Theresa Donnelly

Ship of the Dead

Waking from a fitful sleep where

he dreamt he reached the coast;

leaving behind so wretched a place

where dusk now but a ghost

 

had camouflaged the landscape

in shades of grenadine.

Morning exposed its true light

of burnt hut and blackened beam.

 

Sword in hand, he clawed his way

to the river’s edge.

Blackness overwhelmed him

as he slid from the water’s ledge.

 

It startled his flesh into consciousness.

 

Branded wine-coloured scars

imprinted along his torso

as numerous as stars

stood to attention like warriors

upon hearing the beat of the drum.

 

The fatal wound between his ribs

began to seep, throb and burn.

The river pulled his body

beneath tendrils of olive-green moss;

caressing and lulling him further below

with a song of enduring loss.

 

The wild magic of the water

lured him into a trance-like state

which he fought against with tooth and nail

but his blood loss was too great.

 

Alongside moaning columns

which had once been cowardly men;

their voices hushed by the river’s rush

never to be heard again.

 

Odin’s booming bellow

pierced his death-like state

echoing words of warning; not

to be lured to the commoners gate.

 

The twelve handmaidens of Odin

took him into their care

sweeping him from the riverbed

carrying him forth on the air.

 

They could see the fiddlehead carving

of his ship’s bow on the wave.

A Viking’s final resting place

should be no riverbed grave.

 

They laid his body on board the ship;

placed his faithful sword in his hand

then setting the ship ablaze

they severed the anchor’s strand.

 

They would escort his soul to Valhalla

between the yellow moon and the tides

where all brave warriors feast and fight

in the Great Hall where Odin resides.

*

Biography

Theresa Donnelly is an Irish/Canadian poet who spends her time between Waterville, Co. Kerry and Brooklin, Ontario. Her poetry has been published in the Brooklin Town Crier, Surfacing Magazine, The Copperfield Review, Beret Days Press, Red Claw Press, Ink Bottle Press and The Caterpillar Magazine. She is the author of two poetry books ‘Moon Witch and Other Scary Poems (juvenile) and Recurrence of Blue. She is a member of The Ontario Poetry Society and a founding member of The Brooklin Poetry Society.
For more information visit www.theresadonnelly.com

Seth Jani

Icarus

In the great northern woods of Maine
there is the skeleton of an old Cessna
rotting in the ferns. No bodies lay nearby
though there are stones the size of skulls,
of shattered femurs. I found it once
while I was chasing butterflies
through a corridor of trees.
No numbers remained painted on the hull,
and the merciless joinery of frost
had rent the fuselage with bright crystals.
It blossomed in the woods like a beautiful carcass,
a fabled creature of lightning and glass.
When I went to open the doors
the sidereal light of winter
poured out from the interior
like a fallen god.

*

Biography

Seth Jani currently resides in Seattle, Washington and is the founder of Seven CirclePress (www.sevencirclepress.com). His work has been published widely in such places as The Chiron ReviewThe Comstock ReviewPhantom Drift and El Portal. His full-length collection, Night Fable, was published by FutureCycle Press in 2018. More about him and his work can be found at www.sethjani.com.

Mark Czanik

The Willow’s Song

The willow is weeping.

She weeps for her sisters,

and a pool is fed by the tears she sheds.

The pool feeds a creek that flows to the ocean.

Oh, the ocean is full of her treasures, she said.

.

The rain is falling.  

It falls on the hillside,

and a girls stands where the willow once stood.

The girl finds a street that’s lost in the city.

Oh, the rain is full of her treasures, she said.

.

The wind is calling.

It calls at her window,

and her hair is spinning like beads on a thread.

The thread hangs around her in the heart of the city.

Oh, the wind is full of her treasures, she said.

.

Darkness is calling.

It calls for the dawning,

and the moon is full, but her eyes are red.

She tells you her secrets are lost to the darkness.

Oh, the darkness is full of her treasures, she said.

.

Sisters are singing.

They sing for the weaving,

and the corn is turning like a spider’s web.

The corn turns a circle round the heart of the city.

Oh, the circles are full of their treasures, they said.

.

The willow is sleeping.

She sleeps for the dreaming,

and a pool is fed by the dreams she sheds.

The pool feeds a creek that’s lost in the city.

Oh, the city is full of her treasures, she said.      

*

Biography

Mark Czanik was born in the ‘sweet borderlands’ of Herefordshire, and now lives in exile in Bath. His poems and stories have appeared in Southword, Cyphers, Wasafiri, Riptide, The Rialto, The Interpreter’s House, and many other lovely magazines.

