Three Drops from a Cauldron: Midwinter 2016

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Three Drops from a Cauldron

Midwinter 2016

Three Drops from a Cauldron Midwinter 2016

Edited by Kate Garrett with Becca Goodin, Amy Kinsman & Grant Tarbard

Three Drops Press Sheffield, UK

First published in 2016 by Three Drops Press Poems copyright Š individual authors 2016 Anthology copyright Š Three Drops Press 2016 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, Becca Goodin, Amy Kinsman & Grant Tarbard have asserted their rights to be identified as the editors of this book in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988. Three Drops Press Sheffield, United Kingdom Cover image is used under the terms of the CC0 Public Domain license.


Yule Monath


Cold Solstice






Pantoum for Grainne and Diarmuid


Winter Track




The Chinook Wind



17 18



Ice Hotel


Fire Sprite Night




Yule Chantey


Fa La La


Winter Oracle


Bru na Boinne (New Grange)

27 7

Strawberries in the Snow


The Mysterious Case of Tan-yr-allt and Percy Bysshe Shelley 30 A small Christmas poem


Burn all the Clocks


Blue Christmases


Lady Jane Franklin on Out Stack


A Heart of Ice


The Mystery of the Jasper Dome


Spine Barked Trunks


A Gift for Krampus


A South Yorkshire Xmas




Winter Blues Club


Winter Song




Previous Publication Credits


Other Books from Three Drops Press



Yule Monath When St. Nicholas visits and a Yule log is burned to last through 31 days, when kisses are stolen and berries taken, when a lot is drawn so Lord Misrule can cause havoc, when Saturnalia is remembered and trees decorated, then will the Christ child be born, then will we feast for twelve days, then will this become Heligh monath.

Margaret Holbrook


Cold Solstice Tonight a full moon comes. And goes. No log crackles, no coal glows. An d red du he ve’ eye . Cold radiates. Heat will not rise. Oil slows in a frozen pipe. Blue gas sleeps in the pilot light. From thick black iron to thin still air, nothing combusts, convects or cares. Tonight between full dark and dawn, time stretches, years yawn. As timbers tighten, doors moan. Mortar separates from stone. Contracting metal twists the clock and no forged steel will break the lock on the failing, fusty, carbon bank from the vault where sun and summer sank. Today, when light might turn life round, Winter has run all heat to ground. A cold stake pokes at a grey ash bed. Ice stalks closer. Fire plays dead.

Linda Goulden


Northward The old woman with a face of blue veins plucks a sweet from her advent calendar. Two days. She prepares wreaths to mark the doors. The holly wreath p ump wi h errie i f r her r her’ i ing wife. The ne wi h en blue fir and pine cones is for her sister, long crippled and carbuncled. Soon she will find relief. The wicker wreath with silver ribbon is for the thin, old man she loved when they were young and foolish. She has the scar on her belly to prove it. The old woman binds and twists more wreaths. The next night she braves the ice to hang them herself. Through the falling snow, come velvet antlers and big, staring eyes. Though deceptively small, their backs are strong. They dance hr ugh he ky nd w p in he h me he’ m rked c rry ff he old and infirm to an icy eternity of youth. Thi i h w i ’ een f r ng ime. This year is almost her last. It must be different. She h ugh he reindeer ’ egi nce wi h pr mi e f forests all to themselves. They collect their marks and gather at her ck d r w i f r her c mm nd. One’ ck i re ju f r her. She wraps herself in furs and greets loved ones bundled in thick coats. This year he will get his last elves. Young again, she will lead them. They will rise and she will get her empire of ice and snow.

Kato McMahon


Shameful (in salute to Willa Cather’s My Antonia) The ceremony is done, the two now one, the toasts poured and swallowed, the blessings given with winks and nods towards the nuptial bed. The bridegroom and the bride thank well wishers, mount their sleigh. The drivers slap the reins, and with a jingle of harness bells and the shush of runners on snow, sled after sled goes forth. At first, the journey is merry—stars twinkling in a velvet sky, puffs of breath accenting sleepy laughter. Then comes a howl, and another and another. Wolves spill from rents in the woods, a black flood across the gleaming. The drivers lash their teams, but the pack gains, maddened by the smell of sweat and fear. A rear horse stumbles, overturning its sleigh. Both tumbling passengers and witnesses cry out. The wolves, the teams race on. Another sleigh and another go down until only he wedding p ir’ rem in , he c up e, he driver , he h r e panting as death comes running. Suddenly, one driver twists, hands the reins to the other. Throw her down, he tells the groom, give her up that we may outrun them. Flesh of her flesh, the shocked groom refuses. Then both shall go. The driver shoulders them into upturned muzzles. Not long after, the gated town receives the lightened sleigh, guesses its story. The drivers survive, but to no welcome. Shrewdly, pitilessly, they chose to live. The living, of course, would do likewise but condemn the reminder, resenting its window on their secret shame.

Devon Balwit


Pantoum for Grainne and Diarmuid He plucked rowan berries for his love, Blood red they were, red blood they brought, For he stole red berries from the dove, A gift more precious could not be bought. Blood red they were, red blood they brought, Hi ve’ p e cheek u hed righ wi h p easure, A gift more precious could not be bought, Ruby berries a priceless treasure. Hi ve’ p e cheek u hed righ wi h p e ure, While in the valley cold death waited, Ruby berries a priceless treasure, The hun er’ w ched, heir de h r p baited. While in the valley cold death waited, They loved their last as if they knew, The hunters watched, their death trap baited, Around the hill where the rowans grew. They loved their last as if they knew, Th ugh her he r w d n d king’ pride, Around the hill where the rowans grew, Hi d w u d e hed f r he d king’ ride. Th ugh her he r w d n d king’ pride, He plucked rowan berries for his love, Hi d w u d e hed f r he d king’ ride, For he stole red berries from the dove.

Jane Dougherty


Winter Track (after Kev Howard) The track converges at the point of uncertainty where puddles glisten, with echoes of drownings. Forest frills the skyline with minarets and steeples, pyramids, mosques and squat, square churches. The twisted scribble of last year's nest lodges like an arterial clot in the nakedness of branches. Barbed hedges roll, like wire, towards the rutted track; all clarty, winter-wet and overcast with mist. Sombre silhouettes of branches end in black bone fingertips pointing to brightness.

Janet Philo


Guests December: Shapinsay, Orkney Now the nights are thick and heavy. They leave their indentations on our thinning days. With no trees to chaperone the darkness they are wild, brutal, seething with stars. They bruise the windows and kerb-stones of Balfour, do not knock before they enter our houses, outstay the welcome of our winter fires.

