Brownlow Road.

Home is this street of brown brick houses,
and a corner shop at the top of the grey tarmac road
where an old west Indian man sits outside with a smile
that blossoms at everything.

He called me Little Spring,
and I felt like a flower he talks to,
I never needed to answer with more
radiance than the day offers.

If I knew about his cancer,
my face would have
all the sympathy
that he did not need.

I wouldn't see him without wondering
how a man who knows he is dying could smile?

When I found out, he had already gone.

I miss him. But I saw how he kept
himself with me, how I visit my mum
and buy her milk from the shop
and think of him and how he saw a Little Spring,
and I am still here, the season
hasn't changed
this is still home.

RAY ANTROBUS.
Raymond Antrobus is a poet and photographer based in London.
raymondantrobus.blogspot.co.uk

The Holy Land.

Christ was born under Tinsley Viaduct -
why not? -
the Leopold being overbooked.

They dipped him in the silver waters
of the Don
until his little hands were forks.

Magi brought gifts from as far away
as Carnaby
and Goole: hair-straighteners,

a replica Louis Vuitton man-bag, a two-piece
snooker cue.
Herod's henchmen sought him out,

hoodies from Bethlehem, PA, but hidden
in a battered
velvet-lined guitar-case, our Saviour slept.

In his teenage years he underachieved
but showed
promise in team sports, especially lacrosse.

Pointing to the seven hills he proclaimed:
"There shall I
picnic, there shall I BMX, preach,

sip Special Brew at dusk, find a cure
for cancer
of the lung, walk the dog, and there

on a goalpost shall they nail-gun my palms
and feet."
He asked us, "Who is your Lord? Who's

the big fella around here? Into whose arms
shall you turn?"
We answered, "Thee. Thou. Thine."

SIMON ARMITAGE.
Simon Armitage is one of the leading contemporary poets in the UK. He has published numerous collections and won various literary prizes. He was appointed Professor of Poetry for The University of Sheffield in 2011.
simonarmitage.com

West Street Colossus.

Thor held one, but
he wields the power of
Three Hammers in his fist
now the bottle's empty.

A red beard bursts from coils
of broken blood vessels
on slick cheeks.

Shoulders
twitch away from people
people twitch away

he walks through the void in the street's
sea opening from his ribcage.

While sinking three litre elixirs
from Bargain Beers, the West Wind
singing on the bottleneck drops
from tin whistle
to foghorn.

He roars a response, chords
rich with loneliness resonate
on power lines that have
no place for Gods.

Exhaust fumes run from spirits,
lamps hung for Christmas
flicker with fear, but
by December he's gone
and it's me

stumbling across the street
eyes wide on a void erupting
from the badge on my chest marking 25 years.

The West Wind blows out
booming sousaphone bass

now my bottle's empty.

BEN DOREY.
Ben Dorey is an MA student on the University of Sheffield creative writing course.