Three Drops from a Cauldron Beltane 2017
Three Drops from a Cauldron Beltane 2017
Edited by Kate Garrett with the Three Drops from a Cauldron editorial team: Becca Goodin, Loma Jones, Amy Kinsman, Holly Magill, Penny Sharman, Grant Tarbard, and Claire Walker
Three Drops Press Sheffield, UK
First published in 2017 by Three Drops Press Poems copyright © individual authors 2017 Anthology copyright © Three Drops Press 2017 All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review or scholarly journal. Kate Garrett has asserted her right to be identified as the editor of this book in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988. Three Drops Press Sheffield, United Kingdom www.threedropspoetry.co.uk ISBN 978-1-326-99929-2 Cover image is used under the terms of the CC0 Public Domain license. Book and cover design © Kate Garrett 2017
Life Into the Light
Incantation on a Cornish Meadow
The Fires of Calton Hill
The Giant’s Wife
The Mud Queen
Gift from a Garden Gnome
The Faerie Queen
The Cottingley Fairies
Will for Flight
My Father as a Zephyr
Gift Shop Witch
She Is Fire, Earthly and Divine
At the Smoke Firing
Lament at Beltane
Previous Publication Credits
Other Books from Three Drops Press
Life Into the Light I heard the circle of spirits sing for the change of season, saw them dance – the women gentled out harmonics, made as if to be nymphs, huffing out the new day. I saw them stamp to each beat of Earth’s eternal drum – each trill of trunk-hid harpsichord a bud, splitting life into the light. Each long held note a new leaf un-curdling its veined thin. I see them, marking time through early dawn-spill, see them wearing rings of broken sun, see their feet, bare on wet grass. The bulbs have slept – crocus and snowdrop ask to slip their flesh. Branches carry the quiver of nutlets, asking to be born. Blossom, an excitement as yet un-pinked. I hear how they hope for renewal, these gabble-witches, gorgeous within their impish selves. I hear how they hope for spring.
In Spring There are leaves like hands opening and the old queen in her rotten palanquin teetering along the road, stones in the black ground opening like eyes you open your mouth to sing the road bursts into blossom ticks fall from the backs of horses nests from the eaves. In attic rooms fanfared with creaking ropes poets hanging quietly sift into insects, find cracks, escape and burrow into the bronze shock of the sky. Those pinkly newborn children uncurl on their pillows and speak new words to their mothers, new soft words from their soft palates and soak up sun on all the windowsills like fat hairless cats, watching. What gods come, come stalking on all fours, lean, and hungry, and afraid.
Easter This is not my myth, a resurrected savior glimpsed strolling through town like a celebrity. I prefer the tales they stole from – Dionysus felled and risen, Ostara with Her sacred hare. Anyone who’s thrown dirt on a loved one’s coffin knows that coming back’s a fairy story, though metaphor makes its case – flowers’ color-rich unfurling, the old dog leaping for a stick. My daughter smiling with my mother’s face.
Celtic She has been keeping score, the whisky-filled nights, rumours of woman after woman. He believes his own mythology, sees her as the dragon he is the wolf. She is untying the love-knot, removing her ring and all the symbols. Hereâ€™s the news: he is getting a free transfer. He can go back to the Druids for all she cares.
Incantation on a Cornish Meadow
(inspired by a Gaelic folk charm)
I will go out and I will gather grasses that my figure may be supple and lean; so, I will bend when the wind blows and turn my face only to the sun. I will dance in the morning and in the evening also and no shadow shall spill across my brow. My girlâ€™s arms are slender and white; I will wind them about the sacred oak. I will wander abroad and gather up roses from between the earth and the sky. By this may my lips be honeyed pink and taste of life and hope. Sweetly I will sing of tomorrowâ€™s dreams and all the secret trifles of my heart which heart will be as a dainty dish to lay before the great Lord of Life. I will unwind my soul like a ribbon of light; I will glitter like a gull above the sea; I will raise myself up to endure like a stone, set to straddle the then and now. I will fall away as the earth cracks and tumbles to the shifting sea. My salt blood will flow and ebb to fill the flinty hollows of the dark.
Abigail Elizabeth Ottley Wyatt
Marzanna we drowned her in secret / so they did not realise for a little time / the birds had come. / there were only in the meanwhile those blood blisters / heaving one-two one-two falling from the welt of their stomachs/ from whatever kept each one of them / aloft / a fleck of soot against the whitewash sky. only half an ounce of feather burrowed in the rafters / the only thing apart from us awakened / us, the unbird and the footsteps of the rats / who had been there when we drowned her / like god / just like him and his own good son / the rats are everywhere. damned up to the elbows in cold water / we held her under like a dumb child / beads and ribbons / we bound her body with ribbons and with beads and / beautiful as if / she was already holy / as if everyone already knew what birds were / how to recognise between the paving stones / a desperate slip of root. I too once was tested / by the water, and found wanting / I could not bear it on the rock-bottom / with the weight of frogspawn massing on my belly / with everything growing limbs and dragging itself to shore. / Marzanna does not dwindle / I want to be a thing like that / just bone and straw and ribbon / a heavy staring thing / untroubled by the water. they found her, freshly netted / shrunken / in a moon lens. / when they stepped into the mudrot / of the pond-side / it made the same sound / as a wet mouth gaping / wordless. / I worked so long for money for those ribbons / they are the yellow of an old eye / always open. He woke in the night / fearing all the wings of all the birds / might fail / fearing summer and its fury. / I can hear him downstairs, pacing / I have learned to tell the difference / between the everywhere footsteps / of the rats and his, deliberate. / sleep took me one-two one-two falling / stroking the straw-prickle of my wrists and belly / still dry to the touch.
