Saturday 29 April 2023

Five Gendai Tanka by Paul Callus & Christina Chin


Five Gendai Tanka by Paul Callus  & Christina Chin


the riddle 

on the wall

Mrs Hudson 



summer sun

mottled shadows

under the vine trellis

chickadees indulge

in seeds and suet


cold night             

a wolf howls at

the full moon

atop a pole

a red-tailed hawk


rainbow colours

a koi pond -

an escaped terrapin

ready to snap



the benefits

of well-being    

a chota peg of fizzy 

ginger kombucha

Paul Callus was born in Ħal Safi, Malta. He is married to Sheila née Ackland-Snow and they have two children. He is a retired teacher, and has been active in the literary field for around 50 years. He has published three books, and has had several short stories and poems published in various magazines, anthologies and online sites. His preferred writing mediums are Maltese and English. He is also a proof reader and translator. 

Christina Chin is a painter and haiku poet. 

She is four-time recipient of top 100 in the mDAC Summit Contests. They were exhibited at the Palo Alto Art Center, Califonia. 

She is the sole haiku contributor for the MusArt book of Randall Vemer's paintings published by ArtReach Publication, Portland, Oregon. 

1st prize winner of the 34th Annual Cherry Blossom Sakura Festival 2020 Haiku Contest.  

1st prize winner in the 8th Setouchi Matsuyama 2019 Photohaiku Contest and won two City Soka Saitama's 2020 haiku prizes. She is published in numerous journals, multilingual journals and anthologies including Japan's haiku monthly magazine, Haikukai (俳句界).



Thursday 27 April 2023

Three Poems and Five Tanka Poems by Wendy Webb


Selkie of these Sovereign Shores

I left my selkie skin in Fingal’s cave,

the pipes of organ music whipped a storm.

My infant feet trod harshly over rock

and winter howled to loose this foreign shore.

Most selkies sail to landwards for seven years,

to find a mate and hunker down ashore.

Forgetting where my native sands might lead,

I breathed in depths of Mendelssohn’s fine wail.

Would anyone remember me, becalmed

beyond sweet Staffa (blessed Iona’s stones

raised up heavenwards with monks and angels).

I left so fast, flotilla from their deep.

I learnt, by aching feet, to joy in mountains,

to leave betraying whispers from the islands.

I would not go back home while light bewitched me

to float the drowning skies of heaven’s best.

If angel-dust’s a palm in God’s own shadow,

my voice shall echo-wail round rocky coasts.

Playing salmon-streams of melting Springtime,

this heart’s voice rose the further south I swam.

The broad of wherries enchant by reflection,

white sails of hulls (all feathers or carved timber)

flotilla me to dreamscapes of lost lochs.

Don’t banish houghmagandie; it’s my home.

My placed sitooterie’s for dragonflies,

until time shades to Northern dancing lights.

Then flesh shall winter beyond the Forth of Firth

and whisper last goodbyes to my fair mate.

Remember me, when shadows shorten; light

returns, so slowly, melting past Arthur’s Seat.

Sometimes the North Sea’s storms intone via whalesong,

then vapour passes across a solstice moon.

I’ve many names, and tails, for I’m a selkie,

no merman’s safe offshore while I flip free.

Preserve my fine domain, all elements mine.

Take care. This land’s a precious turtle afloat.

Five Tanka

Optimistic Spring,

saunters into the garden

jolly with blooming.

Leaves crackling brown, soon to fall,

may replenish soil

Grey clouds rage and faint

beyond the far horizon.

Dump silver linings

out beyond the crystal sea.

Hope rising to butterflies

Endless grey day Spring

storms into Summer’s heatwave

or shivering green.

There’s hope enough to sit down,

search pain-drained colour; and skies

Vibrancy, slow fall

and heat enough to sip tea

outdoors while birds call.

