‘The Orange Light’ (The Parable of the Lost Soul)



‘A Seeker’s Error’



‘Cold Reading’


CHRIS BOTRAGYI:  ‘Rise of the Black Soul’

JOHN GALLAS:  ‘Business in Mandalay’

VICTOR PERROTTI:  ‘How did it feel to shrug off a four day dead?

(questions for lazarus)

MARGARET VOS:  ‘Transformation’

BRYONY JAGGER:  ‘Mind Ball Roll’


SUE GERRARD:  ‘Summer Meadow’

CAROLINE SIMPSON:  ‘Nightmare Fairies’


RIFF POYNTON:  ‘Ghost City’



The Orange Light (The Parable of the Lost Soul)

by   Peter Geoffrey Paul Thompson

The orange light across the sea

was hazy in the evening mist,

the fool was in the little boat,

the boat was static with a list.

He shouted from the little boat,

across the water so becalmed,

but no one heard his lonely voice,

a voice so desolate, embalmed.

He could see nothing but the light,

he could hear nothing but the sea,

gently lapping ‘gainst the hull,

the orange light a mystery.

The night was peaceful as a tomb,

the light was motionless beyond

his little boat, and fading there,

the water like a stagnant pond.

Still water like a stagnant pond,

his little boat was static there,

the light was motionless beyond

his little boat beyond repair.

The orange light a mystery,

the night was peaceful as a tomb,

and gently lapping ‘gainst the hull

the sea beneath the fog and gloom.

He could hear nothing but the sea,

he could see nothing but the light,

his voice so desolate, embalmed,

the light was fading, never bright,

and no one heard his lonely voice,

he shouted from the little boat

across the water so becalmed,

he shouted with a raucous throat,

the boat was static with a list,

the orange light across the sea

was hazy in the evening mist,

the orange light a mystery ---


Poet’s Biography:

Peter Geoffrey Paul Thompson

Peter Geoffrey Paul Thompson’s poetry has been published in: Britain, USA, Ireland, Canada, Australia, Belgium, Italy, India, Cyprus, Hungary, Romania and Transylvania.

His poetry has been translated into French, Hungarian and Russian.

He has won five poetry competitions.

He was the Founder of Precious Pearl Press in 1991 and Leader of the ‘English Romantic Renaissance Movement’ (1995-1996).

His published poetry Collections are:

  • ‘The Lark Will Sing Alone’ (Pubd. 1993)

  • ‘Winter in Openheart’ (Pubd. 1995)

  • ‘Seraphim and the Seven Steps to Paradise’ (Pubd. 2003)

  • ‘Burgundy The Eternal Ride’ (Pubd. 2005)

  • ‘Avalon The Quest for the Amaranth’ (Pubd. 2013)

He is now Editor and Publisher of Rubies in the Darkness Poetry Magazine.


A Seeker’s Error

by  Nigel Robert Wilson

I stepped aside when I glimpsed those shadows

The eternal aspects of nature and man divine.

These had to be the original, truthful hallows

No reflections on a wall, an astounding sign

To enrapture and frighten, my substance to appal.


Thus in the manner of men I took up this call

To seek out a meaning to all existence.

Yet I found shamans, bishops and gurus fall

Stumbling into definitions of signal pretence

Peddling plastic deities, each hollowly ringing.


Much deafening clatter full of doleful singing,

Some ritual sanctioned by ancient form, an endless babble

Of complex obfuscation with no light bringing,

Just empty discipline for an unconscious rabble,

Made me take up my staff for a more promising land.


This quest in turn made me postulate a stand

Asserting a joy to my journey, making me nourish

Pretensions of salvation, so a jewelled crown most grand

Blessed my brow; thus in corruption too I did flourish.

Deflated, I knew this had no truthful import.


The knowledge is simple, requiring not a great thought,

A plain idea, well cherished, causes much growing

With experience.  For in human nature each one is caught

With haughty grandeur.  By quiet prayer the unknowing

Truth we find.  In faith the seeker rests, as all else is pose.


