Image courtesy of Pixabay

Image courtesy of Pixabay

THE POETS OF MERIT for competition one are...

Shalom Galve Aranis

For her poem, “Neroli”


Missi Lynn Boness

For her poem, “Plunge, Drop and Nod”


Neall Calvert

For his poem. “bopped: 1997”


Joseph a Farina

For his poem, “after the cups, the marmalade, the tea”


Nidica Ilić

For her poem, “My tides”


LaVern Spencer McCarthy

For her poem, “A Field of War”


T. P. O’Brien

For his poem, “My pen”


Ellen Stout

For her poem, “Colours of life”


Morgan Traquair

For her poems, “a knowing” and “i am”

Neroli by Shalom Galve Aranas

And so, the Queen

from the second isle

of the second Grecian sea

married the King

of the Arab world

but could not sire a son.

The Alchemist

from the labyrinthine corridors

below the castle, was tasked

by the Queen to give

her a son in time

to save her life.

He brushed her fine

green skin and looked

deep into her green eyes

green as the sea

and the flasks of chemicals

in his laboratory of salves

and fell in love.

Her hair fell into his shoulder

and he kissed her 

on lips pursed back

in the garden of salves.

He picked a blossom 

from the orange tree

and crushed it to the scent

of Neroli.

This is to remember

how we shall find each

other in this lifetime

or the next.


Shalom Galve Aranas is a freelance writer published in Synaeresis, Andrews College- Spire Light, Enchanted Conversations, and elsewhere. She is a loving, single mother of two.


Plunge, Drop, & Nod by Missi Lynn Boness


(This poem is written with Layne Staley, of Alice in Chains, and also my mother in mind.)


He feels the sharp.

Call out to someone - yeah he should.

Pain filling all senses.

Sit with me awhile if you could.

Numb it burns.

Something like a memory.

Close your eyes.

You try not to see.

Wreckage of what he is.

Illusion of what used to be.


Spittle stained toothless smile.

Nodding at a tiny thought.

Takeaway boxes litter a musky loft.

Burns mottle chairs, ashes overflow cans.


Is this what you dreamed of when you thought of being a man?


Who are you anymore?

A ghost who I used to know.

Feeling uncomfortable... maybe I should go?




It can be like it used to be.

I wish it could my friend.

Tears blurring...I can barely see.

Just stay awhile - we can play games and jam.

I wish I could relate but that's just not who I am.


86 pounds.

You're wasting away.

It's you who wants comfort.

When it's you who won't stay.


Pain - you left it behind.

Stains smell and boxes they all get to stay.

Echoing words of lost conversations continuously on replay.


There's no problem you'd always smile and say.

Be cool and relax.

Get creative and just nod for the day

You plunged, dropped and nodded until you nodded too far away.


No one could ever make you smile enough to stay.



Missi-Lynn Is a 46 year-old, disabled struggling artist. I've lived in Wisconsin my whole life and just now I'm learning more and more how my views on life have been so skewed. I'm learning better and doing better daily.


Bopped: 1997 by Neall Calvert


Strolling Kits Point’s evening streets, I’m 

stunned by a starry radiance above North Shore

peaks, but I feel strange effects. As healers are 

taught, I ask “Are you of the Christ Consciousness?

and back comes: “I AM the Christ Consciousness.


Washington State coastal ferries stopped mid-

run, killed engines mid-ocean: travellers gazed

silently at Hale-Bopp, two-tailed spectre arcing 

our solar system (returning in just 2,380 years

—inspiring where else meantime?)


Ancient magi called comets heralds, harbingers

of new eras, messengers from Heaven, but 

we’ve tuned out nature’s utterances nowadays.


