Dickensian Poetry: Miss Havisham’s Love Song by Alice Harrison

I have never seen the sun.
Break their hearts my pride and hope,
Break their hearts and have no mercy.
With men and women I have done.

See the cake. A bride cake. Mine!
If he love you laugh to scorn.
If he love you, beggar him!
See the clock. Twenty-to-nine.

So new to him. So old to me.
I gave you jewels, gave you praise.
I took your heart and made it ice.
I sometimes have a sick fancy.

Lay me here when I am dead.
Now I know you tired of me.
Hard and thankless on the hearth.
Wedding meats shall be my bed.

These bridal clothes shall be my shroud.
Did I never give you love,
Burning love and jealous love?
A warning and a lesson proud.

Walk me round and round this room.
Speak the truth you ingrate, you
You stock and stone. You cold, cold heart.
Remember this will be my tomb.

I held you to this wretched breast
And lavished years of tenderness.
Times forgotten. Soon forgotten.
All is broken. All is rotten.

Dickensian Poetry: The Signalman by David Keyworth

After the story by CD

Halloa! Halloa!

The howl in the tunnel is a trick –
winter wind or a stray dog’s whine?

Why does he still hear it?
Who wants to derail his sanity?

Halloa! Halloa!

Two nights ago, he pushed through sleet
to shine a torch into the tunnel’s depths.

He saw nothing but the drip drip of ice,
nothing but rats chewing wires.

Halloa! Halloa!

The clock strikes three. He wakes.
Tunnel’s mouth is a frozen scream.

He missed a call from his Controller.
His concentration switches from on to

off to on, on to off . . .
The signal is stuck on red.

Halloa! Halloa!

Why does he hear the screech
of wheels? He steps into darkness again.

The tunnel’s mouth is a frozen scream.

Dickensian Poetry: Dickensian Heart by Nicola Hulme

Fog smothered streets lead one way
meandering through grime-coated alleyways
down to the pit of the darkest souls
to the soup of the Thames were smugglers roam.

Tales are told through snarls and barks
of miserly men with coal for hearts
shared ‘round smouldering fireplaces
of shoeless urchins with sooted faces.

Glimpses of light in tear-filled eyes
purest hearts sighing sad goodbyes.
Injustices held up for all to see
in courthouses, ale houses and guillotine scenes.

Brides mould like old wedding cake,
villians plot and bodies ache,
cartwheels thunder along stormy tracks,
quaking stowaways hid amongst sacks.

The religious snubbed for self-satisfaction
the lowly revered for purest intentions
CD writes truth for all to see
his words heart-engraved for eternity.

Inky Interview Special: Author Nicola Hulme

Inkphrastica: Beneath The Tree by Nicola Hulme (Words) Mark Sheeky (Watercolour)

Inkphrastica: Wax by Nicola Hulme & Just So Greek by John F. Keane: Inspired by Mark Sheeky’s Oil Painting

Inkphrastica: City Of Promise by Nicola Hulme (Words) Mark Sheeky (Oil Painting)

Inkphrastica: The Sunset Years: Nicola Hulme (Words) & Mark Sheeky (Oil Painting)

Dickensian Poetry: MR DICKENS’ Q & A SESSION WITH NEURODIVERSITY by Lavinia Murray

I breathe on my spectacles
I read through hugger mugger fug
I am autistic             Mr Dickens
my fingers flock through ruminative soot-strake
from a breath-blown candle

I pick the wick
to the smearing fog of an elderly Christmas Eve
to the grubby to the grubbed
to the Gabriel Grubb, sexton, lantern and spade.
He’s murdering icicles on the church lych gate
icicles: the shut-stump shadows of the spire
each one sharp as an attitude, an elbow

Grubb’s boot-print stitches the snow round Jacob Marley’s grave
tacks Little Dorrit’s Certainty of the Life to Come
Little Dorrit buried in her bonnet. Ah.
Grubb regards her soul as a Christmas Pudding
rocking in its muslin bag          wishes stirred into her
along with the silver sixpence saved from her debtor father

and Grubb, nobody and nothing are saved from his exaggeration
him morose as damp pepper, frost in sinews on his hat

the fog becomes steam built into an engine
knocking and shifting the headstones
as if they were pistons

and sometimes
a glimpse of a moon too young to travel far
a pod of white kidskin
a single crooked finger on a fallen glove

lost as the lit church windows pour their glutinous application
on the ancient yew
so its branches rise like a staircase built into a giant’s club
Oh? So nothing is as it is Mr Dickens?
nothing not one thing is left
in the solitude of the single thought           Mr Dickens?
all is one thing winking back and forth to several        Mr Dickens?
to emotion and emotion and emotion?
to Premonition’s ammunition, Intuition Mr Dickens?
Mr Dickens? Mr Dickens? Oh.
I’ll have to take your word for it.