(Sacred to Cailleach Bheur, the blue hag.)
From Hallows Eve each tap of her staff freezes sod to stone. Furze stays green. Hard-mouthed the slot-eyed goat can graze on winter-whin, raze the stock-proof hedge. Quick to catch its faggots burn fierce, heating the bakerâ€™s hearth fuelling the Beltane fires. The spring sun warms slow. Blossoms glow like old gold. The scent of coconut tempts early bees to indiscretion. Kissing is always in fashion.
Ah, Aphrodite hips saddled up belly a cauldron breasts ballooning milk mighty thighs, dimpled knees catâ€™s tongue yoni you are me and I am you it has been a many-petalled unadulterated pleasure
The Fires of Calton Hill “They are beginning to remember.” She arched a look at her Beloved from the corner of her eye. He wore his thick red braids swept high on the top of his head, looped so that they swung down his back and trailed on the ground behind them. Bluebells and purple-tinged harebells wound through the braids. Where his hair brushed the earth — back and forth, back and forth — tiny clumps of pink petaled bell heather pushed up between the stones. The soft leather of his trousers shone, and the bronze bands around his arms and wrists and the torc around his throat reflected the dancing firelight. Mortals swarmed around them, laughing and shouting, tossing greetings to one another. They carried thick mugs of dark beer and warm pastries wrapped in paper and sticks that sparkled with fire. Their cheeks were pink from the cold, the wind sliding around the hill, up and down the cobbled roads of Edinburgh. “Remember what?” she countered, slipping her arm through his to rest a delicate hand on the bronze that bound his wrist. She traced the pattern there with her fingers, the roe deer bucking madly as a pair of gray wolves ran him to ground. “They are mortal. Their grandmothers’ grandmothers have no memory of us. They have forgotten our names, our stories, the words of welcome…” “They have not all forgotten, nor have they entirely forgotten our names or stories. Or the words of welcome. And what they cannot remember, they will recreate.” He looked towards the top of the hill where a great stage had been erected. Drummers lined up before it, pounding out a rhythm that filled the city. On the stage itself, the May Queen and her handmaidens danced and twirled around the need-fire. Off to either side, performers — their bodies painted red, their hair spiked and jeweled — tumbled and rolled and grasped one another to make fantastic shapes. She did not answer, allowing her gaze to wander the crowd. It was difficult to judge the age of mortals, but some were short, some were tall, some were covered in great beards and mustaches, some had hair that was thin and gray where it poked out from beneath their caps. The air smelled of burnt wood and burnt meat and beer and cold and snow and ancient stone. A splash of purple caught her attention: a sprig of harebells tucked behind the ear of a little girl. Her cap, if she had worn one, was long gone. She stood alone, her chin tucked down into her coat, her arms wrapped tight around a book, her eyes wide and unblinking.
She stared directly at them, rapid breath puffing out from beneath her collar. “Mmm. The little mortal has seen us.” Her Beloved sounded amused, even curious. “Just so,” she agreed. Releasing his arm, she picked up her long skirt of oak leaves and primroses, and moved towards the child. The girl watched her, eyes getting bigger. She knelt slowly, skirt pooling. The primroses stretched their mauve heads and green stalks, spreading out, following the cracks between the cobblestones. She dipped her head. “Slàinte mhòr agus a h-uile beannachd duibh, nighneag.” The girl continued to stare at her, mute, throat bobbing as she swallowed hard. “Ah. We have frightened the little one.” Her Beloved sighed, a finger lightly following the curve of her shoulder and the brilliant flame flowers which curled across her collarbone. “More like she doesn’t even know the Old Tongue. It has died away and been forgotten, like so much else.” She stood, the leaves of her skirt ruffling with irritation, the thistles which wound about her forearms wilting just a bit. She turned away. “Nicnevin.” It was barely a whisper, a scratch of a child’s voice nearly lost beneath the laughter and the shouts of the crowd and the pounding of the drums. She paused, head tilted, the tips of her fingers resting on her Beloved’s arm. The child lifted her head, just enough that her lips appeared above the edge of her collar. “Nicnevin. Gyre-Carling.” She pulled her head out all the way, arms tightening around her book. “Slàinte, bhanrigh sìthiche.” She turned back around and knelt again. The primroses spread eagerly, as did the thistles and the flame flowers, forming a riotous knot of color around the three of them. The child took half a step forward, then suddenly relaxed her grip on her book. It flipped over in her hands, spilling open to a much-loved page: a woman upon a white horse paused in her wild ride through a forest of elder trees. Her dark hair streamed behind her, as if it carried the wind itself within its strands. The horse pawed eagerly at the ground with one hoof, very nearly kicking the man who knelt there, his cap in his hands, his face lit with adoration. She laid a finger on the page, just at the edge of the painting. It shivered at her touch, the elder trees seeming to bend beneath a great wind. The horse’s hoof left a gash in the earth.
