Issue 19 December 2018

Editor's Comments

Welcome to Issue 19 of Allegro Poetry Magazine. Choosing the poems for this issue was challenging as usual. I hope you enjoy the result.

Sally Long


Forecast for the End

            a golden shovel including a Dickinson last line (#541)

you predicted, the
clouds obscured the stars,
no need to blind me. You
shrouded my eyes, said you knew
this would be the last
we’d ever spend a night

together. Now, we’re foreigners
once again, orbiting this
frail world, too dark for morning.

Scott Wiggerman

My Problem with Problems of Time & Space

and trains.  Whenever I hear train’s whistle
I think of people leaving, always leaving,

never arriving.  This melancholy bent of mind
can be traced directly back to high school algebra

where we studied problems of time and space: 
“Two trains leave from depots 105 miles apart. 

One train travels at a rate of 34 mph, the other
at 61 mph.  At what point will they meet?” 

For all I ever understood of algebra, the question
might have been: “What are the engineers’ names?” 

So, I would drift off into a different time and space:
But what if these two trains were traveling on the same

track headed straight toward each on a collision course
and what if the signalman forgot to flip the switch over

and what if . . .  This was when the teacher noting
how wide-eyed I’d become would call on me.

Sarah Brown Weitzman


The optics work
their Galilean trick:

refract you into
nearness so convincing

you might be but a
table's width away.

I could wave my arms,
jump up and down, call out

but I am too small
to attract your naked eye

and the mile between us
swallows all my words.

Wondering if perhaps
a beacon might yet be the answer,

I'm trying to think of where
a can of petrol might be got

when you signal to me,
pointing at your watch.

'Best get back.
Lunch again tomorrow?'

I nod. We neck
our drinks and leave the pub.

Ken Cumberlidge

Day Moon

Ghost come too early, 
surprised to find sunbathing children, 
ice cream vans, water fights in the yard.  
Maybe you caught the day’s warmth from us.  
Enough for you to shine in a dark sky. 
Your face would spoil a seaside view,
spectral above the delirious summer fooling.

A few notice, see you slide icily to the highest 
point.  Where the sun had been.
It matters little- sun and moon 
in the one bright sky Bank Holiday afternoon.

But I saw one shiver in your faint rays,
knowing you come like an outrider,
waiting for death to catch up.

Stephen Devereux

Noon latitude

In a different time-zone
I stood holding steaming coffee
watching bright morning sunshine,
moulded into the elongated shape of a window,
advancing over pale carpet
until the tip was dog-eared against the
sheer, grubby white face of a cardboard box

A stack, like the corner ruin of a building,
that had formed itself spontaneously under the
hollow mouth of the attic looming ten feet overhead;
the shaft of an upended tomb with its treasures shaken out

The ranks of slide photographs,
selected memories held in miniature,
neatly portioned into rectangles of stained glass
awaiting reactivation under bright light,
giving testimony to a time when the
reach of your spread arms extended
across date lines, touching far shores

Before the sun toppled from its zenith
and the shrinking shadows fixed you
to a single diminishing location

A house and a garden

A set of rooms on the ground floor

A single room with blinded windows,
screening-off the inquisitive outside world
and the schoolboys who dashed across your front lawn,
while you stabbed the chocolate-covered buttons
on your TV remote to change the view

A bed superimposed over the circular indentations,
bored into the carpet by the columns of the dining room table

A hunched urn at the foot of a concrete shaft,
like the base of a totem pole, with room 
for two more above it in the stack

Against a backdrop of small conifers
that have since grown to obscure the high fence
and the industrial estate that lies beyond
blocking the sun, preserving the pooled shadows
that hold you there.

Mark Sadler

The Kitchen of Disquiet

It begins with the leftovers after you've served the guests,
then it's the corn on the cob with a bite taken out of it,
the half chewed chips, the regurgitated puree,
the day's previous meal still garnished
with dried cucumber that has folded in on itself like an autumn leaf.