Gaia Holmes


The Chinook Wind The cold snap lasted many days. Our footsteps on the hard-packed snow produced odd scraping, creaking sounds like lids of coffins as they close. We felt embalmed in tombs of cold; our senses became chilled and dulled, our brains benumbed and slow as well as if wrapped up for burial. Then finally the respite came – arrival of mauve clouds proclaimed the coming of the Chinook wind. Warm gusts flowed down the eastern face of the jagged Rocky Mountain range. Temperatures climbed thirty degrees in just twelve hours. A foot of snow melted like ice cubes in hot water. A Blackfoot elder tells the tale of a graceful maiden, who wandered into the mountains and was lost. Warriors searched for her for weeks until one day a warm Chinook blew from the west. It is the breath of our lost maiden, they exclaimed and Blackfoot braves searched no more. I think of her life in the years before Fate assigned her the role of wind. She and her friend, the wolf, ensnared the prairie gopher and snowshoe hare. Soft, moose-hide moccasins adorned her feet, a headband circled her brow and two eagle feathers were paired at the back of her braided, black hair.

Mary Franklin


Skadi Winter and death follow The Ice-crowned huntress In her sunless wake Through the mountains, She travels, in ominous snow-shoes And in her frigid heart Where wintertide thunders The snow never melts

Nico Solheim-Davidson


Deep inside the forest where the wild mistletoe grew covering the naked birch trees like wispy gowns, August wrapped the cloak igh y r und Yve e’ h u der as they joined the other revelers. Fiery torches on long poles flickered as they drank the hot mulled wine in silver goblets. Her very first Ærra Jéola and she was excited. Every ne w re m k ; Augu ’ was a realistic wolf with silver teeth and g i ering whi ker . Yve e’ mask was gold set with rubies, a present from her soon-to-be husband. Jugglers and acrobats cavorted between the trees, disappearing into the darkness and reappearing like mythical, shadowy creatures. At some prearranged signal the wandering musicians stopped playing and everyone gathered in a circle. Breaths came out as frosty vapor and the snow sizzled as hot ash fell. Two stood in the centre, a hooded man with a menacing mask of twisted sticks and a woman all in white, from her hood to her boots, even the mask that covered her entire face, was dazzling white with gold and green whirling patterns. They sang a duet, his voice deep and sonorous and hers, high and haunting. The language was archaic and although Yvette didn’ understand the words, she intuitively understood its meaning, sacrifice and love torn apart and trampled. Tears came sliding beneath the metallic mask and turned to ice on her skin. As the final harmonies echoed into the night, a girl in a scarlet cloak carrying a white rabbit walked out and presented it to the woman, who held its struggling body above her head before pressing it to her chest, where it calmed. Yvette was staring into its bright eyes when a crimson s in exp ded cr he nim ’ body. A blackened chalice caught the rivulets of steaming blood as it poured out. When the chalice was full the man began walking around the circle, Yvette watched in horror as the chalice was lifted and each person raised their lips to it and drank. “No.” She whispered. “You must. Y u d n’t have a choice.” Augu ’ tone was hard. “It's just an animal. You love rabbit stew. There is no difference.” “I’ll be sick if I drink it.” “No you won't. It wi ju eh nd y.”


Now the two were in front of them and the chalice was against her lips she allowed the warm liquid to fill her mouth. Yvette stared at the woman whose white robes were splattered scarlet. The night had bleached into ivory slashed wine-dark red. Crimson snow. Amber flames. Yvette felt herself spinning, falling. She knew h e m er eye wi hin h m k. Augu ’ i er. Under the ancient juniper trees, August kissed her, his tongue inside her mouth; all she could taste was blood. She c u dn’t get the animal’s eyes out of her head; it was as though it was trying to tell her something crucial. In the middle of the night, waking her from her sleep, the meaning became icy clear. Run. Run away. As fast as you can.

Alice Godwin

* sa l t – l t sacrificial holiday which was held in honour of the female spirits called sir in pre Christian Scandinavia. *Ærra Jéola – midwinter ancient German festival


Abominable Hulking husk-furred figure white silhouette gorilla wading through slayed dog mist, too frightening to exist. Snow globe home forever flipping he sees through snowstorm blizzard sleet white on white on whitening trees, two-sphered men indignant and refusing to melt, dangling carrots in the comatose landscape. They want your head in glass casing scalped and dated. They want to make you real, frustrating cryptid; right now you skim in and out of truly being. They’ve c rved y u u ike j ck ’ n ern, waiting to set your innards ablaze. Lonesome unwelcome abomination you are a myth traipsing along a blanket untouched and crying for disruption follow-the-leader through strange clawed footprints unidentified. Chasing something h ’ ju p dded er ding p cemen of the same recondite beast sometime before.

Samuel Kendall


Ice Hotel “Fur is worn y eautiful animals an ugly people”. PETA slogan 2003 Captured on CCTV, the dead creatures stitched into his fur coat, cold-crackle, blink their coin-yellow eyes as he sweeps corridors of ice towards a likely rendezvous. His teeth glitter on camera, straight and sharp like stalactites as, on ice sculpted beds melted with love-bite souvenirs, he drinks their hypnotic love – its drizzle – life itself under his tongue. When dawn sparks in blue tints onto his bespoke ice coffin, staff observe the toothbrush f he ‘quie ’ gue , refr c ing igh along its bloodstained bristles. They stroke his fur coat while he sleeps.

Jane R Rogers


Fire Sprite Night In the early hours the phone rings. You listen. You could answer. You listen. Might be important. You could get off the bed, go downstairs, pick up. Hello? But it won't be good news and this bed at the fire brigade station is so cosy in midwinter; nd y u’ve already killed the last fireman.

Seth Crook


Miracle A lonely Pope steps outside the Basilica for a smoke, lights up and rests against a statue of a long forgotten Saint, taking in the preternatural colors of the sunset on Christmas Eve in Rome while a solitary traffic cone sits in the middle of the vast empty parking lot attached to it a wiggling, yellow crime scene tape which becomes a hand bending down to pick up a dime from the warped black top and has from his angle taken on the look of an old vinyl record i p y , qui e c e r y E vi Pre ey’ B ue Chri m and suddenly realizes he has witnessed a miracle.

Rollo Nye


Yule Chantey Magpie sits high on the bell tower while the goose is being laid to rest gently in the cooking-pot.

Jane Røken


Fa La La I want to celebrate Christmas, my daughter announces. I want blow-up things on the lawn. She’ w nder ruck y ur neigh r’ inflatable Mickey Mouse elves. Behind them, sunglass-wearing Santa, Frosty, nd Rud ph w y, rm r und e ch her’ h u der . Rud ph mu h ve e k; hi n u ’ r ing pucker. a y’s family’s Christian, so why can’t we? Across the street, plastic snowflakes swirl in a giant sphere. I try to set aside my filters – tacky, money-driven, landfill-clogging kitsch – rr w my d ugh er’ eye nd ee, wh ? Spectacle and pageant? Extravagant, in-your-face celebration? No use. More than the forty years e ween u , i ’ her n ure I c n’ en er – miles from my anxiety and distraction, my hu nd’ prick y Br k yn edge. No matter how many prayers I chant or herbs I burn to Brigid, how many full moon nights I step onto the porch to wash my skin in silver, he’ he e er P g n – thirty-seven pounds f j y recep r , ngwri er f “Super y” nd “I L ve Every hing.” An her neigh r’ imer urn n, makes bulbed reindeer graze. She grabs my h nd, ug h rd. Th ugh i ’s cold and dinner will be late, I let her pull me toward the light.

