Brian Young – 6 poems


When it all gets a bit much
I sneak up to my attic
for a leisurely, delicious

There are photos of people and places:
I puzzle over names and years
then dust off plans and projects
and ponder how they might progress.

There are novels half-begun
whose development will be stunning
and hilarious jokes
whose punch-lines I try to recall.

There are pictures of people
who need to be put in their place:
I think up suitably sharp rebukes
and practise withering looks.

Someone’s yelling at me downstairs,
an inch from my nose.
How the hell can I answer,
up here in my attic.



When the bandages came off
light did not surprise me
but colours moved, merged, mesmerised.
A voice said “Well?”
so I knew there was a face
– and whose.
Following and focusing
were many months’ work,
still unaccomplished.

Today I shaved my nose
until my reflected hand
revealed the vastness of my face
and the suds were white, not brown.
I tried not to close my eyes.

Things change as I walk round them –
is this an apple, a pear?
Touch and smell will tell me.
I must not close my eyes.

On the windows are fields and trees.
Twigs I know, buds I know,
but I cannot feel a tree.
Walking between them
I try not to trip over their shadows
as they sidle past.

At night the moon is a broken fingernail
tangled in the tops
as I am tangled in this world of sight.

Let me go where I do not feel crippled,
back to my safe, familiar,
world of touch.



The silliest questions are always the best:
“Why is the sky dark at night?”
The obvious answer doesn’t work,
and “Because it is” won’t do.
Some people sink their teeth into questions
like a dog at a postman’s trousers
until he delivers an answer –
for someone else.

High-octane questions burn out the brain:
“How can we prove we exist?”
Distinguishing the me-ness of me
from the you-ness of you
is like knitting cobwebs.

Knowledge blunders laboriously forward
with lucky finds crouching
round blind bends.

Thank goodness some light will be thrown
on that dark-sky conundrum
by someone determined to know
why flies
have four hundred eyes.



Did you take a biscuit from the display tin?
No, Dad.

Did you put the lid back loose? They all went soft…
No, Dad, I didn’t.

But I did. And he knew.

And I knew how he loved the polished wooden counters
And the burnished coffee grinder
And the wire cheese-cutter
And the sugar scoops and butter pats
And the proud pyramids of tins

And how he so nearly wept
At the slow realisation that the shop wasn’t paying.

More punishment than enough.



The hunters sit gazing
into the embers.

Blind to the spark-dusted sky
deaf to the chatter from the huts
they relive the chase
recall lost companions
plan tomorrow’s kill
bond tight
without movement
without a word.



On my thirtieth birthday I found a green pebble
outside number 16 Drury Lane.

I dribbled it all the way to Euston –
through the traffic and the people.

If someone else kicked it I retrieved it
and continued from the previous location.

It went into the grass beside Russell Square
and under a café table on Woburn Place

so I placed it two feet from the kerb
and started again.

If it had been lost in a drain or similar orifice
I’d have kicked another pebble from the beginning.

Outside Euston Station I picked it up
and placed it in my right-hand trouser pocket.

It had taken 44 minutes
not counting stoppage time.

The pebble is safe in my bedside cabinet
at the back of the second drawer down –

I’ve kept it carefully all these years
because without doubt
it was most satisfactory.


Brian Young is a retired languages teacher living in Hertfordshire, England. He has a degree from London University in Spanish and French, and for many years taught languages in secondary schools and at the University of Hertfordshire. He is an active member of Ver Poets in St Albans, helps to run a University of the Third age poetry group, and regularly reads his work at the Poetry Society in London. He has won several prizes in national competitions, including second prize in the Southport Writers’ Circle open competition. He has gained Certificates of Merit from the Mere Literary Festival, Wiltshire, and has had poems published in several anthologies. He enjoys writing slightly quirky poetry where he tries to emphasize the precise and heightened use of language.


Llyn Clague – 6 poems


Out of the chute
the white sheet leaps,
shivering and shaking,
juking and jiving,
descending and standing,
falling in unending
wrap-around thunder.

Inside the thunder –
pounding, surrounding, standing thunder –
I stare at the torrent,
always different
and constant, magnetic
and slowly dazing,
with insistent, periodic
variation and regularity:
this never-ending torrent
of wonder.

In beads of mist
gold hair glistens,
dappling, rippling,
and gleams across
the bossed surface
of the biggest desk of my career
before I was fired
in a re-org eerily
similar to one earlier
that got me it
and her as my P.A.