It's followed by a mandatory donation,
then a weekly deduction from the wage
in case I think otherwise. Then the payslips go missing,
payday gets moved back three months,

when you call your boss, he's out of the office
at the moment. We are sure he will creep up on us,
so we work through our lunch breaks
without a shred of small talk.

We point at utensils, food items, navigate the kitchen
without a sound so that the boss in his office next door
does not hear us. When the last guest has left
and the tips have been collected on our behalf,
when we have cleared the tables, the floors, the sides

the ceilings and scrubbed the dust from the
strip lights we wait in larder for the boss to leave:
the slam of his office door,
the tap of his boots as he parades
down the corridor and we sneak out the back way.

Reiss McGuinness


In memory of Maryam Mirzakhani*

There’s a way out of this landscape.
It may take lifetimes. Beyond death’s
singularity, others will find a path – slow
and persistent as a tortoise, or agile
as an ape that leaps past low-
hanging fruit on hollow banyan
trees. Here flowers have flat
petals but the ground swoops unexpect-
edly, dips and tilts and roller-
coasters round into itself; dragonflies
grow double wings and on
the high plateau, balls glide
across the baize, reflecting off,
or through, mirrors that line
its bounds. Arrowed streams
are split by sudden strike-
slip shifts, while filaments
like wisps of spider’s thread are
edges from another space,
or doodles in our own.
Is this a torus after all,
on which to vanish and return?

Marian Christie

*Maryam Mirzakhani (1977 – 2017) was the first woman to be awarded the Fields Medal, one of mathematics’ highest honours, for ‘outstanding contributions to the dynamics and geometry of Riemann surfaces and their moduli spaces’.

Five ways to slice a double cone

      I.     Hands touch -
a point is where and when it all begins.
Sperm nudges      
ovum, blades of sycamore spiral      
on to loam,      
a universe expands into      
existence. Here,      
in our garden, rain begins to fall.

    II.      A drop    
shivers the mirrored surface of the pond,       
sends ripples, rings.    
The lines of symmetry are infinite      
within the iris      
of each eye. Your pupils dilate,      
reflect the moon    
haloed with crystals, an inverse eye.

  III.       We’ve learnt    
our dance: binary stars around our bary-      
sometimes near each other, sometimes far.      
Dancing, the moon    
thins and plumps. Milk has been splashed      
across the sky -    
our sun, a pursuant cat, licks the drops.

 IV.        From earth    
we are bound to earth, a symmetry       
of rise and fall,    
we dive from rocks into the sea’s      
embrace. A fox    
leaps, pounces on a cowered      
hare; a bowl    
sings to its focus, a mirror burns.

   V.       I mould    
my body to your shape, the sleeping, convex      
curve of you,    
while cosmic debris lured by the sun      
on its path from nowhere to nowhere, and space-      
time, warped    
by some unseen presence, dips and swoops.

Marian Christie


          A point    
          is where we are and when we are. Our past
          joins our future
          in our present. Two cones meet,
          apex to apex;
          beyond their bounds are stars
          we cannot see,
          horizons we will never cross,
          time’s regions
          that are always out of reach. Our hands
          clasp, then let go.
          What need is there to touch?

Marian Christie

High Fever

Night has draped the window
and the house is quiet.

Lying in bed, shivering,
I see only flat orange sand

stretching forever,

Mantz Yorke

Lombard Street, San Francisco

Long claws scrape
down fog-slick stones,
not a question,
but an act.

Masked eyes shine
with street lamp gold
as small gray paws
corner baguette crusts
in pots of scarlet bougainvillea,
urban quarry set out
by these housed ones
who tithe in bread to hear
these sure ones
pass by at midnight,

M.S. Rooney

The Poem of Michelson Theory

When I think of home,
A finite place amongst the myriad suns
A speck among the planets
A particle on the continent
A dwelling in a city, in a country, on a street,
A room.

A room
Universes running
Colliding in that enclosed space
A home.

Marc Janssen

Space Lion

And what is it about the egg?
The earth is falling away, rolling across the counter
White and clumsy in its awkward lunar dance.

Anything can break it; can give it a fatal crack,
The smallest touch boils the oceans to steam,
The faintest cough murders thousands.

