Competition Winner - November 2013
Caught - Lyndon Queripel

Caught between red rock and a hard place
I'm looking back up into a distant space
Now I've disappeared without a trace
And I’m lost forever to the human race

Caught between high water and Hell
I relied on my foolish pride and fell
Down into this hole and now I smell
The acrid smoke of a burning spell

Caught between devil and deep blue sea
With all my sins suddenly surrounding me
Wound just like a coil of my own mortality
And here there is no key to set me free

Caught between all the seeds I have sown
And thrown into the cracks of broken stone
I'm trapped by the harvest that has grown
And now it can only be reaped by me alone.

Lyndon Queripel

Dangerous Legs - Diane Scantlebury

Legs are dangerous,
They’ll attack you
In the night,
Wrestle you under the duvet
Wake you with a fright,
Armed with their secret weapon,
Those cold assassins
Spiky, toe nailed feet,
Might as well give up
And surrender now,
It’ll only end in defeat!

Diane Scantlebury

The Inter-Stellar Medium - Andrew Barham

My heart is as full
As the space between
Stars distant from here
To eternity …

“Oh how I love you!”

I do remember
A young girl's caress
The touch of her hand
As soft as satin –

Have I grown so old
My heart grown so cold
I can love no more?
Such forgotten lore,
The tale whose ending
Far distant trending
Towards happiness
Ever after – No less! –
Breaks instead on shoals
Of those wedded goals
Not equally shared;
Unequally paired,
Two people in love,
A wolf and a dove …

Are we really one
Like the Moon and Sun,
The Yang and the Yin
Cycling out and in
As one becomes two
And I become you
As you become me?
Distant liberty …

Happily we met
Ever after sweet;
We thought we were set,
The world at our feet
An oyster we plucked
Whose sweet juice we sucked:

This story is old,
Has oft-times been told
Round the camp-fire's glow,
How she did bestow
Upon me her sweet grace;
Soft contours, her face
Alive with promise,
The promise of bliss
In her sparkling eyes –
Is it all just lies?
Why – I want to know –
Does it so wrong go?

What do we expect
From this thing called love?
Surely not regret!
But a treasure trove
As two tender hearts
Vow to never part!

Andrew Barham

The Pedestrian’s Plea - Jenny Hamon

The weather today
Is dark and grey
With persistent drizzle and fog
It’s the time that the trees
Shed all their leaves
And all the drains will clog.

The long dark nights
Don’t help in the fight
To keep all the leaves at bay
Try clearing the drains
In the dark and the rain
While the cars cover you in spray.

A wetsuit is needed
If warnings are heeded
While clearing the leaves away
Cars are driven so fast
Through puddles they pass
And I have to jump out of the way

So drivers I plea
To please just see
The puddles by the side of the road
And when you drive by
Please keep us dry
Oh drivers, please heed this ode.

Jenny Hamon

Forget About Winter - Diane Scantlebury

It’s damp,
It’s misty,
It’s miserable
And cold,
Just want to hibernate,
Just want to eat,
Don’t want to think
Of jingle bells,

It’s drizzly,
It’s slimy,
It’s wet,
Just want to crawl
Back into bed,
Bury my head,
Forget about winter!

Diane Scantlebury

A Bleak November Day - Kathy Figueroa

The sky is powdery grey
And a cold wind is blowing
All the warmth has gone away
But it isn’t yet snowing

The gorgeous blaze of Autumn
Has faded into the past
And nothing more than a trace
Of green will linger or last

If only sunnier days
Didn’t seem so far away
..And my old dog was still here
On this bleak November day

Kathy Figueroa

Money feels good? - Ian Renouf-Watkins

Feel the crisp touch on your hand
Does it feel good, give you happiness?
Tender might make you feel grand
Though can it really end your loneliness?

Un-peel a note from your roll
Will it assure you, create contentment?
Money that pays for your soul
Can it be more than greedy sentiment?

