A New Ulster issue 3

Page 1

A New Ulster Featuring the works of David McLean, Neil Ellman, Angela Topping, Nancy Anne Miller, Christopher Barnes, Stella Burton and more. Hard copies can be purchased for ÂŁ5.00

Issue No 3 December 2012


A New Ulster

Editor: Amos Greig

On the Wall

Editor: Arizahn Contents

Cover Image by

Amos Greig


page 6

Nancy Anne Miller; Tulips in January Boxing Day Mercy New Year Winter Landscape White Light

page 8 page 9 page 10 page 11 page 12 page 13

David McLean; Nothing Written Scars are never Ghost of a father Stormy Night The Dreadful Child

page 15 page 16 page 17 page 18 page 19

Angela Topping; Mage Spoken Cartography

page 21 page 22

Christopher Barnes; Theory of Alienation Moon Screams Fiscal Wars Puppeteers Croon Disorganising Revolution The New Politics are Dead

page 24 page 25 page 26 page 27 page 28 page 29

Neil Ellman; Of Course the Longing was Fabricated Elegy for a Silent God Spontaneous Combustion The haplesness of Being

page 31 page 32 page 33 page 34


Rena Rossner; Edith in Wonderland Villette Eileen and Olive

page 36 page 37 page 38

Kate Ashton; Ebb (prose excerpt)

page 40

Stella Burton; Rain Circle From Day to Night Strandhill Portavogie Storms Portavogie The Storms and Fishermen's Families Dewdrops on Her Cheeks

page 46 page 47 page 48 page 49 page 50 page 51 page 52

Young Writers and Artists Section McKenna McClenny; Snowy Butterflies

page 54

On The Wall Colin's artwork can be found on pages 58-59 Round the Back Bare Hands Poetry The Bone Orchard Christmas message from the Alleycat's

page 60 page 61 page 62

Manuscripts, art works and letters to be sent to the Editor @ 24 Tyndale Green Belfast BT14 8HH. Alternatively e-mail g.greig3@gmail.com. (See Submissions for further details.) Hard copy distribution available via Dennis Greig c/o Lapwing Publications, 1 Ballysillan Drive BT14 8HQ Digital distribution is via links on our website https://sites.google.com/site/anewulster/



Published in Baskerville Old Face Produced in Belfast, Northern Ireland.


Editorial It is now December, the weather has started to turn and Christmas approaches like an unstoppable wave of festive joy and untrammelled commerciality. A New Ulster is now three issues in and this is the last issue of 2012 hard to fathom at times. The last few years have seen some momentous changes occur worldwide. In many countries the Arab Spring has seen a desire for freedom to choose and an escape from oppression. People around the world find themselves opening their eyes to the realities of society and the difficulties that lie ahead. The end of November saw a historic decision as Palestine is recognized as a state by the UN. Hard to believe that just a few days before Gaza had seen the increase in violence and bloodshed. Worryingly many community and artist projects on the ground working towards peace faced the possibility of seeing their work undone. I have been asked "Amos? Why don't you feature your work in A New Ulster?" my answer is very simple my work is on every page. I am responsible for the cover images I take each photograph, I edit each page tweaking the layout as and when it needs it. I communicate with each artist, writer and plan which order the content will appear in. A New Ulster is ultimately a publication aimed at reaching as many people as possible, sharing poetry, fiction and art with everyone no matter their creed or culture. A New Ulster is not a platform for my own work but a vessel for others to get their work out there to be enjoyed. I have produced plenty of my own work and several pieces have been in print in hard copy and online. I've used paintings to raise funds for charity but this magazine is not about me as a writer or artist. Issue three sees a new section added representing the works of younger artists and writers. I believe that creativity and passion for the arts should be nurtured. I would like to think that this will be a section that can be built on and expanded. I am also hopeful that we will see 2013 as the year when STEAM becomes the norm at school and that we see an increase in social and community art projects. What is STEAM? well it stands for science, technology, art and maths we need to encourage the next generation to be thinkers and doers. In a few short weeks it will be Christmas the towns and shops are already mad, flooded with shoppers seeking the latest gadgets and the perfect present. I would like to take this time to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Amos Greig Enough preamble! Onto the creativity!


Biographical Note; Nancy Anne Miller is a

Bermudian poet, and has a MLitt from the Univ. of Glasgow. “Somersault�, a poetry collection about Bermuda is forthcoming from Guernica Editions(CA).Her poems have appeared in Edinburgh Review (UK),

The International Literary Quarterly (UK), Stand (UK), Mslexia (UK), The Fiddlehead (CA), The Dalhousie Review (CA), The Caribbean Writer (VI), Journal of Caribbean Literatures (USA), Postcolonial Text (CA)), and tongues of the ocean (BS) among others with poems forthcoming in Agenda

(UK) and The Moth (IE). She is a MacDowell Colony Fellow and teaches poetry workshops in Bermuda.


Tulips in January They bend as if colour is heavy to bear, the weight Of worth as one stem brought a fortune in 1637 trade. Still proud of that, even the light’s gold can’t get them To open. Heads lowered like snakes uncharmed by music. Held in a crystal vase the way winter holds us each In glassy ice, surrounds us with what breaks, cracks, Then sends the softness of snow. Petals open in slow Motion, aspergillums sprinkle the room with a silence. Undress for death, litter the table with taffeta skirt Panels like crushed love letters, or painted nails. Sepals, electrical plugs without the currency of the sun Coursing through, spent from the charge of the moment.

