What is Love? Hark, a shadow to my genius! – Debbie D

I have thought oft upon philosophy
And given it all my mind could be!
But one thing Plato could not solve
Was how that I could light the bulb
Of my own happiness, to a T!
‘Twas only recently I met Love
And thought that it would be enough
To make my spirit full of fire
So that my heart would never tire
And my smile would be a dove.
Yet through three months of tireless pain
I know that I can make no gain
Through heavy affairs of my heart
I cannot even begin to start
And all the skies can do is rain.
‘No!’ I declared to Cupid’s arrow
I will not let you wantonly harrow
My artist’s mind, and creative flame
My genius you shall never tame!
Like the curves of a bright green marrow.
Now through love I have full learned
Loving should be for spirit spurned
And while my heart may be but transient
My thoughts and words will become ancient
And my genius will be soon discerned.

What is Love? – Fatima A 7-5

Love is a rose, attractive to the eye. It comes in different colours; crimson, pale peach, saffron yellow, creamy white and soft fuchsia. It draws the attention of everyone as they stare in awe at the stunning flower. However, none are diverted by the look of the stem, covered in jagged, razor-sharp thorns. They grasp it quickly and greedily by the stem and their hands are pierced, blood is shed and tears of regret are brought to their eyes. But those who hold it gently watching out and avoiding the thorns find their way to the flower.Later though they forget to water their rose and it withers and die as grief and sadness floods over the owner drowning them in sorrow. But those who hold it carefully and nourish it, sustain it and maintain it are the ones who find their hearts beating with affection and unmistakeable delight. So hold your rose carefully and don’t forget to look after it because that is the best type of love.

What is Love? – Anaa M 11-1

I used to believe that love was overrated, a perpetual goal that was never meant to be taken seriously but accidentally became classed as one of the most important things in everyone’s lives, no matter who you were.

I used to think love mainly consisted of untimely commitment, stolen kisses, and experiences judged by how quickly or how far they can spread.

I used to think love was unreasonable, full of a hope that only worked until you learned the truth and realised that this idea of intimate gestures and coordinating outfits wasn’t worth the hype that media painted it out to be.

I used to be wrong.

It took me days of regret, months of realisation, constant self-correction, restless nights filled with fluctuating self-esteem, and the odd existential crisis here and there to figure out what love can truly be.

Love, I decided, can manifest itself in the most peculiar of ways: an insanely consistent set of top grades, forever immaculate acrylic nails, effortless and immediately recognisable style, immortal inside jokes, or even a quiet appreciation that goes unnoticed by most. It can be seen by those who aren’t looking for it and missed by those who are because it remains hushed, not needing the validation of popularity.

Love, I decided, is not something to be defined by mere alphabets. As if being enigmatic and ever-changing wasn’t enough, love is also wholly subjective and dependant on the individual. To some, love is the warmth of a genuine smile or intertwined fingers on a cold day but, to others, love is sharing a body spray or explaining the notes from a missed class because familiar metaphors work better than new analogies.

Love, I decided, is unpredictable. Some can lose themselves in the lyrics of a song where others can climb inside books and forget their worries; some can call their friends at ridiculous times and know they’ll have someone to listen; some can arrange a time and place knowing that they’ll do absolutely nothing, a friendly presence being the most important thing; and some can never utter words that reveal their inner emotions but reflect them with their facial expressions or actions instead.

Equally natural and mysterious, love is a term used both too commonly and not commonly enough.

It’s not as simple as a sentiment, it’s a lifestyle that can’t be categorised or easily recognised. Not limited to people, love can be expressed for just about anything we can – and can’t – fathom. Regardless of whether it’s circle theorems, midday naps, exhausting shopping hauls, or staring at the stars on a cloudless night, love is there with you.

It follows you around like a shadow forged from promises and happiness, laced with hope and healing and learning curves. It festers, but it’s not unwanted. It doesn’t have to touch you to fill you with power, with confidence, and sometimes, with a sense of overwhelming sadness that cannot be described.

Ultimately, love isn’t all about being comfortable, it’s more like accepting that you’re uncomfortable but managing to function nonetheless. In contrast to popular belief, love isn’t when you never feel upset and always feel on top of the world, it’s when you know you’re free to be melancholy because your sadness isn’t what defines you. Because, like it or not, love is what keeps the world spinning.

