Story and Poem of the Month

Our Story and Poem of the Month for February have very kindly been chosen by marandina:



Spring is in the air, winter now behind us after a tricky few months for many, what with the cost of living crisis, the ongoing war in Ukraine and other issues at home and abroad. A bright ball of sun in a blue sky remains the writing oasis at It was lovely to be asked back to choose the monthly picks for February. It meant I could masquerade as an editor of sorts for a time. I binge-read content on the site for 28 days. I can honestly say that I have read every single poem and story as I am sure everyone else does when tasked with something like this. Choosing was harder than ever….


So to the poetry category.

With reading so many poems I ended up with the following honourable mentions.

Ewan for his thought provoking reflections of the sunlit uplands of his home town in “Our Town”

Skinner_jennifer for her wondrous reverie and homage to nature through “The Secrets of a Green Man”

Di_Hard’s powerful “two paths”, an evocation of nature and its underbelly

socialeaf’s beautiful, philosophical, beguiling poem “Us”

kilb50’s wonderfully evocative images of the South West in “Exeter to Teignmouth, Off Peak Day Return” – a train we all wish we could ride

and yutka’s enigmatic, beatific veneration of birds “Different to Caged Birds”

It was hard to pick a Poem of the Month but, in the end, the one that I enjoyed more than any other was “The Shadow of Birds” by onemorething. Dark, foreboding, steeped in folklore and with an underlying sadness, this poem tells a story of those who were misunderstood and wronged in such an eloquent way. It is my Poem of the Month.


And now to the story category. 

Honourable mentions to:

celticman with a wistful tale of marriage and misadventure in Afghanistan “British Bulldog”

TJW for his searing story “The “R” Word” of a crime that sit in the shadows of armed forces

Mark Burrows with “night of the armed siege”, a stripped back tale of a child dealing with trauma

Mitchell Jamal Franco for his sci-fi tale “HOMESTEAD” of technological advancement and impacted emotions set on Mars

Sean McNulty with his mercurial, quirky and funny tale of a worrier “The Worry”

It was genuinely so difficult to choose a Story of the Month as it came to two stand-out pieces. I had to give it a lot of thought and reflection as I couldn’t choose both (I would if I could). Having re-read both several times, a close runner up was Mark Say with “Always on my Mind”. The level of technical skill with which this is written is exemplary and comes highly commended. It’s a story of assumption and coincidence that spans cultures.

In the end, I went with Luigi Pagano’s “The Lion’s Mouth (Part 1). This is historical fiction of the highest quality in a two-part story sent in 14th century Venice. I am a huge fan of the genre and currently reading Conn Iggulden’s “Lion” so Luigi’s work resonated with me. It’s meticulously detailed with a strong story arc that brings its characters vividly to life. Both parts are great!


Again, as always, it was such a pleasure to read such high quality material from so many people. The site continues to be a safe space for writers to develop and a fabulous community of like-minded yet wonderfully diverse writers.