Monday, 28 December 2009


These are the silent times, the best of times
Where reflection is the handmaiden of realisation
To soak in the tallow glow of a candle flickering dimly
And find memories laid bare to analyse retrospectively
To hear the voices in the still nothingness
And observe the shapes eldritch formed which try to defile
This is the calm before the storm when all will come again
To seek to confuse the namelss scribe of introspection
Sounds from a distant melancholy invading cunningly
Seeking to make true on the harpies' seductive deception
But never to find their way into the protective stream
This is the moment of our benediction to higher powers
When we put pen to paper and let words flow like liquid cyanide
A curtain call to those who would but listen for its instruction
And a calling card for the dissolute, disaffected generation
So bask in these moments well my friends
For they will only come when least expected
And once we float away on the obsidian wings of angels
We shall find our truth, before all is lost in the maelstrom of consequence

Reg Davey

Country of Residence: UK

Hometown: Nottingham

Friday, 30 October 2009

These Things

for Kelly K. Moran

I have longed to be
the quiet, fading light
that helps you sleep;
and sunrise through the open door.

I've stayed awake for hours,
wondering how I could channel
the most beautiful things
through your eyes,
and into your heart.

I have wished to be
the warm, child-long summer
that stirs your playful curiosity;
and dreams across the long winter.

For a time I doubted I could
be any of these things,
or the myriad others
that fill my head each day.

But the stronger my life
bonds with yours,
the less I doubt my abilities,
the more revealed is my part.

With love, all possibility follows;
it follows me, it follows you.
And all these things wished for
are already true.

Jason Sturner
Wheaton, Illinois, U.S.A.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Child Labourer

Uncle, uncle he cried as he ran behind me
When I turned around, a small child did I see
He pointed to a fireworks stall and asked me to visit it please
I frowned in the gentle autumn breeze

I’ve already brought my fireworks I said roughly I don’t need anymore
I turned around and walked away never seeing the tears that did flow
I didn’t even known his name was Ramesh, his age was seven, I didn’t care
But at night peacefully I slept after my dinner and a prayer

In my dreams I walked in his shoes
God’s way to help me choose
He was only seven
When his Father left them

How he cried when he worked his first day in the cracker factory
How day and night he slumped into bed in a hungry and exhausted sleep
How he worked for twelve hours non stop
How he was made to exert till from exhaustion he dropped

Silent child, tears of silver
Won’t someone ever come near?
Mothers touch oft forgotten
Life is but a ball of cotton

How did fate deal him such a bad hand
This is something Ramesh will never understand
Here we cry if we don’t get into McDonalds and for money is what we pray
Ramesh would be lucky to get a Sunday off and a square meal a day

There was a fire in his factory which almost burnt him to death
Brave lad, he never wept
Simply got salves on his hand to stop the pain for a while
Started working the next day but he couldn’t smile

He sees many men getting rich off his hard work
Is their any justice in the world?

So many children like Ramesh are made to work in the Sivakasi fireworks factory, this Diwali remember them before you light a fire cracker, it may have been made with their hard work, the profits of which they will never see in their life time because it will be swallowed by greedy business men and fat politicians.

by Rahul
Home Town Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Country, India

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Spring Came...

Spring came. With clothes of winter still
wrapped round me, I walk to the bus.
Growing craftier everyday
To a world on its hinges.
The noise and wind work at the nerve,
I only have to look at my jacket
And I became melancholy.
I only have to speak of shoes and
I weep. The misunderstood nature
of conflict swallows the world's truth
With a dogs decorum for concern.
Working everyday wears away the
Immunity like a pair of
Shoes. You can repair the laces,
The heels but when your soul gives out-
It's over.

Tom Harding

Monday, 13 July 2009

The Voice of Despair

Triangles of half-open doors
Reveal all the truth that is hidden:
Just condoms and cans on the floor,
Black papers with verses, forbidden -
Unfinished remakes of the song,
Deprived of the right to speak loud
Of wicked intentions gone wrong -
Erasers have muffled the shout.

The only illusion-proof mind -
A poet, the voice of despair,
Sincere, the one of this kind
Throws verses far into the air
Right there, in a dirty old flat
Among once great talents, now rotten.
They all have deserved more than that,
But even their names are forgotten.

