Posted on 11th October, 2016


Seascape - iPad - Elizabeth Waugh



Cloud forest birding


So, here I am then, lost in PNG,

seeking birds of paradise in mist,

a sad, frustrated ornithologist

in montane forest, pristine canopy

so high above, I cannot name one tree,

or bird. Only a trained biologist

could know each species, make a  decent list

of unseen flocks, whose calls drift down – not me.

Not me, who by the age of ten, could name

beech, chestnut, willow, rowan, ash and yew,

blue tit, goldcrest, redstart, think it all a game

to watch and follow every bird that flew.

Here at Goroka, a child once again,

Kind Papuans guide me to all that’s new.


Barbara Mearns



The Language of Crows


Words are a clothing of sorts

but my coat begins to unravel,

threads sliding through my fingers,

collecting in small, unseen corners,


stretching back to my beginning.

Half-forgotten memories turn over

and over in the anxious dark

and familiar smells twitch, dangling


like fish hooks, ripping my heart.

I try to separate the past into neat

piles but get tangled up in frayed

edges lingering in the ebb and flow


of conversations. I snatch, try

to hold on, but they disintegrate

on touch. And yet…

there’s beauty in destruction,


in dark edges of melancholy and blood

behind the door, in black feathered wings

striking my cheek and talons tearing

at my throat. I can’t sing—I speak


the language of crows.


Kriss Nichol





Fly Agaric - Hazel Lowther


Seagulls, sandwiches and sunglasses


A beautiful evening on the beach

Calm sea and a fluttering light breeze

High tide, inviting water, but cold

My friend stands and watches while I bathe


I swim out a hundred yards, then turn

See a seagull ransacking my bag

Which holds the sandwiches earlier made

For our supper after a long swim.


“Look out”, seagull behind you”, I shout

She turns and makes a grab for the bag

The startled seagull drops our dinner.

Shoots up, flies off with an angry squawk.


Several weeks later, back at the beach

No food this time so leave bag unzipped

Take off my specs and stuff them inside

Before running down for my daily dip.


When I return after half an hour

My bag is circled with three toed marks

I dry my face, then glasses try to find

Tip everything out but no specs are there.


Next day I ring the insurance firm

Expecting them to reject my claim

For spectacles stolen by a bird

As a far-fetched and bogus demand


But not a bit, they calmly accept

Gull stole expensive varifocals

They will pay up without a murmur

Makes one wonder if it happens much!


Beverley Vaux


                                                             Deep Sea Prompt


                                                             Down Under


                                                             What is their story?

                                                             These ancient urns

                                                             wedged deep into

                                                             the ocean's bed


                                                             Who owned them?

                                                             in another time

                                                             and other world

                                                             not in our ken



                                                             we swim around

                                                             rubbing shoulders

                                                             with fishy creatures


                                                             Nudging us

                                                             and annoyed

                                                             as we disturb

                                                             their playground.


                                                             Eleanor Chesters



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