Here I Am – Your Sister Earth by Bronislava Volková




A Collage by Bronislava Volková


Here I am – your sister Earth.

I shine bright in my green coat.

My depths, mysterious and black

are the home of blinding diamonds

which when brought to the surface

swallow the light, for they are the reflection

as well as the carrier of visions.

People collect them, to add

brightness and light to themselves, lacking in their souls.

My miraculous waters are the home

for hidden kingdoms unheard of

and when the time comes, they transform themselves

into a cleansing bath, from which

there is no salvation nor recall.

My inner fire never dies away,

only on the surface, it cools off and from the lava

it forms slowly and surely

layers of firmness and nutrients and a seat

for so many fantastic species

of animals and plants,

a sight for sore eyes

a sight for sore eyes

Only man in his foolishness

fights me instead of honoring me

and bitterly loses.

I am patient and tolerate the aberrations

of this intrusive brat a long time without grumbling.

Just like he doesn’t, I don’t ask him

when I charge into battle

against his wanton civilization.

For I am the mistress over the life

and death of my children.

I am the Earth. I am yours.


About the Author:

Bronislava Volková is a bilingual poet, semiotician, translator, collagist, essayist and Professor Emerita of Indiana University, Bloomington, USA. She is a member of Czech and American PEN Club. She went into exile in 1974 аnd taught at several universities in Germany and the US. She led the Czech program of IU for thirty years and authored eleven books of poetry in Czech, a number of bilingual Czech-English editions, two books on linguistic and literary semiotics (Emotive Signs in Language and A Feminist’s Semiotic Odyssey through Czech Literature), as well as a large anthology of Czech poetry translations Up The Devil’s Back (with Clarice Cloutier). Her own poetry has been translated into twelve languages and widely reviewed. She has received a number of literary and cultural awards. She has been invited to international poetry festivals in Bulgaria, Ukraine Romania, Azerbaijan, Czech Republic and Colombia. Her work was repeatedly published in various countries, e.g. Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Croatia, Czech Republic, the US, India and the United Arab Emirates. She has also periodically done large exhibits of her collage work. Books of selected poems have appeared in English, Russian, Bulgarian, Slovak, Ukrainian, German and Spanish edition is currently in preparation. She is also preparing a study on Forms of Exile in Jewish Literature and Thought (20th Century Central Europe and movement to America). More info at


Two Poems by Clare Crossman





Mandala by Stela Brix, 2018

The South Country

On Chalk Barrow Hill
the land rolls on remembering itself
in down lands, copses
and corridors of trees.
The path lifts straight up to the distant sky.
Below, a church spire marking
habitation; an ornate and cobbled town.

The land creaks, with archaeological
depth of mound and barrow,
chalk whiteness, taking all the eye.
Willows frame a horizon of green mornings.

I was a girl here, ran out of doors
from a low brick house open to
outbuildings and the air.
Roads and lanes held no shadow.
as if there was never any weather.

Returning, the long grass is waist high
and ditches full of rain.
This leaded window opens
on a view across the meadow.
Broad paths are mown along
barley fields. Voices rise from
lived in, light filled houses,
boats float reflected on the water,
of all the long slow rivers.
In the south country,
there is an ease.
One thing becomes another as
the landscape blurs and falls towards the sea.



In the thin sun of a mild morning,
The windows streaked with winter light
I picked up the strong twine.
Dropped from your pocket,
too short for garden use.

There’s something about string.
How it leans with the wind,
supporting foxgloves and runner beans
from endless changes in weather.

How it tightens its purpose to keep
collected things neat, but yields to let
what is enclosed slip.

These rooms where we live together
tied by a loose knot, that shifts and stays
hours full of skeins that stop us falling down.


About the Author:

Clare Crossman’s pamphlet won the Redbeck competition in 1996. Since then she has published four collections of poetry, she is working on her fifth from Shoestring Press due to be published in summer 2020. Her poems have appeared in many anthologies most recently Letters to the Earth, Harper Collins. She also wrote for Lucy Cavendish College Cambridge on the Connections project. She has recently written poems about a local chalk stream for the film Waterlight She lives in Cambridgeshire and sometimes in Cumbria.

















Sea Rocket  by Jake Morris-Cambell

round window view of the ocean

Photo by Johannes Rapprich on

5,000 miles in a 747

have taken you to Harris Beach, Oregon,

to find Sea Rocket by the boardwalk

where nobody will ever know your name

and the place you’ve come from:


Seaburn, where the same genus of plant

stowed perchance in cargo holds

to unfurl in spores at Hendon Docks

now protrudes from dunes by the North Sea

which you know doesn’t know your name.


