Archives for category: H2OH


He leaned quiet to watch what he could see;
chary, he stood, peered out the window pane
toward the old pear orchard at the pair
of them, sitting close where they had been sent

to speak about what writhes within a scent,
which churns like waves inside a stormy sea.
Their need was to forget, set free that pain
hanging on a branch like a single pear

left behind for the knife of grief to pare
away carefully that loss, sorrow sent
like a crush of waves from a roaring sea.
Their silence glued him to the window’s pane;

he knows the globed obstacle of their pain
that harvest both their weary hearts. The pair
of them need to realize their feelings sent
to find what is reaped inside what they see

lost in that rooms silence that grips the pair—
the pain of their child’s death is all they see.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I chose a form I invented called a quatratina modeled after a sestina which uses repeated words at the ends of the lines. Instead of sestets with and envoy of a tercet; my form is written in quatrains with envoy of a couplet. The use of repeated words along with the use of sounds is use in the homonyms on the ends of the lines of the poem written in 10 syllable lines. Form as follows. From: A Quatratina: 4 quatrains and a couplet-envoy/ 18 lines (invented by RH Peat) word scheme: ABCD // DABC // CDAB // BCDA envoy (DC // BA)  or  (CB // AD)  10 syllabic meter.My identity word sounds: (see/ pain/ pair/ sent) with the use of homonyms in exchange for words as the same sound. Much like a sestina.

IMAGE: “There Is a World Outside” by Priska Wettstein. Prints available at

Ron 952014

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: RH PEAT is a 72-year-old California poet who has been published in the USA, New Zealand, India, and Japan. He’s taught workshops and read his work on radio & TV. He’s been listed in the top 100 in Writer’s Digest Annual Poetry Competition on several occasions. He’s operated poetry readings sponsored by Poets & Writers Magazine in Auburn, California.

Birthday Afternoon at the Chesapeake Trailer Park
by Tobi Cogswell

Bare toes with ballerina-pink polish scrunched tightly
in the cool soft dirt outside the double-wide.
She blew out the candles on her cake,
set up on a card table outside in the summer air.

Contrails connected clouds hanging in the blue sky
as puffy as icing, shadowing the ground. A Leo,
she was used to these outside summer celebrations—
the shy part of her cringed every moment.

You’re a year older now, what is your wish? asked formal
Mr. Lowe from across the way. Poor Mr. Lowe,
himself hitting a new low because of a wife who took him
for all, leaving him to pick himself up at the Chesapeake.

How could she tell him her wish was to be left alone?
She pushed back her hair, looked at her mother’s
friends trying to pretend her a nice day, even Mona
with the ever-present menthols who blew smoke in her face,

said I have everything I want. For a moment she even
believed. Her supposed contentment blessed her mother,
the friends, poor Mr. Lowe, even the Manager.
That was the day she learned power…

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: In “Birthday Afternoon at the Chesapeake Trailer Park,” there are several sets of homophones: Blew and Blue, Lowe and low, you’re and your. I woke up from an afternoon nap with the title, and wrote the poem. This is rare for me. I usually write the poem first, then struggle for a title.

IMAGE: “The Birthday Cake” by Le Pho (1975).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tobi Cogswell is a four-time Pushcart nominee and a Best of the Net nominee. Credits include or are forthcoming in various journals in the US, UK, Sweden, and Australia. In 2012 and 2013 she was short-listed for the Fermoy International Poetry Festival. In 2013 she received Honorable Mention for the Rachel Sherwood Poetry Prize. Her sixth and latest chapbook is Lapses & Absences, (Blue Horse Press). Her seventh chapbook, The Coincidence of Castles is available from Glass Lyre Press. She is the co-editor of San Pedro River Review (

Filled with Gaps
by Nour O. El Borno

A hole in my heart makes it whole again:
Two holes instead of one fill the stuffed
Corners with gaps.
It makes it easier for blood to run
Instead of no room for it to roam:
From a cell to another,
From a prison to the next.
It floats inside like a flat
Floating on a third floor
In a twenty-storey building
Full of stories, too.
One about loss, the other about finding
And a third missing as the person is gone as well.
The will of creating harmony between
My red cells and white ones
I find myself taking no side
As I have lost some inside
Due to the stuffed corners
Which were filled with gaps.
It’s not easy to survive
Nor is it easy to stay alive
Or live.
Survive; alive;
Live broadcast from the heart:
Run before there’s no place to hide.
Here are some tips to hear before
You go to the wild:
Wild animals can be shaped like pets;
So close to you and great at thefts;
So dear to your heart
And hurt you best.
Fear the squirrels not the bears
For bears can be seen: so slow, so big.
Yet the squirrels can run: so fast, so small.
Hide above a tree and you fall,
Behind it and you’re exposed,
Beneath it and you’re gone for good.
It’s good to stand before it and fight;
If then you end up beneath it,
You wouldn’t have left for nothing
Thus your grave will lift a legend
Not just a passing myth.
You will have lived and died
Not just died and once again died.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Nour O. El Borno is a senior English literature student at the Islamic University of Gaza in Palestine. She has been writing English poetry since she was 11 years old. She won the first prize in a local poetry contest when she was 16 and few of her poems are published in a book Remember Us. She has always loved poetry and has always regarded it as a part of her identity.

