December 19, 2015


Whose house is this, remains of which
swelter under a saffron sun –
roof blown off, the walls of rooms
tortured by the wind?

The blustery wind blows dust in my eyes
as it must have done to them
when fire spread like a hurricane
destroying what was their home.

There’s a well out back dry as biscuit
where starlings build their nests
burnt skeletons of apple trees
garden tools covered in rust.

In the yellow swaying prairie grass
mosquitoes whine and buzz . . .
a slow waltz round an oven door
all that’s left of a family stove.

In this small space coated with soot
something makes me stumble –
a plastic tea-set with broken pieces
a little pail and shovel.

Here’s some bricks, once a fireplace
the corner of a chimney.
Did a couple sit here their work done
and talk of the old country?

Neighbours say they sang strange songs
with tarns, lochs and glens.
Wherever they are, I wish them well.
I wish them rain.

Mary Franklin

(Mary Franklin has had poems published in various poetry journals, anthologies and online journals in UK, Canada, Australia and the USA).


December 19, 2015


This is the inside-out
composed of lead and heavy water.
This is the hook, entangled:
wired nets of nails and self;
no way for light’s escape,
no cries of freed at last.

A cage that’s made of night,
a quicksand of clever knots
tightening in your struggle:
the one way out is in.
Do we not scream
to be undone?

I’m in a rounded room
and seeking corners;
into the box — out of the loop:
snared and snared alike.
Tormenting me — a rattled key
in the distance, in the morning.

Here is the upside-down,
the tripwire of kidology:
lose the hand to save the arm
and pace and pace and pace.
See those high walls and razor-wire?
All life is breaking out.

Bruce McRae

(Pushcart nominee Bruce McRae is a Canadian musician with over 900 publications,including Poetry.com and The North American Review. His first book, ‘The So-Called Sonnets’, is available from Silenced Press website or via Amazon Books. To hear his music and hear more poems go to ‘TheBruceMcRaeChannel’ on Youtube.)

The fourth dimension

December 19, 2015


Carleon and I had been talking fitfully, as the train sped on, of things suggested, perhaps, by that sense of volant instability with which a rapid journey in a third-class brake-van is calculated to possess one—the mysteries of Life and Death, and the greater mystery of Life-in-Death, to wit. I had lately been reading Myers’s ” Human Personality,” and my mind was full of Individualism, and Hypnotic Suggestion, and those fathomless strata of sub-consciousness which he under a man as the forty mattresses lay under the True Princess, without obliterating the sensation of the single pea which, placed at the bottom, made its irritation felt through all. Whence, perhaps, that state of mental excitation which was responsible for the illusion that followed.

Silence had fallen between us when, about sunset time, the train entered into a long, deep-sunk valley. I looked up, and saw the ridges all crested with a running fire of rays, as in some titanic battle, the drifted smoke from which hung in the hollows like blue water. Carleon swept his hand through the sunbeam which came in at the window, thereby setting its motes gyrating as if they boiled. ” The fourth dimension,” he said, smiling ” imagination. We live upon it all the time, and never know, except when some chance ray like this reveals it to us.”

Bernard Capes

make you come…

December 19, 2015


As if reading her mind, he leaned into her again, pupils dark, irises glowing like a forest caught in the last rays of sun before dusk… “Do you want me to make you come?”

“Is that a trick question?”

Dianna Hardy
Cry Of The Wolf

Hex and drive…

December 19, 2015


taught to pray

December 19, 2015


She was taught to pray on her knees, now when she kneels someone else exhales “oh god”.

Morning read

December 19, 2015


Witches Creed

December 19, 2015


Christmas gift idea for her

December 19, 2015



At age ten, we lived in a rambling old house that backed on to a cemetery. Frequently, at that time, I’d be left to my own devices after school. I enjoyed my own company, mind, but in the summer I’d go to the park and hang-out with friends beside the boating lake; in winter, with the onset of colder evenings, I’d remain indoors reading or watching TV. At least two evenings each week I was left entirely alone in the house until about ten o’clock; on occasion, slightly later.