Inky Interview Exclusive: Award Winning Dramatist Lavinia Murray

Poetry Drawer: Moomintroll Buys It by Lavinia Murray

Pantry Prose: Eat At The Weather! You Chin-Tie Fanfold Rainhood Squadron Member You! by Lavinia Murray

Inkspeak: Quick Fisted Blizzard by Lavinia Murray

Yuletide Poetry: Alle-YULE-yah! by Lavinia Murray

Yuletide Poetry: Pysgod yn Wibli Wobli (Welsh for jellyfish) by Lavinia Murray

Inky Flash Fiction Spring Competition 2018: Winner: A Deuce Of Spring Brides by Lavinia Murray

Pantry Prose: A Taxi Made Of Mouths by Lavinia Murray

Dickensian Poetry: The Song of the Child Who Slept by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal

To never wake again,
leave me in endless sleep
in my childhood dreams,
the ones that did not come true.
Those dreams are best.
It doesn’t get better.
Please let me rest, leave me
to my slumbering ways.

Where is the boy left behind?
No one came to save him.
The good and kind boy,
he went on one day
into the fire. He was so safe
at night, when he slept
heavy in a jungle of dreams,
never weary, sound asleep.

Where is that child now?
I do not see him.
It has been many years
since he crossed the desert.
The honest child has gone.
He would lay his lonely head
to rest and dream. He wanted
to live in those dreams forever.

Where is that child now?
He has been left alone
in the wild. Thrown to the
wolves, drowned in despair,
all he wanted to do was to lay down,
put his head on a pillow
and dream on and on.
Where has the child gone?

Dickensian Poetry: The Snowbride by Mark Sheeky

Flakes fall, a lead glitter
in terminal weep
among mouse skulls, asleep
in a fantasy heaven.

Deep eyes hold their coal
in her resting snow,
a taffeta landscape of dead love,
caged by spiders’ palaces
woven from a heart-wool cloud of not-to-be,
frozen among yellow’d confetti.

And as a century rolls,
time is frozen, like bronze bells’ breath in air,
capturing in glass a sense of hope from a dream past;
each unbite of cake an unkiss,
undreamed,
awaiting a pane to shock and crack,
and a spring sunshine
to melt her.

Dickensian Poetry: When Mr Dickens walked down our street by Pat Edwards

He was surprised there was no snow.
He was gladdened by the cleanliness.
He found the lack of horses disconcerting.
He was nostalgic for the smell of chestnuts.
He looked everywhere for flower girls.
He found the ale houses rather lacking character.
He was befuddled hearing music without musicians.
He marvelled at the glaring lights.
He was disappointed not to find a tailor.
He felt thrilled that he was stared at.
He could not find the newspaper sellers.
He recognised the poor in doorways.
He wrote them into his next book.

Dickensian Poetry: Surfaces by Emily Bell

‘Round the corner from us there’s a man
Wot collects door knockers.
Big brassy gold ones,
Like cartoon noses without a face.
No he don’t sell ’em but he do keep buying ’em;
When me and Tim was just kids he’d give us a shilling
To go pick up a new old one for him,
The shinier the better. Wants to be able to see his face in it, he says.
We’d trawl the antiques shops — Pirate-Colonels hunting for treasure —
And one time Timmy nabbed his dad’s screwdriver
And stole the one off of Fred’s mam’s front door.
Proper angry she was.

Old Scrooge’s eyes ain’t good though
So he holds each one excitedly up to his wrinkled head,
Fat red nose meeting big cold gold one,
Squinting frantically at his distorted reflection in a tiny mirrored world
While we hiccup our laughter,
Before he exhales and flashes us his disappointment.
Never throws ’em away though neither:
Just sits in a room covered with the bleedin’ things,
Bright brass door knockers puncturing faded walls,
Embarrassed, apologetic nostrils
Marking pathways to nowhere,
No one to knock
And no one to answer.

Then, on Christmas Eve, he shuts up all his curtains
And whispers to them, one by one.
I swear! Fred told us so
And Timmy and I went peeking one year

And we saw him, a draped and hooded Phantom,
Caressing the biggest, knobbliest, goldest one
With tremulous hands,
Sighing heavily, like a lover,
Looking for that dismal light
Like a bad lobster in a dark cellar,
Looking as Marley used to look
With breaths to breathe,
Eyes to see,
In living colour,
And with the dead-alive spirit
Of a seven-years-dead friend.

But come the chimes of New Year Scrooge is at it again,
Bonkers for new door knockers.
And, sitting goblin-like on his brass horde at year’s end
We wonder
If he really did
Learn anything
At all.