Give all your money away
Would it be wise, will you feel better?
“Keep it,” the Devil will say
It’s always important to be much richer…

Ian Renouf-Watkins

Time Waits For No One - Lyndon Queripel

It's hard to walk when you're old
Without getting in some one's way
For every one it seems
Is in such a rush today
I know I'm not as fast now
As I used to be
But isn't there any one here
Who is slower than me
I suppose even Time,
Impatient,has passed me by
But it's not death that I fear
Only not knowing how I'll die.

Lyndon Queripel

Sun Rise - Diane Scantlebury

Beautiful sun rise,
Faint amber light
Beyond silhouetted trees,
Gradually creeping
Incandescent glow,
Seeping ever upwards
My waking eyes to please,
Eerie morning quiet,
The distant curling
Of wood smoke,
Birds fly by in silence
As day breaks forth in hope.

Diane Scantlebury

Haiyan Wasn’t God’s Will - Kathy Figueroa

You have done nothing wrong
Haiyan wasn’t God’s will
God is the Creator
And doesn’t ruin or kill
Sometimes bad things happen
That are beyond control
That might hurt your body
But cannot hurt your soul
Belief will help you heal
Will help you rise above
As folks around the world
Are sending you their love

Kathy Figueroa

I Need To Stay Awake - John E Blaise

Vultures circling in the sky on thermals high
Jackals and Hyena's standing by
Sharks lurking in the ocean deep
Waiting, waiting for me to sleep.

As the wolves howl and prowl
Moving closer cheek to jowl
Creatures from the underworld creep
Waiting, waiting for me to sleep.

Six eyed cerberus moving from the gate
All three heads filled with hate
To them all life is cheap
Waiting, waiting for me to sleep.

Lurking in the shadows black
They will give no leeway cut no slack
They have an appointment to keep
Waiting, waiting for me to sleep.

Nodding off and drifting away
Time for the harpies to come out and play
Ready to flay, slay and reap
The waiting is over I'm falling asleep.

John E Blaise

The Price Is High (The Ballad of Anti War and Uncle Peace) - Lyndon Queripel

It costs so much to wage the war
It costs so much to count the score
It costs so much more every year
With hate to keep, life is cheap around here

It costs so much to build the bombs
It costs so much to fire the guns
It costs so much to fuel the fear
With debt so deep, life is cheap around here

The price is high to buy the lie
The price is high to fool and rule

It costs so much to keep the peace
It costs so much to pay the lease
It costs so much for the all clear
You sow, you reap, life is cheap around here

It costs so much to lay the ghost
It costs so much, more than most
It costs so much it would appear
In haunted sleep, life is cheap around here

The price is high to feed the greed
The price is high to restore the law

It costs so much to start and stop
It costs so much to reach the top
It costs so much the drop is sheer
The climb is steep, life is cheap around here

It costs so much to hide the facts
It costs so much to pass the acts
It costs so much to lend an ear
With faith to leap, life is cheap around here

The price is high to control the soul
The price is high to defend the end

Lyndon Queripel

Angry Act of God - Diane Scantlebury

Angry clouds in an ugly sky,
Angry birds against hurricane strength winds
Battle to fly,
Helpless trees ripped up
By an invisible force,
Hurtle to the ground to die,

Anxious commuters clutching their cases,
Look in anticipation at cancellation screens
With eager, upturned faces,
Hopes subside with realisation
They’re not going places,

All journeys curtailed,
Devastated plans,
An angry act of an angry God
Has snatched their fate,
From their sweaty, grasping hands.

Diane Scantlebury

The Harvest Moon - Jenny Hamon

The harvest moon shines bright and clear
Lighting my way, you seem so near
It seems to say as summer wains
I will return to you again

A fond farewell is hard to say
But sitting by this moonlit bay
The memories of summer days
Fade into an autumn haze

The September equinox is nigh
And days of summer soon will die
But memories of this lunar night
I’ll treasure ‘till the spring’s in sight

Jenny Hamon

Leave All Your Belongings Behind - Rod Ferbrache

I was sitting alone on the aeroplane
When the air steward began to speak.
I’d heard it before, about overhead lockers,
And the life jacket under the seat.
How to put it on and do up the straps.
Inflate it when outside the craft.
The whistle to blow, the light that would come on.
The doors that were fore and aft.

