Oh Sweet William!

Look at you, with your pastoral charms,  ripe for the picking curvaceous and smooth, pale green and firm,  large, pyriform bottom. Your sweetness is sickly,  but always bearable, to me. In full sun, you tend to blush, flush, your naked skin a rosy pink. I spin you around, admire you from every angle. Shapely, exquisite. A gentle squeeze leaves dimples,  barely imperceptible indents on your thin outer layer.  Your pale white innards, once hard, compact, when rolled between my tongue and the roof of my mouth,  now a mushy, grainy consistency. Your juice oozes between my teeth, sweetens my gums. No crunching here, just slurping. Sticky juice trickling down my chin and arms. I’ve devoured your pastoral charms. Simone Chalkley Image by Vitya Lapatey

The Sweet Taste of Success?

  I am Bombus ruderatus , son of a murdered mother, husband to a feisty woman with a sting in her tale, and together with my cousins we are the humble bumble bees, and we will have our revenge in this life.+   You will recognise me as the aerodynamically challenged insect that bounces from flower to flower.   Draw near and I will tell you a tale that began aeons ago but nears its climax in these modern times.   When the world was young, we all lived in harmony. We the pollinators sipped on the nectar that the flowers offered as payment for our insemination services. The fruits of our labours culminated in sweet honey to feed our colonies. The fruit lure that swelled and encased the pollen impregnated seeds attracted the animals which fed upon the life-giving food, and they in turn dispersed the seeds in their dung or as an agent of locomotion, moving them from one place to another. But then the monkeys came. They pillaged the flowers and fruits indiscriminately. Over time they

Cutting Back the Bramble

    The theme for this particular section of the session was ‘cutting something out’.   For no reason that I can fathom, the first thing that came into my mind was a clear memory of my Dad using his walking stick to hack away at long strands of bramble which were encroaching onto public footpaths.   I suppose really it is more of ‘cutting back’ than ‘cutting out’, but what’s a bit of semantics among friends?   Thinking about it now, I should have just supplied my Dad with a pair of secateurs – or perhaps that would not have been so much fun! Cutting Back the Bramble   Thwack! Out struck the cane, the staff, the walking stick with the curved handle. My father’s big hand securely grasping the base of the curve. Thwack, thwack. Take that. Cut it back, thwack it back. Thwack the woody stem once, twice, thrice Until it yields. Cut, thwack, cut it back, Clear the path. Make way for walkers, For pushchairs, For bikes. Cut back the spikes, the bramble, the l

The Flower Market

  In bijou bloom shops, focused bud browsers bustle about, fuzzy baskets brushing between blossom stalls. Hovering and murmuring in dancing chats, Ambrosia is straw sipped and sap zipped, in shopping sacks. With full panniers, the buzzy market foragers carefully wing balanced purchases to sisters, aunts and nurses. Flowery pollen for bread, fine nectar for honey, jelly for bee babies humming in the cocoon of the colonial home. Sarah Tickle  


  Foxgloves bristle, stems shuddering and shimmering And a big fat hairy arse wobbles out from the lilac purple bell Bulmm Bulmm bzoo boo buzzum bzzle bzzle Bzzlp Bazzup!   And there he pushes, leaps back out with legs a blur Hovers, legs heavy with with puff yellow puff collars dangling and wangling Catching the air oh so briefly then Woho! Here we go! Hmph! Bumph! Bullawazzawazza!   Back in! Head, first up deep into the purple Sending the paper cone a quivering And the surrounding lilac barnacles all abuzz and shivering Sending them all a flutter - plfplfplfpflppflf   This one’s a victory! Plenty to take in this one!   He’s ramraiding the insides of the flowerhead It’s joyous carnage and frenzied, fruitful destruction Wooar!! Bzz bzz bzz bzzuh!   And then he’s off The big bumbling heavy arzed blunderbuzz Launches into the warm summer air 
 Swerves across the garden wall Along the chapel roof 
 And away... Colin Stevens

He drowned in Dublin Bay - Conversations heard at the Fen Edge, quoted verbatim but reordered

  Roger is a great collector of things said and has curated a collection of snippets of conversation - performed by Roger and Simone on January 21st and The Fenscapers first public reading on January 21st, 2022. We've had a nice time And we didn' ‎ t talk about it all day But one’s on guard the whole time. As I was yesterday! When they first made a fuss about it, you used to do it, I know you did! ​ I'm legally retired now. They say that soon retirement will last for infinity. ​ When are you going on holiday? Thursday – we’re going the day before, as the first fright(sic) is early Friday. She’s gone home for Ramadan So she doesn’t have to starve for so long each day. I can have as ​ m ​ uch fun at home as going there by train. You know my husband Mike, don’t you? He’s got big hands too!’ I didn’t say anything, but……..!! You remember what happened. He drowned in Dublin Bay! But can you drown in Dublin Bay? Well, if you can drown in a bath, I'm sure you can! I'm

An Encounter at a Five-Barred Gate

  Speaking to a neighbour recently, I mentioned the ghostly figure of a monk I’d seen crossing a road in the village when driving home at dusk some months ago. “ Oh,” she said, “ we’ve all seen him – we think he’s a monk who taught at the local school and was buried near here.” And this evening, I thought I saw him again as I headed towards my favourite contemplation spot – a five-barred gate overlooking a broad meadow and west towards the sun setting over the tree-lined river. Leaning on the gate, I looked to see if I could spot any deer or foxes on the jogging track mown around the meadow. As I prefer to be alone with my thoughts, I was perturbed to see someone, or something, across the other side of the meadow coming towards the gate. I couldn’t see clearly what it was because it was silhouetted by the setting sun. Two long ears waggled – could it be a donkey. I stepped to one side of the gate out of sight and looked through a straggly hedge to see what it was as it drew near.