Poetry Drawer: The Raven Prince by Janine Crawford

High in the mountains,

The jet black raven

Sits in the

Stunning white snow.

 

The Raven Prince.

They call him,

The one who

Sits and watches,

The one who stands out,

From the pristine, crystallized snow.

 

Hearing his cries,

For he is lonely,

The Raven Price,

Calling out for a loved one.

 

The Raven Prince.

They call him,

The one who

Sits and watches,

The one who stands out,

From the pristine, crystallized snow.

 

The Raven Prince,

Is the only raven,

With Majestic,

Black feathers.

The Raven Prince.

They call him,

The one who

Sits and watches,

The one who stands out,

From the pristine, crystallized snow.

 

Hearing his cries,

The Villagers

Turn and look

Up in the mountains.

 

The Raven Prince.

They call him,

The one who

Sits and watches,

The one who stands out,

From the pristine, crystallized snow.

 

The Raven Prince’s,

Black feathers,

Glisten with the,

Light reflected off the snow.

 

The Raven Prince.

They call him,

The one who

Sits and watches,

The one who stands out,

From the pristine, crystallized snow.

The Raven Prince,

Is…

The Raven Prince…

Poetry Drawer: The Missing Man by Giles Turnbull

Poet Giles Turnbull writes: In addition to blindness, poor control of my diabetes also led to kidney failure. I received a transplant in 2013 and all looked good. Then on 4 July 2014, a year after the transplant, I fell down the house stairs and didn’t remember anything else until mid-September, at which point I had received one dose of chemo and had one more ahead of me, plus some radiotherapy.

The immunosuppressant meds that I take to stop my body rejecting the new kidney left me vulnerable to other infections. One had crossed my blood-brain barrier and I had brain lymphoma. I wasn’t in a coma or anything, I just had zero memory, short or long term; I couldn’t have told you my name let alone that I wrote poetry!

But all is good now. Every 6 months I visit the hospital for a check-up, and each time they ask how my memory is. Apparently high dose chemo and radiotherapy can lead to early onset dementia. I enjoy reading novels like Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey, and Still Alice by Lisa Genova, because I like to know what might await me. This is how I imagine myself, hopefully many years hence.

The Missing Man

There’s just a blur where it used to sit

between my ears and above my sneeze.

My mission is a puzzle

that started with an assignment —

I’m a contract killer?

Maybe it was a push in my aching back,

maybe just a prompt,

but it melted into the laughing dawn,

left me clueless about 8am,

where I’d been with whom —

I’m sure they were poets,

they have an unmistakable flavour and scent

that clings to my shirt,

of sniffer dog’s feet

and parrot’s feathers.

Somebody is watching me

while I wash my face,

eyes that enquire how long I’ve been wiping,

what I’m trying to erase

… I have not the foggiest.

I cannot remember what I am

supposed to use this soggy cloth for,

it cries occasional tears along my cheek

before returning to the bowl

and sinking back to sleep.

Poetry Drawer: End Of by Ali Hepburn

He was the worst person

who ever lived.

Languid silence brewed

between them, louder

than the everyday drone

of the dishwasher.

Tomorrow he will close the door

with finality, but today

weather the rain

of sharp looks.

Fault left a metallic

taste in the air,

stifling like petrichor

without rain; a November

thunderstorm musty and stale

with the scent of something

not-quite-dead.

Light entered the window

at the wrong angle, always,

defying closed blinds,

hitting possessions scattered

like mocking props from

the lives they had enacted.

Grey words:

I can’t do this anymore.

Tea left on the counter.

Untouched. Tepid.

Poetry Drawer: End Of by Ali Hepburn

He was the worst person

who ever lived.

 

Languid silence brewed

between them, louder

than the everyday drone

of the dishwasher.

 

Tomorrow he will close the door

with finality, but today

weather the rain

of sharp looks.

 

Fault left a metallic

taste in the air,

stifling like petrichor

without rain; a November

thunderstorm musty and stale

with the scent of something

not-quite-dead.

 

Light entered the window

at the wrong angle, always,

defying closed blinds,

hitting possessions scattered

like mocking props from

the lives they had enacted.

 

Grey words:

I can’t do this anymore.

 

Tea left on the counter.

Untouched. Tepid.

Poetry Drawer: Rust City by Ali Hepburn

 

A fissure divides the town.

 

On one side houses

in perfectly arranged rows,

green spaces

manicured, plants located

by design, straight lines,

undisputed symmetry,

the Garden City laid

according to intent.

 

Scuttling across the rift,

shoes echo dully

on worn concrete, crossing

between divided lives.

Trains hurtle below

to Elsewhere, screams

resonating the girders,

shuddering the structure

to crack open

the unreality.

 

The other side:

disused factories tower,

grandiose facades betrayed

by pristine paint now dirty grey

and peeling; a faded

mosaic of tiles motley

and disjointed, stained

with pigeon excrement. Iron

besieged by creeping rust

lays flaky waste to structure.