And up ahead,
The naked eye can see trillions of lightyears into the past,
So far back into it you can almost forgive.

I wish I could hear the loudest whispering of your dreams from up here
The forbidden knowledge of your life
Shelled into a clumsy tongue I could never understand.

I’ll call you from Regulus.
Standing for a thousand years in an old time phone booth
Listening for the clacking buzz of your long-distance operator.

Marc Janssen

no bird flying

a roar
the recalled stink
of kerosene
shove in the back
a heaviness of head
rumble jolt and tilt
the momentary queasiness
as we unstick
from brother earth
into vacant space
where no joy is
  no mystery
    no love
while over the hill
we left behind
the high hawk
  and circles

Nick Carding


you used to look at me
through the glass

now all you see

because i've outgrown
the window

Aaliyah Cassim

deserted bay –
the emptiness of a sea shell
filling my soul

Lavana Kray


Just to keep the peace,
George is annoying and
says hurtful things by accident.
George is Oneonta, NY,
on June 3, 1981.
George is salt water,
magnesium and calcium.
At sea level he is the
tide that causes bulges
and depressions in the
surface of oceans.
George is an aquifer.
Water soaks through
him, as do units of water,
hydrogen bonds and molecules
packed like prisoners.
George is solid, liquid, and gas.
His surface tension is more
than the force of any filter.
Solvent. Weathered. Ordered.
Floating around at room temperature.
George has a lot of nervous energy.

George Cassidy Payne

The Astronomer Dreams of Winter

Sleeping in summer, the stars of winter night
Blaze with a cold clear blaze in his dull dreaming.
Sirius arises, the hard-to-see hare,
Lepus, lies plain at the feet of Orion,
Bright as Taurus, Auriga and Cassiopeia,
In the untinted ink of a sun-deserted sky.
Who would prize those months of midnight haze
Over the cold crispness, when the air catches
And bites cleanly, steaming as it leaves the lungs
Like the breath of the dragon, wound between the lesser bear
And the greater? He groans for it, stewed in his night-sweats,
Suffering his sky-lack, his star-thirst.
Meantime, at four in the muggy morning
The day's dawned a dull blue-grey.

Thomas Tyrrell

morning rain -
shining space of snails
on the gravel road

Goran Gatalica

The Far Side of the Moon

no one goes to the moon anymore
by now
we thought we would be living there

growing vegetables in lunar greenhouses
and raising kids
in bubbles

new frontiers have always fired the imagination
man's nature
to reach for lofty ideals

and as rockets rumbled 
into the sky
and then beyond metaphysics

we found the sheer size of the enterprise intimidating
not man-size
hard to realise

that we may have over-reached ourselves
like the first time
we looked through a telescope and saw infinity

Gareth Writer-Davies

In Defence of Small Poems

A poem is just a grin.
Or just a little moan.
Size matters,
they often say.
But they are wrong:
it's just a little thing.

Seth Crook


Vellum offers up its textured surface,
spaces itself around the skin-deep words;
makes margins, generous enough,
but not for error. There to hold the eye
into self-centred narratives
or laws or proclamations. Holy Writ.

Out of the fixed text,
leaking like ink that someone spilled,
life trickles – a little tentative at first –
creeping out of boredom down a doodled edge
In miniature and disciplined rebellion. 

Stealthy jokes, cartoon, a half-formed piece
of insolence disguised; a wry
uprising against the confines of the cell
and orderly Scriptorium. A drawing of a tree –
a brief expression of the question ‘Why?’

My day is set out like an unconsidered page
for me to copy into someone’s record.
Time to spill some inky anarchy
around the dictatorial canon
where no writ runs;
where one’s thoughts, for now, can play
with trees, and little people, and the question ‘Why ?’

Colin Horseman

Coquet Island

Look. And all there is
is lines in space; how rocks stand,
and the little island
is itself against
a blank sky. laying a shadow
on the water, etched
around by edges. How
the space around the lines
is simply infinite.