Prepare for lengthening shades

of unplanned Winter’s absence

Hope for loud robins

unaware as blackbird-dark,

to kill us with joy

amid mud/fog/drizzle/blow:

until we hygge indoors

Symmetry at Eaton Park (Villanelle)

2015/07PUBLD Star Tips (108)

Horse chestnuts overarch the path with form

of classic architectured mastery.

Summer blooms in beds where weeds conform,

unlike this megalomaniac storm

brooding over boat pond’s simplicity.

Horse chestnuts overarch the path with form

and how perambulations of flowers perform.

Forgive super-exuberant nature’s complicity!

Summer blooms in beds where weeds conform.

Cathedral-proud brash flowers rise to swarm

their children’s children; laughter; honesty.

Horse chestnuts overarch the path with form,

reflecting past and future’s seed or corm,

airborne by clocks of timed consistency.

Summer blooms in beds where weeds conform

to Victorian grandeur, life’s margins, seasonal warmth.

There’s joy and peaceful synchronicity:

horse chestnuts overarch the path with form,

summer blooms in beds where weeds conform.

At the End of the Rainbow

[In the style of Dylan Thomas]

2013/11/PUBLD, Grief that's always dying/WWB

In the long ago forever,

when I was young and free

and my autumn-golden hair strands

danced like waves on gleaming sea.

Then my voice was loudly singing

through the rattling of dull chains,

as love’s itch kissed brash and freshly,

embracing hope’s remains.

Oh, what long ago for-never

captured spring’s Persephone:

in her sweet-step doom of flowers

faded bright in memory.

Will she brush against next season’s

sentient melodies’ embrace?

Where this winter chills her lively

to a joy-found faith-deep place.

Lover, cherish inner silence

of the damned breath’s coldest skin,

till those melting fleshly earthworks

blade and bud their wandering.

One day to shoot sky-daisies

in an ashen storm-blanched plain’s

darkened fulsome depths of richest

brightened dust-steps of remains.

But for now let us remember

Pluto’s rage of loved ones; gone

to that long ago arced rainbow

treasure chest where dreams belong.

Wendy Webb: Born in the Midlands, home and family life in Norfolk. She edited Star Tips poetry magazine 2001-2021. Published in Indigo Dreams, Quantum Leap, Crystal, Envoi, Seventh Quarry, The Journal, The Frogmore Papers) and online (Littoral Magazine, Autumn Voices, Wildfire Words, Lothlorien, Meek Colin, Atlantean), she was placed First in Writing Magazine’s pantoum poetry competition. She devised new poetry forms (Davidian, Magi, Palindromedary); wrote her father’s biography, ‘Bevin Boy’, and her own autobiography, ‘Whose Name Was Wit in Waterr’ (title inspired by Keats’ grave in Rome). She has attempted many traditional forms and free verse. Favourite poets: Dylan Thomas, Gerard Manley Hopkins, John Burnside, John Betjeman, the Romantic Poets (especially Wordsworth), George Herbert, William Blake, Emily Dickinson, Mary Webb, Norman Bissett, William Shakespeare, the Bible, and the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.Current poetry collection: LOVE’S FLORELOQUENCE, Wendy Ann Webb,

Love's Floreloquence: Webb, Wendy Ann, Meek, CT, Meek, CT, Webb, Wendy Ann: 9798372967595: Books