Poet’s Biography:

Nigel Robert Wilson

Nigel Robert Wilson spent his life in international logistics, then retired to write poetry among other things.

Like most young people he was introduced to poetry at school - you know, Kipling, Tennyson, Wilfred Owen and all - but in the mid-Sixties it was the late Adrian Mitchell who really blew him away.

After that Roger McGough, Brian Patten and Adrian Henri were part of a coterie of modern poets who could combine social comment with a beautiful art that inspired.

In later years he happened upon John Betjeman with whom he shares a love of railways and nice things.

He strongly believes that poetry should not be an elite art having a posh conversation with itself, but an everyday statement by ordinary people about their lives and how they are lived.

This way we can all try to understand ourselves and do better by each other.


Cold Reading

by  Gavin Simpson

I can tell by just looking at you that you appreciate poetry.

You have a look of sophistication that most serious poetry lovers have

but at the same time you’re down to earth enough to laugh at a filthy limerick

about a boy from Nantucket.

In the past you’ve entered poetry competitions

but more recently haven’t felt confident (or haven’t had time) to put pen to paper,

although you still show the odd flashes of creativity

in birthday and Valentine’s cards.

Reading your palm, I see that you enjoy the humorous verse of Rosen or Cope

but you are also at ease with the First World War poets, for you clearly have a serious side.

That’s why free form poetry holds no fear for you

alongside the more traditional rhyming verse of old that you prefer.

I get the impression that you recently had a change in the way that you think about poetry.

Perhaps some words you’ve seen recently have prompted you to think

about what poetry is or how it differs to prose.

Already you are questioning whether this is poetry or prose.

I can sense that you or a relative grew up quoting poetry – the letters TB are coming through.

‘Twas brillig…’perhaps?  Maybe that’s why a warm and witty individual like you

enjoys nonsense rhymes, although it is wrong to suggest that you don’t enjoy more thematic poems

especially as you get older and wiser.

This tarot card reveals that in the future your relationship with poetry will remain volatile.

At times you will smile nostalgically when you hear certain phrases

but other times you will be dismissive, in the same sense you might be with modern art.

Your enjoyment of poetry reflects you and your personality.


Poet’s Biography:

Gavin Simpson

I have been writing poetry for the past 4 years and I have to admit, I am a bit of traditionalist when it comes to rhythm and rhyme but I do enjoy reading all types of poetry.  I found

Glyn Maxwell's book 'On Poetry' particularly inspiring from a writer's perspective. 

Most of my poetry is for private consumption although being

a teacher, I have read a number of poems in assembly and I obviously enter the odd competition or two. 

I enjoy creative writing and have previously written a children's book called 'The Strange School' that can be found on Amazon. 

In the future I would like to put a compilation of my poetry together but I am waiting for the day I have a good body of

work to choose from. 

I am currently experimenting with different forms of poetry and have recently been inspired by the Matisse exhibition (at the Tate Modern) to produce a poem that can be cut out and moved around and still be read fluently on the subject of Matisse's

Cut-Outs.  Or at least I think it does!  

It is this playfulness with words and poetry that I particularly enjoy...hence my enjoyment of Belloc, Milligan and Hegley's work.


Rise of the Black Soul

by   Chris Botragyi

Feverish grin, a mechanical-like arm rises

Eyes bright, fervent as saliva boils on drool excited lips

The anticipation too much—prepare for the chastising

Bloody carnage will ensue, out spring the clawed warships

Arm wound up, ready to strike like a venomous viper

Wild maniacal head shaking, flesh starved screams pierce the cold black night

Taking aim, cheshire cat smile, firing at will like Hells own private sniper

Grim face, blood spattered, panting heavily in the cold light of day, feeling contrite

If only for a second, a once past life reminiscent

Feeling the soft warm glow of the sun on your blackened heart

A waking shake of fuzzy head, remember who you are, dark adherent

Lightning bolt strike cascading down prominent spine, forces a fiery jump-start

Flaming agony, car crash headache causes onward strides

Slash, hack, rip; death is mans utter despair

In God we trust, yet whom you deride

Go now, job done … leave us to pick up the shattered pieces of life to repair.