Alison Stone


Winter Oracle Evening drive on wintry back roads— patches of snow reflect the sun’s dying radiance as if pink rose petals have fallen there. Cedars in the distance pose like a choir preparing to sing Handel’s Messiah. A brown horse stands outside a ramshackle barn like a prophet who preaches each day is a miracle. I lower the car window and let the cold air grant absolution.

Dennis Trujillo


Bru na Boinne (New Grange) Mist clings to parched grass grainy grey light conceals the mounds no creature join our pilgrimage. Walking on my toes, I stumble conscious of bones under the soil the valiant song thrush who heralded many dawns and sweetly closed dusk. Families of rabbits who gathered to wonder at this new edifice. And the builders building a place of celebration community, marvel. Rejoicing at the return of the light to this small island on the edge of oceans and continents.

Rona Fitzgerald


Strawberries in the Snow I’ve e en rue win er r w errie . N he e e kind y u can buy in a supermarket but true, wild strawberries dug from under he n w in J nu ry. Th e y u h ve hun f r y ur e f. I c n’ describe the taste, which is like nothing but itself. Imagine if you had never tasted any fruit and you had your first bite, rich and sweet, with a tang that made you want to dance in your snow boots. I’ e y u h w find hem, h ugh y u w n’ h nk me in the end. First you must steal the strawberry leaves from a ducal coronet. Plain gold is best, though one studded with pearls will do. Most are kept in bank vaults these days, so you just have to wait your chance to snatch one. Then you need a bear who understands human speech. Not many of them survive, even in the forests of Russia, or at least, not many who will admit to their talent. I found mine in the north of Norway, not a polar bear but a brown cub in his first season away from hi m her. He w n’ ne y: e r ike e ne. Bu he w curi u . He listened while I told him of the songs I would make about him, if our hunt succeeded. But it was the strawberries that tempted him: I knew that all along. Y u need fire h en ugh me g d, mi h’ f rge f r preference. You put the ducal strawberry leaves into a pot, with seven drops of your own blood, seven from the bear, a lock of hair from your true love, a feather from a white owl and petals from a rowan tree which m in ecem er. N , i w n’ w rk if y u h ve n rue ve. The strawberries must be for sharing with her – didn’ I y? You stir the pot all night long. In the morning, if y u’ve d ne everything right, a stream of smoke rises up and escapes through the d r y u’ve ef pen. The e r ch e i hr ugh he f re nd in he m un in . He’ g f , y u’ e h rd pre ed keep up wi h him. High up, in a cranny where the sun glitters on the snow and the air is so c d i hur re he, h ’ where he’ dig. When he find he errie , y u’ h e drunk n he cen f hem. Th ’ when y u h ve e quick. If y u d n’ n ch y ur h re, he e r wi ke them all and run off before you can fight him for them. One little mouthful was all I got, just enough to make me crave for more. Then the bear


scooped the rest before I could count them and he was gone. One mouthful and none for my true love. She has never forgiven me.

Sandra Unerman


The Mysterious Case of Tan-yr-allt and Percy Bysshe Shelley And through his westward facing windows beyond the wide lawn those enormous cedars, rook resting elms, American reds doorways to deeper, darker shading firs and joined by a stone bridge those two ponds the bigger of which they called Warnham Pond whose Great Tortoise rose out at night from pool he'd dug three hundred years ago rund e in he Gre Sn ke’s monster lair. Each childhood has its world, a flagless land, where what is seen and heard and done and felt sketches out a pattern-his was Field Place Beauty there was his mother giving alms A father who never mentioned God made them all go to Church, servants too as he sat beneath a print of Vesuvius and Christ crucified when he came down from Parliament he r She ey y Gr y' ‘N r he g i er g d’. Under its roof the home of the Alchemist entered by removing one board of floor was brought to eternal life in tales told by lamplight in his sisters thrilling ears, and an orchard cave was dug for the arrival of Cornelius Agrippa, but pegtop, leapfrog, marbles, cricket he ch r de he c u dn’t play made school the place his inner monster temper took root and grew. Each night the monsters of dark Syon days awoke the daemon sleepwalker from dream frightful and strange that followed him to the end of his days as ‘fire- i ed r ’ All the old orders of the past gave way to Paine, rural pace to cotton machine infernal, revolutionary image, discovery of electricity, Wi i m Pi ’s brainchild the Home Office’s surveillance system.


In exchange for cheese, bread, fruit a grocer gave old books, battered dictionaries— blue paper Minervas were doors to haunt the gothic horrors of fantasies that blew the boundaries of his playground with more than gunpowder in those nightly friendship kisses until occult Walker showed this son Saturns through solar microscope. They c ed him ‘m d She ey’ but what was sane in Etonian fagging he fought not to join. Like all caged spirits everywhere his rages erupted volcanically in fire balloons, grave wanderings, until from Lind hermetic lore, daemon raising and the art of postal debate disguised as distressed sender became a way to turn authority inside out and roundabout. His gothic novel, Zastrozzi, A Romance brought him into the fold of eccentric with his high sharp laughter at strange moments nd n w nce c n inue ‘pr nking’— Original Poetry by Victor and Cazire written with his sister brings his exile cursed to eternal wandering as omened premonition the summer before he ef f r Oxf rd’s fortressed and hallowed halls. All youth delights in desire and love forbidden by foreboding redwoods that cast their fearful shadows on new growth so that all change becomes a type of war waged in 1810 by Hogg and Shelley in pistol shot at parliamentary franking, paper sailing boats, Voltaire Godwin, Paine and Franklin, dreams of Venus played out in all her different starring guises. I see him now illumined by ideal waging a secret war against warfare


monarchs, private and public, poverty and all the religions that are or were— The wind w f S er nd Mund y’s brought Mrs. Nicholson and Bedlam to Oxford in Posthumous Poems, but chance footfall brought Necessity of Atheism into Reverend Walker’s hands and infamy. Had he not mailed all the bishops all college heads copies of his pamphlet, or pledged support for Finnerty in the Herald, would it have become a party affair? Or behind i w i Hun ’s attack on military flogging? Or was it his refusal to acknowledge his authorship before the assembled authorities on the grounds of Anonymous publication? Not belief nor allegiance nor inquiry expelled him from Oxford but rule breaking— At the age of nineteen barred from family an outcast in exile. Fiction was now fact born with fiend of solitude in cave of Fancy by dreams mists within dream of soul that terrified and mesmerised the pillars of his disbelief in Xt chasing after his chase of commune with Venus. There is nothing quite as Shelleyan as an August coffee shop lurk on Sunday in an enchanted 1811, Nothing spells romantic more than elope in a night train from Green Dragon Inn bound for Edinburgh with Harriet Westgrove. There is a rescue urge chasing Shelley along the rushing river and rocky heights below the wooded valleys of losses. After wedlock his wolf would prowl the price of forbidden match. His pack gathered first from Hogg, Harriet and he was lost in Y rk hi wife’ i er’s scheme