She smiled at the girl. Leaning forward, she pressed a light kiss to the child’s forehead and whispered. “S dòcha tha thu a 'seinn àrsaidh òrain, nighneag.” She pulled away far enough to breath upon the sprig of harebells tucked behind the girl’s ear. The flowers shivered and spread, forming a bright purple and green wreath. Standing, offering the child one last smile, she slipped her hand over her Beloved’s arm. They turned away, moving around the hill, through the crowd of cold, cheerful, and sometimes drunken mortals. “May you sing ancient songs.” Her Beloved arched an eyebrow. “A blessing or a curse, My Queen?” She trailed a finger along a low stone wall. Spiky thistles burst to life, their fluffy purple heads dancing in the early spring wind, sharp leaves poking out in every direction. “Both. As it ever is with all my gifts.”
Island Spring She feels as though skylarks nest inside her clothes. They fly in all directions out of her pockets, the whirr of their wing-beats â€“ the prayers flinging heavenwards. Flickering under the clouds they remain attached to her by invisible threads, down which their clockwork voices vibrate into her sternum as though she were a lark chick hearing what she must become â€“ an outpouring song, luring menace away from what she holds most dear.
Rag Tree She cuts through the red cabbage, it makes her think of ribbon wishes. The white root, clear as a tree, right there on the chopping board. The cabbage leaves create dawn contours and when she squints, she can see a wild woman, all open mouth and long hair. As she boils water in a pan, she thinks of the moon rising. A golden promise. The heat creates bubbles like early morning dew, water captures hidden breath. Tonight she will dance over fire and dream of her future, that rag longing uttered through time. She will see her own age spots when she stares at the darker patches on the moon. That celestial charmer as old as the universe itself, promise absorber. The dots of light, will make her feel star mapped. She prepares supper, the future shivers over her. Hope springs, in the stone walls of her kitchen.
The Giant’s Wife
(An Epilogue to the tale of “Jack and the Beanstalk”)
It’s been two weeks since he left without a kiss. He rose from sleep, twisted wind, tearing after the boy. No jacket, no staff, just hunger thundering hillsides, shed boulders in his wake. And for what? a thin waif of dessert, a harp, a hen, a sack of coins? My dowry kept us in gold these many years, more than enough for him to fingerlick each glimmer, to dream drugdeep in gilded song. He called me Old fool, to let a thief climb into my heart, my over-sized oven, cool and empty. But I am ravenous too, for children, a taste for something I do not know. Each morning, shrouded in clouds, I follow footprints planted in spring’s moist soil. Now, they are ponds scattered like a broken strand of silver beads shivering with minnows and sunlight. I can see reflection, what lies beyond the cliff’s edge: a mountain upended beneath my feet.
Wendy Mannis Scher
Rosa’s Chest Rosa lives in a whitewashed cottage, high in the hills of the debatable lands. Rosa is a woman who has standards, but she regularly transgresses her own rules. When she sins, she accumulates hard, rough stones of guilt. They are mineral-rich, forged in her inflamed heart, then stashed in her wooden chest, lashed to her back with thick, cracked leather straps. Daily, she counts the pebbles like a miser counting his hoard. If the tally seems too low, she panics and becomes disorientated. Her stones are a burden, but they anchor her to her life. She fears otherwise she might drift away. People she meets, even people with whom she is intimate, assume her chest holds treasures. Rosa knows differently, but she is too scared to tell. Rosa’s stones alter her dealings with the world, it’s hard to ignore such a weight and carry on regardless. At times, she looks down at herself from the ceiling. She sees a silly, obsessed old woman whose identity comes from wrongdoing and self-righteousness. She’s tempted to tell that old bag how to do things better, but she knows herself too well. She would not listen. Rosa has one desire to match the force of her stones. She longs to give her small granddaughter, Bella, a hug. A hug free of chest pains (Rosa is getting on after all, and lugging it everywhere hurts her badly these days). How to do this; that is the question. ‘Bella,’ says Rosa when the child visits at Christmas. ‘Can I give you a hug?’ ‘Granny, put that big box down, then I can get close to you. And Granny, can I look in the box and pick out a treasure?’ Without warning Bella grabs the lid and starts to open it. Rosa’s heart races in terror. She must save her girl. She must stop the guilt, the shame spreading. She alone knows the power of its contagion. Finding superhuman strength, Rosa seizes the chest, runs out of her cottage and hurls it down the mountainside. She watches it bouncing down, spilling its contents, for all to see, (in the unlikely event anyone was looking). Returning to her chair, Rosa takes the woebegone child in her arms. Bella had been looking forward to a treat. Rosa begins to sing a lullaby. Surprisingly, she remembers the words from long ago. The spell works and Bella sleeps and snores gently. Peace descends, and Rosa is still rooted to the earth.
Ceinwen E. Cariad Haydon
The Mud Queen On those early skinstretched summer days she’d play in the dam play at being amphibian, living in the half-light, the lukewarm world of the surface hours she’d lie there half in half out of the water pushing her fingers through the white clay – which gave like sluggish solid silk – eyeballing the frogs who stared from the bulrushes confused but flattered by the attention But at eighteen she stopped playing and as the dragonflies dipped their jeweled wings and the heat rolled in across the fields, as it found her lips and skin and coursed like a tide down and through and into every bone of her she made a face out of clay with wet and finely gritted lips and kissed it into being And then, how joyfully the frogs bellowed how they creaked and boomed as their Queen drew her King from the damp bank sank through the glittering haze and disappeared just below the surface
God’s Grandmother Last night Mami and Nana stretched their claws in the mud. Like ravens, they stood dark, tall, windly. Mud’s got a voice, you know, and if you put your bared feet in it, you can hear that long caw. Sounds like God’s grandmother. I’m going to put my whole body in that muck mud next rain— heard she’s got a pretty voice.
