To read the latest issue, click 'Issues by year' in the menu above

Rooks flying with nests to the right

Barbara Pensom: Rooks Over Wilcote

Tousled in tall trees, glossy and black, we
Gather and gossip and glide to the ground.
Men’s mouths malign us, cruelly slander us;
Once they consumed us, baked in a pie.

Now we fly scatheless, sociably circling;
Our cousins come singly but we flock together,
Raucously talkative, ruthlessly communal,
Borne on the wind.

◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊

L. A. Mereoie: A Farmer’s Lament

The dove, returning to the peak
And grounded Ark one fateful morning,
Plainly had greenstuff in its beak –
But Noah failed to heed the warning.

Descendants now across the road
Gorge on my kale and grow obese,
While cartridges laid by to load
Confirm them as no doves of peace.

◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊

Nina Parmenter: The Poet’s Last Rejection

Your longing was overly short, I thought,
and your suffering didn’t feel great.
Your last living breaths lacked some depth for me –
not to mention the fact you were late.
The digging scene didn’t break ground at all,
and the eulogy said nothing new,
so I’m giving your passing a pass this time -
if you’d like to send more though, please do.

◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊

Tom Vaughan: Poetry Coach

If you want money
in the kitty
make your verses
dry and witty –

and keep them short,
that way, they’re bound
(like you) to end up

◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊

Alan Millichip: Beware

Curse of the modern age
The social media post,
Beware the lies and rage
Curse of the modern age.
Don’t trust words on the page,
Abuse, threat, fake news, boast.
Curse of the modern age
The social media post.

◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊

Jane Blanchard: Voilà!

Christie Brinkley on Instagram

When age has given beauty woe,
A supermodel wants to show
That nagging pain from some old wreck
Need not keep further fun in check:

A Band-Aid on her brand-new hip,
She takes an out-of-lockdown dip,
Explores a splendid coral reef,
Then wishes all of us relief.

◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊

Stephen Gold: Lines in Tribute to
Derbyshire Constabulary, and their
Sensitive Policing of Covid Regulations.

I wandered, taking in, alone,,
Majestic views of vale and hill,
When all at once, I saw a drone
Controlled by Derbyshire’s Old Bill.

I spied no folk. I had no cough.
I did no harm that I could see.
But still it blared, “Hey you! Sod off!
So much for England being free.

◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊

Patricia Bradley: Homebound

Oh, said the dog, close to a wail
I cannot take another walk, whatever the trail
My bladder is empty, my leg does not lift
To stay in my bed, now that is a gift

Yes, you are homebound and want to get out
But all these walks are exhausting my snout
I know every bush that others have drenched
Frankly, I’m so tired, I just want to be benched.

◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊ 

Jerome Betts: Corvid Cuisine

While sprigs of the rookery
Were once vernally potted
And then, carved for cookery,
To the pie-dish allotted,
Crows, hooded or sable,
If the dictionary’s credible
Escaped oven and table
As just verbally edible.

Crow in grass looking right