f pr per nd H gg’s improper lust, So Eliza, Harriet and he were the three that ran to Keswick leaving Hogg his first proper friend, his first forbidden, where he wr e ‘An Addre he Iri h Pe p e’. Pattern of myth making key events, Pattern of three in free love households occlude easy tale but occult had lit a spark that fanned to flame in his time of occupying army in an England that was hungry, discontent, angry, and those strange lights and noises at his cottage brought out an atheist in all believers in non-believers in gang attack. Is there a myth more mythical than that of son falling from his father in faith and art? In his search for meaning he met his double future in Southey who met his past self in Shelley. Misunderstood in hi di e ief. G d’s will as tool to justify the ways of Man to men defined God for him as mass of infinite intelligence bringing his heart to all he saw. There is something braver in cowardice that stands its ground despite its fear. There was something stronger in them now after this. They left Whitehaven in the rain for Dublin. The echoes of their pamphlet throwing ghosts chase the wind when papers blow about Fishamble Street in February rain. His speech was heard and noted by special agents and his name was filed away in Whitehall. In letters he sent to his soul sister Miss Hitchener tales of human despair replaced theory, but in letters sent to Godwin he tempered down as he wrote his Declaration of Rights he sent on to Devon in a large deal box. The Irish mission


was a defeat but they had made a friend Mrs. Nugent and swallowed the truth of doormen guarding bigotry by keeping out. The wolf that snapped at his heels gave him reason not to always pay his bills and gave customs reason to open up the deal box to see what it had hid within. A watch was set upon Miss Hitchener y Sidm u h’s network of informers and spies that followed her to Lynmouth fi hed ‘ve e f he ven y medicine’ boats and bottles as fire balloons floated above. Only Dan Healy, their Irish convert was caught in Barnstaple by covert spies pinning up hated Rights to barnyard doors and sentenced to six months for subversive. The watch that was set up to observe him lost him to Tremadoc, wonder of Wales in Tan-yrwi h G dwin’s household his centre of gravity that led him hr w P r i Pr prie y’s gaping maws. If his soul sister Portia had fallen from favour the Embankment project was vision of reform in earthly surroundAs he followed promised payments did he see the irony? If all hunted accept the role of hunter what do they reflect but wolf? All packs have alpha males that maintain the social order with force but Shelley threw caution to February winds. If the Embankment was to survive work unrest could let high spring tides fatally breach all. Perhaps the future that he saw blinded him as he displayed again his sympathies for fourteen executed frame workers for Luddite activities. When the Honourable Robert Lesson was given the Irish pamphlet he sent


it on to London and the wolves picked up his scent. If storm can be read as future portent or warning that third February week blew dark and stormy gales across rivers of roaring roads and notice of rewards were pasted for breaking and entering felons as Dan Healy returned from six months gaol as rumour blew into true fact about an ex-con to abet dissent from Tan-yrhe h u e h me n ‘Under he Hi ’. Saturday 26 February saw that sabre wielding poet retire with his pair of pistols. Perhaps he wrote some more of Queen Mab or perhaps he spoke to Harriet of their child that was due in June. Some like to say the house that night was visited by a haunting ghostly, others that his doppelganger was who he wrestled with that night after shots were fired. One thing is sure his nightgown was shot through and in the only note he wrote he said ‘I have just escaped (read how sure he is) n r ci u in i n’ but there was not one word in all local papers. The conspiracy of silence he thought was built against him across the waves to an island in Killarney never to be the sword of prophecy again. As in every mystery the theories that emerge say more about the teller than any tale. The hallucination tale centres on absent footprints on ground wet from torrential and paved with stones on all three sides of veranda. The impression of ball on wainscot spoke of shot fired towards the window not from but trajectory of downward from east holed gown before wainscot rest.


Behind deleted and obscured lies Lady Truth written down as letter by Harriet which finds intruder quitting office by shrubbery window who missed his shot at S who fired before struggle on wet ground found target on villainous who swore revenge by God on wife and sister before he fled. The clock chimed four to sound of pistol shot then broken glass by death struggle. That they had heard it said Leeson had sworn to drive them out of that country is fact. Or w i ‘ c n emp i e rick’ as M d ck’s manager Williams wrote? Was Mr. S taunted by Gothic tale made real to terrorize their terror? Or was it done on Sidmouth’s orders or was it a practice run by Shadow shadowing agents before Perceval in May?

Deirdre Hines


A small Christmas poem A winter butterfly seeks his way into your house. He bakes memories, sometimes with soft centres. He makes you see no empty chairs at the table, no words waiting to be released from absent mouths. In the evening, he will turn your face away from the fairy lights chain, he will ask you to press your red cheeks against his cinnamon wings. Bleeding, he will tell you to put his dust in a small bag. He will say that is all you ever had and all you ever want again.

Eleni Cay


Burn all the Clocks The streets alive with sound and colour in the distance, lights of the promenade, the pier. The crowd makes heat and winter is dismissed in a flurry of white tissue paper lanterns. They haven’t forecast rain and we are ready to revel, carnival feet beat the concrete covered earth passion released to its roots. Music plays along with our cries of freedom we ce e r e he win er’s night the turning of fortune, of spring. Our offerings tied to willow canes our costumes depict the clock-face, this is our home-grown offering. Later on the beach, on wet slippery pebbles we will march to the bonfire, cast our lanterns to the flames. Burn all the clocks and dance in the fine mist of salt sea perfume.

Nina Lewis


Blue Christmases A ex ’ best friend, her greatest confidant, her mother, speaks only to her on Blue Christmas, when the veil is at its thinnest. Each year she makes the long journey back home, back to the small village that taught her the values of being good and honest, back to the cemetery where her mother rests. “Th ’ new,” he ue-grey shimmer that is her mother notes f A ex ’ wedding nd. She mi e . “H w ng?” A ex e her u E iz , u E iz ’ p n ne u Apri h wer pr p in Regen ’ P rk, u he dimples in her cheeks, u he ‘L’ w rd. Her m her mi e , c ngr u e , ugh , nd y her goodbyes. * E iz i nerv u , h n’ ever c mmuned wi h he L ef re. She d e n’ kn w wh y, h w y i , nd whe her he c n re y go through wi h i . If i w n’ f r Te , he m y we h ve never come. “Thi i y ur gr ndd ugh er,” he pr c i e ud, her v ice n emotive croak. She tries again and again, skirting around the real issue. “She’ beautiful.” E iz urn . “Andre !” She has only ever seen her mother-inw nce ef re u he’d e h rd-pressed to ever forget such a warm f ce nd wee v ice. A e r run d wn E iz ’ cheek, he ju c n’ … “I ’ k y,” ffer A ex ’ m her, re ching u wi h n inc rp re h nd. “Ju e me.” Tessa brings her grandmother a bouquet of near-rouge rhododendrons, a grin like that of a Carollian cat plastered on her freck ed f ce. She h Andre ’ eye , E iz n e em i n y. They p r ways, promising to be back next year, and Tessa asks after her for the entire drive home. *


