Autumnal Green Man Spiders thread my lips lightly together. My leaves become their actual colours and fall from my face, red, yellow, ochre. My voice rustle of green leaves is no more. I am the scent of ripe apple and pear. I am the rain on sodden bark, slow time. My days shorter, dark sooner, light rarer. I am burning leaves. Face of Harvest time. After the fires, my mouth nose and eyes spout green shoots, new leaves bud and grow on my barkskin. I flourish once more. An aspect of dream. Memory of ice. Warmth without, within. In stone, wood or paper I decay lose definition, but still my image grows 2. Erl-King Hear the gust music my air blows through this reed? Inhabits your ear, delights all your senses. A new birdsong, fresh animal track, beads a sprightly beat, warm summer days, tenses new sugar tastes on your tongue, blood hums your bones. Now you see me, in rich purple, rare blue. Your mouth opens, I reach out, touch your grown laughter, imprison your youth in situ. I am your first child who needs shelter, hugs, clothes, your patience and long conversations. I am your elderly parents that tug at their recall more and more frustration. Enticed by freedom find yourselves in chains. I laugh and play a sprightly flute on your pains. 3. Freybug "Be not afraid of fray-bugs which lie in the way." so English martyr describes me 1555. I'm a frightening obstacle to overcome. Popery railed against, authority imprisoned him, requested he recant, he refused. They ordered him burnt He welcomed hugged stake said it was cross of Christ. And loosed, " Welcome Everlasting life!" Not afraid of me when he met me in various ways. Burnt February of year he made mention of me his words always pious. Some say I'm reason, today's way who blocks fanaticism, shows easy paths plot. 4. I, Ginny Greenteeth I, Ginny Greenteeth invite all of you, boys and girls to dance and play on this green mat, I've laid out especially for you. Look how the sun shines on it. The wild sheen invites your feet to press upon it, fetch football to its wonderful pitch, not scuffed up and muddy but fresh and fine, stretch your legs, leap on this cool turf goal spot. Don't read those old, battered out of date signs. Don't listen to uncool mam and dad bleat to you about playing safe. Where's the fun time in that? Risk it for a biscuit. Compete. I will take you where you can play all day. Step on this duckweed, don't do as they say. 5. We Were Green tending to flocks of mother and dad's big cattle, we hear clapping of bells, a call to colour of bells, we fell into twig of twilight, a dark cave of hammers fall. They said our words were not understanding, so we went with them, our garb they were not knowing, and we were green and lazing They took us with them to a big door knock. Inside they passed foul tastes bruv and me were having none of until we could split pods roll the bean inside our strange tongues slur and soon we were pink again and their god taught us their way of understanding to I can say these things. Am servant and do. 6. The Marden Mermaid Bell banging, clattering keeps me awake. so rope that held it snaps and it rolls here. Sunk into my home this bright stream's intake. I wrap myself inside it, searchers near. I sleep while twelve white freemartins with yokes of sacred yew and mountain ash bands dredge and men bind rope to bell, drawn out by folk in needful silence. Raised to river's edge, I asleep inside. Excited driver calls out, "In spite of all the devil's in hell, now we'll land Marden's great bell.", diver with bell I announce "If it had not been for your wittern bands and your yew tree pin, I'd have had your twelve freemartins in!" *Freemartin was a sterile cow 7. Sheela Na Gig I sit in stone above this church door. You must crane your neck to see me carved here. I am bald naked my pendulous raw breasts hang just above my spread legs. Come near. Life enters and returns to me. What is it about me that fascinates you? Celebrate my fertility and shock of my age. Once I was hidden from view. I was in darkness, a cloth thrown over me. Somebody was ashamed of what they saw in me. Cloth lifted, life unsmothered. Folk passing through my door see my display. I don't know why I was placed so high up. I look down, vulnerable, opened up. 8. I, Owlman I, Owlman fly above the church steeple in corrugated cardboard wings made by mum, stapled and brown sellotaped in full. Didn't mean to scare those girls who walked by. My feathers are all soggy in the rain, fall apart. Soon owl will go, leaving just me. Mum took sharp scissors and curled all these brown paper strips now all soggy. Kitchen roll tubes are like a skeleton under my wings. My claws weren't very sharp, so I used kitchen knives after she passed on. My late mum is an owl now with a harp. I used to only go out in the dark as an owl. Now I, Owlman in my heart. 