Poetry Drawer: Girl, 46 by Mark Anthony Smith

“Was your day OK?” It’s just you
look away and I don’t bee
line to your honey smooth
forehead. I don’t see your worries –
those collected in blemishes or bags or
even uneven sags that I don’t see.
You are not Exhibit A or B
or even C to be looked at like
a commodity. You are more,
my eternal amour. You
are my best sounding-board friend
and the perfect true love; my lover in dreams
and in each creamy rich chocolate
waking hour and day. The only
one with that timeless girl’s heart – like
the laughter of bicycle rides –
and that sunrise smile as you nurture
other smiles around you.
You wear it loosely, care-free
as you ‘pay it forward’ or tightly tied
back on those few fraught long days.
Your happiest actions
outshine all that is outward
as they come from somewhere
softly ageless and inside. So,
let me now ask you, please.
You are important to me,
“Are you alright?”
“Was your day OK?”

Mark Anthony Smith was born in Hull. He graduated from The Open University with a BSc (Hons) in Social Sciences. His writing has appeared in Spelk, Nymphs, Fevers of the Mind and others. In 2020, he is due to appear in Horror Anthologies published by Eerie River and Red Cape Publishing. ‘Hearts of the matter’ is available on Amazon.

Poetry Drawer: Creative age workshop by Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon

Creative age workshop

within a sheltered living scheme

residents oldish
some younger than me
most yoked to challenges –
me blessedly free
for now at least

I fretted to select poems
didn’t want to swamp
lovely folk with hard words
dense works   I couldn’t
make them sad   lost
in miscomprehension

I did my normal thing – I’ll read
unless I have a volunteer

expecting no-one    then

your quiet cracked voice said
I will    your wife stared at you
soft through dementia’s mist    alerted
by your gentle confidence

and you read Frost’s A Time to Talk
with your whole deep-timbred heart
claimed its meaning    read friendship’s
rhythm in rich-seamed Geordie tones

Ceinwen lives near Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, and writes short stories and poetry. She has been widely published in web magazines and in print anthologies. She has an MA in Creative Writing [Newcastle 2017]. She believes everyone’s voice counts.

Poetry Drawer: Golden Shovel Exercise: Chateau Frontenac by Robert Demaree

Robert Demaree: At a workshop in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, in August 2017, Marilyn Nelson introduced us to poets we were not likely to know—poets from the Middle East, Native America, Gary, Indiana, poems that spoke of addiction, alienation, anger. Then she explained to us the “golden shovel” prompt or exercise, created by National Book Award winner Terrance Hayes. We were to write a poem in which the lines should end, consecutively, with words from a line by Gwendolyn Brooks, the first African American to win a Pulitzer in poetry and serve as Poet Laureate for the U.S. We were offered a choice of three lines by Brooks, and I selected “I shall create! If not a note, a hole” (from “Boy Breaking Glass”). I was able to follow the directions for one of the two stanzas below.

Golden Shovel Exercise

The participants all look alike this morning, and I
Think of the syringes, which we shall
Not know, even if we create
Poems of pain and exclusion, even if
We were to experience, as we have not,
The chilling look and touch of a
Security guard, his voice a strident note
Of smug assumption, a
Clue to the we-ness of this American hole.

Then I remember being pulled out of the line
Returning from Canada,
Luggage searched at random, they said,
But we suspect for prescription drugs,
Targeted for our years,
A group not mentioned
In this morning’s verse.

Chateau Frontenac

Looking back sixty years
It seems so like them
That my parents chose a place
Called the Chateau Overlook,
A modest auberge appropriate
To a schoolmaster’s means
And outlook on life.
I remember the tour at
The Plains of Abraham, and a man
Lobbing a half-dollar U.S. over the
Heads of the crowd, a tip for the guide.
It fell in the mud at his feet;
He paused for a moment,
Then picked it up.

I went by myself to the Place d’Armes.
Returning, I asked the concierge
In my false, wooden French,
“Où est ma mère?”
“Oopstairs” was his reply.

