Archive for August, 2014

35 – Rites of Passage

August 29, 2014

Then this

August 28, 2014

Anthony Wilson

I am taking a break from writing brand new blog posts over the summer.

Instead of posting new work I am giving readers the chance to read material from the archives of my blog.

In no particular order, here are twenty of my favourite posts from the last four years.

Then this.

We are sitting with hospital mugs of tea, in the Quiet Room. We are all leaning forward, listening to the doctor. Outside, the binging of the drips.

She smiles, is patient with us, answering our questions calmly, one by one.

A beige folder is on her knee. The doctor pulls out a piece of paper, readjusts her glasses, and reads from it, summarising the words she knows we will not understand.

B-cell, she says. Definitely. The histology confirms it. Not T. Which we had thought was better. Until


Then a knock. Fingers on the door, a ringed…

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34 – So Near and Yet…

August 21, 2014

Poem for someone who is juggling her life

August 18, 2014

Anthony Wilson

I am taking a break from writing brand new blog posts over the summer.

Instead of posting new work I am giving readers the chance to read material from the archives of my blog.

In no particular order, here are twenty of my favourite posts from the last four years.

Rose Cook’s marvellous ‘Poem for someone who is juggling her life’ came into my life a year or two ago through the marvellous aegis of Helena Nelson at HappenStance Press. As a subscriber to the press I receive one of their poem-cards each quarter. This is how ‘Poem for someone who is juggling her life’ came to be on my doormat.

To say I loved it immediately would be an understatement. It spoke into into that place which exists, Frost says, ‘before words were, living in the cave of the mouth’. It sent me back to myself and to silence…

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Sarah McEvoy – The Shaming of Food

August 11, 2014

The Stare's Nest

The Shaming of Food

(after Henry Reed)

Today we have shaming of food. Yesterday,
We had crash diets. And tomorrow morning,
We shall have how to detox by juicing. But today,
Today we have shaming of food. (This dessert
Satisfies body and soul with its spicy sweetness,
And today we have shaming of food.)

These are saturated fats. And these
Are sugars and starches, which you should not eat.
This is salt, which is bad for high blood pressure,
(Which in my case I have not got. I tell them
How much individual dietary requirements vary,
Which in their case they have not got.)

This is gluten, which will certainly kill you
Even if you are not coeliac. And please do not let us
See anyone eating fast food. You can all cook quite easy
If you have any brains in your head. (The timid
Order takeaway by phone, never…

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Carol Argyris – National Pride

August 10, 2014

The Stare's Nest

National Pride

Unified by a common legacy of particulates,
on a planet riven by violence,
maimed by religion, greed and pride,
small tribes insist upon their singularity,
upon their right to stand behind a wall
and sing of their imaginary uniqueness.

Carol Argyris was born in England, lived in Belgium, and now feels Scotland to be her first real home. She has lived in the area of the Moray Firthfor the last 30 years. Recently she began writing poetry and in 2013 was fortunate enough to have poems published in several small-press magazines.

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Jane Clarke – Two Poems

August 8, 2014


The Stare's Nest


I have grown accustomed to questions:
where do you come from, how long
are you here, why did you leave?

My answers say little but seem to satisfy;
how to describe sunrise across the savannah,
my father and brothers following a herd

of camels and goats or seated at noon
beneath thorn trees for shade? Who would believe
why my mother took me away,

that some morning after prayers, the women
would come for me, hold me firm for Maryan
who wields the stone-sharpened blade?

How to imagine the darkness of days in the hut,
the mat of long grasses, the ointment of myrrh
offered with love to stem the blood?

First published in Today’s Children, Tomorrow’s World, Trocaire & Poetry Ireland, 2013

Before the war

these hills were peopled with trees,
everywhere, grey olive groves
stood old and gnarled as history,

sending silver-leafed branches
wandering wide and…

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10 Great (and Cute) Facts about Writers and Cats

August 8, 2014

10 Great (and Cute) Facts about Writers and Cats.

A poem by Imogen Forster

August 6, 2014

How did they bury them all?

August 5, 2014

Have already recommended that if you invest in one substantial book of poetry at this outbreak of WWI centenary, it really must be this one.

Words in company

Wild Poppies - photo by Liz Mathews

Wild poppies – photo by Liz Mathews

The centenary of the Great War’s outbreak is being marked in many ways; two projects have particularly moved me.

The first is Neil Astley’s new Bloodaxe anthology of war poems: The Hundred Years’ War, which includes this poem by Valentine Ackland, which I suggested for the collection.

How did they bury them all, who died in the war?

From near and far the tidy packed masses were neatly

Disposed, laid straight, boxed and buried; in a soil

Crowded already and crammed with the old wars’

Great litter of lives spilt. And they buried them all

As the gardener after the autumn fall

Digs in the apples to rot. So the summer’s spoil

Wastes down to mud and the sweetness goes rotten.

They buried them all, and the trees have already forgotten.

(Valentine Ackland, published in Journey from Winter: Selected Poems of Valentine Ackland…

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