April A.
St. Petersburg, Russia

Thursday, 18 June 2009

You Never Know

Tomorrow I shall be new
Wake up glowing
Wake up knowing

When the morning hits the window pane
I’ll wake up sane

Sleeping madly, sleeping badly
I toss and turn
Burning the midnight oil
No reward for this toil

Promises are never kept
No matter what dreams are dreamt
I say tomorrow but I know
The day is lost
I’ve lost it now

Natalie Williams
United Kingdom

Monday, 4 May 2009


When the paper arrives,
the news is rumors mixed with fact
strangely sprinkled in seasoned sections,

-scientist stare into atoms face
electrons report

news and evenings

Where the paper caught
the bridge fall,
the tower topple
and that strange
virus renamed
to killer status-

Oh yeah,
the cop,
who could forget them,
strolling streets with the tough voice
looking for vagrants-

names and addresses
and papers,
more paper-

I feel guilty thinking
I missed it.

Dave Barber
Albuquerque, New Mexico
United States

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Poetic Loss

The following poem is a tribute to Ancient Heart Magazine, its editor, Richard James van der Draay, and to the fellow poets, its contributors.

There was once a time

when poets wrote poetry

for the sake of poetry itself

no slashing of paper

in painful red

no squirmings of self-pity

in whining blue

no rantings against the world

in merciless black

no railings against fate

in envious green

there was once a time

when readers read poetry

for the sake of poetry itself

not to escape from

drudgery or grinding chores

not to run away from

concrete steel chains

not to blank away

depressing truths

not to find solace

in virtual reality

there was once a time

when bards let poetry

flow through their pens

to blow out new creations

catch metaphorical pearls,

set sensations to music

dance, fly, whirl

spiral through

rhyming similes

twirling idioms

build scented paths

to sublime spheres

there was once a time

when poetry lovers

floated languorously

between unfathomable lines

to roll around, chew upon,

absorb, fully savour

the unforgettable flavour

of each melodious rhyme

pulsing with subtle spices

to sublimate their emotions

through the perfume of

incandescent verses.

Sultana Raza © 2009


Friday, 17 April 2009


Spirits drag
wool to her eyes
the silence inside
the telephone dies
the lion paces
the old crow flies
by the way
of missed goodbyes
lightning screams
thunder cries
the dogma star
must ostrasize
the trilogy
of quasi lies
to the moon
it's no surprise
the little star
pokes green eyes
the pulsing sun
burns out and dies
the lion paces
the old crow flies

Carrie O'Neil
You can also find me on MySpace Mama Freak

Review: Theodore in November - Natalie Williams

Theodore in November is the second poetry offering by the wonderful poet Natalie Williams. This poet made a convincing impression on this editor with her first poetry volume and now, once again, has produced something very special. Theodore in November (ISBN 978-1-906600-10-5) was published by Jeremy Mills Publishing Limited (

The poems in this book seem to illustrate an allegorical journey with as its main characters Theodore/love and November/Eden; a journey of self-discovery and the realisation of true love, that ephemeral and elusive fabled beast.

There are some truly stunning and haunting poems in this collection and, as I am coming to expect with Natalie Williams, the author often strikes just the right poetic tone, hits home to the reader’s heart and makes her point in a direct and wondrous manner.

In ‘Cover me in Latin’ I am fixed by the lines ‘Easy lover/I’m skinned by you/And gift wrapped in joy/Present me to your finest woes/And I shall curl my toes’. Sheer beauty and so incredibly evocative. Williams is the mistress of setting the mood. In ‘Words of Wine’, I am treated to ‘And I am liquid in your hands/Liquid to fulfil your demands/Flow to meet your commands/You drink me up yet I am drunk with you/. Who can resist a poetic flow like this?

Theodore in November seems to be an exploration of precisely those feelings that make human beings feel human, and, at times, immortal. These are themes that resonate throughout the ages; love and loss, longing and desire, the quenching and the hurt, the pain and the bliss involved in the mere act of living and loving. This, all said, is a beautiful book of poetry.