Two Flash Fiction Stories by Paweł Markiewicz


The Danube and Dreameries

Flash Fiction

by Pawel Markiewicz


          One day, in the dreamy Middle Ages, three young friends lived in Moravia: a thinker, a poet and a dreamer. They loved every dawn. They have decided to visit Vienna, to buy jewelry there. They liked furthermore a gold of a starlit heaven. They passed the Danube River and a miracle happened. The miracles came often true at tender thoughts. In their souls by the Danube, a total secondary human-becoming took place: in the thinker through praise, in the poet through appreciation and in the dreamer through honoring. The men were enchanted and bewitched. In all three cases, the primary human-becomings were fulfilled: at the thinker with the first thoughts, at the poet with the first poem, and at the dreamer with the first infatuation. The bygone thoughts were about the dreamed Golden Fleece, poem was about journeys of Zeus into clouds and the infatuation was related to Ovid-like beauty of butteries.  In addition, the thinker thought of the Danube, that is about: size, quantity, water, depth, fish. The Danube was thereat cerulean. The Poet wrote about Lorelei - a girl from a grove who had drowned in the Danube, because she was not loved. She had drunk an azure water of the river, like an ambrosia from the moon. On the other hand, the dreamer dreamed of a river wizardry, because he was absolutely enchanted by the dreamy Danube.

Thus. The third way to the human-becoming is the philosophy. The philosophy must be mysterious and should be grounded in an ontology of laws-like rules. A mermaid was indeed really a she-philosopher. She must have been touched by the celestially Apollonian breath of a nightingalelet.

And all the rest of my story happens in the world of today.    


           The mermaid is an inhabitant of a Danube depth. In the great depth, she has hidden a treasure of silvery cranes –a handful of silver, fallen down from stars. From today on she is very dreamy, because she purposes to think of a beautiful poem to the end. It would be a sonnet about a dreamy awaking of the spring-like druid. This is besides a delicately (most) lovely poem of eternity. I can name it the moony sempiternity.  The mermaid sleeps in a pit under the Danube during the day. >The early bird gets the worm< that sentence is erroneous for the sake of charm of the spellbound metaphysics.  She wakes up every midnight and sits on the banks of the Danube behind the city of Vienna. The mermaid wants to describe a charm of the sea of lights.  She looks at the beautiful city. The Mozartean genial spirit rests in her and the mood of the city is quite unbosomed.  The Danube is enchanted, because the mermaid heats the water up to 35 degrees for the sake of her soul's warmth. The heat energy takes place owing to the warmness of her bosom. Boys can swim and bathe in the warm Danube without limits. They are the lineal descendants of above heroes of the Dark Ages, of: the thinker, poet as well of the dreamer. Even a fisherman can easily refresh his body in the warm water, fallen in love with a silent, dreamed epiphany, then >Loose lips sink ships<. From today a miracle will take place. This miracle is fulfilled by a singing of a eesome, pulchritudinous, fair, beauteous cormorantling. The noble august star, namely the constellation of the philosophers, shimmers over Vienna, the Danube and the mermaid. I recall the dearest, most tender weird of all people of this story. The star signalizes the fulfillment of all dreams. I'm just in love with the mermaid, the star and all of Vienna. I have many wishes to Danube and Vienna.

I believe, Danube will be inhabited only by all mermaids forever. In the future, the thinker, poet, dreamer and this mermaid will be adoring the Terpsichorean Arts in the heaven. Until the end of days, their love to all birdies will have been taking.  


Explanations for Readers:

Nightingalelet – in fact the neologism – small Nightingale.

Sempiternity – poetic eternity.

 cormorantling – as diminutive in English, like a birdie, never used  

in the famous literature. The adjectives, to wit:  eesome, pulchritudinous, fair, beauteous denote the word: pretty; eesome = eyesome.

weird – fate, destiny

The Broken Soul in My Homeland

Flash Fiction

by Pawel Markiewicz 

            Do you know where this world has got so much evil in it? When I was in the Osuszek-grove for the first time, I was fully grown. I went there on a bike after finding out about it on the internet, a few years ago. I drove south through my whole town, on the road to Siemiatycze, along with the place, namely: the little village of Piliki. Osuszek was wrapped in a summer mood. This is a forest clearing by a 2km long path into the forest, marked as a small memorial site. There Hitler-Germans shot about 1000 residents of Bielsk Podlaski and the surrounding area during World War II, probably also my late grandfather's young sister called Leokadia. When I was in Osuszek for the first time, I thought of a story whose witnesses were only the plaques. An angel of imagination had broken his wing at that time. His eyes caught fire.