Raquel Vasquez Gilliland
Silent Pool That summer in the nineties, weâ€™d drive there after dark, light candles in the bird hide, smoke till midnight, when the drowned girl would leave her bed of water, moving its brackish flatness, her body flamelike in the dun half-light, her breath perturbing the sleekness of the evergreens, causing the hairs on our necks to stand erect. We felt her wrapping the clearing in her hush, dragging all sound to her, sucking warmth from the air, snuffing our candles, her weed-hair brushing us, her warning clear.
The Frog The princess doesn’t know what happened to him. She pretends he is in jail, doing hard time, impersonated by the Black Duke for littering flies with his tongue. Someday he’ll break out, hide in a mass of blankets that are packed in a truck to be cleaned on the outside. That he’ll smell like lilacs when he comes to her, his thin lips barely able to kiss anyone but her fat smile. In reality, he is drinking whisky, talking to bad characters who pinch waitresses, demand that the drinks keep flowing. He knows that she’s getting older, that the time to produce children shortens, but he can’t go. Will being a prince mean constant paperwork, not slaying dragons? Will it involve sitting in the castle with a brood that becomes more monstrous as the hours prep their birthdays. He squats on a lily pad, instead, imbibes enough vodka to collapse, fall asleep in the bar. Meanwhile, the author of this story yawns with very little to do. He pulls out his sheet until he hears the croaking of the amphibian who’s returned to life, or the cry of a princess who flings herself from her tower, her broken bones ready for a pencil to describe in all its vicious glory.
Gift from a Garden Gnome Low clouds pass like an unbroken bolt of corrugated cloth—dark enough for the garden gnome to think it’s night. From the living room window, I watch his clay body come alive among the hollyhocks. With stuttered steps he explores the backyard like man’s first walk on Mars. He squints at mushrooms along the edge of the compost heap and stuffs a few beneath his red cap. A shed snakeskin in the onion patch receives his scrutiny. He looks up and sees me—his glittering black eyes like gems from a burnt planet. He waves his pipe in greeting. Clouds scatter. The gnome stiffens back at his place. I venture outside and find a swarm of rare butterflies and melons—twice normal size and ripe.
Ms Green While he ruffles rookeries until communities swarm above treetops in husky cacophony; punches umbrellas inside-out making wet-headed women struggle to reconstruct; blasts clouds away to see sudden sun overheat portly men in raincoats: she soothes, smoothes feathers, sprinkles yellow, blue, white scented confetti as if earth were her marriage-bed: at the end of day they lie back, laugh together.
The Faerie Queen Salmon, her cheeks; shamrocks, her hands. Small and brown, a hazelnut is her nose. Carrageen her eyes; crisp holly, her ears. A pert and dimpled crabapple forms her chin. Soft shearling is her flesh, white and warm. Wild heather is her hair, fragrant, flowering. Her heart is pure thistle.
Cynthia June Long
The Cottingley Fairies ‘Department of Great Lies : Annual Report: January 2016. ’ There can be no doubt that the fairy community is in need of another Great Lie to ensure its invisibility for the 21st century. The successful strategy, now part of our legend, employed in the early 20th century, in which we made ourselves visible to two schoolgirls and showed them how to simulate our presence on photographic film, is no longer an option. Suspicion of the photographs was necessary for the success of that strategy. Computer software (especially Photoshop) has made graphic illusion easily accomplished by anyone who owns a computer. Computer Assisted Animation has completed this block on credibility – we are now classified by humanity alongside occult absurdities such as vampires, zombies and werewolves. When those ridiculous figments can be made to look so real, noone believes we are anything but fantasy. The last General Gathering decreed this is not to be tolerated. Humankind has shown a remarkable capacity to accept Invisible Beings of many kinds so I was asked to propose a strategy for the 21st century to ensure our invisibility, it being central to the question of Faith in Fairies, without which we cannot survive. We have not been able to evolve ourselves beyond the cruel reality of Death by Declaration – I don’t believe in Fairies – is still a death sentence. One thing the Cottingley strategy clearly demonstrated was the capacity of humankind to romanticise our size and the fact that we have wings – a process I have called ‘Disneyfication’. They have no fear of us when they visualise us as minute creatures, rather like dragonflies, who spend their time feasting and dancing. They would show real terror, and therefore real aggression, if they saw we are the same size as they are and that we have a long established philosophical and ethical tradition and most of all, a non-negotiable commitment to protecting Planet Earth in the face of all their assaults upon it. Our usual practice of enchantment – that is speaking in dreams and visions to approachable humans – has served us well through the 20th century, many such dreamers were moved to speak and spread the word, much good work was done. But we observe that in general their habit of self-consumption,
that is, their inability to resist large forces swallowing up small forces, has lead to side-tracking, silencing and occasional destruction of small forces. A new initiative was required to which end, in the last year, fifty of our fit and able folk volunteered to have their wings removed and their invisibility rescinded for an experimental period of direct intervention in the affairs of humans. These brave folk have been placed into key positions in environmental organisations around the world and charged to speak Truth to Power. Meanwhile the Fairy Breathers have spent the last year shaping the great wind systems of the planet – El Nino and the Gulf Stream – so that they warm and gather moisture, changing the planet’s weather patterns in challenging ways. These can be tracked and analysed on their computer models – they will puzzle and argue about the causes but will no longer be able to deny the effects. We need them to realise that – I don’t believe in climate change – could be their own Death by Declaration. I will report results of this strategy at this time next year. Success in this intervention will inevitably be claimed by them as the result of the efforts of their scientists and politicians. No matter. We shall remain invisible. We will hope for wisdom in humankind, and a renewed belief in Gaia and the Fairies. Laila - guardian of the Earth
Will for Flight When the owl came through the night and landed on the ladder of my ribs, I felt her heart beat hard into the hollow, felt the strength it takes to hold to air and my heart rose through the darkness, joining its musculature with its desire.