They d n’ we r ck ec u e A ex w n hem fee ease, to wear comfort and happiness, not grief upon their sleeves. Mother and daughter wait upon mother and daughter. “Y u k e u ifu , E ,” y A ex . “And my, h my, Tessa, y u’re pr c ic y ig gir n w!” Eliza cries twice as much as Tessa. Death has made a timestamped beauty of her wife, freezing her in her prime of twenty-five. She’ h ve h r , cy n-coloured hair for the rest of eternity. The family, half parts alive and dead, spend the entire day conversing, laughing, story-telling, crying, and smiling. Tessa places down two bouquets - syringa and rhododendron – and dances around and through her overjoyed mother and grandmother. The rain, though cold as glacial water, bothers them not. “I ve y u here nd here,” e ch f hem y he her. I ha ec me heir f mi y’ m n r . * The plot has grown, the headstones now read: Andrea, Alexa, and Eliza. All of whom shimmer and quiver in the growing December rain and wind. Waiting, waiting, waiting. “I ’ k y,” Andre y , king her w d ugh ers in turn. “S me ime i ’ h rder ee.” Other families, dressed in their Sunday-best, commune with their Lost. Soon each of them takes the path back down into the village. Tessa is out of breath when she reaches her Lost, three bouquets in hand.

Ashley Bullen-Cutting


Lady Jane Franklin on Out Stack “The story fits the place, outlandish almost beyond belief. Poor Lady Franklin, praying on Out Stack and breaking her heart for a husband she must have known she would never see again. Sir John Franklin had disappeared in the summer of 1845 somewhere north of Hu son’s Bay, commanding the last great expedition in search of a NorthWest Passage over the top of the New Worl .” – Christopher Somerville, The Other British Isles They will not believe we put ashore here. But it seems to me no harsher than Macquarie, no harder accessed than the silted harbour of my heart these six winters past, scarcely less daunting than our mission to redeem the women despatched to atone am ng he C ny’s volleying gales, its devilish coast. Van iemen’s Land. From it very n me hey infer he i e’s elemental dervish-force, infernal, ocean-bounded banishment which I too now face. S me y he g e’s remotest regions are the gaols built by God, the fittest cell in which a woman or man of sin might be pent. Some call them Hell on Earth. For which transgression, now, do you lie incarcerated in ce f C n d ’s ice? For which misdeed


must I repent, outcast, to stand, beseeching Heaven, at this precarious outpost? Every inch further north lessens the last ache, launches another and, dearest, I am at the edge eeking my u ’s own North-west Passage — if these cliffs should pitch me forth I would surely be borne up to your obscure anchor-watch. At my urging they’ll continue the search. I will not cease to press the Admiralty, although, my J hn, I kn w y u’re done. Still my embrace extends off this precipice to circumscribe your Arctic prison and once I retrace my path these compass-needle arms will yet reach out to the north.

Pete Green


A Heart of Ice “Th nk y u.” R ie e ned f rw rd nd gr ed Le ’ h nd. “F r every hing.” Le reg rded her i er’ w en e y. The f her, g d f r n hing pr pec r, h d cu wn m n h g . “I ’ n hing,” Le shrugged. But it was something. After years of being ignored by her beautiful older sister, Lea finally felt needed. After years of loneliness, her little cabin would finally be filled with the warmth and laughter only a child could bring. R ie mi ed. “Y u h ve e u ifu he r .” Picking up her needles, she swiftly added another line of stitches to the tiny sweater taking shape on her lap. Lea snatched up her bearskin coat and hat and strode toward he d r. “I need check he r p .” She h ved her h nd in her mittens, pulled the axe from the wall, and stepped outside. Lea clenched her jaw and trudged through the snow. Tonight was Yuletide, and the entire village would be celebrating around the bonfire. She once dreamed of dancing and being pulled under the mi e e, u he’d nd ned uch h pe ng g . A he m de f r he n re he w d’ edge, Le mi ed. S n, he’d h ve he ve he always wanted without bothering with the man. A sharp hiss rose above the wind. Lea froze and narrowed her eyes, peering through the swirling snow. Ahead, bloodied footprints circled the ground around her trap. A windigo. Lea swallowed. The nightmarish creatures sucked the souls from their prey and danced in their blood. The Nakoda claimed they were once men, possessed by demons and encased in ice. Le didn’ c re wh i w ; he ju w n ed ki i ef re i ki ed her. The monster materialized from the snowy pines, a towering mass of icicle-laden fur topped with a lipless mouth and three, coal black eyes. Lea widened her stance, testing the weight of her axe. The windigo smiled. Lea whipped her arm over her head, burying the axe to handle-deep in he cre ure’ che . I hrieked nd c p ed, pewing black ichor over the white ground.


Once it stopped twitching, Lea went to retrieve her weapon. But when he f ipped he dy ver nd pried her xe fr m he cre ure’ chest, he windig ’ m ed whi e fur me ed w y, e ving ehind m n f flesh and bone. “Le ?” The pr pec r gr ned nd up. “Where m I?” He looked around and blinked in confusion. He’ll take them, h r h v ice hi ed in Le ’ e r. He’ll take them, and leave you all alone. Lea tightened her grip on the axe, her heart thudding wildly in her chest. She felt a cold hand press against the small of her back, urging her forward. “Where’ R —” *** Le grun ed he h u ed he pr pec r’ dy the river. He was heavy as a bear, and the going was slow. Nothing about you is beautiful, the voice whispered. Not even your heart. “I kn w.” Le wiped he we fr m her r w. “I kn w.”

Jesse Weiner


The Mystery of the Jasper Dome The sun sat low, a cold pale yellow eye, peering helplessly upon the town of Jasper. At first, it was a wonder, a vision born from childhood dreams of cities made of ice and snow so deep that tunnels ran from house to house and door to door in one long continuous frozen archway. But the wonder soon caved in to fear when we saw no chimney smoke above the drifts, heard no hum from homeowned generators. There was no sign of movement but the shadow of the clouds sliding silently across the surface of the snow. It was rare for any storm to dump so much snow upon so small a plot of land, as if the valley had been singled out for reasons known only to the sky above. We grabbed our shovels just the same and began to dig, carving tiny niches in the hard-packed crystals. But only hours into the rescue, we knew nothing could survive the freezing cold, let alone the weight of a hundred winter snowfalls packed into one. So we waited. We waited for the snow to thaw, to give up its hold and let us tend to the frozen dead. But as the months came and went, each one warmer than the one before, still the snow survived. Meteorologists contended that the valley and its bowl of concentrated cold had reached an equilibrium of some undetermined kind, which brought a pilgrimage of thousands to the site. The curious, the devout, each chipped pieces of the ice sent from the heavens. Some took to lighting fires, others drilling rabbit holes. But nothing seemed to spoil the purity of the snow. Now years have passed and the Jasper Dome, as it is better known, still stands intact, ten times the size of any football stadium, the permanent residence to seven hundred sixty seven souls left frozen in their beds. Religious scholars from around the world have debated what the number means. Is it a foretelling of


