Posted on 22nd October, 2016


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Tom Langlands, who has provided the Blog with so many exquisite photographs, will come to the gathering on 29th and, in exchange for some comments on his written work, offer advice on photographing birds. Sounds like a good deal to me. 



We are planning a celebratory gathering of contributors to this year's Livewires Blog and you are, of course, invited.


‘Livewires Live’ - a celebratory reading from the Writers’ Blog on the Southlight website:
2.00 - 4.00 pm Saturday 29th October at thWildfowl & Wetland Trust, Caerlaverock  

(Free entry to the reading but you buy your own cakes!) Eastpark Farm, Caerlaverock, 

Dumfriesshire DG1 4RS)


Do let me know if you would like to read - e-mail :




Hill Walkers - Liz Waugh





Wind passes through skyline trees

Black leaves lift and flap away, cawing

On a wobbly stork-leg, I salute the sun

At my feet, each emerald blade of grass

carries a diamond.


Leonie Ewing



Fire prompt



The fire of youth.....


Growing up in Larchfield, Dumfries I had plenty of things to do as a kid. In front of our flat lay a gigantic field with football and rugby posts and it would also play home to some golf practice for me and my friends although we weren't supposed to...

However one day I found some matches lying on the ground and I was silly enough to pick them up. 

Now, out of all the things I could have been doing with my friends instead, I decided I would start a fire....

In the corner of the field was a little wasteland with a small building where I could climb onto the roof and hide from folk (as I did quite often). I decided that this would be the best place to start my fire. On top of the roof next to all the trees and all the houses behind them. Fantastic idea!

I grabbed some rubbish that was lying around and climbed onto the roof and made myself comfy. 

There were very few matches left in the box so I didn't want to waste them. Trembling with nerves and excitement I scratched the first one along the box and snapped the match. Now, only two remain. Second attempt is a success and I thrust my hand into the pile of rubbish and soon see a small flame evolve and my eyes widen and my heart thumping through my shirt. The flame growing and so was my anxiety of getting caught and as it would turn out. I did get caught, BY MY MUM!!

The horror. A smacked arse and grounded for a week, tears streaming down my face and nose running and would it stop!

Why the hell did I play with fire? How stupid. It never ends well. Grounded for a week = no football for a week. Dammit.


Daniel Gillespie


Seasons prompt




On an arctic wind

Geese shatter against the sky

Autumn turns away


Carolyn Yates




Razorbill - Tom Langlands




Seasons prompt




The conference assembled

For a plenary session

After the delegates had flown in

On an unseasonably warm afternoon


The shades of autumn

Tinting the trees with reds yellows auburn

Reflecting on the water's surface

The delegates politics


The Canadians were first to arrive

Followed closely by the Siberians

The chattering gaggle

Of the geese on the Tarn


Here to negotiate trade agreements

Each keeping to their end of the pier

Planning to overwinter debating 

The philosophical possibility


Of the Black Swans arriving 

As they did last year creating a rush

Of interest before leaving to cause

Considerable doubt which is yet to be resolved 


Unbothered by passports or borders

Flying as they wish to new locations

Heads deep in the water feeding

An unexamined uncontrolled migration


Of free spirits colonises the Tarn 

Exploring the language of liberty

Telling tall tales of travellers adventuring

Awaiting the casting of fowler's nets



Geoff Smith


Love prompt


Lonely Without You 

(First published in ‘Loving’ magazine, July 1972)


Lying here in my dream-filled night

I look back on my quiet day and evening time 

And I know I’ve changed.

Somehow the boy-full-of-words

Is transformed to sudden silence in everything.


Lying here in my lonely sheets,

thinking of your lips,

yet so much inside myself

that it hurts this newly-quiet boy.

I cannot sing

And words tell lies.

Lying here inside myself


how to tell you


the silent way.


on night-time sheets

of paper

when we should be together in love


Peter Kelly



Flash fiction:




Dusk falls. In the moonlight Antar pads between the narrow high white walls marking the boundary between his world and the rich. His tough leather feet make no sound as he passes by sleeping dogs, dust swirling up under the hem of his faded and glorious bisht. His eyes miss nothing. Everywhere he goes, rubbish spews from broken black plastic sacks. By morning they will be dropped into the slow rumble of the garbage truck, streets will have been washed and swept by the street sweepers. But for now Antar rules. He lifts and peers into each sack in turn. The smell rises like perfume. Extracting the riches he seeks, he hides titbits  in his voluminous pockets. As the the voice of the Imam cracks the dawn in prayer Antar returns to his lair to eat first, then to sleep through the heat of the day. Dusk will fall again. 


Carolyn Yates




In Praise of Pith


Preparing a pomegranate 

I fiddle with pith, remove the 

creamy, expendable matrix in

which the jewelled fruits

are perfectly socketed

before we break it



It reminds me of bees

their furred, little bodies

purring in perfect, hexagonal

pockets of wax

the parts we can’t eat

that need to be there

to hold honey.


And people are pithy 

my favourite Radio 4 anchors

Humphrys and Husain

Finnemore and Fry

who hold it all together 

while I lapse into hysterical



and the quiet comedians

at the allotment

who tease me, gently

about my weeds


their potatoes

unearthed treasure 

from the friable dark

their pea pods packed 

tight with green pearls

their broad beans, side by side

in perfect, velvet cushions

of pith

like the well-behaved children

of royalty.


Clare Phillips









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