Song for the Yazidi Women by Iris Anne Lewis

Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness?

We were terrified and ran to the mountains.


The beams of our house are cedar and our rafters are fir.

We stayed in a very dirty place, stinky and filthy.


Who is she that looketh forth as the morning?

They told us we would be sold.


We have a little sister and she hath no breasts.

Twelve years old, they raped her with no mercy.


I am the rose of Sharon and the lily of the valley.

He tied my hands and legs and blindfolded me.


They have made me keeper of the vineyard.

I did all the work: cleaning, cooking, washing.


Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples.

They did not feed me for six days.


I have washed my feet, how shall I defile them?

If I washed, he would sleep with me.


I will rise now and go about the city.

The soldiers found me in the streets and brought me back.


Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.

A smuggler was paid for helping with my release.


Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south.


Source texts:

 Song of Solomon. The Bible, King James Version.

 The Yazidi Women Who Escaped ISIS. Photographs and Interviews by Seivan M. Salim. Accessed 29.3.17


Iris Anne Lewis is a writer of short stories, poetry and radio scripts. She has been successful in both local and national competitions, as well as being published in magazines and anthologies. She has been invited to read her work at the Cheltenham Literary Festival and Swindon Festival of Literature.

Her writing is influenced by history, folk legends and myths, the landscape and the local community. Originally from Wales, she now lives in Gloucestershire.

This is not about the children by Bethany Rivers

The children go to bed each night

afraid for morning to come

tomorrow might be the day

when they’re thrown out

left to die on the streets


The children wake early each morning

afraid there won’t be enough

food in the house

not enough money

to buy milk and bread


The children fall ill from school

where they’re told everyday

they’re no good, they’re lazy,

they’re only good as sweepers

for other people’s shit


The children are dying

ignorant of arts, sciences,

history, philosophy, self-esteem,

but we can’t prosecute the parent –

we voted them in

Within by Bethany Rivers

Syria within me

I feel your desolate desecration

Thousands of crumbling empty houses


Palestine within me

I feel your  Land robbed  Olive trees poisoned

Crimes against The Wall


Europe within me

Every flag of every nation

Only the wind carries freedom


Blood battles within me

Of the generations to come

Scars and fences needing to be undone


Russian pogroms within me

In the bones of my Great Grandmother

Wounds of  dislocation


The thirst within me

Fountain of my heart still learning

To make itself heard


Bethany Rivers (M.A.)
Debut pamphlet due out 22nd July, OFF THE WALL from Indigo Dreams Publishing

liberationday, holland by Aad de Gids

every country, every territory, geophysical terroir, every stretch of land

of which the denominators to bundle its local characteristics have long

failed due to war, tribal conflict, tribalist terrorist attacks, failure of peace

negotiations have long missed to facilitate some sort of unity, has yet its

own “liberationday” from World War Two. the Netherlands’ is this friday.


as everything becomes brittle so has this become a rigidified institution

and I must admit yesterday at 8pm I totally missed the two minutes silence

because of the remembrance of the dead, fallen in that horrendous war.

(I guess I were silent, untimely asleep from tiredness of work.) the war that

would end all wars was only an incentive to design thousand other wars.


as I shall reach 60 this year the 6th of july it occurs deeply people of our

age have grown up in an atmosphere nowhere and never free of war of

whichever kind and all we have gotten suffused with were images, heard

accounts of atrocities from victims of all the wars and warlike situation that

plagued and raged over the planet since we were children and witnessed.


this, of course instills in people a kind of generalised prepost traumatic

stress syndrome afraid after televised images of executions [General Nguyễn

Ngọc Loan, filmed and ‘snapped’, executes Nguyễn Văn Lém feb. 1st 1968]

or endless atrocities [the napalm girl Kim Phuc photographed june 8th 1972]


then the chilly abstractness of the cold war and divisionisms of N/S Ireland,

jewish people and islamists in the Middle East, of the N/S Korean Peninsula,

of Germany all with walls and no-go areas and innercity mutual exclusivist

zones as the Bronx, in all the great cities the solidifying cleft between “the

richer richer the poorest poorer” and the sickening expansionism of capitalism


next to this the failure also of (with the “merits” of which I were brought up)

the communist system with everywhere appr. 10 million deaths due to the

hegemonial totalitarian systems of diverse communist variants gone berserk

and slaying their way through the Soviet Union, China, North Korea, and

their smaller acolytes yet not without leaving the capitalist doctrine as pristine


now and then it seems good to give air to such desiderata to understand where

the fuck we have now landed this account still leaving under cover the sheer

unbelievable acceleration violence has reached since, say sep. 11th 2001 and

which terrorist atrocity has changed the face of this planet and or “human culture”

forever if ever there was such thing as “human culture” (than systemic murder)