In angelic hands there was the gold of melancholic forlornness.

My muses wept. They no longer needed joyful poems, but poetry of tearful chasms into which the corpses of men, including those of the clergy, fell. There was sadness everywhere. A god was crying. He was sad for humanity's sake. My homeland was on fire. And my sparks were gone for some moments that hurt. A spirit of Leokadia left tears that were never meant to be swept away. I was in this clearing briefly, then I came home.

            When I first read about a wartime-labor-camp in Bielsk Podlaski on the Internet, it was an autumn day a few weeks ago. People had been arrested here, forced to work, murdered and tortured. There were no more witnesses in the form of walls or buildings. The angel of imagination wept tears again, poetically dark Apollonian tearlets. His eyes suppressed fire. In the angelic hands there was silver of sad oblivion. My muses burned like books in Nazi Germany. They no longer need jolly floodplain-like poems, rather gloomy elegies that are no longer able to enchant the world. The sadness unfolds wings. The god left home again. He was angry because of human souls. My homeland fell apart for many moments that cried.

            A ghost of a forced labourer left behind the tears that could never be swept away. I thought about it for a long time sitting at home. When I first experienced this, I felt like I was an eternal witness to eastern Calvary.

            Now I can't ride my bike to Osuszek anymore. Psychoses return with exhaustion. When I first fell ill with schizophrenia, I was 24 years old. Cause: A bad woman rented a windowless room for me in the basement of her villa. Such madness as in Wes Craven's movie People Under the Stairs. The pre-eternal world has evil in it, which will become good in eternity. My poetry is people's path to paradise. To reduce evil, you must forgive your fellow man, like the gods who forgave the dead Nazis.

Paweł Markiewicz was born 1983 in Siemiatycze in Poland. He is a poet who lives in Bielsk Podlaski and writes tender poems, haiku as well as long poems. Paweł has published his poetry in many magazines. He writes in English and German.

Five Poems by Louis Kasatkin



Turning the pages
of the daily papers,
day after day
pages turn
turning the days
page by page
of the,
Times, Telegraph, Express
Mail, Mirror, Echo
Post, Courier, Press
Examiner, Herald, Sketch
Argus, Mercury, Chronicle
Journal and Tribune;
Squinted at and scrutinised
on the morning bus and evening train
at the café table and library room,
The classified ads and nature notes
the town hall reporter and rugby correspondent,
the letters page and crossword puzzle
Read and re-read
page by page
turning the days
day after day
until they're read
no more.


When the Darkness crosses
our skies at Noon
the response
is to weep.

When the Blade crosses
our skin and flesh
the response
is to bleed.

When the Pain crosses
our endurance threshold
the response
is to scream;


When the Night crosses
our abandoned hopes
the response
is to dream.


Peering thro' the window
We smile
and the ghosts of our reflections
smile back;
this time we got away with it,
again and again until they catch us
We shall get away with it;
We're running low on disinfectant
the mops need replacing
and the drains need seeing to as well.
All in all
efficient as always
the climaxes just as thrilling
as always;
was that number nineteen
or twenty?
It's so easy for us to lose count.
Tomorrow morning's Papers will be
screaming for our capture.
We will read their headlines
as we take the morning metro
to our Office;
spending the day wondering
who will be next?
We'll catch ourselves
peering thro' the window
the ghosts of our reflections
will smile back,
as always.

