Christmas in the wasteland
For Prof R Klein

Bird foot snow arrows east
Sun is oblong yolk spilt over elms
I see Hiroshima setting and all is silent now.

I see you in snow drift apparitions
Bride not to be scattered to five winds
I feel the chilblain frost and think of Nagasaki.

I see a fox petering out in the resurrecting ice
Is that a shadow flashing across the dead field?
I am choosing to be haunted, race through my bones.



With five collections of poetry focusing on conflict Antony Owen is a well respected writer known for investigative poetry which took him to Hiroshima in 2015 to interview atomic bomb survivors. His subsequent collection, The Nagasaki Elder (V.Press) was shortlisted for a Ted Hughes Award in 2017.  His  sixth collection The Unknown Civilian is published by KFS.




newton’s cradle: on winter and the loss of love

it’s trying to snow and i’m
trying to mourn
the bitter drops drop
reluctant out of
me to flower
on this whitening ground
and in
the labouring veins
as the tremendous
blots out the single line of advance

we are forced into a balanced
interplay, are moved
by newtonian laws
in this cockfight there is
no victor only the burgeoning

look on the ground red
entrails of agony
bone knives
skin strafed
by tears and all
spilt like apples

tides of glass fragments
ceaselessly wash
over passing feet
a cruel innocence of ice

and the rare splinter
enters the heart like a javelin



Mandy Macdonald lives, writes and makes music in Aberdeen. Recent work features in anthologies including Places of Poetry (Oneworld, 2020), Reflected Light and Of Some Importance (Grey Hen, 2020). Her debut pamphlet, The temperature of blue, is available from

Note: A version of this poem was published under the title ‘On winter and the loss of love’ in The Fat Damsel, November 2015




My marriage to the snow

It doesn’t have to speak. I know my bare
and wincing foot is what it wants. Frost-crust
is like a warning bite that softly tests
the skin, tests how we live in daily love.
Overnight, the snow’s spread at my feet
its hair, its belly-skin of unsunned white.
Its undemanding face demands a word.
It lies down in perfection like a dare.
Snow’s surface glitters – little, flexing claws.
A slushy hoard of life’s marks hides beneath.
I can’t resist – I want to be the one
whose words, whose tread, make change. I swear I hear
a hush of laughter under breath. The snow
does what it does, but kindly. And I stay.



Ramona Herdman’s latest pamphlet, A warm and snouting thing, was published by The Emma Press in 2019. Her previous pamphlet, Bottle (HappenStance Press), was a PBS Pamphlet Choice. Ramona is a committee member for Café Writers and tweets @ramonaherdman