Posted on 28th October, 2016



Wren - Tom Langlands





Where moth and rust corrupt

The second law of thermodynamics

Reveals its inevitability 


But it’s not only in the corruption

Of a moth eaten cardigan

Or a rusting metal plate


The second principle 

Reveals itself at dessert

As vanilla ice cream is served

And hot espresso is poured 


The pudding reveals itself

A puddling, a desperate panic

To reverse entropic breakdown


The ice cream melts

Or drowns in the coffee’s heat

As my Italian friends might say: Affogato 


Geoff Smith



Wandsworth Twitter   


I was visiting a dear friend of many years, talking about my travels, hearing about hers and her family, and her work with teaching immigrants to speak English, drinking coffee at the kitchen table, comfortable and relaxed, the sounds of summer coming through the open garden door, a happy time. There was a sudden explosion of noise in the back porch close beside us, a clattering of flower pots and bottles falling over, chaos erupting from peace. We rushed to the door, and saw nobody there. Then again, a sharp flurry on the floor, and there was a sparrow hawk a hands breadth from my feet, glaring alternately at me and behind the obstinate pot it could not shift, behind which we saw a cowering sparrow, terrorised, quivering in horror, now stuck between the hawk and us. 

The hawk was outraged by our presence, if it could it would have spat at us, I could see the anger in its eyes, saying “get out, this is my God given right, how dare you interfere!”

I reached carefully towards the cowering sparrow, watching the hawk, and then slowly, reluctantly, proudly, the hawk flew between us and low across the garden, willing us to turn to stone forever.

The sparrow accepted my offered forefinger and clung with all her might whilst Diana moved the pot and I could bring her out into the light again. I showed her the sky, but the sky is where the hawk lives, and she cowered into my hand, a place of safety, and I was deeply moved to feel her there.

Diana quietly moved two garden chairs onto the grass and we sat slowly there with the sparrow glued to my finger. We talked gently to her, telling her that the hawk was now far away, but she knew better, and stayed. I stood up and offered her a branch in the tree beside us, but she clung even tighter to my finger, as if she would never let go. We sat again and talked softly, and after some ten or fifteen minutes the sparrow seemed to be relaxing her grip, so I lifted my arm again towards the tree, and she flew.

She had a tale to tell her children and grandchildren, to be passed down through the generations of Wandsworth sparrows, maybe they talk of it still in those parts, maybe it went viral in twitter, before Twitter was ever invented.


 Edmund Wigram




Horseman - Liz Waugh



Enchantment prompt


Heart stones


The staccato hissing of our feet into the dry, loose sand marks our purposeful progress along the beach.

He finds another heart-shaped pebble and rushes it here for inspection.

I say “This is the heart of a heartbroken sailor.”

the upturned face is questioning.

“When sailors that have lost their true loves – for whatever reason that might be..”

“Death?” a morbid response for one so young

“Yes, or betrayal.  The selkies only know that the sailor is heartbroken, it doesn’t matter to them why.”

“Ok, not even if there’s blood an’ that?”

“Not even then.  So, if the heartbreak is too much to be borne by the ship, the selkies follow it out to sea and lure it to the rocks, where…”

“KABOOOM! do they smash it up on the rocks and all the sailors fly out and get eaten by sea monsters?”

“Not sea monsters, no. This is where they save the ones that are ok, but the broken hearted ones, they take them slowly down to the deep, deep sea where the broken-hearted sailor can be at peace.”


“.. and when he is finally at peace, they take his heart and turn it to cold, cold stone.”

“Like this one?”

“Exactly like this one.  Then they bring it to the beach and they lay it there amongst the pebbles”

“What if it isn’t a pebbly beach?

“Well it mostly has to be so the heartbroken sailor’s heart is safe, but sometimes they leave it on half and half beaches like this one,”


“So that one day the one that caused the heartbreak might find the sailor’s stony heart.  And if they weep over the heart when they find it, because it reminds them of their missing sailor,”

“Why would they do that if they’re dead?”

“Well, this only works for the betrayed ones, the bereaved never get a chance for a happy ending.  So if they do find the right heart rock and it makes them sad, the selkies know and they take the sailor back from the deep ocean and lay him on the beach to be found, with his cold, stone heart returned warm and beating to his chest.”

“What?! woah, they come back from the dead?  Like zombies?”

“No, like rescued souls waiting for their true love to return.”

“Well why didn’t they just sort it out before they went to sea?”

“Because sometimes you have to lose something to really, truly, know what it means to you.”

“But there’s loads of heart rocks on this beach.  Everybody should just be nice to each other.  Why does it have to be that we get so sad?”

“Because, young man, every life that is well lived has sadness in it”.


Lorna Sharpe




Octopus in Galloway


Such a Spring Sunday ! Light that clarifies, 

almost magnifies the long view of river reeds 

and trees across the holm. 

Rising late, barefoot in the kitchen 

thinking of something special for lunch.


There it lies, opaque and gelatinous, flowing 

across the plate in a calligraphic curve.

An octopus entire.


Cook it ? Our Japanese guest blinks

‘So sorry, don’t know how.’

Humiliation rises around us.



She phones, chatters, hangs up, arms folded,         

waiting in silent Asiatic calm.

The phone rings, the fax burbles.

A stream of paper like fresh pasta unrolls 

from its slit mouth, instructions in Japanese

on how to cook a whole octopus.


Inside an octopus is a transparent blade

that holds its body in shape. Minus stiffening,

the octopus follollops on the cutting board.

She slices thin rings rapidly,

tosses them into the blue smoking wok.


So, which is the more amazing ?

The salty see-through sea creature,

or a shoal of digital pulses flowing

from Japan to help cook a whole octopus on 

such a Spring Sunday in Galloway ?


Vivien Jones



Counting snipe










Rocketing up


Now there’s three more


Woops! Nearly tripped!


Another five!


Go round that pool ...


I saw six rise


I’m up to forty


Look out! Take care


Another three


It’s slippy there


Zig-zagging so fast










Over 70, now


Must be passing through


How many on the bog?


I wish we knew !


Barbara Mearns


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