Heatwave by Lyn Jennings

Taut as a crystal sheet

stretched across

the body of

the drowning land

the sea is mirage

in the shimmering haze

waves like the sighs

of a grieving widow

curdle softly up the beach

leaving a clean curve

in the dusty shingle,


sky cloudless,

as sun burns its way across

the fierce blue vastness,


at the edge of the sand

the necklace of huts

blisters in the heat,

flagstone patios

lolling like the tongues

of thirsty dogs,


pebbles cleaned.


Read this poem in full in Let me Tell You a Story and hear Lyn’s own narration by scanning a QR code on the page. Available from Lulu and Amazon.

Tears of Quang Tri by Nguyen Phan Que Mai

AFTER THE LAST American soldiers

had left Vietnam

and grass had grown

scars onto bomb craters,

I took some foreign friends to Quảng Trị,

once a fierce battlefield.


I was too young for the war

to crawl under my skin

so when I sat with my friends

at a roadside café, sipping tea,

enjoying the now-green landscape,

I didn’t know how to react

when a starkly naked

woman rushed towards us, howling.




Read this poem in full in Let me Tell You a Story and hear Que Mai’s own narration by scanning a QR code on the page. Available from Lulu and Amazon.

Nguyen Phan Que Mai delivered the International Women’s Day poem at the 2016 UN event.

A Soft Day by Anne O’Brien

“THE RAIN RUNS in muddy rivulets off the pile of earth beside his grave. No softening of the edges of this funeral. No fake grass discretely covers the mound, just a heap of mud, a pair of dirty spades, and two reluctant gravediggers in fluorescent jackets leaning against the neighbouring gravestone, silently willing us to move on so they can get the job done and head to the pub. Of course nothing will do the Ma but she has to wait until the last shovelful is put on. They pat down the soil with the backs of their spades as though they’re on a building site.
‘Don’t worry that it’s a bit high Missus. It’ll settle down grand in the next few weeks…’
Settle down on top of him and in time, when the wood rots and the earth seeps in, settle down until it kisses his face. I wish I’d kissed him now.
We place the wreaths on the grave as the rain buckets down,
‘Sincere condolences from all at Fahey’s.’ I tear the card off and stuff it my damp pocket before she sees it.”

Read on in ‘Let Me Tell You a Story’ where you can also hear Anne’s own narration by scanning a QR code. Available from Lulu and Amazon.



The Literary Pig roots out some Readalong answers

@TheLiteraryPig, aka Tracy Fells, was one of the first who agreed to have her work included in Let Me Tell You a Story when it wasn’t much more than a twitch of an idea. In her blog she asks the questions neither of us could even have framed in those early days and hopefully gets some answers. It starts with people facing eviction or criminal prosecution …






Tracy has an extensive catalogue of writing ‘hits’ and read her work regularly at West Sussex Writers. Her contributions include Tantric Twister, Wood, and Phoenix and Marilyn.