Gilbert White

 

Gilbert White

poems and stories 


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Summer  Special

 growing rapidly from July to September 2020

 

meet the poets and writers


Gilbert White

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

Jo Bell is a noted poet whose work has been featured on BBC Radio 4, TV adverts, carved into lock beams and widely published. She has been poet in residence at Glastonbury Festival and on the UK Canals. Her two books on poetry writing, 52: Write a Poem a Week and How to Be a Poet (with Jane Commane) are bestsellers. 

Jo Bell – A nightingale for Gilbert White

 

 

A nightingale for Gilbert White

April 5th, 1768

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buds and shadows fatten, but the garden’s lean.

A London smoke crawls west, and cucumbers

are tortoising across the sweat-sweet dung.

 

A nuthatch jars and clatters in the oak;

rooks get cocky in the Selborne copse. At last

the air is quick with bee-flies, kites and larks

 

and April falls across the parish like stained glass,

like rest for the broken-backed. The diarist

dashes off one word to stand for spring – Luscinia!

 

Colour blurs from every quickened hedge

into the woodsmoke hours. The nightingale

loops speechless syllables on every thorn.

Attention, after all, is prayer. Nothing goes unseen.

 

 

Jo Bell

 

First published in Kith.

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kathryn Bevis is Hampshire Poet Laureate and founder of The Writing School in Winchester (www.thewritingschool.co.uk).  In 2019 she won the Poets and Players and Against the Grain competitions, and was also shortlisted for the Nine Arches Primers scheme. She is working towards her first collection.

 

Kathryn Bevis – A Vision

 

 

 

 

 

 

The forest is alive today

and quick with wild devotion.

Bees hum, drunk on puffs

of pollen, censer-swung

from meadowsweet

and Queen Anne’s lace.

 

Ferns stir themselves

to nod and bow; they sail

a summer breeze. Open-handed

to the sun, each pair of leaves

is a single prayer in a reef

of fractal-patterned green.

 

Damselflies flash and dart,

a fever of electric grace.

In the shade a foal gazes,

still as any seer;

her flanks are polished silver,

her tail an aspergillum.    

 

The body of a world

at worship cries out

to be seen. The beech leaves

whisper in a psalm

to everything that flickers,

foams and gleams.

 

 

 

Kathryn Bevis

 

Kathryn Bevis, Hampshire Poet 2020, was commissioned by Winchester Poetry Festival and Hampshire Cultural Trust to write this poem in celebration of the 300th anniversary of Gilbert White’s birth.

 

Devil Day by Kathryn Bevis

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patrick B. Osada  is an editor and also writes reviews of poetry for magazines. He recently retired after ten years on SOUTH Poetry Magazine’s management team and as the magazine’s reviews editor. 

His first collection, Close to the Edge was published in 1996 & won the prestigious Rosemary Arthur Award. He has published six collections, How The Light Gets In was launched in June 2018.

 

Patrick’s work has been broadcast on national and local radio and widely published in magazines, anthologies and on the internet.. 

 

For more information about his work and a selection of his poetry, visit :

 www.poetry-patrickosada.co.uk

 

Patrick B. Osada – Still Life with Feathers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One bracing day, we watched them go :

leaving the nest box in strong winds.

Unable to fly in such a gale,

from off the ground I rescued one

and placed him in a nearby tree,

knowing that soon he would be found

by anxious, watching, parent birds.

Next day we saw that four bird brood

perched in the apple tree in line,

fluttering wings, demanding food.

 

Weeks later, from my laddered perch,

I freed the birdbox, took it down,

ready to empty, clean and paint.

The final stubborn screw unscrewed,

carefully I removed the roof

allowing daylight to flood in

to this dark space – the bluetit’s home.

A filigree of spider’s web

obscured the nest, catching the sun,

masking the contents from my sight.

 

Perched on a bed of moss and fur

with face inclined towards the hole

through which he’d last heard parents’ call

and watched his siblings take to flight,

he seemed complete. Perfect and whole –

as if somehow he’d been preserved,

saved by God’s taxidermist’s art –

waiting for tiny wings to grow

enough to take him to the light

and join his brood – if life could start.

 

 

Patrick B. Osada

 

From my collection : How The Light Gets In (Dempsey & Windle Publishers)

 

 

Owlswood Park by Patrick B. Osada

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mary Robinson grew up off-grid on an isolated smallholding in Warwickshire. Her first collection is The Art of Gardening (Flambard 2010).  She won the Mirehouse/Words by the Water Poetry Prize in 2013 and the Second Light Poetry Prize (short poem category) in 2017.  Her work includes two pamphlets, Uist Waulking Song and Out of Time, the latter to accompany a poetry/photography collaboration with Horatio Lawson, exhibited at Theatre by the Lake, Keswick in 2015.