Last summer our daughter and her son
Drove to Québec.
The Chateau Overlook is gone.
Philip stepped into the lobby of
The Chateau Frontenac,
Something I had not done,
And rode to the top floor
Where he took a picture of
The Plains of Abraham.

Robert Demaree is the author of four book-length collections of poems, including Other Ladders published in 2017 by Beech River Books. His poems have received first place in competitions sponsored by the Poetry Society of New Hampshire and the Burlington Writers Club. He is a retired school administrator with ties to North Carolina, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. Bob’s poems have appeared in over 150 periodicals including Cold Mountain Review and Louisville Review.

Inky Interview Exclusive: Verve Festival Director Stuart Bartholomew with Claire Faulkner

Poetry festivals. What’s not to like? Books, events, workshops, performances. The chance to meet other writers, share ideas and get inspired. For me, one of the best things about poetry festivals is the sense of community, and the first time I went to Verve Festival I was instantly hooked. Verve is back next month and I managed to catch up with festival organiser Stuart Bartholomew to ask him all about it.

How did Verve start? How long have you been involved?

I am a founder member of Verve with my original co-director, Cynthia Miller. I secretly think Cynthia always intended to persuade me that a Birmingham City Centre full-spectrum poetry festival was necessary, but she insists she didn’t. I was running Waterstones in Birmingham and we wanted to do more with events, but until The Emma Press brought a group of poets to the store for a small event for Valentines in 2016 – headlined by Liz Berry – I had no idea how amazing live poetry could be. It really set me off, and with Cynthia encouraging all the way, I’d programmed a full four day festival for the store by the end of that summer and secured arts council funding to help make sure we broke even. I think the things we were trying to fix were – Birmingham Literature Festival not programming enough poetry (to our tastes anyway), our favourite poets never coming to Birmingham, our favourite Birmingham poets never being picked up by poetry publishers, many poetry events seeming exclusive particularly if you are from a minority or too young, and the separation that exists between excellent performance poetry and amazing page poetry in terms of the scenes and poetry consumption. It felt like Verve could help us to address ALL these things.

How would you describe Verve to someone who has never been before?

It is a city centre full-spectrum poetry festival which celebrates poetry in all its forms and welcomes poetry fans of all ages and levels of experience to join our annual poetry party.

Verve is a festival packed full of workshops, poetry and spoken word performances. How do you begin to organise an event like this?

I have a lot of help. Birmingham poetry people love having the festival and always lend a hand. In terms of the programming, I find it incredibly easy. The idea is that events  will run end to end on Thursday & Friday evenings and then all day on Saturday and Sunday, so that no-one needs to miss anything, unless they are in one of our six workshops a day. I keep a running list of all the poets I need to bring (which relates quite closely to poets I need to see myself), and another list of poets I’d like to come back or get more involved, and there are always more poets on both lists than I can possible fit into a single weekend. I am committed to the four day structure of the event – I think when festivals drag on over more than one weekend, it becomes difficult for people to do the whole thing. I like the idea of our audience drowning in poetry for a few days – staying as long as possible, and heading home fully sated, feeling like they’ve done it properly. Others of course can dip in and out, but there are a sizable chunk of people who do the whole thing.

It seems that the festival grows in popularity and strength every year. What can we look forward to seeing this year? (I’m looking forward to the lecture with Yomi Sode).

I think you’re right. Our audience has grown by 33% each year for the first three years, and I think it gets stronger because we learn lessons each year about what works best. So for instance, the venue change this year is going to be a big plus, both in terms of visibility but also solving the accessibility problems we had last year, particularly for workshops. And we have moved our competition event (which is always my favourite event) from the Saturday morning to the Sunday to pump a little more energy into that day (the commended poets who come and read at that event get a free day pass to the rest of that day – it will be lovely to see what they think of it all.)

