AWOL Week #12.5 Responses

AWOL Week #12.5 Responses

The Task was to write something about Inhabitants, in response to a Yannos Ritsos poem titled ‘Three Storey House with Basement’:


The (Uninvited) Inhabitants   by Peter Marshall

The (Uninvited) Inhabitants

15th May:

first swift sweeps the air

through broiling clouds of greenfly –

cool sycamore shade. 

Now met up with its mate, screeching, flitting about the skies.  The wind is up, and waves lap high across the lochan.  Thirsty, but wary of a watery fate from scooping at the choppy waters, the couple set to hunting raindrops rather than dodging them.  Then, sweeping towards a pantile roof, spread of wings and down-thrust of tail brings the birds suddenly to a stop a bare claws-length from their remembered gap in the eaves which is thankfully unaltered since they last took their long fast flight to southern Africa nearly forty weeks ago when the daylight hours dropped to seventeen.  The nest they so lovingly put together from feathers and saliva and snatched mossy clumps now seems a bare skeleton of their memory.  This is thanks to the overwinter depredations of a writhe of carpet beetle larvae who ate all but the toughest strands.  They’re gone now, probably wriggled down through cracks in the old plaster ceiling to chew on the unwanted woollen scarves in traffic light colours thrust upon those poor attic dwelling students by devoted aunts determined to show their dedication to the cause of higher education through their hours of home knitting thrust at these fledgling learners in flurries of over-emotional farewells. 

The nest rebuilt; a pair of eggs laid.  The ked has clung for months between feathers, latched firm by clawed legs, awaiting this moment.  It survived on blood meals through each of those itchy preenings on the wing during the long trip to Africa and back.  Now, this opportunist bides time until the hatchlings emergence before producing young of its own to take their turns at supping upon the squirming pink chicks.  Meantime, a multitude of ticks probe at the softness amongst the leg-joints of the keds in microscopic unhurried circles of raised behinds.  And all the while, incessant, a hustle of noise, as of straw against straw, emerging alongside the crackles and clicks of wasp larvae demanding chunks of caterpillar and other insect meats; the merge of these sounds flowing through the papery walls of the wasp’s byke.  These persistent auditory performances can scarce compete with the clashes of noise rising from the attic rooms, incongruous vibrations, often all at once.  Scarce has this cacophony stopped in the early inebriated hours than the swifts shudder at the harsh monochrome rasping chatter of the dawn magpies on the roof-ridge.  The couple are only consoled by the scraping, twice a week, of a tune from a violin.

2020 06 14   Peter Marshall


  Saturday Evening at St Ethelred’s. by KLM

  Saturday Evening at St Ethelred’s.

            Sister Agnes irons the pristine white altar cloth.

            In the kitchen the postulant prepares plum chutney to sell after Mass.

            Fr Edmund hesitantly writes his homily to reflect today’s breaking news.

            Sister Mary Francis reverently polishes the chalice, the single red gem like a drop of blood.

            and Sister Theresa is praying to the saint whose name she chose.

            In her room, Sister Monica slowly opens the drawer of her bedside cabinet. 

            She lifts out a small glass flagon, empty now

                    and holds it to her thin chest. Her finger traces the label.

                    So many years now. 

                    Eyes closed, she gently removes the ground glass stopper

                            and whispers his name. The shadowy memories softly unfold

                            as she breathes in the faint traces of Chanel No 5.



The Concrete Slab over my Heart by Lotty

The Concrete Slab over my Heart

Finally I have buried my feelings for them, to make sure

they stay dead. I have metaphorically laid down a concrete slab

over the hole in my heart. Now I can grab the chance to move on; 

so that is what I must compel myself to do.


One has spent a lot of time by herself – me.

Yes, if I’m honest it does play havoc with my mental health,

but at the same time I keep my guard up

when I’m around people. But recently I have been rethinking this

because I might meet someone whom I cannot resist.

She will have to be someone very special, mind, to break

into pieces the concrete slab over my heart.

Trust me, that will be very hard to get past, that particular guard.

by Lotty 18th June 2020



Inhabitants Of A Different Kind   by elisheva katz

Inhabitants Of A Different Kind

She has a field full of butterflies, with a cottage made from chocolate cake, by the stormy, raging deep blue sea. She has a one eyed, wonky dog, with a limp when he walks. She is a wee striped lass, a wonky striped kick ass lass. They share their lives with wolves and horses, horses and wolves and grizzly bears that hug you warm. Wildflowers of roses, daffodils, snowdrops, bluebells are scattered all around. Birds fly above singing their songs of love and come night, the nightingales sing on the branches of a golden apple tree in bloom.


Now down the pebble path, there is an old rickety bridge that shakes when you walk across its wooden planks. This rickety bridge leads to an enormous old oak tree with an invisible door. If you are brave enough to believe in your dreams, it will open its door and take you to the place your heart longs to be. All you have to do is have faith to walk through its open door into another world.

Written by elisheva katz

June 2020



Dance Of The Starlings   by elisheva katz

Dance Of The Starlings 

Starling fallen out of sight

She turns her face away from her own reflection

Ashamed at what she has become

Silent prayers float from her lips

Pleading for mercy

Mercy for what she did not know


Above she can hear the song of murmuration

A thousand wings dancing in the sky

Breath taking beauty of freedom in flight

Each powerful in their own right 

Once this was also true of her

Until somehow her wings became weak and broke


Years they come and go, they go and come

A pattern that is repeated time and time again

Every sunset she tries to join them

But with every attempt she falls back into herself

Weaker becomes her body and mind 

Until no longer can she find the strength to hope 


Long forgotten she stagnates in the pit

What the world cannot see, the world does not care for

All around she can hear life, as she withers and dies

Yet everyday the sun still rises in oranges and golds

She still feels the warmth of sun’s rays upon her skin

For now, it is enough to keep her alive


Written by elisheva katz

June 14th 2020



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