Refuge of the Song Thrushes - Aindre Reece-Sheerin

Here we lay wings splayed, no longer Gossamer wings for we are laid flat side by side as once did we glide, and soar skywards like a glissando our speckles of brown, and

orange and gold, and the songs, oh the songs we sang of old, stories never to be told, the things we have seen, the places we have been
The sights below, hues of red blue and green.

Our refuge from the storm became our tomb.
The shrill of the wind was our Marche Funèbre
and huddled tightly, together in the foliage of the old Cypresses Leylandi, as she tried but in

vain, to hold and to hold again and again and again, but alas did she too succumb to the ravages of the storm and without malice or will, crush us together as when in life together

we sang but no more our unique song will be heard, no more will our colours flash, the worms now escaping and will continue to be the earth’s ploughs but as sure as there is a

spring, new Song Thrushes will sit on new branches and Sing and Sing and Sing

Aindre Reece-Sheerin

In Search of Cockles - Diane Scantlebury

I wonder where my cockles would be?
Pondered the small child
As she examined her knee,
She’d heard mummy say
That they could be warm,
So was there a cockle
Hiding under her arm?

Did daddy mention about the sea?
To reach them
Wouldn’t you have to go by boat?
So I wonder where my cockles could be?
No way could cockles
Be inside my throat,

Mummy also said something
About a bottom,
Surely that had to be
The wrong part,
The mystery of the cockles,
Why they needed heat
And kept you smiling,
What on earth did they
Have to do with your heart?

I’ll keep on searching for those cockles,
Who knows what I’ll find?
When I get them
I’ll put them somewhere secret,
And hope mummy and daddy
Won’t mind!

Diane Scantlebury

Changing The Bed - Jenny Hamon

I asked him to help me change the bed
But now I wish I’d never said
I regret asking because I’ve found
It’s turned out to be a battle ground

The fitted sheet was passed between
And laid out on the bed so clean
He pulled too much to fit his on
So I was left with almost none

When I complained about lack of sheet
He said I should have been more fleet
He got his on the bed alright
I’ve not enough, so now a fight!

And now the duvet to shove in
Into the cover nice and clean
I’ve got mine in the corners tight
But now he shakes it with all his might

The orifice is fastened up
And from my hand the duvet’s plucked
It’s shaken firmly up and down
And spread out on my clean night gown

His side is smoothed and patted down
While I stand there with a frown
On my side the duvet’s in a heap
I really don’t think I will sleep

My only answer is to wait
To rectify my nocturnal fate
I’ll strip the bed and start again
Even though he thinks he’s not to blame!

Jenny Hamon

Cop Show - Stephen A. Roberts

I'm looking for a TV cop show ending
Split screen, murder scene, forensics bending
Prime time, glamour crime, shotgun blasting
Helen Mirren, Kelly Reilly, central casting
Bent copper, bed hopper, always smoking
Drugs bust, bloodlust, SOCO poking
Old cop, girl cop, she good looking
Close up, bone cut, rookie puking
Blue lights, ripped tights, killer blow
Hardened rozzer, hard up prozzer, all on show
High rise, concrete sighs, urban hell
Dim lit, knife slit, pissy stairwell
Path lab, death slab, victim shorn
Legs splayed, flesh flayed, murder porn
TV cops, plastic cups, coffee vending
TV cop show, never ending, never ending

Stephen A. Roberts

Star Warrior - Chris Hudson

To navigate the eternal now
Seeking past and future in the present
Star warrior, eagle-like amongst the galaxies
Flowing your Technicolor slip-shifting
Aura of light, life and love
Amongst the stars - cry your dreadful cry:

Chris Hudson

The School Bully - Rod Ferbrache

There once was a boy, who was frightened of school,
The thought of it filled him with dread.
For t’was many a time he said he was ill,
And often spent days tucked in bed.
You see, there were boys who bullied and punched,
They roamed the playground in gangs,
Threatening, taunting, fearsome they were,
Even lying in wait in the lanes.

