Neu! Post-Truth Poetics DAY FORTY-SEVEN – Peter Armstrong

Brexit by JMW Turner

There is sunset or there is dawn;
something in the depths of orange
tells us sunset. Something that might be a ship
or steeple or steep island, maybe,
surmounted by a tower
(but we’re guessing here)
sits on what we guess
is the horizon, but might be    
a trick of the cloud;
distant cumulus, then,
pushing in amongst
dull strata; that were
dull until this late
or last

Different weather’s coming


Peter Armstrong was born in Blaydon on Tyne, 1957; educated locally; awarded an Eric Gregory prize 1984; trained as psychiatric nurse; specialised as cognitive therapist, supervisor & trainer; now retired from NHS & working independently. Poems appear in Ten North Eastern Poets (Bloodaxe 1980). Collections: Risings (Enitharmon 1988); The Red Funnelled Boat (Picador 1998); The Capital of Nowhere (Picador 2003); Madame Noire (Shoestring pamphlet 2008); The Book of Ogham (Shoestring 2012).

Neu! Post-Truth Poetics DAY FORTY-SIX – Catherine Ayres


This lion tamer,
how softly he moves.                      

This fire eater,
how he thirsts.

This sword swallower,
how sharp he tastes.

This trapeze artist,
how bloody his palms.

This tightrope walker
and his thin lines.

This plate-spinner
drops nothing.

This juggler
doesn’t blink.

This ringmaster,
watch him strut.

These clowns,
these clowns.



Catherine Ayres is a teacher and a single mother. She has a pamphlet (shared with Steve Urwin) published with the Black Light Engine Room and in December a first collection,  Amazon, published by Indigo Dreams.

Neu! Post-Truth Poetics DAY FORTY-FIVE – Couplets on Decoupling

Big May caws “Scots – We leavin’ then?”
Yer on yir oan wi’ that one, hen.


On a damp-squib predictable Brexit-approving day,
Sturgeon’s cat among pigeons announced ‘Scotland will, not May’.


On the banks of the Tweed the folk are agreed;
on the banks of the Thames there’s no blooms on the stems.


Sturgeon to May: “You lookin’ at me?”
Envoi: D.I.V.O.R.C.E.


The reivers & the balladeers assemble now to build a cairn,
a gathering in gloaming light to lay to rest a stillborn bairn.


The bogle spies the box mairkid this or thon
an dings hid doun the darksome gloup o none.


Put can’t in your pocket
– and dare.


This ‘pseudosonnet’ was assembled from Couplets by Marie-Therese Taylor, Peter A. Kelly, Tony Williams, Harry Gallagher, Paul Summers, Harry Giles & Alec Finlay. Many thanks to all who sent in couplets we were unable to use.

Neu! Post-Truth Poetics DAY FORTY-FOUR – Dave Spittle

Dave Spittle March 17

David Spittle has written reviews for Hix Eros and regularly contributes to PN Review. His poetry is published in 3am, Shadowtrain, Zone, and Black Herald Press. David is also a librettist, having written four operas, the last of which was commissioned by Bergen National Opera. He is currently shortlisted for the Melita Hume Prize. He blogs at


Neu! Post-Truth Poetics DAY FORTY-THREE – Lydia Robb

Small Expectations

The landlord said The rules is rules.
No paintings on them walls.

She thinks of what he’s charging
for one room, calmly lifts
a hammer and a nail, takes aim.

A fragment of flocked wallpaper
abseils onto the pillow.

She straightens up the still-life,
Caravaggio print. Impulsive purchase
from a car-boot sale.

Well pleased, she steps back
to admire her handiwork.
The child she is carrying applauds.


Lydia Robb writes poetry and prose in both Scots and English.  Recipient of a number of poetry prizes. First collection of poetry, Last Tango with Magritte published by Chapman Publishing Edinburgh 2001. More than enough poems for another collection, should a publisher be interested. 

Neu! Post-Truth Poetics DAY FORTY-TWO – Beth McDonough

Lazarus at the Year’s Inauguration

Orange mist milks out street lamp land
as surveyed corners turn suspect borders.
Unseen spectres stalk horror-filmed trees.
Winter wears our emperor’s new garb.
No-one feels flush. Nothing good buds
at this stage.

This morning’s recycled news is trachled
in a wheelie bin hearse. But stop
by the raised bed. Greet
a protest of new clenched fists.
Cabbages thriving past mirk,
rise green and unbowed to punch air.


Beth McDonough trained in Silversmithing at Glasgow School of Art, and later completed an M.Litt in Writing Study and Practice at Dundee University. She was inaugural Writer in Residence at Dundee Contemporary Arts (2014-16).  She reviews for Dundee University Review of the Arts (DURA) and edits the poetry section there. Her recent pamphlet Handfast (with Ruth Aylett) was published in May 2016 by Mother’s Milk Books.


Neu! Post-Truth Poetics DAY FORTY-ONE – Nick Allen

River Couldnt Care Less

the Couldnt Care Less runs through this land
no one knows its true source
although a few disreputable sites compete for that garland
such as the small bitter town called Hate
the fog-bound marshes of Ignorance   the steep hills of Disdain
the poisonous forest of Misinformation
or perhaps the bleak and featureless heaths of The Inhumane

a dam named Security was built on the river   using alternative Mathematics
and the variable laws of Physics
all held together by the mortar of unsubstantiated rhetoric
official histories deny
any such construction   but the ruins of this ill-conceived folly
can easily be found
at the foot of Scapegoat Lake   to the south of the tributary river
known locally as Moral Turpitude

and of course there is no truth in the rumours that unwanteds
undesirables and downright
illegals are tied into sacks that are reasonably buoyant and punted
into the midstream by night
nor that the one-way ferrymen piloting these boats hail from the old families
of Mercers and Murdochs and Dacres
who drown out dissenting voices   while Couldnt Care Less washes through
our pristine green acres


Nick Allen was first published through the Leads to Leeds project run by Helen Mort. Since then his work has appeared in The Cunningham Amendment, the Pennine Platform and the Watermarks Anthology. In addition, he has read at last summer’s Bradford Literary Festival and at Poetry at the Parsonage in Haworth.