But then she said something that made me sit up,
It struck me as though the first time -
These words had been spoken, yet I am sure
I had oft heard this single line.
She spoke of us leaving the aircraft in haste
And she no doubt meant to be kind
But the words that she spoke were simply this...
“Leave all your belongings behind”.

“Leave all your belongings behind”, she said
For me that meant nothing at all.
I had no luggage with me you see.
Yet for others it would be a hard call.
There were some with computers, and briefcases full –
Of thins so hard to replace.
Others with weeks of clothing onboard
To lose them would be a disgrace.

“Leave all your belongings behind”
Is something we may never have done.
Yet a lot of our lives are spent, you’ll agree,
Just thinking of number one.
Accumulating things that hold value for us,
Fulfilling a want or desire.
We have often mentioned what we would grab
If our house should ever catch fire.

Because just as the air steward put it,
“Leave all your belongings behind”.
That’s how it will be at life’s ending,
You may think it a little unkind.
Yet the Bible so clearly puts it,
“Lay not up your treasures on earth”.
For when we face our Maker
None of this has any worth

But lay up treasure in Heaven
Where no rust can corrupt, or thief steal
Don’t hanker for things that have little value,
Spend time on things that are real.

We can get so hooked on the here and now,
Then give no heed to the there and then.
Yet there’s coming a day for everyone here
A time that is nearer than when –
We first got up this morning
Much nearer than we like to admit,
When we have to face the Saviour
And explain what we did with our bit.

Let us hold on to the world much lighter,
Its attractions lay to one side.
We need to live closer to Jesus.
In Him we need to abide.
“Leave all your belongings behind” is the call.
It will happen to us, ready or not.
Let’s strive for the crown that awaits us,
And not dwell on the things that just rot.

Rod Ferbrache

Jim - Unknown Author - The Trenches - 1916

I’m wondering at a poignant time if it’s possible through this forum to feature a verse written long ago by an author whose name will never be known ? I have many in my collection and this one is absolutely my favourite as a lover of dogs. It’s perhaps not widely realised that soldiers in the trenches of WW1 often adopted stray dogs left behind by fleeing civilians, and had good reason for doing so. This verse to my knowledge has never been published anywhere, which is a shame I think. - Alan Marquis

Jim - Unknown Author - The Trenches - 1916

A hard little, scarred little terrier
with a touch of sheep-dog thrown-in.
A mongrel, no matter,
for there’s no better ratter,
in trenches or dug-outs than Jim.

A tough little, rough little beggar
and merry are the eyes of him.
No German nor Turk
could do dirtier work,
with an enemy rat, than Jim.

He’s a fighter and a biter,
fear is unknown to Jim.
Loyal and bold with a heart of pure gold,
he loves me as I love him.

When light is done, night is falling
and the shadows are dark and dim,
in my greatcoat he’ll nuzzle,
his pink little muzzle
and growl in his dreams, little Jim.

Unknown Author - The Trenches - 1916.

Unknown Soldier - Alan Marquis

Now he’s just a soldier
once christened with a name,
who lived and breathed and questioned,
as to fields of war he came.
Where death has taken away from him
that final, last respect,
denied a name upon his stone,
the least he could expect.

In Flanders fields he bravely trod,
this unnamed soldier known to God.

His mother never came here
with tears to cloud her eyes,
nor children bringing flowers,
for they knew not where he lies.
So here’s a place to remember,
with roses, lillies or a poppy cross,
knowing not a name, yet mourning still a loss.

In Flanders fields he answered the cry
and here in peace will forever lie.

A soldier among thousands
who fell in Flanders mud,
has no name to honour him
yet once was flesh and blood.
Someone somewhere loved him
this soldier who had no choice,
and whatever language was his
he might ask if he still had voice.

Forget me not, Vergissmeinicht,
une soldat inconnue,
sacrificed not in vain,
if at least I’m remembered by you.

In Flanders fields he faithfully trod,
not really a soldier, just a boy,
and now, . . . only known to God.