Her poems have appeared in several magazines.  Her most recent publications are Alphabet Poems (Mariscat Press 2019) and Trace (Oversteps Books 2020).  She lives on the Llŷn Peninsula in North Wales.  Her blog is: Wild About Poetry.

http://maryrobinsonpoetry.blogspot.com

 

And for more information visit:

 www.poetrypf.co.uk/maryrobinsonpage.shtml

 

Mary Robinson – Cinnabar Moth

 

 

 

Dropped ear-ring,

red and black

enamelled jewel

in the grass

 

(no skulking in twilight

shadows, no bashful

introvert masquerading

as dead leaf).

 

Cinnabar moth –

a brazen daylight flyer

for whom camouflage

is not the point.  Don’t

 

even try, it signals.

Too ostentatious to trust –

Tyria jacobaeae

is a shameless

 

collaborator.  The name’s

a giveaway –

it sleeps

with old man ragwort.

 

 

Mary Robinson

 

First published in The Art of Gardening by Mary Robinson(Flambard Press 2010)

 

 

Recollecting Water by Mary Robinson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ian Huckson is a semi-retired gardener, living in Cumbria. A lifetime of being in the countryside and working close with the land informs and colours everything he does and results in his never trying to be other than a part of nature. Also an amateur poet, recent poems of his have been published in magazines including; The Dawntreader, Sarasvati, Poetry Space Showcase and the Dempsey & Windle anthology Alternative Truths.

 

Ian Hickson – Binary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Streaked grey-green hindwing veins,
underwing mottled-green 
camouflage dressed;
Orange Tip (female) at rest,
hiding from oppressive rain.

The Small; upperwings black veined,
forewings edged mid-grey,
The Large; a wider darker edge,
undersides a shared cream-ivory.
Pests, say the mean-spirited.

Marbled, Wood and Cryptic Wood,
rare migrants Black-veined and Bath;
yet some see a singular White
or worse still, just a guilty Cabbage.
I could’ve at a younger age…
set on a different path. 

 

Ian Huckson

 

Seeking Renewal by Ian Huckson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pratibha Castle’s prize-winning poetry pamphlet A Triptych of Birds and A Few Loose Feathers is being published later in 2020 by Hedgehog Press. Her poetry appears in various journals, anthologies and online magazines, including Indigo Press publications Sarasvati and Reach. Pratibha, born in Dun Laoghaire, now resident in W. Sussex, began writing poetry on her mother’s death in 2007. She graduated from Chichester University with a first class honours degree aged 61 and continued to explore writing on their Creative Writing MA. She is currently working on her second poetry pamphlet.

 

Pratibha Castle – South Downs

 

 

 

 

 

Wolf sense idles me

into a random field 

where sheep 

take a brief break 

from munching grass 

to glance my way. 

A black face dam fixes me

with Satan gaze, transmits a cipher 

I likely misconstrue, watches

as I mount the stile, swing my leg across 

as if the worn wood is the saddle 

of an imaginary mare set 

to canter me off 

into a fae mist

distance. 

 

Beyond the field 

a path through the woods 

petals open into a copse, incense 

of wild thyme, garlic 

blooming beneath

my feet. 

 

Wild clematis 

tosses into a breeze 

wafting the fantasy 

of a cuckoo. 

 

Dryads lean in, anoint 

me with whispered 

prayers. 

I drift in wonder at a tail feather 

amongst the leaves 

from the red kite

keening in the blue, flash  

above the brook

of turquoise, shadow 

splash of a heron. 

 

Pratibha Castle

 

 

Pumpkin Blues by Pratibha Castle

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andrew Howdle is a retired teacher and educational consultant. He lives in Leeds, England. He studied literature at the Universities of Manchester and York. Poems have appeared in Ekphrastic ReviewImpossible ArchetypeSingapore UnboundNine Muses, and Lovejets (2019), an anthology of poems paying tribute to Walt Whitman. His poem, ‘A Letter from York’, which won the 2018 Singapore Unbound  poetry competition, was nominated for the Hawker Prize.  

 

Andrew Howdle – Echoes

 

 

 

 

The bridge’s vast arch is usually

A fermata hanging over silence —

 

Not a concert hall, as today, where two

Youths make its span echo profanities.