Amateur actress,
unattached, actually
named Susan (else
would the falls thunder?),
daily from under
the wonder of her hair
she beguiled me
with the particulars
of her steady campaign
to seduce the yoyo
impersonating her hero:
as, in a dark bar,
under his black jacket stroking
his back till he succumbed
and took her –
hell, I don’t remember,
his place or hers,
ending, no doubt,
in wraparound thunder
and slumber.

Four years later,
not yet forty,
Susan succumbed
in a distant sanatorium
to a filthy leukemia,
in a dreamy peace
and a love of God –
so she wrote –
I had never seen
across my empty desk.

I stand within
the half-deafening column
of sound and stare down
the tunnel of memory
with sadness for a woman
lonely and too early gone:
stand in beads of mist
and wrap-around, never-ending



God, but my gut gloms onto the wishy-washies –
banalities, insipidities, clichés –
“great,” “deep,” “eternal,” “fresh,” “original….”

Make a pile (“huge”)
out behind the garage,
ring it with chicken wire,
cover ‘em all with persiflage,
and hope, in a year,
they’ll molder, disintegrate, disappear,
and arise – if (“richly”) aromatic –

Fresh!  Original!…
Did I say that?



Early morning sky like gauze,
woodpecker tak-tak-taking
somewhere behind the line of the woods,
each tak
in the quiet
like a blue speck
in the intricate mesh of the clouds.

With its long, mournful cry
from somewhere north, near the sanctuary,
a loon counters,
celebrating –
living? –
the arc reverberating like a rainbow.

Both stop; silence teems;
the white thickens
ahead of the promised



Limbs of an old oak,
black as a crucifixion,
streak against an eider sky,
frozen lightning, nailed nightmares.

The streetlight clicks and flips.
Crossing the street, walking
through the bomb-proof glass door,
I step into my day
and leave the inside outside.



Labor Day Sunday
powerboats pound
down past the island
and back around

Kids in the wakes
on tubes and skis
squeal to the skies
gleam in the breeze

Waves from the wakes
walking like robots
slurp and slap
at shore ramparts

End of summer sun
and outboard thunder
going going gone



For Alice

With a miniscule battery,
a self-contained gizmo
that makes of milk and coffee –
ta-da!  capuccino!

But, really, why bother
with yet another
frivolous contraption
when, really, you’d rather
simplify at least one fraction
of your lathered life?

Flight of a moth,
poetry of math,
smoke of a myth –
coffee, with froth!


Llyn Clague’s poems have been published widely in journals such as Atlanta Review, California Quarterly, Wisconsin Review, Main Street Rag, The Avalon Literary Review, Ibbetson Street, Hiram Poetry Review, and other print and online magazines.  His seventh book, Hard-Edged and Childlike, was published by Main Street Rag in 2014.  Visit


Mhleli Tenza – A poem


Gods of literature, Diviners of expression, Ancestors of creation
Consent my rod of chance with a leak of your heavenly blood.
Bleed through my rod to my youthful pages
As I go through the experience of stages.
Compress my spirit until all the juices of doubt leak,
Aside from my fears show me courage that I can seek.
Squeeze my wisdom to the point where my pride escapes.

Gods of art, make me the heart of your darts.
Point your arrows to the heart of my pen, so I can
Ejaculate all the sweats of my desires and fantasies
To those who care enough to trace the trails of my thoughts.

Emperors of the muted warriors,
Rulers of the loudest kingdom,
I, your muted soldier, beg you grant me with courage,
As I aspire to be heard in the name of your empire
Through the piercing sounds of my sword.
Words that spill blood of history, present and the future.

Keepers of the ultimate treasure
Treasure that conquers all the dimensions of this world
Within seconds of activation.
Give me inspiration and motivation
To find this treasure, to find my creativity.


Mhleli Tenza


Robert Fabre – 3 poems


I awake in mourning light,
The raw bent sunshine
glows into my skeletal shield
and draws out life of breath.
It pulsates in the air.
It grows into
a tiny whirl,
a flashing pinwheel
of spoken dreams.
It instructs the student prudently: “Beware.”

I walk the path
with lightened steps
(or have I grown blind, or deaf?)
The dark is a cool pool
of seeping fluids,
whispering echoes into tornadoes,
As I turn to face a vacant plain.