Under the Dictations of Words by Mendes Biondo

under the dictations of words

we have rights

also when folk beat us

with a bat

not for music

we have lefts

also if a lot of people

are forced to leave

not for travel


under the dictations of words

we have politicians

more skilled in polemics

less skilled in politics

and their skins

are not a part of their body


under the dictations of words

people have two wings

they use them to struggle

not against strong winds

or to reach the top of the mountains

but to strike each others


under the dictations of words

we are in a calembour democracy

and the game of peace

is far from being won

by a shot of dice


Mendes Biondo was born in Mantua. He is a journalist and the Editor-in-Chief of the blog RAMINGO! ( His English poems were published by Visual Verse, The Plum Tree Tavern, Scrittura Magazine, Poetry Pasta, Angela Topping – Hygge Feature, The BeZine and I Am Not A Silent Poet.

Kill-gay Day by Kushal Poddar

Do you love
do you love?

Today is a kill-day.
Today they summon
your birth parents
and say, “You failed,
and we shall erase
your mistake.” 

Do you love, babe?
Or do you love?

Hide your feelings
somewhere in the water.
Tell the morning wood
about your absolute dreams.

Today they shall obliterate
what they don’t comprehend.

My Land by Ananya S Guha

Wounded is my land
hurts at every hill, valley
mountains, or in sultry plains
Even when a bird soars across
winged skies, it hurts
never know when it will plummet
down to seas or, deep deep gorges
Strange is my land
there are mosques, temples, churches
synagogues even
But it hurts
never know when blood
will splatter across their sacred walls
Historical is my land
when the plains rumbled with  battles
foreigners unsettled came to settle
there were wars and canons
but it hurts
you never knew who would win
who, lose and who the traitor!
Penurious is my land
but it hurts to see them
sleep by pavements after
selling their wares there
Uneducated is my land
little children don’t go to school
they sell, or steal or serve tea
And their parents beat them.
Even sell them in a growing
demand and supply market.
It hurts
to hurt
be hurt in my land
of so many seas
so many rivers
so many givers
so many takers
with the population
drowning in them.
River is my land
land  is  my land
sea  is   my land
ocean is my land
hill is my land
mountain is my land
valley is my my land
cold is my land
heat is my land
dust is my land
filth and hovel is my land
slum is my land
hunger is my land
dark circled eyes is my land
but with it’s every breath
I stagger across its straight
and winding roads
searching for a  name.
Its name.

Brexit Passions by John Alwyine-Mosely

I am condemned by others, wearing Asda’s finest, loving the curry, hating the Indian, them that visit Spain for sun with chips, who thought Labour was for the working man, they made the cross of wood and nails of iron.

That I must carry as this was born of my silence as factory whistles and streets of common worth became black and white movie reels.

Yet I stumble at shaky pensioners wanting back a childhood of back to backs and Empire cakes, and the Daily Mail Pharisees preaching whose life, whose tongue, speaks for me. Yet where was I when the tree was fell and the coal dug for the smelt of iron?

I watch a man round as a cottage loaf, t-shirt bare arms showing tattoos of faded love and sinking ships as a woman, hair dyed young, worn jacket too big for a shrinking body, kisses away his tears. I walk on, mothers are a story that others tell.

Let me help, another man says. Yet he speaks hope too loud like a Bible reading where God wears jeans and Angels are your buddy.  But he walks with me to rattle away the cawing rooks pecking at scattered seeds.

She doesn’t cry in the wilderness. So give her face to courage, let her smile words at bitter lips, let her be the icon lit with candles where flowers are gathered to rest.

Yet I stumble at save us flag wavers defending the big lie, the golf club wise men seeing no star. Yet where was I when the tree was fell and the coal dug for the smelt of iron?

Of the three, this woman listened between words, gave a wordless touch, let the day decide the colour of lipstick and if a Judas kissed she’d hit and forgive latter. When they called the sea a moat she and her sisters ran over waves to show how free they were.

Yet I stumble at those tongue smiths who made hard words too polished to see, who played the game, who spoke holding only rotting apples. Where were they when the tree was fell and the coal dug for the smelt of iron?

I am stripped, left nothing to reap, made a single road, given a shroud for a wedding dress.