Nancy Anne Miller 9

Boxing Day Out of the box finally, Christmas day over, Fall out bits of sparkle Present from the gathering. Advent a house party of sorts In ancient days when adoring Magi, Shepherds showed When they could. An extra day Necessary after aiming for The one moment like the star Over Bethlehem is a target. When truly its light is The jagged ripped paper From a gift package. We Need another 24 hours to put The long year to sleep with This bedtime story for both Child, adult. Hear again About the birth of a baby Who opened up the world.

Nancy Anne Miller 10

Mercy Something good in the grey, The dreary in between, a purgatorial smoke Wafting between the burnt out death of autumn And the birth and bright blaze of Christmas. Everything calmly noticeable In a low key way. Nothing takes the eye to the horizon, What is near is the focus. So when white falls Like light from heaven, we want it to, So hungry for this piece of bread Pushed through the bars of trees.

Nancy Anne Miller 11

New Year The dry brown leaves left On the January trees remind Me of the scrappy downed kites Edwards, our gardener, and I Made and retrieved amongst The Bermuda cedars. Built From fennel sticks, string, Paste, and paper grocery Bags from Lindley’s market Until ready for steady winds. The landscape in New England Is now a patchy white and Brown like the cows pasturing At the ‘ Milfold’ estate in our Island Paget neighbourhood. The milky kindness of snow Will fall here, bring back A childhood innocence, So we become infants again With the spanking New Year.

Nancy Anne Miller 12

Winter Landscape The perfect metaphor for memory Distilling, abstracting, Simplifying what occurred. When the truth is the melt Down of what is underneath, Odd shaped, patchy, not particularly clean. We sift things through time, Gentle white lies fall, Sugar coat what is unseemly. We remember in bits, fill in In pieces. Our mind joggled, A snow globe covering the scene. Keep it neat, in a container on Our desk, until we brave to enter The winter landscape of this piece of paper.

Nancy Anne Miller 13

White Light Everything is converted as white light Pours out of heaven and trees become Thin ribbed angels who cannot Lift droopy wings to fly. No need to go Up when a celestial world comes down. The town truck forms its own flapping Feathery path to us. The steady snow Fills all distances flown between, Leaves arched branches, discarded Scaffolding of flight no longer needed. Footprints where messengers landed With a gravitas now dissolve, fill in, Buttonholes buttoned up as a cloak Covers all of the land, is thrown Down for only God to walk over.

Nancy Anne Miller 14

Biographical note: David McLean is from Wales but has lived in Sweden since 1987. He lives there with his partner, dog and cats. In addition to six chapbooks, McLean is the author of three fulllength poetry collections: CADAVER’S DANCE (Whistling Shade Press, 2008), PUSHING LEMMINGS (Erbacce Press, 2009), and LAUGHING AT FUNERALS (Epic Rites Press, 2010). His first novel HENRIETTA REMEMBERS is coming shortly. More information about David McLean can be found at his blog http://mourningabortion.blogspot.com/


nothing written nothing is written in the skin that carries meaning, a palimpsest layered with incessant absences replacing one another because everybody loves repetition and repetitive rejection: so nothing is written in the skin to read out loud to this night where nothing listens, where no birds sing

David McLean


scars are never scars are never memory or too importunate, the itch singing in the insignificant and dusty skin plowed by time and anxiety through the glorious missing, the sweaty dead things living still. here is ice and night and undone sun so everything lives diamonds and night because scars are never mistakes; just time cut right

David McLean 17

ghost of a father a girl in an old gray house dozing in a chair, she wears the ghost of her father like a shirt though cameras are there and every empty potential: ghouls and ironing boards or an innocent script; a girl in an old gray house. she wears the ghost of her father like any other inanimate thing, a camera, a corpse that sings

David McLean 18

stormy night it is a stormy night in a film, but here the lightning has long been sleepy and only the wind to whip ice or waves happy. it is a confused child in a film carrying her burden of ghosts, but here there have never been ghosts in me and childhood is a forgotten century to leave in a dusty box in a cellar hole, a hopeless ghost broken and lonely, another drug like memory. it is a stormy night in a film it is animals and everything living, a stormy life for ghosts and children

David McLean 19

the dreadful child the dreadful child has ghosts in her eyes and a pocket full of hopeless blood immoderate like love might have been or soldiers on an arrogant hill rehearsing for living and the brutal exigencies of will the dreadful child has eyes on fire, she is sleeping still

David McLean


Biographical note: Angela Topping is based in Cheshire and her ninth solo poetry publication, Paper Patterns, came out from Lapwing in 2012. Angela is proud of her Irish working class ancestry, which informs her writing. in 2013, she takes up a residency at Gladstone's Library, Harwarden. She has written several critical books and textbooks and is currently completing a book on the poet, John Clare.


Mage I was once a hare, could bounce across a field, my long ears flowing behind me, my eyes telescopes. Or was I a fish? A freckled trout in a brown stream. When water moves me without hurry in my body’s rhythms I believe this. I also accept I was a bird, the common garden kind, that loves to make a nest. I still long for flight, to see the land laid out, map-like in all its glowing colours after rain. I must have been a shape-shifter, a pale dark-haired woman who could rise up from my other bodies become whatever I needed to be, to defeat the wizard who wanted to tie me down and know all my secret names.

Angela Topping 22

Spoken Cartography What is the riddle of this hill? It tells of secret graves, of bones. It sings of granite, rabbits’ homes. Records of battles are scribbled on grass. Blood fattens bulbs for spring. What is the legend of this tree? The heartwood knows important things. Its shade is where the lovers sighed; Its branches where thrushes feed their young. The oak means ships and England’s pride. What is the codex of the sky? Its meaning changes by the hour. Its tongue no-one can understand. Its daily dialectic tells one truth: Nothing is definite except the dark.