I think you’re right to be looking forward to Yomi’s lecture. That’s a really great regular addition to the programme that we came up with in conjunction with Poetry School. I really struggle to come up with highlights, because as programmer I tend to love everything, but if I were to pick a single event, it would be the Saturday Early Evening Headline Event featuring Jay Bernard, Mary Jean Chan and Caroline Bird, and hosted by Jo Bell. But really, there will be Birdspeed, Rachael Allen, Vidyan Ravinthiran, Salena Godden, Jaspreet Kaur, Fathima Zahra, Heather Phillipson, Mimi Khalvati, Deryn Rees-Jones, Jonathan Edwards and many many more amazing poets at Verve. Whatever time you’ll come, you’re sure to see something amazing.

The festival has its own competition, this year the theme was diversity and was judged by Andrew McMillian. Have you been pleased with the response?

I love the competition, mainly because I love the competition winners’ event. It allows the three winners, twenty one commended poets and three-four commissioned local poets, the opportunity to read at and attend Verve and not only meet but be hosted and introduced by the judge. Andrew had been a pleasure to work with and it is always fun and interesting to see what the judge picks and why. The competition is completely anonymous at point of judging, so it’s fun to to let the judge know who they’ve picked. One of the remits of Verve is to involve emerging or even brand new poets and this event, along with the workshops and open mics is that main way that we can do this.

I’ve seen some fantastic poets perform at Verve and The Verve Specials. Do you have a favourite Verve performance from the last couple of years? (I have particularly enjoyed performances from Romalyn Ante, Salena Godden and Kaveh Akbar.)

Yes, I loved all three of these, although the one that sticks out in my mind was the Special that featured Lindsay Hera Bird. We teamed her up with two amazing local poets – Jenna Clake (who is bringing a collection out with Bloodaxe in 2021) and Hannah Swingler, and it was such an incredible night and such a thrill to hear her read and talk. At the actual festival, I loved hearing Sumita Chakraborty read her long poem ‘Dear, beloved’ in it’s entirety at last year’s event. It was a half an hour long read, and it was breath-taking, and other poets such as Vahni Capildeo and Jane Commane were sitting in the audience watching and just lapping it up!

How would you like to see the festival develop in the future?

I’m really happy with the adult element of the festival, although I’d like it to continue to develop and evolve – I have this idea of having a living magazine element at the festival in which an event contains a talk, reviews as well as readings with multiple poets, but I’ve not quite found the way to make it happen. An easier fix will be to relaunch a kids element to Verve. We tried having a kids festival run alongside the adult one during the first two years and it was wonderful but really hard to make broad enough for different age-ranges. We’ll be looking at kick starting that side of things up again in 2021.

Do you have a wish list of poets you would like to see at Verve?

Of course. It’s vast. I’m desperate to get Malika Booker along – also AK Blakemore and Emily Berry. And I’d like to do something with Flipped Eye.

Do you have time to enjoy the festival?

I always enjoy the festival – it makes me so happy to see so many people enjoying poetry and to meet so many amazing practitioners. I get to sit in and see a lot of it as we have such a great team. Apart from the workshops – I’ve no idea what goes on in there.

A lot of our readers are new writers. Do you have any advice for inspiring poets?

I do. Read lots of poetry. Lots of different kinds of poetry. Form sharing poetry communities, whether that’s small groups learning together or regular open mic nights. I think a lot of poetry is made in isolation, but I think the sharing part of poetry is the most powerful element of it. There are so many possibilities that are impossible to discover on your own.

How can people get tickets and keep up to date with what’s going on?

Yes, tickets are up on the Birmingham Hippodrome website

We have our own website at but the best way of keeping in touch day to day is on Twitter

In the run up to the festival, we never shut up on Twitter! 😊

Group Press images with kind permission of Stuart Bartholomew.
Other images by Claire Faulkner courtesy of Tania HershamanJacqueline Saphra, Jamie Thrasivoulou and Matt Abbott.

