A poem about Borley Rectory, once known as the most haunted house in England.

image: CC0 Wikimedia Commons

Your stairs were going nowhere,
your roof open to the sky,
and in a courtyard round the back,
a poltergeist once threw a brick,
and the picture made the evening paper.
Such a lugubrious ruddy face,
sash windows agawp,
a psychic echo chamber…

an Anglo-Saxon mystery

image: eran menashri/unsplash

They scraped
the grave ship to its ribs,
and plucked
the preserved fruits
from the warrior-king’s
side — fragments
of a sun god’s helmet,
eyes in eclipse,
a drinking horn’s
embellished lip,
shoulder clasps of garnet
interlaced with gold,
a sword blade
broken into shards,
an enamelled purse
tooled to perfection,
the accoutrements of dust,
tagged by scholars
and placed…

an olympic odyssey

Marina Lakotka/Unsplash

The catcher-snatcher
of precious gold,
chalk-dusted since 1896,
always open to doubt,
but needing to believe,
forever resting
in the chiton lap
of Victory.

No longer a pursuit
for the gentle amateur,
a fear of lesser metals
has wormed its way
into hearts and minds,
capillaries are split,
ventricles shifted in the
ultimate quest…

a railway fantasy

Simon Franz Hochleitner/Unsplash

The Tennyson Pennyweight chuffety-chuffs its way along the tufted branch line Mr Beeching crossed out on his clipboard more than half a century ago. …

Madonna in Venice ~ an interpretation

Evy Jacobs/Unsplash

A strange catch, like a sturgeon — fished from the Grand Canal, cavorting about the prow of a boat chartered from Burano where the washing lines dip low. …

a poem

Ralph (Ravi) Kayden/Unsplash

I traded in
my parure of cherry
drops and purple grapes
for fairy money,
the fossilised faux pearls
from grandma’s old nest,
a teddy bear’s eye
flat on one side,
gobstopper orbs
from a cocktail choker,
all rattling around in an old biscuit tin.

My sister pointed
to a corner of the playground.
‘Let the swapping begin,’ she said.

Later, my acquisitive nature
developed a kink,
collecting beads of a rarer kind,
outside of the tin,
so to speak.

Northerly starstones
washed from the mouth
of St Cuthbert,
a polished gem the size
of a gull’s egg dangling
Byzantine style,
the wooden quarter-kopek
from a Russian abacus,
Venetian filigrana,
a nephrite comma of Magatama
bitten off by a sun-goddess,
a smattering of chondrite
quartz fallen on a driveway
after a meteor shower.

I poked a silken nerve
through each core,
stringing them


Benigno Hoyuela / Unsplash

The Eve of Saint Nicholas. In a sprawling suburb of Vienna, snow is falling, as thick and as soft as goose feathers. A young girl skips along the pavement, oblivious of the grey ice lurking under the powdery layers. Liesl knows her father is waiting for her, sheltering under the…

Will Francis/Unsplash

Romance has gone rotten, a brief casualty of history eroded by bad weather and unruly tides. …

A poem

Ruslan Fatihov/Unsplash

I tried to drown you,
but you floated — Pre-Raphaelite,
supine, inviolate,
Lizzie in the bath tub,
strewn with stars and wildflowers,
your wavering motion
taking my thoughts downstream,
coaxed into an ocean

Your tired straps
slipped from shoulders
unkissed — his bleak words
already forming filigree reefs…

Lise Colas

writes poetry and short fiction as well as quirky unreliable memoir and lives on the south coast of England.

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