.. wouldst thou be pm, an abbreviation.. by Sonja Benskin Mesher

archaic or dialect question, in appropriate.                         a lowly start

with slight misgivings,  i come arrived from the country, an immigrant



if the task came to me unlikely, i should sew profusely.  a safe bet in that

something grows decently.


do you know how to stitch a lie, when all about grow honesty?  mine was

white last year,

now nothing germinates.


the question is irreverent, no disrespect meant.  forgive me, this is the second

time. this time,


i shall stay.


despite my nationality.


.moving on. by Sonja Benskin Mesher

moving on from the last verse of girly looking

after girly, we stopped at the jeweller’s window.


the assistant, neat looked bore & very clean. the

rings were                  three thousands and more.


enough to take her        home and more.


“yes sir you may buy the ring, for a
thousand pounds, or choose to save
her life”


. evil it was, evil it is . by Sonja Benskin Mesher

did you dream of evil last night, for evil it was.


pocked, bleeding and dead.           back broken.


this morning the garden is damp, a mole  died



plans for a new path are growing, yet there was





last night.



Don’t Let Us Die by Stephen Jarrell Williams


don’t let us die

we that are starving

in all corners of the world


we have our dreams

butterflies in the air

with a full tummy

before we sleep.

Don't Let Us Die


Stephen Jarrell Williams writes and draws late into the night, watching out his window for the Coming Good Dawn.

I saw the Children by Stephen Jarrell Williams

I saw the children marching

a long protest march

against all that is wrong

and in their faces I saw us

a better us

doing so much more

and here they come

their laughter

and spirit

and strength


all the sad monsters of this world.

I Saw The Children



Stephen Jarrell Williams writes and draws late into the night, watching out his window for the Coming Good Dawn.

Fly-Tipping Point by Marc Woodward

This is where we sit to watch the night come in
ever since Trumputin bombed our English towns.
We emptied freezers, ate our neighbours pets.
Now in the bird-settling, when once we sat down

to be tamed by tv shows we can’t recall,
we recline here and watch the weeds approach
knowing soon their rope will be a ligature
that tightly winds itself around our throats.



.division. by Sonja Benskin Mesher

numbers came suddenly, soon after one. nothing added any more, all began to subtract, divide, the result algebraic there are no rulers, lines to divide, the total is irrelevant now, the addition foremost. i have been to the counting.

initially, crossed the  sea to the land, from one to another, then, talking. crossed the narrow bridge spoke of the past, you know what i mean.                                                                       courage to walk


a book about death. 14.


.mathematics. by Sonja Benskin Mesher

irregular, you came, your best clothes shining.   never mind. the first tune hit the mind, patterns and mathematics.   the kindness that is.


he said. machine you see.   glass reflecting.            slowly it starts repeating.   the walls of differing colours.  we have the dvds.                                          on and on repeating on and on repeating on and on repeating.


back to the counting, how many have there been, how many are left still standing. an issue for some, yet we  amend the figures here and move on. lucky ones,            maths divides and decimates others.






. next wednesday 29 . by Sonja Benskin Mesher


simple notes, there is much discussion now, where the place used to be pure quiet and  acceptance.

it seems to him that talking does not get the job done.                 gently balancing wool.  words  fall .


we had gathered here before to watch the weathering.     referendum come and gone with fury.




fails us.


simple notes. none rise higher than the one next.


to you, to me, this may not be

the acceptance



.his model shop. by Sonja Benskin Mesher

with great love and care ( adverb) he made them. each one             by hand.

most were killed before breakfast. visitors asked to see the bodies,  having

none, he imported them from abroad.                                    more  killed than

the somme. thousands after dawn.                         he has models now of dead

soldiers, some with arrows in.

small scene          first world war,                            glow in the dark.    memorial.

having spent time among his battles,   i went and ate a donut.           lovingly.


Mozart in Nairobi by Maria Stadnicka

The citizenship lesson, on Wednesdays afternoon,

ends at three o’clock

with a Mozart concerto, live broadcast

from our detention centre.


The outer heavy traffic,

the rain washing the roof tops across Nairobi

penetrate the walls –

a sharp, urgent, high-pitched cry.


The ants come to light, across the border,

through a crack in the wood.

Perfect day for unattended prayers.


..parlay.. by Sonja Benskin Mesher

win or lose.                    hedge  your edge.

write of parlay.             slowly ending bet.

forbidden child!             drift into another.

world.                                               tabbed.

dice or other  games.

no one wins…..


In Other Words, Freedom by Maria Stadnicka

The fatal morning Europe woke up and thought it had something to say,

there was nobody else left in the world able to listen.

Oh, earth, the bones had gathered to queue for bread,

by the front door at Saint Joseph seminary.


An ordinary day for ordinary death.

