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

Alison Chisholm

Alison Chisholm


The house is drifting into moon’s dim light.
The television’s off and no lamps glow.
I’m listening to sounds that stir the night.

The carriage clock ticks quietly, there’s a slight
persistent shush where rustling breezes blow.
The house is drifting into moon’s dim light.

A creak from cooling radiators might
drown out the scurry of a mouse – but no,
I’m listening to sounds that stir the night,

and there’s some movement, footsteps on a flight
of stairs that should be empty – stealthy, slow.
The house is drifting into moon’s dim light,

but I am wide awake. With doors shut tight
and windows locked, I should be safe, I know.
I’m listening to sounds that stir the night,

and in the blackness someone’s there. The fright
chokes down my scream as fear and panic grow.
The house is drifting into moon’s dim light.
I’m terrified by sounds that stir the night.

Alexander Peplow

Alexander Peplow

Sack and Sugar

Let us imagine Falstaff as a cake.

He sits there, a great cherry-in-a-chair,
and lets us watch him, studying out
his layers. Fruitcake, sure, in all
its connotations, thumb-pressed through
with candied peel or currants
concealed like other people would
have tender points held close to heart.

But cream, as well, a-lather
and thwarting easy view, being, as it is, old
in the cracked corners of large mouths
held open long from laughing
distracting from the eyes and their perception.
And after that the plain sponge of an honest man.
And then the marzipan: its own, acquired, taste
of jokes and tricks and playing dead
and bankrupting our trusting friends
by offering them icing: patterned, sweet.

Then after all the looking, guess
its weight, its measure. Get it right:
and choose exactly where to stick the knife.

More Guest Poems

Merryn Williams

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Michael Gittins

Translation of Rainer Maria Rilke (1875–1926) The Wild Rose-Bush How it stands there in the gloaming of a rainy evening; young and pure; offering its shoots with outstretched arms and yet in deep rose-essence, very sure; the nascent blossoms, open here and there, each...

Veronica Beedham

The Old Empire Between Dreamland and the Amusement Arcade, Art-deco’s brown-gold, the foyer – polished wood, bakelite and glass – lit up so you could easily walk in, the usherette in chiaroscuro gloom, ready to take you down with her single torch beam to your numbered...

Rex Sweeny

The silent place Two sets of heavy doors, solid as weightlifters’ shoulders as they roll on their hinges noiseless apart from a small cough of protest or welcome and then you’re in the space: the grand rectangular mural-encrusted incense-hinting carved varnished...

Rosemary Jenkinson

After Daniel McColgan’s Murder His body lies on the pad Under the ash, next to a blackthorn, In the soft hollow of the devil’s punchbowl (His dad says the devil only lurks in dark corners). Ravens stalk his head And tatted flowers creep round The braeface of the caves...

Elaine Jarvest Miller

Like Sunrise My uncle said it could come at any time, the knock on the door. The policeman, the waiting car, the high-speed journey through pre-war London. That night there was no time, no time for the usual procedures. They took him straight to the hospital bed, to...

Hilary Hares

Daily Bread Based on the words of a Ukranian farmer, 5 March 2022 We grow the wheat, give it, for free, to the men who drive the lorries. The men who drive the lorries deliver it, for free, to the bakers of Kyiv. The bakers of Kyiv bake it, for free, into bread for...

Polly Walshe

Painting You There is a city in your face, I see it in the shadows this fierce light creates. You build a new one every day – Babylon was there, a shimmer of Jerusalem And many a smaller place. They will all fall but only one of them will rise again. Are your cities...

Lola Haskins

The Plants in a Skipton Concrete Yard The chives are xenophobes. They dig their roots in deeper every year and have taken over their tub. The courgette is an exchange student from France. She is blossoming as hard as she can. She has always wanted to be a ballerina,...

Jeremy Robson

The Race The others had quit the track, I had no choice, I had to step up now. It was like a fight. I grabbed the baton in my shaking hand and clutched it tight. I hadn’t trained for this, and the race was tough, circuit after circuit on rough uneven ground. A jeering...

Penelope Shuttle

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Lynne Hjelmgaard

Night Journey: On the Greyhound Bus I trusted the soft-spoken driver, the sound of his foot on the pedal, humming of the engine once we reached the highway, cocooned by other passengers, coaxing me into a dreamless sleep. When we were further south, past midnight, we...

Colin Bell

20/20 The wall was warm and red it hummed with bees a private place away from the schoolhouse. That’s how it was before glasses natural Impressionism knowing nothing of art or hard lines. Then concave lenses in plastic frames were like the leg irons on my friend who...

Lenora Steele

Day Dreaming It is mid-January. The forecasters are forecasting snow. A woman is lying atop of her made-up bed. There’s a single electric candle in the window, a left-over from Christmas. Across the street in the growing dark, the neighbours’ lights come on and a...

Mantz Yorke

A Gambler’s Lot For now, he’s got water – enough to keep the grass green – though no permit to sprinkle his lawn in daytime’s heat. Las Vegas as a whole is less accommodating: to save water, grass is being gouged from its medians and roundabouts and further...