So schooling was wasted, so little achieved.
“Could do better than this,” his reports read.
The potential was there, if only applied,
But too often alone, stuck in bed.
The years soon passed by, and a job was found,
Then in time moved on to another.
From growing to gardening, from bakery to post,
New skills were learnt without bother.
School memories faded, along with the hurt,
The family quickly did grow.
He little expected the time would come
When he’d come face to face with his foe.

The bully was seeking work for himself,
Some thirty odd years had gone by.
Yet when the victim set eyes on this man
He realised the hurt had not died.
Yet strange how the tables had turned around,
Revenge was an option, a choice.
The one who was bullied, helpless and dumb,
Was a person who had a voice.

Do I get my own back on this villain of old?
Shall I get even with him and be done?
Yet sensed if he gave in to a feeling like this,
It wouldn’t be him who had won.
He felt the Lord say quite clearly to him
“Forgiveness is surely the way”.
So the hurt he surrendered, the past put behind,
And a victory was won that day.

You see, I was that boy, and I am that man.
Thanks to His power I could forgive.
T’was His compassion that reached out that day,
As my motives I allowed Him to sieve.
Many experiences have I known,
Bereavement, anguish and pain.
None of these could I face in my strength,
But had to call on His name.

There are things in our lives which are hard to face,
We bury them deep in our soul,
But the Lords desire is to draw them out,
So our lives can be healthy and whole.
We can’t treat ourselves, we haven’t the means.
Lets learn to acknowledge this fact –
It’s not always us that sort things out,
We must give God permission to act.

Rod Ferbrache

Overtime - Lyndon Queripel

Time goes past all too fast these days
The tick tock of the clock on the wall
Now I face another race once more
From A to B then on to C and back
I won’t get far as my car won’t start
I’m in such a state, I’ll be late again

Alone in my bed in the dead of night
My insomnia’s worse, it’s a curse you know
I can’t sleep, counting sheep is no help
Come the morning I’m yawning like mad
My job is dreary, I’m so weary and tired
It’s a surprise that my eyes stay open

I look at a book I haven’t yet read
But I must at least dust the cover
I tell myself that the shelf is loose
When I get a minute I will fix it then
And the lock that’s stuck on my cupboard
Inside is a bin of tin to recycle

There’s also a letter that I’d better write
I just hope I’ve an envelope and stamp
Where the heck is that cheque to enclose
I tried to sign it when the ink in my pen ran out
Tell me please where my keys have gone
I don’t understand they were in my hand just now

I fear that this year hasn’t begun well
I broke another spoke on my old bike
Now I feel the front wheel has a wobble
Who controls all the potholes in the road?
You can guess I’m under stress my friend
With the strain and all the pain in my back

I must stop at the shop for some more milk
The traffic lights ahead are on red not green
You can bet when I get there it’s closed
Don’t say that today is the 9th already
What a twist, I’ve missed the dentist now
In the end he will send me a bill anyway

Yes, I have got such a lot on my plate
It’s a sin I didn’t win the last lottery
And forget all the debt that I owe
With no thanks to the bank’s interest
They barred my credit card yesterday
And what’s worse I lost my purse in town

It seems all of my dreams were in vain
And I find that my mind is now losing
I can’t cope for my rope has reached the end
None the less all this madness has to stop
Before I fall flat – don’t say that is the time
Oh dear, I shouldn’t be here, I must be going.

Lyndon Queripel

Words Inside My Head - Diane Scantlebury

There’s a dream,
Within a dream,
Within a scheme
Inside my head,
Where words play sometimes,
Occasionally forming
Ridiculous rhymes,
Why they link
I can’t think,
But one will lead to another,
Why are they there
Skulking in the hidden depths?
I’ve no idea,
And if I try too hard
To fathom it all,
To stop the flow,
They disappear!