My Father as a Zephyr Lightest of all things, he blows in light of a perpetual spring, scatters the salty Clyde with early summer breezes, with seaweed fronds on soft foam, fruit of our childhood holidays. His soft stirring smile greets aquamarine. His wind-song dances on fiddle strings, sotto. The west wind restores dear ones with a tease, a coorie-in, a purr.
Fata Morgana I was the wicked enchanter who married your father turned eleven princes into eleven swans banished you to the guardianship of the peasant couple in the woods I was the one who muddied your face tangled your hair, so your father did not recognise you and your home forgot you; I cut the umbilical cord I was the one who set three toads upon you to teach you of heartache, foggy mind and the desperate ends to which people reach in order to survive I was the old woman offering berries from her basket when you were starving and lonely in the wooded depths of despair who showed you eleven swans on the bend of the river I was the fairy radiant who came to answer your prayer, deep in your dream, when your heart cracked and cried for your brothers to be cured I was the one who told you to knit the nettles from churchyards into flax weave them into eleven coats with long sleeves who forbade you to speak a word I was the messenger who sent your brothers to the gates of the castle you were kept in to plead with the King for your life I was the one who showed the swans where and when you were to be executed so they could flap their handsome wings and show the crowd your innocence I was the great granddaughter of all those buried in the graveyards where the nettles grew: my people massacred, their stories forgotten
I was the one who told the mice to bring you the last of the nettles you needed and I was the thrush who sang all night to keep your spirits alive And you, you are the one who finally found your voice
Gift Shop Witch Girl made of whale bone and museum superstition, her hands tied like spring onions is kept on a shelf in the kitchen. A serrated blade separated her legs, told stories between them gauged life beneath her eyelids all from a dead whale’s sacrum. She’s wishbone thin, bright as a bowl of skinned carrots. Keeps the good things in witch girl warns off bad spirits and is sold in gift shops for four pounds ninety nine. Next to postcards, bits ‘n’ bobs whale bone witch girl bides her time.
Pandora Even the gods said she was made a fool, moulded from clay with features they called perfect: beach body ready, top-shelf quality, kitchen pin-up, whatever rules they made for us to fit into an outline made of chalk. Her bedroom became a crime scene, married against her will, under a spell they called fate. Forbidden like a child to open a box of darkness, told that she was only to know of sugar, spice, all things nice. Then when she disobeyed, they said she ruined the world, that she invented dichotomies simply by opening a padlock. She became the bad girl, whore, asking for it - women, either/or. But before it was open, hadnâ€™t she known those things? Now, at least, she owned.
She Is Fire, Earthly and Divine Cloaked in a sea of flames in Romeâ€™s hearth, she stands Queen of eternal inferno lifeâ€™s enkindler, earth itself whose true, noble cast in the flare is hidden veiled with embers divine to remain unsullied as her pure allure would wither mortal eyes
Wieland 1 ‘E knows ‘ow to kip a furnace burnin’ through days an’ nights a sun an’ snow. Alruna gid ‘im the runes for churnin’, ‘e knows ‘ow to kip a furnace burnin. Gram-sword deft kept knights returnin’ ‘e toils dirt-ore to whetted-glow. ‘E knows ‘ow to kip a furnace burnin’ through days an’ nights a sun an’ snow. 2 ‘E teks ‘is embers up to bakers an’ they raise kin on risin’ dough. ‘E’s tools for wounds an’ judge to flakers E’ teks ‘is embers up to bakers, an’ shares is flames wid glassmakers. So above an’ so below. ‘E teks ‘is embers up to bakers an’ they raise kin on risin’ dough. 3 ‘E’d gid yo’ ‘alf a anythin’ ‘e ‘ad an’ e could spare, thass why the swan-wench fell fer ‘im ‘e’d gid yo’ alf a anythin’. ‘E coked a feather into a ring daiked with a Tetnall pear, thass why the swan-wench fell fer ‘im ‘e’d gid yo’ alf a anythin’. 4 ‘Er was sound an’ ‘e called ‘er Feathers an’ ‘er knew the score of ‘is toil so ‘er day fuss with donnin’ leathers. ‘Er was sound an’ ‘e called ‘er Feathers an’ ‘er’d kip the fire gooin’ through all weathers an’ er’d mek gems out the soil ‘Er was sound an’ ‘e called ‘er Feathers an’ ‘er knew the score of ‘is toil.
