Copyright remains with the authors

 

  From 'Poems and Pictures' by Joel Arnstein

  Just Friends

  Our love will never bloom
  And so never run to seed
  And die,
  We are just good friends,
  She and I.
 
  Although we live in different worlds,
  We have crossed bridges
  To greet each other with smiles,
  And, in the music of the afternoons,
  We talk with tea and cake,
  Ease each other's pain so much
  Listening for each other's sake,
  But never sit too close
  In case we touch.

  For fear our love might bloom
  And run to seed and die
  Our friendship remains
  As constant as stone.

 
  Poem
  I found a poem
  In the street
  On Tuesday.
  It was red and yellow
  And slightly sticky
  When I picked it up.
  It said, "Lick me .... Delicious!"
  Like all poems it lied
  But helped to explain the truth.

Joel Arnstein's Web Site: www.west-end-house-gallery.co.uk

 
  From 'From There To Here' by Brian Dann

  Sticks

  I bring you sticks
  I bring you sticks
  I bring you more sticks.

  Long; short;
  bitten by other dogs;
  sticks wrenched off trees, still green;
  fat sticks devoid of bark
  showing the twist of the grain of the wood;
  sawn-ended bits of palings.
  I bring you long twigs;
  hollow stems of dead yarrow;
  long bendy branches
  with which I will persist
  which bar me from passing
  through the small gates in parks.

  I bring you sticks
  I bring you sticks
  I bring you more sticks.

  I bring you sticks
  almost boughs of trees so thick
  I can hardly get my teeth into.
  I would bring you that long stick beyond the railings
  but I cannot reach through the gaps
  and will not risk displeasure
  by leaping over to fetch.
  I bring sticks near
  and wait a way off
  to see what you will do.
  I thrust the sticks at your feet,
  push them at your hands.

  But none please you
  none will you return to me through the long air
  of a decent throw for a dog
  for whom sticks are the essence of art.

  If only I could puzzle out
  the sort of stick which would evoke
  that eternal, godly, throwing response
  which makes life whole.

  I bring you sticks
  I bring you more sticks

 
  From 'Weathered Spiral' by Peter L.Evans
  searching ...

  searching through a drawer
  I had not opened for some time I find
  a drift of cards pushed to the back.
  I had forgotten these
  husks of our relationship -
  love you miss you sad
  not possible to ring so
  happy to have spoken want
  to be with you always
  every minute want you -
  all crap.

  I will not take them to the paper bank
  to be recycled
  so many lies to come back
  hidden within the paper.
  I will burn them
  put the ashes in a plastic bag
  in a plastic bag in a plastic bag
  bury them put a stone on top
  and forget the place.

  but now I have this space

 

 
  From 'Walking Away From The Shadows' by Janice Fixter

  Homecoming

  Hurrying through the lattice gate
  which leads me to the field, I notice
  the stream is the same
  as it's always been, only smaller.

  The water swells and swirls it's way
  past twigs and leaves not fast enough
  to keep up with the spirit dance.
  It bubbles on, sometimes peaceful,
  sometimes babbling clear
  it flows here, there, to places where
  I once had time to follow.

  As a child, I would sit and dream
  and dabble in the stream, but never
  crossed the water to the other side. Oh,
  I knew I could have straddled this divide:
  a breath of courage and count to six,
  a giant leap and safely on the grassy slope
  I would have been. But I never jumped
  not wanting to be stranded there too soon,
  I waited while the years were culled
  and childhood dreams that should have stayed
  were stolen, betrayed by a kiss of knowledge.

  In one easy stride I cross the stream
  how small it seems now. Now that
  my legs are longer and my mind
  has been tamed by reason and logic.

  I sit alone on the grassy slope
  soothed by the sound of lifeless years
  flowing free and watch a thousand seasons

  slip away. The water bubbles on,
  sometimes peaceful, sometimes babbling clear
  it flows here, there, to places where
  once more I long to follow.

  I remove my socks and shoes,
  take a breath of courage, count to six
  ...and jump.

 
  From 'Small Histories' by Alec Linstead

  The Mushroom Gatherers

  They come to the woods
  In autumn
  When the birch and the oak are gold
  And the acorns carmine
  Before the burial of leaves
  On misty days
  When distance is a gradation of greys
  And crows call
  And magpies rattle;
  The woodpecker cautious
  Searches with bobbing head
  And long black beak
  That bores the ground for ants.

  They come to the woods
  In old wrap round aprons
  And dark ample suits
  With cloth covered wicker baskets
  Peering among the leaves
  Searching, they say, for mushrooms
  As they did in Latvia
  Or Estonia. Once.

  And women with Hermes scarves and dogs
  Tricolours and rubies
  And squads of black and tans
  Pass them chattering of Charles
  And Mummy and mortgage.
  They have never made
  A political decision in their lives.

  The mushroom gatherers do not look up.
  They stir the leaves gently
  Moving with caution
  As over a mine field,
  And lifting the cloth
  They lay their treasures
  With infinite care from bruising.
  And the acorns fall dead in the calm.

  These mushroom gathered here
  Are a sweet taste in exile
  To be eaten late at night
  In a single room
  Far from the dacha.

 
  From 'Survivor' by Julian Van Hauson

  The Etching

  With their arms around each other
  I have seen them go
  into the dark forest.
  No birds exited, startled,
  for none were there. There

  was only darkness, silence,
  growth by rings,
  and the flesh like a grafted rose
  warmed by its own
  alchemical sun.

  They searched for each other
  in a garden of faces.
  But what was that acid, clear as water,
  that dissolved them
  with such exquisite kisses?

  Nothing leaves the forest,
  except images, images as thin
  and white as skin
  blown on every wind -
  images of transcendence.

  And they, fixed as outlines,
  darkened by precious ink,
  have achieved metal:
  the passions of the soul
  have made them ghosts.

 

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