Three Drops from a Cauldron: Issue Two










Welcome to the very belated Issue Two of our Three Drops from a Cauldron web journal. I apologise for the two month hiatus, but I was very busy being unwell, having my baby daughter, moving house, and recovering from those things.

But we’re getting back on track now, and this issue features some great work by Lisa Kelly, Liùsaidh, A. Gouedard, Evie Worrall, Amoret BriarRose, Denny E. Marshall, Gareth Writer-Davies, Tim Dwyer, and Karen Barton.

Marking Time
Lisa Kelly

Cinders rubs the day into a deeper rut
and candle wax drips her nights away,

she dreams of her face streaked with smut
and sassy sisters with coal-black moles

who sip champagne from glass slippers
in twenty-four-hour tattoo parlours.


Lisa Kelly‘s pamphlet Bloodhound is published by Hearing Eye. She is a regular host of poetry evenings at the Torriano Meeting House, London and is studying for an MA in Creative Writing at Lancaster University. She is a Magma board member and co-edited issue 63.

The Sisters of Shallot

See, the Knight, he rides with jingling bridle,
Past the Isle. Our music like darkness, floating.
Soured lives, those second-hand sickening shadows
Reap in the black.

Who can say where that mournful carol passes?
She who reaps the starlight in robes of darkness,
Early come, to towering heights of madness,
Only She knows.

Webs we weave, in threads of wefting and warping,
Yarns we spin on looms of terrible yearning,
Cast in flight, the dread wings of bootblack ravens,
Crowing your doom.

Eyes of men don’t always see what should move them,
Ears of men are often deaf to the music,
Faced by sisters — women imprisoned in towers —
Gazing in glass.


Liùsaidh is a Forward Prize-nominated poet, author, and critic from the west of Scotland. Her narratives always carry a hint of the strange. Her work has recently appeared in Poets & War, The Ghazal Page, Eastern Structures, and Green Egg Magazine. As LJ McDowall, she edits The Quarterday Review. Find out more about her literary interests at and

Journey in Ancient Hills
A. Gouedard

The midwives pour milk and curd into wells,
with molten lead cures.
They bow to the moon,
mumbling magic.
The mountain hag is murdered
by trembling ghosts.

Naked infants, unknown,
with no names,
hear the night howl of dogs
predicting the omen days
of the one-eyed fish,
but no saviour remains.

Lost with my Otherworld lover,
we huddle with ravens
and brindled oxen
against the rain,
protected by trees
at the pre-historic hearth,
making offerings of pins and keys,
awaiting the reformation
and some incorruptible sign
of inseparable souls, at the last

(This is a found poem creating links to use words and phrases from two index pages from ‘Welsh Folk Lore and Folk Customs’ by Thomas Gwynn Jones)


A. Gouedard (born 1952), a Bard member of OBOD, writes poetry and fantasy and has a strong interest in Celtic mythology, fairy tales and the tradition of tales within tales. Books on Amazon include ‘The Raven and the Storyteller’ and ‘The Midnight Lamp of the Fairy Gathering.’ Further poetry can be found at

The Princess and the Pea
Evie Worrall

Nightmares flicker over the taut sliver of skin,
I watch as she twitches – her veins run electric blue
as if she carries lightning in her blood,
I think she does.
The fallout of a thousand thunderstorms that
remains sizzling under the surface,
she burns from the inside out.
Those split seconds of screwed eyes,
balled fists and repressed flashes
compress into a lump.
A tumour on the brain –
they said it was the size of a pea.

The Mermaid Leaves Her Lover
Amoret BriarRose

You once wondered how I stay afloat,
never questioning my iron feet, my riptide throat.
(I told you I’d swim us back to shore,
and I told you the depths were kind,
but I sing a siren wish-song, so of course, my love, I lied)

Here’s my little secret: in my ribcage lives an anchor
and it’s sinking toward survival, it’s been sinking all the while.
(I told you I’d swim us back to shore,
and I told you the depths were kind,
but I sing a siren wish-song, so of course, my love, I lied)

Girls like me don’t float, babe, and when waves foam black and high
the fathoms fit a bitter squeeze, a bruising lullaby.
(I told you I’d swim us back to shore,
and I told you the depths were kind,
but I sing a siren wish-song, so of course, my love, I lied)


Amoret BriarRose is an initiate of both Reclaiming and Anderson Feri witchcraft traditions and has been actively engaging with mystery since 2000. Poetry, divination, silence and good coffee – Amoret loves the little magics of the every day. It is her calling and privilege to help others step into wonder and reverence.

