the mist to inspect them.
Unmistakably her dog
just more amorphous than usual.
It doesn’t look inclined to chase the motes
or stick it’s head inside the loop they’re making.
But the birds don’t care as usual.


Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy and reality. Find Lynn at and

Two Poems by Isabelle Kenyon

Sofa appeals

I saw it             mildly              impartial
sitting pretty               sitting privileged
ribs flicker on the screen                   sprawled
mouths                       I spoon the last cream and contemplate
bodies forming graveyards where they lie
dusty dogs    my own peanut-curled, special treatment
born into a rich soil, you have to be born into money
to survive the winter.

Monday: Surrey Canal / Saturday: Salsa strip

the water sheen, trembling cavernous, spirals elope, bouncing off the surface. Boats catch, stir a frenzy / pointed feet, mouths       parched speaking sweat shared spilling light bodies heavy filthy/undulations, crumpled waves. Washes over you, intoxicated limbs entangle numbers exchanged/skimming stones magenta pebbled/smiles, cheeks/duck feet webbed lolling above, drying in the winter breeze, blowing bubbles underwater warm comfort bodies - close, close colliding shaking light through fingers spread: webbed light catches.


Isabelle Kenyon is the author of This is not a Spectacle and Digging Holes To Another Continent (Clare Songbirds NY). Soon to have collections published with KFS Press and with Ghost City Press. She is the editor of Fly on the Wall Press and has been published internationally.

One Poem by Annest Gwilym

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

Altar to a Cat God

I offer jet beads to the cat god
and a bottle of triple-distilled X
to keep me safe from dark dogs,
voodoo and all kinds of witchery.
The stygian outside that tries to steal inside
and voices of the dead that plead:
‘Can I live in your house, your head?’
Outside, where a couple of Braque’s birds
circle flatly, malevolently,
ready to splatter lurid purple droppings
– after gorging on deadly nightshade –
onto Klee’s scattered arcane sigils.

Jet beads made from errant,
vibrating molecules of once living trees
that breathed the same swampy air as dinosaurs
– now will never be a necklace –
apart from the quick arc that forms
as I throw them to the cat god
and his sharp demanding head.
Warm protective jet to sustain
the room’s warm protective yellow,
full of coils of trapped sunshine,
where darkness is banished
at least for now.


Annest is a poet, short story writer and jewellery maker who often wishes she were a painter instead. Editor of Nine Muses Poetry and proud owner of an adorable rescue terrier dog.

One Poem by Babitha Marina Justin

Tomato Harvest

We were breakneck farmers,
my Father and I, planting tomatoes,
writing the scripts of our lives.

Rains stopped their drizzle,
wrapped us with a mild chill,
seasons changed their tone,
from green to yellow ochre.

Father hobbled from plant to plant,
he mulched the ground, pushed his
pen over stories told which I denied,
supposing his tales will never yield;

I watched the plants flower
on every node. In the tug of war
of gender and age, time marked us –
a beeline of our letters grew apart.

Father and daughter grew
tomatoes together, writing unsure
verses, cynical and out of tune,
we dreamt of red, round tomatoes

amidst the cymbal-clash of our wills;
every day we fell apart
bitter and old, loud and rough,
but in our balcony we grew tomatoes,

wrote poems no one read.
Baby tomatoes mellowed as
our shades of blue turned from
a young green to an autumn red.


Babitha Marina Justin is from Kerala, and her poems have appeared in many international journals like Eclectica, Esthetic Apostle, Fulcrum, The Scriblerus, Chaleur Magazine, Constellations, etc. Her poetry collections are, ‘Of Fireflies, Guns and the Hills’ (2015) and ‘I Cook my own Feast’ (2019).