The bakery opened and closed.

The workers arrived on time for a last shift then went home.

The ovens had no traces of grain.


The ink stained hope filled up rusty water pipes.

The crowds’ whisper went on, up the hill, out of the city.


After that, freedom meant nothing.

It all came down to

who could hold the front running place the longest.



Maria Stadnicka is a writer, freelance journalist and lecturer.  She started writing at the age of seven and published her first poems in 1995.

Between 1996 and 2003 Maria lived in Iasi and Botosani, Romania and won 12 Romanian national prizes for poetry, as well as Porni Luceafarul… – First Prize for poetry collection and Convorbiri Literare publishing house, T. Arghezi – First  Prize for poetry and V. Alecsandri – First Prize for poetry.

She worked as a radio and TV broadcaster, presenter and editor in chief for Radio North-East, TV Europa Nova and Radio Hit and was a member of the literary group Club 8, Romania.

In 2003, Maria moved to England and in 2010 she became member of the Stroud Writers Group, Gloucestershire. She read poetry in London, Bristol, Cheltenham and Stroud. Maria is a freelance journalist and works as a lecturer at South Gloucestershire and Stroud College, England.

Maria Stadnicka published poetry in:
Wienzeile (Vienna, Austria);
Cronica, Poesis, Hyperion, LiterNet, Convorbiri literare (Iasi, Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Suceava, Botosani – Romania);
Contrafort and Discobolul (Chisinau, Republic of Moldova);

Gracious Light and The Clouds (New York, USA);
International Times (London, UK).

Books and pamphlets:

O-Zone Friendly poetry anthology (Iasi, Romania ISBN – 973-99824-7-6, 2002);
Pamphlet 15Change and Permanence (Stroud, England, 2012);
Pamphlet 15Trust and Betrayal (Stroud, England, 2014);
– A Short Story About War, poetry (Yew Tree Press, England, 2014 ISBN 978-0-9562038-4-7);
Stroud Poets pamphlet, poetry anthology (Yew Tree Press, England, 2016 ISBN – 978-0-9956603-0-4);
Imperfect, poetry (Yew Tree Press, England and Two Wood Press, England, 2017 – 978-0-9562038-5-4).

:: birds sing :: by Sonja Benskin Mesher

she talked rapidly

about family,

history, opera, poetry.


i idled,

listened a bit,

eyed her clothes.


wished i dressed liked that,

treat myself,

et cetera.




she told me


her uncle,

in war painted

white crosses on men who deserted.


an aim for those

who shot them.


she said,

he was never the same after.




. magna carta . by Sonja Benskin Mesher

is left behind with tiny writing. salisbury cathedral.


the back way. written in latin for those who matter.


those words and those words

an historian uttered sent me reeling          outside.

where air is cleaner.


oh , by the way

left you both there too. were you trying to appease

the barons?


I’m human by Malka Al-Haddad

I’m from a country at war

I am from a country that’s bleeding

A country of anger

And revolutions

A country of martyrs,

I’m from a country once called Mesopotamia

I’m from the land of black gold

I’m from the richest land on the earth

I’m from the land of sunshine on a golden desert


I’m from there

But I’m not there


I had beautiful dreams

I had friends, brothers, sisters, sweet parents and pink hopes…

I had green gardens, tall palms and olive trees

I had a warm winter

Blue rivers

Red flowers

I was born on land before the crossing of swords on the body

Turned into a banquet table


Before Bush and Blair turned our rivers  into blood

Then they donate us millions of tents instead of roofs for our houses


The rain has died in my homeland..

They left graves in the green  grass in our fields

Only cacti remain laughing in the barren desert

The sun has become ashamed behind the clouds

Where is God ?

Has even God became a refugee in His land ?!

Where is our ancient law?!

Even this been stolen?!


No choice

I crossed the seas of death

Waves of grief have led me here

To the land of my usurpers in an old and narrow shelter


No job

no identification

no dignity.


The victim cannot judge its executioner


I now speak in two languages, but I have forgotten in which one I used to dream


I have learned all the words to take

the lexicon apart for one noun’s sake,

The compound I must make:



No choice I came here


I’m here

but I’m not here


You are a refugee and

Your choice is not your choice


But remember…

I’m human

I’m human




Malka Al-Haddad is an Iraqi poet, academic and defender of Human Rights and has lived in Britain since 2012. She is a member of the Union of Iraqi Writers and was one of the first delegates to the US for the Iraqi & American reconciliation project. She is an activist with Leicester Civil Rights Movement: https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/profile/malka-al-haddad and has presented her academic paper Political Changes and their Impact on Iraqi Women at LSE in 2015 https://brismes2015.wordpress.com/panel-5d-politics-gender-and-nostalgia-in-contemporary-iraq/