9. Every Woman Needs To Be a Dryad I am all my tree, and my tree is me. Cut my bark, and I bleed. I float on leaves. Lay your back against my skin, tell story after story. Words are my memories. I asked to be a tree when He refused to leave me alone. Endlessly chased. I got tired of always being abused. He says my sexiness makes him sex crazed. As if it is my fault He feels like that. Told Him I don't make Him do anything. He's responsible, His choice how He acts. As a tree I hide, watch all happenings. Every women needs a secret place. A place where she has no fear to face. 10. The Standing Stone I am just stood standing here. Don't know why? Folk gawk at me, as for a miracle. Run their fingers through spirals chiselled by someone who had a reason to channel their beliefs into my solid body. Probably same folk who quarried and moved me here, raised me up here meaningfully. Stone doesn't hurt, doesn't bleed. Pressured into what I am. You make me something special. Set me up for some strange purpose. - Once I must have had some meaning. I find meaning in holding up the skies range. I may topple over at some near time. Till then I'm stood standing, a weathered sign. 11. A Jabberwock Welcome, Welcome a frumly Jabberwock. Put away your leptimous gronky blade. Its harkless flames are spidgeons on umnous clock. Mouth your impsy words flunty pullisades. Welcome, Welcome a durkast Jabberwock. Offer it afterswoon tea and lockly scones, raise a swabbly glass to its fibblywock, raise another to its true coddlemoan. Lets celebrate one another's jull, in this grameless land where pomelders play amongst sundblast and tough crockly mimples, Sleep mafely in the grummidge of today. Only when we grell of ourselves in horkly, can we live gethertookness in borkly. 12. I'm a Hobgoblin I help you out round the house at nighttime. I'm naked but for all these hairs on me. "You mucky bugger." Your wife sees my grime. "Your hairs all over the bloody bath. Look .See." She does not know me, per our old agreement. "Have you been washing livestock in this bath? These hairs are too coarse to be yours. I've spent too long cleaning up, after you. All faff. I'm better off on my own. You make work." Your wife's rant might mean I don't get fed. Neat. I'l sour your milk. Clog your drains. Can't catch jerk. I'm an ornament, I'm a bucket. Fleet. Can't trust you when you lie to your fine wife. She should marry hobgoblin, get a life. 13. I, Blackthorn My leaves in autumn yellow, winter fall leave me a stark twisted black skeleton. I dwell on woodland edge as thicket wall hedgerow. Hawthorn, Elder companions. My barkskin rough, scaly, bright orange flood under my dark grey surface, thickets dark, dense, thorny, sapwood light yellow, heartwood brown. Thorns long and sharp if pricked, turn septic. Mark musk-scented small, delicate, white flowers oval petalled cluster into a star shape early spring. Blossoms, thin, rounder tooth edged white, with red-tipped threads. Globular small blue-black or deep purplish, round lip glossed summer berries ripen after first frost. 14. I, Nucklalevee My mouth is wide, I breathe on your ripe crops make them wilt, breathe plague into your horses. My vein and muscle is not wrapped and topped by skin, poisoned and scalded by doses of water from the black sky I retreat into saltwater waves back to mother who tries to keep me close bound to her sweet all the length of the hot days in summer. Come winter my hooves canter ashore, two headed, my horse head a living wave, tall as if a rider my body grown through the horses back, my other head, one eye ball, wide mouth agape, my arms trail down touch earth, I bring drought, disease, your prayers and worse. 15. A Cerne Abbas Giant Once fully clothed, a cape over my left arm whose hand carried a head by its hair, a knobbly cudgel in my right I heft. Soon my carried head and cape is not there. And someone carves an erect appendage. First a stubby thing then made to include my belly button. I reflect this age. My chalk refreshed regularly. A prude I can't be. Once they hid, tried to get rid of this added bit. Now all is brightened. I'm cared for, watched over, weathered, In spit and shine, folk climb me, perhaps enlightened. I'm what you make of me, you fetch yourself, and all you've been through, your wealth. 16. By Peg Powler You call me a hag. Foam flecks on water, are my suds, thin layer here is my cream. How beautiful are your ankles closer, closer now to the edge of my fine stream. Let me look. Let me see your lovely skin and delicate bone. I had to grab one to feel it's soft curve, to taste blood within. Let me take you down, where there is no sun. Come canny lads and lasses, you're my bait, delicious food, playing close to the edge. Let me take you to my place in the spate, where no one tells you what and when, my fledge. I'm more than a warning of dangerous water. I'll not starve. Kids are nutritious. 