Alan Marquis

Remember, Remember - Ian Renouf-Watkins

Lying here in pain tho’ blessed with life
Eyes turn to the slain as again we mourn
Our outpourings of grief so pure yet futile
Do nothing to stem the blood still torn
By a landscape hopeless with desolation.

Lying here in pain an unwilling patient
Heart beating the black dog of despair
As tortured tears stream bereaved cheeks
And streets fill with dark crow-red fear
Making our efforts a poor desecration.

Lying here in pain a lucky man yet
Giving thanks to those gone in November
The tightly coarse voices whispering
We must remember we must remember
Sacrifices made for our shared salvation.

Ian Renouf-Watkins

Two Minutes to Remember - Janet

Heads held high in single file
they walk with dignity.
Flanders poppies worn with pride
a sign that they are free.
A call to stand with heads bent low.
A silence through the land.
As each one stops and ponders
on wars in far off lands.
Two minutes to remember.
Two minutes to recall.
The lives and loves that had been lost
when they fought and gave their all.
Two minutes for a memory.
Two minutes to show our debt.
Two minutes to make a solemn vow.
That we will not forget.


Autumn Leaves - Lyndon Queripel

Autumn leaves are falling down
Autumn leaves are all around
A fade of green,a shade of brown
Autumn leaves are on the ground

Autumn leaves without my love
Autumn leaves,I'm thinking of
Summer dreams and winter lets
Autumn leaves me with regrets

And it's right now that I
Hear the shadows cry

Autumn leaves me standing here
Autumn leaves will disappear
As winds of change begin to blow
Autumn leaves,it's time to go

Autumn leaves and so do I
Autumn leaves a cloudy sky
Raindrops fall and bridges sigh
Autumn leaves without goodbye.

Lyndon Queripel

Old Lady Fallen From Grace - Trudie Shannon

Image Source: Trudie Shannon

Old Lady Fallen From Grace - Trudie Shannon

A lady of grace, I thought.
Poised and dignified, a quiet voice.
Her hair comfortably spun into the familiar knot
At the back of her head.
Elegant, the slight sideway tilt of her head, genteel
Her scarf cast across her shoulder not for warmth
But for loveliness,
The broach, a golden butterfly clasping her silk blouse
At her sinewy dowagers neck.
She walked as if time stood still for her,
As if she had just alighted from a shining beast with a combustion engine
Or may be the last carriage.
Moving as quietly as a princess in stockinged feet,
She paused in her passing of me
And in the cast of her eyes I knew, for her, I did not exist,
And my head bowed naturally in memoriam.
Truly once a lady of grace, of hushed dignity
Slipping gently through space now, whispering, muttering
To invisible companions, lax servants,
Her inane smile rigid, unbroken,
Her black court shoes scuffed, heels broken
And a thread, hanging shamefully from her skirt.
Oblivious she inclined her head gracefully
At the alabaster head beside the door
And departed.
The butterfly broach, crushed tin foil glinting brightly,
Captured in a stray beam of light.

Trudie Shannon

Battle With The Flies - Diane Scantlebury

There’s a plague of flies in the house
But how did they get in?
Did they cling like a grim insect S.A.S.
And hitch hike on the rim of my bin?
Too many hovering and landing on my work tops
Creeping across the pots with their feathery legs,
Would it be cruel to crush them?
I know I must before they lay any eggs,
I open a window to shoo them out
But they round in a counter attack,
I flick them with a dishcloth
They keep on buzzing back,
Now there’s nothing for it
I reach for the spray, with reluctant will,
They’ve been given more than enough chances
It’s not in my nature to kill,
As they lie there stunned,
With legs waving frantically in the air
I feel a small pang of pity,
But sympathy is only fleeting
It’s defend yourself,
Or be killed in this city!

Diane Scantlebury

Just Who Would Be In Jesus’ Church? - Rod Ferbrache

Image Source: Rod Ferbrache

Just Who Would Be In Jesus’ Church? - Rod Ferbrache

A question slipped into my mind,
They often do these days,
Of all the people in our church
Who walk in different ways,
We’ve young and old, thin, fat and tall,
They vary quite a bit,
But generally are all the same,
No matter where they sit,

Respectable and dignified,
Middle class, well spoken too,
We all have cars, and lovely homes,
And rather well to do.
Life for most is comfortable,
With food and drink a-plenty,
We never know of what it’s like
To sleep outside, cold – empty!

