The Writers’ Cafe Magazine ISSUE 3 “Ice and Snow”

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It’s Snowing, Sally

By Jane Burn

Where are you?  It’s cold – skimmer on the draggled bushes,
west of where you were last seen. I am one inch shorter
than you. Putting my feet where you put yours, I leave

a clear tale in the crisp. Are you there? The smell
of ruined damp, the feel of the safety rail under the weight
of my ribs. It would take no effort to tip. The rivergall closes

a hush over what it keeps – does it have you, snagged
in the tumblewood, or crooked in the stilts of the staiths?
When the tide goes out, shapes guess themselves beneath

the claggy mud. Once, teemers and trimmers dropped
the noise of their voices into the dun filth. Are your last sounds
left to the sludge? Was your dirige slicked on rainbow oil?

The colours seem as if they are holding song. Pooled
in my bath back home, I am pretending to be you –
the wound in the bathwater left by my sousing head

heals quickly. I wish I was not so fat and big in this tub
then I could ebb, loosely bump on the plastic banks.
I open my mouth – it fills with the taste of tepid skin,

soap scum, self. The Tyne would taste of ruined world,
engine spill, iron. To remain on the bottom too long
would mean being folded into silt. The Swing Bridge lies

its swivelled arc on a pier of timber traps. A monster’s creel,
all rust and rot, bewilderment of sodden stilts. Maybe
a pale shuttle, washed in the loom of its legs.


The Last Match I Light
by Jane Burn

This first might heat me for a moment.
I am cold. My father put me out
to sell these sticks – don’t you dare come back
without them sold
. I know, I know all that he said
but my heels hurts on the cobbles and
ice has taken the feeling from my toes.
I am sure there are visions in the brief flames –
I saw a stove, devouring its stomach of wood.
Each flicker an angel’s wing, each ember
an eye looking upon me, kind. The next strike
shows me food as such I never saw,
roasted flesh and golden gravy eats –
my grizzled belly hurts at the thought,
tightens to my ribs. I am so small – this city
so big, I am knee-height to nothing,
everyone passing, passing a bundle of old rags
no more important than one flake in the flurry,
covering the ground. I am lying in an alley,
snow drifting over my side. I feel nothing now
for the last match I light holds the smile
of my grandmother, gone. She holds her arms
out to me. I leave my skin and bones behind,
and rise to her embrace – the charred splints
leave crushed soot inside my frozen hands.
I never knew a soul could be so warmed.
I never knew a soul could feel so loved.


Haiku
By Mandy Macdonald

illustrated haiku 2 snow on twigs


Back Again for Christmas
by Jack Little

 Before landing, we fly low over my parents’ frosty town.
Once, I made out my house and the church between the clouds –
remembered walking to school and seeing planes come into land
imagining a family’s return from a Greek or Spanish island.

Through migrating birds, I think I can recognise the city’s edge,
the sea line – a bridge, perhaps the old road by the golf course
where the travellers camp. Each return to this island is a pang of joy,
all fizzy: perhaps my landscapes changed through all the dreaming.


Lily in Winter
by Ceinwen Haydon

It was early when Lily climbed out of her bed and the winter morning seemed eerily bright. She padded over to the window and pulled the curtain to one side. Her eyes widened, everywhere was white, the snow had fallen at last. In the starlight, it seemed that diamonds were scattered all over the ground.

Rachel, Lily’s mum, was still in bed. Lily wanted to show her the snow but she knew that Rachel was tired. She’d been at the hospital all day yesterday so that the doctor could give her medicine to make her better. Lily couldn’t understand how it could be making mum better when it seemed to make her so tired and sick. How could it be working?

Her daddy, Nick, would soon be back from his night shift. Lily got her duvet and wrapped it around her shoulders and went and sat by the window to watch for the headlights of Dad’s car. She cuddled her best doll, Loopy Loo, and ate Smarties from a crushed tube that she found at the bottom of her school satchel.

As Lily watched she saw that new snow was beginning to fall. Some flakes stuck to the window-pane, she knew they were fairy crystals. Lily wished that she could show mum so that she could cheer her up and help her feel happy.

Just then she heard a car’s engine. Was that Dad? Yes, there was his red mini coming round the corner now. Lily jumped up and waved, Loopy Loo waved too. As daddy got out of the car he nearly slipped on the snow but he just managed to stay upright. He looked up and smiled when he saw Lily. He blew her a big kiss.

Dad came into the hall and shook the snow out of his hair and took off his coat and shoes. Lily could feel the cold air that had come in from outside on his skin.

‘Daddy, daddy’ she said. ‘Can I show you the crystals on my window? They’re magic.’

‘Yes pudding, of course. Just let me put the kettle on ready for a cup of tea.’

Daddy filled the kettle and set it to boil on the gas stove. Then he took Lily’s hand and together they climbed the stairs. Just as they passed Rachel’s bedroom door, she called,

‘Nick, Lily. Is that you? I think it’s snowed in the night?’

‘Yes Mum, it has,’ said Lily. ‘Can you come and see the crystals on my window?’

‘I can love; I feel much better today.’

Lily squeezed Dad’s hand and her heart did some little skips in her chest.

‘Hang on Lily, I’ll just give mum a hand with her dressing gown,’ he said.

In two ticks Mum, Dad and Lily stood looking at the sparkles stuck to the outside of her window. Each one had a special pattern of its own. They caught the light from the stars and the street lamp across the road and glittered. Lily thought fairy dust must look like that. She knew about fairy dust because it had got rid of the bad witch in one of her story books.

Mum put her armround Lily’s shoulders,

‘Lily, this is perfect. Thanks so much for showing me. Would you like to take a picture of them with my phone?’

‘Oh, please, please,’ said Lily.
‘Nick, would you get it? It’s on the bedside table,’ said Mum.
‘Of course, no problem,’ said Dad.

Lily felt so grown up as she photographed the crystals. Dad promised to print the pictures for her so that she could stick them up on her wall.

When they had all gone downstairs for breakfast, Mum said,

‘Lily, I’ve got some good news for you. I don’t have to go back to the hospital again for three months and the doctor said I’m doing very well. Dad and I have decided to take you on holiday when school finishes at Christmas. We’re going to take you to see some special stars, the Northern Lights, and we’ll stay in a village with lots of snow. Would you like that?’

‘Yes, yes,’ said Lily. ‘I think in our family stars and snow are special and fairy dust definitely gets rid of wicked witches.’


Last Christmas
By Ceinwen Haydon

they forecast snow
to white-out the winter grime
a crisp coverlet
to caress the baby year
as it carried all our hopes
for better things than came before

The promised snow passed by
fell and laced another place
with fine-traced cobweb lines
fresh starts and resolutions –

here innocence is lost too soon
in greyed out skies
dark with knowledge
heavy with remembrance
January loses her shawl
and much more
to the marauding year to come.

Kali have mercy


The Dying of the Light
by Ceinwen Haydon

As the autumn nights draw close and dark
We chop our wood logs and stoke the fire.
The linen chests are stripped of blankets,
Our larders shelves are packed with food.
Within our hearts, our courage blazes
Intent on meeting winter’s challenge.

Every year the weather’s challenge
Dances in with days both dim and dark.
In evening’ hearths the fuel blazes,
The smallest children nurse the fire
And parents ration out the food;
At bedtime, all are wrapped in blankets.

The first snow storm the cold earth blankets
White; for sheep starvation is a challenge.
All beasts strive, frantic, for their food.
In this chill landscape, sighings split the dark.
A sick, old traveller needs a fire,
As on his damp brow a fever blazes.

Through the windows, bright light blazes,
Casts the room in orange blankets.
The pot of soup heats on the fire,
A feeble knock now mounts a challenge.
Father peers out into the pitch dark
And tips his drink and spills his food.

There, the journeyman smells the food.
Crazed by ague his stomach blazes,
His watery eyes would pierce the dark.
The gales blow, disturb the blankets
And infants’ covers resist the challenge
As breezes threaten to kill the fire.

Mother takes the bellow to the fire
And in a bowl, she offers hot food.
Father bolts the door against storm’s challenge,
The ill, old boy rests in the blaze.
The children share their cosy blankets,
All are gathered safe from the curse of dark.

The Saturnalian fire blazes,
And warms both food and blankets
The challenge is to share within the dark.


Two cars in a layby
by Rosemary McLeish

Two cars in a layby
on a lonely stretch of road,
dusk falling fast,
Boxing Day afternoon.
“Adultery?” I query,
but you quip, “no, drugs”.

“Imagine her”, I say,“desperate,”
thinking of him yesterday
when the turkey wouldn’t cook,
and the brussels sprouts burned,
and her mother-in-law gave
everything ‘a quick tidy’,
wondering how she could wait
until today – kids at her mother’s,
himself at the football, two free hours.
She almost totalled the car
driving too fast on the ice,
only to find she’s not driven
towards joy, fun, promises,
but to the shattering
of all her fragile dreams
as he tells her the old old story.”

“No, I’m sure it’s drugs”,
you say, as you drive carefully
through the snowclad landscape.
“Remember that other Christmas,
those people from the village
shot on that farm, bodies hidden
in a water butt? Why else
drive along here – why stop?
It’s too cold for sex in the car.”

Then I see them, walking,
a couple our age, solid, muffled
in scarves, hats, mittens,
trudging one behind the other.
“Oh, no, not adultery”, I agree,
“too old for that sort of effort.”
“Not drugs either”, you concede.
“Imagine the havoc crystal meth
could wreak on your stomach.”
“There’s not enough Gaviscon
in all the world”, I laugh,
thinking though of other Christmases,
the enduring need for caution,
and thin ice.


Solstice 
by Ruth Aylett

Diesel freezes in the buses,
compacted ice lays its shabby grey hide
across slippy pavements
blotched yellow with dog piss,
orange-patched with sand.

To stay upright you need boots with spikes,
A&E is full of broken wrists,
the power browns-out as dusk falls.
Indoors, forever mopping,
the whole world is one dirty floor.

