Outside broadcast

Matt Gilbert

Once, when fleeing from myself, I was arrested by a magpie,
as it dragged some almost dead thing, towards a cherry laurel hell

Stood there rapt, attentive, in a park, rising over Brockley,
gripped beneath the trees, by a routine, nature thriller

The conclusion of another creature, must-see box-set in a bush,
against which, my troubles paled, changing channels, I went home.

Matt Gilbert is a freelance copywriter, who also blogs about place, books and other distractions. Originally from Bristol, he currently gets his fill of urban hills in south east London. Twitter (@richlyevocative).

Two Poems

Ben Keatinge

The Airport Road

With the treatment over
I drove in a tunnel
towards the airport road –
the terrible frailty of parting.

A distant terminal
another road to town
I grip my phone –
the sudden jolt from home.


Back home now in Ireland
my past’s a future which has disappeared
meandering   fleeing   lost
I search the road near Štip looking for Manastir.

Ben Keatinge is a Visiting Research Fellow at the School of English, Trinity College Dublin. He is editor of Making Integral: Critical Essays on Richard Murphy (2019) and his poems have been published, most recently, in The Dalhousie ReviewReading Ireland and anthologised in Local Wonders: Poems of Our Immediate Surrounds.

Garden Life

Pauline Rowe

Wood pigeons swoop
from the sycamores,

parade along the fence
in rainbow vestments

like two fat clerics
in conspiracy.

We are in ordinary time.

The priest-birds take control
through yokey beaks,

repeat in unison – Who? Who?
Who?  Who?

Their question stops the sparrows chatter
as they simmer in the vibrant grass

then pop into the air like summer bubbles.

Pauline Rowe was Poet-in-Residence with Open Eye Gallery (2016 – 2019). Her recent pamphlet The Weight of Snow (Maytree Press, 2021) won the 2021 Saboteur Award for best poetry pamphlet. She has an MA in Creative Arts and a PhD from Liverpool University. She was recipient of a 2021 MaxLiteracy award for a project working with Open Eye Gallery and Wirral Hospitals’ School. 


Steph Amir

discs of music once were
the shiny future now
sit under coffee mugs
and scare away the crows
nearing the vegetable patch
eyes glinting like scratched

Steph Amir has a background in research and is currently a Writers Victoria Writeability Fellow, a fellowship for writers with disabilities. Her creative work has been published online and in print internationally, most recently in Burrow, Ergi Press, Ghost Girls, n-Scribe, Phantom Kangaroo and Snowflake Magazine. She lives in Melbourne, Australia. 

The Piano Tuner

Kris Spencer

Tapping keys,
turning pins for temperament.
Alone and alone. 

The mutes placed to shape silence and set 
a single string to sound, and then against 
another. Wires squeezed and stretched to find 

harmony in difference. No sooner fixed
the strings shift again in air and time, 
and the music played.

Kris Spencer lives in London and has written seven books. Kris is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and works as a Head Teacher. His poems are published internationally. A focus in his work is sense of place.

My Heart After Chernobyl

Louise Mather

Instead of tearing down a tree,
I unravel amnesia into shapes –

I am always finding feathers,
these old leaves were once moths

here, hold out your palms –
nobody mentions acid in the rain anymore,

its invisibility fallen into our bodies’ decay,
gift of heart, uncovered, ancient dust

unpoisoned, a dream,
we spoke about it once,

how a bird takes flight,
lilacs beneath the willow.

Louise Mather is a writer from Northern England and founding editor of Acropolis Journal. Her debut pamphlet ‘The Dredging of Rituals’ is out with Alien Buddha Press, 2021. She writes about ancestry, rituals, endometriosis, fatigue and mental health. Twitter (@lm2020uk).

To a Mentor Never Properly Thanked

Johanna Caton

Years and years have passed. I cannot write a letter to you.
You will wonder perhaps if I have really moved on. Or worse:
you might not remember me.

I know you are alive. The web tells me so. You must have been
much younger than I thought: you seemed so accomplished, mature – 
your words always knowing; your gaze, the tilt of your head gracious,
healing – but it was your ability to name that saved me. 

These years have been extremely on-moving ones. I found 
my vocation. Again and again. I moved to a different land.
I have searched, seen, lost, loved, listened, learned, died, 
revivified.  I have made friends and enemies. I have been myself. 

Mostly. But what would I have been if I had not had you?

Johanna Caton, O.S.B., is a Benedictine nun and lives in England. She has had poems accepted by online and print publications, including Amethyst Review, The Christain Century, The Catholic Poetry Room, The Windhover and The Ekphrastic Review. She was a 2020 Pushcart Prize nominee.  

There She Was

Andrew Ray Williams

Dainty arms raised, as morning rays beam. 

Loose locks jouncing, body twirling, 
unbounded, in movement with the melody.

She is a vivid field flourishing with flowers –
fresh mountain air in the warm of Spring, 

In a world of asphalt and pavers, 
fossil fuels and factories. 

An anxious father 
with a carefree child. 

Andrew Ray Williams is a poet living in Pennsylvania, USA. His work has been featured at Red Eft ReviewThe BeZine Quarterly, among others.  

Back Roads of a Country

Mervyn Seivwright

A Georgia red clay dirt path
leads me to a rich black soil field,
scarce cotton plant strands lingering,
fog echoes visions visceral of covered
colored bodies―silhouettes
bobbing fingers around prickled stems
on cotton plants. Blurred bodies
in red clay dust clouds, hiding
pricked drooling blood―fresh dye
blots on white cotton bulbs―
rubbed blood stripes on a national flag.

Mervyn Seivwright writes to bring social consciousness and poetry craft together for humane growth. He is from a Jamaican family born in London and has appeared in AGNI Literary Magazine, The American Journal of Poetry, and 35 other journals while being a 2021 Pushcart Nominee. Mervyn currently lives in Schopp, Germany.


Jeff Gallagher

Here is enough.
Take a couple of handfuls of enough and make it more.
Invest your money wisely to buy a few luxuries.
Plant a patio. Harvest a hot tub outside your door.

Now take more than enough.
Use it to purchase all the things you do not need.
Fill your cupboard. Fill your freezer. You must care
For all those eager greedy mouths you have to feed.

Now take too much.
It is yours. But some of it will rot or rust or decay.
And you need to make room for the smartest and the latest.
So the only option with too much is to throw it away.

Here is plenty.
It lies in landfill or swims with the fish in the sea.
It hangs in the air with the dead – who have filled the earth
With everything, while leaving nothing as their legacy.

Jeff Gallagher is from Sussex. His poems have appeared in magazines such as Rialto, One Hand Clapping and The Journal. He has had numerous plays performed in various locations nationwide. He has also appeared in an Oscar-winning movie. He runs an occasional blog called ‘The Poetry Show With Gally G.’