Archive for December, 2014

Three poems by Jane Clarke

December 30, 2014

The Magic of the Woods by James Laurie

December 28, 2014

I am not a silent poet

Image 1

Appearances can be deceptive
A truism I know
A perfect form in a perfect place
The camera never lies
Image 2

Yet we are all flawed
Putting our best face forward
Hiding what lies in our shadow
Being strong even though we are half destroyed

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Myfanwy Fox – Ode to Waste Land

December 28, 2014

The landscapes of so much of my childhood.

The Stare's Nest

Ode to Waste Land
Here’s to those abandoned plots
tucked between des-res estates,
light industry, our unbuilt blocks
of social housing NIMBYs hate.
Buddleia, butterflies, blackcaps’ nests;
builders’ rubble, piles of grit;
tramps’ respite, brave children’s quests,
teenage lovers’ midnight trysts.

Here’s to ancient, awkward fields
stone rush corners, claggy cliffs,
impervious to economic yields;
that cause their farmers endless grief.
Bramble tangles, badger setts,
alder, ash and silver birch;
woodpeckers drumming, owls duet,
spit fur-bone pellets beneath their perch.

Here’s to gardens gone to briar,
rotting log piles, veg plots swelled
with rosebay, thistles, old car tyres
where mosquito larvae snorkel.
At dusk moths flirt with star-sparked glass
newts and toads seek oozy mates
house eaves heave with stirring bats;
death watch beetles tick and wait.

Myfanwy Fox blogs at:

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Wendy Pratt – Heading Home from Market Weighton

December 27, 2014

One that every parent will heart-absorb.

The Stare's Nest

Heading Home from Market Weighton

Early doors: the sun a hard rind
over the tops, fog sleeping in dips
across the road. I’ve left him,
forlorn, in a new job he hates;
suddenly my son, instead
of my husband. I’m too near home
to turn back, the lies I told
to get him through the day,
already mildewed. The morning
knows no life; the umber tail of a fox
beneath a hedge is absolute colour.
White lines peel under the wheels,
catching on the hours still to come
and somewhere, back there, his day
is being metered out in misery.
When I return, our home feels hot
and bruised beneath my palm.

Wendy Pratt was born in Scarborough, North Yorkshire. She has had poems published in several journals and magazines. Her first pamphlet Nan Hardwicke Turns into a Hare was published by Prolebooks in 2011, her first full collection,

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Jane Commane – Border Dispute

December 27, 2014

The Stare's Nest

Border Dispute

I don’t break a mirror, pick the clear thorns
from the sink, this time I don’t take the car keys,

and the neighbours won’t hear us, because this
time I tear up and re-join the maps instead,

and am redrafting the territories again, tonight.
You ask if we should make these boroughs ours,

streets that detail the marbled thighs of hillsides,
that are spilling out as the map lets them go

like stuffing from a bad pillow, bought too cheaply.
The A-roads too are being lost beneath an argument

of latitudinal lines, and again the parish of black and
red, the lines of the danger zone, the firing range:

this is my fear. Gather them up, sweetheart.
Put the Great Central back and redraw our borders.

This new map says what happened, tells why.
and the land west of here doesn’t apologise.

Jane Commane was born in Coventry…

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Alison Brackenbury – The invitation

December 27, 2014

The Stare's Nest

The invitation 

What are the things I have not done?
Driving America
seems clear and distant as the moon
when I stop my small car.
Through March’s dark, a message comes.
‘Do stay with us, and walk the Downs.’

So I reply, with caution, find
her father’s gravely ill.
Yet this joins all that falls behind,
not what is coming still,
how, hummed by bus through Sussex towns,
I climbed with Sasha up the Downs.

Alison Brackenbury’s latest collection is Then, Carcanet 2013.  Her next collection is due from Carcanet very early in 2016.  New poems can be read at her website:

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Petra Vergunst – Cutting her dress

December 27, 2014

Cut with such care.

The Stare's Nest

Cutting her dress

The robe flows around her body
like ribbons strung from a Maypole
trembling in a breeze.

Upbeat and encouraging, the assistant
had congratulated her on the fit of her dress
the shade that had brightened her complexion

Stitch by stitch she had
taken in the cut
cropped the waist,
sewn the seams in her mind

Last night she
traced the model
on yellowed newspaper
cut it from the kingsize sheet
no longer needed

In the dress shop window
she sees her reflection.
How she wishes he would admire
the roses of her robe
imprinted on the forget-me-not ribbons –
the bouquet she arranged
to celebrate his life.

Petra Vergunst is a freelance community artist, composer and poet. Cutting her Dress was written as part of her project Have: Not Have in which she explores ideas of possession and dispossession and what these mean to us in our…

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Emma Lee – She’s given up fixing the broken window pane

December 27, 2014

We almost got around after Christmas Dinner how lucky we are to live in undrunken, unviolent families, and that the worst matter this year is Damian’s present from me still not arriving from the catalogue folks – it will become a New Year gift.
I like this poignant and too accurate for some poem by Emma Lee.

The Stare's Nest

She’s given up fixing the broken window pane

Instead she gets her three children to paint

the board covering it,

their chatter mingles with chart music

as she smokes in the yard, door open

so she can still watch them,

before the evening ritual of bath and bed

in clean linen and a story from

the youngest’s father, willing to adopt

the two that weren’t his.

Then she’ll close the curtains over the broken pane

and drift into the back room and TV,

which still won’t drown out

the eldest father’s drunken melody

as he arrives, demanding to see his son.

She tosses a coin: does she open the door

to a torrent of swearing and try and calm him

or does she phone the police, again?

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Sheree Mack

December 7, 2014

The Open Mouse

Young Girl
After Paul Klee

Tonight, she finds the sea low, edging the pier.
Nothing’s moving but the night of her dress.

A sickle moon drifts over the water-coloured scene,
burying her in overlapping autumn leaves.

Creamy half-moons stencil her face. Tissue-paper thin skin.
Mouth open, lips downwards, as though

whispering a secret to the sharp billed egret. You told
me it would be like flying.

Eyes everywhere, she floats towards the dark,
her fire splitting softly in two, like an ember.

Copyright © Sheree Mack 2014

Sheree Mack, a North-East writer working on her third collection of poetry, is looking forward to the publication of her second collection ‘Laventille’ with Smokestack Books in March 2015.
Website link :

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