IMAGE: “The Heart” (detail) by Henri Matisse (1943).

Like an old lovely pear
by Mathias Jansson

Homophones are not homophobes
They are words that like each either
They have a common sound sole
Sorry I meant of course sound soul
They are like an old lovely pear
Or perhaps it should be spelled pair?
Like when you complain about your girl’s watch
That has a loud annoying tic
And she slaps you in the face
Because she thought you said thick
Or when you order mousse for dessert
And they bring you a piece of moose instead
Life is never easy with words sounding the same
And have a different meaning of what you say
When people hear your explanation
I had a blew moved because of the morning
And you really tried to say
I had a blue mood because of the mourning
You can only reply with a sine
People only here what they want to reed

IMAGE: “Two Yellow Pears on Folded Linen” by Carol Leigh. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mathias Jansson is a Swedish art critic and poet. He has contributed with visual poetry to magazines such as Lex-ICON, Anatematiskpress, Quarter After #4, and Maintenant 8: A Journal of Contemporary Dada. He has also published a chapbook at this is visual poetry and contributed with erasure poetry to anthologies from Silver Birch Press. Visit him at, or his author’s page at

by Suzanne O’Connell

I thought hymns
and hems
were the same.
I pictured God
bent underneath
the table lamp,
holding his needle
and thread,
stitching up
those beautiful chords,
the ones
that shook the walls
of the church
every Sunday.
I pictured God
stitching his perfect
overcast stitches,
to hem the trees
and rivers
and mountains
of the world,
so they wouldn’t trip.

SOURCE: Originally published in The Willow Review.

IMAGE: “Stone City, Iowa” by Grant Wood (1930).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Suzanne O’Connell lives in Los Angeles where she is a poet and a clinical social worker. Her work can be found in Forge, Atlanta Review, Blue Lake Review, G.W. Review, Reed Magazine, Permafrost, Mas Tequila Review, The Round, The Griffin, Sanskrit, Foliate Oak, Talking River, Organs of Vision and Speech Literary Magazine, Willow Review, The Tower Journal, Thin Air Magazine, Fre&d, The Manhattanville Review, poeticdiversity, The Evansville Review, Serving House Journal, Silver Birch Press, Schuylkill Valley Journal, and Licking River Review. She was a recipient of Willow Review’s annual award for 2014 for the poem “Purple Summers.” She is a member of Jack Grapes’ L.A. Poets and Writers Collective.

dancing in the rain
by Ricki Mandeville

The city’s drenched, slow roll of wet wheels,
wiper-click metering the downpour.
Cabbie pulls over near the theater
to pick up a fare, careful not to splash
her legs—long dancer’s legs, likely just
a small role, though she’ll make a splash some day,
blonde as sun, big Broadway eyes, and those legs.
It’s not fair, he thinks, easing his yellow
bucket of dents to a stop, watching her
slide inside like a ballerina,
making scarcely a dent in the flat nap
of the backseat. She tells him the address.
He eyes her in the rearview. She doesn’t notice.
Poor hack. It rains harder. Fogged glass. Those legs.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Unless I count the fragments of poetry I write in my head, I don’t follow the common advice to “write every day.” But my muse, when she knocks, pounds hard, and I must answer. This poem came knocking in response to a suggestion by the poet Tobi Cogswell that I try writing a poem incorporating homonyms and homophones, per the Silver Birch submission call. This poem contains 6 pairs. I left my holiday breakfast untouched to write it. It seemed the right thing to do.

IMAGE: “Dancing in the Rain II” by Kathryn Trotter. Reproductions available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ricki Mandeville’s poems have appeared or will soon appear in Comstock Review, San Pedro River Review, Pea River Journal, Texas Poetry Calendar 2014 & 15, Penumbra and other journals and anthologies. She is a cofounder and consulting editor of Moon Tide Press and the author of A Thin Strand of Lights (Moon Tide Press). A speaker for various literary events, she lives near the ocean in Huntington Beach, California.

by Gabby Tyrrell

People with flares with or without flair
in pairs — trim bodies for people who eat pears.

These trends come and go
as we all know
thirty years that slip by
as their wearers men and women leave
bye they say.

Savvy women hold onto these flares
to pass on like sacred presents to daughters,
and nieces.

Pass on by to past times when maxis
reigned and flares and denim
now they are back.

Give the young some slack
as maxis flairs and maxis reign.