Angela Topping 23

Biography: Some bio details... in 1998 I won a Northern Arts writers award. In July 200 I read at Waterstones bookshop to promote the anthology 'Titles Are Bitches'. Christmas 2001 I debuted at Newcastle's famous Morden Tower doing a reading of my poems. Each year I read for Proudwords lesbian and gay writing festival and I partake in workshops. 2005 saw the publication of my collection LOVEBITES published by Chanticleer Press, 6/1 Jamaica Mews, Edinburgh. On Saturday 16Th August 2003 I read at the Edinburgh Festival as a Per Verse poet at LGBT Centre, Broughton St. I also have a BBC webpage www.bbc.co.uk/tyne/gay.2004/05/section_28.shtml and http://www.b bc.co.uk/tyne/videonation/stories/gay_history.shtml (if first site does not work click on SECTION 28 on second site. Christmas 2001 The Northern Cultural Skills Partnership sponsored me to be mentored by Andy Croft in conjunction with New Writing North. I made a radio programme for Web FM community radio about my writing group. October-November 2005, I entered a poem/visual image into the art exhibition The Art Cafe Project, his piece Post-Mark was shown in Betty's Newcastle. This event was sponsored by Pride On The Tyne. I made a digital film with artists Kate Sweeney and Julie Ballands at a film making workshop called Out Of The Picture which was shown at the festival party for Proudwords, it contains my poem The Old HeaveHo. I worked on a collaborative art and literature project called How Gay Are Your Genes, facilitated by Lisa Mathews (poet) which exhibited at The Hatton Gallery, Newcastle University, including a film piece by the artist Predrag Pajdic in which I read my poem On Brenkley St. The event was funded by The Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences Research Institute, Bio-science Centre at Newcastle's Centre for Life. I was involved in the Five Arts Cities poetry postcard event which exhibited at The Seven Stories children's literature building. In May I had 2006 a solo art/poetry exhibition at The People's Theatre why not take a look at their website http://ptag.org.uk/whats_on/gallery/recent_exhbitions.htm The South Bank Centre in London recorded my poem "The Holiday I Never Had", I can be heard reading it on www.poetrymagazines.org.uk/magazine/record.asp?id=18456 REVIEWS: I have written poetry reviews for Poetry Scotland and Jacket Magazine and in August 2007 I made a film called 'A Blank Screen, 60 seconds, 1 shot' for Queerbeats Festival at The Star & Shadow Cinema Newcastle, reviewing a poem...see www.myspace.com/queerbeatsfestival On September 4 2010, I read at the Callander Poetry Weekend hosted by Poetry Scotland. I have also had art criticism published in Peel and Combustus magazines.


Theory Of Alienation A popgun gaffer rolls his own, Rattles the supplement, self-tormenting on Magners Before cues, pots, All cramped swagger And Lynx. At the urinal A trap-door spider’s hatching Tenterhooks. Wincing. Close upon an affront. 3pm splutters‌.hang fire sun. Car park boot sale: booths vending whim-wham lighters, Foolscap redeemed from a work-a-day nook, Crates of marked-down bleach To gnaw the eyes, Make them faintly cry.

Christopher Barnes 25

Moon Screams A quadrangle has lungs Waking midnight. Cosmology ridging, Mouse-stirring grass. The coup shoots ahead. Embedding ‘elections,’ Both parties Puffing on ‘divine right’ boards, Swaggerish. Rank – Knocking out the moment. Teeth-gnashing, A blush across flesh. Bedraggled, trembling – We flap in the web.

Christopher Barnes 26

Fiscal Wars I leered as false-teachings contorted. Alterants said ‘nothing doing’. Social Provision hurly-burlyed in turn-arounds, Demolished, end-to-end in smoke. Destiny will heir, as every Marxist apprehends, A head-and-shoulders phalanx of police. We’ll prolong our inductions In unlikely circumstances, Surviving a formula of motives. They’ll allocate begin-again dearths, Vehement anxiety for diversion – an escapade Lengthening to sparkling hearses.

Christopher Barnes 27

Puppeteer’s Croon Cliqued in the finesse Of bestowing decrees, I swallow it Wanting gripe. Soaked up by long-in-tooth conventions, Machinations smart-arsing the no-accounts. Righto, you structure by hush-hushes, Floodlight defects. Kick off the coming bloodshed. You made trap-doors alright; In the sewer try bobbing along.

Christopher Barnes 28

Disorganising Revolution Inconsiderate – your Simian good looks, Strew in knock-kneed rain. Convictions Of ‘tactics’ gist – Someone’s tackling to string-pull The Schism. War is a gargled-earth malodour. Muffled drum. The matter of daring, A bare anthropological index.

Christopher Barnes 29

The New Politics Are Dead Right path whores With pit-a-pat scowls Had flesh that made thunder certain. Sprung, seven senses – they’ll tangle you In the eye. We’re divided from gallows. Unreplenished of possessions. Smuggled banners jolt. Dishevelled see-saw resistance Death rattles treading damp steps Set forward by the living.

Christopher Barnes 30


Biographical note: Twice nominated

for Best of the Net, Neil Ellman lives and writes in New Jersey. Hundreds of his poems appear in print and online journals, anthologies, broadsides and chapbooks throughout the world. Neil currently lives in New Jersey


Of Course the Longing Was Fabricated

(after the painting by Ashly Wood) this longing skin of skin on skin this hunger wrongly conceived this misunderstanding of limbs eyes that linger too long from dark within taut nerves ready to shatter this improbable love fabricated from a touch— “Of course,” persisting “Of course,” I said, pretending all along that it was real

Neil Ellman


Elegy for a Silent God Our hearts Inflamed by love of you through pestilence and plague silent mornings when your voice was stiller than the wind through grass your wind, we the grass, bursting with adoration, green with humility and praise we bent to your wind without a word not knowing is more difficult than pain waiting more difficult than shame we honored, we offered ascent and suffered from undying consent and still the wait, not even with the wind hurling the deserts at our doors— millennia of worship on bloodied knees and still the locusts come.

