All We All Want


I, I want to be open

But I, don't want to be a door

And you walk out of it.


I, I want to be equal

But I, don't want to be some math

that you calculate.


We all want to be adored

For all the things that we're ignored for

We want to fall asleep and then die.


Well I, I want to be your full house

But I, don't want to be a hand

That you use to play.


And I, I want to be awesome

But I, don't want to be some ore

That you excavate.


We all want to be adored

For all the things that we're ignored for

We want to live the dream before we die.


Ade Crossan

Back the Strand

For John B Keane at 70

Back the strand I have walked
between the remnants of bagged up pups
Bright blossoms of anemone
and washed back sheep's gut

A leveret has sprung
from where my foot would tread
Hesitant past a saint tombed isle
Archipelago of the dead

Distant bells have voiced their call
consecrating the wind torn hills
Over cloud chased Coomanaspig
curlews answered shrill

This path rising to a jagged grin
where moon and earth meet sun and sky
In the long grass there to listen
amongst shell and sea song I will lie



Brendan O’Neill


In Memoriam John Prine


I have harvested enchantment

in fields of stone

Under the shrill protest

of small wild birds    

gathered shadows of dead heroes

into creels of bone    


I have heard the laments

of childless women crowd

through dead forests

Traced the scrawl where bony fingers    

picked out each patchwork rut and row

A bright mist shrouds    


their faces. Gentle    

the trickle of their tears    

Remembering each flawed caress

nurturing cut flowers    

Urging dormant seeds to grow    

from ancient fissures


Brendan O’Neill        



Ashes and dust between my toes

I must travel again this broken road

Peering through windows of burnt out houses

Shocked out shells and basket cases

Searching for you amongst the jumble

Of truth and love, lie and fumble

Crowding through Mammon’s churches

Alone, amongst the painted faces

Grasping hands of well met friends

Wishing for their words to end

Hearing only distant voices

Whispers on the wind

Of circus acts, the carousel

That brings me on this trip through hell

Puts fragile hopes in broken slivers

Reflections drawn from heart shaped mirrors

An ill wind blows me in full sail

Past Reason’s Rock towards betrayal

Voiceless angers, snares of self

Cut glass peril, cut price Delph

Sleepless still talking

I’m tracing the fault lines

Through famined fields to tables of plenty

Walking on and crying gently

Drunk and stupid with despair

Knowing you cannot be where

I have placed you in my heart

Dislocated journey’s start

Signposts point to different routes

Clapped out lies and nascent truths

Hope’s a tramp up in the distance 

But she won’t be offering assistance

Clowns surround me at way-station

Dicing only for frustration

A riddle on a gangsters collar

Red eyed dawn and bottom dollar

Winding up the backwards clock

Still reeling from the aftershock

Of Cupid with a rocket launcher

Quarter none, just hopeless slaughter

Homely bars then make the cage

Where I subdue unreasoned rage

Suspending my bad attitude 

In contemplative solitude

Love’s a solitary confinement

When axes shift to realignment

Fallen angels lie in the clay

And I must wake another day

Ashes and dust between my toes

I’ll walk again this broken road

Brendan O’Neill

A Christmas Star 


I filter autumn's blackberry brandy,

From wine bottle to brandy bottle.

I need to make sure it's OK.

It's OK.

Through the darkness I see a Christmas Star,

Which could be the Star of Bethlehem,

Which shouldn't be appearing until tonight;

But I doubt I will see it then,

As it looks as though it will be cloudy...

Jupiter and Saturn will be hiding from me.

I note that along with the blackberries,

There's still a wee bit of blackberry brandy left in the wine bottle;

So being such a good housekeeper,

I better test that out as well.

Yes that's OK as well.

Definitely OK. 

The Christmas Star reveals itself to me,

As the light on the Wii games consul,

Shining through the darkness.

But it will do,

It will definitely do.

I have to go now,

As the guinea pigs are squeaking,

Demanding their morning carrot...

They need their fix as well.


Andy Hider 21-12-2020 6am

Bird life

Across the green wastes, numerous birds are waking up;

Whistles, cries and chirrups can be heard across the city’s expanse;

Distant gulls scream mawkishly from treetops, roofs and chimney pots;

Smaller birds maybe blackbirds sound the reveille;

Geese honk, on their journey across the sky, imagined by me, 

with their necks extended;

A clamour of whitters and peewits;

My mind goes back to Blakeney Marsh,

Where in the incandescent glow of red light,

Hundreds of birds find refuge in the reed beds;

Gathering at night to reach the sheltered roosts;

Multitudes of them,

Flocking from distant trajectories;

Heading for the comfort on the environs;

Magnificent and memorable 


Judith Fleetwood Walker 

Jelly, Jam and Buttered Toast

Jelly, Jam and Buttered Toast

I like breakfast food the most

Bagels, Cream cheese

Juices, freshly squeezed, make me say

‘Pass more here please’


Lunch will often make me mutter

I am not fond of peanut butter

I hate chips that wont go crunch

Truly I do not like lunch


Now dinner is another meal

I’ll take or leave that’s how I feel

There’s always veggies I can’t stand

I have to eat them on demand


If I could choose to have my way

Well I would eat Breakfast

All day long


Katherine Skinner 

Canonhill Park-next instalment.