From that infinity a filament
of wild geese, stretched beyond a breaking point
rejoined itself, a loveliness of curve
and swerve, to arrow into distance, taking
a secret with it. Hidden in the waking
air beneath this flight, are mindless mysteries.

Watching the lines in space
and standing rocks around
the little island, I
shall take no inner journey.
Watching the geese fly lovely
and their wings grow wise  –
there are no other mysteries than these

Colin Horseman

Perhaps, the sea

Perhaps, the answer lies within
that blue stillness where sea meets sky,
where they merge, become a third thing,
like another wing, for us to try.

Perhaps, if not where sea meets sky,
where salt-lipped kisses carve the land,
cast its earth, where old stories try
to find us, told in rocks and sand.

Perhaps, where sea embraces land,    
a place exists between the two –
a silent shore, hushed rocks and sand.
Not sea or land but something new.

Could it exist between the two?
Where they merge, become a third thing,
not sea or land but something new –
perhaps, the answer lies within.

Annie Morris


No traffic lights
or workmen's cones,
we sped full throttle
towards Mercury

we had to veer left
approaching Venus.
The tarmac was hot,
dry, dusty a scattering

of particulates spread
by the solar winds. On
either side of us stood
embankments, one

mistake we'd slither
into  permanent stasis.
A dual carriageway
led to Jupiter and then

we were travelling on
an infinite motorway
beyond watery Neptune,
Uranus captivated

us with a surface porous
as a human heart
and further out
Pluto, sullen and

obdurate as a mealy-
-mouthed traffic cop
exploded halting our
exit to the stars.   

John-Christopher Johnson

Wild quietude

I hang out my wings to dry
in the wild quietude
that I am
like the first cormorant I ever saw
who took my breath away
hanging out his wings
a stark cross 
against the Cornish sky

Hélène Demetriades


Sarah Brown Weitzman
, a past National Endowment for the Arts Fellow in Poetry and Pushcart Prize nominee, was a Finalist in the Academy of American Poets’ Walt Whitman First Book Award contest.  She is widely published in hundreds of journals and anthologies including New Ohio Review, North American Review, The Bellingham Review, Rattle, Mid-American Review, Verse Daily, Poet Lore, Miramar, Spillway and elsewhere.  Her books are available from Amazon. 

Nick Carding's poetry has appeared online and in print in the UK - most recently in Allegroink sweat and tears and Orbis - and in Europe, Australia, and the USA.

Aaliyah Cassim is a nineteen year old Audiology student currently residing in Durban, South Africa.

Marian Christie
 was born in Zimbabwe but now lives in northeast Scotland. Her delight in patterns of all forms finds its expression in mathematics, physics, astronomy and crochet as well as in reading and writing poetry. 

Dr Seth Crook lives on Mull.  He is transitioning into a seal.  His poems have most recently appeared in such places as The Rialto, Magma, Envoi, The Interpreter's House, Causeway, Northwords Now, Antiphon. His photos have most recently appeared in the Nitrogen House.

Ken Cumberlidge is based in Norwich, but can be lured out by decent beer and an open mic. Recent work can be found variously online (Algebra of Owls / Allegro / Ink Sweat & Tears / Message In A Bottle / The Open Mouse / Picaroon / Pulsar / Rat’s Ass Review / Strange Poetry / Snakeskin). Webpage:

Hélène Demetriades studied English at Leeds University, went to drama school and worked as an actor.  Later she trained as a transpersonal psychotherapist.   She has had poems published in Reach Poetry, Sarasvati, The Dawntreader, (Indigo Dreams Publishing), Anima magazine, the  anthology Play, (from the editors of The Broadsheet), and online in Clear Poetry, Ink Sweat and Tears, Eunoia Review and Allegro.  She lives in South Devon with her family.

Stephen Devereux is a poet, short story writer and essayist. He has won several competitions and published in UK, Europe, USA and Australia.  He has worked with the late Felix Dennis and Lizlochhead and been involved in projects including Poems Under Water. He is currently working with the artist Peter Wylie.

