Peter Wyton – 4 poems



We, as poetic pensioners,

Wish it to be known

That we’re not stepping aside for youth

Now that we’re fully grown.


What about prizes for wrinklies,

Awards for the long in the tooth,

A Gregory for geriatrics

As opposed to callow youth?

A pox on the pink-cheeked. Give us

Poets stricken in years.

We want a laid-back laureate

Without fluff between its ears.


Away with the purveyors

Of newfangled nursery rhymes.

Bring us a bard who has seen some life

And remembers the good old times.






Someone is going to kill me. I don’t know who.

I see this in the eyes of those who pity me,

yet there is nothing either they or I can do.

Those who might help are frightened that complicity

in an escape will see them charged with treachery

by the usurpers who are poised to drag me down,

wipe me from the face of the earth and claim my crown.


Someone, but who? The range of possibilities

is vast. Uncle Richard, my supposed protector.

The Earl of Richmond, now in exile overseas.

Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham. Many more,

ambitious for a throne. One thing’s for sure.

Nobles will always dodge dirty work, if they can.

They’ll send a common soldier, or some serving man.


My brother thinks that being in the Tower’s a game.

He’s only nine. I’m twelve, and yet I do not dare

to tell the poor boy that his fate will be the same

as mine.  I hope our bodies aren’t dumped anywhere,

down in the dungeons, or beneath a stair.

I pray to God to guide my killers. There is room

to bury us at Windsor, in my father’s tomb.







A silent recital of scents

extrudes from the perfumer’s organ,

slow-sinking to stipple

the nebulous forms of the faithful

at prayer in a temple to fragrance,

furnished in sandalwood, lit by white dittany.


A phantasmal fellowship,

chemists from China, Assyrian kings,

courtesans from a century of centuries,

myrrh tinted cheek by rose watered jowl

next to Charles of the Ritz and the founders

of Fragonard, Coty, Elizabeth Arden.


Incense alone is inadequate

for such adherents, led by the nose, willingly,

through long hallowed rites, age old attraction

of oakmoss, angelica, love-in-a-mist

luring the wraiths of the beau and the belle from their tombs,

nostrils a-flare like ethereal wine tasters.






Illyria. The very utterance

evokes a misty, half-forgotten past

of effervescent Balkans brilliance,

another mini-realm doomed not to last

amidst the perpetual rise and fall

of localised kingdoms, down centuries.

William Shakespeare rediscovered the small

relic, borrowed its royalty to please

demanding theatre audiences,

but that’s not necessarily the thing

which quickens the auditory senses.

Pronunciation gifts the word its ring.

Listen. ILLYRIA. The long lost sound

chorused by forebears from beneath the ground.




Peter Wyton is a page and performance poet who has presented his work at Festivals, Arts Centres and countless smaller venues from Penzance to the Kingdom of Fife and from Aldeburgh to the Glens of Antrim. He has eight published collections to his name, two of which are still in print. The most recent ‘Not All Men Are From Mars’, has raised over £2000 for the charity ‘Womens Aid.’

Anthologies in which he has featured are numerous, the pick of them being the 1997 Forward Book Of Poetry, in which he has the back page all to himself. Presumably Benjamin Zephaniah must have been having an off year that year!  Also the New Oxford Book Of War Poetry in which the editor, John Stallworthy, paid tribute to his poem in the Introduction.

He has so far won 28 1st Prizes in written competition and 20 in performance poem Slams. He was Gloucestershire Millennium Poet in the year 2000 and is currently Poet Laureate to the Towton Battlefield Association in Yorkshire. His work has appeared in the Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail and the Daily Express. He broadcasts regularly on B.B.C. Radio Gloucestershire, as Breakfast Bard on the Mark Cummings Show and his work has also featured on B.B.C. Radio 2 ‘s ‘Poetry Please’ and ‘Something Understood.’

He regularly addresses branches of the W.I., Probus and similar organisations at their monthly meetings He can be contacted at or on 01452-532081


Brian Burmeister – 3 poems



As children we’re taught to love

our neighbors as ourselves.


But as our bones grow we learn

to replace faith in love with fences—

our definitions shrink with age

until brotherhood is bound by borders.


The cries of Hutu and Fur sleep

in the dark blood of earth


we pump in our cars.


Their silence confirms

life is worth more in some places.






Friday morning, March,

Six years in,

The floor of the U.N. assembly

Fills with alliteration:


Callous and calculated…

Significant signs…

Facing fear…

And Confirming the crime…


The careful selection of syllables

Hopes to impress

Like a sixteen-year-old

On a date, or in class.


But both date and teacher

See through the sounds,

Know that beneath them

Is something short of real.


In response, tragically true words come:


The decision of the government

Of Sudan is a legitimate

Sovereign decision

Which we will never reverse,


And this should not be an issue for discussion.






