In the month of love, ironically a tryst of lovers turned into “strangers” at the climax of the poem (end of the romantic rendezvous) entitled “The Forge” by John D. Robinson. Then the surreal enlivened images in two poems, “Liberty Atoms 11 & 15,” by Christopher Barnes with quotes within them from the late novelist Iris Murdoch (The Nice And The Good) take flight like Cupid’s wings—”Birdcage alarm clock flew / Tick-reversed / An hour pursuant to every ten minutes.” (from “Liberty Atoms 11”). Further attributes of love and time exist in DS Maolalai’s poem, “Time takes pawns like a short game of chess” with the first line completed by two words, “everyone leaves.” His fresh and remarkable mixed metaphorical images are evident, especially “…and spiders / with legs / that bounce like bent paperclips…” This poem gives the reader a “bent” angle of the timelessness of time and lost love in a simple but loved object of a “…a cup and saucer / in your mother’s house. / kept whole for 20 years, / and cracked / and thrown away.” Lastly (but, by no means least), Louis Gallo’s “Tree” poem, where the speaker is witness to the loveless butchering of “a most magnificent oak tree” grieves the reader to heart’s core. “But this is the way it goes with the sacred.” North of Oxford hopes you enjoy reading our United Kingdom, Irish-Canadian, & American poets in this February 2020 issue.