Síle Keane: New Spawn


Tadpoles flit across the pool

their gelatinous cloak long since thrown off.

Tail intact, new legs pumping,

bulbous and begging to be squeezed between finger and thumb.

But we don’t.

For poignant memories of spawn forgotten in jars, bodies crushed accidentally,

or left like seaweed bladders crusting on dry stones

has seasoned us with a kind of respect.


We balance, squat like laying hens, enraptured.


fingertips break water

a quick scoop with precise speed

hands cupped just right

learned from long summers poised on the edge for hours.

We hold that cupped pool of water

watching that tadpole jerking around in its new smaller world.

Reluctantly we set it free, carefully, before curiosity becomes cruelty.

That knowledge, instinctive and as natural as breathing,

lost now forever in the squall of clicking and browsing.



Síle Keane was born and raised in Galway, Ireland. She currently enjoys life in Wicklow with her husband and young son.

Erik Nelson: Crossing Willow Creek (parts 5-8)

Parts 1 – 4 


Part Five: Where No Brick Has Ever Been Laid

With bodies wary of attacks,

And though they’re very tired,

The people carry, on their backs,

Commodities acquired,

Superfluities they couldn’t spare,

Beloved souvenirs of Babylon,

An oddity here, another there:

Whatever ridiculous sin qua non.


They’re going where they’ve heard it’s green,

Where only beasts and birds have been,

Where human bones were never buried

And no couples were ever married,

Where not one stone has ever been stacked

Upon another or been attacked:

Where no brickwork has echoed human sound

Or ever known being thrown to the ground.


Part Six: Past the Last Poplar Trees

Where once were trees, dead stumps abound,

And nothing new grows from the ground:

So the people are curst to escape

Their very bad and worsening shape.


Lugging their idols down the roads,

They carry their most cherished goods,

Transporting their accursed loads,

Abandoning their neighborhoods.


All cramped up in their caravans,

They camp, as they travel, in tents,

Pursuing uncertain plans

Over a desert of laments.


Curst to neither disperse nor fade,

Pitch black clouds hover atop,

Which cast an everlasting shade

But lack, however, one drop;

They keep all covered and shrouded in gloom

And seem to herald quietus and doom.


Men’s streams of consciousness are full of pollution,

But leaders devise less soulish of solutions,

For followers aren’t easy to find

Or spirits easy to raise,

With dark matter over mind

And dreams being hard to come by these days.


Through the dust, the herds or crowds

Continue onwards, en route

To streams far past these dark clouds

And what they cast: shades of doubt.


Ere dreams and last hopes fade out,

They go where they’ve heard there’s no drought:

To a land of birds, grasshoppers, bees

And streams just past the last poplar trees.


Part Seven: Where They, At Last, Can Stay

“Deliver us from the evil one,”

They’d prayed but hell-fire fanned;

So rivers burned, under the sun,

Until they turned to sand.

The vegetation’s dead and gone,

Due to the nation Babylon.

Grass has withered; springs have dried:

Everything she touched has died.

So people pack upon their backs

And drag behind in trunks

Their bric-a-brac and their knick-knacks,

Within a word, their junk.


They’re going where the land is green,

More lush than human eye has seen,

Far away from corrupted hands

And hellishly dry desert sands:

An oasis on the outskirts

Of a story-book-like forest,

Where murmuring brooks, wind and birds

Join forces to form a chorus:

Not far past over yonder,

Not far past far away,

Where they won’t have to wander,

Where they, at last, can stay.


Part Eight: Beyond the Dune of Lilith

The world did not pan out as planned,

So they swim against the tide

Of this merciless sea of sand,

Full of emptiness inside.


By day they burn beneath the heat

While traversing this danger zone;

At night a shivering, winding sheet

Descends and chills them to the bone.


They say each head they will anoint

With oils of new gladness

And pray their dreams won’t disappoint

Or spoil into madness.


They would reach ripe grapes upon vines

And fresh, cool streams, at which they wish

To be the first of future lines

To quench their thirst and dine on fish.


They pay attention to each sign,

So cups they soon may fill with

Water that’s clean and wine that’s fine:

Beyond the Dune of Lilith.


To Be Continued



Erik Nelson was born in Madison, WI, in 1974, grew up in British Columbia, Canada, as well as several states in the United States, before obtaining a Masters degree in Literary Theory from the University of Dalarna, in Falun, Sweden; he then taught English at the college level in the deep south of the United States for ten years, before moving to the high plains of Colorado, where he currently lives, lucubrates and works as a librarian.

Clifton Redmond: Street Wars



We played war games, imagined
armies, lined up along the fence
of the council field behind our estate.
Shot plastic machine guns
that scratched and hissed,
spit sparks when we squeezed the trigger.
Pulled invisible pins
lobbed stone grenades.

Lay down, trenched in piles
of waste gravel from the building site,
crawled on our hands and knees
along gripes, under ditches;
an American platoon, trapped
on battlefields of Kosovo and Vietnam,
thousands of Russians, Vietnamese
and Japanese shooting us.

