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Floer pattern teapot with ellow band below li spout facing riht

Alanna Blake: Early Morning On Innisfree

I will arise and go now to my old kitchen sink
And a small kettle fill there with water cold and clear;
Then set it boiling ready to make my day’s first drink,
The cup still guaranteed to cheer.

Two teabags will I find there, a special breakfast brew,
Sweet smelling creamy milk, fresh in a yellow jug;
Then contemplate the pleasure each morning brings anew
As I set out my special mug.

I will arise and go now and gently warm the pot;
I hear the water bubbling with promise on the gas,
And when I pour the tea out, so strong and black and hot
I’ll sip it as the minutes pass.

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Jenna Le: Tinsel Sells

(To be sung to the tune of “Jingle Bells”)

Searching for a show
for your Netflix binge, you say?
Try the rom-com row:
it’s Christmas-themed today!
Witness magic bring
a Middle Ages knight
the chance to have a Yuletide fling
with a modern-day Miss Right.

Oh, tinsel sells, tinsel sells,
tinsel always pays:
Christmas films draw eyes world-wide
so lay on the clichés!
Tinsel sells, tinsel sells,
tinsel always pays:
everyone gets misty-eyed
when there’s mistletoe displays.

A day or two ago
I thought I’d watch this flick
in which a grumpy duke
must move in with a chick
he claims he cannot stand –
they fall in love (of course).
On Christmas Eve, a bagpipe band
wails while they ride a horse.

Oh, tinsel sells, tinsel sells,
tinsel always pays:
Christmas films draw eyes world-wide
so lay on the clichés!
Tinsel sells, tinsel sells,
tinsel always pays:
everyone gets misty-eyed
when there’s mistletoe displays.

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 Brian Garrison: The Pills

(With apologies to Edgar Allan Poe)

Scratch your itches with the pills
Heal. Get well!
Soothe the tingles deep inside your squishy human shell.
How they prickle, prickle, prickle
but the medication eases
creepy-crawly hidden tickle—
skin unreachable and fickle—
like a squeezing hug that pleases,
like an ointment or a cream.
Dip into the icy stream
Let the bubbling murmurations cool your twitchy, itchy ills.
Take the pills, pills, pills, pills
pills, pills, pills.
Bundle up. Keep warm! Keep warm! The side effects are chills.

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Michael Swan: Mr Eliot’s New Year Resolution

What we call resolution
Is, at best, the promise of failure. But here on this cusp
Between two fraught times, the sun low in the sky,
And a light frost fading, I resolve to make no more claims
That one thing resembles another, when it clearly does not.
I will imply no longer that our failure to read Heraclitus
Has us going to hell in a handcart. I will make an end
Of such senseless logorrhoeic ravings as:
‘Haruspicate the garboard strake in the sea’s mouth’.
I abjure, now and forever, the fraudulent use
Of the definite article to counterfeit shared experience,
As in ‘For us, now, the cloud and the rose are one
In the autumn campanile’. I will not,
While my mind holds, again presume to append
Unhelpful polyglot footnotes to manifest gibberish.
I will never again attempt a verse play.

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Julia Griffin: Vital Statinstincts

(After Rodgers and Hart, at a safe distance)

You get Manhattans
When you’re on statins:
Yes, it’s true;
But as for grapefruit, you
Are through.
Repress your fancy;
It’s just too chancy
As you know:
The toxins harm you so,
Alarming seizures flow –
Just say no;
And tell me what treat
Is worth a hot-seat
So when the doctors pry,
“I’m sitting pretty ’cause I deploy
A substitute made from soy:
I’ve turned my statins
Into a vial of joy!”

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Jerome Betts: Swede-Bashing

(Recently retrieved from among some discarded sermons by R.S.T.)

A lick and a promise of spring
Torments you with visions
Docking wurzels, buttering parsnips,
Or at least trying to
With Welsh ears always so close to the ground.
One has to mention Wales
And its inevitable culture
The expected roots.
Getting the head well down is one solution
The shortest road out of bald hills
And life on the dung heap –
Stratified cow-pats.
Only vague ravens up the cwm
Jar on the brain
As you slump, straws in the hair,
And taste, fed up to the back teeth,
The flavour of yesterday's shepherd's pie.

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Susan Jarvis Bryant: Purple Curtains: Musings on Edgar Allen Poe’s Mysterious Death

Edgar’s death is most perplexing, steeped in mystery, dark and vexing –
Some saw wings outstretched and flexing, flexing at his chamber door.
Did a barroom binge of liquor lick his skin, let fever flicker,
Singe his brow as he grew sicker, sicker than he’d been before?
Tell-tale-heart hallucinations may have gripped him as before
Till his breath was nevermore.

Some said Poe was dazed and hazy, tongue all slack and eyes all glazy;
Gaunt and haunted, gone half crazy, calling for his lost Lenore.
Lacking vim and missing vigor, pendulum’s swing from pits of rigor;
Edgar should’ve pulled the trigger – shot the ominous bird of yore.
Some, they cite the blight of rabies; others blame the bird of yore
And its squawk of “Nevermore!”

Edgar’s life of non-compliance hexed the finds of settled science
Quashing trust and blind reliance on all analytic lore.
Grim ends left folk shocked and shivery, shrieking tales with bleak delivery
Stoked to make a raven quivery, quivery to its quothing core.
Whisky-sodden or cur-bitten; mad or pickled to the core –
Poe will sing forevermore!

 Head of raven looking let