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Behind the Mirror
Twenga 11
20 March – 18 May 2020

#twenga is an annual (or in times of need) renga
of 100 Verses on Twitter

Sabaki/Host Poet – Paul Conneally
Sabaki/Host Poet – Gavin Wade

Anum Jamal @anumajamal
Cathy Wade @cathy_wade
Paul Conneally @LittleOnion

Gavin Wade @eprjcts
Paula Turner @random_fate
Katherine Stanley @stealinghome
Rab Harling @rabharling
James Kennedy @jameskcentral
Alison Raybould @jamray
Colin Burnett @colinburnett16
Ruth Claxton @ruthclaxton
Tina Francis @tinafrancis15
Anna Kate Blair @annakblair
Julian Cheyne @juliancheyne
Tom Coldron @tomcoldron
Patrick Goodall @artpickdarkpot
Sid Sidowski @sidowski
Anne-Marie Culhane @fruitroutes


this unknown spring
society transforms
behind the mirror

the sound of someone
beating a carpet

in the empty co-op
patterns of Persia
blossom and palms

who could tell Padraig
not to walk his dog

I’ve had enough
of ramps round the back
through bins and bogs

my glove lies
alone in the snow

while Granddad’s ill
someone else must
fetch the coal in

waiting for wakes week
for some different air

the neighbourhood gathers
by the edge of the water
enraptured by basking pike

Sky Brown lands
a clean 720

Miss throws up quietly
before walking slowly
to double maths

job losses
push us into grieving

she tells me there are
no good love poems
I start to write

the calligraphy
of your messed up hair

caught in a windstorm
racing the breeze
to be first to the scarecrow

a moon in each eye
of the old greyhound

Vega and Altair
wait for the magpies
to gather at the bridge

the smell of my own body
in isolation

like clockwork
bluebells stake their claim
in all the wrong places

the warning sign
rattled by the shining wind

from vacuums
to ventilators

it’s time to take
the bull by the horns

he rings friends
old and new to tell
them of her death

feeling sorry for Craig
in customer service

pensioner lockdown
netflix virgins begin
with Breaking Bad

the ebb and flow of tides
shaping the coastline

on the way to school
we take turns making
dragon’s breath

she holds my hand
as we skate on ice

the basketmaker
eases the willow
into a gentle curve

too depressed to attend
the living room party

nine sardines
crammed in the cupboard
under the stairs

a kitchen full of kimchi
keeps digestion on track

if I map my garden
as a figure of eight
it’s easier on the knees

at lock thirty we pause
as the kestrel hovers

up on the garage roof
out of harms way

trance on the beach
with DJ Moon

best bib and tucker
for the extended
family wedding

we pitch our tent together
for the first time

true to form
he does the ironing
while I plumb the sink in

you can only work with less
if you’ve already had more

like any other
piece of fiction
you can print more money

they make a fire
to warm the boat house

the dormouse
wrapped in a ball of hazel
sleeps on

a Cape thrown rock
polished by time

outside Goldman Sachs
the activist glues her breasts
to the ground

messages crackle
though the woodwide web

a string of
swaying nighties makes
my hair stand on end

we sleep in the cinema
at the London comicon

I lower my mask
so you can see
how much you mean to me

the duwuduwu finesses
it’s seduction dance

a flash of
lycopodium powder
captures our image

not too salty, not too sweet
Earth’s place in the sun

the massive cost
of renting or buying
a decent home

paper cut moon
through bamboo nigra

virtually viewed
Blackpool illuminations
feel too dry

rain falls as quietly
as lukewarm tears

from poet to warrior
fights for flights from Karachi

sending cat emojis
to each other on the train

when one has hopes
how much more painful
is this world

forget me nots
colonise the Kop

remembering Gandhi
and his stretcher
in the spring of ninety nine

transforming from mouse
to wren as she takes flight

digging a channel tunnel
two sets of engineers
meet half way

the hole in my face
finally repaired

I push my boot
right through the ice
revealing the moon

Wassail! the bowl
is passed around the fire

Minnesota makes history
by broadcasting
the call to prayer

we stop maths for
movement and dance

despite infinite practice
I simply cannot
master skipping

foil rolled between fingers
flattens into rings and nets

searching for scadoxus
a blood diamond for
a blood lily

slumbering dragons teeth
masked in a carpet of green

a patchwork of faces
I see and hear
I just can’t feel anything

Rona’s genome produces
27 proteins

my brother in law can’t wait
to be back on the boat
analysing kelp

I dream of Lina Bo Bardi’s
floating Glass House

locked in a vitrine
forever embracing
the thousand year kiss

the joy of attending
a book launch on zoom

Rieux knows
the bacillus is waiting
in cellars and old papers

grounding lines retreat
as the ice sheets weigh anchor

casting off early
the moon and I
attend dawn chorus

green shoots turning
into beautiful weeds

out on the Brocken
sisters celebrate

grandad listens to Stormzy
with subtitles

the bastards wheel out
Vera Lynn and send us
to our deaths again

autumn brings
a bittersweet revolution

in all the bangs sparks and fizz
the Catherine wheel’s whir
is my favourite

after mating
the bats hibernate

the artist’s studio
turns into a factory
for face shields

I’m always shocked
by how close Hawaii is

the postmistress
stamps her boots
to remove the snow

the dry skin on my hands
hurts in the chilly wind

the drop in footfall
creates a quiet doorway
to suffer the needle

shafts of sunlight
conjure up Giotto

click & collect only
fish and chips
under the blossom

a ticket to Llandudno
found in my spring jacket

star jumps, pushups
pull ups and squats
thrusting ‘til we drop

the medical officer’s
four coloured BIC pen

traffic lights
moving from red to amber
and back again

on the count of three
she dives into the river