from BARDO

The stars are in our belly; the Milky Way our umbilicus.

Is it a consolation that the stuff of which we’re made

is star-stuff too?

– That wherever you go you can never fully disappear –

dispersal only: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen.

Tree, rain, coal, glow-worm, horse, gnat, rock.

Roselle Angwin

Monday, 18 January 2021

Proems by Valerie Bence & Sheena Odle


Thank you, Valerie and Sheena, for your two 100-word prose poems; different in tone but similar in some aspects (including pre-dusk-ness).

January 7th

I think I broke the law today. I sat on the bench halfway up the hill. Luckily I didn’t have a flask or that would be classed as having a picnic…no-one was with me, no-one was nearby, I touched nothing as I sat down and stood up.  My mask is in my pocket and my hands are sanitized.  It was twilight, birds were singing themselves to roost.  I could just hear the M1 - a silent neighbour the first time - so people are moving, not here though. Just for devilment I sat on the bench on the way down as well. 

Valerie Bence


Late afternoon, and as the sun slips down a scumbled sky the colour of luminous oatmeal the bare branches of the apple tree are gradually leafing with small birds. Sparrows and assorted tits are queuing for a last stock-up at the feeder to sustain them through a long, cold night. They are joined by a male blackbird, feathers fluffed and plump in profile, his orange bill a bright focal point in this sepia landscape. Beyond the apple is another tree, an oak, and the stark tracery of the one against the other – the warp and weft of it – is heartstopping.

Sheena Odle

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