We leap through the opening- the back entrance.

Into the park with our trolley.

It is to be a visit on the way to Aldi,

My breath is bated.

In rapturous awe of what we are about to behold.

And there they are, a floor of pink rhododendrons!

They look as though they have been poured                       copiously over the bushes,

From a height.

As though God has emptied a bucket of them right over , cascading and dripping with colour!

They are saturated with viscous streams of bright flowers!

A virtual whirlpool of gaudiness,

And as we walked and peered this way and that, 

in droplets all over the park,

A liquid tsunami of brightness!

A vivid red end of the spectrum-

And we are drowning in them!


Judith Fleetwood Walker 


Today, I smiled. 

Today I realised I took back hold of the pen. 

Today, you no longer have coercive control; oh no not again. 

When I was born, I was your piece of paper, you both had hold of that pen. 

You wrote your toxicity, over and over again. 

You left me with childhood trauma, do I need to tell you that again? 


Today, I smiled. 

Today I realised... I am braver. 

Today I realised... I am stronger. 

Today I realised... I will never become a carbon copy of you. 

Because today I realised, I am smarter. 

I can add more paper; I can create a book.

About the child who raised themself from the fire and ended the cycle of abuse.

But instead, I will use your toxicity and continue to publish books. 


Elliot Emerson (Indie Author) 

She Comes in Dreams (for Pat)


In the mist-spun murmurations

of my subliminal cafe,

Walls are calm as pastels

ambiance warm as sunflowers

and popsicle shaped chairs

host mint green cushions,

where dream catchers hold colour

like dazzling tiffany glass

painted on table tops of pearled linen.

You appear on scents of hyacinth and lilies,

we sit contented in easy laughter

and spoonfuls of secret memories.


She comes to me in dreams

and finds her resting place within.


Elaine Christie

Choice or no choice 


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Judith  Fleetwood  Walker 



Chance in the safe

and the strain is to break

All the pieces of dirt

that clog up the hinges of


Time in the stew

and the meat passing through

All he kitchens process

the fat that we chew off the



That we have to pick with you

it has shown

All the glitter and glint

but it's a crowbar


That prises the screw

off the spinning top fuelled

By the wave that you make

a riptide that's cruel


Enough of the glue

that just keeps me from you

Are a mirror that's fed

with trifles and neglecting the



That you wear on through and through

it betroths

All the sinning and saints

but it's a crowbar.


Ade Crossan 

Tis a Cold Winter’s Morning

‘Tis a cold winter’s morning that greets the eye

Shrouded in hazy mist

I plod on without a sigh

As the foggy mist sets adrift

The damp soil makes for easy work

Tending my plot with spade and fork

‘Tis indeed a labour’s love I toil

Digging and turning the soil

Pausing I spot a fleeting visitor

With a chest of orange red colour

Perched upon a sapling bough

He’s come to watch me plough

And though wintery days are short

I’m filled with festive thought

Oh what joy when work is such play

For the robin has joined me today!


Eugene Egan



The tanzanite sweater that matched Dad’s

knitted lovingly by Mom.

Awkward legs feel heavy

and move oddly in these red shoes.

The branded cattle path, that sand-shifts

through peridot gem fields,

molten copper kissing infinite topaz.

Dad paused by drystone

lifted me castle high,

saying “Look at the harebells”

I sought rabbits in riffs of blue violets,

unaware of the five-pointed star.


I imagined under tongue ferns,

hid mischievous bogarts and goblins.

Watched tufts of cotton grass, sift and snag,

these were feathers of a broken angel

who carelessly slipped from the clouds.

Stripping stalks of downy grain,

satisfied at their crumbling

wind blown dream-seeds, sprinkle from fingers.


Glorious scent of hay bales

dragon breath tamed and rolled.

Mother Earths amber eyes or

Rumpelstiltskin’s wheels of gold.


The metal ting-tap of my shoes on railings

hesitating - I return to firmer footing,

a spectre tinselled in lame threads,

alchemy’s sulphur and brairy spell.

Dad showed me how to feed him,

picking meadowland,

rolling my palm out flat,

a tender touch -

wonderstruck by my first horse.

Elaine Christie


There were still trees

Surrounded by drinking geese 

We saw a rope 

Is there hope?

The yellow daffodils welcome spring 

With enjoyment we sing

We see the shy white egret 

Now there is no regret 


ujjayini choudhury 

Freedom and The Bridge


Rain on the roof at 3am. 

