CREATIVE


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Fenced in

5 Comments
15 February 2016 | Cheryl Howard

HorseThe lonely horse stands, welcomes the approach with a nod, which doesn't dislodge the flies from his face. The proffered dry grass becomes a gentle brush, freeing him from tormentors ... Simple and pure kindness can be like rain in a land parched of understanding.


Fleeing Syria's pious knights

2 Comments
08 February 2016 | Geoff Page

Refugees welcomed at Munich StationThere were some cheers in Munich station but not all Eden proves to be so free with food and toys. There's something deeper in the blood. They have that sense of deja vu: horsemen, pikes and princes ... The pious knights of 1640, those fine sectarians, who charged for thirty years across the northern sweeps of Europe, are born again in Syria with new nomenclatures; so once again the hapless foresee it's time to move.


My Baghdad dreams

1 Comment
01 February 2016 | John Falzon

BaghdadI bite on life. The bitterness will daunt but not defeat me. And I hear you. I can never give you voice. My dreams take speed. My Baghdad dreams take speed. My rest my head against the pillow of the west ... Exclamation bombs my Baghdad ... You don't have long to live sweet parliament.


The last year

2 Comments
18 January 2016 | Diane Fahey

Half-filled crosswordThey'd stopped by then, your half-filled crosswords with their fey surmises — inspired leaps from the backs of routine clues ... I glimpsed alcoves of dusty treasure: kris — 'Malayan dagger'; obi — 'a Japanese sash'; écus — 'old French coins'. You summoned bird names from the air: rhea, erne; had the secrets of ponds and streams at your fingertips: eft, orfe, elver ... 'open', 'small seeds'; six letters. You would have got that.


The flight into Egypt

1 Comment
14 December 2015 | Grant Fraser, Anne Ramsay and Rory Harris

Painting of Jesus and family crossing desertBehind them that beast of prey, that Herod, was still glaring doom from his trees of thorn, eyes bulging like a fox. And so, by night, Joseph squired their secret way, prayed the morning kind, prayed empty the brigand-haunted roads. Each day they made another cold remove, with the infant swaddled close, and their way marked by quiet nurseries of straw. Joseph kept close his thoughts, measured each horizon, always with the rumour of dark hoofbeats thrumming in his mind.


What will children dream if not of bears?

2 Comments
08 December 2015 | Brian Doyle

Boy with imaginary bear, artwork by Chris JohnstonIf a three-year-old likes bears, you are into bears for the foreseeable future. Bears have been around since before there were pencils, my young friend said, which is inarguably true, and not something I had ever considered before. When we talk about what is lost in a world in which wilderness is lost, we never talk about the loss of the life we imagine. When there are no bears in the world, then no children will dream of bears, and draw bears, and sleep with bears, and that will be a terrible shame.


The long haul

3 Comments
07 December 2015 | Lisa Brockwell

Mark RuffaloThere is another life where we end up together. We wake in the same bed, startled but not sorry; the timber frame is warm, hand-caulked with the day-to-day dedication of the long haul. The air between us no longer electric, all now sanded smooth. But whose dog jumps on the end of that bed: yours or mine? I don't plan to think about my husband or your wife; let's leave my son right out of it. Fantasy, no more dangerous than eating gelato and dreaming of Mark Ruffalo.


Hipster heroes of gentrification

1 Comment
01 December 2015 | Charlotte Howell

Cereal Killer Cafe front windowI was born into a working class family in Leyton, East London. But in the late 1980s, gentrification in the area forced us to relocate to the poor working class town of Harlow, Essex. In a twist of fate, these days I can't even afford to live there. This time it is not due to gentrification brought about by 'hipster' entrepreneurs, but because powerful construction companies have replaced the historical architecture with new developments and housing estates. I know who I'd rather pick a fight against.


Not racist but

5 Comments
30 November 2015 | Barry Gittins

Racism written in splashed red paintI'm not homophobic, but if you question my relished prejudice, satirise my hissy fits, you're not playing fair. I'm not racist, but don't you call out my revulsion, or reveal cultural discrimination (not here over there). I'm not sexist but your flaunting of sexual freedom, power, makes me long for lost hour ... If you peer quite closely you will notice I am mostly not a loving breathing person (that's rare).


Working mum contemplates balance amid chaos

1 Comment
26 November 2015 | Jen Vuk

Balanced ballsThe tweet I sent that afternoon pretty much summed things up: 'Running late for work-life balance seminar. Why? Life, of course.' The irony was not lost on me. While officially I work part-time, I also freelance as a writer, volunteer regularly at my kids' primary school, have increasingly frail elderly parents who I feel terribly responsible for, and try to keep fit and maintain some semblance of a social life. On the day of the seminar on work-life balance, I'd managed to fill my schedule to breaking point.


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