The figure’s gone,
Madonna smile
Once more forgotten
to tie the barbwire tie.
The spike is pressed
down willing flesh/
An end to splutterer’s sperm.



I see/
I see all,
I feel/
I feel all.

Cracked egg and spilled guts/
Mucus Milk, mother of man,
Hear my scraping, itching cry,
Spin and turn me, wrap me up,
Cover my head, shield my eyes,
Keep me by your side,
Guide me,
Bury me with your warm sand,
Bring the moon over-
Let it cool,
Let it sweep shadows.

I lay a thousand years.
Sounds fly over me in the night.
The beating of a thousand hearts
accompany me in my heaving.

The break of black,
The parting of seas
move me in their turn.

Someone is over/
Footsteps soft/
Moccasins upon the earth/
The rescuers-graverobbers of the living.
They search for Green.
The wind puffs dry,
A haze spreads clean.
A glaze of glue sticks to the feet.
The swamp vomits its garbage out of the pipes
On to the beach,
Where it hardens molasses.
Charcoal chips rain to the ground
and Mary goes back to sleep.

You drove me,
You drove me too far,
You scarred,
You sucked,
You plucked-
One by one
The hairs/ the beak
Split, Split deep
In In In,
The pump/
Paralyzed, sacrificed;
The ice/ the Christ,
The sliver shiver of fright.

I turned,
I wormed,
I reached/
I beat and beat,
I flung,
I spun,
I clung-
Grabbed and touched
the hot cheek/
Asphalt, Linoleum tile.

It burned,
It spurned,
It melted down into a puddle of parasites
That ate and dissolved/
Calcium beasts.

See the man,
See the man
Out on the line,
Flying into the night
With wings of steel-
Vira has come.
She wasn’t afraid;
She cradled him with her heart
And breathed in the light of day.



The alley slides between the stacks
of window panes and craning necks
with drawn-out string and wrung-out rags/
the dustpan drums left to be had
by foraging troops of wine-breath sages/
the City’s dregs, the tome’s last pages.

And Mrs. Murphy gazes down
upon the crowned heads
and pronounces her benediction:
“This is our last,
our one best hope,
our failing light,
our scattered ghost,
our crushing heart,
our brain’s tumor,
our screaming reign,
our mad last dash,
our fling in space,
our raised topped torch,
our sailor’s grace.”

The filtered rays stretch shadow’s ground,
A quiet pale descends;
The army of the dead marches on (a few stragglers fallen down).
A prayer is said.
The rats come out to play.


Robert Fabre has been writing poetry for over 30 years. The most recent publications of his work have been in the magazines Foliate Oak, Long Story Short, FreeXpresSion, Ceremony: A Journal of Poetry and Other Arts, Eye on Life Magazine, and Bare Fiction, and on the website:


Stuart Clark – 2 poems


Initially, it was all a bit of fun
Having a bit of a yarn
But in the wake of what has recently been said
I’ll try for a seminal piece
Just get it straight in my head
A seminal piece would set me up right
Comfortable possibilities for life
But what if my scribing is considered tripe
Would I dig in and put up a scrap?
A reservoir of ability, full and ripe
Or would I sit back and accept
Mediocrity my constant
But then aren’t many of us alike
Consumed with the fear of failure
Frightened to climb on the bike
Initially, I was dreaming of success
Wallowing in fiscal comfort
But in the wake of what I’ve recently considered
I’ll relax and chill out
My seminal piece left undelivered.



They come in droves
Searching for a brave new world
Searching for a better life
Maybe they’re right
The majority are good, some are bad
That’s the way it goes
I encountered the good
The media informed us of the bad
They told us we had to stop them coming
Freedom of movement intercepted
It doesn’t seem right to me
I’ve travelled to see the green grass
Why can’t they?
We’re on this planet together
People pursuing freedom, comfort and a happy life
We could take Madiba’s lead and forgive
Retribution and reprisals only create more strife
Take care of your neighbour
And they’ll take care of you
Whatever culture
Whatever creed
Don’t listen to the hateful propaganda
Don’t succumb to the greed
Revolution doesn’t have to be bloody
It just has to start with you.


Stuart Clark is part of a poetry group in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire; the group meets fortnightly at their local pub where they read poems written in the previous two weeks.  The poems are based on two randomly selected words taken from the number of books in the pub and the words can be anything, though sometimes the group forget and have an open night.  The group started four years ago though Stuart Clark has been writing poetry much longer for fun.