17. A Queen of Elfthame I rule a nameless land, my glamour shines a clear skinned thin high cheeked young woman whom some human males boast conquered many times, will find a gift from faerie has its own boon. It will ask that they lose what they treasure most. More they stroke my thighs in private, more humans notice their magic measure, more kiss my full lips more public their fate. They name this land and define those within. It's name will stay unknown to them, as will life of those bairns from our togethering. These men will burn as witches, a deal fulfilled. I will coddle these halflings, my children. They'll be a bridge between our rich living. 18. I'm An Apple Tree Man invented as good stories to engross. Perhaps I'm real in imagination. I am wizenned as a rotting fruit loss, Muscled as toughest barkskins creation. Make up tales about me and this orchard. A penniless man sups his last cider, rests his back against one of my trees hard skin, I appear and find him gold and finer. Perhaps Lord or Lady of Dreams gifted you visions, that's why sources are hazy tales told so well, they are uplifted, so readers wish them authentic story. Telling false from true is necessity. A good tale told lives in the memory. 19. The Sin Eater As you die I'll feast on your thou shalt nots. My fried chips is your lust for another. My boiled egg is your envy of others lot. Roast beef is your thieving from your brother. This lean bacon is your Pride. So proudful. These baked beans are your endless gluttony, Laziness your job, turnip your Slothful. Salt and pepper Wrath forever angry. Thank you to your family and friends pence and free meal of bread and ale. The rest dream I dreamt myself with each mouthful. Have sense shun me now. Your dead Heaven bound serene. I'll heft these inside myself. Pale Hunger my constant friend for a short while longer. 20. A Mordiford Dragon Her mum and dad told Maud don't bring that here, over our threshold, take it back where you got it from, so she returns me to a near wood, feeds me milk filched from fat cows and ewes. Grown out of milk, she fetches rats and cats. Soon my wings are broad and wide, I ascend. Maud is so small from here. I swoop on fat beef and tasty sheep to slaughter and rend. No, no, no. She screams at me. I'm hungry I tell her. Soon her friends the villagers are marching armed towards my wood, angry. One lances through my neck. Fatal damage. I imagine her parents saying I told you so. Maud weeps for me as I die. 21. Dorset Ooser I'm a mask. Two holes for eyes where there are no eyes. Inside these small spaces is a larger place where a brain would be where thinking would take place and a tongue to say what comes to mind, instead I'm emptiness. When you wear me I don't have your brain, tongue, but you are different more or less from when you don't wear me, you're not the same. I have horns and a moveable jaw. When you speak through me, I don't speak. I always say nothing. You have all the words to bend to thoughts I never have. These word ways are a mystery to me. How am I speaking now? I'm only a mask. So why? 22. A Lincoln Imp Tell you why I'm motionless here, grinning down at you. Satan let us out to play. Mate and I sat on a church spire twisting it. Chesterfield never had better days. Next we blew through that door. Tripped up Bishop. So serious. In the Angel Choir broke chairs and tables till angel out a hymn book told us to stop, so I lobbed stones at bloke while mate scarpers to Grimsby, where angel catches him,smacks his arse, turns him to stone as he did to me. At least mate can waggle his smacked arse at visitors I'm alone. Need a bit of fun in this God given place packed full of all praying and hymning. 23. My Wyvern I am what you make of me. Make of me what you will. In my wake is grass marked, slime, or frogspawn and flounders spawned? Angry twine of my knotted tail, my temper dark and venomous? An image on a shield, a tattoo on your skin. Bat winged, razor claws. I'm Tyrannosaurus Rex revealed. or Pterodactyl, extinct become lore. Mouth open forked tongue often out. Beware, an image will attach itself to you. It's not me. Simplifies me. You declare. I'm more complicated than this crude view. I'm called a dreadful creature, by some. Seen, maligned by others . I'm found in between. Sonnet Series: “Wombwell Cemetery” by Paul Brookes About Bats: The Chiroptera Sonnets by Paul Brookes Arachnida Sonnets by Paul Brookes (an occasional series) The Insect Sonnets by Paul Brookes
“A simple gentleman, the best of sports
men, and a very gallant soldier.” Your
superior F. A. M. Webster, sports
chronicler and soldier told what he saw.