Neil Ellman


Spontaneous Combustion flames have hands touch souls’ emptiness conspire fingers curled nails scratching igniting heart the hyacinth within knows heat remorse hands know no reproach feelings burn inside not so far where they can hide before they turn to fire

Neil Ellman


The Haplessness of Being hapless In another universe hopeless In this things happen unintended consequences unforeseen cursed jinxed damned a reprobate here on earth I wonder why the stars were crossed for me before I was ever born

Neil Ellman 35

Rena Rossner is a graduate of the Writing Seminars program at The Johns Hopkins University, Trinity College Dublin and McGill University. She has written extensively for The Jerusalem Report and The Jerusalem Post. Her poetry and short fiction has been published or is forthcoming from Poetica Magazine, Ascent Aspirations, The 22 Magazine, Fade Poetry Journal, Exterminating Angel Press and Inclement Poetry Magazine, among others. Her first novel is out on submission.


Edith in Wonderland At Egerton House School, Exeter Alice was handed over. Not down the rabbit hole, this wonderland is leather bound, gilt framed, embossed with gold. In 1923 or 24, hearts were lifted, Sursum Corda declared to Edith Le Palowel, the little miss, Form II. Who excelled in English subjects, this was her prize. Head Mistress Blanche J.G. Gardiner, your gift is now mine to command with full color plates. The preface poem begins again “All in the golden afternoon” and ends, as this volume does “Pluck’d in a far-off land.”

Rena Rossner


Villette I found Villette in Howarth for three English pounds. Inscribed. My souvenir from Bronteland. A blue binding engraved with art nouveau roses, its threadbare stem’s gold leaf pattern long-since worn thin. Inside beside the pencilled-in price it said: To Ina From Will. His letters grazed four tiny lines he scored with care prescribed to stop hand-writing’s slant. In black fountain pen ink he sketched his heart, carefully retraced W’s second U. Perhaps he meant to woo, or win her hand? That day, so much was left unsaid. March 29. My birthday, 1914. Will’s boyish inscription described the day, 85 years ago. Were Villette and Ina torn apart? Was she abandoned for another suitor’s books? Villete, my twin, what will become of you when I am dead?

Rena Rossner 38

Eileen and Olive To Eileen with love you signed her name a bit too crooked, crossed out one L, realized too late her name had only one. And I wonder which of The Girls’ Budget stories were your favourite, such that you made them hers. Which “riches in a little room” were found within the pages of this book, as the fig-leaf imprint on the second page proclaims. “To Bathe or Not to Bathe?” That’s the first story. Or was your interest piqued by “How Jennifer raised the Wind.” I’m partial to “Mab and Moonshine,” were you too? And in your jagged child script, a contrast to the brazen font which said: BLACKIE AND SON LIMITED, LONDON GLASGOW AND BOMBAY you signed with Love from Olive 1924.

Rena Rossner 39

Biographical Note: Kate Ashton trained first a s a nurse and then went into nursing journalism. She returned home to Scotland in 2003 after spending 25 years in the Netherlands, where she worked as a freelance editor and translator and had two books published in the ancient Frisian language. The full-length prose poem from which this extract comes was written mainly during this period, and finished after moving to a small town on the edge of the Moray Firth. Kate’s work has appeared in various magazines, including Shearsman,

THE SHOp, Envoi and Northwords Now. Her pamphlet, The Concourse of Virgins, came out from Lapwing Publications in May this year.


Ebb Looking back, I see the house was back and white, a Tudor monument upon a darkened hill. I smell the yew tree’s blacked boughs and see the high dark arc they threw and how beneath them nothing grew. Esther was inside, I knew. But first there was the long gravel drive, flowerless, and then the big front door, a hall, and then the panelled dining rom. Esther sat in the window seat and lozenges of light stole in upon her through locked panes of lead. Against the diamond hatch I saw the fair haze of her hair and in the tiger-yellow eyes an ancient glance of welcome and of stealth. The day began there, in those eyes and in that fall of hair, and in the wary withdrawal our meeting held. When Esther smiled all excess fled. I have no photograph of her. She sidled from her seat and came across the polished pockmarked floor with arms outstretched in some wide gesture not her own. And yes, her mother stood condoning there behind her in the doorway; her mother, small and smelling bad. Esther hugged me and the day began again. It was always like that: a furtive exchange of openings without deceit and then a journey begun and never finishing. Not ended yet. Esther smiled and cruelty, finality was in that smile, the small white weasel sharpness of her teeth; something was limited in such sweetness, the soft curtailment of the saint. But in those days there was no end to play. We chased oblivion into the farthest corner of the house, the great dark hall, the echoing stairwell. And in the garden, scared to death, found relics half-buried, graveyard-green: a gone child’s ball, a bald doll’s head twisted and gawping on its neck. One Christmas my small sister stayed there. Esther had an older brother, John, and older brothers should be big and tall and strong. But this brother was shy, and when he spoke stumbled so that you could not rescue him. He played at the piano with a deep bowing motion of his trunk and a slight frown. Turning, his smile was slight and vague as summer rain. It passed across his face like summer rain. He plays again. The room is full of light, and pictures punctuate the walls. There is a coloured rug, a coffee table and a chair – a special chair of slung hide with sagging leather belts for arms adjustable on buttoned holes, like those which held up the windows in old Pullman train carriages. And the seat is a real tiger pelt, tanned naked in parts but curling lush where each limb joined and crested black from head to tail. Esther sat on her father’s knee. There was no need. She had not hurt herself. She was no longer small. He spoke in slow stammering speech and near to his left eye a tiny muscle twitched. He put her gently down and stood, half man half megalith, blond, balding, blinking behind his black-rimmed spectacles. He was an architect. But not a Frank Lloyd Wright, caught in the canyon, defenceless, lanced with light, working with wonders, falling, failing, coalescing. This was another kind of man, who


could not be moved. His massive frame rendered him impassable and at his soul some trembling weakness charged his tongue with tears, his eyes with long unspoken lies.

