Stars Beneath the Ships

 stars beneath the ships

S T A R S  B E N E A T H  T H E  S H I P S

by Oliver Smith

with Art by


First published by Mount Abraxas in Bucharest,

in Five days in September, MMXvii

in Memory of Rezza Willink 1923-2017

Deeper Flowers Thrive (first published in Spectral Realms 4

edited by s t Joshi, hippocampus press, 2016) and

Magdalene (first published in Land’s End edited by

D P Watt and James Scott, Inkermen Press, 2008)





Deeper Flowers Thrive . . . 7

Crocodiles In The Sugar . . . 11

The Voice OF Your Redeemer, The Songful

Morning Near . . . 33

Blood, Dark Rainbow Bliss . . . 51

Magdalene . . . 69

A Garland OF Rue . . . 77


In 2017, Dan Ghetu of Ex Occidente press included my story Burnt the Fire of Thine Eye in the anthology All is Full of Hell, A Panegyric for William Blake. Dan then kindly suggested he might be able to put out a short collection of my stories. Stars Beneath The Ships is the result of his hard work.  It’s beautifully illustrated by RottenPhantom  and was printed in a limited edition of 101 copies.

1991- As we arrived at Terschelling aboard the ketch, Raniki, another boat fled the beautiful, but desolate shore; its crewman waved and shouted at us. We waved back as we anchored the boat in the shallows so she would stand on her twin keels at low tide; then we could walk ashore (and avoid harbour fees). Out came the guitar and booze and we commenced a night of partying. A week later we remained optimistic that one day a spring tide would float us free.

These stories contain sailors marooned, or exiled on islands; boats afloat, adrift, beached, or wrecked.

Mr Mulbey has had an invitation he can’t refuse to a dinner party out among shadowy arbours where jewelled lizards lie gorging and the Petwo drums fill the air with wild music as the priest and priestess perform strange rites in a crumbling temple hidden deep within in the swampy forests of the Merdemal.

William is  a castaway reconstructing a library from a million ruined fragments washed upon the yellow sands where sea changed bone lie full fathom five and inland  love awaits so he will bless the day he found such a brave new world.

The crew of Penkaryth’s Pride will bear cold, storms, and death; all for the time when they sing the Whale-Ho;  when together as one body they move; when God sends them a great harvest of Whales to reap so they can fill his churches with oil lamps and light his marvellous true image at the altar.

Magdalene has been in the bath for weeks, the town is so so hot. Is a little time by the sea too much to ask?

Jemma and Gabriel play truant in the overgrown concrete ruins of the airfields edge among the wild flowers and once civilized flowers gone wild. If only they could drift away forever on their little boat among the dragonflies and silver fish swimming in the river.

Des Lewis’s review ‘Stars Beneath the Ships’  link below



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