At last the rains come
with a sound like tomorrow,
melt all our stoic
resistance into the pain
of hoping for better.


Winter
by Harry Gallagher

Darkness sidles up
pushing its chloroform rag
where last week was sun.

You wake in bleakness,
stub toes on malevolent
dressing tables, chairs

clad in steel toecaps,
while the iron floor numbness
creeps into your soul.

Only in night’s sleet
did you make out its real voice:
“I have killed Summer”.


Love Poem With Winter Window
by Cheryl Pearson

Past the glass, each car is salted with the snow
that even now is thickening. Like silence thickens.

Like batter-mix whisked robustly in a bowl.
And the low moon, and the fox who moves

blue-backed in its glow, her licked flame cooled –
for now. We fog the window with our breath.

I draw a heart, squeaking, slow. You draw two Cs
for our shared initial, then blow, so the letters

sharpen in the fug. And the snow falls faster,
faster now, and the yellow beams of the streetlights

swarm. Let’s go back to bed, where it’s warm,
and small; let kisses fall where kisses

fall – collarbones, necks, the ball of a hairy
knee – the way snow falls where snow

will fall. Endlessly, it seems each time. And each time
as if it’s the first time, each time as if it’s the last time.


Hunters in the snow
by Carolyn Yates

The sound of the dogs, not the wild barking of an excited pack, just a few lone sounds warning us they’re coming. I see them, black figures and shorter dark shapes, men and dogs as they leave the trees. Only three men.

They string their way down, thigh-high through drifts of snow, the carcass of a boar between them. My chest hurts, cold sears my throat, stings my nose, brings tears. I call my questions “Where are they? my man, my son?”

Nearby villagers pause, but the children continue to move on the ice ponds. Bran stops, looks up, he is too far for me to see into his eyes. He turns back to Osgar and Arth. They stop too, silent. I stand and wait. I raise my eyes from their stillness, back to the edge of the forest. I see a lone jay fly from its margins to the birch near the inn. My heart pounds but the blood through my veins doesn’t warm me.

Then, without a word, they move on past me. The old grey lurcher breaks away and pushes his rough head against my hand. My men aren’t returning. The other villagers return to their tasks, hewing wood, clearing snow from the eaves before the roofs collapse under their own weight. The children whirl and spin on.

I sit at my hearth as the sun sinks into the cold of the night. I do not want to go out into the icy dark but I must. I must make my way down the hillside to the hall of the elders. Maybe I will have the chance to ask what happened out there in the snow-bound forest. I take my best thick black cloak from the kist by the door, my mother’s gift when I came here, a young girl given to the hunter. In this cloak I nestled my newborn son fourteen winters ago. It lies heavy on my shoulders, the clasp of an old friend. I unbolt the door. The sky is black, white stars scattered across its vastness. There will be a heavy frost tonight. The scars will heal on the skating ponds, making mirrors again by morning. Below me, the orange firelight springs through all twelve windows of the hall.

As I enter, silence creeps along with me across the packed faces. Mouths still, eyes slide away. All the village is gathered here. I walk to the three elders on their huge chairs, the dogs at their feet. I stand before them.

Arth speaks “who will testify for this woman now her men have gone?” The hush stretches out. Not one man wants to take me under his roof, an extra mouth to feed in these hard times. “She no longer carries her female name. She is needed by the men.” Then one voice speaks out; the innkeeper. “I will testify for Una, she is my neighbour. Who better than me to state her virtues? She works hard, harder than her man ever did. These lean months Una has brought her quota of wood, brought extra for her man when he was too drunk to work. She is skilled with the knife, cuts free a pelt without a mark. She spears fish, sets traps as well as any of us. She is more than her man’s replacement.” I am grateful and surprised; we do little more than pass and nod each day. A sigh goes around the hall. She dares to compare me to a man; she steps back into the crowd. I am hot, close to fainting in the muffled heat of bodies, the reek of the dogs’ wet coats, the steaming leather and fur. I will not take off my cloak.

“Who else speaks?” an elder asks. “I do,” says Trygve. “What the innkeeper says is true. Una works hard. But she is not a replacement for her son.” He pauses and I hear the whisper of agreement. “She is too old now to bear us more children, she must go.”

He speaks true and fair. I know which way the vote will go now. I turn and leave the silent hall. I can no longer light my taper from the flame and carry it back to my hearth, cradled in its burning box.

Outside the moon has risen; a cold blue light shows my footsteps. I follow them home. I gather food, the wolf skin from our bed, the smooth pale stone my mother gave to me and fling my sodden skirt onto the fire. My men have no need of their dry clothes now, I put on my son’s leggings. I pick up my spear and cloak from behind the door and slip into the night.

As I pass the dark inn, I hear the bolt drawback. She looms in her doorway, a candle flame flickering across her face. “Is that you Una?” she whispers. Her breath hangs, frozen for a moment in the space between us. She steps out. “Follow me”, she says.

In the shelter of the trees, she turns to me. “You are not alone, there are other women, deeper in the forest, find them. Take this and say I sent you”. She places something in my hands, no bigger than a plum. I feel its hardness as I unwrap the cloth. In her candlelight, I see the gleam of the twin of my stone. “When you need fire, strike the stones”. They weigh heavy in the palms of my cupped hands. I turn and turn them softly together, catching a dim glow of moonlight in their creamy depths. She turns for home and vanishes into the flurry of snow. Cold pulls me from my wonder. I must go deeper into the trees. Below me, the village humps dark against the sheen of the frozen ponds. I see a small red glow from the innkeeper’s window. I move on into the forest.


The Bothy
by Mark Connors

Blinding snow had blown in fast.
She’d lost the path and too much time
and knew she wouldn’t make it down.
If she could just re-trace her steps,
find her way on to the summit,
she’d spend the night up in the bothy.

She sees him through this white out,
hoping he is flesh and blood
not something morphed from mind and mist.
He waves, starts walking over
and she can tell from his bobble hat
that he is not a mass murderer.

She tries to speak, decides against it
in the racket of the wind.
He beckons her towards a wall
that will shield them as they sit.
He takes a chrome flask from his pack
and pours two lukewarm cups of tea.

It’s the best she’s ever tasted
and when he pulls out the shortbread
she is well on her way to being smitten.
As they sip and nibble
she becomes aware it’s been too long
since she’s spoken to anyone.

But she can’t. She finds his gloved hand
and he doesn’t take it back.
She rests her head on his shoulder.
To an outside observer
they would look like lovers
so there’s nothing to stop her acting so.

If this mountain was a little higher
she’d put it down to a lack of oxygen
because things like this don’t happen to her.
But something is happening. They rise,
trudge their way up this munro
as dusk comes creeping in.

If either had a sign, they’d hang it;
They close the bothy door;
they do not wish to be disturbed.
But now, they are not sure of themselves.
As their eyes adjust to the new dark light,
they realise they have to kiss to break this ice.


Winter Lockdown
by Dora Wright

It’s a winter lockdown
it has thrown away the key
and left us to freeze
All around us is
endless snow and ice the
rivers frozen from side to side
forcing the swans, ducks and birds
to slide about in confusion while
trying to find water to drink
Evergreen trees are bent over
with the extra weight of snow
daring us to walk beneath
Winter has also left his calling card
on all the windows
a crazy beautiful frozen display
burning with fire from the suns rays
Spun cobwebs of silver and gold
glitter in the morning light
and hardy little snowdrops
peep through the snow
Winter has taken us prisoner
but has shown us that beauty
can be found even in the worst
circumstances.


Haar
by Finola Scott

This city’s a cutting room tonight.
Slashed ribbons of fog freeze braes.
Clattering cobbles hush. Tattered organza
halts Jekyll’s progress, cordons narrow closes,
cloaks solemn steps. Shreds of chiffon wander
wynds, muzzle mouths, silence Deacon Brodie.

This city’s a cutting room. Dank white
damask chokes booted footfalls,
Burke & Hare slip stealthily. Leaves
Dr Knox safe again. Iced satin snags
and drapes, the Castle’s a glowering ghost.
Cut on the bias crystal mist binds, blinds.
Edinburgh’s under wraps.


Loads
by Finola Scott

In winter wet, the struggle to dry washing.
Partner-less pillowcases, single sheets
recall other sunny washes. Squares
of towelling flapped and sang. Tiny vests,
cotton mitts – clothes for startled changelings.
Dolly pegs pranced tight-ropes
of bright tomorrows.

Today brute frost stiffens fabric rigid.
The robin stays on a distant wall.
I feel the chill marrow-deep.


Darkening
by Finola Scott

So the Darkness approaches,
I could talk of
……………………enveloping black
……………………the rip and reveal of the veil
……………………stripped furrows and iron earth
……………………barren trees, growth-numbed
……………………days blink-blind short
……………………fur and leather on the wing
……………………claws’ clatter at thresholds.

Instead I consider
……………………the star bright canopy
……………………hoar-silvered morning webs
……………………ruddy- riped berries
……………………a horned moon hooking night
……………………rooms flamed in candlelight
……………………velvet nights in each other’s skin.

My arms open.
Welcome


The man who is silent
by Bozhidar Pangelov

The man who walks on
Calzada De Los Muertos, speaks
only in Spanish.
“… in the remains of yesterday
rain a bit of Moon is shining.
Ice too much ice. And the time is
somehow split up into tomorrow and
into tomorrow. And the love, oh,
love is…”The man goes on.
Yes.

Yonder, on the alley of birds,
a couple is speaking into gold.


Jan in the snow
by Rachel Burns

It is snowing thick and fast on this lonely Thursday afternoon, and I miss you.
Snow lines the rooftops of red brick houses, white against an even whiter sky.

