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A Poem’s Arrest
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,
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
that I had no father –
the womb of poetry
gave birth to me.
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.
"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 . . .
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.
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.
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.
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,
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