Poet’s Biography:

Chris Botragyi

Chris is 39 years old, and from Essex.  He has been published 19 times as a poet -13 of which in various anthologies such as ‘A Clock Strikes 13’ by Forward Poetry.  His main themes tend to run between horror, war, politics, Heaven and Hell or a blend of all four genres.

“The beauty of writing, for me personally, is the visualization of imagery that the words conjure,” says Chris. “The way a sentence can summon a picture of immense detail at will gives me great satisfaction.”

He has just finished writing a science-fiction/horror novel, which is garnering interest amongst publishers.  “The novel is a somewhat controversial piece that comes across as a blend between John W. Campbell and Erich Von Daniken,” he adds excitedly.  “If any inspiration is needed, then it flows from the chaos that engulfs the real world.”

Besides the novel, Chris would love to have a poetry anthology of his own work.

“A poetry anthology, published professionally, is still a goal that I would like to see side by side with my novel; after all, poetry is where I started. It has given me the foundations to progress and grow as a writer - something that I’m grateful for.”


Business in Mandalay

by   John Gallas

Bitten by a rogue Macaque, Kim-May

shook and sweated on her yellow bunk,

half-choked with monkey-phlegm half-spat, half-drunk,

that took her little, burning breath away.

I sang while aunts and uncles shuffled through

the bedroom.  Sunlight burned across the floor.

I waved my fan.  Around her wrist she wore

the useless charm I sold her: mud, bamboo

and feathers.  So did half the village.  Soon,

in someone’s arms, she coughed herself away.

I caught the midnight bus to Mandalay.

We bloom, we rot: so what if we should glean

a little bit of business in between.

Poet’s Biography:

John Gallas

John Gallas is a New Zealand poet published by Carcanet

and Cold Hub Press (NZ).

Latest books:

  • ‘Fresh Air & The Story of Molecule’ (Pubd. Carcanet)

  • ‘52 Euros’ (Pubd. Carcanet)

  • ‘Pacifictions’ (Pubd. Cold Hub)


how did it feel to shrug off a four day dead? (questions for lazarus)

by   Victor Perrotti

how did it feel to be robbed of your eternal reward?
what was it like to be suddenly ripped from heaven?
did you feel that god in his wisdom had made a mistake?
did you feel betrayed when you awakened on stone?
did you feel trapped in your old corpse?
how did it feel to get the blood pumping again?
were you disoriented times three?
were you dehydrated and famished?
were your bones as cold as the cave you laid in?
were you as white as the burial cloth that bound you?
how did it feel to move limbs stiff as tree trunks?
were your retinas burned by the sunlight that flooded rigid pupils?
did you scrape off the mold, casting a green complexion?
did anger slowly seep into your jump-started brain?
did death linger in your foul breath as you cursed god?
what did you learn, from your abrupt departure of (spirit) paradise?
did you eventually become happy with the thought of a second chance?
or did you feel cursed with the thought of blowing your second chance?
were you as frightened of living, as we are of dying?

Poet’s Biography:

Victor Perrotti

Victor Perrotti is a husband and father of three children.  He is currently a resident of Virginia (Hampton Roads Area).  In his limited free time, he enjoys photography, web design, home-brewing, cycling, surfing, writing poetry, reading, and drawing.

He holds a Bachelor of Science from Old Dominion University and a Master of Education from The College of William and Mary.

A teacher and student, Victor has spent his career teaching and learning from students with disabilities.



by   Margaret Vos

My lie is smooth and hard

like an egg made of agate

veined with poison

highly polished and cold,

like sweet grapes frozen on the vine,

perfectly formed as a scattering of mercury.