Diane Scantlebury

Where’s The Off Switch? - Jenny Hamon

In the depths of the night
When my eyes are shut tight
Why does my brain keep on working
I start thinking things
That the night time brings
That normally my mind would be shirking

There are problems galore
That I might explore
While the old alarm clock keeps on ticking
But solutions I find
Do not come to my mind
While the hours of sleep it is nicking

Oh enough is enough
Please switch it off
And let the slumber wash over me
So the brain can abate
And when I awake
I’m refreshed and back to sanity

Jenny Hamon

To Rose, Who Loved Them All - Joan Raleigh

Nowadays there’s few men who
remember back to the old 50’s
when they’d sit in groups
astride their Ariels, Nortons,
A.J.S and Triumphs along the ‘front’.
They’d watch the evening orbit in town
of girls passing up the Pollet and down
the High Street, and turning then
sashay slowly along the ‘front’ again.

And Rosie was there, bewitching them all
with her hearing honed for a wolf-whistle call.
Though to those that Rose took a fancy to
she’d say: “Okay darlin’, just a fag will do!”
And when some nights the Navy was in,
Rose would be happy and welcoming.
With less pay in their hips
they’d go back aboard ships
at sea with Rose on their minds,

But time must move on,
and all good things must pass,
and Rosie retired growing tomatoes in glass.
But men would think, with wistful sighs
how eager Rose was to gratify.
Though still the Navy came and hove to,
her crew looked for other pleasures to do.
She remembered the fun and the buckshee fag
while having a Senior Service drag.

Joan Raleigh

The Fat Cat Sits On The Mat - Chris Hudson

I’m a Fat Cat
Reaping the profits of insider dealing
I’m a Fat Cat
I’m into “in-the-know” trading
I’m a Fat Cat
I don’t care who I swindle
I’m a Fat Cat
I’ve got all the status symbols.

Chris Hudson

The Cliché Is In Play - Lester Queripel

We are where we are
Between a rock and a hard place
We are washing our own face
But we mustn’t use a sledgehammer to crack a nut
When one door opens another will shut
We simply have to stop the rot

Whatever the weather, we’re in this together
But I think I’m getting to the end of my tether
We’ve got to keep it real
We need a steady hand on the wheel
Yes it may be a bitter pill
But I think it will fit the bill

You might be pulling my leg
But you’re certainly not pulling your weight
You’re pulling the wool over my eyes
There’s no smoke without fire I realise
I’ve just seen an elephant in the room
Now I’m absolutely over the moon

Two steps forward, one step back
I’m sure somebody is going to crack
If we play hide and seek
We’ll really be up the creek
We won’t have a paddle with which to row
We will reap what we sow

From the ridiculous to the sublime
A week can sometimes be a long time
Around Sark to get to Herm
The early bird catches the worm
The cliché is in play
It’s a game of two halves at the end of the day

Lester Queripel

Heavenly Harmony - Kathy Figueroa

If I could, I’d paint a masterpiece
Filled with colours of a lovely hue,
For I lived my life in monochrome
Until the day that I first met you.

No blacks, no greys, nor a somber tone
Would ever mar this picture of bliss;
I never thought I could meet someone
And know happy contentment like this!

If I was a skillful musician
I’d write a beautiful symphony,
With notes like a celestial choir
That ring in heavenly harmony,

So that in the ages long after
Our time on Earth is finally through
All who heard this wonderful music
Would know of the love I have for you.

Kathy Figueroa

Love Slave - Diane Scantlebury

The mistakes in life
Have been my own,
No shackles around
My neck were thrown,
Mild coercion may
Have played a part,
But the decision was mine
To surrender my heart,
No enforcement was involved
In hind sight
I should’ve known better,
Than to pledge allegiance
With my soul,
And with love’s bonds
To be fettered,
But what more could I wish for?
What more could I crave?
When all I desire is fulfilled,
Being a content and happy
Love slave.