Trees spread their charcoal branches, thumb smudged on the stark winter page.
Children play, throwing snowballs. I hear their laughter through the frozen

window pane and I remember when we were both about nine, you
in your blue duffle and bobble hat. I was wearing a red hooded coat

throwing snowballs in the park until our fingers were numb and our feet felt like
blocks of ice in our wellingtons. Remember, the school bus got stuck

halfway up the bank, the bus driver saying, it’s no use, you’ll have to get off.
A whole day of no school, making a snowman until after dark,

two lumps of coal for eyes, orange peel for a mouth that you turned upside down
to make a frown, a stick for a nose because Mam said no when you asked for a carrot.

Food doesn’t grow on trees, she chased you out of the kitchen, cuffing you
around the head until your ears went red. You cried like a baby.

We loved every crystalline flake of it. The next day it melted away.
You stood disappointed in the blackened slush, shouting, no, no, no.


The Last Flight
by Adrian Mcrobb

The cold dark morning, was frost crisp as flurries of snow fell and ice groaned, like an animal in pain, upon the mountain.

Banks of sleet covered ice sparkled in the gloom like diamonds; avalanches fell unseen into the deep ravines.

The mountain waited patiently as it had done for twenty-five million years after it was formed by the collision of tectonic plates, of two vast continents and thrown up in defiance of gravity.

The Mont-Blanc massif guarded its borders against intruders, clothed in its ethereal blue/white cloak, blizzard blind, and snow swirling, like a giant mailed fist in its icy majesty.

Finally, in the distance, a new sound could be heard, faint at first but, building as it drew near, the dull throb of Lockheed engines pulsed steadily onwards in the light of the sub-zero dawn.

Callsign, Victor Quebec Tango Papa was on schedule…

Routinely they flew over Mont Blanc, before their descent towards Geneva airport, the course over the mountain was treacherous in those days. The streams of cold air which raced across its summit and the sudden snow flurries kicked up by the airstream and the suction from the four giant propellers, kept visibility to a minimum.

Added to these, were the shifting air temperatures common to the area, which could cause dramatic turbulence events.

The ignorance of the Jetstream in civil aviation, not fully understood at the time, added to the pilots’ problems.

As the Malabar Princess entered the pass the moisture driven from the peaks, by the airstream settled on the wings and control surfaces and ran off in rivulets of icy water…at first.

She had been flying for some time, in extremely cold air the condensation from the mountain started to freeze where it touched the cold surfaces, on propellers’, on wings, on fuselage and worst of all, round the engine air intakes.

The Super Constellation, as she struggled to gain height, gained weight and also produced less thrust, when she needed it most. She was in fact, entering terminal decline, an aviation term for about to crash.

Any one of her technical problems could have caused her to crash, all of them combined, guaranteed one.

“Christ on a crutch”, Victor remarked, “she’s a heavy bugger today”.

“Yeah”, grimaced Alan, the stress standing out on his jawline.

His hands juddered on the column as he fought to maintain control, the juddering became worse and both pilots used their combined strength to keep the nose up.

The sweat stood out on their brows as they fought the now bucking aircraft, the passengers sat in dumbstruck amazement as the realisation that something terrible was about to happen, enveloped them like a slow fever.

As the plane bobbed and weaved in the thin mountain air, the startling sight of the mountaintop came suddenly out of the grey, white storm.

“Oh God No”, screamed both pilots in unison…

A wingtip caught a protruding outcrop, causing the engines on the starboard wing to explode, as the plane plunged at stall speed, glancing across the mountain near the ‘Rochers de la Tournette’.

She bounced from rock and ice self-destructing as she went, her whirling props churning the snow into black slush, tearing the fuselage in two and whirling the passengers around inside, in a neck-snapping Polka.

Inside the suddenly silent hull, all was quiet, save for the odd electrical fizz and spark from the expiring cabin lights and circuits.

A groan from the jumble of seats which had been thrown out onto the snow from the middle section could be heard between the gusts of wind.

A ghastly apparition in a now tattered uniform rose from the tangle of luggage and twisted seating, and illuminated by the burning fuel, dragged itself free of the clutter.

The sounds of the crash still echoed in Myrtle Grostates oxygen-starved brain, as she struggled to stand upright.

The snow cleaned her blood covered cheeks and soothed her other injuries, the wind lashed her wet and rapidly freezing hair across her face in icy tendrils. Already ice crystals were forming in her veins, as she panted in, the sub-zero air, hastening the process.

She felt warm and pain-free as she vainly tried to rise again, her disobedient legs refusing the duty, as the inexorable cold worked its way deeper into her body.

The radio squawked its battery dying, “Geneva control to Air India 245 can you hear me?”

There was no reply from the storm-shrouded mountain, only the shrieking wind and the metallic clang of wind-driven debris, dashed against a broken wing.

On November 5th, a Swiss Air flight sited the crash site and radioed its position. A search team was hastily assembled made up of alpine guides, hunters, and gendarmerie. In those days there was no mountain rescue service, although the French government would soon demand it.

The team struggled to reach the site in the atrocious weather; the storm had not yet abated. A number of them had to fall out, from injury and exhaustion. Indeed one of the guides Rene Payot, died, carried away by a sudden avalanche. He left a wife and a fourteen-year-old son; he was killed close to the spot where his brother had died in 1939.

The remaining few managed, at last, to access the north-western ridge, the remaining guide, Pierre Leroux, described what he saw…

“The fire was burnt out, as was the wreckage, apart from, strangely enough, that part of the fuselage upon which was depicted an Indian dancer. She seemed to be doing a macabre dance upon the snow-covered mountain, as the metal skin on which she was painted, shimmied in the gale…”.


the joy a cardinal brought
by Linda M. Crate

beneath the chill of ice and snow
i saw a cardinal
the only color for several feet
without the taint of gray or white
it filled my soul with such joy
to find something
unmuted by the season of death
and reflection so long,
so depressing,
with depths that are shallow
in all that offer is coldness and chill;
the leafless trees and the howling wings
of wind always filled my soul
with a sort of
sadness-
i read once that cardinals are supposed
to be the souls of those who you loved and lost
visiting you
i wonder if it was my neighbor kathleen
whose brain cancer took her before her time
or my uncle jimmy
trying to remind me not to be sad
although his grief was too much and his demons
too strong for him to live out his whole life.


Sonnet on ice
by Oonah V Joslin

I became intimate with ice today.

I lay on the path in the aftermath
of shock, counting my lucky stars nothing
was broken. My glittering companion
a cold block beneath my head, a pillow
of pain and panic; part of the nightmare.

Unknown faces stared down. Their hands reached out,
picked up my hat and me, my bag and purse;
played nanny to my first quavering steps,
brushed off the grit and nurse-maided my fears,
tears witnessed by strangers whose faces I

cannot recall. But they’ll remember me.
Oh yes! And when they see me in the street
they’ll say, ‘There’s that woman who took the fall.’


The Frost Lady
by Oonah V Joslin

Celia stood with the key in her hand, beaming in front of, literally, her dream home. “Ian, it’s exact!” She crouched down. “Emma, do you like our new house?” But she could tell by the look of excitement on her daughter’s face that it was time to use that key.

As a child, Celia had done a dozen pictures of her dream house but never got it quite perfect. She’d kept them all. Maybe she’d get them framed now. Always mixed woodland to the left, tall conifers marching down to meet it, to the right a five bar gate and dry stone wall, the countryside falling away towards a sleepy river valley. She’d shown Ian the sketches – shared the dream but how he’d found this place, a sheer fluke, a wrong turning that led him miles out of his way. The cottage itself with its leaded windowpanes, roof criss-crossed with grey slate, white-washed stonework, and fir-green door looked so much like her drawings, it was unnerving, but not quite the same, not quite. Of course, it was still autumn and all of her pictures were snowy.

By winter they’d settled in. Emma liked drawing too. She used to draw Mummy, Daddy, and Emma. Then she’d started putting a bump where David was – Celia was sure it was a boy this time. Recently Emma had become obsessed with drawing the house. But Celia could understand that.

“I need colder pencils, Mummy,” she said one day.

“Colder pencils?”

“Yes. The Frost Lady said.”

“Well, if the Frost Lady says so…” Celia played along.

All shades of blue, lavender, mauve, cream, grey were deployed, sparkle was added, Emma was never quite satisfied with the result. “I want to draw it like the Frost Lady,” she said.

“Who’s this Frost Lady?” asked Ian.

“Every child has an imaginary friend–or a dream house. She’ll grow out of it.”

Christmas Eve the first snow was lying thick. Emma had been so excited about Santa coming but in the morning she was not in her bed. She wasn’t in the house or garden. There was no sign of her – no footprints in the vicinity, no tire tracks, nothing. Celia felt cold grip her heart. Rescuers joined the search. Day after day it continued and so did the cold spell.

Celia was due and she wanted Ian to stay with her. Why had she gone out? Where? “I know she’s out there, Ian kept saying,” as if the affirmation could work a miracle. He kept going into her room to check – looking out the window. That was what he was doing when he saw the finger draw, in frost, a perfect picture of the cottage. Suddenly Emma was outside. He’d seen her through the window, as if she was part of the picture, holding the hand of a tall woman dressed in white.

“Please, Ian.”

“I swear, Celia! Would I make up a thing like that?”

“Nobody’s saying you made it up, Ian. We’re both under a lot of strain. Maybe you saw what you wanted to see.”

“I know what I bloody saw, Cecelia!”

He stormed out to search the woods one more time. He didn’t return.

Celia had no idea how long she’d been lying there. There was an icy pain inside of her, cold where the baby’s warmth should be. She’d tried to call for help but there was no signal and the lines were down too. The snow lay ever thicker outside. The fire had long extinguished. The place was freezing.

Night turned to day. In the thin dawn light, she thought she saw – no, she was sure of it, her picture of the house – or Emma’s picture of it, as if through a misted mirror — a reflection of the house. That was it! That was why it had never been quite right. It was a reflection of the house, etched in frost. And now she saw there were three figures in the picture. One was Ian. The second was Emma. And the third – it must surely be the Frost Lady. Celia saw she was holding something — a baby.

No!” Celia screamed. She gathered all her strength and as she ran straight through the window an icicle pierced her heart.

