Crossroads, by Stella Wulf

You dare to dice with me, pitch your luck against mine?
Fuck the crossroads, you say, we’ll deal anywhere
with our stash of slur and slander, our stock of false news,
alternative facts, inflammatory views.

Fools, with your consuming religion of hubris and greed!
My advocates are legion, a cloven clatter, thronging corridors,
halls, city squares, to the blare of rallying horns.
It behoves you to fear me.
I don’t care for the foul rot of your newsprint mulch,
its smutty, acerbic smoke, I won’t scuff my hooves
scratching for crumbs of a creed that’s already mine,
to broker a deal for your worthless souls.

No matter that the fires of hell are choked with ash,
the vapour of pulp fiction, or that the damned
no longer burn in torment, but warm their bones
at dying pyres.
You stoke your own hell on the lands you’ve ravaged,
Earth made hotter than Hades. The sun is in my pocket,
the battle almost won. Bring me the white-hot flame
of truth, the eternal fire of veracity and there might be
a deal to be done.


Football’s Coming Home, by Stella Wulf

Researchers at Lancaster University studied incidents of domestic abuse during World Cup matches in 2002, 2006 and 2010 and found a 38 per cent rise on days when the England team played and lost, and a 26 per cent rise when England won or drew – Newstatesman

You’ve been practicing how to pitch it
since you lost the first round; since
I take you, and, to have and to hold,
bitch, became his anthem.
Despite your best defensive moves,
pre-empting kick-offs, fending fouls,
obeying rules, you’ll still be beaten.
There are no equalisers in this mismatch.
You’ve learned not to tackle,
playing for time in the corridor
of uncertainty. This is a home game,
he’s in possession of screen and beer.
You huddle on the sidelines, sick
with fear that you’ll be picked on.
A poor substitute for the real thing,
you don’t bounce back. A skin sack
with the air kicked out concedes.
He inflates your uselessness with lager shots,
conflates your existence with bad luck,
pumps himself into a premier striker.
It’s a game of one half, the playing field,
uneven. You’re getting trounced.
The penalty – extra time for injury,
it’s his set piece – he’s bringing it home.

Doomed Youth, by Stella Wulf

Ahhh, poor black sheep,
hasn’t any hope,
no sir, none sir,
Mum & Dad can’t cope.

There’s plenty for the masters,
who all stand to gain,
none for the girls & boys
who live down benefits lane.

Ahhh, poor black sheep
heads full of wool,
free school dinners,
bellies never full.

It’s all for the leaders,
achievers on a mission,
nothing for the boys and girls
without a pot to piss in.

Ahhh, poor black sheep
this is what we’ll do,
make soldiers of all of you,
red, white, & blue.

Bah, poor black sheep
no wonder what you are
fill your boots and pockets
we’ll turn you into stars,

we’ll have you launching rockets
before your youth is gone,
etch you into granite –
see how they shone.


Last year a report by Northampton University concluded that cadet forces were an effective tool to support children on free school meals ‘to achieve their potential’. – Metro


Stella’s poems are widely published both in print and online, and appear in several anthologies including, The Very Best of 52, three drops, Clear Poetry, and #MeToo. Her pamphlet, After Eden, was published by 4word in May 2018. She has an MA in creative writing from Lancaster University.



The People Have Spoken by Stella Wulf

so we must accept the wind of change,
but this wind is carrying a knife,
sharp as a tabloid hack,
cutting the back out of Spring,
shredding the spin of yesterday’s news
to a pap of filth and litter. 

Who can tolerate its sleazy gust,
whipping up grist for trope and troll.
Get them out! Take back control!
We hoped for a fresh breeze
to broadcast seeds, uphold
the wings of passerines,
fan small sparks into glowing flames.

Who can accept a wind that slams
doors, rips up roots, huffs
on everything that stands in its way?
This is more than bluff Boreas,
ruffling hair and feathers,
more than hot air,
and buffeting buffoonery,

this wind is an enemy,
a stranger that knocks you down,
kicks dirt in a face that doesn’t fit,
whistles as it rips through
arcades, arches, tearing up
parcels of flesh and bone,
the undelivered, address unknown. 

This wind stalks hospital corridors,
breaths down the necks of the infirm,
rages through empty factories,
foundry chimneys, boarded-up shops. 

Do we lock ourselves in,
crouch with our backs to the wall,
stick our heads in the telly?
Or do we look at ourselves,
listen to the wind that howls,
‘you asked for this.’

Things Rank and Gross in Nature by Stella Wulf

When you went you left the stigma,

the green blush of sepal and leaf,

an unfurling flush of petal,

the blossoming of symmetry,

your tenuous pact with nature.


In your absence a womandrake grew.