We shall not, we shall not be moved. We shall not, we shall not be moved. Just like a tree that stands beside the water We shall not be moved. One day Esther’s cousin Anthony came. Esther and I went out with him to the potting shed beneath the yews. Here it was dark and damp and when you closed the door it was at last as though no one could see. To be unseen, to be invisible; it was a highest aim, a secret which heavied our hearts and widened our eyes, which whispered stopped our breath. It was almost completely dark in there. And darkness made us daring, so that all the dark mysteries stirred and asked to be explored; the black suspicions that each harboured about himself, and the frightening bright light that each was to the other. Our silence was not the dread quietus of the adult world, but a still potent promise of tomorrow, the stricken moment which while fleeing sank and touched each at his core. A quiver went through us then and anything could happen. Witches could swoop, walls crumble; a hundred visions show themselves and manifest some being. The shared universe could speak to us. Time spilled and overlapped itself. Difference took on tangible dimension, and difference thrilled. Cousin Anthony, sly and superior, showed how he could stand and pee into the cobweb shadows of the shed. Shocked and hot with pride, I pinched and peed too, in a straight line. But Esther froze. Something had entered on this game, and from outside. She shrank and suddenly was absent from our ring. Her fear was like a parent come upon us without words, and as she shivered rank and stained their strange pronouncements filled the air. Anthony would be blamed.

Tell-tale tit, Your mother can’t knit, Your father can’t walk With a walking stick. * But Anthony’s father walked in front, stooped, bearded and myopic, in a dark duffle-coat. A professor, he walked alongside priests and leftwing politicians. Behind them came trades unions, local peace-corps and endless representatives, their women carrying, chivvying children. The war had caught these people up and kissed each with its deadly kiss. It had dandled them on its knee and they had smelled the acrid breath it breathed across the earth. It had lifted them up, each, to see the rising cloud, the mushroom mask of liberty, and let them peep beneath its skirts at scars more permanent and terrible than death. They were afraid. But in their fear lay perspicacity. Children of Plato, brought up on reasoning, they saw the need to organise. They found new fathers in philosophers, prophets and pacific priests and a new forum on the streets. Although afraid, they did not need to be alone. 42

Those soldiers who had survived marched, marched now with their wives. Here were the raw young captains who had played at war beneath garish colonial suns, or stayed at home and objected in solitary shame. The war had shattered their young lives (and yet there had been something fine: the barrack room of equal boys, jokes in the mess. They told the tales with wistful carelessness, propped against bars behind their women’s backs and camaraderie was blessed.) England had mostly held the war at bay. All the abandonment with which she embraced hate sprang from an island temperament. Lulled through the summer of the concentration camp her lovely landscape drowsed boundlessly free, and in her cities no one starved, but ate their rations listlessly. And outrage met the doodlebugs arrested hum, the siren signalling attack. What insolent would stray so far? Who dare to raze this temple state? The majesty with which she orchestrated war was great. Exiled, the European queen and government found hospitality commensurate, while commoners were dubbed and deprecated as the Hun. No people better knew their equal or subordinate; found instant confirmation in his bearing, dress or fate. To seek asylum here was to find refuge in the lair. For ages immemorial the beech had congregated here, crowning these hills, the oak had sprawled magnificent and valleys run their course towards the sea. England had long subdued her Celtic kin and her dominion stretched as far as she could see. She made a monster of her enemy and went to war with hoards of awe-struck allies, silenced, laying down their lands. She pounced and brawled across the globe and grew more elegant with each foray. Twice now she’d met her counterpart in war and vanquished him. She knew him like a lover, had by heart each pose, each odd inflection of his speech. They were precisely matched, and yet she never saw her true reflection in his eyes. The crucial moment passed and proud, fastidious, she put away his broken reach. At first they’d engaged hand to hand and knew that they were of one blood. They’d lain as fellows cheek to cheek, and lay still now along a lowland shore, contrite in death as turtledoves, releasing poets to the stars. But as their voices dimmed the savagery began again with weapons greater than before, and man was lost within his game of war. He felt no foe, he smelt no fearhe knew no touch of ice upon his soul. The numberless were one. All passion past, their cities spoiled and hideous and poison seeping in their genes, they sowed new seeds of angst and lust. Children came out to play on streets of tangled steel and dust. Pink rosebay willow-herb attired the ruins with impartial haste and beauty throve amidst the waste. Nothing was left to the twin combatants but lies, and they were satisfied. A maniac had led their age. It was agreed on either side. They built again with vigour born of rage. The defeated raised replicas in denial, the free built fresh altars to their liberty. All respect for the past was gone; the sacred nature of the stone and angles aimed at perfection. Unable to look back or mourn, they hid in hate and nothing new was born.


Remembrance flourished in this state; ritual review of the facts and feigned, fantastical, the ceremony of the flame. It held them flickering, ever still. Eternally it burned: the grisly image stupefying will. While ever closer families grew. Fraternities linked lovingly in arms. Nations declared their shared intent for peace and clove the fallen prince in two. Only the atom shook them now. This was a splitting which defied their law – a schism separating cause and war. They watched the macerated face, the voiceless death with mutant shock which amassed and manifest as perfidy. At last it seemed the war had ended with due gravity. But such horror must never touch their shore.