some future prophesy? Are there only seven hundred sixty seven days left? Will the world end in the year 2767? But for most the Jasper Dome was just another mystery be ched up n he nd c pe f m n’s foreverquestioning belief. I have since retired from the clock to live a life of solitary evenings keeping watch outside the Dome. Many have asked me why I choose to stay behind when many a vigil ended long g . I ’s not the morbid curiosity that some believe, to see the dead come rising up through the crystal white like fish upon the ocean. Do I tell them that on certain nights, when the sky is still and dark, I can hear the laughter of children playing? And what about the times I think I see miniature lights, like luminescent lanterns, moving deep inside the ice? I believe there are some things in this life we are never meant to know... and never meant to tell.

Kurt Newton


Spine Barked Trunks Emma heard the same rumours as everyone else. Tales of trees erupting in empty houses. Stories of how they shaped needles from sponge soft floorboards and carpets frayed to ghosts. Spine barked trunks filling the air with the scent of snow, ragged fox pelts and bones picked clean by unseen grubs. Some in the village went looking through dirty windows for the out of place branches. Made brave by cheap Christmas whiskey they pulled away chipboard shutters and went into the derelict buildings with bowsaw and felling axe. Their tools were often found rusting against the porches, though the amateur lumberjacks were never seen again. By mid-December the trees appeared in the corner of family homes, inc uding Emm ’ . Where g i er nd g edecked pines already stood, the newcomers dragged them to the floor, pulping them with sap thick as bread sauce. While families slept the trees wrapped bones in fresh pressed paper, scratchy embossed patterns uneven and twitching. Out of sight, fibril mats of roots spread through rooms, anchoring themselves to the house foundations with tendrils pale as breath. Like the rest of the village, when Christmas morning came, Emma sat with family around the tree in the corner of her living room. Over a breakfast of selection box chocolate they started to unwrap the shuffling gifts. Behind them the roots tore themselves free of the carpet, rose into the air and pressed into the pliable napes of necks.

Steve Toase


A Gift for Krampus Grunen Baum Platz during December was a gaudy sight. The gas lit lamps poured golden pools of light onto the pavement. Fir trees filled hallways laden with hundreds of lit candles. Tiny groups of carol inger d r ed fr m d r d r, inging ‘O T nnen um, O nnen um.’ Their reward: gluhwein. ‘Oh P p , I ve hi ime f ye r.’ Emi ie hugged her f her. ‘I kn w d r ing gir . Thi Kr mpu n ch wi e p r icu r y peci .’ Emi ie g zed up her f her’ un mi ing f ce. He nd M m were so sad now. Ever since... Emilie’ h ugh ki ered w y. ‘S Nich wi n y c me f r g d gir wh re in ed eep.’ J n A rech d her. Snuggled in bed, buried under a pile of blankets Emilie pr yed, ‘I’ve een g d gir ru y I h ve.’ In the basement Jans laboured on his daughter and her present. His thoughts returned to that summer morning when Emilie h d r ced in hi udy, ‘P p , c me quick y! Luci i hur .’ Seeing h w much d here w n Emi ie’ dre , he’d followed her with foreboding to their orchard. There Jans had found his daughter Lucia lying among the windfalls. Blood leaking from her cranium. He had carried her body home and laid her out in the parlour. He could not let her leave him, though his wife had begged for a burial. Jans did not blame Emilie. Her twin had always been the more daring, climbing trees like on that day or tormenting the neighbours. The dreams had begun not long after. Dreams where Krampus roamed, so vividly lifelike, Jans believed he could hear the clanking of his chains. Deprived of his rightful prize, the naughty Lucia, the demon promised to take Emilie as compensation on the upcoming Krampusnacht. After all the demon insinuated Emilie had been naughty too. Jans touched the object lying on his workbench; the silky black hair, the crimson velvet of the dress, the wax face. The beautiful d he’d m u ded in Luci ’ im ge. He w p r icu r y pr ud f her


eyes. He prayed that this creation would be enough to satisfy the demon the next evening. Krampusnacht evening Emilie opened the beribboned box. ‘She k ju ike me P p . nke d nke.’ Emi ie r ked he d ’ f ce. Under her finger he eye opened. ‘L k P p . Her eye re he me green Luci ’ .’ J n mi ed, ‘I kn w. The very me.’ The p r ur d r cr hed pen, ‘I ’ he Kr mpu !’ Emi ie screamed, cowering. Kr mpu ’ h rn cr ped he edge f he ch nde ier, he lumbered towards Emily. His hoofs left imprints on the Turkish rug. His hairy tail flicked out behind him. He bent towards Emilie and the Lucia doll. Jans held hi re h. The dem n’ red ing ngue c u d n e c n ined in hi m u h. T J n ’ di gu he dem n icked Emi ie’ h ir, hen he d ’ f ce. In ec nd Kr mpu m de hi ch ice nd dep r ed. Jan sank to the floor. He had saved Emilie. She was safe. Emi ie hudd ed, r cking her e f, cr ning ‘C me ck Luci , c me h me.’

Alyson Faye


A South Yorkshire Xmas Reindeer are stupid, right? Remember when some stars fell on Sheffield last Xmas. They blocked the roads and pavements and although the council swept them up by the lorry load the landfill sites were soon overflowing with supernovae and red dwarves. A white giant spilled across the M1 at junction 33 and melted Rotherham. Nobody noticed. The Prime Minister came and pledged money for the affected areas. NASA plugged the gaps in the sky with leftover decorations. It looked a bit tacky, to be honest. The red baubles clashed with Ursa Major. Eventually they just put in a diversionary route, coned off that section of space. Which was fine until Santa got lost and ended up delivering all the presents to the newly discovered Kuiper Belt Object. So, yeh. Stupid reindeer.

Al McClimens


Wassail The December air is stoked with spice, a burnt toast singe. Deep-dark red and flesh-pink stain our orchard apple trees. We huddle on their rutted earth, on something live, something thirsty, for liquid sun, imagine garnets, emerald leaf, breath diamond frost. Cider soaked cake rests in the fork of one tree. We serenade James Grieve. Tankards of punch sway to the chorus. Our murmured prayer entreats good harvest, for pocket-fulls, hat-fulls, peck-fulls, bushel-bag-fu f New n’ w nder, ‘Flower of Kent’ as the days lengthen into orange, gold, red, fine speckles and stripes of yellow, and blossom, the snowflake of coming spring.