The Girl With The Needle In Her Arm

The Girl crouches
by the railings at the
Station entrance,
her knees together
mucus running down her chin,
watery eyes
sticky pale skin,
vomit stained hair
hanging down in two
big tangles over her forehead.
The Girl massages her calf and thigh,
her right leg feels bloodless and numb,
her mascara streaked face a mask
where tears were forced out as she spewed.
Above her rainbows strobe across
the tourist postcard skyline,
proclaiming the nomenclature
of aspirational desires,
Apple, Cartier, Chanel, Mercedes-Benz.
The space around the Station
entrance railings is opaque,
no - one sees
no - one wants to see
the Girl's life exchanged
for an emptiness of nights
illuminated by giant screens
all evangelising how
the Dow Jones stock market index
has just ended the day

Empty Cinema

We are film
We are narrative
our stories upon the Screen.
We are all that was
and could've been
We are hero, villain, coward and brave
Conqueror, vanquished, master and slave;
We are film
24 frames per second
We are the dream
on whom no-one reckoned,
and now as the credits roll,
We only see, we only are
there on that screen



Louis Kasatkin is founder of Destiny Poets in the UK and Editorial Administrator at For more than 20 years a Poet and Poetry promoter,Louis has been Poet-in-Residence at Wakefield Cathedral and workshop leader in schools and the wider local community.

Tuesday 25 April 2023

Five Untitled Poems by Mykyta Ryzhykh


ants warm their belly under 

the sun like a giant

organs crawl out from

their own disgrace

eve of the last war




spring tulips

winter cacti

autumn roses

summer rains

everything around is waiting 

for the end of the world




meaningless landscape

snow falls and falls

the ruins are silent and silent




my wife is winter

without any explanation




slaves of the language

how to be more eloquent?


the language of slavery

we disappear into the belly of urban landscapes

Mykyta Ryzhykh from Ukraine (Nova Kakhovka Citу), won the international competition «Art Against Drugs», was bronze medalist of the festival Chestnut House and laureate of the literary competition named after Tyutyunnik.

They have been published in Tipton Poetry Journal (2022), Stone Poetry Journal (2022), Divot journal, dyst journal (01.07.2022), Superpresent Magazine, Allegro Poetry Magazine (2022), Alternate Route (07.2022), Better Than Starbucks Poetry & Fiction Journal (07.2022), Littoral Press (2022).

Five Poems by Cleo Griffith


Come, Come


Come, come, this is no way to be,

all scrunched-up in a fur-robe

en-caved like some savage.


Come out, heart, silly old thing,

too old to be so touchy,

take youth’s offence.


It must be that a-fib stammer

that sent you into hiding,

you know better, at this age.


See, not even a bruise where it hit,

that word like stone,

man-up, chin up, pump up.


Show the world your brave-heart stance,

that-a-girl, it just takes a friend,

and that is me, that is me.



Each Time


each time

I plan to start

there is another chore to be done

another batch of clothes

to wash, dry, fold, put away


each time

I plan to start

there is another morning to awaken

another afternoon of story-telling clouds


each time

I start to plan my grief

over your betrayal

something else demands – demands!

my attention,


you must be put aside – again --

like the inconsequential part of life

you were.




In the slant of evening sun your hair spirals,

frames your face as lovely as memory

of those years passed since you joined us,

brought unexpected nuances to the everyday.

Your brown eyes glow,

those brown eyes first seen as you,

four months old, raised your head

to look at us, immediate love.

Centrepiece between brothers

you extend understanding toward the older,

compassion toward the younger.

Clinging lightly to each of us

you still open your arms to the new,

permit expansion of our extended family

and in the gaze of all who see you

remain yourself, complex yet

simply the daughter we first met

on a life-changing day in a memorable May.

Hard-Headed Child


In their anxiety

that scientists and mathematicians

were destroying children’s

faith in them:

fairies and gremlins,

elves and trolls, pixies,

called upon Mother Earth


Shush shush she said

worry not of this.

Scientists and mathematicians

respect the need for us

will not trample our mushroom rings

or demand the firefly not light


Have you ever heard an astronaut

degrade the Irish elves

or deny the bigfoot stories?

There is no threat…


Remember ages ago, how you worried

that the rise of literacy would crush

the usual responses to our being?

just the opposite.


Keep well in your play-lands

do not despair for the hardheaded child.

his heart will find you

when he needs you.


