Sunday Monthly Writing Challenge

This month’s writing challenge features Cheryl Caesar with Marriage , John Grey with Autumn Affair and Jonathan Squirrell with A Good Story. Enjoy.


Marriage – Cheryl Caesar

Trees talk silently:
adjusting to branches, roots;
sharing water, sun.
There’s no way to know the shape
of a single tree

This poem was featured in Poetry Leaves, an anthology published by the Waterford Township Public Library. If you’d like to know more about Cheryl and her poetry you can visit her website.


Autumn Affair – John Grey

Wind blows from the north,
trees shed their turning leaves.
Grey clouds almost brush the tops
of oaks and elms.

Green and blue no longer
primary colours, night drains
day from both ends.

Raindrops establish a pattern,
no downpour, merely drizzle,
yet, I could live this season
year round, not cruel like winter
but a poet’s playground
within easy reach of my pen.


A Good Story

 Jonathan Squirrell

They’ve parked a turbine blade in Queen Victoria square. Something to do with City of Culture. Seventy-five metres of smooth whiteness, a giant piece of sci-fi detritus, like a memorial to fallen starship.

I don’t know if it that’s art, except in the sense that anything can be.

A feat of engineering could be called a sculpture, I suppose, but science can’t have all the fun. It has to work both ways. So, a poem can be a peer reviewed paper, a painting can be a map of the world, and a short story can appear on the periodic table.

Then there’s architecture, which might be the true marriage of art and engineering. Sitting amidst it all, between the golden gates of the Maritime Museum, the pale Corinthian columns of the Art Gallery, and the baroque pillars of City Hall, it’s hard not to admit that there’s something about that giant slice of windmill that really adds to the scene. I could sit here for hours. If it wasn’t winter, wet and freezing.

But some people don’t seem bothered at all.

‘This is the real culture in this city,’ says Nathan. At first, I think he’s talking about himself, shabby chic without the chic, busking for handfuls of change.

Then he nods at the two slackers sauntering under the blade’s shadow. Skinny jeans, sallow faces. Thin white arms, slurring self-confidence.

‘Alright mate,’ thick ‘Ull accent. ‘Merrt.’

Nathan, plucking and tightening a loose string, looks up.

‘Can you help us out? Me mate’s from Italy, he needs a tenner for a bus to the airport. He’s got his ticket and he needs to get back because his Mam’s in hospital. He’s been over here studying music but he has to get back. He’s got his plane ticket but he needs money for the bus. So we’re asking ten people to give us a quid each and we’ll have a tenner, and he can get home and see his Mam.’

He gestures to his mate, who looks about as Italian as a pattie buttie.

Without speaking, Nathan rummages in his guitar case for a handful of silver, carefully counts out a pound and hands it over.

‘Cheers mate, thanks a lot, appreciate it.’ And off they strut.

Nathan fiddles through a couple of chords. I glance up at the blade. Somehow it’s changed. Reminds me less of a Star Trek prop and more of a giant syringe, like god would discard if he was a junkie. Maybe that’s what art is. Our own perceptions.

Nathan shoulders his guitar and we meander on.

‘That was a waste of money,’ I say ‘They were obviously lying.’

‘Investment,’ murmurs Nathan, ‘Well worth a quid for a good story.’

We haven’t gone twenty steps further before we meet an old couple wandering back the other way.

‘Excuse me,’ says Nathan, sweet as you like, ‘Can you help us out? My mate is from Italy …’

If you liked Jonathan’s story you can find out more about him by visiting his website.

Would you like to see your story or poem published on the monthly writing challenge? If so check out the full guidelines and submit via the online form for consideration.

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