Five Poems by Jake Cosmos Aller

Morning Light

the terrors of the night
the worst imaginings
of what might happen

war, rumours of war
end of civilization
nuclear war
and other horrors
ripped from the headlines

fade away into nothingness
with the morning light
and the love of my wife
who is always by my side
I regain my sight

and begin
regaining my smile
and my life

until the next nightmares
consumes my dark imaginings

Dora the Intergalactic Explorer

Dora the intergalactic explorer
Is travelling to the strangest planet
of all the known worlds

she is traveling incognito
with a video crew
making a documentary

the planet earth
is known as a planet
of intelligent monkeys

not much is known
about them
as very few
have ever been there

the inhabitants are described
as blood thirsty insane creatures
ruled by hidden sexual and political passions
following incomprehensible
religious dogmas following Gods
that clearly do not exist

the inhabitants are just on the verge
of developing intergalactic travel
and the galactic empire
is worried that they will be driven
to try to conquer the rest of the universe

driven by their needs to impose
their religious dogma
everywhere in the world

the planet is divided into large tribal groups
governed by corrupt elites
corrupt businesses destroying the planet
in pursuit of profit

and the locals are little more
than wage slaves
barely making a living
addicted to alcohol, drugs gambling
pornography and illicit sex

and their main land
is ruled by a clearly delusional madman
intent on poking a fight
with all his alleged enemies

Dora assumed the appearance
of a character from TV
and will pose as a journalist
trying to make sense
of it all

but she was afraid
that she if found out
could face the worst consequence

her ship crash lands
and she is outside
the capital

of the non empire empire
called the United State of America

Dora gets her crew together
and walks into the city
staring at all the strange sights
as the monkeys go about
their daily activities

she stops at a restaurant
tries the coffee
the chief drug of choice

and is instantly addicted
wow no wonder
these people are crazed

she tries the local booze
and smiles
perhaps she could
become an intergalactic merchant
introducing the world
to the galaxy

her thought are interrupted
as a mad man armed
with weapons of war
bursts in and starts shooting
yelling at people

and she is shot dead
the authorities
are shocked

when they recover the body
and realize
that she is not a human
as she reverts other original

sort of a giant feline like creature
two legs and arms
and clearly from an advanced
civilization given her gear

what was she doing
no one knew
as all the aliens
died in the gun blaze

the world is shocked
at what had happened
and fearful that the aliens
were coming to invade
their world

the galactic senate
decides to contain
the humans
declaring them
a threat to the global civilization

and the humans vow
to discover the secrets
of interstellar travel
and travel to her land

to enter into business arrangements
and spread the one truth faith
to the heathen space aliens

thus ended Dora’s excellent adventure
in the crazed world at the edge
of known civilization

Mocking Faces Staring at Me

Mocking faces
hunting my dreams
Hundreds of faces
morphing into one
after another

Faces I knew
The dead
and the living

women I knew
friends I missed
enemies I did not

One after another
Marching in my room
Staring at me

I tried to run
They laughed

They said
that there’s nowhere
to escape my cosmic fate

My time is coming
prepare yourself
the grim reaper
has your name

and once he has your name
your fate is sealed
and you will soon
join us

whether in heaven
or hell
is not for us to say

be warned though
you will be judged
and no one can escape
their cosmic karmic fate

a wild man sits in a gilded cage

a wild man sits in a gilded cage
a cage made out of chains of his wife’s love

a cage made out of chains of his wife’s love
the wild man yearning to be free from his cage

the wild man yearning to be free from his cage
wondering how and why he was now tamed

wondering how and why he was now tamed
dreaming dark wild dreams of demented freedom

dreaming dark wild dreams of demented freedom
the wild man looks about his prison cage

the wild man looks about his prison cage
wondering whether he will ever be free

wondering whether he will ever be free
a wild man sits in a gilded cage

2019 The Last Year of America’s Greatness

2019 was the last year of America
when the proverbial chickens came home

when the proverbial chickens came home
to strut about the decaying landscape

to strut about the decaying landscape
as the world begins to burn and die

as the world begins to burn and die
led by the mad great leader and his merry men

led by the mad great leader and his merry men
the whole world lay in shock and awe

the whole world lay in shock and awe
at the destruction of the America they knew

at the destruction of the America they knew
when the proverbial chickens came home

John (“Jake”) Cosmos Aller is a novelist, poet, and former Foreign Service officer having served 27 years with the U.S. State Department serving in over ten countries including Korea, Thailand, India, Antigua, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Spain. He has travelled to over 50 countries, and 49 out of 50 states. He speaks Korean, Thai, Spanish and studied Chinese, Hindi and Arabic.

