Poetry – Issue 1.1

by Bridget Khursheed

He sits by the gate’s latch flat against the red bricks
and watches nothing. The cut-glass eyes have no insight
and my breath, on wings filigreed with black veins
and copper, makes no impression. The bunched muscles
on thorax extend into golden stripes twice bisecting
the wing cage. And his abdomen jointed leads
to two evil spikes: these I am told cannot sting.

Under such close scrutiny, he never stirs or
moves the goggled psychedelic head. And will not face me
but flies as soon as my back is turned: leaving an absent
shadow in the place he’d touched and quietly burnt.

Kestrel Versus Crow
by Char March

I am fence-post turned to glide
I follow black line across
hard white ground

my eyes are flicker

I am soar

white ground is hedge-squared
the line where ground and air roost
is pylon-pinned is tilt-tilt-level-tilt-level-tilt

my eyes snag black-flap

I am hunt

black-flap is caw-caw
he is flurry-swerve

I am pursuit

I am hedge tree sky
I steer in scream-wind

I am tension

Black-flap is below
Black-flap is caw-caw
Black-flap is slow flap

I am dive-strain
I am scream-wind
I am stiff talons

I am thump, snatch, roll, neck-nip

Black-flap is ground
My beak, blood

by Earl Livings

Sudden stroke of shadow—
the bird drops
from branch to branch,
inscribes itself as silence

Head periscope-swivels
almost completely around
scanning for rivals,
predators, its own prey

Ignores the human below
still as sunlight,
gaze of a watch-maker,
breath the barest comment

Swoop and flurry
it snatches a lime-green grub
from deep within
a summer blockbuster of branches

Returns to its perch,
grub twitching in its beak,
swivels again to spoil
any swoop out of shadow

Cocks its head back
to swallow and shiver,
preens its breast feathers,
glides to another page

Woodpecker Tilts
by Jean Atkin

Woodpecker tilts its painted head,
chic among the chaffinches.
Its wings are Rothko blocks
of black on white.
It splashes upwards,
climbs the wet sky.
In three loops
of swagged flight,

Poet Biographies:

Bridget Khursheed is a poet and geek based in the Borders; a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award winner for poetry; widely published in publications including Gutter, The Rialto, The London Magazine and New Writing Scotland; her pamphlet Roads to Yair is available from Twinlaw Publishing; editor of poetandgeek.com. @khursheb

Char March lives in Ted Hughes country – hence the crow!  She has won awards for poetry, playwrighting and short fiction. Her credits include: short story collection Something Vital Fell Through, five poetry collections including The Thousand Natural Shocks, six BBC Radio 4 plays, and seven stage plays.  www.charmarch.co.uk

Earl Livings has published poetry and fiction in Australia and also Britain, Canada, the USA, and Germany. He has a PhD in Creative Writing and taught professional writing and editing for 17 years. His writing focuses on nature, mythology and the sacred and he is currently working on a Dark Ages novel and his next poetry collection. Earl lives in Melbourne with his wife and the seasonal owls, bats and lorikeets that love the trees around his home.

Jean Atkin is an award-winning poet based in Shropshire. Her first collection Not Lost Since Last Time is published by Oversteps Books. She has also published five poetry pamphlets and a children’s novel, The Crow House.  She has held residencies and worked on projects in both Scotland and England.  She is currently Poet in Residence for Wenlock Poetry Festival. www.jeanatkin.com