Three Drops from a Cauldron: Issue Six

Welcome to Issue Six!

This spookier-than-average pre-Halloween/Samhain issue features work by Anne Marie Butler, Diana Sanchez, Stella Bahin, Spangle McQueen, Prerna Bakshi, Rev. John Gordon, Colin Crewdson, Hannah Malhotra, Nico Solheim-Davidson, and Lynda Turbet.

There is a very special poem in this issue submitted by Spangle McQueen in memory of our mutual friend Liz Ferrets, who wrote last year’s exceptionally haunting Halloween poem at Three Drops, ‘Moon on the Water’ (a perfect mix of magic and activism). Liz passed away this past spring, and as Samhain/Halloween is a time of remembering and honouring in many cultures and faiths, it seemed especially appropriate to include this poem for that reason as well.

Enjoy the poetry, and since we won’t see you until 11 November: have a safe and wonderful Halloween / Samhain / Dia de los Muertos / All Saints Day (or end of October and beginning of November, if you celebrate none of the above), and Guy Fawkes / Bonfire Night.

Anne Marie Butler

With October breathing,
I find mushroom and liniment
in the cedar wood air;
and within
the wood shed’s splintered rain,
pink stains in the sawdust.
There are new holes
in the tin roof,
so many old nails
lost to the corrugated winds
and in my face,
the self-hating spider
smiles at a giant fly.


Anne Marie Butler is an artist and book illustrator and has been writing poetry for the past 5 years. She lives in the Preseli Hills in West Wales and attends and reads poetry ‘on mic’ at local venues. She is currently studying Modern Literature with the Open University, and further details are shown on her blog:

The Chase
Diana Sanchez

It all began in iron pot
Potion thick and fire hot
All you get is just one shot

Moment lost and off it goes
darting fast on nimble toes
Give chase and follow to the close

Bala Lake, he charges in.
Mimic every roll and spin
Reach the paw to catch the fin

Now to the sky, our quarry flies
How obvious this new disguise
But he’s no match for your sharp eyes

He falls away, down to the ground
One little grain onto a mound
Hunt and peck until you’ve found

I ask you please, now, if you will,
for I have not your clever skill
Help me catch with key or quill

Stella Bahin

Like sunset in cut-out you splatter our step your
Emerald blazing to ruby and smelting to gold,
As brazen in your – Here’s winter – calling as if you had
Flown there, not fallen, and colour could keep out the cold.


For over two decades Stella Bahin’s lived in Portsmouth raising children, writing poetry and stories, performing poetry, and facilitating poetry and creative writing workshops, shows, and events. Stella’s the compere of regular spoken word nights at SeaFiSh, Bognor Regis, and Aurora, Southsea; and is currently preparing for participation in DArk or DArker Shivering or Not!, Portsmouth Darkfest. Her original fairytale, The Unicornskin Drum, is published by Three Drops Press.

For Liz
Spangle McQueen

From my Samsung
sparkling for posterity
her words pack punches

the depth of her poetry

and she likes to rhyme
cos that’s her style
not outdated, outspoken.

And I’m sitting in carriage #52816
and I can tweet it if I wish
but I prefer to use my 4g to read of
the bag of Aoife’s skin
and the treasures within-
the groovy staves of ogham.

Egg number 16
cracks its speckles
responding to the brood call
from the Samsung.

And a baby crane is hatched.


Spangle McQueen is a happy grandma and a hopeful poet, living in Sheffield.

My Women Have Spoken
Prerna Bakshi

After Meena Kandasamy

My Radha is a slut
Who could care less
About people questioning her morality
In full control of her sexuality
She freely lusts over her men
Relentlessly lusts over
Krishna – The God of love

My Laxmi is not
Shy of asking
For her share
For her unpaid
Domestic and reproductive labor
From Vishnu – The accumulator of wealth

Laxmi regarded as the embodiment of beauty
Covered from head to toe
With ornaments
For Vishnu though
Is merely an object of adornment
A marker of his status
His wealth
A “trophy wife”
If you will
As I sit here reading
The Theory of the Leisure Class
By Thorstein Veblen

No more, says
My Laxmi
As she calls for seizure of his wealth
Stands for redistribution of the wealth
That Vishnu – the capitalist
Made by stealth

My Rati is a whore
She is all about
Sexual desire
Rati – The not-so-mentioned sex Goddess
The Goddess of carnal, sexual desire
Lust, passion and sexual pleasure
The Goddess who mastered
The art of sex techniques
The inventor of countless
Sex positions
The Goddess who could enchant, and
Bring any man
Any meditating sage
Any king
To their knees
To her cunt, and
Could ask them to
Suck on it…
Suck on it…
My Rati taught men
About the intricacies of sex
Long before
Vatsyayana came along
Claiming authorship of Kama Sutra
Alleging he taught the world

As the legend goes,
Born of desire ridden sweat
Of king Daksha, Rati
Was apparently considered ‘impure’
For bodily fluids produced during
Sexual activity, ironically, regarded as
‘Impure’, in Hindu philosophy,
Were never foreign to Rati
For she symbolized
Arousal, personified those
Droplets of desire, sweat,
Cum, all bodily fluids
Labelled polluted
Rati embodied this very ‘pollution’
My Rati rejects ‘purity’
‘Purity’-The other continuum of the Indian
Caste hierarchy-legitimation scale
My Rati dismantles it