Poetry Drawer: Exuberance: Black Dice: Charlotte Mew, a Nemophilist: Sacred by Dr. Susie Gharib


What sort of plumage is my exuberant words,
words whose foliage no Autumns could scourge,
whose leaves still flutter in speech and verse
with eloquence?

With what sort of rhythm the word bells resonates,
a word that chimes with vespers and faith,
with Edgar Allan Poe’s metallic tales,
with Sir Betjeman’s Archibald and Hampstead plains,
with St. Mungo’s grace!

What sort of thrills are embedded in wings,
an ode to agility in fowls and fins,
a vision of freedom in inward things
and flights within!

What clusters of stars reside in smiles,
a word whose luster with galaxies vies,
a beam to de-shroud the downcast brows,
to rob them of frowns!

Black Dice

He drove me to work slowly in his own senile style,
a couple of black dice instantly caught my eye,
dangling from the rearview mirror, a taxi-driver’s charm,
with threes engraved in gleaming white
and numbers one and four on half-hidden sides.

I am used to seeing beads, fresheners, and ornaments
that some believe can distract the evil eye
but dice was a novelty that enflamed my mind.

What if these numbers are an encrypted message from the sky!
What if nothing is random in our complicated lives!
I pondered over their significance like a bewildered child,
then added the numbers up to figure some meaning out.
Eleven, the outcome, is double one,
the number I adored as a child,
but the appearance of its twin at that stage in my life
multiplied interpretations of what it could signify:
the twin pillars of Solomon’s Temple,
or a roofless gate to the other world!
Perhaps parallel lives,
but if so, what parallels mine!

Charlotte Mew, a Nemophilist

Who but Mew heard the grasses bashfully mate,
the cry of an angel admonishing the butchery of trees,
the agony of London’s ubiquitous planes
in every massacre enjoined by the modern age,
a sacrilege.

She evoked the spirits that dwelt in wood,
the oak-housed elves,
the consecrated yews,
the venerable beeches,
the beloved sycamores,
a sentient, sacred world.

She dreaded the three-headed monster that inhabited Europe,
machinery, democracy, and science with their torture tools,
the axe, the rope, the amputating saw,
that manufacture unhallowed roods.


The Essenes once settled on the Mount of Sion,
the sacred site the Templars were bound to woo,
over which many races their disputes would brew,
now a blood-stained metaphor for modern wars.

Edessa, the Syrian gem in the north,
upon whose throne a Nazarene monarch had ruled,
a Fisher King in the most purple of robes,
had lost its hallowed crown of thorns.

The Nile whose ripples had Moses borne,
in whose mirror Nefertiti and Cleopatra viewed
the resurrection of Osiris from a sunken tomb,
is now a battleground for water feuds.

And Notre Dame de-Paris, the grail of stone,
who frowned upon Jacques de Molay’s doom,
the immolation of a knight whose Order had bloomed,
now stands disfigured and badly scorched.

Susie Gharib is a graduate of the University of Strathclyde with a Ph.D. on the work of D.H. Lawrence. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in multiple venues including Adelaide Literary Magazine, Green Hills Literary Lantern, A New Ulster, Crossways, The Curlew, The Pennsylvania Literary Journal, The Ink Pantry, Mad Swirl, Miller’s Pond Poetry Magazine, and Down in the Dirt.

Inky Interview Exclusive: Bestselling Novelist Linda Green with Kev Milsom

Hello Linda. Firstly, thank you so much for finding time for this interview with Ink Pantry. It’s always a joy for us to learn from established authors. I’d like to start by taking you back in time. What were your first literary inspirations/heroes? How active were you as a writer at school and during your adolescent years?