One, two… Anthony’s father laid aside his lifework on the Doomsday Book. He lit a pipe and sat back in his chair. It was quite clear whose was what and what belonged where. He saw a time when man would once more labour on the land and forfeit feudalism for egalitarian content. Beyond the botched ideal he glimpsed self-government, the lordless village coterie. Though plainly there must first be peace. He kept his vision largely to himself and peered around the circle of his fellow dons without delight. He found more lasting pleasure in his wife, who succumbed wildly to his dallying with clerks and repaid him well with berating, a final child; the flashing topaz splendour of her eyes.

Three, four… They marched with her brother, the architect. Brother and sister, both were big, but she was dark while he was fair. She stood on certainties, he floundered in the shallows of his own misdeeds; she bellowed curses at the world, he whispered and withdrew. He knew she loathed the constant clamour of his wife, her talk, her endless chattering; the way she shrugged and covered up the diminution of her size.

…we don’t want No nuclear war. Among the little men walked my father. His history stretched back to northern armies of the unemployed and cloth-capped orators on street corners. He held the learned in contempt, yet found this current kinship good. Poverty, squalor, these he knew. But to hold sway with those who had long been to school was a departure from the rule.

Five, six… There had been those after the war who’d viewed the benefactor without joy, who’d seen in gifts and charity the subtle workings of a ploy. The young American who’d blanched at banks of living dead welcoming him with batty arms outspread trembling took all his terror home. His folks heaped pity on the boy and sent out aid. Who knew what chance, what interest might accrue.


Such patronage fell foul of the proud, led spirits back to long-forgotten indignities. They scorned such tainted recompense. Glittering at the limit of their view lay galaxies of unclaimed stars, while menacing, material and fain, nuclear night knocked at their door. They overcame such scruples as remained and made the common cause their own.

Seven, eight‌ Back in the ranks the simple victim of his time walked with the woman who had shared his crime. Passive resistance was the order of the day. Aggression must be countered with restraint. Inflamed by civil disobedience, plain citizens and policemen lined the way. The marchers went from town to town, aloof, undaunted by abuse, and entering the capital bypassed with sneers their cordoned governors.

Why don’t we negotiate? The great grey square was filled with cheers. Massive, the maned stone lions bore the throng. The granite lips of basins swelled. Fountains ran red and people swam. Speeches were drowned within the song

We shall overcome, We shall overcome, We shall overcome some day, ay, ay, ay, ay Oh deep in my heart I do believe We shall overcome some day.

ends excerpt


Biographical Note: Stella Burton was a vibrant person. Many of her pieces were designed for the oral tradition ranging from spoken word to songs. Christy Moore was a popular influence as was her love of walking and for the garden that she maintained. Her final years were spent in Portavogie with her husband Roy and she wrote a selection of stories about the storms there. In many ways she captured the old story teller traditions and many of her pieces really came to life when she performed them. Stella Burton 1946 - 2010


Rain Circle It trickles down my window, tiny drops of rain Down the ledge, along the path rushing through the drain, Gurgling and swallowing, in and out of the pipes it shivers, Finally splashing, dashing out into the rivers.

The journey here it does not end The river it has many bends.

Twisting here and curling there running wild without a care Over rocks and under bridges. By the fields and through the ditches, Then it comes out to the sea, but alas it is not free For it must return to clouds and sky And wet our windows when they are dry.

Stella Burton 47

From Day to Night The cornfield stands so still and golden in the summer sun Wavering for just a moment, A light breeze passes on. Then when the breeze has travelled to the field beyond Once more the corn stands still on that lovely summer morn. A small bird in flight goes twittering past, Travelling to its nest. It has flown quite far today And returns to nest. The flowers and trees look splendid stretching In the sundrenched park. What a pity it will all be gone soon And we shall be left with only the dark.

Stella Burton 48

Strandhill (A place of the heart) Early in the morning as I watch the sunshine rise up above Benbulben and the Knocknarea skies. As I walk along the beaches of a place they call Strandhill a little seaside village of which I'll never get my fill.

Oh Strandhill I love you dearly As you nestle quietly down Among the lovely mountains To the west of Sligo town. You can watch the great white breakers as they beat unto the sand of the great Atlantic ocean, there is none that's quite so grand and if you'll cross the sand dunes and walk a little way you will come upon Cullenamore strand a quiet peaceful bay.

Oh Strandhill I love you dearly As you nestle quietly down Among the lovely mountains To the west of Sligo town. There are local friendly people who ride their horses there and canter little ponies and a lovely dark brown mare and if you're very lucky as you gaze across the tides you will see the dolphins break the waves and reach towards the skies.

Oh Strandhill I love you dearly As you nestle quietly down Among the lovely mountains To the west of Sligo town.

Stella Burton 49

Portavogie Storms The wind howls over Billy's hill The rain blatters my windowsill I look towards the harbour wall Giant waves down they fall The fishing boats are sailing out But it's much to stormy someone shouts Still the fishermen go by Ever watching the cloudy sky The sea is very unforgiving But the fishermen must make their living They may not know what lies ahead Still children and families must be fed.

Stella Burton 50

Portavogie The little green light is shining bright To guide the ships throughout the night. The sun shines red in the western sky And so it sets and says good bye. It's a cold northwind that blows today, I think that there is some snow on the way. Close in the hens for safety in the byre, Chop up the logs and stoke the fire. The kids eat their dinner with fierce appetite, And now they're all asleep Settled down for the night.

