Time of water light. Air and earth light
spread so thin and dirty, washes of fishscales

autumn skeletons fill the sky and fade.
This the sad time. Parents worry their pockets

children dredge dreams for real smiles
gifted this one day of happiness wedged

between heavy sleep or worn-thin insomnia.
Fill the house with anything that shines itself back to us

fill the void of old religion. Don’t be-grudge these little
blessings: fairy lights, tinsel, glitter. For some of us

drenched grey by the weeping sky, it is all we hold on to
as we dog-paddle the deep waters to Spring.



Hannah Linden is a Devon-based poet. She has emerged this year and is published by Domestic Cherry, Apple Tree’s Speak! anthology and several online poetry magazines. She tweets @hannahl1n





The Christmas Gift

They walked beside the river,
swollen with heavy sleet.
He felt the matted grass
crunch beneath his feet.
In his pocket he knew
a secret, terrible and raw.
She said that she was freezin’
and what’d they come ‘ere for?

Her white throat, silly heels
puffer jacket, trinkets gold.
She said that she was going back;
his fingers tightened on the cold
blade, eager in his coat.
They’d come a little way now
he could maybe do it here:
he’d already worked out how.

There were no angels singing
a church bell didn’t ring,
he felt no warm compassion,
(he never felt a thing).
But he eased up on the handle,
said “Yeah, you’re right, let’s go”
and as they walked towards the road
the sky began to snow.



Marc Woodward is a musician and poet based in the West Country. His work, which often draws on music and rural life and is frequently underpinned by dark humour has been published in various magazines and anthologies.  This is his blog



our decorations were glass
but a wagging tail
shattered them

and bought down the tree

so with needles
you wove a Noble Fir

and with hooks
crocheted soft unbreaking baubles

a lovely tree
that may be bent
but never broken



Gareth Writer-Davies was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize and the Erbacce Prize in 2014, Highly Commended, Geoff Stevens Memorial Prize in 2012 and 2013. He is having his pamphlet Bodies published by Indigo Dreams in 2015.