I was pony-mad at primary school so my favourite books were Jill’s Gymkhana and Black Beauty but I do remember reading The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and being utterly engrossed by Narnia and the world C.S. Lewis had created. I wrote my first novella aged 9 but I think I was a bit ahead of my time with a pony-based time-travel thriller! I had some wonderful teachers who encouraged my writing. When I left primary school, one of them wrote that she looked forward to reading my first published book and she wrote to congratulate me twenty five years later when it happened!

Recently, I was honoured to read your excellent novel, The Last Thing She Told Me. Can you share some insights into the initial inspiration for this book and some of the research that you undertook to give you further insights into the characters?

The idea actually came from something my 92-year-old grandmother said just before she died. She told us to look somewhere after her death, and when we did so, we found something which suggested she had suffered a secret loss and had tried to mark it. We will never know what her secret was, but it got me thinking about women of her generation and the secrets many of them took to their grave because of the shame they had been made to feel. When I researched the subject, I came across many heartbreaking cases of secrets and losses which had come to light only after elderly female relatives had died. I knew I wanted to write about several generations of women in the same family and I also realised that women of different generations had also been shamed, though often for different things. All of this came together in the plot of The Last Thing She Told Me.

Many of our readers are aspiring writers, poets and novelists. What advice would you give to anyone who seeks a similar career path in writing, or indeed to anyone who simply aims to write because they enjoy the process?

The key thing is to learn your craft and continue to hone it. I’ve just finished my tenth novel and I like to think I’m a much better writer now than I was when I started, and I like to think I’ll be a better writer still after my 20th novel! There’s lots of advice on the writing process and how to get a novel published on my website under the ‘about getting published’ tab. Improving your writing needn’t be expensive, there are lots of good books on how to write available from the library. If you want to get a book deal, be prepared for rejection and persevere – I had 102 rejections from agents before I was taken on. And if being published isn’t important to you, then please just enjoy your writing!

Linda, in terms of your organisation, are there set aspects for your literary work? Do you always write in the same location? Do you use music as a background tool, or silence? When you are developing a new book, do the characters tend to come first, or the general plot line to the story?

Ideas for my stories often come from real life events and issues I feel passionate about. It’s about finding a premise that keeps me awake at night and will hopefully keep readers awake too! I’m very much a plotter and a planner, so do lengthy characterisations and write chapter plans and do all my research before I’m ready to start writing. When I do so, I mainly write at home (in a spare back bedroom which is now my writing room) and generally in silence. But I also write in libraries, cafes and on trains, anywhere where I can find the time.

Whilst on the topic of inspiration, has this always been a strong aspect of your writing, since childhood? I’m sure many people will be interested in how much you perhaps found ways to ‘push’ yourself – to have ultimate faith/confidence in what you were writing and to believe wholeheartedly in your literary journey. How difficult was it for you to maintain this journey, despite possible rejection(s) from publishing companies?

I’ve always had a very active imagination and used to write lengthy and rather crazy stories as a child. I’d wanted to be an author since I was nine, but had a ten year career in regional newspaper journalism before I went freelance to try to write my own novel. It took seven years and 102 rejections before I finally got a book deal. It was hugely difficult to keep going at times but I did so because I wasn’t prepared to give up on my lifetime’s ambition and I did believe I had the ability to achieve it. But you must always be looking to improve your writing too, which can be a difficult balancing act!

In terms of contemporary writers, who are you drawn to and why? Do you tend to stick to strict reading genres, or are you more interested in the writing style of the author?

I read quite widely and in different genres, as long as a book has heart and soul, and well-written characters, I’m there. Margaret Atwood is my favourite author and I loved The Testaments. I’m also a big fan of Rachel Joyce (The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry) and am looking forward to her new novel. I’ve also enjoyed Leonard and Hungry Paul by Ronan Hession and Sweet Sorrow by David Nicholls recently. They all write stories where the characters are intensely real and their novels are so well-written.