Strength of your arm lob a training grenade
in an exercise seventy five yards
of a Bull Ring. Heard song your violin made.
Summer Olympics athlete field and track.
Your Somme bomber battalion got caught
leading way home exposed in the open,
between the wires. Ambulanceman, Sam sought
but never found his dead brother again.
Your mam died when you were two, her gravestone
now yours, a simple commemoration.
Struck Mr. Kay
5.20 a.m. on Tuesday it were. I were walking to work through Wombwell woods, when a great storm overtook us, fair surprised us watta comin' dahn. I stood wi Mr. Kay under a beech tree, known not to be struck by leetnin. Not five minutes when we were all skittled. Tell thee I'd not heard crack, nor seen leetnin afore hit us. Mark Kay were assistant colliery checkweighman at Wombwell. Awake and wick first I went to gamekeeper's house for to see, fetch help, on return. found his soul had flit. Reet sorrowful for his wife. Distraught. No money comin. In God's hands her sorrow.
An angel once stood there, she was certain. They found its face buried in graveyard soil, body snapped off of its pedestal, one wing broken off. No record how despoiled. One stab into ground with a metal pole found her. Angels in the Bible are male. A child's face, a new wing, regains her role Head bowed, one hand clasps a wrist whose white pale palm holds a wreath. The only angel in the graveyard. Disinterred and repaired. Children enjoy the graveyard tales we tell. Local heroes and tragic figures shared. Community folk remember the lost. recover our history, gain and cost.
Bio: Kristin Garth is a Pushcart, Rhysling nominated sonneteer and a Best of the Net 2020 finalist. Her sonnets have stalked journals like Glass, Yes, Five:2:One, Luna Luna and more. She is the author of 21 books of poetry including Crow Carriage (Sweet Tooth Story Books) and The Stakes (Really Serious Literature) and the editor of seven anthologies. She is the founder of Pink Plastic House a tiny journal and co-founder of Performance Anxiety, an online poetry reading series. Follow her on Twitter: (@lolaandjolie) and her website
Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?
Kristin: Poetry was always something I was doing as long as I remember, elementary school, not sonnets, free verse. My very first poetry influence was a traveling storyteller who came to my elementary school named Rick Rogers. He wrote a book called Ballads and Tales of the Woods. It was songs and stories of the woods which he performed for us. I lived in a beach town of only 5,000 people. Rick Rogers came from a smaller and more rural environment than me. He taught me that an entertainer can have a voice bigger than their geography. He exemplified everything I hope to give out on my best day of telling stories and performing poetry.
I started writing sonnets in high school after being assigned to do so. My homelife was very rigid and prescribed in an unhealthy way, living with a very puritanical, abusive, religious family. I wrote about them and things that happened to me, but I didn’t really find my voice ironically until I submitted myself to another rigid structure which was the Shakespearean sonnet.
Once I learned that form, freeing myself from stylistic choices, I felt allowed to speak boldly. In fact, being direct was a necessity due to the brevity of the form. This was a godsend to a shy, repressed girl like me. It gave me permission to be utterly truthful and efficient in my language. One of the first books I wrote was Shakespeare for Sociopaths. It felt good to my own my influence with that title. The book is just what is says Shakespearean sonnets for sociopaths i’ve known and read about in the news – true crime. https://amzn.to/3gIESfQ
Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?
Kristin: Certainly Shakespeare remains an influence as long as I write. I’m influenced by so many writers. I just recently reread a book that I feel influenced my writing a lot when I was younger which is “Beasts” by Joyce Carol Oates. My favorite book as a child was “Wuthering Heights” and I was a huge fan of Nancy Drew books. I have all the Nancy Drew books. The first novel I wrote, which was published recently by Daily Drunk serially and is available in print on Amazon is called “The Avalon Hayes Mysteries”.
It takes the teen girl detective trope through directing it at the teenage girl’s own small town, very complicated life. It felt good to pay homage to something that gave me such pleasure but modernize it a bit.
Q3: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
Kristin: I’ve always been writing, but for most of my life I was afraid to share my work. I don’t remember not being a writer, but I definitely remember the fear of putting myself out there.