Small Feet
Denny E. Marshall

Jonathan is out camping, his third day in the great outdoors. A few friends went to the lake to go boating and his best friends Ted & Mike went fishing. Jonathan stayed behind to watch the campsite.

He is sitting by the campfire having coffee when he sees a large furry creature appear. Jonathan froze with fear. The creature points down at the coffee pot. Surprised Jonathan invites the beast to join him for coffee.

Although the creature is large, Jonathan noticed the creature feet are small. Size eight at the most. “Why do they call you Bigfoot?” Jonathan asks.


Denny E. Marshall has had art, poetry, & fiction published, some recently. One recent is poetry at Illumen Spring 2016. See more at

At the Tower
A. Gouedard

Over heights in turning winds that sweep the hills where gorse and broom, in golden banks, flowered amongst the thorns,

running on long legs he came, flying from the west, in rags, at sun sink hour

His coat tails torn, flapped and flew,

his hair dishevelled knots of midnight hue,

he called the dark of thunder in, he made the lightning sing.

He cleared the earth and fed the grain

with rolling storms, falling in torrential rain, washing dust away

and in his wake, the ravens came

their feathers tossed and ruffled wild, their cawing cries split the sky, calling up deep days and shallow graves.

They circle high above the Tower and cry for Bran’s return, to prophecy a wink in Odin’s eye, a star that heralds dawn

Now all is quiet, all is still, this is not the time, this is not the hour. There is no awakening yet.

We can only wonder here and wait.

The Spoils of Annfwn
Gareth Writer-Davies

like the many headed dragons of myth
stories flag

the beer nights
when wanton siege was made

the fiery breath of greed
(you were sleeping)

loaded the palfrey

stuffed our sacks
with chickens and gold

gave up our bones
to the cauldron

we seven returned

like wasps in our ears


Gareth Writer-Davies was Commended in the Prole Laureate Competition in 2015, Specially Commended in the Welsh Poetry Competition and Highly Commended in the Sherborne Open Poetry Competition. Shortlisted for the Bridport Prize and the Erbacce Prize in 2014. His pamphlet “Bodies”, was published in 2015  through Indigo Dreams.

Tim Dwyer

+++++++++++++Late August

A flock of geese
flies south-west
while the first yellow leaves
appear on the sumac trees,

pioneer trees that grow anywhere-
through the concrete behind
my boyhood apartment,
by the fence around the industrial park,
in the shattered glass and dirt
along the factory avenue.

The old tribes would steep
the red berry clusters
in spring water,
to create a healing drink.

These trees were overlooked
as we ventured into the wide world.
Old friends are long gone,
but the sumac will be there
for my weary return.


(previously published in the online journal Burning Bush)

Tim Dwyer’s recent book is: Smithy Of Our Longing: Poems From The Irish Diaspora (Lapwing Publications, 2015)His poems have appeared in journals including Boyne Berries, Cork Literary Review, The Stinging Fly and Stony Thursday Book.  His parents were from East Galway and he currently lives in Stamford, Connecticut.

Daughter Mandragora
Karen Barton

Do not hear
the fearful screams
as the gnarly root rips
from its black bed
of musked, moist, soil.

Do not smell
the sweat-sharp tang
from twisted tuber limbs
seeping tannins of
sorcerers’ hallucinogens.

Do not touch
the bowl of muddied wash
from intimate rhizome clefts,
or surface etched
in deliquescent Kohl.

Do not succumb
to the crooning rhythm
as I bind the root to me,
swaying while wrapping
the swaddling papoose .

Do not notice
the swelling bulge beneath
my clothes, as my effigy
doll presses close to my
once barren womb.

Do not mark
changed behaviour, hum-
ming while stirring
the cooking pot, consorting
with nature, dancing barefoot
beneath the waxing moon.

For I have heard the mandrake scream,
smelt its nightshade, vegetal scent,
bathed in its clouded, secreted waters,
sung as I conjured narcotic visions,
noticed its body pressed close to mine,
mapped tracery marks of roots on my belly,
welcomed the child growing inside me,
daughter of the mandrake, Mandragora.


Karen Barton lives in a quarryman’s cottage held together with mud-and-hair mortar in the heart of Wiltshire, close to the standing stones at Avebury. She is currently studying a BA in the History of Art with Creative Writing at the Open University and her work can be found atMatryoshka Poetry, The Curly Mind, I Am Not A Silent Poet , Quatrain Fish and (forthcoming) Thank You For Swallowing amongst other outlets. Her website is

Thanks for reading, and for everyone’s patience while I caught up with things. We will be back on Friday 16th September with Issue Three!


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