It will go away, this wood will flower with May blossom, the nails will strike bells, candles will light the way not weep at dark silence. And pain is but thunder clearing a sky for dawn mists.

Forgive them for they know not what they do.

As I fall, hold me, give me warmth, reach out to each voice, make them a choir, sing with birds and dance with the breeze, make heaven seen.

And from dark cold valleys will come new turnings, new woods and places to dig and in clearings will be hands to hold and smiles at our fresh steps.


John is currently working in Poland as a TEFL teacher after 20 years of working in UK policy and service development for early years. He has had poetry published in many paper and on-line journals. These poems can be found at

Changing Scenes by Carolyn O’Connell

Once the meadows shone with colour
strings of white, blue, red &yellow,
left to flower, seed, spread, only plucked
by children’s hands . But now they quiver
on the verge, while fenced, the meadow
sprayed and mowed is bare of blossom.

While in the gardens flowers bloom
tended by the caring hands that
work and watch their efforts prosper
encouraged by passion for a flower.

Yet each season thwarts their efforts
rain falls in places far too heavy
whilst others gasp for water as streams
vanish through ever drying winters.

Hidden in the land the rigs plunder
oil and gas to feed our need,
while out at sea the remnants of our
throw away economy are ingested
by the fish we eat, and the coral’s colours
fades to deathly grey as temperatures
rises ice melts the poles. The bear
and penguin search for safe routes.

Even the jungles screech in pain
as they are plundered, the tiger
cheetah, wander slowly seeking prey
and the rocks rumble as volcanoes
spit magma to cloud the skies,

but unheeding man, the top predator
ignores the pleading of the planet,
deaf and blind to all the signs continues
to hunt for treasure, black or gold
whilst his home decays,
and crumbles.


The link to my blog is which is Carolyn O’Connell Poetry
My collection “Timelines” is published by Indigo Dreams and is available from
MY web site is poetry

Return to Aleppo by Sheila Jacob

He hammers plastic sheets onto windowless frames.

She sweeps brick dust outside where bulldozers groan

through rubble and it circles back, she’s powder-faced,

swollen- mouthed, coughs stringy phlegm into a towel.

He smooths her hair, promises life will improve if they

pray, work hard, this is their home, their  jewelled city.

Their cold, leaking flat shovelled clear of broken glass.


He walks her to the Citadel, fingers a crumbled wall

and weeps. He’s a good man, doesn’t rage about losing

their son last year when a qunbula  dropped too close

and the child came too soon, slipped from her like a red

wax doll. She buries grief; humps water from street tanks,

scours markets for food while hollering lads chase empty

oil drums, wear striped woollen hats lettered CANADA.

They give good lovin’ by Isabelle Marlene Serna


They whisper

<whisper whisper whisper>



They give good lovin’

You are all

[I need]

Another prescription

For me. Why don’t you

Erase my



Yes, I remember

like a shadow

Here in day

gone at night

I slip into

Dark          black         abyss


Fiery hot scorch

Burn on me! Burn on me! Burn on me!

Pull push side step

Left                            Right


block the noise—block it—

make it STOP!


You know

this isn’t me

I wheel I twirl I spin

HA—with this

blurry vision

I can’t see, I never once

Did see.


I jump! Then,


Red stop signs

In my line of sight.

My path is

Cold hard dark

Where is the light?


My landscape

Like a broken painting

my colours fade

my strokes weak

Movin’ in quicksand

I sink! I sink! I sink!

Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.


See me


I see me




They give me good lovin’

You are all

[I need]

On the Seventh Day by Sarah L Dixon

On the first day

the earth was stripped of coal,

the trees were burnt

for the good of the future.

A future that humans

will not inhabit.


On the second day

the last of the farmed animals

were eaten

and in a meat frenzy

every other land walker:

cats, tapirs, porcupines.


On the third day

the oceans and lakes were drained

the rivers dredged

ending and eating all marine life,

waterway fowl and fish.

Narrowboats were grounded.


On the fourth day

most realised that

consuming life and fuel

did not make them feel more alive

but had begun to make them dead

from the inside too.


On the fifth day

the dawn chorus was silenced.

Roast starlings and poached magpie.

Blue tits and wrens were loud

annoyances too small to snack on

so beaks were tied tight with teethed tags.


On the sixth day

the last humans were tied too.

This left just one.

This one who some had voted in.

Many regretted the placement

of their ballot box X.


On the seventh day

silence reigned

as scared eyes flashed fear

behind self-sewn blindfolds

and mouths shouted against gags.

It takes this to become human?