The baggy green uniform,

The blanket,

            Wrapped, tucked, twisted

            About face and neck

Protecting from bugs, heat, sun.


This is the first photo she takes.


A gun strap hangs over his right shoulder.

A red baseball caps sits loosely

Atop the blanket on his head.


After the photo,

He says to the woman, white,

            Surrounded by U.N. soldiers, local officials,


The camera capturing what it can of his face:


Here you have educated men,

            Men who have gone to University,

Construction workers, carpenters,

            Men who could make a living

                        If there was not a war.


The woman asks of him what they do to the women,

Why they do what they do to the women—

Her interpreter speaks for some time.


The soldier shakes his head, laughs,

Pushes the question away with his hands,

We have an antidote,

            Roots we can take from the bush.


We take those roots,

            We cannot get AIDS.





“Confirming the Crime” contains some words from and inspired by the Reutersarticle “Sudan Says to Never Reverse Decision to Expel NGOs” by Louis Charbonneau.


“Capturing What It Can” contains some words from and inspired by the documentary film The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo directed by Lisa F. Jackson.




Brian Burmeister teaches communication at Iowa State University. He is a regular contributor at Cleaver Magazine, and his writing has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. He can be followed on Twitter: @bdburmeister.


Samuel Rye – 1 poem

In Two Minds, Faced With One Outcome


Darling, usurper of my council,

Wayward is the incline you wander,

You’re bound to stumble on the arsenal

I stocked when your figure was spotted yonder


Over by the gatepost, with a leg up,

And your hand-me-down flounce hem dress

That stirs men’s diffidence, but leaves corrupt

The want that burrows through his breast.


With your lips that siphon the lifeblood

From their willing hearts wherein

A gathering of staunch beings worship,

Blind with selfsame zeal of the Seraphim.


Still I beg the question must be asked –

To ignore the mind’s overturning rule?

See, I’m starting to think this be mine to fulfil;

Through farces I do play the fool.




Samuel Rye is a 22-year old poet/writer from the North East of England, now residing and studying in the North West.

Maria DePaul – 2 poems

Easy Shot


My closet is not that deep.

It’s only made of glass.


You can see my heart on the shelf,

Beating unprotected.


The glass is not bullet proof.

It’s easily pierced upon setting crosshairs.


I’ve tried many reinforcements,

But snipers hit it again.


The heart stops briefly, gets bored, then

Beats through its many injuries.


The snipers laugh from their blind,

High fiving each other.


They have postponed the circular firing squad

For one more day.


The squad is forming, but I don’t get

Invited because I am just practice.


Just as well since I have lousy aim.

My heart just isn’t in the battle.




Our Place and Theirs


Time and space

Are just words,

Meaningless precepts in

Our attempts to explain

Forces and dimensions

Across the multiverse

When we are just trying

To learn our place in it.


The truth is that we are

Travelers in time and space

Moving about at every

Moment in our lives

To the next moment

And the next place

Until it finally ends,

And we all fall part

In death and decay.


But maybe there’s a hope

That as our sun supernovas,

Scattering our atoms across

The universe, that

Our tears and our sweat

Will assemble again

To form the tears and

The sweat of other beings

Born of other stars.


Though they may

Never know on

Any conscious level

What happened to

Make us cry and perspire,

Even though they

May never have

The chance to learn

From our mistakes,

Hopefully somehow

They may take comfort,

Managing to benefit.


Maybe somehow

Our tears and sweat,

By becoming theirs,

Will help them find

Their space as they spend

Their time in the multiverse.




Maria DePaul is a writer based in Washington, DC, whose work has been featured in many publications, most recently 50 Haikus, Poetry Quarterly, Three Line Poetry and “Nine Lives: a Life in 10 Minutes Anthology.”

Siobhan Atkins – 3 poems


In mathematics we are taught
the symbol < is easily remembered
for the letter “L” it resembles
Less than

Already thick wet vipers of doubt
have leapt from the tree to confront you
hissing unkindness directly below your temple
< good < capable < enough

And what of the opposing symbol
how should we recall it?
Here, employ no mnemonic or clever rhyme
just remember you are > ALL
connected by golden threads above
and snail silver below
the disembodied envy you
you are alive, you are electric
you are greater than you know
Remember this.


I liked kissing best

Messing about with your mouth
I’d try lifting your lip and crashing my teeth on yours
To see the sparks
And break the illusion
That we were not the same person

Later you’d enjoy taking photos on your phone
Funny candid shots
Me relaxing with my belly
Or with my legs too far apart
That’s when I hid myself
We were two persons after all.


A Haiku

Milk, the first kindness
Some potent promise until
the last kindness, death.


Siobhan Atkins lives in the Sperrins in Northern Ireland with two boys, two goats, two dogs and a scattering of hens. Her passion is poetry and conservation, however Elvis and Sci-Fi are also rated highly. She has featured asemic pieces here and poetry here among other published work.