Later, looking into the window front

of the Brookings branch of the Democrats

you’re mistaken for an eager voter

who shares a common belief

in free access to public health care.


Pineapple Weed grows in the slats

of paving here, too—the way it does

on the Ash path where your parents live.

Some things you know the names for,

others you’re yet to learn.




About the Author:

Jake Morris-Campbell is a writer, critic and tutor based in Tyne & Wear. He has published two pamphlets of poetry: The Coast Will Wait Behind You (Art Editions North) and Definitions of Distance (Red Squirrel Press). This poem is from a sequence written for Stringing Bedes: A Poetry and Print Pilgrimage, a Heritage Lottery Funded project which linked the twinned Wearmouth-Jarrow monasteries in 2015-16.

Two Poems by Jennifer Ruth Jackson




Helderberg Mountain

Heldeberg Mountain by Amy McCartney, 2019


After the Climb

We lost ourselves                        among the leaves
falling from great heights            we once knew well
branches smarting our backs       Sounds of rustling
and thwacks against limbs           filled the soft quiet
bruising us like rotted fruit          painted in hues of dusk



Coming Home

There was no yellow ribbon
Around the old oak tree
Nor was she
Under the apple tree
Waiting for him


He came back to silence
Hands still sweaty
From carrying the gun
Devoid of olive branches


About the Author

Jennifer Ruth Jackson is an award-winning poet and fiction writer whose work has appeared in Red Earth Review, Banshee, and more.  She runs a blog for disabled and/or neurodivergent writers called The Handy, Uncapped Pen from an apartment she shares with her husband. Follow her on Twitter @jenruthjackson

Hers/Mine by WORDSMiTH


A Moth to Light by Victoria Holt, 2017


the two saucers

are Hers


they are in

Her cupboard


but only

one cup


My cup is here

holding my coffee

dark, bitter & sweet


My cup

has no saucer


My cup

stands alone


in the cupboard

when it is empty



About the Author:

WORDSMiTH is a penname of Rob Turnbull. He is currently studying for a Master’s degree in Creative Writing at Newcastle University. His life long interests are music, the dramatic arts, reading, philosophy, and travelling. He hopes that his new found love of writing will unlock even more doors to enlightenment! And he is overjoyed that Fragmented Voices should be the first to publish his work.

Two Poems by Eileen Carney Hulme



Amy McCartney- Church window

A Church Window by Amy McCartney, 2019


If Clouds Could See the Cracks in Stones

Watching the Oklahoma sunset, Donald

writes I Love Your Ghost and his heart

skips a beat until it reaches the Leachkin

to sit by the cradle stone where he lets

his words escape. He is travelling light

as dandelion clocks, finds himself in odd

unfamiliar places sipping whisky while

his heart, often out of kilter, finds its

touchstone in the North. This is like

the day you left, he thinks, but the words

are out there, away with the breeze. He searches

his pockets for a knife, a scrap of paper,

an answer to a question never asked.


From the Great Book of Distances

Donald tells me he is afraid

of leaving and having left

wakes in the night, thinking

of trees and roads and ghosts.

He wants to telephone, to know

we are ok but trees have no

numbers, roads are circular

and the ghosts do not reply.

So he gets up, puts the kettle on,

remembers Dan and his music,

wonders why the distance between

here and there is never less.


i.m.of Dan 1980-2007


About the Author:

Eileen Carney Hulme lives in the north east of Scotland. She has three full collections published as well as having many poems published in  anthologies, poetry magazines and online poetry websites.  She has won or been placed in a number of poetry competitions. More info can be found on her author page at Indigo Dreams Publishing


Keys by Tohm Bakelas


Who Is the Clown? by Ida Saudkova, ca 2000



i’m sitting in a

treatment team meeting

listening to a

floridly psychotic patient

speak absolute nonsense

and watch him

shake from the years of



and self-abuse


and as he rambles on

laughing to himself

i begin to wonder

what separates

him from me

and me from him


i only figured it out

after he reaches

under my chair

picks up my fallen keys

and places them

in my hand


About the Author:

Tohm Bakelas is a social worker in a psychiatric hospital. He was born in New Jersey, resides there, and will die there. His poems have appeared in numerous journals, zines, and online publications. He is the author of several chapbooks and a full length book of poetry. His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and he intends to conquer the small press and exclusively publish within. More at or Instagram: @flexyourhead

Two Poems by Penny Blackburn


A Lady by Stela Brix, 2020

One Day at a Time

Each day brings a new tide.