One Poem by James Bell

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

a trick in a magic show

your necklace has unravelled – no longer itself
has become a scarf of constituent parts
that still stick together in an arc

a premise on which to describe how
you laid down this jewellery in a pile
and each object drifted away and left

a statuette and a bottle on the table
one day when your necklace unravelled
as a symbol of how you escaped – beat

the system in place instead of common sense –
even when you carved your story
on a silver birch as a way to name the tree nearby

so that it would last longer –
could not be lied to every day and night
the words at best in opaque or faded letters

and of an age both ancient and fast
approaching – as distraction your necklace
unravelled like a trick in a magic show


James Bell – returned to writing poetry over twenty years ago and has not yet left. He is a regular contributor to Nine Muses’ Special Challenge.

One Poem by Bill Abbott

Self-Paralysis of Memory

“…When my mother dies,
if I am still alive, I will slouch
on my knees as though in prayer, I will
write one or two poems, then I will
no longer think of her.”
-Neil Hilborn

Back from the funeral,
I erect walls of memory in the form of
boxes and picture albums
full of her stuff.

My daughter, bothered by the clutter,
suggests moving the picture albums
to the basement, out of the way of everyone.

I seize up. I scramble through
my scrambled thoughts, trying to
find enough words to explain why not
to move the walls. Why not to hide away
all of the new memories freshly gained
from the edge of that frontier.

Her ashes are only recently buried,
and I’m hiding her away?
People are moving on
and moving away and
losing touch and forgetting,
and I’m moving the very physical
memories of her out of sight?

But there are no words, no reasons
for the young, that don’t get her
dangerously close to loss as well.
In the end, it was a battle I’d have to lose,

The past has space in the basement,
in the spaces rarely traveled.


Bill Abbott is the author of “Let Them Eat Moon Pie,” the history of poetry slam in the Southeast. He has been published in Ray’s Road Review, Radius, The November 3rd Club, Flypaper Magazine, and The Sow’s Ear. Mr. Abbott lives in Ohio and teaches creative writing at Central State University.

One Poem by Paula Puolakka

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

Two Worlds

The conscious mind
and the reality it creates
for you
are full of darkness:
all you can see is warfare.
The birds of prey
and the black wolves
are ready to devour the weak and
the innocent,
making the whole world look like
a cemetery.

However, in your heart
and your subconscious mind
you are still a child:
your private chamber is painted yellow,
the color of happiness and joy,
and the white dog
– the Alpha –
is there to protect you
from the forces of evil.

The two worlds can only be detected clearly
if you are willing to take the medicine:
to learn and to take in
those teachings
which are not trendy in your society.
The ingredient X
– the cure for every illness
you may experience –
will give you the powers of the black cat:
when your conscious mind starts to turn
yellow, too,
nobody can hurt you, baby,
your “nine lives” will make you tough
and almost “supernatural.”


Paula Puolakka is a Beat poet, writer, and MA (History of Science and Ideas). Her latest work can be found through Poetry Potion. In early fall, her work will be displayed through AQB and The Voices Project. In November, Puolakka will be judging a writing contest in Finland.

Two Poems by Chris Hardy


The ceiling crashed down
and the house revealed
its oak-lathe skeleton,
easily ripped from
the joists and
floor of the attic,

an empty skull,
warm in summer,
cold in winter,
lidding us
beneath black slate
pinned with nails
that rust, let slip.

As thin and strong
as cranium
but cracked by
a hundred years
of rain, snow, sun,
slow blows.

We patch our house
until, like our own
bodies it is
entirely changed
but still displays
its number
like a name

for the post man,
who knows it well,
his life
as well as ours,
solid, heavy, empty
as the air.


Byzantine Vespers in the Strand,
swinging censer, smoke, plain harmony.
I do not understand the Greek
and if I did would not believe it
any more than the same assertions
in an English church,
with a millennium of cold, tall
majesty insisting they be accepted.

Knowing light falling through windows
into the air is as close to God
as I will get, knowing it will never
answer, listen or insist.


Chris Hardy’s fourth collection is, ‘Sunshine at the end of the world’ (Indigo Dreams). A guitarist and a poet Chris Hardy consistently hits the right note, never hits a false note. (Roger McGough). He is in LiTTLe MACHiNe, The greatest music and poetry band in the world. (Carol Ann Duffy).