A shorter version of The Frost Lady originally appeared in MicroHorror.


Snowfall in the barracks December 1940
by Sheila Jacob

He wakes to a white brightness,
snubs his nose against the window.
Snow is gloving bare trees,
bandaging gates and fences,
furring the barracks yard.

If it’s snowing back home
Mom will be lathering smalls,
to-ing and fro-ing between sink
and washing-line, moulting
ice over the kitchen floor.

He grins at the thought.
Fresh snow deep-cleansing undies,
turning the gasworks into a giant
cotton reel, plopping in the cut
and melting like Epsom Salts.

Here, snow yields to the scrunch
of shiny boots etching pathways
that criss-cross, zig-zag, mulch
and freeze beneath more showers.
By nighttime, the yard is ermine.

On duty, he swaps rifle for spade.
Waiting for Christmas, Soldier?
“No Sarge, sorry Sarge”- shovels
slowly, kneads two silver handfuls
and lobs snowballs into the air.

In memory of my Father


Icicles
by Alexander Hamilton

The mirk soiled sun breaks,
a beam strikes the edge,
sudden icefire races
through the hoar frost gems.
Ice crystals chime with light.
An Ice Dragon’s teeth
hang glistening
from the pouting
fat lipped viridian moss
that overhangs the verge.
Water, like ichor
slides lasciviously
down each crystal tooth,
and drip drip drops to the gravel.
Oh to be there
When the Dragon calls to collect!


Late winter
by Alexander Hamilton

The late winter sun has
Barely cleared the treetops
On its traverse from rise to now.
Weak rays of pale light
Soil the afternoon mist
With a piss thin yellow stain.
The way through the woods
Is dank, dark and decayed.
Empty pods of bulbous fungi
Lean into each other, mouldering.
Few birds bother to be about
Long returned to their roosts.
The only sound is of water,
Condensed mist drips
And drops, drips and drops
From branch to branch,
To plop sullenly
Onto pine needled turf.
Our voices fall to the ground,
The shrouding grey wrap
Leaches sound away
Leaving an emptiness,
That nothing rushes to fill.
Our muffled footsteps
Hit the stony track
And we and the dogs hasten home,
Taking our noise with us.


Snow
by Gareth Writer-Davies

I’m told
that the winters are not what they used to be

back then
the road over the tops was shut for weeks

Llangynidr
was down to tinned goods and sugar

one year the flock froze in the field
and there were lamb chops for supper

folk hate to have their nostalgia messed with
by frosty accusation

that they have gilded the lily
gelded the bull

maybe snow did crack the plough
and there were no bananas for love nor money

but chauvinism
hovers at the edge of conversation

the awful power of exaggeration
that turns sentiment

into satire at its driest
I wait for snow and the cold way it deadens voices


Snow at Pavlova, Crickhowell (looking for early signs of dementia)
by Gareth Writer-Davies

it’s cosy in here
my seat next to the window
the snow adding itself to the snowy trees

I have been day-sleeping (half in love)
like a nightingale

and the flags
make me drowsy
as I watch the snow fall, upon the ha-ha-ha of the town

I have little more to say upon the subject of snow
I may have something to say, later


Untitled
by J Samuels

(Wind)

A shriek of inhuman proportions, a whistle of inhuman gaiety, the wind changes constantly against the stark grey landscape.

No spot is safe from it; inside the rabbits’ burrow, inside the muskrats’ nest, the quilted coat or the fireplace, the wind explores all, touching its fingers upon each household like the angel of death.

No earthly blood upon the lintel can satisfy it; it turns away from nothing, magnanimous in its attempt to make the whole world as cold as the places from where it comes.

The ground is hard, the wind batters it into rocks and lifts it into barns; horses tread upon it with the clatter of a cobblestone road, and the sleigh makes in it no tracks.

(Ice)

The water, constantly stirring, constantly warm throughout the summer, loses its heat in the winter, the cold glaciers in the north making it colder than the fading sun can ward off,

The water, disappointed, is still.

The river becomes an icicle, dripping from the north; it loses its name to gain one more in common with the wintry landscape, it loses its identity to become a part of the landscape.

The gurgling brook is frozen through ice, it is muffled through snow — no more a gurgling brook does it remain, but an alien creature foreign to the nymphs of the sun.

(Darkness)

The light, the eternal benefactor of Mother Nature and Mother Earth, cowers in the distance;

It hides from the land that grows more sour as it flees, watching the alien evolution of the planet, hastening its fleeing to greater heights.

It is the grey clouds that embrace the earth throughout the season, returning home to her to be greeted as a husband is by an unfaithful wife.

The songs of birds, robins and blue-birds, are not stopped by the onslaught of cold as they are by the eternal darkness, they are given no guide as to day and night, no prodding of dawn for when to sing;

They still dart out from their nests from time to time, but it is so dark by then that not even their primary colored coats can be seen.

(Snow)

A frozen whisper of wind murmurs through the white and slumbering field,
The snowdrifts snuggle mercilessly against the warm, the cold, the shuddering,
Against everything but the fire crackling in the cave and the shelter of a house or barn.
The snow is reflective, the light from the sun would hurt your eyes if there were sunshine.
But there is no sun, the skies are grey and the world is born each day in darkness.
The water runs cold beneath the ice, blades of grass are sheathed in their white, untainted scabbards,

A rabbit, white like the snow with only the blacks of its eyes to distinguish it from its background, looks about nervously and sits still.

The Earth, it seems, is sent from heaven to the underworld, making a covenant with Castor and Pollux to set forth on her journey with them forever. Why is it, then, that throughout the period of darkness there are those who confess to like it best?

(Laughter)

Because among all the beliefs of the meaning of the wind, there is that of laughter, the thinness of which cannot equal a human voice but can set the world in motion to laugh;

The wind, soft as it is, cannot make during the season of light, and the earth, when it is happy, cannot be so easily set to laugh as when it is cold and barren.

The landscape becomes creased with the brows of happiness, wrinkles in the soil and on the ice are spotted, not as frightening to behold when it is remembered that they are a part of some larger, more eternal scheme.

(Warmth)

Because beneath the ice still runs a river, colder than before and more secluded, yet fish still dart through it and swim on their journeys up and downstream;

Because the snow in its act of snuggling contains the warmth of a household, and protects it from the numbing wind, a better protection than a quilted coat or a piece of wood;

The warmth is still there in life, warmer than before because of the briskness of the tempo of life, the hurried beat of the heart, the blush of color in the cheeks to keep warm against the nip of the wind.

Cold makes the body brisker, faster, more agile, while through warmth it lazes up to the fire in the sky like a salamander on a warm rock.

(Light)

Because when the sun does shine through the blanket of clouds, the light reflects off of so many snowdrifts that the world is a thousand-times more dazzling than any day when the sun is a common event; the one day of splendor out of a hundred dull, the one hour of brightness out of twenty-four dark, is more spectacular and beautiful than an endless monotony of beauty.

When the sun is a constant, the earth takes it as given, and the earth forgets the days when it will not be there;

When it rejoins the earth after a period of absence, the earth has not forgotten, and welcomes it with outstretched arms.

(Joy)

Because a smile on the face, having to crack through heavy lines, is all the warmer for that;

Because a gurgle in the brook, no longer heard, is imagined all the brighter;

Because a world once stark quickly becomes a world once beautiful;

Because one can live off of the feeling in their hearts at such a season, and require no other, more physical sustenance;

Because a quickening of the heart may at times be interpreted as a love of the land in which they exist.


Little bird-days
by Aidan Clarke

The day tucked its head beneath its wing
and fell backwards off its perch
without ever even trying to sing.

It lay like a dying robin in a frozen rut,
motionless, only the eyes betraying hurt,
fragile, forsaken, unable to survive.

I remember my feet being burned
when I placed them on the sand,
the universe so hot, the world expa-
a-
-nd
-ing.
I could not believe in winter.

Now the moon, hanging mercilessly as the Spanish sun,
seems like the light in a gigantic freezer.
The snow’s like chalk-dust,
sprinkled by a diligent detective.
The whorls and whirls of the land
wince at their cruel exposure to my city-gritted eyes.

Snow-flakes instead of leaves,
sad white night,
slow soft falling whiteness
into the hollow of my hopes.
Snow drifts against a wall
and the frozen landscape
is mirrored by my wasted soul.

I’ll build a bridge of snow and ice,
bind it with the river as cement
and bounce across it back to summer.


White frost
by Jonathan Eyre

Drove from Leeds to Scarborough today,
and the hedges and trees along the route were white frosted lace,
a harsh frost covered all, hanging from the branches and the leaves,
a wondrous site, something I have never seen before,
in trees reaching up one hundred feet or more,
sometimes white emerging from freezing fog,
at other times the sky a winter blue,
and along the hedgerows, a white covering moving blurred and fast
to the further reaches
frosted edges light etched across white fields,
white on white emerging from white.


Snowfun
by Jonathan Eyre

A Tree threw a snowball at me
it did!
well, not a full arm action,
not snow-crushed into a tight ball snowball throw,
but each in this world
according to their capabilities,
I am not one to judge
on individual capabilities
for a tree it was a really good throw
no discrimination judgement please
’cause snow hit me on the head,
then shoulder, a jolly caper
with the white snow covering the ground in a carpet and then
to have a tree join in with the kids
feeling the snow madness take a hold
and throw a snow ball at me.
It did its best
with its lack of movement of hand, wrist, arm and shoulder,
definitely cannot be re-assessed as not partaking in the fun
enlivened by the sun
really the sun made it happen
and the fun of the sun on the branches of the trees,
was all too much for this giver of shelter
leaf bare, snow blanketed branches
white tipped white lined grey brown against white
having merry japes
and not being left out
which was only right
of this fun sun snow day.