IMAGE: “Flares” by Tim Graham. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Gabby Tyrrell has had five books printed by the New River Project and has been published in over 150 publications in the UK, including Poetry Cornwall and Inclement. She has done a collaborative project with (New York), writing poetry in response to paintings, and the Heart Anthology USA. She is a performer/writer who has performed at 800 venues, including ICA (London).


by Munia Khan

It was in my fairytale nightmare
I was floating on a ferry
oddly enough, the ferry had a tail
It was going slow, I felt bored on board
I met the Knight of night; he was here
to hear the hymn I dedicated to him

He’d be happier to not pay any heed
to whatever deed I did in a stormy night
When he was dying, I was busy dyeing my hair
I thought the thunder and lightning
would be lightening my hair’s color
During the night if I could change my look
he would love it, I believed

Yet nothing worked right in my nightmares
I allowed him to curse at me aloud
My sorrows swelled bigger in size
so did my sighs…nevertheless,
I began writing a rhyme for him about
how I was covered with rime in a freezer
that night, I was almost dead.

Next morning I thanked the Lord
because while I was mourning, the sun had shone
with all its rays to raise hope in me
yet nothing was shown as proof of love.
The dark blue sky blew my peace away
with a striking piece of a new thunderbolt

I knew the hole created by the stormy strokes
could change the whole scenario, I dreamed
I conquered our hearts concord
believing all the hours were ours
I was wrong to imagine I could steal a heart of steel

I tied my soul to the tide of the sea
to see if my death bell was tolled by the whale
since I was told to wail.
He wished to create a son of the sun
I needed to know if he could ever say no
when I wanted to soar with him in my sore need

I really never soared, for he cut my dream-wings
with his treacherous sword. I heard he used to hire herd
to follow his flight when he flew higher in flu like a bird
I wanted to be a flea so that I could flee with him
I wanted to be a hare while he cut my hair;
yet did he even care?

I wish my heart would be in love with a hart
who could be my dear deer to be able to find
my fined plight, being in love with a human.
I felt like an ewe when he commanded me-
”You have to accept every torment I offer”; and I did except
for a very few which did vary from time to time

He pierced one eye of my pet crow, I recalled,
because it did cause him trouble with its serial caws
while it ate eight boxes of cereal from his breakfast table;
so the crow had to bear his bare torture.
His cruelty struck a chord with its vocal cord
making it a cheap bird to cheep alone

He forced it to drink whey in a way
to weigh out the liquid flour from its stomach.
Right then I felt like a weed instead of a flower
thinking we’d never won one single wise mind
to explain the whys of our mined lives
which needed to be dug in while he called me a witch

I was desperate to pause myself to vanish my paws
as I had formally become a sorceress
who was formerly a naive poetess
I did exercise my spirituality
but he tried to faze every phase
in order to exorcise me.

I still owed him an ode, finally
which could’ve been finely written

But alas, the nightmare broke
when night rain began
to reign over the ferry;
yet the flair for poetry
continued to flare up

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem may look contrived for the sake of homophones, but I intentionally went overboard to make it a singsongy kind of nightmarish fun poem where I chiefly concentrated on playing with words.

IMAGE: “The Boat” by Odilon Redon (1897).

Munia Khan 2

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Munia Khan was born on a spring night of 15th March in the year 1981. She enjoys her journey to the literary world. Most of her works are poems of different genres. Her poetry is the reflection of her own life experience. She is a founding member of Poets & Artists For A different World Movement and also a member in The Poetry Society, UK. Her first poetry collection: Beyond the Vernal Mind, published in 2012 by Xlibris Corporation, USA. Her work has been translated into various languages: Japanese, Romanian, Urdu, and so on. Visit her at

During October and November 2014, the Silver Birch Press blog will feature poetry submissions from our H2OH Poetry Series (Homonyms & Homophones) and Mythic Poetry Series. We hope that changing it up each day will keep things lively.  If you’d like to submit, click the links for the H2OH Poetry Series and Mythic Poetry Series guidelines.

I recently wrote the word “weather” when I meant “whether” — and after a few moments of feeling dense, I decided to write a poem that featured both words. The experience gave me the idea for this call for submissions.

WHAT: Poems that feature homophones (words that sound alike but are spelled differently, e.g., flower and flour) and/or homonyms (words spelled the same, but have different meanings, e.g.,  fair price, or county fair).

WHEN: We’ll feature the poems on the Silver Birch Press blog during the H2OH Poetry Series from October 1-31, 2014.

HOW TO SUBMIT: Email up to three poems (give each a title) to as an MSWord attachment, along with your name, contact info, one-paragraph author’s bio (written in third person) , and any notes about your creative process or the words you chose. (Put all of this information in the MSWord document titled with your last name, e.g., Smith.docx or Jones.doc.)

DEADLINE: Friday, November 21, 2014