Voyagers

We dispatched them to explore
the outer planets, where we
can't go ourselves: observe rings,
moons, alluring mystery.

Beyond Neptune one final
image, of a pale blue dot
gently clasped in rays of light.
Thereafter, night. They can not

go back: blinded, must journey
on, two tiny travellers
alone on separate paths
through the vast, cold universe.

They are not – yet – lost in space.
We can still trace where they are,
faint signals from the darkness
telling us how fast, how far;

but not for long. Soon, voiceless,
they'll traverse interstellar
space, bearing golden records –
earth sounds, earth words. Who will hear?

A version of this awdl gywydd (a traditional Welsh poetic form) was published on The Wombwell Rainbow in November 2022. 

The melodic and the logical – an interview with Anthony Etherin

The Golden Ratio, denoted by the Greek letter phi, is an irrational number that has intrigued mathematicians and artists through the centuries, featuring in geometry, number theory, physics, biology, painting, architecture, music and other disciplines. Its value to 20 digits is

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Elevenses

Squeezed awkwardly between the round completeness
of 10 and factored convenience of 12,
11 is the odd one out. We don’t have
11 fingers or toes; we never buy
11 rolls, or eggs, or long-stemmed roses
for our lover. In binary notation
its digits become the three of us, on our
terrace with coffee and scones in the sunlight
and birdsong of June, while the radio plays 
Test Match Special and 11 extends its
parallel arms towards the unbounded sky.

This is a square poem: there are 11 syllables per line and 11 lines.

It was first published in The Book of Penteract.

Snails

A

thin

slime trail

meanders

over the gravel

to my flowerbeds, where hostas

that I had tended so carefully have been reduced 

to tattered shreds. A robin perches among panicles of lilac as you approach

with buttered scones and coffee. Light slants through leaves, glistens the slime trail silver. Everything contributes to the dazzle of this day – even snails.




This Fibonacci poem was first published in The Fib Review Issue #41

Playing to our own rules: Poetic constraint

Arma virumque cano – ‘I sing of arms and the man’. With these resonant words Virgil opens his great epic the Aeneid, composed over two thousand years ago. The poem, which is nearly ten thousand lines long, is written almost entirely in dactylic hexameter – an astonishing feat of constrained writing, especially when we consider that Virgil lacked the convenience of our modern-day word processing and editing tools.

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