Aoife Riach

Cathedral

I love the freezing stone of you

beyond the rain, your bone damp

raising bristles on my flesh

 

I only know who they named

you after, eight hundred vaulted

years of grey, you waited for me

 

Why should you submit to what

they built you for, when my voice

echoes deep into your tombs

 

Loom over me, pull me inside

you again, they laid all your lovers

to rot within your walls 

 

Ring out for me, I’ll be breath

in your dead structure, the only

ghost you’re haunting back

 

Why should we submit to what

they built us for

 ————————————- my hot blood

thumps your every hollow cave

*

Biography

Aoife Riach is a queer feminist witch with an MA in Gender & Women’s studies and a postgrad certificate in Sexuality & Sexual Health Education. She has worked as a writer for BUST magazine in NYC and her poetry has been published by College Green Journal, Nothing Substantial, Sonder, Channel, Impossible Archetype and other magazines. She was a finalist in the 2019 Intervarsity Poetry Slam and was a 2019 Irish Writers Centre Young Writer Delegate. Her poem “Vancouver” was chosen for Hungering, the latest curation of the Poetry Jukebox currently installed at EPIC, The Irish Emigration Museum in Dublin.

 

Orla Fay

A History of Snow

1982. We waited in the kitchen.

They went to check on a neighbour.

Would they get caught in the drifts?

I fell asleep. The Hamco. The Big Snow.

 

In school watching out the Georgian

windows for the first flakes,

the surge of excitement when they fell

swept away all thought of work.

 

The lane was covered with frost,

puddles wore pale faces. We practised

how far we could slide, falling,

cracking elbows, bruising legs.

 

Making a snowman knuckles and fingers

numb, the mittens gone, socks on hands

searching for a carrot and pebbles.

Wham singing Last Christmas.

 

Back pinned to a warm radiator in the convent.

The 90s. Nirvana. Carpet coat, navy skirt,

no trousers allowed, tights sometimes,

knee high socks; uniform. Watching breath in air.

 

The Big Freeze. The ice came in

through the keyhole. The temperature in the car

read -15. A few miles into the journey

the brake pads froze. 2010.

 

A film of black ice covered the town

after the forewarning of freezing fog

when crows perished, plunging from the sky.

The Morrigan. People fell, casualty was full.

 

2018. The Beast from the East.

Racing back on the train to get home.

Deer gazed out from the blizzard in the park,

their bright eyes shining. An Cailleach.

 

The lane was impassable to vehicles,

drifts clung to the ditches and hedges.

We trampled through, ankle deep in wellies,

bringing bread, milk, eggs and Lucozade.

*

Biography

Orla Fay is editor of Boyne Berries. Recently her poetry has appeared in The Irish Times, Poetry Ireland Review, ROPES 2019, Impossible Archetype, The Bangor Literary Journal, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Tales From The Forest, Quarryman and FourXFour. She has been previously shortlisted for The Over The Edge New Writer of the Year Award, The Dermot Healy Award, The Jonathan Swift Creative Writing Award, The Rush Poetry Competition and The Redline Book Festival Poetry Award. This year she was shortlisted for The Cúirt New Writing Prize. She won 3rd prize in The Oliver Goldsmith Poetry Award 2019. Her short story Foxy was published on the incubator selects in April. She is working towards a first collection of poetry. She blogs at http://orlafay.blogspot.com/

Lorraine Whelan

Somewhere Between Lillehammer and Trondheim

My body rocks back and forth

as the train weaves its way through the lumpy landscape

 of still, wintry mountains in the darkening night.

Northern Norway in early March.

 

The moon glows as it rises over curved silhouettes.

I watch it from the window.

Bright. Lonely. Silver orb.

 

The few other passengers in this carriage are asleep.

 

Then I see another light in the distance:

a curious, flickering, reddish hue.

 

My face presses hard on the cold glass,

to bring me closer to the apparition.

 

A huge man is sitting, cross-legged, by a giant bonfire

warming his overgrown hands.

I know it is icy out there.

He does not look up, though I see a half-smile appear

through his unkempt, auburn beard.

 

He knows I can see him.

 

I continue to stare as the train trundles

past the isolated, impossible,

lay-by of this mythic being.

*

Biography

Lorraine Whelan is a Canadian writer and visual artist based in Ireland. Her prose, poetry, and art criticism has appeared in Ireland, Canada, USA, Luxembourg and online Her artwork is included in public, private and corporate collections in Ireland, USA, Canada, UK, Belgium, and Australia.

Kersten Christianson

Solar Flare

   -Tracking Mary Oliver’s “Wild Geese”

.

You do not have to be engaged.

You do not have to sit

in the front row

nodding your head

in approval,

affirmation

to the uninspired.

You only have to represent

the clickety-clack of your heart,

tap-dancing rain gutters,

solar panels.