Still I could not resist taking creative writing in college, and in that milieu I shared my sonnets. Th e content of my sonnets at this time time was very sexually related. Being in college in the early 90’s in the Deep South, pre 50 Shades of Grey, this was a very controversial subject matter to some of my students in my class. Though I wrote very bold, I was very shy.
My professor, she championed me. When people made puritanical comments, she stood up for me. She believed in my combination of an ancient form with very modern content. She offered me a partial scholarship to graduate school. Though I didn’t complete graduate school due to my own need to get out for once and for all from an abusive home life, I held onto the fact that this woman had chosen my writing to nurture.
Some of the poems I wrote in my college creative writing classes were published in poetic kinky memoir “The Meadow” published by APEP publications.
Q4: Who has helped you most with writing?
Kristin: I’ve been lucky to have some great mentors in the writing world. Everyone needs different things from a mentor. I am very self-driven as far as my writing discipline. Writing is something I do every day.
Publishing my work, reading my work did not come naturally to me. I’ve come to be known for my online readings but I never read a poem of mine out loud successfully until I started publishing in my 40’s. The only time I even attempted to read was in my graduate program where we were required to do so – and I ran off stage crying.
The person who ultimately brought me back to writing and ultimately publishing was a poet named Jeff Robinson. He was part of my local poetry scene I was involved with during college – lived at a commune which held regular readings. I never was brave enough to read there but sat in the back and scribbled in a notebook. Jeff performed his poems and we became friends. He was one of the people I shared my work with privately at the time and he always encouraged me.
He moved away and we lost touch for a long time. During this time, I became a stripper then a court reporter and always wrote but grew more reclusive and more detached from the idea of ever publishing. Then he contacted me out of the blue to tell me he was dying. We spoke on social media and the language was sparse and filled with errors. He had a brain tumor and it was truly a great effort to communicate.
He spoke to me without the patience I was used to about my writing. He inquired if I was still doing it and if I was sharing it. When I told him I wasn’t, he demanded that I had to do it. We were close to the same age and his life was coming to an end, and he didn’t have to point out that this could be me. I made a commitment to work towards publication.
I only had one publication at this point in my life which was the result of another person’s interest in my writing. I had written a sonnet with a shared experience with him. He was a published writer of erotica so he knew of opportunities in this milieu. He sent my sonnet without telling me to a submission call for an anthology published by Laura Antoniou. I was actually living at home at the time and had to use an alias when this sonnet was published, the only poem accepted in the book. My name in the book was my scene name, what people in the community called me in lieu of my real name, Scarlet.
I didn’t know exactly how to publish and had no writing community so I found one online. I joined a site called Scribophile. I was working on a novel that would become “The Avalon Hayes Mysteries” and also a prose version of what would become “The Meadow.” But while I was there I wrote a short story that was solicited for publication by SCAB Magazine and I started publishing sonnets which became very popular on the site and I was encouraged to publish online. Once I started publishing with various literary magazines, I found poetry on Twitter which has become a home, at times a dysfunctional family but one I cherish so much. It has changed my life.
Q5: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing & did any travels away from home influence your work?
Kristin: Place affects me immensely, I was just talking recently with my poet friend Justin Karcher, who is from Buffalo about this very thing – how we consider ourselves regional poets. This is not to say that our work isn’t meant for those who are not from where we are from- but just that we are tied to where we are from. You feel it in our writing.
I am a product of the Deep South. My family goes back three generations here. Pensacola is something I inherently understand and grapple with in my own way in my writing. It’s behind the times in ways that I have affected me growing up as an abused child, working as a stripper – I felt vulnerable to its deeply ingrained misogyny and patriarchal attitudes.
I had to deal with a lot of shame living here, and partly to deal with that I became very reclusive. But I wouldn’t leave because I am very connected to the longleaf trees and the bays and the Gulf and the beautiful white sand. I live in the woods, and the natural world inspires so much of my writing. Living here feels like a privilege to me. The water and the woods have worked there way into my creative works many times in books like “Were Mer, Girlarium and Flutter: Southern Gothic Fever Dream”
Q6: What do you consider your most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far to you?
Kristin: This question makes me feel guilty like i’d imagine being asked to choose a favorite child. All my books obviously are incredibly meaningful to me (and I hope to some other people) because they monopolized my brain for a time in the way only a book or lover can. I would of course then say that your first book plays a special role in you life.