My Sita is a transgressor
Who takes risks
Who violates rules
Who breaks moral laws
Who crosses laxman-rekha
Boundaries of patriarchy
My Sita is a brave single mother
Who can brave any storm
Without the need of any Rama

My Draupadi is promiscuous
She seduces
She disrobes
She takes on the
Monogamous marriage institution
Turns it on its head
She questions the age old adage
“Love only happens once”
As she falls in love
Several times
With five different men
Whom she marries
And the one
She loved the most
Her sakha – Krishna
Her secret lover
Yet she refuses to be shamed for it
She refuses to be shamed for
Falling in love
Several times
With each of those men
She refuses to be shamed for
Falling out of it
As many times too

My Draupadi fights against patriarchy
She mocks kings
She dethrones them
She agitates
Armored with sharp words
That cut deep
Like knives
She hones them

All my women misbehave
They break rules, cross lines, defy norms
They narrate their own stories, chart their own destinies, brave storms
Patriarchal myths can no longer define us and will be broken
For I have spoken
My women have spoken

(First published in TRIVIA: Voices of Feminism)


Prerna Bakshi is a writer and activist. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and the author of the recently released full-length poetry collection, Burnt Rotis, With Love, which was long-listed for the 2015 Erbacce-Press Poetry Award in the UK. Her work has been published widely, most recently in The Ofi Press, The Harpoon Review, Red Wedge Magazine and Peril magazine: Asian-Australian Arts & Culture, as well as anthologized in several collections. More here –

Two Samhain Chants
Rev John Gordon


Caw for a calling,
A chrism of thorn.

Holey stone charm,
Three grains of corn.

A falling leaf,
Is fraught with light.

Owlhoot rakes,
The spine of night.


Fribble at Samhain,
Frown at ’nox.

Red the rowan,
Three the knocks.

Cried the neck,
Hung the blade.

Now’s the reck,
Clip the maid.


(SOURCE: Violets unfold in my throat, John Gordon, p.21. Hypatia Publications, Penzance 2007. ISBN 978-1-872229-57-7)

Notes from us underground
Colin Crewdson

In a world of snowing, hard
pellets flick your face, a blizzard
warned, advice given, thrilled to;
winds freezing meteorogists’ mouths
in mid hyperbole.

The iced surface, slippery,
slides me sideways against that wall,
(as always),
conspiring with camber;
the blank slab like my neighbours’
written in lichen: the obliterati.
We’ve been here a long time
slipped, settled, sunken.
Watched the processions,
confettied weddings,
knickerless trysts behind our stones,
waiting our silent
companions come to greet us.

Miss Libya sings of the rain greening
the hills, diluting the blood stains, cooling
the ferocity of filleted spirit and another
pointless god lost in metalled waste
and raging grief.
Softer here, in our mossy observances,
though here is also there.

The hoot of the owl suggests
we may have more company soon.
Diggers, hymns,
a coffined soul, gloom and goodbyes,
hopes that someone is there for us.

(There’s always us.)


Colin Crewdson lives in Devon and works as an osteopath after a varied career in many european and middle-eastern countries. He is interested in the human underground as well as the visible stuff.

Marsh Spirit
Hannah Malhotra

I am wild
as heather on the moor
a scream in the night air
the owl tearing the mouse;
this is my wildness.

I am the light of the dark marshes
my face of opaque oval, upturned
to see the travellers who come this way
in their weary boots and sullied clothes.
My hair is green as weeds and
outspread as a carpet
luring.. softly,
the feet of those who tread this way.

Come to me I beckon
come here, for the nights are growing cold and dark
and your heart seeks such warmth.

And when you walk by me,
like wind over the wetlands
I rise through a bed of reeds
and sing our song.
A sound made of thorns,
from a thicket of reeds,
open as the night sky
and scattering stars:
this is the sound of my song.

And when the quag has silenced you
so too, I am quiet
as a rabbit
in her burrow
warm against her mate,
warm against you.

Arawn’s Hunt
Nico Solheim-Davidson

Samhain’s moon rises
And the wild hunt begins
Death’s king rides forth
With blood red hounds
From Annwn they flee
Souls of the ever-damned


Nico Solheim-Davidson resides on the coast of East Yorkshire. He works as a care assistant in a nursing home just outside Bridlington. Nico is an avid lover of mythology, cats, tea and poetry, as well as history, corned beef and music.

Lynda Turbet

watches knitters at the pier
tongues clacking patterns to the tide’s suck
knows whose womb is ripe for planting.

watches Davie climb the brae
his rolling land-walk speaking salt and tar
drops his sixpence in the water jar
looks for the cross that tells the voyage will be fair
a silver moon twists and settles
tomorrow he follows the herring.

sees the ebb tide bring
a sea boot and a broken spar
ties the winds tight in her leather pouch
waits with the women for returning sails.


Lynda Turbet observes the world from rural Norfolk after decades living and working in Scotland and the north of England, and is now trying to make sense of it all through writing.

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