White Russian
Inspired by a photograph of my great-aunt Jessie McGibbon, circa 1904
by Maggie Mackay

I’m standing pale-serious in a Pushkin studio
as if in a snow-lit watery dream of frost-muffled stillness.
Sepia snap, St Petersburg.
My working loom hands are concealed
within sable fur, my shoulders heavy
under a night-black stole which falls from wide lapels.
Wrapped ready for a Christmas sleigh ride
across cotton wool snow, I’m in a Catherine the Great still.
Beyond, on the street, coal for sale echoes across frozen ground.

A version of this poem was published on Abigail Morley’s ‘The Poetry Shed’, New Year’s Day 2017


Snow Birds
by David Babatunde Wilson

A flurry of snow
Cascading off leaves
As feathers dart
From bushy refuge
To wintry lawn

Birds flit and flash
Rapid tap and peck
For scattered seeds
A dip of the head
And a sip of icy water

Snow covered grass
Clean and white
Blades of grass peeking
And three-pronged tracks
Pock-marking frosty ground


O Canada
by Lynn Valentine

Peaks of glory surround the lake.
We are walking on water
no gaps to mind, listening
as the ice forms and cracks.
A jump for joy on this frozen miracle
laughing at the world’s strange turn.

And it has turned again;
tilted to the left
as I stand on guard for thee.
You dream of those cold times now
tasting the frost in your sleep
wondering if the water
will carry your weight.


Snow Angels
by Hannah Bullimore

Constant company. Noise and talk and concerned faces pushing in. Popping in for a chat, plates of food to reheat, cakes covered with tea towels. And then, the silences in-between, made emptier by the previous busyness. Empty rooms with blurring colours, faded in the dark mid-afternoon. Unable to see through the fog in front of my eyes and feel anything. Just silence and the creaking of the house until the next round of knocking on the front door.

It went on for weeks. I’m not sure if they were waiting for me to put a stop to it while I waited for it to stop. Expecting it to naturally come to an end. They had me trapped, waiting for the next curve, the next tap on the door. The loop was endless and like a child thrown back against the body of a slide, I had no control. For a while, I gave in. I poured food into the bin to politely hand back empty casserole dishes. I nodded and shook my head at the right time. I got some fresh air to show I was trying and directed my gaze away from the Christmas lights along either side of the street.

The lights. They appeared like a rash on a child’s arm. Lighting up the winter nights and echoing the festive excitement. And then the neighbours set up two reindeer who flashed different jolly colours. Red, green, gold. There was no closing them out, the haze of colour pushed through my curtains. Flashing on walls and interrupting the TV which was failing to interrupt the silence.

At night, I watched the colours map emotions that once were onto the patterned plaster of my bedroom ceiling. What once was. Last year, I would have envied the neighbours their reindeer with the handsome faces and the crowd of children who seemed to constantly be petting and fussing. Once upon a time I would have researched similar displays for my own lawn, perhaps a pleasantly plump Santa or a resplendent archangel.

My eyes chased those lights until the muscles around them ached and so did my hands where they clutched the edge of the duvet. My teeth began to chatter. I was struck with the memory of numb toes in wellington boots and snow pushed down the back of coats, cheeks red and raw, flushed with happiness. The wind whipping your back, catching at your heels as you raced in the powdered snow, tripping but managing to keep going.

I was out of bed, finding my laptop. Searching forecasts for the nearest snow. And then hunting for somewhere open and vacant. Cost was no object. Hands shaking as I typed in details and the three-digit security code, guessing there was enough to pay. Grabbing an overnight bag and filling it with wool and fleece, a wash bag and a soft brown bear. A note stuck to the front door with a sticker stolen from a packet of chocolate buttons gone patchy white.

Gone Away For A While.

A slight panic that the cars battery might be dead. But I threw the bag in the boot anyway and slid into the driver’s seat, marvelling at the natural way the key slid into the ignition. Like perhaps I still remembered how to drive, like perhaps it all did just keep going on. Soaring elation at the rev of the engine and then sickening guilt.

Four AM and I didn’t care if I woke the neighbours. Let them look out, watch me leave and tut. It was their reindeer’s fault.

The roads were empty and letting the car pick up speed was like stretching every muscle in my body after an awfully long sleep. Passing lorries laden with Christmas gifts and signs for Black Friday and gap-toothed children, nameless and familiar. Keeping my eyes on the road, a grip on the steering wheel that numbed my fingers and silence, the radio kept turned off, not risking the irritating chorus of Christmas songs. But listening to the engine and the chug of the road, different surfaces, smooth and dipped, potholes and ice.

Roads opened out, sped up then closed in, winding away into green hills paled with frost and above heavy clouds, weighted down with ice. And a few more cars now, perhaps travelling somewhere for the holidays or the last days of work and school, the lasts days of the year.

The sun began to appear as the lake came into view. The odd tractor, a van laden with sheep in their woolies looking out with disconcerted faces as the road slid underneath their feet. Trying not to catch their eye, to think about where they were going. Pulling up to the cabin to find the key in a safe box. Early for check in, but the place was deserted so no one would mind.

Making a mug of coffee and going to sit outside with a duvet from the other room wrapped around my shoulders. Sitting on the step and feeling the damp and the cold sink in. The flash of pain in hip joints. The sun so high. Then darkness and no light, no colours, no fleeting memories of the emotions that once were.

They said I was brave. I could still hear them and I wanted to cover my ears. Nothing brave about it, just afraid to end it because at least while I’m here, awake, I have the memory and apparently that’s what keeps our loved ones alive. In my hand the teddy, called Bear by my girl. Fur worn away on his forehead where she would rub her nose with her thumb in her mouth as she fell asleep, lids flickering with dreams I couldn’t even comprehend. She saw snow only once and raced about like a puppy. We stood back and let her, just watching and wondering at her joy.

The clouds lower as though sinking in for the night. I glance up and see it. The first snowflake. Thin and fragile. Perfect. I catch it in the palm of my hand and watch it melt, close my hand and wait for the rest of the snow to come.


Haiku
by Catherine Graham

Quiet as winter,
naked hills wilderness white.
A whiter bird, still.


Snowdrift
by Mantz Yorke

From the valley, it didn’t seem much –
just a thin ribbon of snow below the ridge –
and the route to the crest straightfoward:
now the slope seems impossibly steep,
looking up, and the snow, demerara-ish
and melting, is giving way beneath my feet.

I’m like the snail in that problem in maths,
crawling three feet up a well in daytime,
and sliding back nearly as much at night,
and you’re asked to calculate the days
it will take the snail to reach the top.
I look back down the rock-dotted grass

that seems to fall away just as steeply,
imagining slithering back to tumble
uncontrollably among the stones. Frozen,
I can only shout for help. A hand
stretches down: his touch spurs me
to resume my struggle up the snow.


January, Alderley Edge
by Mantz Yorke

It has been cold a long time.
An easterly wind, keening greyly
across the scarp, has left crescents of snow
in hoofprints and against roots.
This earth, parched as a desert,
has no give, and no moist softness
envelops the autumn’s fall of seeds.

Chilled at the edge, we descend
through beeches to the lower path
where barbed wire marks the boundary
between Trust land and open pasture,
and a frozen avalanche of reddish sand
and boulders is poised, awaiting
the release of spring.

Here, in warmer times, there’d be
a trickle picking its way between rocks,
puddling the path and spreading
in the field below. Today, no water moves:
white panes glaze each rut and footprint,
and nearby grass, sheltered from sun and wind,
stays tinged with frost. The ice
bears my weight, then sharply cracks,
my foot slithering in the mud beneath:
off-balance, I cannot avoid the fall.

Alderley Edge is owned by the National Trust in the UK.


Thaw
by Mantz Yorke

Half close your eyes: you can imagine
tundra at the end of winter –
snow, close-packed, granular,
translucent at its margin, retreating
from the first green of moss, and slushy
pools spreading over frozen ground.

Viewed narrowly, the impression is dispelled:
a filigree of birch reflected in the gutter
is etched more finely than against the sky.
This inverted land, both virtual and real,
invites our exploration: we hesitate,
uncertain of our journey, and its end.

A toe breaks the stillness, stirring
sediment towards the surface.
The quivering sky is slow to calm,
the smoky swirl to settle.
Restored, the image appears unchanged,
but is in its depth transformed.


Skating in other’s expectations 
by Andy N

Fluent in three languages
by the time she reached 11,
she always stood out in class
with her mathematical memory
and classical literature taste
or with her working class family
on the other side of the estate
buried in poverty driven frustrations.

Scraping up fragments of dreams
in layers of ice every winter
where she would dance secretly
across the lake in a perfect pose
clipping her heels together
so it became transformed
into a frozen beach in blue sand
carried away in her heart.

Spinning free in her solitude
across the chipped moonlight
away from everybody else’s dreams
shimmering in wishes
every time she stepped out
held up in thoughts
nobody else could see
or understand.

Dancing over leaves and moss
close to the broken down swings
with her glacial silver blades
spread fragrant
like a untold narrative
held up in thoughts
free from everybody’s dreams
for just a short while.


Beneath the Blizzard
by Wendy Lee Klenetsky

… But knowing  WELL IN ADVANCE  and preparing for ANY possible problem she might encounter,

she had brought a shovel with her; hidden inside the large bag she was dragging.

When she reached her IDEAL place, NOT a clearing which could very easily be discovered, it proved to be the most DENSLY, OVERGROWN, broken branch- filled spot in the entire woods. Here, even with the wind swirling the snow around and blinding her eyes, she knew EXACTLY what to do.

First, despite wearing warm woolen gloves, she had to feverishly rub her frozen fingertips so they’d be ready, able and limber enough to tackle the task at hand (no pun intended).  When she felt that her hands were flexible enough to proceed, she took a firm grip of the shovel and plunged it into the frozen earth. Scooping up one pile of dirt after another, she made CERTAIN that the hole she’d dug was the correct depth needed to completely BURY the item in question.

Now that THAT was done, as carefully as she could, even with that howling wind, she gingerly lifted it out of the large bag. Looking all around to reassure herself that all was safe, she carefully placed it AND the large bag into the hole. Then, SOMEHOW, with her strength ebbing from the effects of the blizzard, she picked up the shovel again and REFILLED the hole with every bit of that dirt. Then, for a finishing touch, she threw as many branches as she could see ON TOP of the hole. In this way, THAT area resembled EVERY OTHER area in the woods.

