2024 – Spring

Those Spring Days

Author: MAB

Looking at the Spring sky, I wondered how long the good weather was going to last this time. Spring is the time for new beginnings and growth, yet also one of the most confusing seasons in recent years. Rain and sun. Snow and heat. Everything and anything at the drop of a hat. March is always cold, April is a coin toss between all the weather types, and May, everybody just wants it to be Summer. Spring’s weather might be turbulent, but there is no denying that on its better days, it is perfect. Lush green grass, flowers blooming, and a soft fragrance in a gentle breeze. A sky full of white fluffy clouds that do nothing to hide the baby blue sky. The sun is shining on me with the cool breeze stopping the temperature from being too hot. People write songs about their Summer days and while I do agree with those songs to some degree, it is nothing in comparison to those idyllic Spring days.

2024 – Spring

When I remember past Springs

Author: MAB

When I remember past Springs,
I think of birds with white wings.
I often dream of my childhood, 
of flower gardens and dense woods,
Hunting for an elusive hare,
Searching for his eggs on a dare,
Filled with chocolate and honey:
The hunt for the Easter bunny.

2024 – Spring

Taste of Madeleine

Author: Emily E. Jenkins

This is not eating sweets
Smelling auntie’s green tea
Or reminiscing trivialities

But how she treats

My lips-
As she pleases

Why – close that door
For I’m trying to ignore
The taste of Madeleine

2024 – Spring

Portrait of the Father as a Young Man

Author: Mel Riverwood

I wish I were tiny again, so you’d pick me up from my bed 
To carry me, in the middle of the night, to the car 
So we could leave to see the rest of the family
On the land where you and mum were born;
Did you know I’d wake up but never move,
To enjoy the warmth and solidness of your arms?
And then we drove all night long, so that when I’d wake up we’d be
There already; by your superpowers you brought
Me through folds of dimensions, from a world to another, half a country away.
I learned from you, and still do this today.

Back then, I did not know there was blood on the road;
Had you scrubbed it clean?
Did it hurt to hold and bend the brambles away from me and then pluck the thorns out of your palms
Was it cold on those mornings when you’d go out and bury the little birds we’d rescued
The day before, the ones you knew – but never said – we couldn’t save,
Before I would wake, so that I wouldn’t see?
Open and close the curtains of death before I could know
They had been there at all.

Where did you learn all this?
You say and know more of me in a silence, a look than mum does in a speech.

One day you’ll be gone.
I know I am lucky to have you, and I cannot begin
To dream of the moment when I’ll have to look at the photographs you took
To remember you.

So I look everywhere and try to catch all the
Tiny pieces of who you were and what you looked 
Like in reflections on the surface of the pool, and little holes in cushions, and broken corners of tables at grandma’s house.
Your childhood nickname painted in wobbly handwriting on the side of a mug.

And I try to align them, superpose them, 
Create a collage of moments 
To remember:
The story of the night you were born, when your own dad almost died
and the night you decided to build a nest box for the owls in our
woods, making sure it was wide
enough; the rainy afternoons when you used to jump on the couch because it was fun,
and the days when you carried me on your shoulders so I could
reach for the sun.

I would trust you to hold a castle of cards in your hands and not have it fall.
It’s not everyday you find a man with a soft affection for all things living;
And you taught it to me, a secret treasure passed down from you to me
Like a whispered secret. Even mum stays home 
When we go out to look for tritons and toads
To carry them to the river, across the road. 
Did you learn that you loved holding little lives in your hands
Long ago, when you were as young as I am?
You must have known it already
When you first held me.

I have come to think that we share
The same need to hold, and remember,
All the little things that others are blind to;
I remember me more when I remember you.
At your own effort and cost
You taught me what kindness was;
By making your own hands bleed, you made mine soft.
I cannot say thank you enough.

I wish I were still tiny enough 
To fit in the curve of your arms
Like I once did, as a little kid.
I know I can try all I want, but this poetry,
Will never be worth a single
Of my memories

Of you.

2024 – Spring


Author: Mel Riverwood

This room has no windows.

The walls encased, close, digging into one another
With the painful persistence of something man-
made to stand but which wishes it could crumble.

They are naked at places, scraps where the skin-coloured wall-
paper detaches from where nails have dug into it. 
There is more paper underneath.

Even the floor is papered, dirtied, rolls of it bouncing out of position
Like flowers rooted in the soil of a scabbing forest.

A table, in one corner. A skinning knife, blade sitting
Innocent on an edge.

There must be a door somewhere.

I pick up the knife.
Yes, surely there must be one.
I walk to the first wall, raise the pained blade,
Pressing the flat of my thumb against its side
As an executioner would guide a death-sentenced to the noose
And together they slide under the piece of loose
And pull upwards.

It tears, scarlet sap pearls from underneath and slides as a solid tear at my feet.
I ignore it.
I was taught about the inconsistency of pain and the irrelevance of echoes.

There is no door under that part.
I raise my hand again.

Soon my feet stick to the petals on the floor and in walking around
Wall to wall
I pull them off and along.
The glue covers my fingers, stuck the knife to my hand
But the door is still hidden, 
Though it must be there.
It must be.

