The Dragon

Jonathan Kennedy

The steam engine sat at the platform edge, smoke billowing from its nostrils. Up close a steam train is a curious thing: oily, dripping with moisture. The guard and fireman fussing around it as they get ready for the return journey. Alive in a way you can’t really grasp until you see one breathing before you.
The sun was high in the sky, shining brilliantly in the cold December air. I remember how our breath coiled before us as we walked up to the cab, trying to get closer to the warmth we knew squatted inside, out of sight. I remember my dad holding my hand firmly. I was five years old, tugging at his hand slightly, wanting to get closer to this strange creature. The adults smiled, pointed at my eager little face. A man in a blue boiler suit and a smudged, dirty complexion grinned at me.

“Want to see inside the cab, laddy?” Read More


Floating Fire

Layla Hendow

I have seen the sky burn black,

and shine in its heavy, blinding blackness.

I have heard the dull whispers of embers

as they fold themselves inwards,

collapse, grow weak,

and then silence.


But tonight the moon hangs above us,

suspended in the day and alive

like a silver coin on a broken chain. Read More

Shattering, on Fearsome Streets

Matthew Dunn

If he or she should walk, in a heated glare

With no fixed abode,

Without a care in the world sent in their direction,


– Alongside barred opportunities with unwritten signposts,

(“Addressless: We’ll ward you away!”),

And only the sound,

Of two footsteps sulking, seeping hope, with too much loneliness going spare– Read More

Fire and light: tracing the cinematic desire

Dan Owen

Man has long looked towards light, towards the glowing sun which is the giver of life, for many things – not least for artistic fulfilment. The primordial desire for the moving image which enchants so many of us in theatre houses around the world today is one which can be traced back through our history. Our cave-dwelling ancestors sought entertainment in a distinct form of proto-cinema that involved creating wonderful paintings on their cave walls which, by the light of a flickering fire within the cave, are animated into life. In his awe-inspiring 3D documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams, illustrious director Werner Herzog traces “the beginnings of the modern human soul” [1] to the Chauvet cave in the south of France where sophisticated drawings of mammoths, horses and lions hunting caught the imagination of early man. Read More


Chris Witter

In all the papers this week, one word: ‘Carbuncle’.


A: He, the young man carbuncular, arrives.

B: “Our towns are now under great pressure, with continued dissipation of resources and people fragmenting in our once close knit communities. None of this has gone unnoted.”

C: To Goneril (aside):

But yet thou art my flesh, my blood, my daughter,
Or rather a disease that’s in my flesh,
Which I must needs call mine. Thou art a boil,
A plague-sore, an embossed carbuncle,
In my corrupted blood. But I’ll not chide thee.
Let shame come when it will. Read More

What Is a Peacock Without Its Feathers?

Doyin Olaniyan

“I feel for the peacock. Upon all its pride, they have cut it all off. I can’t imagine a peacock without its feathers.”

Those were the words of my younger sister as I was dusting the peacock feathers in a vase in my room.

And it got me thinking. What is a peacock without its feathers? A crippled dog is still a loveable pet. A blind cow can still churn out milk. An old lion is still king of the jungle. A beakless chicken can still produce eggs. But what is a peacock without its feathers? Read More

Glow, Down, Die

Joshua Wilson

Under the star-pocked sky the people watch. Things – they are unsure what exactly they are made of – fly up into the blackness, and, in a moment of limbo, hang and wait. Then, triumphantly, they explode. Each fiery fizzle streaks down in a superb circle. A thousand eyes glitter huddled together against November’s air, then down the sparkles glow and fade and die. Read More