Sunday, 30 October 2011

The poem that inspired the anthology's title...

Not Only Dark

Some black holes have a ring of x-rays and visible light surrounding them.

Nothing but dark, I said

as I drew our curtains on the darkness

of the birch tree and the robin singing

a snatch of late song,

and yet light all round.

And you understanding. The paradox

of light and dark, a black hole

and a ring of light,

in the space between teacups at ease

on the table and pyracantha

scratching the window beyond

as the wind blew.

Now on a small hill, that place

of wind and silence, the silence

of futures… trees

cut off distances.

Stones, gravestones are master there.

But arriving home I take up that book

of Chinese art, your inscription A trillion

kisses forever.

I turn the pages, find the vase with peaches

showing flowers and fruit together,

as in that paradise where peach blossom

lasted for ever.

Irrelevant paradise? But I read

again your inscription: Perhaps this

is a kind of heaven, the warmth of feeling

and memory,

light circling a possessed absence.

Daphne Gloag

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Another taste of 'Not Only The Dark'


This is his first afternoon with Madame
in her flat above the bookshop, the buses
whining through the drizzle along
Islington High Steet. He likes
her colour scheme - bold purple, gold,
everything flickering in the candle-light,
very different from the magnolia anaglypta
and white skirting boards in Theydon Bois
- and the scarlet drapes and Turkish kilim
where a one-eyed ginger cat
regards Madame’s whip phlegmatically
as she trails it across his thigh. He likes
the joss sticks dropping ash
onto the floor like insouciant students
though he’s less keen on the actual pain
the bite into the flesh; he slips further
from the room, each lash a descent
into darkness, his skin laid open,
vision blurring and that’s when
he realises he’s forgotten the Safe Word.
It’s a place, yes - some northern town
he visited as a child. He remembers
grit-stone houses under a film of rain,
women in beige with bosoms big enough
to offer shelter and the smell of baking,
a wet dog itching its fur against his legs.
He’d said to Marjorie several times
he’d like to retire somewhere like that,
somewhere with hills, real hills, the light
on them blue as the day went. Look,
he whimpers to Madame, do you think
you could stop that now - but no,
she’s in her stride, a real professional,
and he’s so tightly bound, his wrists
chafing on her iron bedstead.
He can feel her breath on his neck, yeasty
and warm as the loaves in the bakery ovens,
swelling and rising to greet the new day.

c. Catherine Smith 2006

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Launch date for 'Not Only The Dark'

The launch of our anthology in aid of Shelterbox will be on:

Tuesday 6 December 6pm

Keynes College

University of Kent


All welcome for a glass of wine and fantastic evening of poetry.