The muffled scream of distant sirens and wind through the open window.

Was there ever a lonelier time, I wondered. Lying in the dark and stillness with the wolves circling. I thought the rain would never end that night, although I knew it would, or at least transform into something else.

I’m not sure if I’d got tired of it all or was just plain exhausted, but at some point I decided to do things differently; stop evading and deflecting. The times I’d done that. Crossed off the days and trodden water. In retrospect it’s such a short-sighted approach. Side stepping circumstances gets you nowhere and it certainly won’t lead you to freedom. And, boy, I’m a hell of a lot more fun since I decided to be free.

And then it was early 2021.  The song, however, was from 1994. There was a girl and a bridge and a news report which was broadcast as a radio appeal to the public for information on said wandering girl. Fragments of facts merged with imagination, resulting in a creative explosion, at least in my eyes.  We’ve history; that song and me.

In real time, there was a girl and a bench and a world in pandemic, daily rhetoric, personal challenges and whatever else decided to show up unannounced, as was the nature of the time. The sun on my face, sultry swaying branches and the green gold hues of the grass carpet all around, just as dusk was falling and wrapping the day in half light.
A tiny corner of the world I managed to find that afternoon, when the rest of the planet was fading in and out of itself and reality was being pelted with curveballs.


I wonder what it was about that song at that time; why I found it, or it me.  I think about that girl found wandering on the Severn Bridge; shoeless, mute and lost and what lead her there. I recall, at the time, the loud noise and bright lights of my own world, so maybe there was a mirroring of her life with mine and an affinity due to a sense of chaos for us both.

But, regardless of what brought us together, that afternoon I just needed my head to be in that place.

And so, I dived into the music. I sat on that bench, turned my face to the sun and closed my eyes. I dived as if it were my final listen, and I dived deep. As I do when I need perspective or to navigate, when I want to run away or run towards, when I feel too much or think I don’t feel enough; when I can’t figure out what I feel, or if, or why…or those times when there’s doubt or a sense of floating away. Or just when I’m having a tough time residing in myself.                                                                           And some days it tranquillises, some days it lifts or inspires; igniting something that radiates. Some days it’s that familiar thing to turn to or escape to, to hold or be held by.


I might have turned to this song a hundred times for refuge, and scores of others over the years. You see, deciding to be free didn’t dissipate the anxiety, expel doubt, or alter my hard wiring. And just because I talk about freedom doesn’t mean I’ve a detailed plan or grasp of what it looks like. For me, it’s a sense of space and the absence of constraint; an illusive concept really and maybe more a process than a destination.

I still remember that night with the rain in the dark, and others like it, but now they’re more like a bunch of meetings with old friends I’d rather forget than potential triggers or landmines.

Because I changed and grew. Realised emotions pass. Fear disintegrates and night becomes day.  I know it really helps to remember this.

The bench is still there, sat in the neatly kept garden on paving slabs with a birch tree hanging over. It’s one of my favourite spots. And the songs are a constant; making up the patchwork soundtrack to my life. Humming along with their bouncing melodies and breathing life into words.

Valerie Theay

Happiness Recipe 


2 heaped cups of patience

1 heart full of love

2 hands full of generosity

A dash of laughter

1 head full of understanding


Sprinkle generously 

With kindness

And plenty of faith

And mix well


Spread over a period of a lifetime

And serve everyone you meet with love


Katherine Skinner 

Harborne walkway 


 There’s a hidden place, a forgotten world 

 Between the houses, a mirage of light and shade

 High and low paths, straight lines and steps

 Watery valleys  and high tracks

 Echoes of an old railway with dark tunnels, 

 Now a roost for bats, with spooky spider webs 

 There’s a wildlife sanctuary behind a fence

And intriguing plants with mushrooms on trees and lacy moss

Amid a carpet of fragrant garlic, a flower exploding with taste

Bluey green stones can be dug up and treasured

You can stroll along but does it lead anywhere? 

There’s rumours that it did once serve a useful purpose 

but now it’s best for dreaming and escape

Away from the busy world


Based on words gathered from a Mindful walk group

By Cathy Crossley for Arts All Over The Place 

April 21  

In Highbury Park on a day of four seasons 

With sunshine and bright blue sky, followed by clouds and hiding from the hail

We walked past colourful bunting and crochet circles, crafty and decorative. 

On the spring equinox tunnel


Heading for the orchard there was a place to leave wishes.

The wind chimes, dancing and dazzling in the breeze

Along with daffodils giving a real sight of spring 

With parakeets in the trees and the chance for a social chat


We were grateful to look at others in real life

And safely and therapeutically gather together 


This is a Bohemian, hippy park                                                          
and we left the happier for the visit. 


