Valentine’s Poem by Amy O’Shaughnessy

20170905_130426-EFFECTSSwipe Right

And then it just happens one day,
an ordinary day when the
sun rises in the same old way.
Dogs bark, and oil shines in puddles,
you drive home punch drunk from work.

In sweeps a single
swipe of fate that brings this new face,
this crazy hope that fizzes
inside as you lie in bed,
brush your hair, feed the cat.

Thoughts of what could be,
grow, poke through the earth and search
for air, and that face like the gentle sun
is there.

Maybe forever there?

And you think, could he be the one?


(photograph by Angela Topping)


Poem by Paul Beech



her multi-coloured hair

distracts the eye

from her bones



a wasteland

sycamore spinners spin


haggard on a bench scribbling

he sips soup

dreams of fame


curlew sunset

a small abandoned boat

in the saltmarsh


a single line

on a stained page

“her multi-coloured hair”


Paul Beech



First published in Failed Haiku: A Journal of English Senryu, Vol 2, Issue 20 (01/08/17)



Christmas Poem by Frances Ridley

I am delighted to publish this poem by Frances Ridley, a fairly new member of our Stanza group. This poem was written as a result of my workshop on writing Christmas poems suitable to send to friends. We looked at some of U.A Fanthorpe’s, and the Candlestick Press’ lovely Christmas pamphlets, then wrote our own poems.


20171211_145907.jpgA Christmas Spell


Mistletoe and warm mince pies,

Evenings sitting round the fire,

Ringing bells and jingling sleighs,

Robins brighten winter days:

Yes, it’s Christmas time again!


Carols sung by candlelight

Herald happy holidays;

Red and green, the holly wreath

Invites our friends and family in.

Sparkling lights and tinsel shine,

Twisted round the tree’s rough boughs;

Merry children laugh and shout

And merry adults drink mulled wine.

So have yourself a starlit


Merry Christmas!


Poem by Maureen Weldon




The bus I am sitting in has a full belly.

Bursting thoughts float like ghosts.


The man next to me nods in his book

a bottle peeps from his jacket.


Ruffled mother, pram-deep in plastic bags

and rolls of Christmas paper

gives her baby some sticky drink.

Hush now.


While tinselled teenagers like mosquitoes

giggle in the rear.


We pass the cemetery, slowly;

eighteenth century I have read on the stones;

for their day, clip-clop, clip-clop.

Hollied logs. Braziers popping chestnuts.

Mulled-wine. And the goose is getting fat


Clipity-clop, clipity-clop.

Horse-dung, carriages, carts.


Now rain drips through trees

I rub the misty window

see between the lip of a cloud

a sickle moon.


Nothing much changes… except

the traffic lights are on green.



Maureen Weldon


First Published, Poetry Scotland



Midwinter Poem by Lisa Rossetti

Global Sacrifice


The sky is full of blood;

the moon a dirty fingernail.

We hear the roar of the Wolf,

hide our children in the dark –

we cannot find the magic

to save them from the madness.

Horror eclipses our lives;

in the cauldron of Hecate

our flesh melts like silver.
Lisa Rossetti




Two Poems by Seán Body

Let This Be The Day

(for Ruth on the birth of baby, Iris)


I wake to birds:

winged alleluias weaving light;

east to west a golden Sanskrit.


Let this be the day

long foreshadowed

snatched back;  the day

obdurate hope triumphs.


My bare-knuckle bruiser

let this be the day

your long voyage tumbles

into light;  starved eyes smile

and lives that seeped away

bring you wriggling to me.


Let this be the day.


When pain overwhelms

let me be reborn


those claiming fingers

soft as swansdown

their forever hold.


Let this be the day

joy breaks my heart;

but oh

how it sings!


Iris — One Year Old


You open doors on wonder

let light flood in: a conjuror

amazed by your own skill.


On your back you griddle-dance

babble epics;

roll over, skitter-crawl.


But standing’s more fun:

you rifle hidey-holes;

bum-dive, release laughter.


Little usurper

you make all things yours.

Teach us


to see through your eyes

be ever in the moment;

let your energy restore us.


Together we sail seas of mystery

find new lands

invent tongues.


Now you gift your open arms

laughing, toss them

to the sun-blind sky;


let fall a shower of Iris.









Poem by Ian M Parr


 They call it “folfar”. Rare this far north it’s said.
An image displayed
conspicuously upon the village noticeboard
meant for eyes grazing
through minutes of the parish council,
for WI and other local information.

Leafless, its petals appear foliated.
It seems a fuss, nowadays.
Such an otherwise dull flower,
unrecognised, insignificant its dipping head
spread amongst enduring grasses;
remnant of long outdated farming ways;
commonly called “Snake’s head fritillary ”
from something of its shape,
descriptive enough for my imagination.
But how names can change our perception!

Once written “folfar” lives along with Wheaton Aston
growing from my right hand forever.
As I hold the pen, propel these lines along the paper –
a grey flower writing another song.

Ian M Parr

From The Poetry of Staffordshire;
Offa’s Press 2015


Folfar Erddig April 2017


Two Poems by Sally Evans

At Briggflatts Meeting House

Inside History

Small hall built like a ship
in the heyday of wooden ships,
panelling, banisters held firm
by master workmanship no longer known
fired by the need to float a country’s sons
rails and galleries, staircase, gates,
boxed seating, open seating,
pillars and pews all carpentered,
reliant on the strength of oak
that lasts and lasts through centuries.
A stone-clad hideout under fells
no government could better,
bids us board this ship of time,
come inside history.

At Basil Bunting’s grave

Beneath the rising brae
by that great sycamore
that marks a boundary’s
reason it is there,
some ten feet steep
to base of copper beech,
as dark as leaves will go,
touching red in nature,
where old, matched, simple stones
step down among wild flowers,
sorrell and bluebell, grasses
cover the bones that sleep,
and look, a tree of words
grows from the poet’s feet.




Christmas Poem by John Calvert

Before the evening, snow will fall again
Across cold Arnton Fell will rise a star
From the last train,few passengers remain
To wait the opening of the tiny bar
Down from the hill , the shepherd and his dog
Around the curve of line , sheep lift their heads
Foresters by Steele Road cut one last log
Now junction children sleepless in their beds
As low moon steals across white sheeted land
Soon owls will call from spruce plantations cold
A locomotives breath-a burning brand
As evening stars the lines cord into cold

A train creeps up, its prescence like a prayer
Steaming a blessing on the fell -frost air.



Poem by Julia McGuinness

At Port Sunlight

The houses are gracious here, hold

respectful distance from the road;

sentinelled with chimneys, grass-locked

islands of secrets, packaged in blocks.

But how these old-timers can talk!


Hear them argue their origins,

old friends animated over a pint:

half-timbered assertions of Evolution:

a village that rose from the swamp;

red-bricked insistence on Creation:

an orderly paradise forged by design.


Their eaves breathe profit and palm oil

from vats that boil, seeping into scent

of hyacinths, bleached and lined in beds.

Ghost echoes criss-cross their walls:

clop of hooves on stone: The Master rides,

warmed by ‘his’ children’s laughter.


Their world was simple as soap and water,

towelled in timetables, welfare and faith

in the pure march of progress.

But the air flicks a tear: for five hundred

once sheltered, lost in Flanders fields.

Silence as you face them then


their glassy stare turns to cottage charm.

Sedate, they pose, all Mona Lisa smiles,

scrubbed fronts in the sunlight;

backyard, residents tidied from sight:

model village.




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