Imperceptibly, our grief is washed away;

broken up – broken down

into its smallest parts.


The beach looks clean;

wet sand smoothed, packed flat

ready to be walked on.

We leave careful footprints

along the ridges.


A stray piece will catch us,

scratch us unaware –

the razor edge of a shell

or Lego from a cargo-fall twenty years ago,

that will not stop washing ashore.




I do not dream the sea anymore.

Its shoreline exhalations do not call

into my dormant mind to bring

me word of gulls and shoals of fish.


I track the waveform paths

through a Tower scope that restricts me

to a given axis of rotation and permitted

range of view.

My surveillance of the watercalm


is wasted; shredded nets

and broken lobster pots

trail uselessly through my sleep.



About the Author:

Penny Blackburn lives in the North East of England and writes poetry and short fiction. Her publications include pieces online in Bangor Literary Journal, Atrium, Black Bough and Ink, Sweat & Tears and in print with Paper Swans Press, Reader’s Digest, Poetry Society News, Broken Spine  and Maytree Press.

She is on Twitter and Facebook as @penbee8 

Three Poems by Francesca Crosby

20181105_143405 (1)

Children by Kasia Grzelak, 2018


Dusty village road strode thrice or more,

Though little legs tired less so then.

Us in our dresses and floral crowns,

Them in their suits wielding wicker crosses,

All travelling barefoot

down that village road.


Meandering streams and plump pear trees,

Severed grass and blooming carnations

All filled our senses with sweet things.

Though now all remains, a bitter perfume.


Vintage cars chug and trail along

Those familiar winding tracks

As bagpipe melodies swell the air

And keep the fading banner just afloat

Until Noon’s blistering sun lays low for another day.


Herded two by two to tea and cake,

The village hall always offered a warm welcome,

Though it was, as always, cold

And full of mould.

We didn’t care that the damp set heavy

Like a thick fog on our little lungs.



*Hark! The Herald Angles Sing,*


Every year on that Christingle eve.

While heavy chapel walls project the operatic symphonies,

We line up one by one, whispering childish chatters

And traverse the pews lit only by flame.

Community spirit at once all intertwined

By this annual affair that faith has defined.


*Glory to the New-born king!*


Each child has only one thing: An orange

Bound by red tape, impaled with cocktail sticks,

And ornamented with dolly mix.

One solitary candle  precariously teeters,

Dripping hot wax on little hands and cool stone paving,

Setting like moments of memories engraving.


A Part of Eden

Flowing just beneath the school-bus bridge

And stretching far beyond old Bluebell Woodland

Where the Swaledale field is your closest neighbour.

This is where we find you.


You offered endless laughter and provided-

Provided for man and woman, girl and boy and beast,

Creepy crawlies carved houses in your clay banks

Engorged with mellow waters.


Waters to wash the weary traveller horse

And suspend the clustered minnows on their path.

Lonely mudskippers glide on your slippery surface

Where the Sun reflects back and blinds itself.

About the Author:

 Francesca Crosby is currently studying first year English Literature at Newcastle University, opting for creative writing modules also. She grew up in the tiny rural villages of Warcop and Little Musgrave, surrounded by the Cumbrian countryside. While she now lives in central Newcastle for her studies, Cumbria is a special place for her and the traditions that it has are what these poems are based on.

My First Pair by Lauren Aspery


A Lost Shoe by Victoria Holt, 2017

My first pair were patent red

with pink laces and fluffy lining –

the only thing to remind everyone

that I was a girl and not a boy.

I’d wear them proudly in my pushchair,

not ready to christen the ground just yet,

and kick them off with every tantrum.

Now they sit in a box in the loft

gathering dust among finger paintings,

school photos and glittery pasta,

ten sizes too small.



*Winner of the Terry Kelly Poetry Prize 2018, all rights author’s own.


About the Author:

Lauren Aspery is a 22-year-old student from the North East of England and is currently undertaking a research Master’s in British children’s poetry at Newcastle University. Lauren is a two-time winner of the Terry Kelly Poetry Prize and has since become the award’s coordinator. She placed second in the Young Poets Network Carol Ann Duffy poetry challenge and performed her poem at the British Academy’s celebration of Duffy’s Laureateship. Her work takes inspiration from her experiences growing up.