When I deliver it into your willing ear

I am amazed to see it transform

to a burning beetle, a burrowing worm,

a tender piece of destruction.

Poet’s Biography:

Margaret Vos

Margaret Vos lives in southeast London where she enjoys

continuing inspiration for her poetry.

The intersection of rural and urban provides a never-ending

source of topics for dark poems, even if they don't involve



Mind Ball Roll

by   Bryony Jagger

There are burns burning fire into the flesh,

blistering the unsuspecting soft skin,

but the I feels nothing.

There are walls of brutal solidity

ferocious that snap finger ligaments

for fun but aren’t noticed.

There are falls that throw the body into

battering, bruising, breaking hurt and pain.

Yes.  The I observes it.

There’s assault that knocks the I unconscious

and brands it with the writhing contortions

of squirming concussion.

“Ha!  Do your worst!  Do you think that hurts?”  The I laughs.

            “No physical pain can start to scratch the surface

              of the scream sheer steel ball of stifling emotional

pain in which I’m caught, curled, crimped & crisped, chopped & chipped,


on deceit’s slow smoky choking embers,

carefully rolled and basted with love’s juice

until soft golden hot

and tender finger-licking good, ready

for torture: the tearing of burnt wings,

the taunting fork’s assault,

the carving knife’s slicing slices of breast

as it drives through flesh to find and dice this

vulnerable broken heart

over and over.  No.  There’s no escape

from the pain of splattered fragments of heart

trapped in the terror of

this mad mind ball’s merry-go-round of consciousness.

            Why should these pain bespattered fragments care about

            some little scratch on the external body in

which they’re all trapped for continuous torture?  Hell!


The whole thing explode!”

Poet’s Biography:

Bryony Jagger

Bryony Jagger was born in Manchester, schooled in London, and studied

Moral Sciences and Music at Murray Edwards College (then known as

‘New Hall’) Cambridge University.

She settled in Auckland, New Zealand in 1975 where she has lived ever since.

She is a composer, poet and novelist. 

She has had poems published in England, the USA and New Zealand, and

has had 31 poetry Collections published in New Zealand.

‘Mind Ball Roll’ reflects on experiences after a head injury she suffered

in 1999.


Summer Meadow

by   Sue Gerrard

Green wet grass

Caresses my feet and

Birds sing sweet songs.

It is a pretty summer meadow

Where winter wrongs

Have been put right.

A sunny Sunday evening;

Peace at last but

Suddenly the air turns chill

And a shadow stretches out

And darkness falls

Across my back.

I need to run but

Green wet grass caresses

No longer but in a slimy grip

It manacles my ankles and

Holds my feet fast as

The scarecrow approaches.

Poet’s Biography:

Sue Gerrard

Sue Gerrard is an award winning poet having won a number of national

poetry competitions.  Her work has been published in more than

70 national anthologies.  She has published seven collections of

poetry, two local history books, a ghost story collection:

‘Tales by the Fireside’ - and a ghost/mystery novella: ‘Incognito’.

Sue specialises in ghost poetry and stories many of which have

been broadcast on Radio Merseyside and Radio Hallam. 

She takes local stories and legends and writes ghost poetry

and short stories about them and together with a factual section,

turns them into books.

Her latest book ‘The Mysteries of Crank Caverns’ deals with

tales of vicious dwarfs and secret tunnels in a disused stone quarry. 

This will be published in September 2014 and is priced £4.00.

                        Sue has read at many festivals throughout the country including

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Warrington Festival and read

at The Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester.

She does regular ghost story/poetry readings and regards

Halloween as one of her busiest times of year for readings!

                        She is shortly to become the ‘Poet-in-Residence’ for

Victoria Park, St. Helens, a beautiful Victorian Park which has just been renovated thanks to a Lottery Grant.

Sue is a Creative Writing Tutor and Journalist and is proud to be

featured in The Poetry Box & Horror Poetry Magazine.