 

As I stand and strain to hear a blackbird

Pluck music from a distant sycamore,

 

An image of the virtuous White comes

Into view: head down, counting every

 

Charitable worm and hopeful emmet

As he ambles through Selborne’s Creation.

 

Keeping faith with all that he sees and hears,

He enters a mossed and echoing vale

 

Where a lively “polyglot” nymph listens

And dutifully imitates his words.

 

Rapt, he cocks his ear and calculates how

A jubilant dactyl echoes better

 

Than a heartsore spondee. He had a fine

Ear that served Nature and God equally.

 

As he makes haste slowly and progresses

From the mind’s eye, I too resume my walk

 

And leave lapwing quiff and hooded crow to

Capture a laughing, self-praising selfie.

 

Andrew Howdle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jean Atkin’s new collection is How Time is in Fields (IDP, May 2019).  Her poetry has featured on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Ramblings’ with Claire Balding, and recent work appears in The Rialto, Magma, The Moth, Lighthouse and Agenda.  In 2019 she was Troubadour of the Hills for Ledbury Poetry Festival, and BBC National Poetry Day Poet for Shropshire.

 www.jeanatkin.com 

 

Jean Atkin – 19 Paths Through Rectory Wood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.      What’s not natural grows here: chimaera trees

each a grafted ring of years on rootstock.

While from the ground, what’s common rises.

 

2.      Crow passes close & overhead,

wingtips ragging lime leaves.

We see it stretch out its claws, & back its wings

land in the shine

black shine of elderberries.

 

3.      You move through this place as through a 

painting, planting a future in

oaks. But how far ahead can we imagine?

 

4.      Green alkanet flowers lapis blue in May and on

through soft October – commonplace,

unnoticed, underhand. 

 

5.      Yews older than iron, older than churches, old

like the tumuli under the churches, the round

stones under the stones.

 

6.      In woods we forget things.

At the wood edge we tell stories.

Our eyes are adapted

to canopy & vista.

 

7.      We hold a knopper gall, learn him

crouched like an homunculus, riding

the shoulder of this green acorn.

Inside him the grub of the cynipid wasp

& inside the grub, a gall wasp egg.

The grub within the grub within the nut.

 

8.      Magpie dip & flash. Witch cackle.                                 
                                                                                                              

9.      Lost in the woods this bristling lime is where

the path runs out in aerial thickets.

Here foxes earth in mid-air.

 

10.     Or a path we might miss, a walk inside a lime,

a local rite, a passage climbed

by children, aunts & dogs.

 

11.     We’re here to hear water, its tumble, its all-night

gutter-beck-bubble –

Town Brook’s many-centuried voice.

 

12.     Beech compensates its lean, throws out

long branches,

counterweights slowly into wind.

 

13.     Box-straggle marks a once-clipped gateway.

A garden in a wood.

 

14.    We raise the garden’s ghost, scare up old paths

like thinning bones through trees.

 

15.    We shush our footsteps out again through leaves.

 

16.    A passage of yews drink darkly from Town Brook.

 

17.    Water runs down over rock, the sounds arranged –

High notes conjured from tumbles of small stones.

Bass resonates from slab.

 

18.    A gravity of seven yews around a pool.

 

19.    Still water by a Green Chapel.

Time’s shuffle.  A way home.

 

 

Jean Atkin

 

(This poem was previously published in ‘How Time is in Fields’ (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2019)).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mark Totterdell’s poems have appeared widely in magazines including Agenda, Envoi, Magma, The Rialto and Stand, and have won competitions. His collections are This Patter of Traces (Oversteps Books, 2014) and Mapping (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2018).

 

Mark Totterdell – Siren

 

 

Siren 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Though I never employed him

to soundtrack my dreams,

this morning’s early blackbird

is back on his woodwind,

those expert glissandos,

the rises, the trills and chirrs.

 

And  now he’s off on his

police siren impression,

not the modern wails and yelps and phasers

you might think he’d go for,

but the proper old-time two-note

‘nee-naw nee-naw nee-naw’,

as if he’s been watching those cop shows

full of corruptions and easy deaths

from decades before he was even an egg.

 

 

Mark Totterdell

 

 

         

Frogs by Mark Totterdell

 

 

 

 

 

 

Susmita Bhattacharya was born in Mumbai and sailed the world on oil tankers before settling down in the UK. She is an associate lecturer at Winchester University and leads the SO:Write Young Writers workshops in Southampton. Her debut novel, The Normal State of Mind (Parthian), was published in 2015.  Her short stories, essays and poems have been widely published and also broadcast on BBC Radio 4. She won the Winchester Writers Festival Memoir prize in 2016. She lives in Winchester with her family.

