New Poems Published and Update

I am now located in Cheshire and a member of the Vale Royal Writers Group and Blaze Mid-Cheshire Stanza. Hope to be posting more after being absent for some months.  Happy reading!



When they met she was in black –
her red lips a splash of hope –
and he caught her by the door:
she had stopped in the light,
named by the etched glass,

a kiss before he left for the boat.
It was one remembered by her
but was not spoken of until
she was forced to admit the truth.

Summer was the time we travelled
away from the city to new places
where sea scented the days mingling
with fruits from her orchard.

We gulped thyme, garlic that grew
wild on the hills above the bay,
broke the glass water as a pair
of eagles frolicked over the island.

Her cups were stacked carefully,
brought out for tea when guests came
together with cake stacked
neatly on stands above white cloths,
so the ceremony would always be perfect.

The city clouds, the moist heat had thrust
me inside. I found a photo of them
taken in that lost light.

Carolyn O’Connell
August 2017
Submitted to Reach Poetry September 2017
Published Reach 229 October 2017
and in Beneath the Blue Bridge Anthology VRWG 2018


Winter Beech

The beach trees were shining gold
suddenly the white flakes came
the dropping temperature plunging
the garden into silent white

but still the blackbirds flew
seeking sustenance among stalks
of newly planted shrubs peeking
from above the winter’s path.

I watch them from above
sealed by a screen of glass
remembering snow in another garden
far away in time and place.

Carolyn O’Connell
December 2017



Finding your love

Hidden in your briefcase I found this poem
I’d written it to you as a gift on our Silver Wedding Day
never knowing you’d kept it perhaps read it
as you travelled to work, I never knew!

When I found I cried, for you had died.
We will never celebrate another anniversary
for you are gone and I am packing memories
into the box, and the box of my heart.


Two dozen summers, springs and falls
each season’s change we’ve seen
their promise, glory; gleaning we have known
and winter’s chills did feel.

Where they went I do not know
they passed – as turning tides,
yet you have made the Maytime years
a chain of sparkling blossoms picked
morning fresh as for a bride.

Whether we reach a haven like that depicted here
or destined we remain
within the city’s hassle, its struggle or domain,
I have, with the dew dropped blossom
you’ve given with the years, a haven
secret in my heart to hold my love with you.

A tall strong son with manly grace
a daughter to enchant,
are blessings that we offer to
a future still in dark.
If no more we lie beneath bright stars
as in our courting days – it matters not
for creaking limbs need duvet’s down to play.

To Silver and Gold let go –
with courage and our love
may God’s grace keep us close my love
His blessings still to know.

So with me here beside you
let’s celebrate our date….This Anniversary of Our Wedding Day. Carolyn O’Connell
Submitted to Reach Poetry 5/9/2017 Published Reach Poetry 232 Jan 2018

Raised Hands

Over oceans of ideas, cultures, and countries
raised hands rise to support, supplant
the rulers whether democrats, dictators
oligarchs they face each other for a time
then time rolls on fading them into
sepia images rattling history.

They leave a thread of wounds and horror
littering the globe with tears, mourning hands
uplifted, pleading for justice, return of lands
even from long forgotten graves they rise:

but the hands unnoticed rise to comfort
from hearts torn in silent breasts
calling in deeds of kindness to the outcast
defying the power of the tyrant unopposed.

Carolyn O’Connell
March 2018

Published on the Be Zine .com 16 April 2018


Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year Competition 2018

The Poetry Shed


2017 winner – Steve Xerri

Poet of the Year Terms and Conditions

1. Entry is open to all adults over the age of 18 years on 4 October 2018. National and International entries are welcome. Any number of poems may be submitted but no alterations may be made to a poem once it has been submitted.

2. The closing date for the Competition is Monday 18 June 2018. Entries may be emailed to or posted/delivered to: Poet of the Year Competition, Festival Office, 8 Orange Street, Canterbury, Kent, CT1 2JA, by midnight on that date. Entries will not be returned so please keep a copy.