For further details of Sue’s books and readings:


Or visit her website:


Nightmare Fairies

by   Caroline Simpson

Nightmare fairies weaving their spells, making every night time a living hell

Twisting and turning they weave and sin, letting insecurities and the bad dreams in

Dreams of death and dreams of pain, they weave and work the dark into your brain

The nightmares like worms crawl and slither, your dreams are horrors which make you shiver

They spew wicked thoughts over you like yellow bile, hijacking your mind a while

Turning the beat of your heart into a murderous urge, singing songs of perversion in your ear

Songs that only your mind can hear

Your brain is like a beautiful flower with no choice but to wither

Wither to blackness and a smell so stale, petals so cold

They laugh with glee as they use their talons

needles of air to inject their evil, their desires and wants flooding your body

Your thoughts are no longer yours in the night

The nightmare fairies turn flowers to daggers beautiful landscapes to burning fire and ash

dreams of birth into dreams of loss and love into seething hate

The nightmare fairies are a thousand ants crawling within your brain cells

Turning happiness into sadness forgiveness to revenge

Turns angels into punishers, dream hugs into bloody punches

Your mind is raped as the moonlight shines on, dreams of nonconsensual sex it hurts  

Stirring trouble they cling and bite there’s no escape for you tonight

No rosary can save you no cross or garlic by your bed

From these creepy demons nesting in your head

The day you laugh during the night you cry you’ll sweat with fear and not know why ...

You wake in the night and your mouth is raw and dry from calling for help that none can hear

You go back to sleep they make your spirit die, unless you hide deep within your mind

And remember the fae are not of this world and not of our kind.


Dear Dracula

by  Raven Gothic

Hey Dracula

do you exist

hiding out

on moor in mist

Does your ship sail

on ghostly sea

drop your anchor

at Whitby

Does the abbey

still inspire

sticks and stones

a burning fire

Only stone that

now stands still

on a cliff

up a hill

Dark shadows

do appear

people run around

in fear

The village girls

do shout and scream

as in bed

they sleep and dream

Of a dark figure

from the night

with eyes burning

burning bright

It’s a tale 

that is told

from years ago

when time was old

Do you haunt

and do you drift


do you still exist?

Poet’s Biography:

Raven Gothic

Sian Walker (Pen-Name: ‘Raven Gothic’) is a 31 year old Poet from West Wales.

She started writing Poetry in 2012.

She loves all things Gothic and her Poetry for this competition was inspired

by a trip to Whitby.

She runs her own Poetry group, was leading Poet in the

Women’s Celtic Festival in 2013, and would one day like to read her work

at The Hay festival.


Ghost City

by   Riff Poynton

The empty city looks, as always,

Silver in the clear moonlight

But bone white in the glare

Of relentless sun,

Enigmatic in the dark,

Soulless in the sun.

Sheer cliff falls of concrete

And the opaque glisten of glass

Frozen in the tumble to the floor.

This place would be impressive

If even a gull would wing its way here

But nothing alive ever came this way

It is unlikely that it ever will.

Imagine roads never used, pristine,

Park footpaths permanently new, smooth,

Redundant vacant streets are always clean

No dust falls here, no leaves, no litter,

No cries or calls.

Empty spaces slowly fill with stagnant air

Doors and windows permanently closed

With un-use that is timeless.

A city without even echo.

If this is a cemetery, where are the bodies?

There are no headstones

For those that never existed.

Do shadows form and shift

Like drunken clock faces

As the daily city spins

Unnoticed under the sun?


The inscriptions on the nameless statues

Will never be read,

This rock man on a horse

May as well be a sphinx,

Not even lichen crawls across

The eyeless face.


No ear will ever hear

What the cold wind said

Humming through the canyons of folly.

Purposeless city, or purpose unknown,

Perfect in every way.

It stands.  Well let it stand,

A somehow monument to us,

Unknown, always unknowing,

Dream, nightmare, subconscious.