Ritual, 1.

After lunch she whispers
to the carved mahogany table legs

feels around for the mouse
cut into the back of the armchair

where her grandmother
reads paperback mysteries.

She names that mouse

Then she slides away
from the snoring chorus of adults

the ashtrays where
forgotten after-lunch smokes

still burn and drift
their bitter incense.

Ritual, 2.

The coal-shed’s
miniature black hills

are piled up in half-light –
of snowdrifts

against dusty walls –
here she hopes
for a long life

of blue flame
for each waiting
carbon stone.

Ritual, 3.

The pantry’s a cool sacristy
full of edible icons
a yeasty bread-tin

jam jars in shades
of oranges
and plums

homemade beer
in plastic vats
with mustard stains

she incants
their names
blessing the contents

of each greasy tub
and honeyed pot
in turn



ML  Eyres is a UK poet living in the US. Recent poems can be found in Agenda, Portland Review, Roadrunner Review, The Poetry Bus, Algebra of Owls, The Write Launch, Cathexis Northwest Press and heard with @thesoundboutique on YouTube.




The Evolution of Christmas

Wigilia no. 1

Jezus malusieńki leży wśród stajenki. Five months old. We couldn’t go back home that night. Too much snow. My baby blue pram’s wheels shivered and refused toturn into skis. Cold.

Wigilia no. 5

Płacze z zimna, nie dała mu matula sukienki. Waiting for the first star. Breaking opłatek wafer with all relatives, careful not to eat it myself. Always karp amongst twelve dishes. Had to taste them all. Singing kolędy, aunts’ harmonies. This uncle or that dressed as Santa. Presents. Midnight mass. Frost.

Wigilia no. 12

Nie ma kolebeczki, ani poduszeczki. Score in front of me, but not looking, I forgot he Silent Night halfway through, my violin suddenly going silent, the night staring at me through the eyes of the crowd gathered in the church. Black ice.

Wigilia no. 17

We żłobie mu położyła sianka pod główeczki. All that food, that despicable karp! What is Santa actually called? Święty Mikołaj? Gwiazdor? Or perhaps Dziadek Mróz? Just let go of me, I don’t belong, I’ve forgotten how to be part. Snowdrifts.

Wigilia no. 29

Dashing through the snow. There is no Wigilia, really, in THIS country. Presents, impatient till Christmas Day. Christmas Day not being a night, too bright, too day- like, too full of turkey or goose, or other roast, or Queen’s speech. Overcast.

Wigilia no. 34

In a one horse open sleigh. I have never gone back home for Christmas since moving home. I have never gone back home for Christmas since coming here. I have never gone back home for Christmas since coming out. I keep missing it. I don’t belong to THIS Christmas, to Christmas and Boxing Day. Windy.

Wigilia no. 44

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way. Christmas Eve dinner with pierogi and barszcz. Opłatek also. Half of the presents. The other half on the Christmas Day, in  pyjamas, champagne, cigar. Christmas lunch: vegan roast and Queen’s speech. Sometimes Christmas tree. Warm.

Anna Blasiak is a poet and translator between Polish and English. Her bilingual collection Café by Wren’s St James-in-the-Fields, Lunchtime is out from Holland House Books. More at




Tasting the dark

As the tired sun sinks, neither day nor night, cusping winter
wrap up in cosiness, button snug, wear a Santa hat

Load your picnic basket
swaddle soft sourdough oven-warm in linen napkins

Tuck in flavours of home
salmon smoked slow, scented with bracken and moors

Fill those felt stockings, gold embroidered.
pop tangerines in toes, slip in lebkucken, chocolate coins

Settle in a time-carved hollow
ready to trap the buttter-bright moon in a mesh of branches

Listen to the moss sneak
as owls and foxes share this midwinter feast

Ask do stars taste
sweeter than shadows?



Finola Scott‘s poems are widely published in Alchemey Spoon, PB and Lighthouse. Red Squirrel Press publish her pamphlet Much left Unsaid. She is the Federation of Scotland’s Makar. More Poems can be read at fb Finola Scott Poems.