Take Ten Issue 4


Artwork by Jane Burn

Edited by Catherine Ayres

Blue smile

This bright morning surprised me,
the whole sky a daft strip of blue,
joyful as a bubblegum tongue,
blank as a chicken.

Its colour was made of china,
the fragile blue of a willow patterned cup,
blurred through half-closed eyes
until no white remained.

There’s rarely an epiphany,
a final reckoning of all that’s passed;
just a slight tilt of the head,
the blink of a sunny day.

By Catherine Ayres


Sing me your cobalt dreams, mister;
your misty eyed forevers are the music
we dance to, weightless.

And I shall keep you from
careering through clouds;
for I am gravity
and sooner or later,
when limbs grow weary,
we shall both fall down

By Harry Gallagher

Ice Age

This time we more than disagree;
the air between us is arctic.
Though I hear the snow shiver
and the ice groan,
there is little hope of a thaw.

I search your face anyway
for signs of spring;
the poppies on your lips still flower;
but your tongue tears
at the root of my mouth,
and your sharp eyes.

By Ottley Wyatt


I heard your voice as it hitched a ride
on the coat-tails of summer.

At its slow inflection a world unfurled,
bobbed like a painted sail.

I cast off now in fear of the edge
and in expectation of New England.

Fathomed or landed on this squall’s fair side,
a ship may fly where it falls.

By Ottley Wyatt

On the Bridge at Cwm Gwaun

Among these trees green
and slender, runs my river
surely to the sea as any other.

How fast, how slow
we reach that ebbing tide
you cannot tell, neither can I.

Under the raging water
a black rock
like a head held under.

Now a second dark stone
lies cradled
in your other breast.

All the waters of Gwaun
will not wash it away.

By Rachael Clyne


No-one has explained
how ashes become bird
how the egg of flame
feathers molten bone
how fire solidifies
into beak and talons
how a dazzle of sparks
alights as arched wings
how flight dares upward
from the last lost ember.

By Susan Jordan

Madame Suggia plays the cello
(from a painting by Augustus John)

With the first beat arm becomes bow
hand presses notes from strings.
Phrases pour through the cello’s body
its curves blend into hers

the surge of her dress a red ocean
fluid as sound. Head erect
cello spiked into the floor
she is the music, rides each wave
poised on the melody’s line.

By Susan Jordan


We are editing old video tapes,
re-recording them onto disk.
A tedious chore. But there you are,
age six, with Mark from next door
in his grey duffle coat, feeding ducks.

You take stale bread from beige bag,
toss crust to mallard (brown, female).
And this is where we freeze frame,
as you turn to camera, return to us,
ruby cheeked, amethyst eyed.

By Sharon Larkin


Russian Doll, Split With a Squeaky Twist

and closed with satisfying clack – I uncork
her sextuplet layers until the stripping reveals
nothing more than a sanded pea of wood.
Painted blue – a simple circle for a face,
pinprick dots for eyes – but so protected,
the epicentre of this whole stacked construction.
Its loss would leave a tiny but unfillable blank,
so integral it is to the completeness of the whole.

By Jane Burn


5 thoughts on “Take Ten Issue 4

  1. Pingback: harrygallagherpoet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s