Of course, love is not two dimensional. Very few things are and abstract concepts can never be one of them, not as long as thoughtful beings like us are around to question, confuse, and complicate. Like most complex ideas, love can be painful and bitter and far more hurtful than even the sharpest of weapons, but it is always there, shifting and adapting, ready to battle on our behalf as soon as we believe in its existence.

So, why don’t we?

The Nature of Angels – Lucy W 9-4

When the sky is metallic and she drags mist across them with a magnet in a balloon, he is beside her: identical eyes, anime hair that seems soft enough to calm kittens but she doesn’t touch him. Of course not, she tells her mother through the fog over the lake of tea. She wriggles into her mountain of feathers; she speaks with a profound wisdom in her cheeks. Cooties coat his arms and giggles through the lenses of her female senses even as he climbs to cloud 9 to untangle their playmates and free the atmosphere.


In the midst of Winter, many winters in the future with ink still staining her nose, he knocks on her door with a beard and “I’m home” and wood tucked under his belt. She rather feels she relates to both owl, the pussycat and their pea-green boat, perhaps the boat most of all with its swaying smile in the embrace of such domestic bliss. There as a witness. Sitting in the middle of a cottage she glimpsed in a doll’s house. He is welcomed by familiarity in the fire which flares in appreciation of his arrival, the aga which he riddles and grills for thoughts with experience, not faltering and the cat which he pays as much attention to as he does her so that she almost feels it is she beneath his calloused fingers – shedding fur and purring into his lap. He seems to understand the foolishness of her wise, hypothetical actions.


He is a rugged pard, prowling into her life through a broken window pane, ebony as his brow. She worries. Full of stitches, she prepares to sew together stone with cracking needle – watch his crumble in a landslide beneath her catching fingers. Flinging his shadows wide across a blotted ceiling, he grabs her arms atop a creaking spinning chair, showing her polaroids of a world she never wanted to see. Colours paint the ground muddy with footprints on the blank masterpiece she worked so hard on until crystalline body parts amongst the mess. He is full of sudden philosophies that make no sense but darken her irises a little more; strolls down dingy alleys, spray paint on her arms. She wishes he’d return to her arms. Wants to bleed the black from his lips until he sings again. But knows that he’s already stuck in the ground, never again to look at the sky he darkened so considerably.


After hitting her 20th summer, she sees his shining sun of a head, the flowers he tucks into her hands before running off. He catches her eye with blushes and absurd glares before grabbing his own attention with continued conversation. Time is full of meadows she wraps around herself and calls her cloak; momentary selfies (in swimming costumes obviously, with ice cream she wipes from his chin with spittle and the sun their constant companion) that she will hang in her arteries and on her walls until he too is grey and can complain. She never takes them down, she knows.


But then she is thirty, there is someone with her in the middle of nothing, someone real, someone there but he is a brunette with timid mannerisms, a small stature and she loses hope that he’ll ever lead to him. Still, he convinces her to fall with coffee instead of tea. He shows her book pages in wood-work and weather, writes the world on her feet until she finally – finally – lets him ink a star on her finger. They speak words they could never write and read emotions they were never told about.


Eventually she is mid-way to four decades. Her stomach has swelled and burst, spraying life, laughter, tears into her mouth and eyes. She doesn’t care though because she’s wondered for too long and – holy – he is here, actually here, she can touch him, feel him, see him, know him –


As she cradles him in her arms, he is glass with a pulsing metronome bleeding through her fingertips, and she scolds herself silly for having thought she could predict the nature of angels.

Footsteps – Kitty D 9-2

Softly, I press my foot against your footsteps, divinely in touch with a place where you once were, a small simple connection, unseen to you. Onward you go and onward, always, I follow. I know where you’re going; you’re a creature of habit. That’s what makes it so easy.

Your warm breath twists and contorts in the bitterly cold atmosphere and I yearn to feel the same tortured warmth.

Sometimes, I’ll wrap myself in a sea of people, lost in my disguise, yet always my gaze is fixed on you. I lose you in a blind moment of panic, before you resurface, and I swear to never let you leave my sight.

I often wonder if you see me, feel me, know me in a similar depth to how I see, feel and know you. However, I pray to be invisible, unfelt and unknown as I’m perpetually terrified of losing sight, losing sense and losing you.

I recall our brief encounter that lived and died months ago, the ghost of which will always feel but a moment away to me. I remember the way you smiled, the way your breath stroked my face. My name escaped you, but nothing of you escaped me.

