HCE received a lot of high-quality submissions for The Brutal Issue – sadly, too many to fit inside the magazine! So we offered some of our shortlisted contributors the chance to be published on our website.

Keep an eye on our social media for more great writing like this, in the run up to the release of The Brutal Issue…

A Terrible Word

Miki Byrne

There is a word, a fearful terrible word,
That is thief, executioner, inquisitor and judge.
It steals time, ambitions, lives.
Forces answers to un-askable questions.
Hits us with unbearable situations.
Forces us to gaze within, find depths
never before plumbed.
To mine determination, courage, acceptance,
traits hitherto unknown.
All this from a word six letters so terrifying
that we refer to it by its initial,
let it loom large in language as it does in life.
Dread to say it, to link it to ourselves,
to someone we love.
A sly, insidious word so huge
it leaves us breathless, panicked, weak at the knees
and at the end, when bodies are imprisoned
by pain and weakness, it makes its decision.
Let us live or pass the death sentence.

MIKI BYRNE is “reasonably well-published  – three collections, lots of individual poems” and began doing poetry readings in a bikers’ club in Birmingham. Inspired by nature and the human condition, Miki lived on a narrowboat for years and did lots of interesting things. “I am female, disabled and living on land now in Gloucestershire.”
Website: www.mikibyrnepoetry.co.uk