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

Denise Bennett

Denise Bennett

Speaking to my Dead Mother

What are we doing here in this station tearoom?
We’ve slipped back sixty years.
You’re wearing your grey pencil-slim skirt
queuing for the buffet. Sipping tea.
I’m in my pink cotton frock covered in smuts.
You’d told me not to sit facing the engine.
It’s like old times, whiling away
minutes between steam trains –
each summer we took three to get to Devon.

I remember you telling me about that first time
we travelled. I was three weeks old,
you, fleeing from the baby snatchers
brandishing adoption forms.
How did you manage cases and a baby?
Did you feed me in the ladies waiting room?

I wish I could ask you how we sheltered
in a tearoom like this,
huddled like fugitives,
you afraid running to the safety
of your family with your burden.
Mother, brother, sister.
Oh, but they took you in, didn’t they?
And they took me in.
Before we say goodbye, I want to tell you
that each year, I still go back
to Devon to lay flowers.

Terry Quinn

Terry Quinn

The Doppler Effect

is me standing still
the sound of my heart
to the sound of her voice
calling my name
as she runs up the path
to hand me an ultrasound
I’d left on her ward

is me standing
my heart still
as we talk
for a few minutes
about transducers
and the right type of gel
the sound of voices
completely at ease

is me standing still
as she races away
late for her break
my heart sinking
as I hear my voice calling
shall I buy the teas
and she calls back
I thought you’d never ask.

More Guest Poems

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...

Jennifer Johnson

Exposure So, you live in a magnificent duck house, a five-foot Swedish home complete with door, windows and roof, floating on a rich man’s pond. You kept that quiet, never mentioned it any of the times you quacked with us pretending you were no different. You just...