We’re connected in more ways than you think and in an infinite number of ways you’ll never know; I think it was meant to be so. My scrapbook of tokens and memories tells me this, as it whispers to me in the dark hours of the night. I finger each precious page of your existence and every item adds meaning to mine.

Softly, I press my foot against your footsteps, divinely in touch with you. As you walk away, you lead me on. I will always follow and perhaps one day remind you, I am just footsteps away.

What is Love? – Phoebe W 9-1

What is love – the question she would ask herself at night,
When on wings of shadow her joy had taken flight.
Love is but a torture, a devilish nightmare,
Persuading us to want things that are never really there.


What is love – the question she would ask herself at dawn,
When next to her sweet angel a hopefulness was born.
Love is something magical, a dreamy reverie,
That created all her shackles but somehow had the key.


What is love – the question she would scream up to the sky –
What’s the point of loving when your darling’s going to die?
Love is made to torture, Aphrodite doesn’t care,
And loneliness tastes bitter but it’s better than despair.


What is love – the question she would whisper at his grave,
For love could not have made him stay, nor could the tears she gave.
Love is something magical, melancholy, wild –
And it somehow made a woman from an angry, broken child.

‘What is Love? (Baby, don’t hurt me…)’ Writing Prompt

So the next issue of the magazine will be called ‘What is Love? (Baby, don’t hurt me…)’ and is going to be centred around the theme of love.

Here is a  picture prompt to help;

and a written prompt;

  • Describe Love in 13 words

The deadline is the End of March so start writing!

The Stranger – Lucy W 9-4

A frozen snow globe; a diamond landscape,
A world frosted like a delicate cake.
Snowmen call to their neighbours at night,
Snowflakes replace the birds and the kites.
Footsteps break the mumbling silence,
A coat trails patterns into the soft snow hence,
A lantern glimmers in the black
And time whispers at the stranger’s back.
He walks each night – unheard and unseen,
A shrouded figure so tall and so lean,
Constantly wandering under the moon
As others sleep in their soft cocoons.
He has no purpose – no wanderer’s task,
Only to walk under Winter’s mask,
Now watch, look, as he drifts through the lanes;
Next time you look he’ll have gone again.

Translation of a poem by Kitty D 9-2

First, a few words from the translator herself

“the piece with the text in bold is a poem written between  1814 and 1820. It was written by a man who used to travel the country and write songs/poems about the places he visited. This poem is written about a place called Tinker’s or Vaxhaul Gardens. It was a pleasure garden located in Collyhurst in Manchester. This is one of the very few eye-witness accounts of the Gardens. The Gardens no longer remain as other popular pleasure gardens opened (such as Belle Vue) and put Tinker’s Gardens out of business. The poem was written in Lancashire dialect and at a first glance it seems to be undecipherable and I fancied the challenge of translating it. Through research, context, input from someone who is familiar with the dialect and some skills of deduction, I have managed to write a translation. (…) I hope that you consider it for the Greenlight and if it is unsuccessful, I hope you enjoy reading it.”

Kitty, we enjoyed it so much and we hope that everyone else will too!


Scan 2018-2-11 17.34.54




What is Time? – Safiyyah S 9-4

What is time?

Time is change. The only way we, as human beings, know that time exists is because we see things change. And we know ourselves that we are changing. Things are always moving or changing positions or are altering in some way. If nothing ever changed, if all things stood still and remained exactly as they are, there would be no time or anyone to care about anything. Things do change. We change the position of our own body constantly. Every time we breath, parts of our body move. All movement is change. The world around us is in constant motion. Air moves. Even objects that seem like they’re not changing at all are always changing. All things in the physical universe change. Everything on earth is changing, and it’s because of time.

What is time? A progress of our mortal existence. We like to measure time as it passes. We started measuring time by watching the sun, moon and stars. As these bright objects moved through the sky in the same synchronisation each day and night, we were able to figure out time passing. We saw that each day and night, together, were about the same length of time each day. There were times of the year when days grew longer and nights grew shorter.  We recognised these perfect patterns and learned to live by them and rely on them- far more reliant than any of us had ever been.

What is time? A second. A minute. An hour. A second isn’t much longer than the time it takes to snap our fingers. A minute is sixty of those precious seconds. Sixty minutes make a swift hour. And the measurements start to get longer as twenty-four hours make our whole day. Seven days make a week. Fifty-two weeks make a year. Until our whole life is zooming past us till the end.

That is time and time is endless.