On the street after dark
we were the I.R.A,. disguised
as civilians, planting mud bombs
beneath parked cars,
ridding the country of the Brits,
when we won we sang the songs
our fathers sang
when they were drunk.

When the war ended we played football,
the F.A. Cup final at Wembley,
Man United versus Liverpool,
argued over who was captain,
who would get the cup from the Queen,
we all wanted to be Fowler,
Redknapp, Macmanaman, Barnes,
all wanted to be heroes.



Clifton Redmond is an Irish poet and member of The Carlow Writer’s Co-operative. He has had poems published in various literary journals both in Ireland and internationally.

Patrick Walsh: Sleep, Walker

As a boy I’d fall asleep with my stomach to the bed,
An arm and opposite leg pitched at right angles, my head
Turned to face my hand and hidden underneath a pillow.
A full-time infantryman in those days, I was training —
And didn’t mind the gentle way my weight was dispersed, although
I held that position long after my neck was straining.
I’d hear the whoosh of footsteps in tall grass, a loping stride
Relayed through the mattress, floorboards, and from the other side
Of the earth: I had awakened it again, some dread beast
Who had fixed the place I slept, though it would take years at least . . .
Older, I understood the sound of steps I used to fear
Was my pulse.  And, older still, I know that thud in my ear
Is the enemy, just a boy with a simple order,
And me walking out, unarmed, to accept his surrender.
After graduating college, Patrick Walsh served four years as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army’s 25th Infantry Division.  He later returned to school to receive an M.Phil. in Anglo-Irish literature from the University of Dublin, Trinity College.  In America, his poems have appeared in Barrow StreetThe Christian Science Monitor, Cimarron ReviewEvergreen ReviewThe Hudson ReviewThe Recorder, and War, Literature & the Arts.  His work has also appeared in College Green, The Malahat ReviewTHE SHOpPoetry New Zealand, Fred Johnston’s “Markings” page in The Galway Advertiser, and The Quadrant Book of Poetry, 2001-2010.

Bennet McNiff: Why I Don’t Go Into The Woods


There are bears there.
A boy I knew went there and never came back.
He would be forty-two now.
It is completely dark there.
You could get lost.
I am afraid of the dark.
Some say that trolls walk the wood
At midnight, forty-foot trolls
With green, luminous skin, and slimy scales.
They can eat a man
Like a child munching a carrot.
It is quiet in the forest. Too quiet.
Something bad must be happening there.



Bennet McNiff lives in Drogheda, with his wife and two children. He was shortlisted for the 2015 Listowel Single Poem competition, and won first prize for poetry in the 2015 Over The Edge New Writer of The Year competition. He has published poetry in Skylight 47, and in The Galway Review. He works in Dublin as a software engineer.

Stelios Hadjithomas: A Tale of Two Presents



During the sojourn of my youth

I ventured on a journey

Across time

and flat land

(I never had tons of verbiage)


And why we lived lives of waiting,

hoping for the unhoped

long expecting the unexpected?


The guests are due here today

(Our guests will arrive shortly)


As a child

I didn’t toy with dirt

I didn’t fight with boys nor girls

– I didn’t toy like children would toy –

I climbed trees and dreamed from the treetops

Gazing into the horizon

As if horizon was the future

As if land had anything to do with time

(Land has nothing to do with time)


As a child

I didn’t hope, I didn’t overthink

I dreamt lucid dreams at nights

and dreamed of better days

when I would grow

(I didn’t think I wanted to grow)

I wanted to grow


But there won’t be darker days and there won’t be better days

Only the night is dark; the day is brighter than the dark

Days are not darker, nor better

and nights are not better than the days


Darker days are not coming

They have been long present

Shadow intruders,

forced guests overstaying their present’s welcome

(Who’s the host and who’s the guest,

who’s guesting which host?)


And now what will happen?

Shall I wait for the brighter days?

Days are just days, and nights are just nights

There are good days and bad days;

There would be good days and there would be bad days

There will be days –––––––

And there will be nights;

and these are just dates

But they’re no guests

(guests have no guests)



Stelios Hadjithomas is a lawyer (currently not practicing), a published copywriter, an online editor, a researcher and art professional with a focus on organizational management and user behavior. His interests include contemporary visual art, technology, and marketing. A hopeless romantic at heart, he is also an author working with storytelling, words, speech, and new media. He is currently working on his debut novel andfirst poetry collection. A brother and an uncle, a son and godfather, he comes from a long family of eight. His poetry has appeared in the The Honest Ulsterman and Spontaneity.

Rena Garrett: Hazel Copse & Exile & Patchwork


Hazel Copse

We chittered like squirrels

gathering the hazels from the branches,

picked them bare, before the local fauna,

leaving them only windfall to forage,

safe in the embrace of our mother’s gaze.

My sister’s wrong footed, red wellies.