For me, this was Pink Plastic House. It was by far the hardest book for me to get published because I didn’t know how to do that. The whole process seemed mystical. When I tried to demystify the process, I ran into obstacles that broke my heart. I feel like publishing that book was a deflowering – to borrow a patriarchal idea. By the time it reached Maverick Duck which treated it and me with the utmost care, all my naive delusions about the poetry world had been taken from me.
I try to always be there for people who have questions, people new in the community because I didn’t have that.
Q7: Favorite activities to relax?
Kristin: I love reading and watching movies. Both of these activities also inspire my writing. Living in the woods, I love to go walking and be alone with my thoughts. I write a lot of poems on my Iphone while i’m walking, too. I also love collecting socks and wearing them which has translated to a lot of poetry too. I have published a digital book of sock poems and photography and I’m working on a print deluxe edition of that now. I’m a Capricorn so I manage to turn a lot of things into work that start out as comfort or relaxation.
Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others?
Kristin: This line I like a lot of mine from my new book “The Death of Alice in Wonderland” and the poem “The Dandelion and the Damned”
"The slenderest petals shriveled entomb, the delicate skull that fascinates soon." This book I wrote about aging and my womanchildishness and how the former affects the latter. I expressed a lot of fears in this book as well as a lot of experiences in a fairytale languagethat I found so pleasurable to live inside for a time.
Q9: Any recent or forthcoming projects you’d like to promote?
Kristin: I have two books forthcoming in the next year. The first is coming this fall from Sweet Tooth Story Books. It’s a horror novel called “Crow Carriage.” This book tells the story of a nobleman/amateur doctor who performs experiments on girls from the neighboring village. Next year, I have a poetry collection on the subject of fire as a tool of misogyny used against women historically and in modern times. This book will be published by Really Serious Literature in 2022.
Other books & link from Kristin:
The Marine Sonnets by Paul Brookes
1. The Seawatch I watch the sea as the sea watches me. The changing colour of my surfaces, Waves blown by gust, what my tides, what my sea leaves on the shoreline of my many faces. The lagan and flotsam and derelict and jetsam. Two buoys of my eyes bobbing anchored in a silt of images mixed. Always memories waxing and waning. My inside sea watched by the sea outside. Speaks to sea beasts moving in my blood. I rise to where the waves move to imbibe breath before I dive below livelihood. The sea is me, I am the sea, watching. I am a dying sea, a dried up thing. 2. The Rockpool Before the tide turns I wend my own way. Starfish tube-feet caress my mussel beds Beadlet, snakelocks anemones snare prey, sting it with their tentacles, and shore crabs scrupulously pick over carcasses. From under my fringing seaweed shannies and prawns dart to shelter in crevices, overhangs, safe and secure nooks and crannies. One minute I am scorched by sharp sunlight, next I'm cold enough to ripple shivers. Soon it'll wash over and we unite. Soon I'll have new creatures to discover. In the wane I'll have my own way, again. Every to and fro never the same. 3. Herring Gull The Sideways walker in my beak I drop from Up to crack it open. My flockmates and me enjoy the meat. I ask you to stop, know me by my actions,my voice, translate my language to yours, must note position of my head, wings and tail, to my perch. They're stronger, bigger, spread wings expression saying this is mine, I won't share, go search for your own. Wet Leaf fall we feed on soft squirm appear out of soil, we trample - ground to make them rise. Her submissive begs stop me attacking, upright I mew a sound. Synchronise head tossings, I sick up rest undigested meal for her. We choose nest. 4. A Strandline I welcome the abandoned, discarded and lost. My creatures scavenge arrivals. Sandhoppers hide in day under stranded debris, emerge to feed when darkness calls. Find in me ambergris from a sperm whales intestines, sea beans, coconuts and sea hearts, plastic packaging and nurdles, egg capsules of sharks, skates and rays, spongy pale whelk egg cases, cuttlebones, moulted crab shells. I am never the same. Four tides change my shape, what I am, how I'm molded. I can't hold on to