It has been a huge pleasure reading through submissions for the first edition. Some of our poets have attached photos of the object that inspired the poem. Others have gone for a less direct sort of connection; such as a postcard background, or a picture of their own artwork already connected to the poem, or a photo from a time referred to in the text. All are now welcome citizens of the Land of Pometos. All are welcome in this land! Enjoy! Yours, Lord Pometo.
Edited by Seth Crook
These echiums, observant
of the inner stresses
of their growth, extend
their elongated S’s,
into the lucid sky,
to whose catechising
How high? they say This high!
Like feathers in the hat
of a dandy of Old France
or cranes, arching, swaying,
in a courtship dance,
twelve feet of purple plumage
on the very point of flight,
shallow-rooted, and straining
toward the light.
By David Callin
Girl of Shell and Sand
She washed-up on the shore, unable to say
where she was from or what she was looking for.
Poor girl, even the tide turned its back on her.
She beachcombed for lost and broken things,
collected memories the children had scratched
in the sand – names and hearts and happy faces
of stick-people holding hands: a past
the sea snatched back and erased every day.
Hobbled by her cockle feet, she was an urchin
without an ounce of meat on her.
Beyond the beauty of a moonlit face,
there was no magic to be seen anywhere,
no trace of mermaid, no sheen or glimmer
or fishtail, no shimmering ringlets of hair.
I built a sandcastle and invited her to stay,
she stood in the tower staring out at a hundred
sunken footsteps walking away. I vowed to help her
search the rock pools, fish for bits of history.
I promised to find her hands and insides,
wherever they might be. And so my days
were spent turning stones over and looking
for treasure – anything that could add some weight
or flesh to her so she wouldn’t slip through
my fingers. As time passed, we grew close.
She beamed at little gifts of polished rock
and a tiny sea glass brooch, a new dress
cut from sun, a pair of stripy tights.
I showed her how to hold herself together,
how to catch the light and wear its shine,
still there was something missing, pieces
I couldn’t find. One night, as she slept, I held
that little girl in the palm of my hand
and rested my head against the shell
of her chest. I listened to the swell of whispers
from creatures still living deep inside:
the swish of razors and snap of claws,
the lullaby of the man who’d made a cave of her,
then rolled a stone smile across the door.
By Joanne Key
By Beth McDonough
This poem is also published on the StAnza map of Scotland
I let you go;
watched as you
to the solid earth;
anchored my dreams
held my slow-
in my hands.
By Yvonne Marjot
There’s a spark in the room tonight.
Its glow casts me into the shadows of invisibility
sealing my wine-coated lips into silence
as I watch cliques of people,
heads bobbing in animated conversation
bodies swaying to the beat of yesterday’s tunes.
Is this how it’s always to be
on the outside
a lone being
shrouded by couples around me
in a space on my own?
By Nina Simon
(Photo credit Brian McDonald)
He was a shepherd, a mist of a moment. Before he slipped north-east,
his smile bequeathed me a daughter, north-west of the Garryhorn track.
My sister’s man is her father now, enrolling her at Carsphairn;
her dux medal raises a blush. Her skirt shies by the dairy.
The void in my womb, scars on my left ventricle nip at me,
sin washed at the rusty, old pump. Love spills over.
By Maggie Mackay
Previously published on the Guardian Witness website.
You will look at this one morning through a wave of water
you will heave and wrack – wrecked by loss
you’ll feel a plexus pull
a rib wrench
this frozen frame
the perfect light
furring both your faces
the depths of dark an oily sepia
By Rachel McGladdery
The Chuck Wagon
My old car decayed gradually.
Bits became loose,
It gained character.
Small plants sprouted, shoots appeared under wipers.
But it still went from A
to B. It still started,
Reliably. An ordinary beast,
One night a tree fell.
A hundred and or more feet of pine,
Arced a shark bite from the bonnet
And pinned the suspension to the ground.
A chainsaw released the great fallen trunk,
It took two of us to roll it clear,
To expose the full extent of the injury.
Even the windscreen flora was crushed.
Written off, more than half a month until the
Low-loader appeared to undertake the remains.
Tricky access, thought we’d see if it could help itself
Begin this last journey.
Key turned – starts first time – into gear, brakes released,
Steering cranked three points to mount the loader’s skids.
Under its own power, no complaints, no questions asked,
Crushed, but undefeated.
By Steve Smart
crossing the Great Scots Pine
(diorama: Steve Smart)
By Marion Clarke
The Linthorpe Stag
A territory of pubs, cheap stuff ,
charity shops. He sees
women walking in coats,
a baby in her greasy buggy,
raw cheeked, bawling.
Seedy men, coming and going
from the same two houses,
in, out, slam. Pock-faced druggies, stoned
to nothing inside poorly fitted Nike.
When they pass, they leave this sense
of crow-death, gravel-rash smell and sound.
One bearded man at the doorway to Greggs.
No front teeth and holding out a yellow hand
for change. He sees me. Has lifted his gaze
to somewhere in imaginary middle distance,
to where there is muir – bracken dabbled by pirr,
view purpled with heather. He was born gold –
wore blackout during the war and now, ages in white.
Winterschladens is Roni’s now – a picture
of burger and beans beneath his feet.
Somebody carved the movement of wind
into his under-neck mane. Alert, as if
he is waiting to open his throat, roar.
Looking, always – holding his heart’s desire
beneath his painted eyes.
By Jane Burn