Poem of the Quality of Mersey

This film gives a taste of the anthology in which I have the honour of being included at the beginning, though not in the film. Get it to have the full experience following a look at the film which was made during the summer of the COVID.

The Quality of Mersey Film The Quality of Mersey project stems from the creative groups that attended the Everyman Bistro spoken poetry nights during 2018 and 2019. First the anthology of 36 poets and now the short film that was created as lockdown restrictions were easing. The Quality of Mersey, the collection that details the cultural, spiritual and physical journey of the river from mouth to source, was curated from many submissions by Birkenhead poet Barry Woods. Woods says; ‘It was exciting to see the high quality, diversity and range of submissions we received for this book – we were overwhelmed with the response from such a poetic city. John Gorman and myself have been regulars on the local open mic circuit for a long time in Liverpool and he came up with the idea of having poets write about their respective areas and to give us some shared sentiments.’ Film makers Tristan Marshall and Leonie Abisgold-Rayner showed a keen interest on developing the idea and so the project was taken on visually. It has drone footage by Paul Conlin and a musical score by Dora Kmezić. The film has both shades of light and dark, with 8 poems from the anthology that we felt contrasted each other.


Lammas – Celebrating Abundance

A lovely inspiration

Alys West


At this time of year, grain is ripening in the fields, there’s crops of fruits ready and gardens are lush with colour.  This first harvest is celebrated as Lammas (also known as Lughasadh) and takes place on 1st August in the Northern hemisphere this year.  The word ‘Lammas’ comes from ‘loaf mass’ as traditionally bread would be taken to the church to celebrate the grain harvest.

There’s a lot of folklore associated with the Corn God who dies with each harvest to be reborn in future harvests.  In some traditions this is symbolized by Demeter, the Corn Mother, who represents the ripe corn of the harvest and her daughter, Kore/Persephone who represents the grain-seed who lives in the dark through the winter to re-appear in the spring as new growth.  This dual aspect represents both the harvest which will sustain through the winter months and the seed which will grow…

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Thank you to the 105 authors who participated in our WEARING A MASK Series!

Silver Birch Press


Thank you to the 105 contributors from around the world who participated in our WEARING A MASK Series, which ran from May 21-June 24, 2020. Our deepest appreciation for the following authors (and one artist) for contributing their work to the series! Cheers!

Sarah Alfonsi
MP Armstrong
Carol Alena Aronoff
Barbara Bald
Janet Banks
Amy Bassin
Roberta Beary
Shelly Blankman
Mark Blickley
Rose Mary Boehm
Boutheina Boughnin
Gregory Brooks
Kelsey Bryan-Zwick
Ranney Campbell
Patricia Carragon
Nikki Carter
Lael Cassidy
Tricia Marcella Cimera
Patrice Boyer Claeys
Joan Colby
Clive Collins
Joe Cottonwood
Barbara Crary
Subhankar Das
Susan L. DeMiller
Steven Deutsch
Julie A. Dickson
Dakota Donovan
Barbara Eknoian
Joseph A. Farina
Jennifer Finstrom
Beth Fox
Preeth Ganapathy
Edna Garcia
Lourdes A. Gautier
Gail Goepfert
Vince Gotera
Vijaya Gowrisankar
Jae Green
Anita Haas
Zoë Hajec
Oz Hardwick
Ken Hartke
John Haugh
Veronica Hosking
Fiona Johnston
Joseph Johnston
Cecilia Kennedy
Tricia Knoll

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My Lockdown Mask by Carolyn O’Connell (WEARING A MASK Series)


Silver Birch Press

nick-kane-VZ1Gjc5MP-Y-unsplash copyMy Lockdown Mask
by Carolyn O’Connell

I’ve not walked through the woods with you
heard the chime of bluebells, or passed
the garden where the wooden dinosaur rises
over the young trees planted last year.

I’ve not had hugs from you or sat at your table
while you prepared dinner, your girls
winding a path of chatter through the house
as you juggle being teacher, mother, and daughter.

Enclosed like a vestal in some far temple:
a hostage in a blue mask to the Pandemic God;
as the sun wakens earlier each morning
and others congregate below my window
like the blackbirds chattering in the hedge.

