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David Ratcliffe

Barren Branch


A barren branch kisses the pane,

adding hollow percussion

to the dirge, I direct at the

loss of everything, casting shadows

on the walls of my filthy retreat.


The whistling wind erodes time

carrying me eagerly toward dawn;

the dank musty smell of neglect

replacing the fragile fragrance

of another time, another place.

Random creaks, constant ticks,

a rustle of brittle leaves merge,

removing the soft velvet voice

that once called my name

with fondness, now spent.


I lay here in shit, open my eyes,

try to picture a face in the murk,

lean to kiss what appears a sweet

neck, and inhale the reek of

stale sweat on my pillowcase.


Tap tapping continues as I cower

beneath grime into oblivion where

accusation beats my brow and

I sink into the mire, with just a book

of fairy tales at my side.



David Ratcliffe hails from the north of England. He writes poetry, short stories, song lyrics & stage plays (one of which Intervention is with a theatre company in London). He also paints in both watercolour and oils. He is a member of an online Zoom poetry group @WorldlyWorders and his poetry has been published in the following publications: Poetry Pacific Magazine, TRR Poetry, Sixteen Magazine, Mad Swirl Tulip Tree Review (Print Version) Oddball Magazine, Poem Hunter, THE BeZINE, Creative Talents Unleashed, Live Encounters @ The Galway Review.

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