Maggie Mackay


Winter Blues Club T nigh I’ll play slide in that pine floor bar down town. The sea will hurl pebbles on the street outside and the storm will hit and swing the hanging sign. January darkness wraps a reason round the flat-screens, fires and hot dinners of front rooms, and I know the crowd will be slimmer than a Mississippi chance but, hey... my fingers need the dance. And i ’s alright for there are stories to be sung, and only a rough night a night for Rojo at the crossroads, rain on tin shacks, engine house hobos; a night for black dog harp howls can stand witness with any wink of honesty. S I’ll forsake the fire for the pick and pull of strings, the rattle of brass or glass over rosewood board, while pebbles clatter at the shaking door.


Robin lifts his dobro, Bill clears his throat, no one plays Summertime not even as a joke...

Marc Woodward


Winter Song I gathered up the fallen boughs, their skin still green and fresh, before the frost turned bark to rime and froze their wooden flesh. The pine- ree ’ finger , h rp h rn ; I tied them up with string, and kept them safe, all Winter long, to usher in the Spring. I picked the berries, one by one, he h ie ’ ru y e d red ny w m n’ d– prolific scarlet seeds. I wrapped them in a paper shroud, securing them with string, to treasure them, all Winter long, repositories of Spring. I e he k ree ’ c ped e ve , the h rn e m ’ deck ed p m that lay across the ground in drifts; I filled my outstretched arms, the curling stars shot through with gold. I fastened them with string, preserving them, all Winter long, in promises of Spring. I harvested the tiny nuts of acorns from hard earth, their egg-shaped bodies fertile with new promises of birth. Secreting them in muslin cloth, I held them fast with string, protecting them, all Winter long, until they brought the Spring. I wove a crown of witch-hazel with yellow blooms ablaze; a substitute for absent sun throughout the shortest days.


A homespun coronet, its magic held in place with string, and worn by me, all Winter long, my thoughts all of the Spring. I safeguarded my talismans throughout the brittle dark, an essence of new life bound up in berry, leaf and bark, until the seasons turned, when I released them from their string. They’d c heir pe , Win er we welcomed in the Spring.

ng –

Sarah Doyle



Writers Margaret Holbrook grew up in Cheshire where she still lives. Her work has been published in several magazines and anthologies, most recently for Paper Swans Press and Three Drops Press. Yule Monath is from her collection, 'Hobby Horses Will Dance'. Linda Goulden is a Derbyshire poet. Her poems have appeared online, in magazines and anthologies and, more locally, beside Dove Stone Reservoir, in Grinlow Woods and in the repertoire of the Whaley Bridge Choir. Kato McMahon teaches preschool in Vietnam where she lives with her wife and dog. Her fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in CHEAP POP, decomP magazinE, Necessary Fiction, Menacing Hedge, and Rose Red Review, among others. She tweets as @katoscope. Devon Balwit is a poet and educator from Portland, Oregon. She has a chapbook, Forms Most Marvelous, forthcoming from dancing girl press (summer 2017). Her recent poems have appeared in numerous print/on-line journals, among them: Oyez, Red Paint Hill, The Ekphrastic Review, Unlikely Stories Mark V, Timberline Review, It Must Be Heartbreaking, The Journal of Applied Poetics, Vanilla Sex Magazine, Anti-Heroin Chic, The Rising Phoenix Review, Rattle, and Rat's Ass Review. Jane Dougherty writes a lot of poetry and a lot of stories. The poetry, like the stories, is heavily influenced by her love of Irish mythology, the cadence of the language and the sense that its people are part of the natural world not a carbuncle on it. She posts words in one form or another every day on her blog: Janet Philo’ w rk h ppe red in he B ck Ligh Engine R m Literary Magazine and online at The Fat Damsel as well as Clear Poetry. A first poetry pamphlet , Under-hedge Dapple, was published in June 2016 by Three Drops Press. Spoken word performances include work with the Tees Women Poets, and Janet enjoys mixing up music and poetry accompanied by husband, Phil, on guitar.


Gaia Holmes is a free-lance writer and creative writing tutor who has worked with schools, universities, libraries and other community groups throughout the Y rk hire regi n. She run ‘Igni ing The Sp rk’, a weekly writing workshop at Dean Clough, Halifax. She has had two full length poetry collections published by Comma Press: Dr James Graham’s Celestial Bed (2006) and Lifting The Piano With One Hand (2013). She is currently working on her third collection which will, amongst other things, deal with gaps, sink holes, taxidermy and broad beans. Mary Franklin has had poems published in various journals including I am not a silent poet, Ink Sweat and Tears, Iota, London Grip, Message in a Bottle, The Open Mouse, The Stare’s Nest and Three Drops from a Cauldron, as well as several anthologies, most recently by Three Drops Press. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. Nico Solheim-Davidson, also known as Viking Jesus, is a poet and music enthusiast from East Yorkshire. He spends his free time drinking tea from a horn and Instagramming endless selfies, pranking friends on Facebook, and stroking his magnificent ginger beard. Alice Godwin was born in V n iemen’ L nd, a Grimm’ f iry e r of place. She has over thirty short stories published in magazines, anthologies, and literary journals in Australia and overseas. She has won numerous awards and when she isn't tending her herb garden by moonlight, sipping absinthe and trying to fix her time machine, she is feeding her teenage sons and dreaming of worlds beyond the veil. Samuel Kendall is an MA student reading English Literature and Creative Wri ing The Univer i y f Sheffie d. He’ een previ u y pu i hed in he univer i y’ nnu c ec i n, Route 57. Jane R Rogers has been writing poetry for five years and is a member of the Greenwich Poetry Workshop and the Magma Poetry Magazine team, co-editing the current issue of Magma (Revolution). Jane lives in London but misses the West Country.


Seth Crook rarely leaves the Isle of Mull. His poems travel for him. They have appeared in such places as Magma, The Rialto, Envoi, Gutter, New Writing Scotland, The Interpreter's House, Prole, Antiphon. And recently in various anthologies from Three Drops Press. Rollo Nye is a poet who lives in New York. His poems have most recently appeared in Panoplyzine and will soon be published in Hobo Camp Review. Jane Røken lives in Denmark, writes mostly in English, and likes to think of herself as an internationalist. She enjoys gardening, birdwatching, photography, and exploring the countryside with her husband. She has a helluva lot of geraniums and a fond hope in poetry's power to make the world a better place. 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’ Frederick Bock Prize and New York Quarterly’ M de ine S din w rd. She i 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. Dennis Trujillo from Pueblo, Colorado, is a former US Army soldier and middle/high school math teacher. In 2010 he spontaneously began writing poetry not knowing where the spark came from. He has been published in 3Elements Review, Ascent, Atlanta Review, Blast Furnace, KYSO Flash, The Quotable, SPANK the CARP, THEMA, Three Drops from a Cauldron, and elsewhere in print and online. Rona Fitzgerald was born in Dublin and has been living in Glasgow for 20 years. Her work has been included in a number of magazines and anthologies including the Dublin based Stinging Fly, New Voices Press