Sarah L Dixon is based in Chorlton, Manchester and tours as The Quiet Compere.  She has been published in The Interpreter’s House, The Lake, Obsessed With Pipework, Domestic Cherry and on a beer-mat and in Half Moon OWF Press anthology in 2016 among others. Sarah’s inspiration comes from being by water and adventures with her six-year-old, Frank.  She is still attempting to write better poetry than Frank did aged 4!

Eradication of Poverty by Ananya S Guha

Rivers are dried
Fed up of the blood
Which coagulates the shores
And leaves a trail
Spots of blood
People carry to towns
Then the cities
Their hands spotted with blood
Their minds clogged with blood
Their clothes stained with blood
Their money stained with blood
Then they taste blood
Little children cry in hovels
Beggars turn mad
Make them taste this blood
Let it stain their hands
They can open blood banks
Become wealthy
Eradication of poverty.

Mutants by Nick Cooke

Bursting out of our own skins, we

grow every second, unstoppable

as accelerated beanstalks, except

we are purple and yellow and not

especially thin, but contrary to rumours


we mean no harm. You can’t get a handle

on what our genesis will do for

world and atmosphere, since

we know no more than you what drives us

into being and twists our biology so.


We only know we’re abnormal

from hearing it a million times on your TV.

The more we multiply the more

normal we get, n’est-ce pas?

You see, there was you thinking we was dumb


just because the news implies as much;

but when our supersonic sprouting ceases and we

stand before the cameras as finished articles,

we’ll put out a press release aimed at

celebrating mutant culture and all


that’s gone into its hitherto obscure making.

That’ll be a pile of fun, will it not?

And very instructive for the countless

millions of self-styled citizenry

knee-jerked into mutaphobia.


Meanwhile we call on all our supporters

to continue the battle for our rights

even in the face of cruel persecution

and outright opprobrium.

We kiss your brave faces with our pulsing lips.

One Day Years From Now She Will Find Them by Cath Campbell

A five year old girl doesn’t have the words.
A five year old girl believes what he says,
that he will kill her mother and her father,
that he loves her, that it’s normal, that she is special.
A five year old girl is tiny, is not as strong as he
though he pretends there is nothing he wouldn’t do
for her, to her, because of her; that he is besotted.
She recalls the word because it rhymes with clotted.
That is how her throat feels when she wakes
from nightmares of being suffocated,
which no one else understands.
A five year old girl doesn’t have the words,
but every line is recorded onto her skin.

Land Submerged by Ananya S Guha

In Kashmir
there is no lull
break the hull
free the land
free the shackles
children, men women
politicians, aristocrats,
intellectuals, thinkers
free them,whisper to
them truth and how the
body and the land mingle
don’t talk to them of that
neighbouring country.
they know it how neighbours
can be rotten. but talk to them
the movement of the human
heart. don’t talk to them of
this country. they are tired
to be drawn into battles.
talk to them of beauty,
mountains and cherubic
children with glowing cheeks.
talk to them of spiralling mountains
and watery lakes. Speak simply
speak.heart to heart.
pray even if they are enemies
( as you think)
pain will dwindle
them into seven seas
can you see a land submerged?

The Last Farce by Trevor Martin-Duckett

There’s that tension in the air,
She’s soon to catch him out,
There’s that flicker in her stare,
The caustic touch of doubt,
With each remark she tests the truth by subtle accusation,
The joint charade is breaking down in muted desperation,
Small mistakes keep adding up.
Friends show signs of some discomfort,
Surely she has had enough,
Now every dream in time has sunken,
A web of lies excuses conflict,
Cold abuse replaces something,
That used to make them feel so good,
How come things ain’t like they should?

inalienable right to strip the world of choreography by Mark Hartenbach

present reality scheming for a look into the future
as a causal universe is rolling along on training wheels

theatrical adventure that takes us nowhere to be found
where the relevance of this scene is always in question

where old guard is falling asleep at the gates of heaven
where there doesn’t have a to be a good reason

when it could as easily be a bad reason instead
allegedly characterized by spirit of unconditional love

but i see too many dollar signs to buy that rubbish
see ambitious lunging at object of affection

a story based on the former life of a ridiculous man
is fulfilling social obligations despite the fact

unsettling remarks are actually quite the opposite
are jimmied achievements of uniform impressions

supposedly natural rivals suffering moral bankruptcy
ignoring all mandates strung along for the ride

allegedly formulating a new search for meaning
manipulation of regardless escaping our notice

in today’s culture beauty is used as security blanket
world of prefabricated prayers which don’t move me