A group poem, curated by Cathy Crossley for Arts All Over The Place 



It’s the permanent flux of polar nights,
ceaseless wind rises

stroking away footnotes of snowshoe hares,
hidden in a gauntlet of scrub.


It’s the Snowy Owl

Grigori warrior on a knuckle dusted dune,
tomahawk raptor in a frozen papoose.


Watcher angel with gimlet eyes
her barcodes are counted sorrows,
scripted poems on parchment.


On haunting pipe sounds of the Chinook,
in the upward rush she extends her wings,
is swept softly by distance,

till just the wind remains.

 Elaine C Christie



Just as the fly

she too 

had expended time

flickering her wings 

merely to be left


entrapped in the webs around her.




of what exists

lying in wait,

her mind spun

in analysis paralysis

wholly tangled up 

in time.


In her despair 

she whispered 

a plea


her escape


came the spider

who sat down

beside her


in her ear


with a little tear

crept down 

inside her


forth its power.





her essence



gaining clarity 


like the shattering

of glass 

the veil of



before her.


Gazing inward

she saw her

fly-like self


in a vast



of energies

an etheric web 

of geometrical design


all elements of life.


A changed


she altered her web



an architect

of her own

she spun





in sync


all that ever was

all that is

and all

that is yet 

to come

By Melissa Walters    
Follow me on Facebook and Instagram    @Melissawalterspoetry

 You are not alone


Every inch of you is waiting to get out of your body.

Thoughts bubble up to the surface,

Crossing the boundaries,

Willing from your very soul.

Clear of contaminant.

Whether you have won a game of cricket,

Or won a medal,

Or completed a long journey,

At this moment in time, you are not alone.


Judith Fleetwood Walker 

If Love


If love could break dark

I would hope for my first

Whim to be a hopeless night

Time of spark-less void.


To me you are the brightest thing

A quasar of light

Energising me.


To me you are an event horizon

Swallows all of me

Brings about rebirth.


If love could erase past

My life would be painted black

With hot coals and broken hour

Glass and hells ash.


To me you are the desert sands

Filling all my time

Making canvass blank.


To me you are the start of all

First morning of light

The only hand to hold.



Ade Crossan 

A Street’s Life


Frogs Jumping on lily pads 

Butterflies fluttering about 

So many different colours are seen 

A cat in the garden having a wash 

Teasing next doors dog 

He starts to bark so the owner calls him in 

Holiday time for the schools 

Kids out in the garden sun is really hot today 

So splashing in the pool to keep them cool 

Neighbours chatting over the fence 

Talking about their day 

Daughter rings her mum to say wedding back on 

The old lady watering the flowers 

Then on to the brown grass 

Her other half calls her in tea and biscuits are waiting for her 

A couple just got in from walking put on the oven 

Then have a nice sit down 

Once temperature is right dinner goes 

Thirty minutes later all plated up then time to tuck in 

Afterwards desert time strawberries and cream 

Then on the sofa together watching a film 

Till light switch off the time for bed 


Jason Feasey


There was a time in life 

That I never loved anyone 

Being let down time after time 

But one day that all changed 

That was when you walked my way 


You came into my life you were there 

You listened to me where no one had before 

You sat there for many hours 

You decided not to walk away 

Now the battles in my life I no longer fight them alone

The reason why is because you have come into my life 


I am now at a time in life 

Where it is the happiest, I have been 

I thank you for all the love you shown

It makes me feel so good so there are three words left to say 


I Love You


Jason Feasey

Our Changed World

How sad our world  has changed so quick

Because Covid 19 made it very sick

Businesses closed, 

Pubs, Coffee shops too

No where to go, very little to do

Shopping not nice, only food you can buy

Please Dear Lord, take it away

For it’s made me 



Kathy  April 21



He's fearless, bold, captivating, sincere, innocent, energetic, extrovert and 6 years old,

my grandson, thinking of him or glancing at his photograph, brings a smile,

his life, unplanned adventures, opportunities to display talents and convert strangers to comrades.


Curtail the expense of innocent unproductive energies, direct them to formal expressions of talent,

allow them to grow as you grow by investing in that which otherwise slips away like sand,

for I have ridden the crazy mad white horse, distributing energies to the four winds - what a rush!


You see a world of colour prior to the application of labels, which arouse and fan prejudices,

innocently navigating the world without infection, seeing potential until you are infected,

education also has capacity to divest and mould, producing manageable fodder.


Knowledge is a vital ingredient, seldom freely acquired, measure the cost of acquisition,

your energies are gnawing at the bit, you must be their master, not they yours,

is it possible to put an old head on new shoulders, accumulative opinion says no – pity!


Must you exchange your captivating characteristics for: fearful, disciplined, corrupted, caged,

polluted, lethargic, introvert and disabled, the price is too high, the cost outweighs the return,

don't broadcast opinions for what is wild is tamed, play your cards close to your chest.   


 Joe Duffy