you, others decide. I'm not permanent, secure or stable. Have to let you go. Inevitable 5. The Sand Dune A youngster, I am blown about scatter. Roots arrive, dig into me, I grow here, hid behind something from elsewhere, what matters. Marram grass. Youngsters make a seaward bid, sheltering me. I am background. My lime rich shell sand, home to burrowing bees, quick digger Wasps, sand swimming sand snakes. In time I grow older, taller, more chaotic. Soon I may have a lake and marsh grass, Later Sea buckthorn, birch. I am woodland. My oaks rise, sunlight blooms through leaves, wings pass in between branches. My youth blown sand. I was near a sea but now I'm forest. I hear my trees converse. Life never rests. 6. The Sturgeon Bottom feeder. I live in two waters. Sense their electric impulses vibrate, suck into my mouth all their shells and claws. Soon move from Deep to brackish water. Wait until I am used to warmer Narrow, release my sticky eggs. My babies swim seaward. Get used to brackish in Shallow before move into Deep, not over rim. Above dredge our living, scarifying life, haul us up into light and dryness. Harvest our babies before their birthing. Hunted my ancestors rich meatiness. Deep returned I may leap, keep the reason a mystery, splash my flat sides, frisson. 7. Therapy Listen, soft crash of my waves alter your brain patterns, feel my sand exfoliate, your skin as my unevenness makes floor walk harder, works your calves and thighs. A state of meditation lulls, slows your heart beat, deepens your breath. My blue sky and sun shoot up your bodies feel good drugs, my heat and negative ions ensure reboot. I massage the vagus nerve in your neck, enough for all this to happen. Watch fish in rockpools provide aquariums check your stress, rejuvenate a hug and kiss. I'm health resort, recommunion, refresher, renewer, good reunion. 8. Beachcomber Gale force Eight or more with an Easterly throws things on my shores, material drifts on my strongest waves and currents, firmly North to South. Comb me as my gales desist start to subside or veer West. See patches of weed and black coal amongst my rocks. Delve into huge feet thick seaweed masses Find rare ,warm Baltic amber in same spots as coal and Whitby jet. Prove real amber sandpaper it and smell Pine tree resin. My fossils, bullet shaped Belemnites are with curled Ammonites released from within. Don't get caught by my rising tide, falling cliffs. Every find, a story calling 9. The Barnacle Before I make my shell, I float in search for a permanent place to live. My home is beside others, where waves swell and lurch I stick my head beside them. Make my dome, secrete six plates outside myself. Include four as one to open and close with ebb. Aswim, I went through many changes, food swam ahead of me, I chased, as it fled. I stand on my head and eat with my feet. My glue will outlast me. Incoming tide makes me open to sift food brush and sweep it into my shell to my head, inside. I grow, enlarge my home, with neighbour I make babies, who one eyed leave my door. 10. Rocky Shores My high tide mark periwinkles, limpets, breaking wave spray moistens, incoming tides and storms envelop them. Exposed in its drying heat and extreme cold lichen thrives. My seabed's shoreward fringe between upper and lower, dried twice a day, barnacles , algae, mussels, sea palms. Sea cucumber catches passing prey in its tentacles. My scoured fissures, fractures and joints, abrased and weathered rock refreshed every time with new water, my pools isolated when it withdraws, small worlds redefined. Every tide renews, sculpts, refugees new blood, reinvigorates, new life, new food. 11. Doggerlands Below the waters of the German Sea rests imagination bound with histories. Massive creatures roamed valleys and forests, folk hunted them down for wondrous stories. In firelight told how they killed great toothed beasts whilst feasting on the monster's meat and bones, Then the landslide., waters rose and all ceased. Their remains tell tales to fish, crabs and stones. Above they farm the gust that turns the blades. Ferries wend their way to the other shore. The sea now beast that harbours other trades. A sunken land to be discovered once more. A sea becomes land, as land becomes sea Geography of our narratives legacy. 