That was all years ago.

I know the family branded me a thief

but then the story never got beyond my guilt.


Mother had drilled me:

girls with gorgeous hair

need never pick the tab up for a meal.

Father said that sleeping in a stranger’s bed

was what the world expected

from a blonde.


So when that baby bruin wept

into his paws I was surprised as anyone,

no longer cutest in the room.


After I’d left the woods for city life

I saw how cliché had made victims of us all:

Snow White had been as bad as me

but was forgiven by the little guys,

who wanted someone pretty

round the house.

Published in Prole magazine issue 24

GoldilocksCarrie Quinlan
00:00 / 00:49


Miss Hoity-Toity


The houses ran out. Her march

echoed underneath the railway arch,

road lapsing into lane and fields

tied round in thorn and barley dart,

dark berry bushes drilled by lary wasps.

Sting me she dared, tumid with anger.


Ugly shoes looked up, still brown,

still clobbering the ground instead of clacketing,

indifferent to the argument they’d caused.

A man surprised her in the lane,

penis uncrouching. You’ll get stung

she laughed, and skipped away.

Published in The Moth magazine issue 32

Miss Hoity-ToityFiona Duggan
00:00 / 00:45




We wipe our shoes and lay our coats on Nanna’s bed Get off that bed

the tang of alcohol, some ham and bread buttered on Secret Shelf that folds down and folds up and down again and up Leave that alone the cat with golden claws Don’t touch the ornaments the dog with silky hair You know he doesn’t concrete yard with musty apple trees, a shed of comics (in American), some rough-skinned fruit Don’t eat those What’s a Tootsie Roll? Just wash your hands stretch fingers round the brick of soap, quickly, before kidnappers can reach the outside toilet Save them sweets for later and I will so I cannot be told to share.

Published in The Cannon's Mouth magazine issue 69

SundaysRobin Ince
00:00 / 00:43


Screen Envy


He looks away from the clamour.

You have my complete inattention

says that look.

And I’m retelling what was told to me 

about somebody’s desperate situation,

or about some baby seagulls

facing up to pigeons on the beach,

and there is only string and cardboard

in my mouth,

no moving pictures,

though I do the bird calls very well.

Published in The Cannon's Mouth magazine issue 69

Screen EnvyKen McCloone
00:00 / 00:28





My Dog Pieshop


My dog Pieshop will eat just anything -

paper, poo and tarmac, plastic shopping bags and string,


pebbles from the garden, crispy crisp bags from the park,

chunks of polystyrene, thorny flowers, leaves and bark.


One time, when these finds were being fished out by the vet,

a dapper little man fell out, his suit all wringing wet.


My name is Bond, James Bond he said, Your dog has saved the day,

then Pieshop coughed a diamond up and James Bond squelched away.

Published in The Caterpillar children's poetry magazine issue 27

My Dog PIeshopRob Rouse
00:00 / 00:40





The Crocus


thrusts through the blackened soil at dawn,

eager to know the early light that warms the slenderer


to bud, to swell, becoming blousy, opening that tender

throat to passing feet and claws, in trust, in triumph,


such an easy bloom, bright satin trashed within a month

and left to blanch, unpurpling on the lawn.

Published in The Dawntreader magazine issue 46

The CrocusPaul Robb
00:00 / 00:28


The Woman With The Giant Hands


I first saw her on a train, gazing at winter dusk

while everyone around just looked at

her or peered into the windows where reflections

told the same, extraordinary truth. If there had

been a child we might have grimaced as it

sorted through its reference points and finding

none that matched, began to form a question.

If there’d been a dog, it might have settled by

her side to beg a blanketing of warm dry flesh

but there was not, and we were all for throwing 

her right off the speeding train despite not having

spoken to each other, as we watched the gentleness

with which she placed her fingers in a steeple,

frowning as the light outside grew dimmer than within.

Published in Magma magazine issue 68

The Woman With The Giant HandsToby Whithouse
00:00 / 00:56


Love Is


Love is a squirrel                                                                     

burying some crap or other

in a place it will forget.


Stuff grows there anyway,                                                          

sprouting and fruiting 

while Love digs again,


finds other hoards

of other Loves

and tucks them in its cheek.

Love IsMarcus Brigstocke
00:00 / 00:19


This Script Contains Violence, Sex & Strong Language


The writer slit the throat of every sentence,

bled its spurting prattle until only dialogue remained.


He scrapped the dawdling and string (not luscious

like the kisses cut from Paradiso reels, nor graphic


as the grawlix in a cartoon cuss), and boiled speech

down to bitter, sour, sweet, frequently salty. In the dark,

the audiences ran their tongues across it.

This Script Contains...Dave Fulton
00:00 / 00:31


Pond Tale


Four green goslings

scatter on the pond

for a fist of frogs, no

not frogs, feast,

for a fist of feast

or crumbs at least.

Gull scuds in

wet wing, feet first,

gabbles Little Goose

that he cunningly


Grass tree, feed me,

sunny or a salty,

muddening the pie

in a cool flat sky

but the goslings eat

and look him in the eye.

Cloud song breaks

on the water’s face,

and the damselflies

flash by.

Published in The Cannon's Mouth magazine issue 69

Pond TaleJoe Allen
00:00 / 00:39


Margate Sands


The sea says Schhhh

and the gulls say Awkhhh

but the seaweed sulks and stinks.


I cannot see the sea that the seagulls see

when their dinner is a real live fish.

The sea I see is the one they see

when the scraps from someone’s chip shop tea

are pulled from a bin and scattered on the quay

where big birds vie

for the fried fish bits and the half-drunk drinks

and a splodged-up pie.


The sea says Schhhh

and the gulls say Awkhhh

but the seaweed sulks and stinks.


I cannot see the wind that the seagulls ride

when they hang with a wing-wide hunch.

The wind I see is chewed by waves

and is runaway from by the sand in the bay

and the paper serviettes that were left from lunch

to flock along the beach

and the sea-splashed pier where the people shout

More fish! More beer!


The sea says Schhhh

and the gulls say Awkhhh

but the seaweed sulks and stinks.

Published in The Caterpillar children's poetry magazine issue 20

Margate SandsAndré Vincent
00:00 / 01:05





Care Home


We serve modern food.

The step-a-slope will turn into a slope but we don’t have the time for that right now.

You are welcome to bring in a very very small beloved piece of furniture.

A call button in every room (except the toilet in the hall, the laundry cupboard

and of course, the garden shed) means care is right at hand.

No pets and no dementia. No toenails can be cut by staff.

The downstairs lounge is where we have our fun activities.

Sadly, we do not take residents who cannot make it from their own room

to the downstairs lounge.

No towels or sheets are issued but most people have a relative to bring some in.

Let us know about a stiff tap. Or a light bulb should it die at night.

Hairdressing is twice a week! This is extra and there is a waiting list.

Published in The Moth magazine issue 37








The word, the one that reached me 

through the mumbling was


a Song of Mary:

first said by the girl from Nazareth 

on finding she’d been done unto by God.


Attentive in the children’s pew,

I sold myself

to prudence,

hoping I’d be graced

a bellyful of Ghost

to keep my promises intact


and even in my wilder days I only let

conception glint,

never flare.

Now, too late for luck,

too late for science

scaled up to the knack of angels,


I might wish the girl from Magdala

had been the paragon,


in red,

a line of virtue

drawn around her sensuality.

ExemplarMandy Knight
00:00 / 00:59
Care HomeJustin Moorhouse
00:00 / 00:50