Tell Me True

My grandmother always peeled an apple with grandfather’s penknife, careful, keeping it all in one piece. I watched it twirl and curl, with a whiff of sweetness, pinched between her fingers. She taught me a rhyme, that we said every time: apple peel, apple peel, tell me true, who am I going to get married […]

A Serpent’s Tale

This month in Visual Verse: An Anthology of Art and Words, we have an unusual image by an unknown artist from the Wellcome Collection, which has inspired a wealth of strange tales and poetry. I look forward, on the first of every month, to the Visual Verse challenge of one image, one hour, 50-500 words. […]

To-Do List Before Painting Self Portrait with Bandaged Ear

Explore the brushstrokes on the print pinned to the wall.Paint it into the background of the latest self portrait.Don’t forget the most important thing of all – locate the pawnbroker’s ticket for your thick winter coat.Ask Theo for money for brushes and tubes of paint:Prussian blue, emerald, chrome yellow and vermillion.Gather kindling and logs – […]

Ode to Dylan Thomas

You did not go gentle through your life, knocked hard for flesh to let you enter, soul-shaken by your mother and your wife, thistledown-free and unafraid of winter. You, self-confessed gusty man and a half, languished in whisky and bitter-sweet ale, like the Dewi singing, ready with a laugh and a rhyme like a spouting […]

Clever Fish

Soundlessbubbles slipfrom lips;silentpops and kissesbecomenouns,adjectives,verbs that swimbetweenlinesof verse,glittering silver-scaled wordswhisperingsun-dappledthroughthe lengthof a poem,against the flow,but with the tide. Clever fish. Kim M. Russell, 23rd April 2021 Image by Steve Halama on Unsplash My response to NaPoWriMo Day Twenty-Three Day twenty-three and the challenge is to write a poem that responds, in some way, to another. […]

Crows Calling at Night

Crows in the boughs remind her of her distant home, the man she left behind. Perhaps he listens to the patter of the rain, the cawing of the roosting birds, and thinks of her. So alone, she lies down on her bed, her crow black eyes like stones. Kim M. Russell, 20th April 2021 Image […]

Traces of an Elephant’s Tears (Empathy)

I feel the tears, although there is only a trace now. Just like the baby elephant, alone in the zoo, abandoned with only a memory of the mother it will never forget. And what about the mother’s tears? The tears of the herd? It is not absurd that my maternal instinct rears in despair at […]

Fan Mail

Letter to Klimt (from a devoted fan) Dear Gustav,This is my final letter to you.So unconventional,so talented, and allyou send me are postcards.I explored your imagery,learned your language,but I can never comprehendthe erotic depths of your mind,where Eumenides watch a condemnedman’s punishment in a sea monster’s embrace. Postcard from Klimt (unsigned) I write not in […]

I stick these pages together with blue

The blue-tack tucked in the side of the drawer reminds me of days when I listened to your voice non-stop. My younger self wrote your lyrics with a blue ink italic calligraphy pen on index cards; I even copied artwork from album sleeves, shaded in with rainbow-coloured pencils. Leaves unfurled and fell with your smoky […]