WORD! Work

Earth    fear     wire    &   slaughter

her screams turn my blood to clay
enveloped, as she is, in the cleansing flow
a terrible fate to be washed at the stake

my toe touched the meniscus of the lake
it wrinkled like the skin of a deflating balloon
I felt the heat, walked gingerly across the surface

she reaches, grasps the hanging tongue of flame
she snaps, peers through the translucent pink
licks, sucks, smiles, it tastes sweet, like cherry

for millennia a pocket of air has solidified like a giant lozenge
hard and transparent; inside a kind of gel, delicate
filigrees of trilobites float like fish flying in an aviary

the grains of oxygen and nitrogen squeeze through
the timer’s tiny waist, the sun descends into the ocean until
the last grain drops, the timer turns, the light has drowned

- John Kitchen

.. from the rubbing of two sticks ..

to cold coils wrapped round asbestos rods        switch  
for red heat        reflective glow dry skin       mottled legs
flick bits   onto the element for the flash and char

out of the brazier a poker up Edward the Second’s arse - what a way
to go in the night set light to the rival gang’s bonfire      rockets
from milk bottles, penny bangers, light the blue    and    

Smoke on the Water   Stratocaster Marshall Rickenbacker  
Arthur Brown I am the God of Hellfire and
somebody warbling you’re my Eeeeternal     flame

of  funeral pyres   Viking burials     fiery brands of Game of Thrones
Joan at the stake    Pittsburgh black and blue steak & ale
eel based liquor distillation prohibition Al Capone’s fat cigar

my dad’s roll up stuck to his lip      ten Number Six and a box of matches, please
skip assembly, have a fag, have a drag, my mate, Tim with his
twenty Dunhill kingsize      gilt lighter and an Austin A30

spark across the points combustion          consumption
explosive mix   fossil fuels global warming       four degree
rise   extended desert ice cap     permafrost    meltdown

- John Kitchen


horizon stretches      across fenland flats a rise of vapour-trail
salt water saturate       the   treachery  of a tidal  creek’s fill up    
your elemental welcome package

mud  cracked  stained by algae black skeins of wildfowl
be wary the surge     Baltic invasion the defences look puny
a memory of Raff bombing runs aerial flash

somewhere across these marshes King John’s  lost  jewels  his
ill-gotten gains       not much history here  floods and drainage
remote madness in-breeding and shotguns

a splash of vinegar on quick boil samphire   ozone        clagged
   heavyslip wellies   on  the ditch mud   of this      edgeland
this not quite sea

- John Kitchen


If I was made of fire
I’d flicker and lick
I’d sparkle and sizzle
I’d scorch the earth
I’d forge a path.

If I was made of earth
I’d be a smooth hard hand-shaped stone
 – worn by sea, sand and rain
forged over time
a comfort, an unshifting shape, holding.

If I were water
I’d flow, steady and strong
carving new shapes and ox bow lakes,
building on what is to create what can become.

If I were air – If I were air...
I’d drift and float, gently caressing  
but then a sudden blast of icy cold.
I could tear down trees or waft away a dandelion clock
If I were air.

I am fire, I am earth, I am water, I am air
I am


Earth to sow
Earth to grow
Rich soil crumbling through fingers
digging up potatoes in grandad’s garden
Somehow always finding one more
wiping off the dirt with the side of a thumb
tracing the newly felt shape – its first caress.

Earth to dig – in trenches and ditches
holding in or holding back,
watering or draining,
protection or confinement?

Earth to build and to bake 
the jug, the mug on the table
used and held - warming hands and hearts
washed and used and washed and used
and washed and used again.
Maybe one day broken – now shards in the base of a plant pot
or preserved as an object of history 
buried in its own source, 
then retrieved onto a museum’s shelf.

- Christine Rivers

An aquatic love song
Inspired by ‘Answer’ by Carol Ann Duffy  

If I were made of water
I would become hot, frisky tea for you
Steaming drops for your morning shower
A deep, relaxing evening bath.

If I were made of water
I’d be icy cold
In a deep, refreshing glass, with lemon
Or in a pot
I’d be part of your chicken soup, to nourish you.

If I were made of water
My rain would care for your garden
My dew would gleam on your flowers
My snow would be pretty on a sunny winter’s day
My sea would be warm for your swimming.

If I were made of water
I would flow over your body
Soak you to the skin with love
Lick into your secret parts -
So many ways I would water you.

- David Pollack