Stella Burton 51

The Storms and Fishermen's Families It starts with a whisper around the eaves Then a rustle in the trees, Palmtrees bend towards the ground, Grannie sits with a worried frown. She has heard these storms before, Of the stories of the fishermen not far from shore. Will they make it home tonight? She wonders. Through the monstrous tide, the lightning, And the thunder. She is thinking about times long before When she was a young girl, Out on the shore. Her baby was kicking her belly well When the waves began to swell. Will he make it back home to see his bairn? Who cares about the stinking heron Is that the light she sees on the stern? She's running now More than she should! But as she rounds the pier the news is good, The father to be there he stands Glad to be back safe on dry land. Stella Burton 52

Dewdrops on Her Cheeks She didn't want to leave Cause she was having such a time But she could hardly speak And there were dewdrops on her cheeks. Her Grampa said don't cry And she tried to say goodbye But she could hardly speak And there were dewdrops on her cheeks.

No she didn't want to go And she cried the whole way home It took her mama all the week To wipe those dewdrops from her cheeks. That little fair haired girl Aideen is her name She will win the hearts of many As she plays life's waiting game.

Stella Burton 53

Young Writers and Artists section

Biographical Note: McKenna McClenny is twelve years old. She is an avid reader and a fine artist. She was born in Amarillo Tx and lives there still..


Snowy Butterflies Snowy Butterflies Watch them as they flutter-by, So wonderful and free, Oh what I'd give to just be A snowy butterfly Twirling swirling doing flips, Taking many, many trips, Going up into the clouds The falling floating back to earth When they're tired and have done their best, They slowly land upon the ground to get some rest Then they fly back up to dance again I put on my gloves, I put on my boots And I go and dance with them, Those snowy butterflies.

McKenna 'Mac' McClenny


If you fancy submitting something but haven’t done so yet, or if you would like to send us some further examples of your work, here are our submission guidelines:

SUBMISSIONS NB – All artwork must be in either BMP or JPEG format. Indecent and/or offensive images will not be published, and anyone found to be in breach of this will be reported to the police. Images must be in either BMP or JPEG format. Please include your name, contact details, and a short biography. You are welcome to include a photograph of yourself – this may be in colour or black and white. We cannot be responsible for the loss of or damage to any material that is sent to us, so please send copies as opposed to originals. Images may be resized in order to fit “On the Wall”. This is purely for practicality. E-mail all submissions to: g.greig3@gmail.com and title your message as follows: (Type of work here) submitted to “A New Ulster” (name of writer/artist here); or for younger contributors: “Letters to the Alley Cats” (name of contributor/parent or guardian here). Letters, reviews and other communications such as Tweets will be published in “Round the Back”.

These guidelines make sorting through all of our submissions a much simpler task, allowing us to spend more of our time working on getting each new edition out! You can also order hard copies of “A New Ulster” signed by the Editor himself for the bargain price of just £5.00 per copy for black and white, £7.00 for full colour (plus P&P). Watch out however, as numbers will be limited. If you would like to purchase a copy or three (hey, I’m feeling optimistic today!), then please contact us with the details of your order via e-mail at: g.greig3@gmail.com and title your message as follows: Purchase request (name of customer here).


DECEMBER 2012’S MESSAGE FROM THE ALLEYCATS: Thanks to all of the artists who submitted their work to be presented “On the Wall”. As you probably noticed, we now have a section especially for younger writers and artists. Be sure and let any up and coming creative types know! In addition, our editorial is now at the front of the artwork section. As ever, if you didn’t make it into this edition, don’t despair! Chances are that your submission arrived just too late to be included this time. Check out future editions of “A New Ulster” to see your work showcased “On the Wall”. Well, that’s just about it from us for this edition everyone. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Alleycats; see you all again in the January edition!


Biographical note: Born at the tail end of the seventies in Northern Ireland, Colin Dardis is a poet, artist, and sometimes musician. He edits FourXFour, an online journal focusing on poetry from Ireland and beyond. He is also the founder of Purely Poetry, an open mike poetry night in Belfast. Colin’s work has been previously in numerous anthologies, journals and zines in Ireland, the UK and the USA. Check out Colin's website at: http://lowlightsforlowlifes.weebly.com/ Fanbook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/ColinDardis/173153172766394 Speech Therapy Poetry Zine: http://speechtherapypoetry.weebly.com/


"Maid" by Colin Dardis

"Redface" by Colin Dardis 59

"Stoneface" by Colin Dardis


Bare Hands

Bare Hands is an international online journal of contemporary poetry and photography started by Kerrie O’Brien in October 2011 with the aim of creating an online journal that was both visually striking and easy to read. As there are already a huge number of well-established and impressive Irish journals such as the Stinging Fly, The Poetry Bus and The First Cut, Kerrie wanted to create an international collection. She also wanted something with a quick turnaround so that people wouldn’t be left waiting too long for a response. Kerrie decided that ten poems and five photographs would be featured each month and the layout would ensure that the reader focused on each piece of work individually. She told writing.ie “I’d never used Tumblr before but their blog themes are beautiful, easy to use and designed to be read easily on mobile and tablet devices. So I started a Facebook account and put out a submission call on poetry blogs and websites. The results were startling. From the beginning, the poetry and photography I received were of an incredibly high standard and work was being sent from all over the world – China, India, Russia, Malta – it was amazing. Sarah Griffin became my fellow editor and within a few months the journal was getting a huge amount of views and it kept growing. Each issue now reaches over a thousand hits within a few days of publication, which I still can’t really believe. Because the quality of the work in each issue was so strong and word about it kept spreading, we decided to launch a competition that would promote the journal and its artists in a bigger way. The idea was that two winning poems and photographs would be turned into two beautifully designed postcards and distributed to independent bookshops around the world where people could pick them up for free. And that’s what we did. They are now available all across the world in bookshops including Shakespeare and Co. in Paris, City Lights in San Francisco, Foyles in London, St Mark’s Bookstore in New York as well as ones in Melbourne, Toronto, Berlin and even Santorini. The winning and highly commended work is published on our website and it is stunning. Ever since the creation of Bare Hands people have enquired about the possibility of a print edition, and we’ve decided we are going to create a print anthology, coming out in October 2012 to celebrate Bare Hand’s first birthday. We’ve launched a Fundit campaign, so we’ll join the epic ranks of Storymap and The Poetry Bus. We hope readers will look at it as just buying a copy of the anthology in advance – if they pledge a meagre eight euro, they’re guaranteed a copy of the book to be sent for free. We’ve other plans in store for the kind people who donate more than this such as a tiny little book of 61