We don’t look out of prison
With windows barred and bleak,
Where liberty is taken from us
With a visit once a week.
No urge to steal for drugs or drink
To get us through the day,
No selling of our bodies
Not with strangers do we lay.

So I got to think
If Jesus had a church
Who would He have in it?
For which people would He search?
Because as I look at Scripture,
And see the folk He found,
They were not the sort of people
We would like around.

Isolated lepers,
With sores that smelt and wept,
Tax fiddlers, enemy soldiers,
Were the company He kept,
Rough and rugged fishermen,
Women of the night,
These were the sort of people,
We see His heart delight.

So when I ask the question
Who would be in Jesus’ church?
The answer that returns to me
Makes my own heart lurch.
For it would not necessarily be
The people here today,
But the ones the world has
Turned its back on,
Are the ones who stay away.

The reason that they stay away,
Is often plain to see,
They simply don’t feel good enough,
To mix with the likes of me.
There’s a feeling of unworthiness
That can keep them from this place,
Their shame and degradation,
Isolation and disgrace.

Yet Jesus always had the time,
In fact He sought them out,
Never did He turn away
Never did He doubt
That in the schemes of glory
There would be a place
For the dirty, down and out,
He made for them a space.

So as we go to church each week,
And fill the same old seat,
If we see a stranger,
Let’s stand and go to greet
Those people Jesus sends us,
Let’s make them feel at home,
It was always His intention
This should be their home.

Rod Ferbrache

Thank You Facebook - Jenny Hamon

I joined a facebook page today
About my old home town
The memories are flooding back
As slowly I scroll down

The pictures from my childhood
The names I remember well
Fill my head with sights and sounds
And many tales to tell

Classmates from my school days
Look so different today
But then no-one will recognise me
As I’ve also had my day!

Where did those lovely years go
We seemed so happy and free
The schooldays of my childhood
Have now returned to me

I hope I can rekindle
Friendships from the past
And keep this link to my childhood
With memories to last

So I give thanks for Facebook
Although many would disagree
Without it I’d have no contact
With all these memories.

Jenny Hamon

Grief - Trudie Shannon

Image Source: Trudie Shannon

Grief - Trudie Shannon

At dusk, with a blackbirds song and drizzle.
On the table, the empty whiskey bottle.
Beside it the uncorked wine, blood red.
The man, a shuffling automaton cooks tasteless food,
The processed wheat and the morsels of dead flesh
Are as grey as his features, as grey as his life.
All words are forbidden in the brittle atmosphere
He is as heavy as a ton of feathers,
As the lead that wraps itself around his windows,
His silence curdles thoughts in process
Twists love into glass fragments.
He sits while the pot boils, a head of steam singing.
In the barren stillness
The dogs pad in, coated in dew and constancy
Their panting breath like a gasp of wind escaped.
He sits and reaches out his grey hand, a reluctant desire
Encapsulating him in spite of himself.
His friend takes it in affirming warmth and promise
And the man bows his head and weeps.

Trudie Shannon

Over the Bridge - Chris Hudson

Cross the bridge- Budge!
Criss cross
Pipes, Cables, Girders, Bolts
Whilst up high
Birds wheel in the silky sky
Land treads softly at water’s heel
Ships cut water with metal keel
And We, so Free
Criss cross tarmac and steel- See!

“Up bends arches- the gradient increments in a slow unlikely fashion, we are born on its rattling back, across the water to the further shore. It’s weird this bridge there’s not a lot holding it up, look they race across it thundering steel and wheels turn crazily fast but a wafer, sandwiched metal across girders, on air is floating, its arching metals pipes, like rope threading the huge needle-stacks, harp-like array of cables that braces itself poised tenaciously against the sky; not the mist which holds it down.”

-An exerpt from the publication “Woolly Wanderings” © 1997
Author: Christian Christophelsson

Chris Hudson

Blog Archive