You, Hovering


Something hovers over my hands,

hovers over my two hands which

press light fingers on the keyboard.


Because I do not know what to write,

because I DO know what to write,

but not how, not how much.


All my long life I have written.

All my long life is written into poems.

But this long death of yours challenges my words.


Fifty-three years of smiles you left behind, son.

So many anxious, scary days after which you smiled.

You always survived. You always smiled.


But this time, without life-support you lasted only 40 minutes.

Forty long minutes, the last of those 53 years.

We talked to you, sang to you, cried for you.


Something hovers over my hands,

hovers like a breath from a smile.

You stay with me. What I saw was only your body.


You hover,

            breathe and smile,

                        I cannot yet smile back.


Cleo Griffith has been on the Editorial Board of Song of the San Joaquin for twenty years. Widely-published, her poems have recently appeared in Wild Roof Journal, Monterey Poetry Review and The Poeming Pigeon. She lives in Salida, California with her guard-cat, Amber.

Five Poems by Tekisui RC


Memory of My Father


Every summer

a honey bird used to build her nest

underneath our tiled roof

in the veranda

when you were here.


One evening she left her nest

leaving behind the empty nest for us.

It was the last time she built her nest.


One afternoon in sunshine

on the lane to our home

you sang a song of drumbeats

four or five people and an owl hoot

on a stormy night in July rain.

It was the only song you always sang

and it was the last time you sang it.


Then you fell ill

and lay bedridden for two years.

As you lay dying

you told me stories

while I was listening to the slanting rain.

It was the last rain of the year.


One night in the dim light of the ward

in a public hospital you died.


Nowadays I often sleep during the day.

When I wake up everywhere in the room

the same dim light of the night you died.

And in the gloom one empty nest.


In the brittle pages yellowed with time

I no longer know what I read everyday.


On Love


As usual

five or six times

that bird sang

and her twilight song

was mine.


Who knows

why did that girl tell me

her house was on the bank

of a river

in one afternoon

some twenty five years ago?


The whole afternoon

in the shadow of a small hill

I never climbed

there were childhood flowers

I long missed.




An old mosque

by the river.

In the graveyard

amid the green grass

tiny yellow and blue flowers

and my friend was buried here

some thirty years ago.

My friend who was kind enough

to call me brother

on one rainy afternoon.


Is it snowing tonight?

It is snowing.

Beyond the endless fields

on the foot of a hill

our mud house.

In the shadows of the flame

of a kerosene lamp

on the wall

a five year old boy.

Howsoever sad it maybe

I would like to return there.

And it starts raining.


Night Walk in Heavy Rain


The old man

from the hill

where I spent

my childhood

and tearful

were my eyes

when I met him

on our old street

last evening.


Everything in me

was just a moment

as I looked

into his eyes

just like that ant

on the wall

of a shop near us

or a leaf falling

from a corner tree

or that bird

which cast its shadow

on the page

I was quite unaware

of myself.


I remember

it was here

in the same place

I crossed the road

with my father

one night in rain

when I was

about a six-year-old boy

and walked

all the way

in torch light

through the lanes,

by- lanes, fields

and then took the track

zigzagging uphill

where our hut stood

waiting for us

in heavy rain.


Twilight Again


a drop fell

on the potted plant

in the yard

from a bare branch


an old tree

at the riverside said

twilight again


maybe long ago

it was written

he would end

with a thin blade

of grass

on the hillside

of his childhood

in a moment

of darkness

Tekisui RC is a poet currently based in Kozhikode, India. He also writes under the name M.A.Ramachandran. Tekisui's poetry has appeared in Lion and Lilac Magazine,Stripes Literary Magazine, Rat's Ass Review, Too Well Away Literary Journal, Arc Magazine, Setu Magazine and elsewhere. Additionally his poems have been published in three anthologies.


One Poem by John Yamrus

  she was not your typical girl next door. to begin with, she had a name that sounded like a bottle of cheap perfume. but, she did have the ...