Twitter: @Susmitatweets

http://susmita-bhattacharya.blogspot.co.uk

 

Susmita Bhattacharya – By Churchgate Station, 22 August 1997, Mumbai 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This night is the wing of a crow. Black with the slick of

wet feather and skin. One beady eye following the surge of the

flood water towards Marine Drive, rushing to

meet the sea.

 

This night is a birthday cake. The lamp posts swaying, fizzing

singing with the whistling wind. Whipping and lashing raindrops

as big and round as cherries on top.

 

The revolving rooftop restaurant glows like a beacon. A lighthouse

blinking obstinately while dark clouds consume it

with unsatiated hunger.

 

The street is a ruby necklace – strings of taillights

disappearing into the storm-wrung horizon. Steamy breath

rising from its engorged gutters.

 

All sounds are muted by the pounding rain

except my beating heart,

 

that throbs in my ears, as I clutch my beloved’s hand.

This should have been a celebration. But we are shivering in a bus shelter.

The night finally breaks into a quiet dawn,

 

who knows nothing of the tantrums he threw earlier.

 

We gather our things and jump on a lone bus – sailing along this swampy road.

The sunlight seeps into our damp crevices.

We huddle together for warmth,

 

watch cars floating by like ducks in a muddy bath. 

 

 

Susmita Bhattacharya

 

 

  

 

In the Lap of the Gods by Susmita Bhattacharya

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matthew James Friday has had poems published in numerous international magazines and journals, including, recently: The Brasilia Review (Brazil), Dawntreader (UK), New Contrast (South Africa) and Poetry Salzburg (Austria). A mini-chapbook titled  All the Ways to Love was published by the Origami Poems Project (USA).

     http://matthewfriday.weebly.com/

 

Matthew James Friday –  The Frog 

 

 

 

 

With Venus winking

at the pastelling sun,

the mountains smudging,

trees talking in shadows,

 

a frog sings

down by the communal swimming pool

recently cleaned of winter’s

green scumming by a robot.

 

A frog sings

while children clatter in the distance,

dragging dusk down an alley.

A dog barking at the arriving

 

night. Still

the frog sings

the same frog

that sang for Basho

now sings for me.

 

The frog invisible

singing by the swimming pool.

I know what luck is.

 

Matthew James Friday

 

 

The Mandarin Duck by Matthew James Friday

I Miss Making Maps by Matthew James Friday

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peter Burrows is a librarian in the North West of England. His poems have appeared most recently in Marble Poetry, Northwords Now, Dream Catcher and Coast to Coast to Coast. His poem ‘Tracey Lithgow’ was shortlisted for the inaugural Hedgehog Press 2019 Cupid’s Arrow Poetry Prize and appeared in the Cupid’s Arrow Love Poem Anthology.  

@Peter_Burrows74 

peterburrowspoetry.wordpress.com

 

 

Peter Burrows – Map

 

 

Map

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smoothing flat a large sheet we plan to trace

your world, annotating and illustrating,

scrunching up, fraying edges, and ageing

in stewed tea before sanding the surface to scratch

a lost map of treasures. Beginning with home

we plot outwards, realising your domain:

 

the sweet shop, park, Brownies, friends’ houses, as far  

as the eye – school nudging the paper’s edge.

A life contained. Here we rolled you to sleep

beside walls you’d soon be held on calling out to lambs;

here you first triked, biked, sledged, tumbled and fell.

Your cries echoing across this range. That now,    

 

you populate with trees in leaf, daisies, snowdrops,

blackberries, lambs, and dogs off lead: your days

all seasons in one. Where we follow paths lain

continuously, each walking our own.

Criss-crossing dashed lines, other days, other lives,

past molehills, grass-flattened trails. Above us,

 

swifts swerve by where high winds and summer scents

cross this hand-poised space, each leaving some impression,

however fleeting, as when you’re here, but not.

The distant playtimes carrying over fields

to where we’d stand unseen, upwind, awhile,

watching the deer return home, your hand in mine,

 

the bats flying knowingly about our heads.

Bounding forward, you make your way, out of frame

chasing something, only you will find.

Leaving me trailing – until I catch

you, waiting, expertly tightrope walking –

arms out – balancing on the cattle-grid.

 

 

Peter Burrows

 

Map was originally published in Reach 2020 

 

One for the Road by Peter Burrows

The Wood by Peter Burrows

Sweeping the Sands by Peter Burrows

Spring by Peter Burrows

Three Poems by Peter Burrows

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