Bare Hands photographs, stickers and even gin! This first print venture is going to mark an important change in Bare Hands, and our second year is going to be full of surprises that are already under way. Submissions for the anthology are now open. So, while we get our Fundit campaign up and running, write us some poetry and take some photographs! Our deadline is September 1st 2012 – that gives you loads of time. We will be publishing 15 photographs and 25 poems altogether. It’ll be amazing! All contributors will receive two copies of the print journal. *Review submitted by Bare Hand Poetry. Anyone who is interested in submitting work to Bare Hand Poetry should contact the editor on: barehandpoetry@gmail.com with the heading Anthology submissions.

Bone Orchard PoetryThe name ‘Bone Orchard’ came from a line in a poem I had written long ago, almost forgotten. I afterwards discovered that it was also a name of a post- punk group from the States, I believe, from sometime in the early 80’s, around ‘The Birthday Party’ era; I added ‘poetry’, as it seemed to fit. It began as a whim, as in my few years of submitting to zines and magazines, I felt that I had scarce outlets that truly ‘fitted’ my own work, and that a lot of writers that I knew seemed to be dissatisfied by what was about; basically they took what they could find. I had edited previously at ‘Calliope Nerve’, under the wing of Nobius Black, who of course deserves a mention, as Bone Orchard Poetry is run in a similar manner, ie. the frequency of posts and absence of an ‘official’ issue, just a rolling basis, which I feel keeps things fresh. As far as the work that is sought, I focus mainly on the somewhat darker aspects of the psyche: the surreal/ the experimental/ the bleak/ the absurd, but I am receptive to other work, this is not a ‘genre’ project. I have been blessed with the work that has been submitted, both from friends and also from beyond, and have been surprised by the response, and the feedback. Bone Orchard Poetry now runs to the 13,000 view mark since late last January, including a two month hiatus. I have been lucky to have the work of David McLean/ Gillian Prew/ Craig Podmore/ Heller Levinson/ John W. Sexton/ Kyle Hemmings/ Misti Rainwater Lites and so many others, the list is endless, really, and I don’t mean to name-check. The quality of work, I feel, is up there with the best zines, regardless of it being a ‘blog-zine’, etc. To be honest, I hadn’t envisioned its success to be so great, nor the work to be so forthcoming as it has been. If anyone feels they might have something that might fit the bill, the doors are always open, I publish four times weekly, sometimes five, and you work WILL be read, that’s a given at this stage… I look forward to reading your work. *Review submitted by Micheal Mc Aloran. Anyone who is interested in submitting work to Bone Orchard Poetry should check out http://www.boneorchardpoetry.blogspot.ie for details



LAPWING PUBLICATIONS RECENT, NEW And FORTHCOMING TITLES 9781907276798 Martin Domleo The Haunted Barn: A Novella 9781907276804 Helen Soraghan Dwyer Beyond 9781907276811 Richard Brooks Metaphysical Flaw 9781907276828 Martin Burke For / Because / After 9781907276835 Gerry McDonnell Ragged Star 9781907276842 James O’Sullivan Kneeling on the Redwood Floor 9781907276859 Una ni Cheallaigh Salamander Crossing 9781907276866 Teresa Lally Doll 9781907276873 Lynne Edgar Trapeze 9781907276880 Paul Tobin Blessed by Magpies 9781907276897 Laurence James Deliquesence of Dust 9781907276903 Marc Carver London Poems 9781907276910 Iain Britton druidic approaches 9781907276927 Gillian Somerville-Large Karamania 9781907276934 Martha Rowsell Another Journey Like This 9781907276941 Kate Ashton The Concourse of Virgins 9781907276958 Martin Domleo Sheila 9781907276965 Tommy Murray Swimming with Dolphins 9781907276972 John O’Malley Invisible Mending 9781907276989 J.C.Ireson The Silken Ladder 9781907276996 Mariama Ifode Senbazuru 9781909252004 Keeper of the Creek Rosy Wilson 9781909252011 Ascult? Linitea Vorbind hear silence speaking x Peter Sragher 9781909252028 Songs of Steelyard Sue J.S. Watts 9781909252035 Paper Patterns Angela Topping 9781909252042 Orion: A Poem Sequence Rosie Johnston 9781909252059 Disclaimer Tristan Moss 9781909252066 Things out of Place Oliver Mort 9781909252073 Human Shores Byron Beynon 9781909252080 The Non Herein Michael McAloran 9781909252097 Chocolate Spitfires Sharon Jane Lansbury 9781909252103 Will Your Spirit Fly? Richard Brooks 9781909252110 Out of Kilter George Beddows intro x Jeremy Reed 9781909252127 Eruptions Jefferson Holdridge (out soon) 9781909252134 In the Consciousness of Earth Rosalin Blue 9781909252141 The Wave Rider Eva Lindroos (out soon) There are other new works in various stages of preparation. All titles £10.00 per paper copy Or In PDF format £5.00 for 4 titles.