image of Helen Barff's artwork of a dress she wore to her father's funeral, drawn in graphite dust

‘The Dress’ by Peter O’Grady

  The Dress after The Dress I Wore to my Dad’s Funeral (drawn with fingers in graphite dust) 2017, a drawing by Helen Barff The dress she wore to her father’s funeral hangs on a hook in the shadows, a cowled priest shuffling in cloisters, solitary, bent head contemplating feet, mumbling, mumbling. The dress she wore to her father’s funeral hangs empty in the shadows, … Continue reading ‘The Dress’ by Peter O’Grady

‘Testimony’ by Fiona Larkin

  Testimony after Alberto Giacometti stark figurine you are here to unpick with your needle-bright point our distinguishing features the whorl of a curl the curve of a lip mother or teacher or classmate flatten to form bare outline as collars wear thin as beads fall unstrung flesh drops away the wolf called attrition called hatred called hunger consumes to the bone a stipple of … Continue reading ‘Testimony’ by Fiona Larkin

‘Tiger in the National Gallery’ by Susan Utting

Tiger in the National Gallery after Henri Rousseau’s “Surprised!” Why surprised? – I’m everywhere: I’m tapestry and marquetry, and Paris hothouse fantasy. I am pelt and roar beneath a rich man’s silk-shod feet, I shoulder-shrug a wealthy woman’s back, clotheshorses catwalk me; glass cases keep me cool and pristine, poems fete me, legends spin me, taxidermy gives me life eternal. And here I am among … Continue reading ‘Tiger in the National Gallery’ by Susan Utting

‘Mrs Elizabeth Freake and Baby Mary’ by Olivia McCannon

Mrs Elizabeth Freake and Baby Mary (Anonymous artist, New England, late 17th century) The baby is looking to one side – Uncovering an early smile – at The next canvas being painted The mother attentive, but Watching the way you watch her Challenging whatever it is You think she is doing – yes,                         … Continue reading ‘Mrs Elizabeth Freake and Baby Mary’ by Olivia McCannon

A poem by David Andrew

  Matisse: the Parakeet and the Mermaid In a world in which armies were still encountered, though now their role was ‘entirely defensive,’ an old man survives the age of alliances. Younger, he looked out from hotel rooms on the Mediterranean; rooms, one supposes, full of windows and flowers, fabric, birds. There he laid down the law of tables and chairs: recruiter of womens’ dresses, … Continue reading A poem by David Andrew

‘Degas Wants to Paint Me Ironing’ by Anna-May Laugher

Degas Wants to Paint Me Ironing He says it’s wonderful to watch me, I’ll just bet it is when I’m the one who’s working. He’s going to pay me, pay me to pretend and now that I’m pretending I have time to wonder how my ironing has changed. First with little flutters of the heart, rounding the collars, love details for the man, the loved … Continue reading ‘Degas Wants to Paint Me Ironing’ by Anna-May Laugher