poems and stories 

   scroll down to read poems and stories in our

Autumn  Issue

 growing weekly from October to December 2019


meet the poets and writers




Our first poem for autumn is by Lesley Quayle







Lesley Quayle is a widely published, prizewinning poet, editor and folk/blues singer. She has a collection, Sessions, (Indigo Dreams) and a pamphlet Songs For Lesser Gods, (Erbacce) featuring her prizewinning series of sonnets of the same name. Her latest pamphlet, Black Bicycle, was published in May 2018 by 4Word Press.

Lesley Quayle – Fall











Now is the time for ripening plums and yellow grass,

maize shouldering the sky, hedgerows cut,

sharp and angular – the precise geometry of field edges.


I could lie down among vetch and rye-grass,

disturb tiny, starry moths, listen to the hungering

rooks and wait for the first leaf to fall.


I may squint at the low sun, hand-cast a shadow

over my brow, and watch the gauzy edge of autumn

fold over blackthorn, savour the chill of summer’s ghost,


let wilderness seep through veins, fill up the hollow heart,

a nest of root and twigs and stolen down, close my eyes

while drifting spiders weave their silk,


smirr my lashes to placate unfiltered light.

Stay there, ignoring tasks, the scratch and fret

of hour collapsing into hour, like scything nettles,


and maybe sleep, time marked by nothing more

than one leaf after another.


Lesley Quayle


Four Mornings  by Lesley Quayle









Jo Brandon is based in West Yorkshire. Her pamphlet Phobia and full-length collection, The Learned Goose, are both published by Valley Press. Her next collection, Cures, is due out in 2020. Her work has been published in a number of magazines and anthologies, including The North, Magma, Popshot, Strix, Butchers Dog and The Fenland Reed. You can find her at  

The Learned Goose is available to buy from  Valley Press.

Jo Brandon – The Fall



The Fall 


After ‘The Fall’, Hugo van de Goes, 1479





He was happy with my form

till he happened across yours.

Like any child the impulse is to play

not make; your limbs it seems

are more pliable and your hearts

more intricate.

So the fact that I could wind myself

into circles that inspired the sun,

tie myself into copulative knots,

make language in the sand,

meant nothing but more possibilities for you.

We lived together a good while – you wished

your tongue could read the air like mine,

I wished my eyes could talk.


We grew further apart.

Your hisses became syllabic,

you whispered to one another.

Tried to meet you in the middle:

hid in bushes growing legs

that lent no length, couldn’t bring me

any closer to your ear.

My face craved reflection,

stung with unread frowns and smiles.


I wish, I wish it were as simple

as a piece of fruit.

Truthfully, there was no taboo

hanging  from that tree –

it was just where we played,

but your ideas grew quicker than trees

and you imagined fruits

that would never grow here


and they still won’t grow here

just as I don’t grow and everything

without you stays the same.



Jo Brandon


Previously published in The Learned Goose by Jo Brandon (Valley Press, 2015)














Hilaire is co-author with Joolz Sparkes of London Undercurrents, published by Holland Park Press. She was poet-in-residence at Thrive Battersea in 2017, and has poems published in numerous magazines and in three anthologies from The Emma Press.

For the London Undercurrents blog:

Hilaire – specifications for an orchard




an old brick wall

as tall as a giant

bearded with moss and buddleia

curved like a protecting arm


a wooden door

in a throttle of brambles

its purpose long lost to itself


grass, wherever it can get,

each chlorophyll pennant

jostling for sunlight


a gang of pollen-traffickers

bizz-buzzing and flitting


a chair with no sitter

listing to starboard


and four fruit trees,

pear and apples,

left to get on with it.


their crop is bountiful.

there’s no sign in the orchard

against trespass.





First published in OL’ CHANTY – Chanticleer Magazine Online.


park yourself here by Hilaire









Lisa Reily is a former literacy consultant, dance director and teacher from Australia. Her poetry has been published in several journals, such as Amaryllis, London Grip, Panoplyzine, Magma Poetry (online) and Sentinel Literary Quarterly magazine. You can find out more about Lisa at

Lisa Reily – Greek Sunset



Greek Sunset





I have developed a patience for preparing food,

scouring markets in the heat

for the reward of pungent apricots, peaches and nectarines,

plump cherries and dirt-covered potatoes.


I love adding ice to a glass of retsina as we watch the sea in the evenings,

away from the thoughts and madness of the world,

friends and family;

a place to live, and just be.


We have a nasty colony of black ants under our backyard table

and other small ants of amber;

I spend hours watching them wrestle, bite each other to the death,

as I sip cool mineral water in the shade.


I have the time to see it, and sometimes I interfere,

or ache as I watch one drag its injured body across the concrete.



Lisa Reily



nanna’s garden by Lisa Reily








Formerly an actress, Kate Firth is a voice coach based in Barcelona. She has had poems published in various anthologies and magazines. Passionate about poetry as an oral as well as written tradition, she has performed at Bristol, Cheltenham and Winchester poetry festivals.

Kate Firth – Fruity Competition


1: Blackberry


I could be a black fruit poem:

richness of darkest choicest blackberry ripe,

juicy my tongue,

liquid Blueberry Delight with billberry.


A wilderness of bramble and thorn

a wicked thicket

enticing my wild dark words

with fleshy mellow flavour.


Rounding my mouth,

swelling my lips, staining

my fingers, my tongue,

guiltlessly shamelessly

announcing my appetite

for purple, for blue

and for you. 


One word of me is not enough

you will want more

and more and one more

and just, perhaps,

one more. 


You will come with fingers ready,

with buckets and with your children

and you will love me. 


I will hide me in hedgerow,

and your children will find me

love me

and eat me before I am ready to ripe me.


And many times you’ll walk right past me

because you’ve forgotten


I am free for the picking.









2: Mango


I could mango my words with exotic twist

and tang and peel and stone and sucking stone

and hair and watering tongue and lick and dissolve

to sugar your flesh.


Mango with southern scent of Mexico, India, Africa

so sweet within one skin

to outwit your blue blackberry dark forest competition. 


I will win with mango slow go,

just wait for me to ripen, wait


for my words to arrive and surprise

and startle your eyes awide

and awaken your mind with tease and touch

and soft and silken sticky my caress.


Hold you my heaviness,

heavy my juice and catch me peel me

catch my liquid juicy in your cup,

slice me through or suck me whole,

but unpeel me first,

pierce me through my leather my skin my leathery skin

but wait for me first for my ripen

or I will not surprise and pleasure you. 



for my ripening

to drop from branch

onto your sunlit sill. 


Kate Firth


The Yew Speaks On St Brigid’s Day by Kate Firth

Crackington Haven on New Year’s Eve by Kate Firth

Strange Spring  by Kate Firth