The Poetry Kit MAGAZINE




Approaching Rembrandt by Martyn Halsall

The Doctor Who Spoke to Bones by Lizzy Hudson

A curtain-raiser by SK Iyer

Equestrian by Mick Moss

The Banquet by Thomas Orszag-Land

A New Cartography by Mandy Pannett

Six a.m. by Sally Plumb

Opium by Sam Silva

The Bucket by Mark Stopforth

Spider by David Supper







Theses poems published as emag 10x10 - Edition 1 - February 2011 



Approaching Rembrandt

by Martyn Halsall


Ochre heat, melt of rain; Dutch light

harried through clouds at different speeds, the sea

rumoured among them, never far from reflecting

dredged shadows along canals, a drain of blues,

left-over mudflats, sheen of creeks and eels.

Indoors a painter rephrases Caravaggio.


Outdoors becomes interiors, frames

a family starched to Calvinism among courtyard roses,

their silence a prelude to letters from the New World.

A woman peels apples with utmost concentration,

as if to break the spiral would disrupt horizons.

Behind glass, landscapes, maps confront indoors.


Still lives: lemon rind, oysters,

water encrusted with jewels in a breakfast glass shattered

to the jagged. Hazel nut and a twist of newsprint

show danger and absence among iris and porcelain.

A night watch of birds, dragooned to a flagged pond,

leaves two feathers, and a pelican flared by lightning.


Quickly it could become October, the same

turning into twilit landscapes of greyed varnish, where

Rembrandt is weighing shadows, re-casting his portrait

as the Apostle Paul, borrowing Italian chiaroscuro.

The landscape along his forehead is engraved with doubts

an apostle would dismiss, but an artist harvest.


Perhaps Thursday, quizzical; you hear leaves

gathered by a Delft wind, inside the studio you sense

raindrops from the mirror he is using, a deliberate

turning away as he re-defines biography.

His hat's a swirl of meringue with a lemon pause.

His eyeline follows the evening, into the next world.




The Doctor Who Spoke to Bones

by Lizzy Hudson

I once knew a man
Who knew a hundred ways to read people.
He could read the lines and lumps on their palms, deciphering
The way those thin threads
Braided themselves into ropes
And curved around those little hills of flesh.
He could read the creases round your eyes
And spot a fake smile at fifty paces.
He could read thumbs
And feet
And the forgotten, faded scents that linger in your skin
And the tension and twitches of your muscles.

Now, this man was a doctor
And an excellent one at that.
Economy of motion and warm hands, he said,
Were the only two essentials for his trade.
His "trick", as he called it
Was mostly just for fun.

Passing his knotted old hands over the skin,
He'd talk to the bones in a gutteral voice;
A low-pitched murmur
In a language I didn't know.
It sounded a little like Latin,
Melted down and moulded into something new.
The words seemed languid,
As if they'd sailed in from tropical climes;
Been forged in heat and humidity
And tempered by trade winds,
Bearing the sweet reek of spices.

In time, his voice would slow and stop
And he'd listen. For bones, he said
Could tell you all sorts of secrets about their owners.
I imagined them, comfortable in their fleshy suits.
Glimmering, white and clean as a baby's newly-cut tooth.
I even thought I heard them
Speaking in a dry and cackling voice.
The exuberance of a strong old-age
Was theirs. They were ancient
And solid as the Earth.

And I did rather wish
That I could have talked back.



A curtain-raiser

by SK Iyer

When the sun is about to set,
she brooms -  cleaning the dusty
residues of the day;  the breath
of a violin stumbles and crawls,
sketching a tune of so subtle
a taste,  swerves into my left
or right ear; may be branched out
of the music hall or a TV -
a suffered observation,
as my eyes fish through the window,
thoughts climb oranges of horizon,
and noise of mixer, grinder
makes the atmosphere roar.
I switch on the fluorescent light
which starts buzzing, as her devout
vocal music adds extra sound
accompanied by clattering,
tinkling and dripping from kitchen  -
a timed musical opera.





by Mick Moss


Horses are
long faced creatures
but that doesn't mean
they're unhappy
in fact
if a smile is
a show of teeth
horses win
hands down





by Thomas Ország-Land


Never dared he risk an error,

Casanova with a ring,

handsome, tame suburban terror,

Casanova on a string,

          Casanova, the best:

          a lovely beast, a beast to feast

          from pillow to post,

          a beast to boast.



Strictly keeping love on ration,

flagging unions he would fling

into quivering pain and passion,

Casanova on a string,

           Casanova, the best:

           from pillow to post,

           a lovely beast, a beast to feast,

           a beast to boast.



He was feared and much desired

through his life's eternal spring

till the repetition tired

Casanova on a string,

          Casanova, the best:

          a beast to boast,

          a lovely beast, a beast to feast

          from pillow to post.



But he has been tied where it matters the most

to Casanova, and the sting

still urges him on from pillow to post

each time his wife gives a pull on the string --

          O Casanova, the best:

           a beast to boast

           from pillow to post,

           a lovely beast served up for a feast.





by Mandy Pannett


It is dark by the river, by this bridge’s

underbelly: struts intertwine, cross-hatch.