May a too-busy world thirsty for divine 

download heed this brief chat (suiciding

Heaven’s Gate cult members having mortally

mistaken the message); notice that times 

have changed, the paradigm has shifted 

(tribal / national to cosmic, upon first blue-

green Earth photos arriving from space), 

and that Aquarian Age teachings can occur 



You decide to walk around the block and 

some light-bringing, epoch-changing 

celestial ice ball decides: time for a talk


Neall Calvert has 25 years’ experience as a journalist, book editor and writer. Influenced by the German-speaking poets Hölderlin and Rilke, he’s been published in The Men’s Journal, Borrowed Solace, the book Vistas of the West, and online at Dreamers, Fresh Voices and Recovering The Self. Neall, an associate member of the League of Canadian Poets, writes from Campbell River, BC, Canada, near the wilderness of northern Vancouver Island.


after the cups, the marmalade, the tea by Joseph a Farina


"after the cups, the marmalade, the tea"

T. S. Eliot


his nights have changed

from embracing lovers

to clasping sweat stained sheets

in a nightly prayer

waiting for a tomorrow

that is just another day

further from a memory

he cannot undo

or pretence that he wants to

taken as his failure

used as his escape

at times purposeful

then irrelevent

but always resigned

to culpability

imploring faith

pleading his innocence

a boyhood lapse

made legend by himself

a memory of breath quickening

a memory of dreams found hollow

accusing echoes waiting

for the reckoning of madness

or the prophecy to take him

forever in a phantom world

where memories have their vengence

and time remorseless in their keeping


Joseph A Farina is a retired lawyer in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. His poems have appeared in Philadelphia Poets, Tower Poetry, The Windsor Review, and Tamaracks: Canadian Poetry for the 21st Century. He has two books of poetry published, The Cancer Chronicles and The Ghosts of Water Street

My Tides by Nidica Ilić

The sadness in me walks,

every bat step

echoes like a horde, ...

tears flow down the lids.

I feel like I’m dying quietly,

eyes open

with thoughts in the nights,

which they hide a secret.

Where to find peace,

calm the crying soul

for my family missing,

forever like raindrops


Nidica  Ilić was born in 1948 in Pirot, a university lawyer. After this war I was left alone and live in Belgrade, tf-381653412717. I am a member of the Culture of Dreams of Poetry Zagreb, Association of Writers Zenit Podgorica CG, DKB Belgrade and associate of literary clubs of the former republics of SFRY and abroad. I have been awarded for my literary works in a group of authors in our country and the wider region. In Asia, I published two hymnals “Past” and “Present” in Arabic-Serbian, where I lived for more than 25 years before this war because my husband worked in diplomacy.

The collection-songbook "VOW TO THE SON" and "HUG" edited by the Cultural Center MESOPOTAMIA from Belgrade Sabah Al Zubeidi, an Iraqi-Serbian journalist, translator and literary creator, has been published.

A Field of War by LaVern Spencer McCarthy

A hallowed field of war is never still.

Tall grasses rustle from immortal pain.

The earth moves sharply with a haunted will.

A soldier's ghost bestirs the wild terrain.


Tall grasses rustle from immortal pain.

It rises from below on waves of fear.

A soldier's ghost bestirs the wild terrain.

His ghastly screams make other ghosts appear.


It rises from below on waves of fear,

a never ending sound that chills the air.

His ghastly screams make other ghosts appear.

The lonely cries commingle with despair.


A never ending sound that chills the air,

the endless wailing makes the flowers weep.

The lonely cries commingle with despair.

We find the ones who perished do not sleep.


The endless wailing makes the flowers weep.

The earth moves sharply with a haunted will.

We find the ones who perished do not sleep.

A hallowed field of war is never still.


LaVern Spencer McCarthy is a published poet, with many state and national awards to her credit. She is a life member of the Poetry Society of Texas and is a member of several other state poetry societies. She has published five books of poetry and three books of short stories.

My Pen by T. P. O’Brien

It is my close friend and counsel,

following me and consoling my heart.

Always knowing it will be my lifeswell,

from this pen I shall n'er ever depart.


From colours so green and hues so strained,

my eyes and soul give strength to my pen.

Suddenly passed and a sight having gained,

it leaps to the page; for the why and the when.


Never take for granted the power it wields,

strikes fear to dictators and lovers of yore.

The lies and deceit can never hold;yields!

To expose either glory or gore.


My first ever pet, is laid down here today,

memories of mine splashed to the world.