3. An entry form must accompany each submission and a £5 entry fee paid for each poem. Only one entry form and one payment need be sent even if several poems are submitted. Payment may be made by PayPal; an invoice will be issued…

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13 Ways to Support Poetry – guest blog post by Dick Allen #NaPoMo

13 Ways to Support Poetry – guest blog post by Dick Allen #NaPoMo

Trish Hopkinson

Great guest blog post rewind up today from Dick Allen… the 13 ways to support poetry below include what to ask your local library, how to support poets you like, and quotes from others in the lit mag industry.

“It is difficult to get the news from poems yet men [and women] die miserably every day for lack of what is found there.”—William Carlos Williams

1. Ask your local public libraries and college and university libraries and even perhaps public school libraries to regularly order and display books of contemporary poetry. A first guideline to encourage them might be to ask these libraries to make sure they have available the current year’s Pulitzer Prize winning book of poems, and probably the current year’s National Book Award book of poems, the current year’s National Book Critics Circle Award book of poems, the current year’s Poets Prize book of poems, the…

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Enhanced by shadows


So many things are enhanced by shadows: pageants, pigeons, memories of seaside days; other people’s poems. There are many shadows in our lives and what can we do but look for a view of them as enhancements? 
    Seth Crook’s poem glosses this one by Norman MacCaig: you can access the poem here on videoclip:

Sheila Jacob tales us slap into the middle of a retro beach scene, and Angela Topping gives a panoramic, historical view of London. These two poems are linked by the interest in transport. Shadows everywhere, while Maureen Weldon offers the enigmatic title poem.
     Gary Beck’s long narrative and reflective poem Once in the Bronx looks at definitions of war. In case you don’t make it to the end (though I hope you will) I give you this penultimate paragraph, which also informs our title of Enhanced by Shadows: 

‘Our schools are losing…

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Maggie Mackay

Writers Against Prejudice

 A Pole in Scotland

My people and your people are friends.
For centuries Danzig and Aberdeen traded
grain and timber. My forefather sold
scissors and sewing pins on your country roads.
My father ran to you from a labour camp,
from the communists to watchmaking.

My people and your people are friends.
Your people supplied the Polish court,
made Poland Scotland’s America.
Polish trade founded Robert Gordon University,
and Warsaw had a Scottish mayor.

My people and your people are friends.
I met you on the street where we lived
four doors down, at the age of two.
Your Mum was like a mother to me;
summer in the garden den, winter at the pictures.

My people and your people are friends.
We fought together in the heavens over Europe;
every Polish airman danced like Fred Astaire.
Then we fell in love, Slavic blonde, Celtic redhead,
We work togither…

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Clarissa C.Adkins

Very elegantly insightful

Writers Against Prejudice

Vista from The Foggy Privilege Observation Balcony

Thick, fat hearts make dirty milk
and cheese out of poorly-quoted
marbled verses.
And in every chamber of these hearts
they play elevator music titled:
predictable prophetic hypocrisy
that reads from right to left,
and even sometimes,
from left to right.

But don’t take my word for it, 
just listen from one ear to the other
because the music’s coming on again:

They said we wouldn’t have such problems if—
               and what are these problems?
if this group or that group
               what makes “they” they?
weren’t invading our schools,
               is it your school?
or changing our ways.
               What has changed about your life? 

Let’s try another example, such as I heard someone say:


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Donald Trump Makes Jesus Wait, by Antony Owen

I am not a silent poet

In twenty-twenty came a vision –
a rainbow breached the Trump wall
rain engulfed into bridges of green and indigo
a million people scaled that bridge cleansing them when it came crashing down.

Meanwhile Donald Trump turns ultra violet cross-eagled in speedos
an aide says “Jesus from Fake News is waiting for you Mr Trump”
Donald makes him wait and Skypes the Godly bridge over his wall
he talks down to Jesus with a slum tongue by the Founding Fathers.

Jesus came to America in a coughing Buick with Mexican dreams,
he used to drift back home watching his clothes at the laundromat
nothing smells of El Tapatio except for the soil in his fingernails .
He talks to Mrs Xian of home and how one will find them.

Back to the rainbow, it faded in minutes.
It faded like the stars and eagle on the white house carpet,

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