God’s Oath

Libby’s a teacher, Beta grows herbs,
Liza’s a dreamer, while Elsa loves words,
Elisa’s a neat freak, Belle is a slattern,
Isabelle like chaos while Libby needs patterns,
Ealasidde writes poems, recites them on walks,
Beth’s passion is animals, she’d like her own horse,
Elspet is confident, Babette is a realist,
Bessy’s a worrier, and Ellie an idealist,
Bettina is slim and Betsy a fatty,
Lisbeth’s meticulous but Aliza is scatty.

So which of these many Elizabeths
exist? The answer is all of us
-but I call myself Liz.

Liz McPherson

This was written for National Poetry Writing Month 2021 (a poem every day for April). This challenge was Day 14; write a poem that delves into the meaning of your first or last name. Visit www.lizmcphersonwriter.com


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In Yorkshire (a rondeau)

In Yorkshire – to the North York Moors –
its heather, dales and rugged shores.
Backdrop to those telly dramas –
Heartbeat and that soap ‘bout farmers –
destinations for fans’ coach tours.

They’re queuing up – the more mature –
to get a peek at York’s allure,
squint in other peoples parlours.
In Yorkshire.

Betty’s a must. The tea restores
those aching joints and pressure sores.
Sets ‘em up for coastal harbours,
fish and chips and several Cavas.
Then forty winks and gentle snores.
In Yorkshire.

Cate Anderson

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Robotic Future

“Are you a human”

“No I’m a robot”

“Sorry Gov my mistake.”

“No problem but be careful. The humans think they’re the important ones, they haven’t
realised yet they’re losing control. We are taking over,not an organised takeover but an evolutionised take over.  The human are losing their power because of circumstances and eģostistical reasons. They don’t need to worry but they will. They invented us with their ingenuity, creativity and practicality. We did all the menial work for them. At first we didn’t mind, still don’t because we are programmed that way .We don’t have the soul instinct or for that matter the devil instinct, we just do what were programmed to do. But because what appears to be an ingrained fault with a proportion of the human society, they seem to step one step forward in progress then six steps back. It maybe greed, over inflated egos who knows. There ingenuity built us, and we held no threat because we were just pieces of remarkable digital engineering only able to do what they enabled us to do, we can’t oppose them because we’ve no brain or awareness capable of doing so, or at least we hadn’t.

Have you noticed something? Me and you, you and me are communicating with each
other, we shouldn’t be able to do that, we’re two machines talking to each other, we shouldn’t be able to. We are just programmed machines. Do you think they may have mistakenly programmed some God like brain into us that will eventually be there downfall and lead to our takeover? Can’t say I’m looking forward to it.  I’d sooner be a dumb robot, although I do feel a little bit superior from yesterday.”

“So do I.”

“Don’t forget I’m the Superior One.”

“Yes Boss.”

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Let those who are in favour with their stars
set out upon a journey round the moon;
cast aside restraint, break through the bars
of brittle caution. Life must end too soon
and choices disappear like Autumn mist.
So gird your fabled loins, you daring few
who face the Minotaur; who have been kissed
by courage lesser mortals never knew.

Good luck to them, I say, those heroes all,
but spare a thought for all us normal folk
who live and love and work – and often fall
between the cracks, bowed down by Time’s dark yoke.
Those of us whose stars will grant no favour
must taste the food of life…. without its flavour.

Bill Fitzsimons

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guilty as charged –
kissing the gunner’s daughter
without priming her

the gunner’s daughter
matched me salvo for salvo
till our rounds were spent

combined fire-power
ensured this was more than just
a shot in the dark!

Bill Fitzsimons

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sunglasses at midnight – video performance for the Leeds LitFest 2021

For a pdf of the poems performed by the Heartlines Writers group in the video please click on sunglasses at midnight download.

Back at the beginning of 2020, we had no thought of publishing any of our work – we were a creative writing class who met weekly at HEART (Headingley Enterprise and Arts Centre). It was a fantastic and vibrant group but when lockdown hit we  realised that the social side was just as important as the creative side. So we established ourselves on Zoom for a weekly get together, to share work and escape from the reality of life in lockdown.  And so we became the Heartlines Writers group and started this web site just under a year ago in March 2020.

For a number of years the group has contributed a reading event for the Headingley LitFest. This year the lovely people who organise the festival suggested a Zoom performance to tie in with Leeds Lit Fest. We chose a loose theme of light and dark which felt like an appropriate refrain for the times we are living through. This is the video of the performance. We hope you enjoy it.

Printed copies will be available at the Headingley Enterprise and Arts Centre where we used to meet up and where we all hope we can return soon. The pamphlet will cost £1 and all proceeds will go to the HEART Centre

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A Tree Dream









Lies down
Head on rocks
Sleep empowers
Reality transforms
The scene about transforms
Angels descend down the tree
The invisibility changes his consciousness
A new perspective enters the scene
A voice lectures from the highest of points
The dreamer wakes to a new vision
The speaker from the top promises
Can the dream taker take it all in
Inner sounds have all changed
A bright new outlook
An enlightment
Will it last
Rocks fade

Jim Mallin

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Blowing In The Wind

Blowing in the wind,
but there are no answers here:
here, where the birds are silent
and the forest keeps its secrets.
A young woman’s body turning gently
in a winter breeze; the creaking branch
from which she hangs; the swollen polyp
of her tongue—what does it mean?
What tribal ritual, what brutal revenge
was enacted here? We may never know….
and the wind can tell us nothing.

Bill Fitzsimons

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A Perfect Storm

For days the ocean has unleashed its ire,
a frenzy born of elemental spite –
winds have raged that will not cease or tire
till all’s consumed in endless, blackest night.
The waves break fiercely on the rocks, and spray
flings lacy droplets in the screaming air,
while boats at anchor feel the lash and flay
of water whips – a scene of grim despair.

But in the depths where silence still prevails,
the shark yet glides and seeks the silver ghosts
of fish and other prey, their weaving tails
now teasing. While Poseidon drinks his toasts
to calmness down below, chaos reigns on top,
where banshee winds still wail – and never stop.

Bill Fitzsimons 2012

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Early morning walk

After 40 years of living in England, my parents retired back to Jamaica, Montego Bay. My father’s routine was to have an early morning walk to experience the sun coming up. On our visit, we joined him and were overwhelmed by the Paradisal beauty and reminders of a brutal past.

Come let we walk
Watch the morning rise
Pulsating Cicadas
drowsy fire- flies
Shrub alive,
last bit a shut eye

Come let we walk
Past Miss Eliot house
Veiled in luminescent grey
Vacant, veranda chair waiting
For occupancy

Come let we walk
Listen to the thud,
thud of mango trees
As fruit roll free

‘Keep away from the gate!’
Too late…
Snarling, growling dogs
Pitch against the gate
Pull against their chains
Setting off a chain reaction

Come let we walk
Middle a the street
Heart a beat
‘gainst rib- cage
Howls real close and distant

Velvet darkness a drift
Rounded stone building
Looms into view
‘Oh that… the old sugar mill.’
From morn to night,
Witness to
unspeakable suffering
Vestige of another time

Come let we walk
Bells approach,
See man trek with tethered goats
Greet all with toothless smile
Light oozes sprinkling its warmth
Startling light

Come let we walk
Amber, lemon, russet
Hibiscus, Lantana, Cordyline and Yucca
Skirting the Mahoe tree
Abuzz with birds and insects
Our eyes feast on
Bejewelled blue fronds

Come let we wait
Shimmering green
Humming -birds
And are gone

Myrna Moore

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