Okay. “Mission accomplished,”  she thought. NOBODY‘S gonna find it here.. or ANYWHERE!

                With that said and done, she walked as quickly as she could out of the wooded area, and onto the city streets. Once there, she took a big, deep breath and headed towards her office building, the place where she was going to get PAID for her part of the job.

Why she got involved in “the job” in the FIRST place was a question of which she, herself, wasn’t too sure.

After all,  wasn’t she just the typical “goody-goody” office secretary, who was the one to whom the boss went whenever he needed: reports done, visitors met, coffee made and a “date” for any and all corporate occasions? She had always been the one on which he counted for all of this and MORE, and she never really minded doing whatever he asked of her. But lately, at least it SEEMED that way to HER, her boss was telling her that he needed her “on his arm” PRACTICALLY once or twice EACH WEEK! It was really starting to get a bit uncomfortable.  Although she’d TOLD him how she felt about this SEVERAL times, he’d basically dismissed her, and told her that it was “part of her job”.  She had to bite her lip to prevent her from giving him “a piece of her mind”. So she went along in order to keep peace and her job, but secretly she vowed that she was going to get even with him, somehow.

In the meantime, a new advertising executive had joined the firm.  He was a single, fairly-attractive 30-something, blond-haired, brown-eyed guy.  Whenever he saw her at the office, he was always friendly and helpful. He’d helped her carry and distribute items, and made HER coffee. She easily became fond of him and enjoyed their time together; lunches and late dinners. Thanks to HIM, HER job became a little bit less stressful and distasteful.

When she had confided in him about the ways in which her boss USED her as his “date” or “eye candy”, her new guy became VERY ANGRY.  “There must be SOMETHING I could do to help you with this joker”, he told her. But she didn’t want him to get involved with her problem.

“If you get involved, you’ll get in trouble”, she answered him. “Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine. It’s YOU that I’m concerned with. I’ll figure out SOMETHING.. SOME WAY to get BACK at him.”

And before long, he DID find a way.

One day, when they were both working late, and her boss had gone home, her guy told her his plan of revenge. She was a bit nervous at the thought but intrigued nonetheless.

“I have the combination of the office safe. I saw him put a large wooden box into it. I asked him what was in the box and he told me it was his collection of RARE COINS. There must have been HUNDREDS of them in there! Let’s go NOW, and get that box. We’ll HIDE it somewhere, where NOBODY will find it. Then YOU and I will get it, quit our jobs, and take off to points unknown!  Are you GAME?

She thought about everything he said, hesitated, but finally said “YES I AM!” THAT’S how much she HATED her boss; the “goody-goody” girl wouldn’t have gone along with that plan.

So they went into the office,  opened the safe and removed the big box of  RARE COINS.  “I’LL hide this in the woods, in a hole I’ll dig, return here for MY payment..YOU. We’ll  go back to the woods, unearth the box and take off!

GREAT.  We can’t POSSIBLY fail!”

Well.. they DID fail..

The blizzard DIDN’T  END when she’d left the woods; it re-energized, blowing ALL the branches and dirt away. When they came to get the box, they couldn’t find the spot where she’d dug the hole.

The box was never found, DEVASTATING the boss. THAT they accomplished.

Nothing else..


What winter does to us
by Gaia Holmes

What winter does to us
In winter
we turn in to dry witches
broiling and flaking
in the house’s biscuit-heat,
plump with fleece and knitted layers,
our rich, raw mouths
jewelled with cold sores,
our blue veins glowing
through our skin.

Empowered by the Arctic winds
we carry little avalanches
in our pockets.
We have tamed them, like poodles.
We keep them in screw-capped jars.

We are friends with the frost.
We can tell it what shapes
to fill our windows with
and we can make
sharp mornings safe,
file down snarling icicles,
peel black ice off the roads.

Snowmen soften in our beds,
melting a little
with each chilled love knot
we unpick.


Precious
by Gaia Holmes

Tonight
up here on our
savage little island
the ice works its dark magic,
gilding and glazing
the grid of dull roads,
laminating grass
and slug tracks,
making rotten gateposts
precious,
lacquering the slipway
and turning
the harbour rocks
into hefty jewels
that we wear
around our neck
to charm
our raw-faced,
wind-flayed husbands
who know
nothing at all
about shine.


Frost
by Gaia Holmes

This morning
there was frost
on my mother’s lawn.
The kind of frost
that dulls the grass
rather than make its sparkle
and it’s nagged me all day.

I’ve thought of it
up there on your island,
more brutal,
more insidious
than this soft Sothern stuff.

I’ve thought of it
lacquering the insides
of your caravan
where lamps or candles
have not been lit
for weeks.

I’ve thought of it
patterning the face
of the watch
which will
no longer know
the warmth
of your wrist.

I’ve thought of it
gilding the edge of the step
where you’ll never slip.
I’ve thought of it
thickening in the necks
of bottles of old milk

I’ve thought of it
stiffening the locks,
coupling with the mould,
goading the walls
of your home
to buckle and rot.


Note to a neighbour
by Rachel Bower

You
peeped
through
your
nets
as I
snapped
if off
your shed,
strolled
past
your
hedge
sucking
the
delicious
lime
wedge
but
our
freezer
was
broken
and the
baby
needs ice
day
and
night
so I’m
sorry for
the
theft,
I’ll harvest
the rest
and
make
you
an
ice
bouquet.


General store thank you calendar
by Laura Madeline Wiseman

The day’s progression lead onward
even the holidays and weekends
are numbered to stand out
bright against the norm and be celebrated.

As the best wishes and good cheers start
the new year in January,
which was months ago and then offered,
week after week, luck and warmth,
and the moons become half
then full, then disappear,
and it all starts over again.

So many New Year calendars
tacked here and there with hopes
of the next journey ahead.

Some days we’re lost
moving in circles because none
of the roads are marked,
the directions are confusing,
or we simply lose our way.

Then we find a little café
where the radio plays
with internet and phone
and we sign the book,
reading the names of friends
who were here yesterday
or many years ago.

We give thanks and wish
as we eat, studying the map
the calendar, what’s left of the days.


The Enveloping Whiteness
by Cath Barton

I had been clear, I was sure of that. And in any case there was no other left turn for miles. You couldn’t have missed the sign for the house. Or could you? And at that time no snow was falling. Or was it? Such are the doubts that afflict us all, in hindsight.

There was certainly mud. When I arrived cars were slipping and sliding on the approach road as drivers panicked and over-revved their engines. Some people go to pieces so easily. There was me tut-tutting in my head, it was only a bit of mud, what if it really snowed, how would these people cope then? That’s what I was thinking, me oh so sure of myself.

Me there waiting at the door at the time we’d said, looking for you amongst the people coming up the steps.

But there was no you.

Plenty of others I knew, all chatter and brightness with their How are you, it’s been so long, and Have you heard about so-so-so, would you believe a person would do that, for goodness sake what is the matter with people? And me nodding and smiling and going in and accepting a glass of mulled wine because someone insisted that one wouldn’t hurt me. All the time looking for you over everyone’s shoulder. Looking for the you who wasn’t there. The you I had never doubted, would never

I knew you’d love the sparkle through the house as I do, little lights shining like hope in the dark of a winter’s afternoon. And the ivy twined around golden picture frames, holly with painfully red berries, branches of pine and, half-hidden in an alcove, thick woolen blankets on a four-poster bed where, on another day, in another life, you and I would have.

But I could not think of that. More people were arriving in flurries, shaking themselves like dogs, because it was definitely snowing now, big flakes that dissolve into fat water drops as soon as people step into the warm. My friends were leaving, So much to do at this time of year, isn’t there? they said as they went out into the whiteness, trailing children. And there was nothing at all for me to do but wander through the rooms in which the sparkle had dulled and the scents were becoming cloying. Candles were burning down and wax had spilled on one of the beautiful blankets, blankets made by hand by people who cared, cared as you and I cared for one another, or so I

So I thought. The stair carpets were getting so dirty, all those people tramping up and down, their boots muddy and wet. You said I worried too much, too easily, and anyway – you would have said if you had been there – this was not my house. And everyone was leaving now and there was nothing for it but for me to

For me to leave, and to walk away from this place where you and I would never now be, to walk away through the enveloping whiteness.


The Falls
by Connie Ramsay Bott

Two nineteen-year-olds
night-shift workers
on the suburban edge of Detroit

two February girls
tired of winter
tired of our lives

two girls yearning
wanting excitement
wanting out

rode to Niagara Falls
on a Greyhound bus
to a rather seedy hotel

dingy walls
dim lights
“magic fingers” twin beds

Skylon Tower
freezing mist cloud
nowhere to eat

short cold days
long cold nights
standing on the edge

behind metal railings
watching huge chunks of river ice
leaping and crashing

taking our breath away


Snow Blindness
by Sarah Watkinson

I can’t see colour this morning. It’s all gone
except the dog’s brown and writes in yellow
on the snowman’s remains.
Otherwise monochrome. The air
is not clear to me. Particles sift in it
like something’s the matter with my eyes.
There are no edges in the sky
and half of it’s on the ground. Dumped,
the snow’s become an encumbrance.

Earth’s annual tilt eclipses light and heat.
Under the stair
the meter spins, the days tick by
to the deadline for self-assessment.


DECEMBER: Her Winter Houses Moon
The Yonghi-Bonghi-Bo.
by J.A. Sutherland

Midwinter, and the garden’s lake
is petrified to a pool of frozen tears;
a solid silver dish, impenetrable
from above or below by light or dark.

Alone in his Karmic Ivory Tower sits
Lear, with his myriad of nonsenses:
unmarried, impoverished, sedentary,
mind running faster than pulse.

