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…

Photo © the author.

After the deed was done, the rigs and polesaws taken down, they laid you to rest upon a bed of dark nettles. Your severed limbs pointed west, towards the loyal redcoat standing on the border of your terre verte, guarding the last letter waiting to be collected.

Your mystery will…

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. …

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
along.

**

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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