Jane Ayres

these shiny gifts

we always tell stories
things that shine
                         – allure –
              a lure for
those who
let daydreams be poems
& poems         daydreams


you were
lilac and yellow freesias
warm sugared milk 
maternal love

estuary whispers 

there are years of wasps
& years of
but most of the time
life stings

unleashing shadows

the consultant said a shadow was showing on the scan
                             try not to worry
we tried           
but once the words were out   
veiled darkness began seeping 
growing greedy 
birthing shadow spawn & we knew      
from now on   
there would always be shadows

a moment

sitting with grief that twists   
I pause   
             -   a sip of strong coffee   
             -   a bite of whisky-infused chocolate    
             (redundant birthday gift)    
you are still here   
& I am    


New life    

We can keep trying, he says. We won’t give up.
She washes freshly red-spotted sheets, pegs them on the line, listens to the merciless wind smothering hope. Later, she dreams about finding a sparrow’s nest in the hedge, hears hungry soft-feathered downy babies crying to be fed.  But when she looks again, they have disappeared.
We can keep trying, she says. We won’t give up. 


UK-based writer Jane Ayres completed a Creative Writing MA at the University of Kent in 2019 aged 57. She has work in Dissonance, Confluence, Lighthouse, Streetcake, The North, The Poetry Village, Door is a Jar, Kissing Dynamite, (mac)ro(mic), Versification, Crow & Cross Keys, Ample Remains, Sledgehammer, and The Forge. This is Jane’s first feature on The Short of It.



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Reblogs – Sadje & David Guerrieri

The lament of letting people, precious or otherwise, down—humanity’s consistent occurrence. In pain, we continue to pass on agony, and alone we grieve.

Anguish by Sadje

A sharp pain I felt 
Like a dagger plunged 
Deep into my heart 
The anguish, the agony unbearable 
I teetered, held out my hand for support 
It met empty air……… 
There was no one there 
To hold my hand, to console 
This aloneness has taught me a lot 
A valuable lesson to rely 
Only on myself and myself alone 
The pain still hurts sometimes 
But the anguish has died down 
My courage has lulled it to sleep

What have we done? by David Guerrieri 

I am not quite sure exactly what 
Some parents expect of their children 
In terms of success and failure 
Because of course each individual is unique 
In their own belief system developed through life 
Though I do know exactly what 
Some middle-aged men and women 
Expect of their parent’s, which is 
Love and Understanding that 
Love and Understanding means more to them 
Than any award or prize, delusions of wealth 
And superfluous measures of success 
Handed down from Great-Grandfather to Grandfather 
Then Father to Son who’s soul purpose it often seems 
Is to belittle the latter, like some draconian wheel 
Turning itself in circles, only to cause 
An endless cycle of fear and inferiority 
Leading nowhere fast, leading nowhere good 
On an endless road of resentment and ill worth. 
And we don’t ask for this. We are born to this. 
We are flesh and bone 
Fueled by the imperfections of our father’s 
Father’s, father’s son 
Who one day will understand he did nothing wrong 
Oh Mother, dear mother 
What have we done? 

Candice Louisa Daquin

Exulted Flay  

Here the sound of water being circled in machine, washing clean, our plates scraped raw in delight
Here the rustle
of forms, out of focus, lying together with fright
How in
intimacies stitch they need speak no words to convey
A joy as deep
in lasting satiate turning on exulted flay
Here our
mortal coil resolves its eternal ache to meet
A place of
sanctuary for those who wander, must also find their sleep
It’s only
pain daughter
Okay let’s
bring in the shame, have a good look, make it your friend, blaze and fall loose
on dancing hooks
We can’t bear
the suffering so watch the flames die down, to slender remembrances all in a
row, we are golden and then we are dull

Relinquished habits 

Deep below the earth
I might have found you
Climbing from stalagmites
Brushed in clay
There’s a cost for
Relinquished habits
Bowing in bad weather


In the storm
they said goodbye
as car alarms
faltered, testily bleating resentment for torrent
she said; I cannot control anything
her palms up in supplication
as willow
trees, burdened with rain, lowered
growing more sorrowful
white leaves
bleached by last week’s sun
run like
blind mice down street edges heading for

it wasn’t far
from how they felt
saying goodbye
in storm
furiously battling
anyone’s will

Entirety 1

How many
turns of moon, shifts of sea, change of seasons, will pass in glassy dance,
before my empty arms, and untouched skin, shall feel again your weight, your
breath, your familiar smell and warmth, coming into me like returning electricity

shaken loose and firing, starburst over naked souls

How long
before I forget to notice I am waiting, my arms wilted in devout, my breasts
hollow with doubt, there is only time, ticking down in unwilling reminder, you
are gone, you are not here, this body will grow old before it ceases waiting,

the longing remaining like poisoned quill stuck in jugular

Entirety 2

You own me in obsession, I am your slave, I do not exist but when you cast your net wide enough to absorb me into you, this place of belonging, so unwilling and natural, we tumble, we pinch and curl, like hungry spirits, biting life from each other in starving steam of longing, casting fire into water

If you never
come back, I will be like those burnt silhouettes of humans, fallen back
against stick, crushed into waiting stance, faceless, without motion, without
life, a straw effigy of a person who is no more, running after you in her young

lean chase, she knows if she does not catch, her entirety will erase


Never had a
Never had a
Never took an
Never walked
the Stage
Though I
I kept promises
Bon coeur ne peut mentir

Sometimes we don’t
rinse clean through
conventional means
We who are
unbaptized, undocumented
We who skirt
parameters, still paying attention
Hold out
unconventional hands
Bible, without Watchtower, without Torah
in swag of
secret climb, unable to reveal how
we get high
enough to save from drowning


But moon

You remind me

Ghosts are
not alive

And pain

Will fade in

You are whole

Then a sliver


Blind in

To return

Bright And



I will


Be like



Candice Louisa Daquin is a Psychotherapist. She also edits and writes. Daquin was editor of SMITTEN: This Is What Love Looks Like, an anthology of queer female poetry. Inclusiveness and kindness are her mantras. www.thefeatheredsleep.com You can find much of the work she has been involved with or written herself HERE. Also, her poetry has been reblogged on I Write Her many times HERE. I’m a fan! ❤ This is her first debut on The Short of It.


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click here for the submissions guidelines.


I’m Listening

but not understanding

slowly grasping
ever learning
baby steps

following direction
developing a stride

selective hearing
going your own way
breaking free

wisdom lands
solid choices made
good outcomes

mechanical tuning
fainter signals
but smiles can be heard

the universe calls for me…

Life’s Journey

Inspired by Eugenia’s Weekly Prompt – Jubilant

as we weave towards our end
rushing insanely
the bends slow us down

moments of floating
pleasurable and relaxing
harnessing our strength

the undertow
at times
sucking us down

yet jubilant moments
keep us bobbing
on the river of life

time trickles to near stop
and the river bed dries to dust
as we weave towards our end

Making Strides

Inspired by Eugenia’s Weekly Prompt – Summit

with conviction i rise
placing one steady foot in front of the other
precariousness produces a few stumbles
here and there
yet my outlook remains filled with hope
the drive to reach the summit
ever present
with courage and perseverance
and focused stealth
i reach my destination

the air is thin at the top
but worth the fall
until new goals emerge