My mask sits unworn for everything’s delivered
and I’m seen only on the video of my computer
it’s the window of my Anchorite’s cell
where friends appear seeking my words.

While you in a handmade mask travel to teach
to children who’d rather be…

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Thank you to the 118 writers who participated in our MY FRONT DOOR Series!

A lovely thanks from Silver Birches Press

Silver Birch Press

Thank you, thank you, thank you to the 118 writers from around the world who participated in our MY FRONT DOOR Poetry & ProseSeries, which ran from March 18-May 20, 2020.

Many thanks to the following authors for taking us through their doorways — and helping us feel connected during these challenging days.

Suzanne Allen
Cynthia Anderson
Alicia Austen
Jane Berg
Alice Venessa Bever
Shelly Blankman
Rosemary Boehm
Steve Bogdaniec
Anne Born
Nancy Brewka-Clark
Gregory Brooks
Kelsey Bryan-Zwick
Charis Buckingham
Karyl Carmignani
Patricia Carney
Jan Chronister
Tricia Marcella Cimera
Joan Colby
Clive Collins
Joe Cottonwood
Neil Creighton
Isobel Cunningham
Michelle D’costa
Subhankar Das
Michelle Davies-Brown
Howard Richard Debs
Ashini J. Desai
Steven Deutsch
Julie A. Dickson
Katherine Edgren
Joseph A. Farina
Vern Fein
Jennifer Finstrom
Lourdes A. Gautier
Midge Goldberg
Vince Gotera
Vijaya Gowrisankar
Uma Gowrishankar
Anita Haas
Tina Hacker
Mark Andrew Heathcote
Jennifer Hernandez
Veronica Hosking

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Living on the Second Floor by Carolyn O’Connell (MY FRONT DOOR Series)

This is here thanks to silver Birches Press for accepting it.

Silver Birch Press

oconnell doorLiving on the Second Floor
by Carolyn O’Connell

This door is solid lets in no light.
I walk to it through corridors lit by
globes that never dim, even at night,
as I walk mirrors echo my image back to me,
and black & white photos nod.

Every apartment has a pairing door
behind which my neighbours
live their secret lives. Tall black
planters filled with toped box trees,
seasonal flowers guard the entrance.
We pass through sliding glass doors
into a hall that’s filled with sunlight.

Behind my door I look upon
a garden filled with flowers:
blackbirds frolic on the lawn,
long tailed tits scatter over silver birches
and a robin, a wren nest secretly
beneath the balcony of my neighbour,
darting to feed in the hedge of holly.

When I open my windows
I hear their song, an orchestra
of birdsong plays morning & evening
over the…

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Ajar is a sacred word by Alicia Austen (MY FRONT DOOR Series)

A lovely and pertinent poem for this time

Silver Birch Press

AustenDoorAjar is a sacred word
by Alicia Austen

Ajar is
a sacred word
that it is necessary to be noncommittal

Houses stand
erect and
shut like
where breezes enter through open orifices
and private sounds
above empty sidewalks

Looking out
from my armored entry,
I close my eyes
in order to picture what I do not see—
people walking past
wheels moving
a mass of
flickering in sunlight

Is this why we–
consecrate the mundane?
Does strife
imbue it
with special powers
it shines like
molten wax?

If a neighborhood is an entity—
silence anarchy—
what is humanity,
but a movie projected at the wrong speed
one step ahead

AustenNOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I write things as I see them, which means avoiding the literal at all costs while embracing oddness, layers, and complexity. My goal is to…

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My Front Door Poetry & Prose Series

Silver Birch Press


Now that we’re all isolated because of the current world crisis, more than ever we need to maintain a connection. It seems like a perfect time to revive the Silver Birch Press blog — with a new call for submissions to all our friends around the world. Since our front doors keep us separated from the world and each other, at least for now, let’s explore this portal — both physically (what it looks like) and metaphorically (what it represents).

PROMPT: Tell us about your front door in a poem (any reasonable length) or prose piece (300 words or fewer — this word limit also applies to prose poems).

WHAT: Submissions can be original or previously published poems or prose. You retain all rights to your work and give Silver Birch Press permission to publish the piece on social media. We are a nonprofit blog and offer no monetary compensation…

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