Day 16: seven

Seven silver birches guard the ancient forest gate
Where seven feathered ambassadors obscure the entrance to this strait

Know your lore
Read the bark
Never barefoot wander
Never whistle in the dark

Look askance at the glade
Await the call
In summer’s amber
And winter’s blaze
Autumn’s angles
And spring’s tirade

Up with the sap
Out with the hour
Seven silver birches guard
The key to this season’s bower

This poem is from Chris Jelley, who is part of the phenomenon that is No 7, Dulverton – bookshop, cultural hub and purveyors of beautiful things.

Chris is posting a poem every day during advent – you can find him at @TalesArtPlay and @SevenFables (Twitter / Insta) 

Day 11: Lanterns

In the dim classroom,

sliding towards solstice,

translucent paper is

cut into coloured squares—

arranged slapdash by one half

while the other struggles for order.

The smell of white glue on the tressel table,

caked on children’s fingers,

hardened under uncut nails

for mums to scrub and curse tonight.

A piece of red crepe, drenched and discarded

streams across the white plain.

The teacher and her assistant

orbit in opposition 

around the table and aprons—

cut shapes, recap felt-tip pens,

speak to disorder

as though words could smooth

the rough edges of our Christmas lanterns.

At last, lights raised,

we squint through the 

kaleidoscopic glass,

and see our Christmas futures 

slowly draw near.

Stuart Rawlinson is a British poet and musician, currently based in Brisbane, Australia. His poetry has been published in several publications including Black Bough Poetry, Nightingale and Sparrow, Wellington Street Review and Adelaide Literary Magazine.

Day 6: Polyester

Slippered feet on the stone hearth,
feeling the glow. Across our street,
the sky rested on rooftops, heavy,
full of a solstice harvest, hanging.
I was drowning in heat, like a Christmas
pudding drenched in brandy. Then I heard
a sizzle, a crunch, felt fire
licking my hair, hugging my back.
Before I was engulfed by fear
and flames, she threw me on the floor,
rolled me in the mat,
brandy-snapped and smoke-smothered.
Christmas morning, the clouds were bright and empty.
Among the presents was a dressing gown
as white as snow, folded neatly, ribbon-bowed, and labelled
one hundred percent brushed cotton.

Gaynor Kane lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She came to writing late in life, after finishing her
Open University BA(Hons) degree with a creative writing module in 2015. Mainly a writer of poetry,
she has had work published in journals and anthologies in the UK, Ireland and America. In 2018,
Hedgehog Poetry Press launched their Stickleback series with her micro-collection ‘Circling the Sun’,
which is about some of the early women pilots. Gaynor released her chapbook ‘Memory Forest’, also
from Hedgehog Press, in December 2019. It is a thematically tight collection about burial rituals and
last wishes. She has just released her debut full collection, Venus in Pink Marble, also published by the Hedgehog Poetry Press. She received an
Arts Council NI grant in 2019, which allowed her writing time, mentoring and editing services.
Gaynor is a member of Holywood Writers Group, The Irish Writers Centre and Women Aloud NI.

You can contact Gaynor on Twitter @gaynorkane and read more about her full collection on her website http://www.gaynorkane.com/venus-in-pink-marble

Day 1: Advent

Advent is here. Its cello-wind notes
close the concert of the year. There are
flurries of snow at night, the tracks of a fox,
imprints of birds that vanished before dawn.
In this new world, the north-wind numbs
to the bone; a crimson-breasted robin plays alone.
 
This holly wreath is sharp, its leaves
lustrous. In the street, trussed-up walkers
stoop to and from the town’s limits
like hunched Lowry figures. Sun sets
polar blue in mid-afternoon.

It’s wonderful to have Matthew M. C. Smith kicking off this Advent Calendar of poetry.

Matthew M. C. Smith is a writer for Swansea. He loves winter Christmas and wants to write more festive poetry. Matthew has just edited Black Bough poetry’s Christmas and Winter edition, available on Amazon.

If you are looking for a book of poems that sums up this time of year, you should slip this into your stocking. It’s beautiful.

Day Seven: Welcome to a special ekphrastic challenge for November. Artworks from Terry Chipp, Marcel Herms, MJ Saucer, P A Morbid, the inspiration for writers, Gaynor Kane, Peach Delphine, Sally O’Dowd, sonja benskin mesher, Anindita Sengupta, Liam Michael Stainsby, Helen Allison, Sarah Connor, Sarah Reeson, Holly York, Jane Dougherty, Gayle J Greenlea, Susan Darlington, Lydia Wist, Dai Fry, and myself. November 7th.