He feels insignificant; small: an ant

within a clod of grass.


The bridge is singing a cappella –

voices of women shift in its iron:

a Celtic lament of the lowlands,

drowning, an elegy, death.


He wears a bracelet-like device, for this

is a sentient city. A new cartography

measures his skin, the contours and spikes

of his nerves.


He wonders why the chart of him

should always be so flat: no troughs, no peaks, no

lines of joy – once he stopped to hear a song:

a blackbird in a tree. The graph recorded

gentle frills at this.


Let them keep it all, he thinks, their precious

watchtowers on a wrist. Let them analyse

the heart of man.


The bridge still croons its ballads out, its chords

of broken love. He thinks about the note

he’s left and hopes it hurts her, hopes

she drowns in guilt.


‘Now it’s bound to peak,’ he says.

A pigeon watches at the water’s edge.







Six a.m.

by Sally Plumb


There are times

When waking

She thinks

Death has brushed

Her by

In the night

Teasing with cold,

Colourless wings

A quaking heart

Still blood beating.


Through its thickening

Veins, the fatigue

Of lifes history advances.

Lazy, as sleep drifting,

Old age creeps

Each morning

Without warning

Of its impediment.


She drinks vermouth.






by Sam Silva


That codeine cough syrup
makes your heart grow so big
and dreamy
like you were a happy child
but grown
beyond things known and terrible
and you see the grandchild
and your remember the love in your heart
better than candy at the movies
and you rock and in your chair and doze
and those
latter seasons pass heats, it rains, it snows,
it lives
outside and in
like the lovely leaves of grass
and the golden Jesus
who forgives your sins.


The bucket

by Mark Stopforth


In an attempt to prove that God didn’t exist,

I filled a bucket with water,

and like a windmill’s clock,

spun a fly wheel around my body’s axle.

The blood fizzed in the bell of my eyes,

ear drums warped to a beat,

or the shock of a clot,

fit to burst my melon tender head,

and I spun that bucket like a fairground ride

in the hands of the damned and the fallen.


My question answered, I wound down time,

counting the seconds in: this gravity

that pushed an ocean up against its wall,

and boiled the plastic astronaut in his metal box,

had slowed my heart to an almost stop.

The bucket rested in my blistered hand,

the water sparkled in its sun soaked sky,

not one drop spilt.

Disappointed, I sat down on the grass,

out of breath and dizzy as a saint.





by David Supper


The bushes are hung with glittering threads,

drag lines flow freely in the morning light

catching at my face as I crunch the gravel path,

they cling and stretch, defying strength with strength.


I count the webs… nine, ten, eleven, inhabited

by large brown spiders, skull-like shapes

tattooed onto their fat, fecund abdomens:

each perfectly still, poised to pounce.


I watch as one moves swiftly over the lace

to ravel a victim tighter, ever tighter;

satisfied, the predator elbows its way

into the shadows, under a pink hydrangea.


The hapless insect bobbles like a kite in the wind,

a leg protrudes from the cocoon, the spider waits.








Lizzy Hudson - writing poetry since I was in my teens, I have never studied how to write it. I learnt to write poetry by doing it all the time, badgering my roommates for feedback, and gradually improving. I was in the University of Reading Writer's Society while studying for my degree and this provided me with a great deal of help and encouragement for developing my writing.


N. Monks - lives in preston lancashire. educated at hull university in philosophy. have spent 6 years travelling and working abroad. enjoy ornithology and strenuous walking eg in Norway.
Have had 30 poems in small press magazines and publication of slim volume "by the canal" is underway - hope i will always be a beginner at poetry

Mick Moss - a 57 year old partially insane idiot who spends a lot of his time.  He has been published globally in print and on-line.

Thomas Orszag-Land - poet and award-winning foreign correspondent. My poetry has been published by you and The Spectator, my reviews and polemics by you and The Times Literary Supplement.


Sally Plumb - aged 70.  Two children and two grand kids.  Born in Haverhill Suffolk. Lived here all my life.


Sam Silva - He has published at least 150 poems in print magazines, including Sow's Ear, The ECU Rebel, Pembroke magazine, Samisdat, St. Andrew's Review, Charlotte Poetry Review,
Main Street Rag, and many more. Has published at least 300 poems in online journals.  Three legitimate small presses have published chapbooks of his, three of those presses
have nominated work of his for Pushcart a total of 7 times. He now has many books and chapbooks available at and as kindle books at
And his spoken word poetry is available at the major digital markets such as Apple i tunes.


David Supper - born in Surrey and apart from brief sojourns abroad, he lived and worked in Reading until 2007 when he moved to Nottingham. David taught art in a large comprehensive school in Berkshire and started writing poetry in 1999. He directs plays and designs sets in his local theatre and still when he finds the time. David founded Serpent's Tooth, a poetry writers group, in West Bridgford, where he now lives