5 Niohad was king, a new sort an’ e’d ‘eard a Wieland’s charms, took ‘is oss to Duddan Leah fort Niohad was king, a new sort. Now our smith wor gerrin bought an’ Niohad day ‘ave any qualms Niohad was king, a new sort an’ e’d ‘eard a Wieland’s charms. 6 Our Feathers got speared an’ plucked Our Wieland got strapped to an’ oss I swear down yo’ll get fucked, now Feathers is speared an’ plucked! An’ the king watched the township destruct An’ loffed at their furnace loss As Feathers got speared an’ plucked An’ Wieland got strapped to an’ oss. 7 Duddan Leah died from the freeze It doh tek long for embers to cool, now all you ‘ear is a breeze. Duddan Leah died from the freeze. Niohad’d done it with ease taught the kin to play the fool Duddan Leah died from the freeze It doh tek long for embers to cool. 8 Case hardened, spends daylight ‘ommerin’ the bloom, hamstringed, in the smithy of the king Iss gonna be ‘is tomb. Case hardened, spends daylight ‘ommerin’. The bloom
‘e spies is ‘is own slow doom ‘e’s forged ‘is trade mekkin’ rings, case hardened. Spends daylight ‘ommerin’ the bloom. Hamstringed, the smithy of the king.
At the Smoke Firing Am I, of wood smoke reek, red eye, singed hair, clayed feet, humble enough to unwrap miracle? Scorched fingertips burrow and scratch, under soot, sawdust, clinkered ash, to rescue form, brim-burnt and shadow-full. Walls crack. Black matts disclose a cobweb of silver, petal hints of rose, the star in the eye of the crucible.
The Morris The pagan thing is just for the punters, in truth, itâ€™s a magpies trove trawled from wars and trade and music hall, an excuse to shout outside pubs, a peacock strut of baldricks and ribbons; bells, bellies and dented tankards and thatâ€™s just the women, an excuse to sing ballads; bawdy and sad, to join in choruses about lost love and maidenhead. It is a chance to caper foolishly, to feel the pulse in the music, to stretch muscle against chord. It is catching your partnerâ€™s eye in the stillness of the half turn before the hey. It is the tuning fork in the bone. It is the need to gather and to dance.
Lament at Beltane In the village hall A punk covers band Sings – “In the City”. What has this to do With you? The Green Man The May King? With nature Burgeoning? I cannot feel your presence here Give me instead the open air – Scent of may blossom, ozone; Even donkey dung Sings your song More eloquently With greater integrity Than this black-denimed pride Of British lions, whose arrows Fall far wide of my heart.
Writers Jane Burn is a North East based artist and writer originally from South Yorkshire. Her poems have been featured in magazines such as The Rialto, Under The Radar, Butcher's Dog, Iota Poetry, And Other Poems, The Black Light Engine Room and many more, as well as anthologies from the Emma Press, Beautiful Dragons, Poetry Box, Emergency Poet and Kind of a Hurricane Press. Her pamphlets include Fat Around the Middle, published by Talking Pen and Tongues of Fire published by the BLER Press. Her first full collection, nothing more to it than bubbles has been published by Indigo Dreams. She also established the poetry site The Fat Damsel. She was longlisted in the 2014 National Poetry Competition, commended and highly commended in the Yorkmix 2014 & 2015, and won the inaugural Northern Writes Poetry Competition in 2017. Dr Rhiannon Hooson is an award-winning Welsh poet, author and academic, now based in the marches after time spent living and working in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Variously described as uncompromising and sharp-edged, compelling and provocative, and at the forefront of literary female voices, she has won major accolades for her work, including an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors. Her first collection, The Other City, is available from Seren books. Alison Stone has published five poetry collections, including Ordinary Magic (NYQ Books, 2016), Dangerous Enough (Presa Press 2014), and They Sing at Midnight, which won the 2003 Many Mountains Moving Poetry Award. Her poems have appeared in The Paris Review, Poetry, Ploughshares, Barrow Street, Poet Lore, and many other journals and anthologies. She has been awarded Poetry’s Frederick Bock Prize and New York Quarterly’s Madeline Sadin award. She is also a painter and the creator of The Stone Tarot. A licensed psychotherapist, she has private practices in NYC and Nyack. She is currently editing an anthology of poems on the Persephone/Demeter myth. www.stonepoetry.org, www.stonetarot.com Denise Blake’s poetry collections, Take a Deep Breath and How to Spin Without Getting Dizzy, are published by Summer Palace Press. She is a regular contributor to Sunday Miscellany RTE Radio 1. She does Creative Writing facilitation work in schools and with adult groups. Denise is on Poetry Ireland’s Writers in the Schools Directory and the Irish Writers Centre mentor scheme. www.deniseblake.com Abigail Elizabeth Ottley Wyatt is a teacher turned writer. Born in Essex, she now lives in Penzance in Cornwall with her partner, David, and Percival Dog Esquire. When she is not writing or performing her work you will most likely find her either walking by the sea or hooking rag rugs. The author of ‘Old
