‘The Counterplayer Gazes In and Lives to Play the Tale’ by Dzifa Benson

What is the meaning of Legba’s red baritone saxophone in the Five Spot Café at midnight? On the cliff face of this wet indigo, he is the man who tied water. A trumpet sounds: the prince is in a hurry to dance in the street. Sometimes it sounds like the boom of the earth stretching and yawning. Sometimes it’s as erudite as a tabla. Most … Continue reading ‘The Counterplayer Gazes In and Lives to Play the Tale’ by Dzifa Benson

‘Stand in the Light’ by Elizabeth Rimmer

Stand in the Light Stand in the light. Allow the wild things to creep out of the shadows. Welcome them all, the wet bedraggled things, the ones all spit and claws, the one who weeps and hangs its head, the one who stares, and says ‘Make me.’ Stand in the light. They are yours, washed and unwashed alike. Stand in the light, and sing. Raise … Continue reading ‘Stand in the Light’ by Elizabeth Rimmer

‘To the Ghost of Sylvia Plath’ by Nikki Magennis

    Don’t get up so early, my love.  I am not your mother but I will take you by the hand and undo you. Unwet the towel.  Unroll it and leave it hanging by the sink.  Let them all sleep, with their sickle moon eyelids, with their small collections of newly formed thoughts.  Drop your cut-ruby jewellery. Let yourself waken into the pristine cold … Continue reading ‘To the Ghost of Sylvia Plath’ by Nikki Magennis

‘Before Epiphany, 1946’ by Nikki Magennis

  Before Epiphany, 1946 When the war was a ragged tail and we were lost far to the north in the open prison of midwinter the laird showed his kindness and invited us to dinner at the castle. We dressed like actors in borrowed shirts and coal-black coats that did not keep out the cold – but oh we looked wonderful walking through a long … Continue reading ‘Before Epiphany, 1946’ by Nikki Magennis

‘Plotkin’s cat’ by Colin Will

Plotkin’s cat The neighbour’s cat gave birth under our bed. As good a place as any, we thought, in the old empty suitcase father brought home after the war. Four black-and-white smudged kittens wriggled blindly in a smell of birth. We wanted to pet them, my brother and I, and I remember a hand, his or mine – it doesn’t matter – pulled back sharply … Continue reading ‘Plotkin’s cat’ by Colin Will

‘nothing’ by Andrew McMillan

  nothing which is really the sound of everything     slowly if you write poetry and are even passably handsome my heart will pretend it loves you for a while   all I know is      the first empty bed for weeks      the first tea of morning   the man who was scared of paper was papyrophobic as though making something unpronounceable diminishes it’s horror   the … Continue reading ‘nothing’ by Andrew McMillan