Black Bryony, sways the young trees,

wheedles her way into hedges, stealing

with poisonous insinuation,

into the hearts of sweet peas.


Convolvulus too, the strumpet,

sidles into Black Stockings,

snakes up the slender limbs

of Iris, Lily, Marigold, Rose,

tightens her noose at their throats.


Spotty Spurge sprawls in the gravel,

a stubbly punter in a seedy bed.

Hogweed and Hairy Bittercress

stump up for the evening distillation,

old muckers out on the razzle.


Wall Lettuce slouches in corners,

Fat Hen cavorts with Mallow,

Common Daisy, Nipplewort, Thistle,

cruise the allées and borders.

Nightshade lurks in the shadows.


You survived the uprooting,

the thousand brittle severances,

the paralysing blight of instability.

You’re back with a new pact;


turf out the sods,

take back the plot,

dig through the horizons

to the essential matters.

Heel yourself in.

On a Ramble by Stella Wulf

Where some people have a self, most people have a void, because they are too busy in wasting their vital creative energy to project themselves as this or that, dedicating their lives to actualizing a concept of what they should be like rather than actualizing their potentiality as a human being.’ Bruce Lee, 1940 – 1973


We walk our path, my dog and me,

to make our outer selves fit

with our inner selves,

trying not to waste our creative energy,

and thinking about Bruce Lee.

Me, that is, not the dog,

she only has one self only,

which is focused on eating shit,

and I wonder how much shit

Bruce Lee had to take

when he finally got his break,

and the powers that be projected

what ought to be, saying

ACTION, speaks louder

than philosophy.


We walk our path, my dog and me,

picking up shit along the way

thinking of Bruce Lee in 1970,

and wondering, was it the zeitgeist?

the age for actualising our potentiality?

or is finding our selves

still our raison d’être?


And I’m thinking of Dr. Siegel,

who, in 1933, was marched through

the streets of Germany, stripped

of his authenticity,

and I’m thinking of the void,

the many millions purged

of themselves,

those fleeing the conflict

of who they hoped to be,

who have stared down the unknown,

the shattered mould of security.


We walk our path, my dog and me,

picking up shit along the way,

thinking of our own zeitgeist of uncertainty,

and of those who find themselves


Drawing a Line by Stella Wulf

You hadn’t prepared for Stony Ground,

feeling inclined to a touch of flesh and blood,

vibrant, intense, Incarnadine.

Now you’re rolling out the Night Sky

with its scumble of Pearl,

drowning the deep Sea Blue,

in a muddy skim of Dead Salmon,

a dull neutrality of appeasement

for off-milk folk who might come after,

who spurn contrast and colour,

who can only live with New White,

Old White, or at a push,

Churlish Green.


You’re moving on, effacing the past,

but you vote for the Miró-esque mural

to remain, on the grounds of history.

‘An old house should resist,’

you say, ‘retain some of its mystery,’

like the World War Two pistol

you found in the rafters of the barn,

and pencilled on the lime-wash walls,

the names and ages of a family harboured,

erased one Mole’s Breath night.


You dip into Pitch Black,

make an arc around the sickle moon,

a life-line for the mother and child,

striking out from the abstract,

crossing its borders,

stretching like an exodus

to the four corners

of your neutral world,

you draw a line that will bleed

through the thin skin of change.

For the Want of Touch by Stella Wulf

She sighs through dereliction,
haunts forgotten rooms
for the ghost of it,

traces sepia faces
in foxed and faded hope
for remembrance of it.

Once, she shared another’s skin,
fused in a fondling bed
she thrived on the feast of it,

fleshed-out in the bones
the blood and sweat – the groans of it,
she held – caressed – embodied it.

Now, she lusts for the last embrace
for the lulling, bosom balm
the numbing, crushing calm of it.

The Escape by Stella Wulf

(with references to RS Thomas and Paul Muldoon)

By day she escapes to the words,
rambling the undulating vowels of Wales,
(a landscape beleaguered by consonants).
Walks with Dylan amongst the tall tales,
where the other Thomas broods and muses
on Iago Prytherch, Llew and Huw Puw,
Dai too – they took the knife away from that one!
And Cynddylan who’s no longer yoked,
ploughs a new furrow from now on.

Beyond the words she has Llareggub.
No friends.
No relations.
Unjust interrogations.
Scotch whiskey mist.
A pummelling fist.

By night she escapes to the verse,
roaming the great Muldoonian plains,
she rides with Foxes – whistles with Kickapoos,
dreams of apple-blossom and Jennet manes,
while the jealous lover broods and accuses.
Iago Prytherch! Llew and Huw Puw!
Scotch whiskey mist – a pummelling fist.
She toys with the paper-knife on the bureau.
Tomorrow, she will plough a new furrow.