His Eden consists of Bong Trees,
and his serpent less feared or revered
than the Yonghi-bonghi-bo,
Quangle-Wangle, Pobble and Dong.

He named the creatures; his crazy
cosmogony merely a foil to his
sad, self-deprecatory sense of humour,
hewn from his ornithological pursuits.

To this end, he refused the fruit,
alleging enforced solitude to be
the sole route to creativity: travel,
his companion, escape his destination.

Yet once, this journey took him to the
land of myth, where one strange siren,
beguiled by the anomaly of his charm
both puerile and old before its time,

attempted to lure Lear from his fantasy.
Threatened by phantasmagorial reality
he ran a mile, preferring to dwell ever
more beneath Her Winter Houses Moon.

And so, regressive and old-fashioned,
unhappily trapped between the
ever after and once upon a time,
he sent out his ridiculous, satirical cat,

to court with wisdom and truth,
in a beautiful pea-green boat.
But now the winter warps the water,
and the Winter House looks out

no longer to a halcyon sea,
or a land of invention and magic:
only the looking glass, back to front,
mocking Her moon’s distorted image.

Note: ‘winter houses moon’ is the name given by the Wisham native American people.


Wounds healed up
by Sujoy  Bhattacharya

I was studded with blisters of life!
Scars of deception were red- marked with
swellings of poignant ailment of swindling.
Wounds of loveless tumors were bleeding
saps of irate stinging fly’s suffocating agony.
The snowcapped mountains of the Himalaya
were enticing me to pacify my pain with
the coldness of endless stretch of ice.
A group of snowmen Yeti welcomed me
with exploding reception.
My mortal wounds spilled fetid fluid.
The distant stars were blinking boisterously
to get rid of foul smell of my wounds
oozing out prehistorical seepage.
Kindhearted snow chunks melted mildly
and washed my scars to mitigate my
malignant measles of modernization.
A glimpse of ice age appeared before
my vampire look to get it rinsed with
coagulated mist.
I looked downstairs awestricken!
Manmade ice below frowned at me
with furiously burning eyes.
I closed my eyes sewing my eyelids
with old dynastic frozen stitches!


How cold does it have to be?
by Deni Turp

Hello,
worm,
I said,
You’ll
freeze
out
there.
Open grass seemed
so exposed to flying dangers,
and with no shelter from the cold.
I touched it gently just to check it was alive.
I’ll
move
you
to a
flowerbed.
There’ll
be
some
cover
there,
is what I said, and picked it up.
It didn’t coil and spring,
but clearly was alive so
I placed it under leaves,
safe, I hoped, then I went
wandering round the frosty garden,
wondering about wormness.
Perhaps it had intended to be there,
exposed, unsheltered.
Perhaps it knew its time had come,
too cold,
too old
to carry
on, and
hoping
for a
swift
end.
How could I know?
Perhaps I’d made things worse,
prolonging life,
the curse of interference,
good intentions,
as
we
do.


Thinking of going South from Cardiff
by Denni Turp

These photos in the dining room tell nothing
of the ships and men they show in black and white.
I sit here with my coffee and contemplate their setting out,
wonder which nights they spent preparing for the trip,
perhaps in rooms I’m using now. Cardiff city centre,
quite unlike the place that they knew then,
hustles with the morning, roars and hums,
becomes a dragon, attacking walls and windows
with a rhythm that must have been pervasive
in Scott’s blood to drive him south against the odds.
From here, they sailed on Terra Nova, June 1910,
with ponies, dogs, motorised sledges and sixty-five men.
Two Decembers in succession cost them dearly,
the first at sea, the second on that frozen land,
so what they’d planned, both times, was changed,
recalculated, and the groupings and the journeys rearranged.
Two shortest days and longest nights for those at home,
theirs blinded by the light through every summer hour,
unremitting, white, the glaciers blue with depth.
Two Januarys caught in the windswept cold of southern storms,
they thought of family and friends in the Festival of Lights at home.
1912, a year for ice, disaster elsewhere later, but there,
Epiphany ten days past, their moment of revelation was no joy,
though they pressed on until they raised the second flag.
Most of what we think we know is how they lost that race,
were lost themselves, but, oh! the lights they must have seen
before the final darkness came: solar pillars,
as if the sun could guide them on to their essential here
beneath its golden pointing, to the treasured spot;
and solar haloes where the air became a magic circle,
somewhere safe and warm to hold them in its glow.
We imagine where they were as shadowed, black with night,
forgetting that while we shiver in our brief northern winter
the southern pole is bathed in light.


A Daydream
by Hannah Eckman

a daydream.
one moment, I am sitting in my bed,
feeling the cold wisps of air brush against my cheek.
the next, I am there.
I am no longer surrounded by pillows and pictures of my loved ones,
But I am submerged in white.
In flashes, I can feel that I am freezing
That I am not properly equipped to be entangled in a snowstorm,
That I quite literally could freeze right now.
But in my hand I hold a camera,
And I am standing in the middle of the road.
No cars are coming at me, so I stand in hazelnut silence
As I peer out at the mountains.
Each breath I take floats in front of me like a memory that I’ve forgotten.
I am shivering in sheer delight and slight hypothermia
And I am happy.
a daydream.


Biographies

Jane Burn is a North East based artist and writer originally from South Yorkshire. Her poems have been featured in magazines such as The Rialto, Under The Radar, Butcher’s Dog, Iota Poetry, And Other Poems, The Black Light Engine Room and many more, as well as anthologies from the Emma Press, Beautiful Dragons, Poetry Box, Emergency Poet and Kind of a Hurricane Press. Her pamphlets include Fat Around the Middle, published by Talking Pen and Tongues of Fire published by the BLER Press. Her first full collection, nothing more to it than bubbles has been published by Indigo Dreams. She also established the poetry site The Fat Damsel. She was longlisted in the 2014 & 2016 National Poetry Competition, commended and highly commended in the Yorkmix 2014 & 2015, came second in the Welsh International Poetry Competition 2017 and won the inaugural Northern Writes Poetry Competition in 2017.

Mandy Macdonald is an Australian writer and musician living in Aberdeen. Her poems appear in the anthologies Outlook Variable, Extraordinary Forms, and Songs for the Unsung (Grey Hen, 2016 and 2017), Aiblins: New Sottish political poetry (Luath, 2016), A Bee’s Breakfast (Beautiful Dragons, 2016), and in numerous other places in print and online, most recently in The CurlewThree Drops from a Cauldron, Coast to Coast to Coast, and Riggwelter. When not writing, she sings.

Jack Little(b. 1987) is a British-Mexican poet, editor and translator based in Mexico City. He is the author of ‘Elsewhere’ (Eyewear, 2015) and is the founding editor of The Ofi Press: www.ofipress.com He was the poet in residence at The Heinrich Böll Cottage on Achill Island in the west of Ireland in July 2016. Jack’s poems have been most recently published in Orbis, Poetry Salzburg Review, Riggwelter Magazine and Stepaway Magazine.

Ceinwen Haydon writes poetry and short stories. She has been published on line and in print anthologies. She graduated from Newcastle University in 2017 with an MA in Creative Writing. She believes everyone’s voice counts and intends to grow old disgracefully.

Rosemary McLeish makes art and writes poetry. “And that’s been my life since I was 40, about 30 years ago. For a while art took precedence but I have returned to poetry recently since arthritic hands make me less able to make my art. So glad to be back!”

Ruth Aylett lives in Edinburgh where she teaches and researches university-level computing. She was joint author with Beth McDonough of the pamphlet Handfast, published in 2016. One of four authors of the online epic Granite University, she performed with Sarah the Poetic Robot at the 2012 Edinburgh Free Fringe. She has been published by The North, Prole, Antiphon, Interpreter’s House, New Writing Scotland, South Bank Poetry, Envoi, Bloodaxe Books, Red Squirrel Press, Doire Press and others. See www.macs.hw.ac.uk/~ruth/writing.html for more.

Hannah Bullimore is a writer and blogger from Newcastle. She has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Newcastle where she also works as a personal tutor. She is a content writer for a marketing company and has a blog where she posts original fiction, book reviews and lifestyle posts. She is currently working on a crime novel set in the North East of England and on a website to help support people with chronic illnesses. Her blog can be found at hannahbullimoreblog.wordpress.com

Harry Gallagher has been widely published, both in the UK and abroad.  His current collection ‘Northern Lights’ (Stairwell Books) is out now.  He writes and tours regularly. www.harrygallagherpoet.wordpress.com

Cheryl Pearson lives and writes in Manchester. Her poems have appeared in publications including The Guardian, Southword, The High Window, Under The Radar, Frontier, and The Interpreter’s House. She won first prize in the High Sheriff’s Cheshire Prize for Literature 2016, and the Torbay Poetry Competition 2017. She has also twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her first collection, “Oysterlight”, is available now from Amazon/Pindrop Press.

Carolyn Yates is a published writer of non-fiction who started writing poetry in 2002. She has recently gained  an MSc in Playwriting from the University of Edinburgh. Her poems have been published in the Southlight Magazine, on-line at LabLit, the London Review and the Poetry Map of Scotland. She was Wigtown Book Festival’s literature development officer for Dumfries and Galloway for six years.  She’s been a science teacher, school inspector, researcher and university lecturer. She co-direct Buskers spoken word performance company and runs Ryan Youth Theatre in Stranraer.

Mark Connors is an award-winning writer from Leeds, UK. His poetry has appeared in many anthologies, alongside acclaimed poets such as Simon Armitage, Andrew Motion, Antony Dunn and Kate Fox. He’s also had over 100 poems published in a variety of magazines and literary journals both in the UK and overseas, including Envoi, Prole, The Interpreter’s House, Dream Catcher and a number of Indigo Dreams imprints.

Dora Wright has been writing poetry for the last seven years. Has had several poems published “(in fact one in the local paper The Lennox Herald last week). I am a member of three Writing groups, The Pen & Ink Club, The Leven Litts. and also the  Clydebank Writers  At the moment   I am doing a ten week Poetry writing Workshop at Glasgow University. Recently I have took part in a few Open Mike’s  one in Waterstone’s Book Shop and one in our local library, very scary but exciting too.Its nice to see people’s reactions to your poetry.”