Goran Gatalica, born in Virovitica, Croatia, 1982, got both physics and chemistry degrees from the University of Zagreb, and proceeded directly to a PhD program after graduation. He has published poetry, haiku, and prose in literary magazines, journals, and anthologies.  He is a member of the Croatian Writers’ Association.

Colin Horseman is a retired Anglican priest having not so much lost his faith as found freedom to think around and beyond the edges of what is merely seen or too easily believed. He lives in Northumberland and has a love of the outdoors,the sea shore and high hills. 

Marc Janssen is an internationally published poet and poetic activist. His work has appeared haphazardly in printed journals and anthologies such as Off the Coast, Cirque Journal, Penumbra, The Ottawa Arts Review and Manifest West. He also coordinates poetry events in the Willamette Valley of Oregon including the Salem Poetry Project, a weekly reading, and Salem Poetry Festival.

John-Christopher Johnson’s
poems have been published in Interpreter's House, Orbis, The Journal, Agenda, Dreamcatcher,  Frogmore Papers, etc, forthcoming London Grip, Pennine Platform. He lives in Reading, Berkshire and sells lovely statues, animals and plaques for a living.

Lavana Kray is from Iasi – Romania. She has won several awards, including the status of Master Haiga Artist, from the World Haiku Association. Her work has been published in many print and online journals. Currently she is the editor for Cattails collected Haiga works of the United Haiku and Tanka Society. This is her blog:

Reiss McGuinness is a MA graduate currently living and working in Bath Spa. His poems have appeared in UK US and a Japanese Journal. He is a professional miserablist and writes poetry in his dwindling spare time.

Annie Morris
lives in South West London and is currently studying for an MA in Creative Writing with the Open University. As well as writing poetry she sings and writes her own songs.

George Cassidy Payne is a poet from Rochester, NY. His work has been included in such publications as the Adirondack Almanack, Hazmat Review, Moria Poetry Journal, Chronogram Journal, Ampersand Literary Review, the Angle at St. John Fisher College, and 3:16 Journal. George's blogs, essays and letters have appeared in Nonviolence Magazine, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, pace e bene, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, the Havana Times, the South China Morning Post, the Buffalo News, and more.

M.S. Rooney
lives in Sonoma, California with poet Dan Noreen. Her work appears in journals, including Allegro Poetry MagazineLeaping Clear, Ekphrasis, and Naugatuck River Review and anthologies, including American Society: What Poets See, edited by David Chorlton and Robert S. Kingand Ice Cream Poems, edited by Patricia Fargnoli. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Mark Sadler lives in Southend-on-Sea with a chameleon named Frederic. His writing has been performed by Liars' League in London and has appeared most recently on The London Magazine website and also on the Kaleidoscope Healthcare website as part of the Writing the Future summer reading anthology.

Thomas Tyrrell has a PhD in English Literature from Cardiff University. He is a two-time winner of the Terry Hetherington poetry award, and his writing has appeared in Spectral Realms, Wales Arts Review, Picaroon, Lonesome October, Three Drops From A Cauldron, isacoustic and Words for the Wild.

Scott Wiggerman is author of three books of poetry, Leaf and Beak: Sonnets; Presence; and Vegetables and Other Relationships; and editor of Wingbeats: Exercises & Practice in Poetry; Lifting the Sky; Bearing the Mask; and Weaving the Terrain.  Recent poems have appeared in Narrow Road Literary JournalRed Earth Review, bosqueSoftblow, and The Ghazal Page.

Gareth Writer-Davies is from Brecon. He was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize (2014 and 2017).  He was commended in the Prole Laureate Competition (2015) and was Prole Laureate in 2017. He was commended in the Welsh Poetry Competition (2015) and Highly Commended (2017). His pamphlets are Bodies (2015) and Cry Baby (2017) (Indigo Dreams) His first collection The Lover's Pinch (Arenig Press) was published June, 2018.

Mantz Yorke lives in Manchester, England. His poems have appeared in a number of print magazines, anthologies and e-magazines in the UK, Ireland, Israel, Canada, the US, Australia and Hong Kong.