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Our featured poems and poets page is regularly updated

A Poem’s Arrest

 

One day

they detained me,

they shackled me,

they chained both my body and shadow  –

no, all of me, being thorough.

Then they said, “Search her  –

terrorism is what lies within her”.

They turned my heart upside down

they searched it through

my eyes, they searched those too,

they inspected  my emotions and feelings.

They ripped out the beats of my wishes

and aspirations from my eyes.

They forbade me pouring out meaning on paper

from my heart

then they said, “Beware of her,

she hides a weapon in her pockets,

inspect her,

take her bombs away”

and they inspected me

to accuse me,

then they said,

“We only found letters

in her pocket,

we only found the poem.”

 

The Hallucination of Exile

 

I know that I’m an outcast,

that I’m unrecognised

on this spot  –

my parents disown me.

I know that I haven’t found

a mother of my own, and

that I was born in an abandoned

house,

that I had no father  –

the womb of poetry

gave birth to me. 

 

Loss

 

To be born in my homeland 

yet feel as if I were in exile

is the definition of loss.

I tell you this, you criminals:

Take away from me the democracy 

which has drawn the sleeplessness of a massacre  

in my eyes,

leave me a dictatorship.

With the glances

of a woman called Palestine

I reassure myself

that I’m present and still exist.

Dareen Tatour

"Love of language underpins this new collection from Sharon Black." — Hilary Menos

reviewing 'The Red House' for 'The Friday Poem'  (thefridaypoem.com)


Please click on the link, below right, to see Sharon Black reading from The Red House . . .
 

Julie-who-knows-everything

Slender as a hazel switch,

she sails around in pantaloons, talks

non-stop as she stirs a ratatouille,

spins a salad, sprinkles coriander.

 

She wipes a pout, tucks a shiny braid

behind one ear. At midday, unpeels

her apron, lowers outsize shades, rolls her own

and tells us what we need to know:

 

where to find the best morilles,

how to treat a tick bite, which garage

has the plummest deal for strimmers.

how much the château sold for, how long

to steep a barrowful of nettles,

which wines are sulphate-free. She knows

green clay cures tummy aches,

a daily dose of leaven staves off colds,

the dark drips on our fireplace

are tannin leaked from burning oak.

That the hunters are all pissed on pastis

on the Col de l’Asclier.

 

She honks and waves, off to clean for Alain,

to prune Marie’s roses, cash in hand, declaring

just enough to claim a pension, knowing

all the recipes to make ends meet.

Sharon Black

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Away days

For Cammy and Jack

 

I know I’ve given you a rucksack, Jack

would’ve been easier to be Blue or Green

but there’s something special in supporting your home team.

 

There’s history here, son, of games lost and games won

memories crafted through the years

and new ones just beginning, with you.

 

The truth is I wouldn’t change it:

the car journeys, the chats, the crack-of-dawn alarms

and drive-thru breakfasts to get you back in time to play.

 

The permanent away days. You: too big to be my baby

but still wee enough to stand on the seats

my arm around you – steadying.

 

You turned your face to mine the other day

after witnessing a crushing defeat

and told me that you love these days with me.

 

And son, that will always be enough

because there’s nowhere else I’d rather be

forever you, me and the Tangerines.   

Julie McNeill

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Football, feminism, motherhood and friendship – Julie McNeill brings a sharpened perspective on

the familiar and everyday in these poems that address both our personal lives and wider society

Julie McNeill works in education with children with additional support needs. She is the author of ‘Mission Dyslexia’, a non-fiction book for children published by JKP Books. Her first poetry pamphlet ‘Ragged Rainbows’ was published in November 2021 by HybridDreich. She is the Makar for the Hampden Collection and Poet-in-Residence for St Mirren Football Club Charitable Foundation.

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In the moment of meeting

 

At the outer edge of what we call our selves

we meet; the blank page lies between.

 

Fine brush-marks draw from the inkwell of us both:

new lines arc, stretch across the page, emerge 

as sketch – room, table, bottle, glasses.                         

The room takes on perspective, light and shade

coloured by neither but by both ­–

we are the bottle, we are the wine, full, rich-bodied.

 

We drink and as we drink

we take a little of the other inside.

 

This interchange, inevitable as breath is

the architecture of connection, and

 

at every meeting at the outer edges

of what we call our self a new page lies between,

waiting.

 

We might call this hope.

Mark Vernon Thomas

Mark Vernon Thomas is a New Zealander embedded in the Machars, part of rural south-west Scotland. In spite or, perhaps, because of past careers as a classical musician, a jazz/improvisor, a singer of Georgian polyphony, a Gestalt  psychotherapist, as well as being a husband, father and cat lover,  he has at last turned to poetry in an attempt to figure out the world. He has a piercing eye, a wide range and a wicked sense of humour. This is his first collection of poems – but it won’t be his last. 

Please note, our publishing schedule for 2023 is full. Please watch this space for publication updates 

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