Younger then, real  joy in all play,

young child gambolling;whose flag is unfurled.


Khayam wrote of dreams and of wine,

secure knowledge he had of his fate.

The quiet writer whose trade he did dine,

 his eyes wrote the lure after death,golden gate?


The jolly blackbird, the noise still ringing,

lemon and lime trees their joy still appear.

Monitored by man with the pen still singing,

history's voice when written, is clear.


Enter my body, both spirit and soul,

finding warmth and truth, that ne'r grows old.

My pen strips me bare,

places me naked before words.

Sights, scenes and opinion there,

sky, souls pain, even a small blackbird.


Sultry women, devious men, humans arranged,

sizes, shapes and dressed up for life.

The love of self laid bare, politicians exposed,

Interpreting loves many facets and strife.


Since childhood; I've known to feel,

abandoned yet raised by maternal gran.

That golden haloed lady allowed me to heal,

pen released, prayer at night; in dreams I ran.


Studious, analytical and inquisitive as youth,

imbued to read; Saint Augustinian’s art.

Joyous behaviour, with some humans uncouth,

where lies are churned; then space for my part!


Soft, gentle and thoughtful I am indeed,

to view a muscular man with bright blue eyes.

My thoughts transfer, then my soul will bleed,

to face all the hypocrisy and human lies.


My woman beside, curvaceous and clever,

my guide to being left alone, intellectually free.

A compromise with lies; one knows this; NEVER!

My pen, dear friend and an extension of me.

T P O' Brien is a man born and raised in Wales in the UK; currently living in Portugal. Worked in private industry as a labourer for close to twenty years. I then studied at two different University's. Having taught for many years across the age and location spectrums; I am now seeking to write poetry.

Colours of Life By Ellen Stout 

A great sadness reaps the harvest —

rips apart hidden pieces of the night,

and opens restless memories that crawl

into dawn clinging to dark shadows.


I run — run from my mind into a calm

utopian meadow of green grasses

and hypnotic starry velvet blooms.

In my illusionary world, I stare at a pond

where a swan glides among lotus blossoms

while a gentle breeze sways the leaves

in the ancient oak branching above me.

Quietude enters my mind and I rest.


I awake to realness with a burst of delight —

delight as fresh truth enters me.

The pent up sadness quietly dissipates,

and a new aliveness serenely evolves

as nature’s sun warms my spirit.

In awe, I rise to my own truth and reality,

grateful for the peace, joy, and hope

now alive and conscious deep within me.


ELLEN ELIZABETH STOUT was Born in Paramaribo, Suriname, emigrated to Canada in 1948, and presently reside in Burlington, Ont. I enjoy reading, saving and contributing, poetry to Pinterest, and participating in Sheila Tucker’s Poetry and Prose open mic salons. I have poems published in Mindshadows and Lemon tradewinds Anthologies.  My poems generally communicate a quest for illumination.


 a knowing by Morgan Traquair 


she’s taken to hunching

over her work  

measuring words  

she mixes metaphors

brews a poem   

her body transforms  

becomes a temple

where-in fires burn

a chant builds   

a dance dictates her feet  

arms wind-blown branches

cradle the crescent moon  

eyes blazing coals

glow across time

she spins tales of running

freely upon the open moor  

of her people gathering

in a sod cottage  

peat warming a stone hearth where

they sing the old songs

their words waft across

the ocean from a barren homeland  

they lament their loss

no potatoes for the pot  

hope dashed on the rocks

of a jagged famine

she struggles to speak

but words wound ‘round by silken webs  


as if eviscerated by spiders who dine at their leisure

tangling the telling


her presence thrums

eloquent with life  

each breath a song  


to her Irish roots  

where peat fires shimmer

burning still 


Morgan's poetry explores intimate coastlines of relationships, both stormy and calm, inflow and ebb. She writes about joy, shame, heartbreak and release. Morgan celebrates diversity, serendipity and the wonders of life and nature. Her work has appeared in spring magazine, Our Lives, an anthology and Impermanence, a chapbook and other publications.