Breathe by Mahmud Sajjad

I feel better when I breathe,
When I am still and my heart moves free,
When I read and my eyes dwell deep
And my mind wanders through history,
Struck in awe at legacy.
Deep roots grow strong with good company,
With struggle, soil and dark territory.
And yet
I am humbled in awe of how you decree
And the blessings that you’ve sent to me,
I feel better. With you I am free. Breathe
And smile.

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Dad by Helen Washington

The crackle of the stylus as it finds the groove
Spins in a frenzy as it travels round the tune
Releasing the waves that bring sound to my ears
The sounds of our memories from earlier years.

Classical, country, rhythm or blues
Rock n roll, opera so many to choose
Tracks of my childhood, beats from our past
The years we had together swung by too fast

But those songs bring back more than your voice and smile,
Your dapper, your sparkle, the twinkle of your eye,
They uplift my spirit, blow the clouds from my head
And I sing from my heart for you, my dear dad.

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From now to then by Sally Ann Dyer

The perfect peace of morning when
all is still and early light comes
shining though the sprouting skeleton trees
while tiny gulls fly high above
a hundred miles from any coast
drifting like litter on the dusty city breeze.

That building roar of traffic in the underpass
I close my eyes attempting to tune in
to sounds of breaking waves upon the shore
coat-clad commuters passing in the street below
en route to offices and shops, their daily grind,
responsibility I’m all too happy to ignore

And later on I’ll take the dog and walk
a narrow track along the sheer cliff behind the house
with billowing waters down below.
I’ll balance on the dizzy height, drunk on ozone and delight
drowning in the vastness of the blue.
Warm sunshine on my pale cheeks
skin cleansed and buffed by salty wind,
I’ll laugh in nature’s face and fall content into her arms
At length returning home
with muddy canine wagging through the wicket gate.
I’ll trace the garden path between the pregnant beds
right up to white-washed walls
that wear their thatch like an old hat.
Requisite rambling rose climbs round the door
and hollyhocks will soon be growing tall along the wall

One day, one day,
I’ll own a cottage far away

Meanwhile in the city that’s nearer space than the sea
morning sunlight is
reflecting off the bellies of swooping pigeons
peeping round the corners of buildings
showing up gum marks and overflowing litter bins
casting shadows through the railings
lighting lamp posts and bare trees
pouring bright pools onto grainy grey concrete.

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Lavender Bubbles by Marie Nugent

I feel better when
I hear running water
Hitting the hard surface
Soften to a constant hum
Light crisp crackles of lavender bubbles
Forming then disappearing
An endless cycle of renewal
Until the water stops and it’s ready
Just for me
Dip in a toe
Light a candle
Sink in

Everything melts away
From mind and body
That built up during the day
I am rejuvenated
With quiet content and gratitude

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Mind and Metal by Paris Phillips

There are many people here
packed within this room.
I hear the chatter in black static,
a silent “how are you?”

The room is buzzing with the quiet,
no words come from lips.
Instead I hear the metronome
of glass against finger tips.

A conversation between mind and metal
where true connections dare not lie.
Oh! How rude I must be
to look a friend in the eye.

I feel better when I talk to you
without our pockets buzzing.
Tweets come only from the birds
and likes do not replace loving.

I feel better when you and I face body to soul.
Metal may break and screens may crack

but our connection will never grow old.

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Wild Walking by Frances Tarte

Stride over peat and puddle-shine
While a curlew calls through cotton-grass;
Wade the nettles at the woodland edge
While a buzzard mews above the copse.

Coffee tastes better
When it cools rapidly in an icy wind
Which blew the grains off the spoon,
Raindrops diluting it;
Sitting on a gate or beneath a wall
To watch the deepening winter sunset,
Darkening clouds scudding across the sky
And the fairy-light houses below, in the valley.

Brush wild orchids on the soft downs
While a lark sings high and full on the breeze;
Clink stone on stone in the mountain heights
While wind-caught crows wheel silently below.

A sandwich tastes better
When it unfurls, slightly squashed, from the rucksack
Which sweated its way up to the heights.
The city is for lattes, where the shoppers ebb and flow;
Dining here in the lee of a rock,
Accessorized by mud and raindrops,
I feel better under the sky
When this is my elegant lunch.


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Flowers, for me? by Shae Davies

I bought flowers for myself today.
Red tulips, they were on sale.
Flowers for the sad girl with the sad eyes
that stare out at me from the mirror

I catch her following me in the reflection of car windows.
She mimics everything I do
but she couldn’t be more different.
I silence her at night when she whispers in my ear:
This isn’t you, this isn’t us.

And I tell her she has no idea who I am anymore.
No one does.
I tell her it’s a good thing,
the world is too harsh for people like us,

ones who feel too much,
ones who don’t feel enough.

There is no space for her,
no time for her sadness,
the world is too harsh for people like us.

So I bought flowers for myself today,
yellow sunflowers, like the ones I’d grow with my dad.
Flowers for the sad girl with the sad eyes
and I choose to be happy today,
I choose to smile at the girl that’s always watching me,
and since she mimics everything I do
she smiles back.

And today, I am okay.

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