anthologies, The Wait Poetry Anthology, and most recently in Aiblins: New Scottish Political Poetry 2016. Her poems have also appeared in a Scottish Book Trust publication, on webzines including Three Drops from a Cauldron, Silver Birch Press, The Open Mouse and I am not a Silent Poet. Sandra Unerman is a keen reader and writer of fantasy and has had a number of stories published, including recent stories in Detectives of the Fantastic, vol IV and in the September issue of Aurora Wolf online. She is mem er f he L nd n C ckh u e Wri er ’ Gr up. Deirdre Hines is an award winning poet and playwright. She was the first woman to win The Stewart Parker Award for her play 'Howling Moons, Silent Sons'. New Island Books published her first book of poetry, 'The Language of Coats' in 2012. Included are the poems which won the Listowel Poetry Collection Prize. You can hear her read some of these by clicking on the Youtube link on She blogs on poetry at She lives with her seven rescue cats in a house on the corner of fable. Eleni Cay’ fir collection (written in Slovakian) was published in 2013, after she won a national poetry competition in her native country Slovakia. Her English language poems were published in two pamphlets – Colours of the Swan and Autumn Dedications – and featured in MK C ing 2013 & 2015, n h gie (e.g., M her’ Mi k); p e ry magazines (e.g., Atticus Review, Allegro Poetry, Envoi) nd he ‘ e p e ry vide n he we ’ (M ving P em ). Nina Lewis is a poet based in the Midlands, who returned to writing 3 years ago. She is widely published in poetry journals and anthologies, including Abridged, Fat Damsel Take Ten, Hark, Here Comes Everyone, New Ulster Poetry, Nutshells and Nuggets, Three Drops from the Cauldron and Under the Radar. Nina was runner-up for Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2015/2016 and often performs at spoken word events and literary festivals. She was commissioned to write and perform p e ry n ‘ur n n ure' he Birmingh m Li er ure Festival in 2014. Nin ’ w rk f rmed p r f he p e ry r i f r Wen ck P e ry


Festival, was found in the vaults of the Municipal Bank as part of an International Dance Festival and 21 Haiku were used for an Art Installation at the MAC. Nina runs INKSPILL an annual online writing retreat on where she also blogs about the writing life. Her debut pamphlet 'Fragile Houses', was published by V. Press in 2016. Ashley Bullen-Cutting is an aspiring novelist and short-story writer with a keen interest in the weird and wonderful. The ginger-haired hopeful is currently undertaking an MA at The University of Sheffield, compiling a wide-range of short-fiction manuscripts in the process. He is about as interesting as this sounds. Pete Green is a Grimsby-raised, Sheffield-based poet and musician who writes about coastlines, islands, edgelands, railways, walking, football, love, whisky, rock and roll, underachievement, and getting lost. His poetry is published by The High Window, Route 57, Pankhearst, and A Swift Exit, with a debut pamphlet Sheffield Almanac forthcoming in 2017 from Longbarrow Press. Pete's second solo album We're Never Going Home was released in July 2016, with music enhanced by field recordings taken in Sheffield, Lincolnshire, and the Orkney Islands. Read and listen at Jesse Weiner writes short stories and novels for young adults. Her work has also appeared in The Saturday Evening Post and Youth Imagination Magazine, amongst other publications. She is currently seeking representation for a YA fantasy series. In a former life, Jesse was a high school teacher and academic advisor. Now she spends her time writing and raising babies, both two- and four-legged. Follow her on Facebook @Jesse.M.Weiner, on Instagram @Jesse.Weiner, or check out her website,, to stay updated on her latest publications and giveaways. Kurt Newton’ poetry, fiction, and all things in between have appeared in a variety of venues including Zetetic: A Record of Unusual Inquiry, Mythic Delirium, Dreams and Nightmares, and the anthologies The Book of Night and Corpse Roads. He lives in Connecticut.


Steve Toase lives in North Yorkshire, England and Munich, Germany. His work has appeared in Scheherezade's Bequest, Not One Of Us and Cafe Irreal amongst others. In 2014 ‘Call Out’ (first published in Innsmouth Magazine) was reprinted in The Best Horror of the Year 6. He is also a regular Fortean Times reviewer. Recently, Steve worked with Becky Cherriman and Imove on Haunt, about Harrogate's haunting presence in the lives of people experiencing homelessness in the town. You can read more of his work at:,, or sign up to his newsletter at Alyson Faye lives in the UK with her partner, teenage son and three rescue cats. She trained originally as a teacher/tutor. Her first children's book (Soldiers in the Mist) was published by Collins Educational in the '90's. Currently she writes noir Flash Fiction and longer spooky tales. There is more about her and her writing at: Her chi dren’ k, The Runaway Umbrella, is available on Kindle in January 2017. Alyson enjoys singing, swimming, films and chocolate. Al McClimens is a (very) mature final year student on the Sheffield Hallam Univer i y MA Wri ing pr gr mme. He’s currently trying to wrestle the sonnet form into submi i n. Bu wh ever y u d , d n’t tell Don Paterson. Al is also trying to get work as a Willie Nelson look-alike so if you spot an opening... Maggie Mackay, lover of jazz and whisky, lives on the east coast of Scotland and is enjoying life as a final year Masters Creative Writing student at Manchester Metropolitan University where she is currently working on her poetry portfolio. She has work in various print and online publications, including Amaryllis, Bare Fiction, Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Black Light Engine Room, The Interpreter’s House, Prole, Indigo Dreams Publishing, and in several Three Drops Press anthologies. Marc Woodward is a poet and musician resident in the West Country who has been published in anthologies from Ravenshead Press,


Forward Press, OWF, and various magazines and web sites including Ink Sweat & Tears and The Guardian Web pages. Sarah Doyle is the Pre-R ph e i e S cie y’ P e -in-Residence. She has been widely published in journals and anthologies, and placed in many competitions. A collection, Dreaming Spheres: Poems of the Solar System (co-written with Allen Ashley), was published by PS Publishing (UK) in 2014. Sarah is currently studying for a Creative Writing MA at Royal Holloway College, University of London. More at:


Previous Publication Credits ‘Mir c e’ y R

Nye w

fir pu i hed in minor literature(s).

‘F L L ’ y A i n S ne w pu i hed in he u h r’ c Ordinary Magic (NYQ Books, 2016).

ec i n

‘Yu e M n h’ y M rg re H r k w fir pu i hed in he u h r’ collection Hobby Horses Will Dance (2014).


Other Books from Three Drops Press 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 Full Moon & Foxglove: An Anthology of Witches & Witchcraft Tailfins & Sealskins: An Anthology of Water Lore 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 Coming Soon A Sprig of Rowan by Rebecca Gethin The Darkling Child and Other Stories by Catherine Blackfeather There is an island by Johnny Giles After the Fall by Cora Greenhill Lykke and the Nightbird by A.B. Cooper The Princess of Vix by Helen May Williams She who pays the piper by Sue Kindon