The Twelvey Night Mummers
I must have been nearly nine
when the Green Man
and good Saint George
deranged our winter parish.
A gilded Turk and terrifying horse,
the doctor with his bottle and bag,
coaxed something very old
to curl around the cassocks,
slide between the pews.
Our vicar floated like a Chagall goat,
lost all authority.
The lectern eagle rustled its brass wings
and children ran between the stones
tying Fredrick George (beloved son)
to Martha Jane and Lady Hay.
Then drums and serpents
beneath mad Percy’s face
now black as pitch.
Gillian Laker is a former Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year. She was shortlisted for the Troubadour Poetry Prize and runner-up for The Brighton Prize for Flash Fiction. Her collection Curious Voices was published by Cinnamon Press.
Note: Twelvey Night is the old Twelfth night according to the Julien calendar and falls on the 17th January.
I love those haikus of quiet before midnight
when no roar can be heard from work-wenders
I can see my cells dividing
smell ozone from clouds rearranging themselves
I can hear moss nibbling
an ammonite outside my window
feel the squirrel skittering through pine
pondering shelter or food
urged by some seasonal gear
the tremble of the birdbath
from the weight of a teetering pigeon
But I can’t smell the fox
gathering broken branches
fashioning a perfectly round hole
from which to hide or spy comings and goings
at nightfall the transformation
from heaven to hell
danse macabre of the night-feeders
Julie Maclean is the author of five pamphlets and one full collection. Her poetry appears in Ink Sweat & Tears, POETRY (Chicago), Poetry Salzburg, The Rialto, Shearsman and The Best Australian Poetry, among others. Recent publications include Mirage and Unsettled (Ginninderra Press, 2021).
Is in a hurry.
Says she has other kids to attend to.
Takes flight with a single wand and angel wings.
Says keep them. We are left with
A crown, a wand, fairy wings
And swish the angel goes
Into the blessing of the door
And disappears, perhaps for good.
This is no ordinary angel
Because she is unhinged, slightly off kilter,
With wild hair and rough edges
Who speaks our tongue when she can help it.
She says she borrowed the costume from a pantomime
Met a real angel on the way
Exchanged her dress, convinced the real angel
To part with her wand as well.
Before leaving, she didn’t smile
But said there were other kids, in distress, to meet.
And with a straight face, glaring eyes, added
Nothing to worry.
Amlanjyoti Goswami’s recent collection of poems River Wedding (Poetrywala) has been widely reviewed. His poetry has been published in journals and anthologies around the world. A Best of the Net and Pushcart nominee, his poems have also appeared on street walls in Christchurch, exhibitions in Johannesburg, an e-gallery in Brighton and buses in Philadelphia. He has reviewed poetry for Modern Poetry in Translation and has read in various places, including New York, Delhi and Boston. He grew up in Guwahati, Assam and lives in Delhi