I remember one evening, a Wednesday, being alone in the living room, reading a book. There was a blazing fire in the hearth. The rest of the house was in darkness, brooding in a silence that was almost profound. Earlier, I’d heated baked beans on the stove and toasted bread under the grill. I’d sat in the breakfast room listening to the radio and eating beans on thickly buttered toast. I tossed my book aside now irritated by it, but as I did so I heard “The noise” for the first time.

That came from upstairs, didn’t it? I thought.

Yes, certainly. From the front of the house. My mother’s room, perhaps? But what had caused it?

It sounded, “The noise”, like a hesitant footstep on a loose fitting floorboard. Had mum come home early and gone straight to her room? It seemed highly unlikely. Surely I’d have heard her coming in? The front door closing, the rattle of keys. And she’d have called out a greeting, she always did.

Almost certain that “The noise” hadn’t been generated by my mother, I went to the door and called up the stairs: ‘Mum…that you?’

Silence, the only response.

It was an old house, draughty and prone to unexplained creaks and groans. We’d moved in about two months earlier, so I was still unused to its ways: its peculiarities, you might say. All these old places have a character of their own, don’t they? Anyway, while reassuring myself “The noise” was nothing to be concerned about, I heard it again.

Definitely footsteps, four or five of them this time, crossing the bedroom floor overhead. I felt suddenly terrified. It was like every muscle in my body turned liquid, and my skin became this continuous stretch of goosebumps. My heart pounded as I grabbed up the poker from the hearth for protection.

Someone must have broken in…a lone burglar. In my mind’s eye I conjured up this character from the Dandy comic, a burglar in a stripped jumper and black eye mask with a torch.

‘WHO’S THERE,’ I yelled up the stairs. ‘I’ve already phoned the police. They’re on the way. Get out while you can.’ My voice sounded strong enough to begin with, but died away ultimately to a whimper.

I clutched that old poker two-handed, and it was shaking like a leaf in a breeze. I felt sick, nauseous. And then I heard “The noise” again.

Footsteps, definitely. I couldn’t move. After a tremendous effort, I raised my head, straining to see upstairs. More footsteps, and this time I peed myself with fright. Truly, I did. It was most embarrassing, believe me. I tried to brace myself against this mind-numbing terror. Holding the poker one handed I finally managed to flick on the upstairs lights.

Nothing. No one up there on the landing.

I would, I decided, make a dash for the front door. I’d go outside and wait in the front garden until someone came home. Outside would be safe. If any situation developed, I could run to a neighbours house for help…Only my trousers and the carpet slipper on my right foot were soaking –

Perhaps I wouldn’t go outside, then. It was utterly silent in the house now. I’d retreat to the living room with the poker…after all, why would a burglar enter a room where he knew someone was waiting for him? A room with the lights on.

And that’s exactly what I did. I spent the rest of the evening with my back to the wall behind the living room door. The minute that door opened (if it were to open) I’d leap forward with the poker and clobber whoever it was that had scared me so.

When my mother finally arrived home later, I explained to her what had happened.

‘I’ve heard noises in the house, too,’ she told me. ‘I think we might be haunted – ’

‘A ghost?’

‘Yes, but a harmless one. It won’t hurt us. Just likes to wander around now and again. You mustn’t let it worry you.’

‘It felt like I was listening to it forever,’ I told her.

‘Never mind, it’s a harmless nothing. Just ignore it. Now go upstairs and get a bath. Leave those wet clothes on the bathroom floor. I’ll sort them later.’

‘Will you come up with me? Just to check round?’

‘Oh, alright, you silly child. Come on. But I tell you there’ll be nothing up there.’

And of course she was quite correct. Whoever or whatever had been responsible for “The noise”, was long gone. However, two days later “The noise” returned. Footsteps in my bedroom this time. Both my mother and I heard them. She laughed, and said:

‘It’ll wear the darn carpeting out next thing.’

And from that time on I was never scared again of our “ghost” or “The noise” or the faint sour-sweet smell that lingered in the rooms where our spectral intruder had walked. Although I heard it frequently, (once in the darkness of my own bedroom while I lay in bed), I accepted it as a perfectly natural phenomenon. I came to regard it almost as one of the family, a spirit we coexisted with. And one, moreover, not put off by my father’s almost non-stop violin practice, with his constant repetition of Felix Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64. My God, that piece haunts me still…