12. Pelagic We are not dry land, we are open sea. Marine snow, always falling detritus, feed zooplankton, organisms in deep sea, where sunlight cannot reach you will find us. We are more different deeper you go. Muscular bodies become flabby, strong ossified bones become weak, eyes so large, sensitive, small, heart too, pressured throng. Lantern fish, a sound scattering layer, deeper when the moon is out, if a cloud passes over moon, it becomes shallower. Night ascent, day return to cold, dark crowd. Depth changes the way we live, how we are. Shallower, more predators, under stars 13. Marine Plants (List Poem) Eel Grass, Sea Grass or Grass Wrack, Dwarf Eel Grass or Sea Grass, Marram Grass, Sand Sedge, Hound's Tongue Sea Couch, Sea Rocket , Common Scurvygrass, Sea Kale, Yellow Horned Poppy, Adder's Tongue. Sea Holly, Sea Spurge, Sea Stock, Sea Spleenwort, Autumn Lady's Tresses, Rock Sea Spurrey, Ray's Knotgrass, Sea Milkwort, Long-spiked Glasswort, Sea Beet, Sea Stork's-bill, Lesser Sea Spurrey. English Scurvygrass, Shore Dock, Autumn Squill, Common Glasswort, Sea Arrow-grass, Rock Samphire, Cord-grass, Sand or Warren Crocus, Spring Squill, Sea Pink, Sea Daffodil, Golden Samphire. Saltwort, Buck's-horn Plantain, Sea Plantain, Sea Campion, Sea Aster, Sea Purslane. 14. A Breakwater I watch the giving and taking away. Waves give gift of shells, drag away castles. Waders long beaks punctuate my seaspray. Old wood headland divides and crackles. I have two sides, updrift and downdrift. Trap sediments, prevent longshore drift, make beach. I'm a hand held under a running tap. I cut gust into two. Firm in waves reach. Soon I'm to be replaced, "i'm in decay. My timber is rotting, brackets rusting. I have done my job, as well as I may. I'll be broken up, lobbed in a waste bin. Creatures on me always losing their homes. Tide is ever changing, it's in my bones. 15. Sanderling Shanty Stab the sand, my little ones, while it's out. In it comes, retreat, retreat, my fellows. We flew from cold, my little ones, watch out. In it comes, retreat, retreat, my fellows. Yank the worm, my little ones, while it's out. In it comes, retreat, retreat, my fellows. Stab shells, my little ones, don't get caught out. In it comes, retreat, retreat, my fellows. Scurry, scamper, my little ones, surf's out. In it comes, retreat, retreat, my fellows. Stab jelly, my little ones, ebb's out. In it comes, retreat, retreat, my fellows. In it comes, retreat, retreat, my fellows. In it comes, retreat, retreat, my fellows. www.thewombwellrainbow.com The Insect Sonnets by Paul Brookes The Unresolveables (An Heroic Crown Sonnet Sequence) by Paul Brookes at (sonnets 1-15) 3 Poems by Paul Brookes in Fevers of the Mind: Her Fiftieth, Her Fur Elise, A Black Bead
Enter the ocean in only a crown -fronds over freckles, forgetting round. Cast yourself in as its slickness, salt surrounds, seeps deep in your skin - soul exalting as submergence sets in. What drowns upon sand will in seawater rise. Wet Eucharist you swallow, surprised, resurrection and vivisection of brain. The loneliest body, amputated its pain, descends past depths humans explain, in children's stories of sunken ships, mermaids, women seal-skinned. To mundanity, born; in mystery, end. Wet lips find gilled girls, some with a tail; you have to go deep in your fairytale. Sonnet notes from Kristin: I just wrote this final Girlarium sonnet in which my main character the Gilda, the gilled girl, makes her way from the oppressive male characters who have defined her to the ocean. She feared the ocean too because it represented the unknown which is often scarier than what we do know. But now that the patriarchy has pushed her so far she knows the safest place for her is to be free. She's always had a mermaid inferiority-complex - there is a sonnet about that I published earlier and felt like she is like them but doesn't have a tale and the fairytale romantic hype. It's only when she gets into the ocean though and eventually finds gilled girls and even mermaids and finally be romantic in the way she desires that she realizes fairytales are real. For her to find this one, she had to go deep. Bio from 2020: Kristin Garth is a Pushcart, Best of the Net & Rhysling nominated sonnet stalker. Her sonnets have stalked journals like Glass, Yes, Five:2:One, Luna Luna and more. She is the author of seventeen books of poetry including Pink Plastic House (Maverick Duck Press), Crow Carriage (The Hedgehog Poetry Press), Flutter: Southern Gothic Fever Dream (TwistiT Press), The Meadow (APEP Publications) and Golden Ticket from the Roaring Junior Press. She is the founder of Pink Plastic House a tiny journal and co-founder of Performance Anxiety, an online poetry reading series. Follow her on Twitter: (@lolaandjolie) and her website kristingarth.com