Tell me where you’d rather be,

and I’ll draw an X

marking my spot, too.

Meanwhile, the day slugs on.

Meanwhile the sun rides the sky

in a hunched back slouch, filters

60 watts through alder leaves

hanging by a thread.

Whoever you once were,

or will yet become,

the world will bend

to your intensity.

*

Biography

Kersten Christianson is a raven-watching, moon-gazing Alaskan. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing (University of Alaska Anchorage), has authored two books of poetry – What Caught Raven’s Eye (Petroglyph Press, 2018) and Something Yet to Be Named (Aldrich Press, 2017) – and is the poetry editor of Alaska Women Speak.

Estelle Clarke

Dragon’s Dream

.

Two dragons cavort,

 

their wings have an unlikely beauty,

smudged with blood

spilled from celestial bodies.

 

She stretches her length,

glides

through the coloured universe,

displaying the glaze on her belly scales.

 

He sings from the earth.

Notes of yearning

raise her quickening heart.

 

She closes her seductive eyes

behind streamlined lashes,

swishes her tail coquettishly.

Lightening shoots from its spade,

glances off mass of purple, blue and gold,

forks through space,

strikes the orange armour of her mate.

 

Electrified,

he joins her in heavenly flight.

They burn through the night,

shooting stars

of dragon fire,

 

aflame with love.

*

Biography

Estelle is an emerging writer and performance poet. The Hansard Gallery, Southampton invited Estelle to perform her work at “Poetry @ JHG: Resist”. She won the Hammer and Tongue Solent Poetry Slam (April) and a competition to be performed on the Salisbury Fringe. Her poetry is published in the International Times.

www.estelleclarke.com

Theresa Donnelly

Solemnity of Saints

Between All Hallows Eve

and All Souls Day

you set off, briefcase in hand

a crusader departing for the Holy Land.

White starched mantle and a red tie

you return a stained man.

You bring blood to my table

visions and the Holy Ghost.

 

I lose my appetite

for sacrificial lamb;

take a walk near a sea

which has spat up monarchs

unable to fight the wind.

Their exodus unattainable,

they drowned and are buried

between rock and sand.

 

Such delicate wasted wings.

 

The sun moon-pale

offers little in the way of affection

to shivering maples, who shed

garments for baptismal rites, in order

to enter the kingdom of snow.

 

I return to the kitchen

to find you have changed into

a hair-shirt, pleading forgiveness

between saints promising

a beatific vision of heaven.

*

Biography

Theresa Donnelly is an Irish/Canadian poet who spends her time between Waterville, Co. Kerry and Brooklin, Ontario. Her poetry has been published in the Brooklin Town Crier, Surfacing Magazine, The Copperfield Review, Beret Days Press, Red Claw Press, Ink Bottle Press, Buried Horror Magazine and The Caterpillar Magazine. She is the author of two poetry books ‘Moon Witch and Other Scary Poems (juvenile) and Recurrence of Blue. She is a member of The Ontario Poetry Society and a founding member of The Brooklin Poetry Society.
For more information visit www.theresadonnelly.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ceinwen E. Cariad Haydon

For my Daughters: Known Vistas and Those Beyond Limits 

If I could,

I know I would  

gift the Border Ridge to you –

 

stone flagstones paths

to gain

raised slopes on Windy Gyle.

You’d picnic

and sit sheltered

by Russell’s Cairn’s stacked stones.

Gusts of Scottish southerlies

would burst the air

and finger

your loosed braids

of curly English hair.

 

Any season of the year,

happy or troubled,

the purpled green of curving hills

and waves of vales

would draw you here

to sit wind-blown,

in peace, and marvel.

 

You’d see so very far,

over wild-played

contour lines,

the views

of ups and downs

to which the only bar

is distance,

never difference.

 

Have faith,

that what’s beyond

your sight

and frames your life,

weaves tapestries

of charity and art –

 

though sometimes

you might lack

sufficient height to see it.

*

Biography

Ceinwen lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. She writes short stories and poetry. She has been published in web magazines and print anthologies. These include Fiction on the Web, Alliterati, StepawayThree Drops from the Cauldron, Snakeskin, Obsessed with Pipework, The Linnet’s Wing, Blue Nib, Picaroon, AmaryllisAlgebra of Owls, The Lake, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Riggwelter, Poetry Shed, Southbank Poetry, Smeuse, Bandit Fiction, Atrium, Marauder,Prole and The Curlew. She was Highly Commended in the Blue Nib Chapbook Competition [Spring 2018] and won the Hedgehog Press Poetry Competition ‘Songs to Learn and Sing’. [August 2018]. In 2017 she graduated with an MA in Creative Writing from Newcastle University.