Guest Poems

We love to read your poetry and, even though we receive over 1,000 poems per month, we always take time to read every single one.

A few of the poems we especially enjoyed and which were selected for publication in our Journal are reprinted below.

For more information, please see our Submissions page.

Guest Poems

Mike McNamara

Mike McNamara

Writing in Ice

It gets harder to claim
the lie of few summers lived
when so many winters
have taken their toll.

The deceiver fools you.
More fool you.

Writing in ice on frozen bone
contusions of ruptured words,
mortality’s wounds
on the immortal soul.

The reaver robs you.
Poor robbed you.

Outside the Cathedral.
Outside the castle,
the social housing schemes,
the frontline, prison,
the bar room or the public school.

In broad daylight
the deceivers rob you.
the reavers fool you.

Jennifer Horgan

Jennifer Horgan


one bird
for weeks the young boy saw one bird on every wire

yesterday, it fanned its tail feathers
and he felt his growing bones react
a shared balancing act, a mirror
on the northside of the city
down as far as the dock bridge

where yesterday too
he saw an otter breaking through dark water
and God bless us, said an old man
as if it was more than an otter
breaking through dark water
down by the old dock bridge
on the northside of the city

More Guest Poems

Christopher M James

Traces Isaan, the vast rice-growing plateau in north-east Thailand Endless paddiesstencil the land, enmesh the living.Their waters smudge a setting sun’s inks. A handhas wiped leftover pigmentson a cloth of sky. A motorcyclescratches the landfor epidermic dust,...

Nicola Warwick

Launching the Moon Does it really take two hands to toss it skywards? You’d think it could be done in the space of an owl’s blink, but you’re wrong. You cup this glossy thing, roll it over and over in your palm, hold it to the light and it’s a crystal ball crammed...

Robert Stein

Finis This is it: the final leaving,The stars loitering and out of luck.The dice ceased rolling. All numbers up. This is the gone at the end of going,The rotted apple after knowing.The box nailed. The straw. The shut. The trap tripped, sprung through and up.The...

Frances Sackett

Free Spirit Bordering the road,but theatrical, the wayit looked like someonehad planted a gardenrich in wildness. A rocky outcropwith ragwort and willowherb,vetch and wild thyme –the hills beyond mantled with sun. I scatter you here,watch as a wisp of smokelifts along...

Sue Spiers

Jealous of the Listening Air She tells me her deafness is more complete,no sound penetrates her ears, masks are difficulties. Imperfect silence of devices switched off but stilloutside chunters; car engines, birdsong, the wind. Conversation in another room with no...

Douglas Cole

The Lighthouse Keeper In this season he knowswe are smaller than wind,as the storm blast singsthrough the boarded glass. He opens his doorto the sting and stab of rain,making his way as he leansunder the arc-lamp light. In the radio house he listensto distress codes a...

Cathra Kelliher

we sat holding the lamb we sat holding the lambRichard and Ithe field soft about uscold coming on below the ash treesand the farm buildingssilent as flint through the arrow slits how slight it wasand how meagre the pullof its miniature mouth on my fingera smear of...

Anthony Lawrence

The Moonlit Lakes of John Atkinson Grimshaw have all the hallmarks of ice, when seen througha hawthorn hedge or drystone wall,and you’d be forgiven, the way a witness,driven to description, not of a man,but of animals on the surface of the moon,is forgiven for seeing...

Patrick Osada

Rooks Each evening they appear at duskin ones and twos –return from distant foraging.Flapping untidy wings in laboured flight,they circle,gathering as a cawing group,heading for their roost in Hazelwood. Today, nest building in the tallest treesthat screen the...

Yasmin A. Hussain

Treasure Chests Dad decides to give us pocket money.Mum decides it’s better saved. She buys tinmoney boxes with painted timber panels,crossbands of brass and a central padlock. She holds out the chests as cash is passedfrom Dad to us into the slots. Eventually,mum...

Leo Boix

A Latin American Sonnet CXCVI In a dense forest of the Gran Chaco stretch, ‘the hunting land’,Argentina’s largest known jaguar–the Qaramta–is on high patrol,it’s after giant anteaters, tapirs, capybaras, peccaries and standscrouched down by the riverbed, alert,...

Margaret Wilmot

The Butterfly Effect for Nick and his butterfly I heard Monarch for Monach as a sealrolled high in the curve of a wave, and marvelled that sea-battered islands far west of Scotlandshould share a name with butterfliesin another Far West. Do they still build cocoons in...

Anna Barker

When I think of my body as a crow We slide together:my flesh, your feather, your jet eye, the haw you draw across in sleep,the patient keel of your sternum,the steel of your rib your beak to stitch the vane, the silken ley,the tap of talons on glass,the hollow bone...

Jonathan Greenhause

Our Shrinking Plot of Earth Blue whales bathe in our birdbathcradling the Atlantic, our chilly attic the outer atmosphere,its drop-ceiling a cloak of altocumuli.  Our footfallsextinguish species; Our breaths brew cyclonic storms;Each of our verses is a new...

Edward Ragg

Final Diner at the Banquet of Dreams Eight months of English sun and rain sifting through the shadows of towering cumulus billowing like ships’ sails in the northern wind have composted your remains in the uncaring earth. Never had imagination so vividly and swiftly...