I cannot think of anything except the word ‘escape’.

And then the room is covered in pieces of paper and drenched, 
In wallpaper-
Glue that sticks to my eyes as I scour every corner
In search of a frame.

I lay down the skinning-knife.

I have torn every possible layer,
And the last pieces hung high,
And I did not bother to wonder
If they would hold on much longer,
Or when they would fall.

There was no door.
Skinning the walls of my room had only made them bleed.

Perhaps the door is underneath my skin.

I pick up the knife again.

2024 – Spring

I’m starting to think Proust was a liar

Author: M.W.

I’m starting to think Proust was a liar,
because the more I pass by
the places I brought my dog before she died
the further that time gets from me,
and all my childhood does is slip away
like the sticks we’d throw in rivers
and chase downstream.

I can’t hold her anymore, that is the thing.
I can hold the wooden box that holds her ashes.
I can sob as I do it.
I cannot hold her.

No amount of fairy cakes nor hula hoops can bring me back,
I will be dragged bleeding through the briars, to end up nowhere at all.
Knees scraped, and like it was then my hair will be knotty and blonde
yet my dog will still be dead,
the old trees will still be cut down.
The grass will still grow in her racetracks,
And the rain will wear the gravestones down.

2024 – Spring

Yellow Streetlights


I don’t like to drive.
At least, not when there are people in my car,
Nor if the trio is too short.

I find myself liking long drives alone, with the music of my choice.
During the day, seeing the landscape evolve into something else
As time passes and I drive by. 
But at night, everything seems different.
When I pass through villages with yellow streetlights,
memories come flooding my mind.

Christmas was always at my grandparents’. We went midafternoon for a traditional walk
Followed by some songs, poems, and stories around the decorated tree.
Then the gifts and the copious meal: it took hours to finish the many courses and desserts.
We left after it was long dark outside,
My parents always played the same disc
The radio wasn’t entertaining that late at night.

The trip back was about two hours long, 
I usually ended up sleeping most of it.
But there always were those moments, some minutes after departure,
When the sleepiness hasn’t kicked in yet, 
I would listen to the music while absently looking at the lights outside.
The quiet sound of the car engine and the driving motion
Rocking me to sleep. Happy and content with the time spent with family.

Those are nice memories from my past.

Nowadays when we go eat at my grandparents, I drive on the way back,
While my parents sleep in the backseats.
Still listening to the same music.

2024 – Spring

Sweet Fair

Author: Claire Trotti

Candy floss all around, joyful melodies
We were moving in a colourful crowd
Our eyes shining like the yellow lights
Our hearts beating faster than the music.

I found him cool, cause he had a skateboard
I think we all did
So I was surprised when he asked me out
I said yes, I wanted to try churros !

He first took me to the ghost train
When he offered me his hand,
I held it to reassure him
I’ve known worse ghosts !

We laughed at children in their bumper cars
Made fun at the bashful lovers in the big wheel
Thinking we were too old to be like these kids
And old enough to copy the sweethearts

When the moon rose, he offered me churros
Sweet and greasy in their golden packaging
They were warm and comforting
Crunchy and soft at the same time

Then I looked into his eyes
He broke the distance
It was fast, soft, wet, and sweet
Then we just hugged.

Every time I taste churros
I remember his sweet kiss
My innocent joy, our delicious embrace
Of two kids discovering love.

2024 – Spring

Crowd-sourced poetry

Authors: collective

Students in Kirsten Stirling’s MA seminar “Poetry and Public Life in Scotland” were discussing the Scottish national poet Kathleen Jamie’s outreach projects of crowd-sourced poetry. Jamie asked the people of Scotland to submit one line on a particular theme (the first theme was the environment) and then she “curated” the lines into poems. In the last 20 minutes of the seminar we experimented with crowd-sourced poetry on a smaller scale. Everyone in the class wrote one line (or in some cases two…). The theme was what we could see from the window in the classroom. Then the class split into two groups to “curate” the same lines, and the result was the two poems (two versions of one poem?) below.


Ten glasses full of hopeful colours;
Squared, bright, one eye can settle on the night.
Morbid branches and dancing green
Like octopuses and jellyfish waltzing in a grey, grey ocean.

The parking lot, buried in trees, covered in leaves
Shade the cars with their new summer gowns.
A trickle of shattered harmonies
Gentle movements, arise
The silent song of these sweet green fans
The windows filter out the sound.

Smells like rain, the prettiest green, fades to grey
I long for coffee, let me join that tall tree
Where are the birds, I said. Gone on a trip, they said.
Two windows for them to see.

Ten glasses full of hopeful colours;
Squared, bright, one eye can settle on the night
A trickle of shattered harmonies
Gentle movements, arise
Two windows for them to see
The silent song of these sweet green fans.

Morbid branches and dancing green
Like octopuses and jellyfish waltzing in a grey, grey ocean.

The parking lot, buried in trees, covered in leaves
Shade the cars with their new summer gowns.
Where are the birds, I said. Gone on a trip, they said.
The windows filter out the sound
Smells like rain, the prettiest green, fades to grey
I long for coffee, let me join that tall tree