A Drabble by Patrick Prinsloo

They ignored the people smugglers, made their way across unfriendly borders, memories of overcrowded leaking boats behind them.

A local man, a blacksmith maybe, or a bus driver – they weren’t even sure of the country they were in let alone what language was being spoken – found them hiding in some disused stables, didn’t turn them in, brought food and water, blankets, nappies for the infant, encouraged close friends to do likewise.

It was the priest who betrayed them, partly because he was part of the system, partly because he was troubled by parallels with a much older old story.

© Patrick Prinsloo 2015

That Night By Michael Murray

We couldn’t sleep; something somewhere
was rippling through us. Bands of sounds;
lights flashing outside in the dark, late.

So shifted the curtains, summer’s light cotton,
flecked with blue flashes. The windows, at least
had closed their ears. The whole road twitched

drapes, gaped. Lights, a crackle of noise:
police cars down the road, last house.
And tension growling in the night.

Mother, as always, reported back,
then Sleep, she said. School. But couldn’t keep secrets:
Two girls, she said. A man with a knife.

And relishing this – neighbour with neighbour:
‘Her parents, schoolteachers, are atheists.
I wonder who they’re praying to now!’

Woken that night to distrust adults,
to fear life. The scent of hawthorn, elder;
pepper of grass pollen. And adverts

that hummed romance, drifting through fields
in summer.
Two girls. A man with a knife.

©Michael Murray

Thank you Michael for sharing this wonderful poem on the blog.

This Week and another poem

Interesting session this week at Maccwriters. I haven’t been able to go for a while so was pleased to see the new people who were attending. Among them was Amber, all the way from Macclesfield near Adelaide in Australia, small world ain’t it? Another was Marion from Exeter who has her own website selling her books for charity – Green Dragon Publications. Great to meet new people. Great to see hits from elsewhere around the globe as well.

This week in UK we’ve been sweltering in high heat. Being British, I am of course no good in heat (just not genetically evolved for it). Not sure the air con in the library was working and I took to fanning myself with my documents folder, much to Zoe’s amusement. No doubt we will be back to our usual temperature range of ‘Meh’ to freezing next week, so we can return to complaining about that (you know us Brits, it’s all about the weather!)

This week’s poem is another by Charlie – ‘Shark In the Water’

Shark In the Water

My mother says there is a shark in the sea.
I run, held back by waves;
a battalion of water that cannot be unplugged,
the tide fierce and ready to strike me down.
In her haste to reach the shore my mother
knocks me down. I will drown.

Seven years old, I belong to the sea,
another poor unfortunate soul to add to Ursula’s collection
where I cannot be saved by the Little Mermaid.
I taste the millennia, salt water on my tongue,

inhale time

My mother lifts me to the sand
and I search the ocean
to see if the shark is following.


Feeding a Young Crow Too Soon from the Nest

An ash-grey ring around the iris
darkening to black; the eye’s cover slides
white, slides back, the eye locks
in on you. The prickly closeness
of smell as you offer small gobbets
of meat to the bucket beak,
the fluttering wings, the baby cries.
The softened sounds you speak, the nonsense,
are vocables of assurance.

You offer water; she dips to the vacancy
that liquid is to the eye; her beak
a shellac clack on the pot, then locates it;
the pink of her mouth, the snake-like tongue
lift and drip, lift and drip with it.
To sense her close, and growing away in this.

© Michael Murray (Highly Commended Entry for the RSPB/Rialto Competition 2015)

Many thanks to Michael for sending in his entry as well – the Rialto certainly seems to have inspired a number of our Maccwriters to flex their poetic abilities!


The sheep has its reed out.

Dad says to press the hot mass of pink flesh back inside.
My fingers squelch against the steaming conical,
force each fold of rigid flesh into the sheep’s darkness.
Dizzy from bending down for so long,
I wonder when I will get to wash my hands or
if lunch will be eaten with the worry of e-coli.

Dad sews a truss to her back end:
both farmer and vet
yet still she complains –
bleats and swings herself
as though we’ve inconvenienced her,

this cold April morning

where the white balance is off and sheep hide in bushes,
birth lambs with crowns of gorse,
and all sound leaves the world save for the bleats and cackles.

This is the real beauty of spring,
though lambs frolic and crows bide their time,
the sheep rule here, cast across the field;
a clan of wool, crowned with prolapses
that it is our penance to fix.

© Charles Heathcote (longlisted for the RSPB Rialto Nature Competition)


Water, water, everywhere, and all the boards did shrink.
Water, water, everywhere. To Graham, what’s the link?

Here we are in Lulworth Cove, which nestles down in Dorset.
Day 2 and there’s a panic. Can you guess the source? It’s
when Colin spied some water flowing beneath the door,
watched horrified as inexorably it rippled ‘cross the floor.
The Lady of the House was called to find the tidal source.
Alas, it was no mystery, no need for Inspector Morse.
The master key she used to open up the room next door
and tentatively tiptoed in and started to explore.
Behind the shower curtain, starkers (She broke into a sweat),
Graham was warbling some song by, who else but Wet, Wet, Wet.
The Lady of the House was almost overcome by shock,
with averted eyes she fumbled, found and turned off the stopcock.
So, Graham, next time you’re minded to run hot water in your sink,
don’t put the plug in, mate, or we’ll all be in the drink.

© Phil Poyser