Polish is spoken here and mountains have appeared behind
the closed down meat pie factory.  Bears roll their snouts like drunks,
lumber down the mountains, lick sticky locked-up gates, globules
of gristle stuck in rusted padlocks.  All of us, bears, wolves,
humans, raise our heads on windswept days, inhale memories
of bubbling hearts, intestines, ears, blood.          Where there was once a
brewery there is now a flood of frozen weather.  They’re
playing violins around the edges, frying herrings,
the smell of beer rising as skating couples bite into
the ice.     Someone has bought clippers to shave young men’s heads in
kitchens drinking black, Happy Shopper tea.  Here is number
for room, for work in nice, clean-smelling factory.        Outside
the Catholic Church old women stamp snow, wear fur at their throats,
dab Holy Water like cologne.        After Christmas, we will
open our windows, fill our houses with tripe and sweetened
cabbages.      New Year drifts in from the sewage treatment works.

*Josephine Corcoran writes poems, plays and short stories.  She has had work on BBC R4 and at The Chelsea Centre Theatre, London SW3.  Recent poems are in The Bridport Prize Anthology 2010 and forthcoming in Grist 2012.

Ice Bonds

The wind chill wails through the chippy’s sign,
icicles quiver and drip from the post-office windowsill,
the paper-shop window frills with snow crystals.

Dawn is wide behind the shops
where winter is bejewelled with diamonds on the scrub,
where the early sun softens a rainbow over the stream,
where the cold is purifying.

The angels coated in this purity are stung
with frozen tears, with frosted wings.
Nothing is warmed by these crunches underfoot.
The ice is roaming, catching my breath
I taste the bite. Look, how the bells are still,
how the gargoyles drool is frozen.

*Lynn Woollacott sends a Chinese New Year Blessing: May you have success in all endeavours, may you have peace and health in the four seasons, may your happiness be as wide as the sea, may all your comings and goings be peaceful.

Twelfth Night
It ends with the boiling of bones.
Flesh leaves the ribs as easily
as pine needles leave dry branches.
An old carcass in grey water
shrouded by its own grease.
It ends with the boiling of bones.

*Rebecca Farmer’s work has been published widely, most recently in The North and The South Bank Magazine. She has an MA in Creative and Life Writing from Goldsmiths.