Soldiers, Old Bones’, her poetry and short fiction have appeared in more than a hundred magazines, journals and anthologies. Eleanor Penny is a writer and Barbican Young Poet based in London. She has performed in locations across the UK and Paris, including the Tate Modern, Rich Mix and the Barbican. She was recently shortlisted for Young People's Poet Laureate for London, and is currently working on her first collection. She's also a journalist and a Senior Editor at news & comment outlet Novara Media. Tom Moody has published articles, short stories and has had a prize winning ‘short’ radio script broadcast. His poems have been accepted by Orbis, Prole, Ink Sweat and Tears, and Algebra of Owls. He has an MA in Creative writing from Newcastle University. Bee Smith facilitates Word Alchemy Creative Writing Workshops in West Cavan and is on the Irish Art Council's Writers in Prisons panel. Her articles can be found widely across the blogosphere. She is the author of Brigid's Way: Celtic Reflections on the Divine Feminine available as an ebook on Amazon. Rebecca Buchanan is the editor of the Pagan literary ezine, Eternal Haunted Summer. She has been previously published, or has work forthcoming, in Enchanted Conversation, Faerie Magazine, Full Moon and Foxglove, Luna Station Quarterly, Tailfins and Sealskins, and other venues. Rebecca Gethin’s latest pamphlet, A Sprig of Rowan, was published by Three Drops Press. All the Time in the World was also published this year by Cinnamon Press. She edited the anthology, A Poetry of Elephants which raises funds for orphan elephants. New poems have appeared in magazines and in anthologies such as Driftfish. She is a Hawthornden Fellow and runs the Poetry School’s seminar in Plymouth. Her website is www.rebeccagethin.wordpress.com Nina Lewis’s poetry is published in anthologies and magazines including Under the Radar, Abridged and HCE, and has appeared in an Art Installation, Wenlock Poetry Festival Trail and as part of a Dance Festival. In 2014 she was commissioned to perform at Birmingham Literature Festival. Her debut pamphlet Fragile Houses was published by V. Press last year. She organises an annual writing retreat in October from awritersfountain.wordpress.com. Wendy Mannis Scher, a graduate of the Low Residency MFA program for Creative Writing/Poetry at the University of Alaska/Anchorage, lives with her family in the foothills west of Boulder, Colorado. Her poems most recently have been published in The Rise Up Review, Lunch Ticket, Sugar Mule, and Shout it Out! Poems Against Domestic Violence. In addition to writing, she works as a drug information pharmacist at a poison and drug information center.
Ceinwen E. Cariad Haydon’s stories have been published on Fiction on the Web, Literally Stories, StepAway, Alliterati and Paragraph Planet. Her poems are published in Poems to Survive In, Writers Against Prejudice and I am not a silent poet. She is studying for an MA in Creative Writing at Newcastle University. She hopes to work on Creative Writing projects with community groups, after graduation. She believes everyone’s voice counts. Sarah Hart is an Australian writer and artist who has had creative and nonfiction work published in a wide range of newspapers and magazines, including The Age, mamamia.com.au, Horsewyse, and Aurealis (upcoming 2017). She lives in Ballarat and hopes to pass on her passion for fairytales, feminism, ponies and daydreaming to her children. Raquel Vasquez Gilliland’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Dark Mountain, Rattle, Luna Luna and Rose Red Review, among others. Kitty Coles lives in Surrey and works for a charity supporting disabled people. Her poems have been widely published. She is one of the two winners of the Indigo Dreams 2016 Pamphlet Prize and her debut pamphlet, Seal Wife, will be published in August 2017. Donald Illich has published poetry in Nimrod, LIT, Sixth Finch, and other journals. He lives in Maryland. Dennis Trujillo from Pueblo, Colorado, is a former US Army soldier and middle/high school math teacher who happens to love poetry. He now resides in South Korea and is employed at Shinhan University in the city of Dongducheon. He runs and does yoga each morning for focus and for the sheer joy of it. Lesley Burt’s poetry has been published in magazines and anthologies, including Prole, Tears in the Fence, The Interpreter’s House, Sarasvati, Reach, and The Butchers Dog, and online, including the Poetry Kit , Algebra of Owls, Strange Poetry, The Poetry Shed and Three Drops from a Cauldron. Awards in competitions include first prize in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly (SLQ) competition August 2016. Cynthia June Long is a librarian, fairy tale aficionado, and writer. She earned her M.F.A. in Fiction from Rosemont College in Rosemont, PA in May 2016, and her fiction has been published in Lissette’s Tales of the Imagination and Wild Musette Journal. She blogs about literature, fairy tales, history, and Celtic culture at cynthiajunelong.wordpress.com. Faerie blood courses through her veins. Vivien Jones’ first poetry collection - About Time, Too (Indigo Dreams) was published in 2010. In that year she also won the Poetry London Prize. Her