Thank you so much for sharing your valuable insights with our readers, Linda. Finally, what does the future hold in terms of new works? Will you stick with novels, or are there perhaps new creative ‘doors’ that you wish to explore?

I love writing novels and would also like to write a children’s novel at some point soon. And I’d love to write a play, so they are both on my to-do list for the future!



Ink Pantry Publishing’s Krampus Poetry Competition 2019 Highly Commended: Krampus by Lel Meleyal

Krampus stole my grandchildren.
No goat ever threatened my son.
Just the mothers’ ally threat
‘Santa does not visit naughty children’
was enough, at least in December

Vienna is as beautiful as the girl
Who captured my boy’s heart
Who took him home
To celebrate life, love and Christmas
Held on the 24th December.

Which is not really Christmas
Where my boy grew up
But is where his boys now excitedly
Hope for a visit from the Christkind
And Saint Nicholas

My mince pies
Do not meet the approval of
Großmutter Anna
Though I like her Lebkuchen.
Thankfully, no-one likes carp.

The kids in accented giggles
Call me Die Englische Großmutter
When they tease my Yorkshire inability to ski.
I ache for Granny, or Grandma
Closeness cleft by air miles.

Judge Claire Faulkner writes: A different style and approach to the theme of Krampus, but one which captured my heart about the impact of myth in different lifestyles and cultures.

Lel Meleyal, previously a research academic, also writes fiction under the name Antonia Chain.  She writes a literary blog and enjoys performing her flash fiction pieces.

Lit Blog



Ink Pantry Publishing’s Krampus Poetry Competition 2019 Highly Commended: Krampusnacht (a triolet poem) by Tracy Davidson

On Krampusnacht, bad children quake
as anti-Santa stalks the streets,
cloven-hooved, with a chain to shake.
On Krampusnacht, bad children quake
and rue each sin and sad mistake,
receiving swats instead of sweets.
On Krampusnacht, bad children quake
as anti-Santa stalks the streets.

Our judge Claire Faulkner writes: A strong example of writing to a theme within a set form. One of the shorter entries, but a still story full of imagery.

Tracy Davidson lives in Warwickshire, England, and writes poetry and flash fiction. Her work has appeared in various publications and anthologies, including: Poet’s Market, Mslexia, Atlas Poetica, Writing Magazine, Modern Haiku, The Binnacle, A Hundred Gourds, Shooter, Artificium, Journey to Crone, The Garden, The Great Gatsby Anthology, WAR and In Protest: 150 Poems for Human Rights. 


Ink Pantry Publishing’s Krampus Poetry Competition 2019 winner: Krampusnacht by Amy Cresswell

Our tale takes place on December the Fifth,
On a suitably freezing cold night,
With a creature you’ve heard of, from olden day myth,
Eyes aglow with malevolent light.

The snow is disturbed by his cloven footsteps,
His grey beard, all matted and long,
Swishes as he stalks past the darkened doorsteps,
To the houses of those who’ve done wrong.

A red hooded cloak covers up his horned head,
Fur trimmed, just like old Saint Nick’s,
His first victim, cowering under her bed,
Gets a swipe with his great birchwood stick.

The next, vainly dreaming of presents and sweets,
Hears the deafening clanking of chains,
Downstairs, not Saint Nick, but Krampus he meets,
And the blood freezes inside his veins.

The third, hoping for a bit of good luck,
Squares his shoulders, prepares to attack,
But Krampus’s claw swiftly snatches him up,
And then bundles him into his sack.

Just like this it continues, and when dawn draws near,
He retreats, a full bag on his back,
Hurls the wicked children down to Hell for a year,
Then enjoys an ice cold glass of Schnapps

Judge Claire Faulkner writes: I enjoyed the style and structure of this poem. I feel that it tells us everything we need to know about Krampus using fantastic storytelling and imagery.

Amy Cresswell lives in Yorkshire, England, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in English Studies. She writes short stories and poetry for fun, and is currently writing a novel. In her spare time, she’s usually playing videogames, baking really sweet stuff, or throwing toys for her cat.