HCE received a lot of high-quality submissions for The Green Issue – sadly, too many to fit inside the magazine! So we offered some shortlisted writers and artists the chance to be published here on the website. Keep an eye on our social media for more great work like this, in the run-up to the release of The Green Issue


Meadow Song
Marc Brightside


We took a day away from city life to drown
ourselves in protest. A winding trail by the old
mill gave us shelter down a Hampshire mile,
where the countryside hummed cricket songs
and damsels coupled in mid-flight at waterside,
intoxicated by their summer’s hiding place;
a church for Godless folk and tweedy painters.
This picture goes out to The Westward Guest,
trendy little thing, first to say, ‘I love you,’
and expect the phrase to be returned. I blink
and she’s still here. We’re standing at the altar,
covering our ears, disregarding our abrasions
in the hopes they won’t turn septic, deliberating
over what to name our dogs. I blink twice
and she is gone. My fingers tingle between two
and four, thin survivors severed from the burden
of a handheld promise in a broken glass ring
that looks the same today; a trophy from the war
we watched on television, slumped across the sofa,
padding out our runtime. I look back and think,
we could have shared a life together. I take stock
and I remember that we could have died alone.

Marc Brightside is an author of poetry and fiction for adults, mentored by the acclaimed author Julian Stannard at the University of Winchester. Since graduating, Marc has performed and published poems in various outlets across the UK; his work characterised by incessant darkness interspersed with humour, cynicism and chronic introspection. His debut poetry collection, Keep it in the Family, was published in 2017 by Dempsey & Windle. ‘Meadow Song’ was first published in this collection.