 

Sneaking moss paves the way

to colonisation.

Poetry Drawer: Crewe Green by Matthew Waldron

 

Squirrel intestines,

plucked fleshy harp strings thrum their valediction song across a gum dot constellation of rain-silvered pavement.

 

Bird scolds metallic,

jolted cutlery in a draw.

Wren zip wires across road,

long chain of chimes follow toward flailed wall of hawthorn through rare punctuations of road-shush cars:

splinters;

sparks of arc weld,

ghosts of colour which shower the senses.

Drone music of traffic flow, all vehicular vibrato and baritone buzz.

 

Sky,

slab of knife-cut blackcurrant jelly,

thrown,

slap-stuck against a tiled wall.

Roadside smudge-edge yellow bars of paint imprison leathery leaves,

cigarette packet,

a denuded Sylvanian family mouse with arms and legs positioned mid-walk in an oily rainbow-stained wash of gravel

and beckon bony finger twigs.

 

Profile,

fuzz-mottled with moss,

wind-rubbed by Mother Nature,

grey frieze figures in profile,

stained green;

eyes to the Heavens,

limb-stretched to-the-max,

loin cloths and muscles:

folds in wind-rippled flags.

Time Rewards Industry; Punishes Sloth:

Time? A clock no longer strikes,

hands above heart in permanent prayer.

 

Jackdaws,

pleated black gowns;

ironed grey waistcoats,

cackle,

crackle in the clock tower,

fire-y laughter and rebuke.

They interplay solitaire with the ‘v’-shape fascia,

pop-in,

pop-out of cavities;

punches of portals;

interpolate,

answer back with a sharp beak crack,

ratcheted-up trills of blue tits` alarm calls,

the muted warning whistle of a nest-bound blackbird.

Jackdaws,

all out,

collect,

straight as skittles,

perch on a taut,

thick liquorice strand of insulated wire.

An anchor drops out of the sky,

falls in deceptive slow spirals and glides, closer, closer;

bright gold,

washed,

sieved at the edges of a black-hearted pool;

its eye.

Poetry Drawer: And Now, The Shipping Forecast by Ali Hepburn

Viking: northerly seven, occasionally gale eight

at first showers, good.

 

Waves toss him:

jetsam frantically

discarded, shipwreck,

a boat pulled down.

 

Tyne, Dogger: was four, becoming cyclonic seven

to severe gale nine, sleet then showers, good occasionally poor.

 

We cut a line. Fierce

walls of water slop

onto the deck,

eyes fixed ahead.

 

Lundy, Fastnet: west gale eight to storm ten,

veering northwest five to seven, moderate.

 

Salt stings eyes.

In that blink

he’s gone. Mouth

drier than air.

 

Irish Sea, Shannon, Rockall: cyclonic

severe gale nine to violent storm eleven, poor.

 

‘Eyes to starboard!’

the shout goes out.

All we see is savage

churning and spray.

 

Poetry Drawer: Candlewax Bird by Matthew Waldron

   A light breeze, a feather breath, finds in the water, a reply: a pattern of brush marks; a bank-drawn thick rind of leaves and sticks, camouflaged via burnt chocolate uniform, disguise. White Mallard: location, a calm neighbour of rainfall and flood, his journey so far; straight, snag line in silk; a silvered scar. Its wing-clamped body, a reflection of melting candlewax, the bright orange beak, a surrendering flame. Landscape rises, falls, collapses, folds in on itself like a kneaded dough. A conformity of tall trees echo ‘a walk in the park’, intersperse with arboreal bold claim outsiders, parachuted in, garden boundary-breakers, bird seeded, sown, random spread.

    Rills of sunlight, lustrous lines in flash, in sky: little firmament frictions, clouded conflictions, waived convictions, temporary lumens lost and found. An application of silence, followed by wind-sway of branches as they create an aerial enclosure: Deer antlers engaged, locked in mid-battle; for some, an endless fight; others yield, become overwhelmed, are defeated: all reach for light. Clouds collect: forked mashed potato and butter; tines, a compromised gleam of farewell colour.

    Nearby HGV traffic churns, thuds and clanks: a shovel-loaded cement mixer. Rain coats memory of rain: time measured, it creates patinas, paced; falls upon papery brown, black-spotted leaves, which clutch out, upwards; so many hands of mercy. The impactful sound: sauté-simmer oil in saucepan. An embankment of wide grey stone path, all sheen, its shape echoes like the ocean`s skin when torn to adorn, wrap a form:  the breach from the deep, a Humpbacked Whale; glistens as dew upon leaf edge, or just-perceptible new tear on eyelid.  A muck-magnet charred orange peel basketball floats across flash, tugs twigs and a family of dark slime trails attach to slither in its wake. The weight of rain increases: a distant snare drum pattering. Footprints in mud, fill, to become dark wells of anonymity.