Finola Scott is published in The Ofi Press, Obsessed with Pipework , And other Poems and  Clear Poetry among other places. Mentored by Liz Lochhead on Scotland’s Clydebuilt Scheme, she recently read at The Edinburgh Book Festival.

Bozhidar Pangelov, born in Sofia, Bulgaria, in 1959, is a contemporary Bulgarian poet. His penname “bogpan” (“god Pan”) is taken from the Greek mythology.. Four Cycles (2005) was fully based on motifs from Hellenic legends and myths. His next books were Delta (2005), The Girl Who… (2008) and The Man Who… (2013). A Feather of Fujiama (2014) was published by Hammer & Anvil Books. His work has been translated widely. Bozhidar Pangelov participates in the German project “Europe … takes. Europa ein Gedicht. Castrop Rauxel ein Gedicht, Ruhr 2010), and the project “Spring Poetry Rain” (Cyprus, 2012). Now he lives and works in Sofia city.

Maggie Mackay, a Scot and Manchester Metropolitan University MA Poetry graduate, has work in print and online in publications such as Amaryllis, Algebra of Owls, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Prole, Three Drops Press and Atrium.

Rachel Burns is currently an Arvon/Jerwood mentee in playwriting. Poems published widely in UK magazines and shortlisted in competitions Mslexia, Writers’ & Artists Yearbook and The Keats- Shelley Poetry Prize 2017.

Adrian Mcrobb is a father of two, Grandfather of five.Writer for 20 years (Cramlington Writers Group).Ex-Asda Security, Ex-Brewery, Engineer, Ex-R.N. Writes mostly poetry…can write prose (if pushed)

Linda M. Crate’s works have been published in numerous anthologies and magazines both print and online. She is a two-time push cart nominee and the author of four published chapbooks. The latest book of poetry being My Wings Were Made to Fly. (Flutter Press, September 2017).

Oonah V Joslin is poetry editor at The Linnet’s Wings. She has won a few awards for poetry and three MicroHorror prizes. Her book “Three Pounds of Cells” ISBN: 13: 978-1535486491 is available on Amazon and you can see and hear Oonah read in this National Trust video. The first part of her novella A Genie in a Jam is serialized at Bewildering Stories, along with a large body of her work (see Bibliography section). You can follow Oonah on Facebook or at Parallel Oonahverse https://oovj.wordpress.com/

Sheila Jacob was born and bred in Birmingham and now lives in North Wales with her husband. She’s had work published in Sarasvati, Clear Poetry, The Dawntreader, The Cannon’s Mouth and various other publication/ webzines.

Alexander Hamilton is a Property Maker, Mixed Media Artist and Accidental Farmer. Having spent his working life in the Theatre, he still needs to create. When not working at his bench, he writes poetry, some of which have been accepted by Forward Poetry, and short stories for children aimed at adults.

Gareth Writer-Davies; Shortlisted for the Bridport Prize (2014 and 2017) and the Erbacce Prize (2014)Commended in the Prole Laureate Competition (2015) and Prole Laureate for 2017.Commended in the Welsh Poetry Competition (2015) and Highly Commended in 2017 His pamphlet “Bodies”, was published in 2015  by Indigo Dreams and his next pamphlet “Cry Baby” will come out in November, 2017.

J. Samuels is an aspiring author and poet who hopes to convey the beauty of the world through his simple words. He started out his writing career by writing little oddities in a book of his. His most recent submission, Ice and Snow, is a montage of a couple of these. He hopes to continue his seasonal tour in the future with works about other natural landscapes.

J. A. Sutherland is a writer and performer based in Edinburgh, widely published in pamphlets and online, producing work in a variety of forms such as art-books, exhibitions, theatre, spoken-word performance, and on a blog, throughtheturretwindow@blogspot.com A further poem from The Imaginary Menagerie sequence can be found here on The Open Mouse. https://theopenmouse.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/j-a-sutherland/

Aidan Clarke has been a performer and writer of over 30 years. He is well known for his soothing language, dry comedic observations as well as having a fantastic knowledge of birds and georgraphy.

Jonathan Eyre has appeared on the Glastonbury Festival  Poetry & Words Stage, in the Sleaford Mods film ‘Invisible Britain’, and has multiple video clips shot by audiences on YouTube (search Jonathan Eyre Poet). “We can change the way people relate to everyday life, to others, and crucially, also to ourselves.” Jonathan Eyre has published ten poems on chronic disease and its impact in the pamphlet ‘Stopping The Clocks’ , and is a regular open micer, support, and headliner at poetry events.

Lynn Valentine ” I’m a dog walker and sometimes writer living on the Black Isle in the Highlands. In a previous life I worked for the BBC in Glasgow and London. Don’t know if you need to know anything about current writing but I have a reminiscence in the Scottish Book Trust’s Nourish book for Book Week Scotland; I have a poem on the Scottish Poetry Library blog this week for their My Time project and I will have three short poems on the Nutshells and Nuggets website”

Catherine Graham lives in Newcastle on Tyne. Catherine’s latest collection, a pamphlet, Like A Fish Out Of Batter, poems after L. S. Lowry, is published by Indigo Dreams Publishing. http://www.indigodreams.co.uk/catherine-graham/4593256234

Mantz Yorke lives in Manchester, England. His poems have appeared in a number of print magazines, anthologies and e-magazines in the UK, Ireland, Israel, Canada, the US, Australia and Hong Kong.

Andy N is the author of the ‘Role Reversal’ series and the forthcoming ‘Barbarians of the Wall’ series.His poetry books including ‘Return to Kemptown’ and ‘The End of  Summer’.His official blog is Andy N – Writer and Experimental Musician

Wendy Lee Klenetsky  “I’m the 66-year-old wife (43 years) of a great guy, and mom of 2 fabulous girls (married 11 weeks apart in ’13).Until old age kicked in, I was a 20-year league bowler who scored a 259 clean game/630 series. All that means is I was GREAT for 1 day out of 20 years! Now I’m a freelance writer, sweepstaker, knitter and crocheter. That’s Me..in a nutshell.”

Gaia Holmes is a free-lance writer and creative writing tutor who has worked with schools, universities, libraries and other community groups throughout the  Yorkshire region. She runs ‘Igniting The Spark’, a weekly writing workshop at Dean Clough, Halifax. She has had two full length poetry collections published by Comma Press: Dr James Graham’s Celestial Bed (2006) and Lifting The Piano With One Hand (2013) and a poetry collaboration with Winston Plowes, called Tales from the Tachograph (Calder Valley Poetry, 2017).She is currently working on her third collection which will, amongst other things, deal with gaps, sink holes and rambling houses.

Rachel Bower is a poet and Research Fellow at the University of Leeds. Rachel co-edited the anthology, Verse Matters, with Helen Mort (Valley Press, Nov 2017) and her book, Epistolarity and World Literature, 1980-2010 was published by Palgrave Macmillan in October 2017. Her inaugural pamphlet, Moon Milk, will be published by Valley Press in May 2018 and she is currently working on her second monograph, Transnational Collaboration: Poets of Leeds and Nigeria Unite, 1950-1970.  Rachel is also the founder of Verse Matters, a feminist arts collective in Sheffield. Website: https://rachelbowerwrites.wordpress.com

Laura Madeline Wiseman’s book Velocipede, published by Stephen F. Austin State University Press, is a 2016 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award Finalist. Her book Leaves of Absence: An Illustrated Guide to Common Garden Affection with artist Sally Deskins published by Red Dashboard, is an Honor Book for the 2017 Nebraska Book Award.

Cath Barton is an English writer who lives in Wales. Winner, New Welsh Writing Awards AmeriCymru Prize for the Novella 2017 and 2nd place in the Dorset Fiction Award, October 2017. Stories in The Lonely CrowdFictive DreamSpelk and more. Regular contributor to Wales Arts Reviewhttps://cathbarton.com/Tweets @CathBarton1

Connie Ramsay Bott grew up in Michigan, where many of her stories and poems take place.  Her novel Girl Without Skin was published by Cinnamon Press in August 2017.  She lives in Warwickshire.

Sarah Watkinson is a lifelong scientist who has been writing poetry regularly since becoming a student of Jenny Lewis, The Poet’s House Oxford, in 2012. Her acclaimed debut pamphlet, ‘Dung Beetles Navigate by Starlight’, (link: goo.gl/K7qmrJ) published in 2017, won a Cinnamon Press Pamphlet Prize, and work has appeared in anthologies and magazines including Antiphon, Ink Sweat & Tears, Litmus, Pennine Platform, Under the Radar, The Rialto and Well-Versed. With Jenny Lewis, she organises SciPo, an annual science poetry event in Oxford.

Sujoy Bhattacharya is a poet of India . He loves to write on the strangeness of human psychology. He worships humanity and adores poetry as a living deity. He often records in words his sudden outburst of his emotions through his works. Some of his works have been supported by magazines of global repute.

Denni Turp works as the North West Wales Regional Officer for Disability Arts Cymru. Her work has been published in ProleTears In The FencePopshot, The Dawn TreaderArtemisPOETRY and Southbank PoetryOn Fighting On, The Bread And Roses Poetry Anthology 2017 and online with Writers for Calais Refugees, Three Drops from a Cauldron and I Am Not A Silent Poet. She was the winner of the 2012 Tŷ Newydd Writers’ Centre for Wales Poetry Competition and was short-listed in this year’s Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition.

Hannah Eckman is currently a freshman at Temple University studying music therapy. She has been writing for fun since she was little but is thinking about adding a creative writing minor.


https://thewriterscafemagazine.wordpress.com/2017/12/16/the-writers-cafe-magazine-issue-4-time-and-spacecallout/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


3 thoughts on “The Writers’ Cafe Magazine ISSUE 3 “Ice and Snow”

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