I will leave you with a few more lines that inspired this editor. What joy is poetry when it comes in the form of sublime craft. From ‘Take me back to November’: ‘Take me back to November/Make me remember/The steps I took to December/../Develop me/Envelop me/Play with me/Today with me/Stay with me’. And also: ‘Blow me into a Rainbow/Fly me like a kite/Let me be the moonlight/On a November night’.

Swan Song

So full of grace

she walks in beauty

on sun-drenched days

simply doing her duty

trailing white flowers

in full bloom

of a lazy spring

gone all too soon

with lustrous petals

all Nature’s creation

without any artifice

or Man’s manipulation

Soft, fine sand

between her toes sifts

doesn’t choke on

deadly seaweed drifts

she swims in beauty

with a curving waist

untouched, unbloated

by toxic waste

she dances in air

that’s fresh and pure

for fumes and poisons

she cannot endure

she soaks in beauty

with no allergic shock

by pollen, hay

or pink Holly Hocks

she faces the sun

beating down mercilessly

through an ozone hole

made so carelessly

she floats in beauty

with her lovely train

while she sheds tears

of never-ending rain

she sings of beauty

but will it last;

is Nature’s poetry

all in the past?

Sultana Raza

Tuesday, 17 March 2009


In June we meet again.

No baby this year, she explains
as we lie sideways on the couch,
her skin rough
like the heal of my foot.

And I dip my face into hers,
sopping her tears with my cheek.
Once we saw a snake
outside a shop, Bloor street,
slithering, confused
to be in a city,
not even looking
for his home,
not even trying
for a patch of grass.
I think of her only in winter:
skidding on beetle black streets,
raw skin and runny noses.
Or on the lake,
our bladed feet licking the crusty frost
as we glide, paths slicing
gutters onto the virgin ice.

Only in winter
did the soft parts under her eyes
turn red from the pawing winds.

Only in winter
Did she wear the snowflakes
about her like a veil.

Only in winter
could we make whole families
out of snow.
But it is June when we meet again.

And while lie sideways on the couch,
listening to our bodies
that breathe together,
I will ache for the winter.

Home at last
the first time in years.

V. Macdonald

Monday, 9 March 2009

Kings Cross

Fresh scent of jasmine flowers
mingled with exhaust fumes;
telephone booth, graffiti
numbers, scattered pages,
direct line to love. How much
everything grows out of everything--

Or the way God shows herself
to himself, as our eyes meet.

Paul Christian Stevens
Central Coast,

The Chimaera

Saturday, 28 February 2009

Geisha Girl

You are a star
Four pointed and not quite perfection
I make wishes on your lips
Millions of inconsequential wishes

While you are sleeping
The moon and sky cry weeping
I clutch at all the thousands of dreams I have
I believe I am dreaming
Your presence melts shattered tomorrows
All I am is my gift to you
Daisied eyes, damson dressing
Belief in this vision of you is my blessing

Gaze into my sleepy time, Geisha Girl
As I trip into midnight.

Natalie Williams

United Kingdom


Review: Daydreams in Mermaid Grass/Natalie Williams

ReviewDaydreams in Mermaid Grass/Natalie Williams, 2008, Jeremy Mills Publishing Limited, ISBN 978-1-906600-09-9.

This is a stunning collection of verse by a promising poet from the UK. Here we have magical imagery and mysterious lyricism evoked with a masterful touch. This is exactly the type of poetry that this editor likes to savour.

The flyer to Natalie Williams’ collection states that: ‘In her verse, Natalie Williams summons up the world of Bracken, a mesmerising realm populated by fantastical creatures. Serpent dragons journeying on quests that reflect all wrongdoing, princesses clothed in darkness and the enigmatic `Speaker` are just some of the treasures that await.’

Daydreams in Mermaid Grass is most definitely a wondrous epic read of beautiful dream-inspired visions. Williams explores the mindscape of dreams and dreaming and what happens to us in that mythical state of not quite knowing what’s going on or rather feeling that something important is happening if only we could fathom the depths of its meaning. Williams makes poetry her medium, her prism and what we readers are served up is a enchanting kaleidoscope of wonder and beauty.