-Dr Butler by Terry Chipp -Celebrity by Marcel Herms Celebrity Dr. Butler 1979: sleazy outcastshidden by red shiftmicrophone poisedsuited and bootedmaking historyfading, obscurity -Sarah Reeson ..day 7..:: day of the dead :: so it was yet no one did anything here drew on experiencekept quietfor no onehears they are deadas deaf as a dodo *** […]

Day Seven: Welcome to a special ekphrastic challenge for November. Artworks from Terry Chipp, Marcel Herms, MJ Saucer, P A Morbid, the inspiration for writers, Gaynor Kane, Peach Delphine, Sally O’Dowd, sonja benskin mesher, Anindita Sengupta, Liam Michael Stainsby, Helen Allison, Sarah Connor, Sarah Reeson, Holly York, Jane Dougherty, Gayle J Greenlea, Susan Darlington, Lydia Wist, Dai Fry, and myself. November 7th.

#WorldBeesWeekend poetry and artwork challenge. Have you written published/unpublished poems about bees? Have you made an artwork about bees? Please submit by DM to my Twitter account or message me on my WordPress account. All submissions will be posted.

– `ees by Neal Zetter Bee Safe Cut eyeholes in an old bucket.Stuck an old welder’s visoron the eyeholes. Stuffed and tapedan ancient towel under the rim.Got my mate to tape welder’s glovesto my thick jacket and my wellingtonsto jogging bottoms. Put bucket on my head.Mate stuck it to my jacket. I struggledthrough the […]

#WorldBeesWeekend poetry and artwork challenge. Have you written published/unpublished poems about bees? Have you made an artwork about bees? Please submit by DM to my Twitter account or message me on my WordPress account. All submissions will be posted.

Day One: Welcome to a special ekphrastic challenge for November. Artworks from MJ Saucer, P A Morbid, Terry Chipp, Marcel Herms, and iamjustavisualperson will also be joining in as a writer too and the inspiration for writers, Gaynor Kane, Hokis, Sally O’Dowd, Peach Delphine, sonja benskin mesher, Liam Michael Stainsby, Helen Allison, Sarah Connor, S Reeson, Holly York, Jane Dougherty, Gayle J Greenlea, Susan Darlington, Lydia Wist, Dai Fry, and myself. November 1st.

November 1st A Quiet Read by Terry Chipp After Minnie Left by Marcel Herms After you left 4am and I’m still reading old love letters, wondering if there was ever was any truth in them. yes, I’m a mess. 4am, and I can’t face another fag, and look, I’ve drunk myself back into life. I […]

Day One: Welcome to a special ekphrastic challenge for November. Artworks from MJ Saucer, P A Morbid, Terry Chipp, Marcel Herms, and iamjustavisualperson will also be joining in as a writer too and the inspiration for writers, Gaynor Kane, Hokis, Sally O’Dowd, Peach Delphine, sonja benskin mesher, Liam Michael Stainsby, Helen Allison, Sarah Connor, S Reeson, Holly York, Jane Dougherty, Gayle J Greenlea, Susan Darlington, Lydia Wist, Dai Fry, and myself. November 1st.

Halloween Haibun!

My childhood Halloweens smelled of burnt turnip – much harder to carve a lantern from than pumpkins, but much spookier, too. They tasted of wet apples and toffee. My husband’s Halloweens were colcannon and barmbrack, and handfuls of nuts and raisins. My children had a bit of all that, over-laid with pumpkins and cheap sweets and tacky costumes.

My son was never bothered about Halloween. He doesn’t like dressing up and doesn’t like sweets. He was cajoled and coaxed along by his big sister (who knew he’d hand his booty over to her). The last costume she persuaded him into consisted of his usual clothes and a single black line drawn around his neck. “I’m the ghost of someone who had their head cut off”, he announced at every door we called at.

amber light
a hand reaches out
darkness falls

Frank is hosting at dVerse tonight, and we’re writing Halloween haibuns.

Grown up – quadrille for dVerse

My muck magnet
mud splattered
puddle stomping
jam smeared
crumb dropping
sticky fingered
paint splashing
pen scrawling
finger printing
juice spilling
boy
became
smart shirted
svelte suited
shiny shoed
smooth socked
slick haired
sparkly smiling
sweet scented
freshly shampooed
softly spoken
smooth talking
man

A quadrille is a 44 word poem. We write them at dVerse. De is hosting tonight, and our magic word is “magnet”.