The Planet Poems by Stephen Philip Druce


Planet Jazarane - 
where rustling herds of marching embers,
ooze a masquerade of tickled trenches
in seething dominion,

torched waterfalls, nourished by zephyr mastery,
lurch languid in a godly zeal of paradigm vanity,

sandcastle-shaped serpents trigger-spew
a soaring horizon of tangled theaters in
screeching flower cages,

scalded in sodden shadow, the swooping
goose machine scatters its crinkled chimes
in a sensory mist of ragged tigers 
and skating vulture dust,

the canvas hermit -

nurtured in chalice,

furtive in fountain,

splashed by ruby -

as the wilted maestro sits
in a solitude ceremony
of feathered ferocity -

the pianist's final flourish.


On Planet Jaygorm, skittle creatures
ricochet plumes of alchemy mutants,

skyline overtures in bleak exodus,
squeal their glistening contours in
blundered hysteria and disfigured glee,

distilled in a gallant gory remnant,
the jolted wanderings of loaded crystal
chambers, fickle mutiny in 
supernatural solace,

as the jarring sorcerers etch ephemeral 
their supine shards of howling epilogues
in burlesque assembly,

the crooked stars in hooded vaults,
yearn to bedevil their tawdry transcripts -
unkempt for the ether.


On Planet Yizzaro, crawling corridors
of glazed limpets in clustered folly,
cascade a symphony blossom to tantalize
the tattered artist in a towering squalor
of lampooned puppets ablaze,

plunged in feral escapade,
a dalliance interlude of watercolor 
vessels drip their fluttered meadows 
for willow portraits in starry infancy
and shimmering bliss,

hounded by the giddy margins,
the creaking valley - listless for rhapsody,
mutters its hollow blessings in a saintly
pattern of glimmering sapphire -
the treasured muse in slender desertion.

Stephen Philip Druce is a fifty nine year old speculative poet from Shrewsbury in the UK.His poems are planet based. They describe the events that take place on the planets that exist in his imagination. He has previous publications with The Lothlorien, The Cannon’s Mouth, The Seventh Quarry, Muse International Journal Of Poetry, Cake, Conceit, The Lemon Press, The Playerist, Ink Sweat And Tears and many more.He is published in the USA, the UK, Canada and India. Stephen has an Ebook released in the USA- ‘Quirky Shorts’ and has written articles for The Daily Squib. He’s also written songs for theatre plays in London, and poetry for radio stations, including Radio 4 Extra. He’s on Wikipedia too -as author for The Playerist Magazine. He self- published two books on Amazon : ‘A Naughty British Comedy’ and ‘A Shrewsbury Poet’.His favorite poets : Charles Bukowski, W.H. Auden, Philip Larkin, Jack Kerouac and Jim Morrison.

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Scotland & Further Poems by Karol Nielsen


We took a family trip to Scotland and toured the country in a minivan. My great grandmother 
had Scottish roots. Her maiden name was Bothwell. My grandfather said we descended from a 
Scottish earl, Lord Bothwell, who kidnapped and married Mary, Queen of Scots. We visited 
Bothwell Castle and learned the history. Mary, Queen of Scots’ third and final husband—James 
Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell—was not our ancestor. It was one of my grandfather’s tall tales.

Flashes of Inspiration

I used to come up with a new poem in order to have something to read at my monthly open mic. 
I was always inspired by colorful experiences in the city. I began to write in big bursts based on 
memories during the pandemic when live encounters were few and far between. Now I notice the 
woman with a neon green afro, the police explorer with a diamond stud on her tooth, the sleepy 
teen in pajamas and Winnie the Pooh slippers on the subway. I have flashes of inspiration as life 
returns to normal.

Dead Poets Society

My Israeli boyfriend and I had one of our first disagreements over the movie Dead Poets Society. 
In the film, prep school students are inspired by their teacher to embrace poetry and seize the 
day—carpe diem! One of the students, an aspiring actor, shoots himself after his father enrolls 
him in military school. “I don’t want to see this guy in Israel,” my boyfriend said. He had completed 
his mandatory military service in Israel during the first intifada. I defended the film, but he 
wouldn’t budge. It was an early sign of our divorce. Now I surround myself with poets and writers 
who feed my soul.


I started to Google myself after I went to a party with poets and writers hosted by my urban 
writers’ colony. People kept asking what I did and I said I was a writing instructor with a memoir 
in progress. Most of the people I talked to were published authors who said they would look me up 
online. I felt self conscious because I had not published a book. When I got home I Googled myself 
to see what they would see. I was astounded when I saw a link to The Best American Essays. My first 
published essay had been named a notable essay in the anthology and I had no idea. This lucky 
discovery prompted more searches. Now I check DuckDuckGo. I find unexpected reviews of my books 
by strangers and poems published without a formal acceptance. I cannot resist the urge to look for 
more happy surprises.


Karol Nielsen is the author of the memoirs Walking A&P and Black Elephants and three poetry chapbooks. Her first memoir was shortlisted for the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. Her full-length poetry collection was a finalist for the Colorado Prize for Poetry. Her poem “This New Manhattan” was a finalist for the Ruth Stone Poetry Prize

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FORT CORNWALLIS, PENANG & further Poems by Byron Beynon


I imagine myself
inside an Edward Hopper panting,
sitting in a diner
alone and motionless,
the black coffee getting cold,
waiting for something
within me to change 
when suddenly the atmosphere
eases and I hear
a trumpet sound
played by a lean,
cool Chet Baker
embracing my silent mood,
reaching out across 
the evening shadows,
touching my sleeve,
taking me along
with those strong adjectives of music
which climb and soar
above the oppressive
streets and traffic,
telling me calmly of a way
to get through.


With one glimpse
Keats manages
to catch in a June letter
the Welsh mountains,
his motion of days
on tour,
moving swiftly
he remembers Lancaster
with its cacophony of shuttles,
a transition brought
by new experiences of activity,
an action travelling 
forwards in thought. 


After the vortex of Parisian
streets and traffic,
we sat inside the calm square
where lunch-hour workers
relaxed and fledgling infants
played near a peaceful museum,
once Victor Hugo's house.
Days that are windows
reflecting the supreme air of spring,
as an incorrigible bird
sang its unrehearsed notes
with an admired optimism.


The continuous search
for the room with a view,

to wake one morning
clear-headed with naked eyes

to witness the promise of a breathing landscape,
optimistic yellow, garden-mint green, peaks of orange.

I’d watch the delivery of colours,
listen to a delicious language

echo from purple hills,
words pausing on a table-top

as the sensuous air embraced the limbs of the trees,
a prepared windowpane
clearing itself like the tone of a determined voice.


The heat of an afternoon
enters with a trade of tourists;

conception's myth entertained
by a deliberate pose

near a barrel's erect 
eye filled with flowers.

Within a defensive wall
rebuilt by convicts you can sense

the swell of commands,
perspiration draining from captured pores,

a pungent aroma of sea breath,
the sway of lost time,

thinking of families 
they'd never see again.

An uneasy warmth
stalks the mind like a predator,

about to flare up,
poised to strike an oppressive blow. 

Byron Beynon coordinated Wales’s contribution to the anthology Fifty Strong (Heinemann). His work has featured in several publications including Agenda, Quadrant, Wasafiri, Cyphers, The London Magazine, Nixes Mate Review (Boston), Poetry Wales, English: Journal of the English Association, and the human rights anthology In Protest (University of London and Keats House Poets). Several collections, including The Echoing Coastline (Agenda) and Where Shadows Stir (The Seventh Quarry Press) which was launched at the birthplace of Dylan Thomas, Swansea in February 2023.”

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