Poetry – Issue 2.1

The Ornithologist

by Anita John

So small is your skull, short-eared owl,
so black your beak (that blessed the lives
of mouse and vole); so hollow your eyes
which once funnelled the last of day’s light.
Without your soft-blended feathers you have
none of your former glory; the satellite dish
of your face reduced to calcium and phosphate.
You are stripped to a morsel of your former self;
your territorial cry no longer quartering
the white moor, nor your moth-like flight.
In my hands, you are all and nothing.
Nothing but bone; life compounded.


by Barbara Hickson

Soil-smell home, roots to get round,
out to grass and air sniff.  Safe.
Slug juice sticky, cross grass to hedge.
Squeeze through gap, sharp thorns in fur.
Stick dangling.
Into trees and dead-leaf rustle.
Stench of fox.  Moon bright.
Grunt and forage.
Easy-food run across short grass,
appletang juicy and milk steal.
More grass then claw-tap solid.
White line.  Two moons.  Too bright.
Run!  Screech of thing.

The Clearing

by Chris Powici

hoofprints in the hard, bright snow

you think of a slim-legged hind
stepping delicately out of the trees
into the lit silence
between the wood and the river

the way she stands at the edge
of the clearing – lean, wary
skin the colour of oak bark –
and lifts her head to the low sun

barely seems to breathe

then a slither of hooves
the hind, the river, leaping

Poet Biographies:

Anita John is a poet and short story writer, and teaches creative writing for Edinburgh University’s Lifelong Learning Department. Her work has been widely published in literary magazines including GutterNorthwords Now and MsLexia. Child’s Eye, her debut collection of prize-winning stories and poems, was published in 2013 by Biscuit Publishing. You can find her at: www.anitajohn.co.uk

Barbara Hickson lives and works on the south-eastern edge of Lancaster, overlooking the Bowland Fells which inspire much of her poetry.  She has had several poems published by Indigo Dreams and ‘Stravaig’ the on-line journal of the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics and was long-listed in the 2013 Cinnamon Press pamphlet competition.

Chris Powici’s poetry has appeared in various magazines and anthologies including New Writing Scotland and BBC Wildlife. Chris teaches creative writing for The Open University and Stirling University and edits the literary magazine Northwords Now. A new collection of his poems, This Weight of Light, will be published in 2015.