In her poem The Mockingbird and the Jewelfinder we read: 'I am ancient; I am old/So I sing, jewels to me bring/I am withered; I am cold, so cold…/I shout out, let all the earth with my echo sing'. This is highly successful imagery and the lines convey a sense of place that lies without our normal mundane sphere of interest. It is ‘other’, ‘over there’. These are glimpses of some kind of wonderland that is never sugary sweet or trite. It is a realm of enchantment and the way in which Natalie Williams evokes this state of being is utterly confident and capable.

Here we have a unique poetic voice and one that at once thrills and moves. In Geisha Girl the reader is transported: ‘While you are sleeping/The moon and sky cry weeping/I clutch at all the thousands of dreams I have/'…and: ‘Your presence melts shattered tomorrows/’..and the beautiful line: ‘All I am is my gift to you.’

These poems are a tonic to the soul, a wondrous balm for modern humankind, so often engaged in the trivial and exasperating facets of life. Natalie Williams’ poems are rich and exquisite and reflect a sense of purity that, ultimately, most of us long for in some way or other.

Speckled Dragon is an intriguing, terse poem but perhaps my favourite verse in this outstanding volume is Komodo Princess with its crisp, sharp images: ‘I am reversed/Painted onto the backside of time/Blurted forth into wickedness/Into your moment of death/How sublime.’

This volume makes for supremely compelling reading. It’s not escapism that delights; these poems refer to that blissful dreamy state of being itself. These are poems that denote wonder. It’s a gem.

In the biography it states that Natalie Williams grew up in Zimbabwe and lived on the purple carpeted Jacaranda Lane. Where I live Jacaranda trees abound and when they are in season they are a joy to behold. It is no wonder that it would instil a sense of wonder and magic in a budding poet. Anyone who has seen the Jacarandas in bloom must believe in the power of dreams and poetry.

Friday, 20 February 2009

i know a dancer

and she walks with the grace of a dream
a billowing message of the worlds goodness
and it fills you from all angles and lifts you to say
‘Hush, it’s okay’
and that’s all you wanted to hear anyway.

and the kiss of her lips to the fumes of the ash
kissing the air of creativity
she sucks with a passion and blows with a
and that’s all she wanted

the dancing arms and the dancing hands
the dancing fingers
wrap around
my welcoming neck
and we dance in each others eyes to Brahms
as we kiss the air
and not each other.

and it will be quiet
and it will be perfect
and everything will be clean and perfect

Alexander J. Allison

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Painting the Isles

The busy Scillonian
disgorges, absorbs.
Tourists melt away,
ferried to other Isles,
or slowing the pace
along St Mary's trails,
where, if the flora fails,
then the beaches will not.
They care not that waves
now massaging this sand
will one day wash
over sharp, remnant rocks.
For the day's colours
are deeper,
the land
more solid,
than any legend
lost to sea.

David Wilkins
United Kingdom

Friday, 30 January 2009

Night Train to Rome

I went to bed in the night of a city,
with light and noise and movement constant,
tossed and turned and slept and woke and slept again.
Unseen engines rolled the scenery past
and gathered it beyond my sight.
Throughout the night towns strobed past my window
but I passed unknowing.
Sleep held me in its echoing grip until I had enough and left her.
To wake to a different sky of delicate serried clouds.
Terracotta coloured roofs and pastel walls,
arches of dubious value but certain grace.
Hills rolling into mountains of green,
marked by cypress cryptography
pointing the way to ruined villas
while others waited timelessly behind forgotten light.
Roofless towers spoke of power or poets or dust and produce
and lines of supported trees fanned past,
sprocketing a film that would have surprised no ancient Roman,
until the power lines gently nudged the landscape
into today.

Killarney, Co Kerry,

Saturday, 24 January 2009


On the new year,
I’m wondering where winter sleeps,
certainly not in my backyard
where the leaves remain sleepy brown,
grasses bid me to wake up soon,
waking up soon.

Sure, winter wakes here
by the calendar - at least
but my eyes lie to me,
and my heart tests the metal
of the season.

Dave Barber
Albuquerque, New Mexico
United States