Past the church and graveyard on the hill,

the hazel copse stood in the back fields.

Only local cows surrounded us and a lone

fairy gate of two whitethorn trees

woven together in an arch.

Neiphin’s peak stood watching

in the distance.


We’d ripen the nuts in batches

in the range heated kitchen,

lay them out on the floor on newspaper.

We watched the green over days

turn to roasted butter brown.

Cracked them with our baby teeth

and cracked her patience too.


But rentable land can’t have copses;

they bulldozed a scar for progress across

my heart when they flattened the hazels.

Removed the landmarks that anchored me.



We were dragged up on the road,

moved from place to place,

every few years a new house,

in town or out of town.


Townie in one place,

Culchie in another,

Jackeens to the Culchies.

Till we were all names and none,

belonged nowhere.


Chameleon like in personality

we changed to fit in

till we didn’t even know ourselves

and some still don’t.


Now that itch to not stay feels right,

to stay feels wrong but still

we are filled with longing

to belong.



Let your needle run through
The patchwork quilt of my confidence

Let the thread pull closed
The ragged edges

Let the blanket stitch smooth
The frayed ends that unravel
Use my porcupine quills
As your needle

Take my heart in your rough hands
Scarred from pin cushioned jabs

Let me hold your tired arms
As you sew my tattered trust of touch

Let my colours shine through
Your gold and silver stitching
Woven like strands of prism light.



Rena Garrett has just completed the MA in Writing student in NUIG. She has been published in The Moth Magazine, Spontaneity.org and was shortlisted for the Galway Rape Crisis Centre Short Story Competition 2016. She will be a featured reader at the Over the Edge Reading in Galway in August.

Vincent Steed: The Feral Children and the Scones


I can remember the feral children from next door, their outstretched claws

The sieve-like quality to their coats, bright eyes and grubby faces.


A Dickensian novel brought to life by the smell of cooked scones

With mother always obliging, tea-towel-wrapping steaming spheres


To be taken home so the warmth could be shared amongst the family.

From the porch I would watch their tracks dissipate in the snow down


Our winding avenue, three wise men laden with compressed gifts of

Sultanas, flour and margarine and how the moon shone differently that


Night, curling conspiratorially, tugging at the drawstrings of their

Jackets.  Urging those footsteps faster and faster through the dark.


Forgotten footsteps until a random errand forced us out into the gleaning void

When rounding a bend our headlights caught wolf-like movement in the hedgerow.


Six eyes transfixed by the glare, so startled that scone pieces good be seen

pirouetting through the air, the look of innocent savagery on pale crumby faces


That reminds me today of a light in our hallway that shines on half the staircase.

How best made intentions often give way to the dark; how we are constantly caught


In the no-man-space between self-preservation and camaraderie

Squabbling with each other among the ruins.



Vincent Steed has been published in the Galway Review, Headstuff, Into the void, Crannog and Skylight 47. He was longlisted for the 2015 & 2016 Over the Edge competition and shortlisted for the 2016 Doolin poetry competition.

Jackie Gorman: Lies I’ve Told A Toddler Lately.


Teddy bears talk to each other at night.

All fish are called Nemo.

Your lovely eyes will fall out

from watching too much television.

There are fairies at the bottom of the garden.

If you are very quiet you might hear them.

The moon is looking right at you tonight so wave !

We are all kind to each other.

Books and toys get lonely too and it’s ok to be sad.

I will always be here.



Jackie Gorman is from Athlone. Her poetry has been published in Poetry Ireland Review, Wordlegs, The Honest Ulsterman, The Galway Review, Headspace, Bare Hands ,The Sentinel Literary Quarterly, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review and Obsessed With Pipework. She has been highly commended in the Goldsmith International Poetry Competition and the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Awards. She received the Phizzfest Poetry Award in 2016. Her poetry has appeared in the writing anthologies ; “Ring Around The Moon”, edited by Noel Monahan and “Respond”, edited by Alan McMonagle. She is currently studying for an MA in Poetry Studies at the Irish Centre for Poetry Studies at DCU.

Aoife McBride: River Through A Child’s Eye



Springing from beneath a rock,

Clear water dancing in the rays.

Sunlight gleams on every drop,

It laughs and gurgles, trips and plays.


Does it travel on forever?

To another world perhaps?

Does it enter, exit never?

The dark woods keeping it in wraps.


Do fairies dance by the waters

When the dusk steals o’er the mountains?

Dwarves chased a fairy, never caught her;

Perhaps she hid in its crystal fountains.



Aoife McBride hails from Donegal originally and now lives in Dublin. She wrote her first poem at the age of eight and has scribbled her way through a Masters in English Literature at UCD.  As a teenager, she won poetry prizes at the Allingham Arts Festival and Listowel Writers’ Week. As an adult, she has written for college newsletters, had an article published by U Magazine and had a poem accepted for the soon-to-be-released anthology ‘1916-2016: An Anthology of Reactions.’