second poetry collection Short of Breath (Cultured Llama) was published in 2014. She has two short story collections in print and writes spoken word and drama pieces for performance. She lives on the north Solway shore in Scotland and works as a Literature Animateur in the region. Co Down poet Moyra Donaldson has published six collections of poetry, most recently Selected Poems 2012 (Liberties Press, Dublin) and The Goose Tree June 2014, also from Liberties Press. In 2015 she collaborated with photographic artist, Victoria J Dean, and the result was an exhibition and publication - Dis Ease. Her poems have been anthologised and have featured on BBC and American radio and television and she has read at festivals in Europe, Canada and America. Maggie Mackay, a Scottish lover of jazz and a good malt, is in her final Masters year at Manchester Metropolitan University. She has work in print and online including The Everyday Poet edited by Deborah Alma, Amaryllis, Bare Fiction,Indigo Dreams Publishing, The Fat Damsel, The Interpreter’s House, Prole,The Poetry Shed, I am Not a Silent Poet and with Three Drops Press. Bethany Rivers’ debut pamphlet, Off the wall, came out last year from Indigo Dreams. Previously published by Envoi, Bare Fiction, Picaroon Poetry, Clear Poetry, Fat Damsel, Lampeter Review, Cinnamon Press and others. She mentors people through writing their novels and memoirs. She also writes bespoke poetry for special occasions. www.writingyourvoice.org.uk Lewis Buxton is a poet and arts producer. He leads creative writing workshops in schools, libraries and universities around the country. He is writer-inresidence at Villiers High School and currently lives in London. Carmina Masoliver is a poet and teacher from London, England. She is founder of She Grrrowls feminist arts night, and is a regular contributor to The Norwich Radical. Her work has been published in various magazines and anthologies, such as Popshot, and her chapbook was published by Nasty Little Press in 2014. She has featured at events including Bang Said the Gun, Latitude, Lovebox, and Bestival. She currently lives and works in Córdoba, Spain. Nico Solheim-Davidson, otherwise known as Viking Jesus, spends his time questing for the perfect cup of tea. But only Yorkshire Tea. You can follow him at facebook.com/northseapoet or twitter.com/northseastorm R. M. Francis is a writer from the Black Country. He graduated from Teesside University with distinction in his Creative Writing MA and is currently researching his PhD at the University of Wolverhampton. His work has been published in many online and print publications. His first Chapbook collection, Transitions, was published by The Black Light Engine Room in 2015. His
second, Orpheus, was published with Lapwing Publications (2016), and his third, Transform, will be out with A Swift Exit in the near future. Linda Goulden lives in the High Peak of Derbyshire. Her pastimes have included pottery, plants and papercraft but her passion is poetry. Her work has appeared in Three Drops from a Cauldron and various other websites, magazines and anthologies and she has won prizes from Nottingham Poetry and Poets and Players. Ilse Pedler has had poems published previously in Poetry News, Prole, Salzburg Poetry Review and The North among others, as well as in two anthologies. She was shortlisted in The Rialto Nature Poetry competition in 2014 and 2015 and is the winner of the 2015 Mslexia Pamphlet Competition. Her pamphlet, The Dogs That Chase Bicycle Wheels was published by Seren in March 2016. She lives and works as a Veterinary Surgeon in Saffron Walden. Joanna Swan grew up in rural Norfolk and is the lead singer and lyricist of the acid-folk band The Familiars. In addition to lyrics and poetry, Joanna occasionally writes fiction and theatre; her original play De Sade: The Descent of Man (a black comedy) premiered in Norwich in 2005. The Familiars: joannayorke.wixsite.com/thefamiliars
Previous Publication Credits ‘The Faerie Queen’ by Cynthia June Long was originally published online as part of a three-poem sequence called ‘The Songbook of Thomas The Rhymer’ at Miscellanea: The Transdimensional Library. ‘The Cottingley Fairies’ by Vivien Jones was first exhibited as an illustrated artwork at the 26 Lies Exhibition in London, with a text shortened to fit the A1 display format.
Other Books from Three Drops Press Out Now Three Drops from a Cauldron: Lughnasadh 2015 Three Drops from a Cauldron: Samhain 2015 Three Drops from a Cauldron: Midwinter 2015 Three Drops from a Cauldron: Imbolc 2016 Three Drops from a Cauldron: Beltane 2016 Three Drops from a Cauldron: Lughnasadh 2016 Three Drops from a Cauldron: Samhain 2016 Three Drops from a Cauldron: Imbolc 2017 Full Moon & Foxglove: An Anthology of Witches & Witchcraft Tailfins & Sealskins: An Anthology of Water Lore A Face in the Mirror, a Hook on the Door: An Anthology of Urban Legends and Modern Folklore Constellations by Susan Castillo Street Under-hedge Dapple by Janet Philo Back to Yesterday by Zoe Broome The Unicornskin Drum by Stella Bahin Among the White Roots by Bethany W Pope Follow the Stag and Learn to Fly by Anna Percy A Sprig of Rowan by Rebecca Gethin Artemis, The Peopleâ€™s Priestess by Cora Greenhill Upcoming Titles The Darkling Child and Other Stories by Catherine Blackfeather The Princess of Vix by Helen May Williams There is an island by Johnny Giles Lykke and the Nightbird by A.B. Cooper She who pays the piper by Sue Kindon One Turn of the Wheel by Sammi Cox Grimm Rules by Angela Topping Man in the Jar by Grant Tarbard White Noise & Ouija Boards: An Anthology of Ghosts & Hauntings
Welcome to the Beltane 2017 seasonal special: a selection of elemental, magical, sexy, wry, gentle, and just plain amazing poetry and flash...
Published on Apr 14, 2017
Welcome to the Beltane 2017 seasonal special: a selection of elemental, magical, sexy, wry, gentle, and just plain amazing poetry and flash...