Diane Scantlebury

Love Is - Jenny Hamon

Love is an unspoken word
Love is there but not always heard
Love is sunshine through the rain
Love is being there through the pain
Love is peace on a summer’s day
Love is help along our way
Love is like a walk through life
Love is help through trouble and strife
Love is trust and honesty
Love is help when all at sea
Love is like the roaring tide
Love is somewhere safe to hide
Love is like a comfy shoe
Love is just like me and you
Love is everything we see
Love must be our destiny

Jenny Hamon

27 to 32 lines - So what am I to do? - Aindre Reece-Sheerin

Is there enough space to write an Haiku
Or maybe even a sonnet to you
But a piece of prose might possibly do

27 to 32 lines so what am I to do
I could write a synopsis of my visit to the Zoo
But people don’t like Zoos and think their time is through
Yet some people think the work they carry out is valuable too

27 to 32 lines so what am I to do
I could write about my visit to see barney Magrew
No, no. That just simply will not do
I’d much rather write of love, of me and of you

27 to 32 lines so what am I to do
there is so much I can do
it will focus my mind and help me to find
a way out of the mire, stay out of the stew

27 to 32 lines so what am I to do
could I write something easy to follow
something that ‘almost’ anyone could swallow
and not find myself back on the Brew

27 to 32 lines so what am I to do
I’m nearly at the end, how will I contend
When I get to the end and no more time to spend
Wondering if, more serious thoughts will ensue

27 to 32 lines so what am I to do
Last stanza, I am almost there So just as well I am always sitting in my wheelchair Staring at this screen, now seems obscene – What am I to do
I am getting into a right two and eight - That means I only managed 28

Aindre Reece-Sheerin

Enough Conceit - Chris Hudson

Yak yak yatter
Nic nik natter
How I hate the chit and chatter
Aimless as starlings
Pointless as meteorites
Abstract trajectories
Colonists of the consciousness
You aim to fill with trash
Like directionless drivers
You provoke a CRASH!

Chris Hudson

I Was Guilty - Rosemary Slimm

Its 11 o’clock on a December day
I’m lazing around
Drinking hot chocolate and eating crisps …and
I’ve got the light on –
Wasting the electric again!

Yes – I’ll admit it
I’m guilty.

At least I was guilty
You name it – I was guilty of it.

Guilty of being born …..
“Didn’t ask to be born”, I’d say.
Ah, but you “just came along” I’d be told.

“You caused months of morning sickness
You were a forceps birth
You needed to be bottle fed
--- and --- what a lot of work”, Mum said.

Yes – I’ll admit it
I was guilty
You name it – I was guilty of it.

Guilty when at school ……
You can’t do this
You shouldn’t do that
It would look better if you did it like this.

You have too much to say at home.
You don’t say enough when we go out to tea.
You don’t help enough in the house.
You don’t help at all in the garden.
Not enough “do’s”, far too many “don’ts”!

Oh, and, by the way, you don’t go to Church every Sunday.

Still guilty – a teenager now ……

You watch too much TV.
You eat too much chocolate, get up too late,
mess around with your hair,
put that muck on your face.
It’ll be dark in the Cellar Club anyway,
and no-one will be able to see you.

Oh, and, by the way,
Your long nails look like claws.
You wear your hair too long but
Your skirt is too short.

You are too shy in company
But silly when you’ve had a couple of Babychams!

- and so it went – on and on.

At least that’s the way it seemed on a bad day.

However ………..

I knew nothing about major, full-on guilt until –
I became a mother myself!

Then you have the guilt factor for evermore.
Whatever you do
Whatever you don’t do
Your are damned if you do
You are damned if you don’t.
“I blame the mother myself for all that trouble !”

This one’s a life sentence. I am a mother - Guilty as charged.


There came a time – somehow
(and hopefully it comes to us all) ……

It gradually crept upon me – I got to thinking:

OK --- so I’m guilty
Guilty of what?

Being here, alive in the world
Being me

Yes, I have faults
Yes, I fail miserably in many ways every day


Are we meant to try to be perfect?

I am unique – we are all unique
There is no-one else like me
I am a one-off
I can choose to be miserable
I can choose to feel guilty – but it really is my choice – I’ve got the power now.

Now – at last – I prefer to try to be the best I can be
I can enjoy life

I am ok
I am worthwhile
I am a little bit special …….

Life is good
And good experiences (as well as bad) are there for the taking

(they don’t always cost much money or effort).


That good, quiet, passive, repressed little girl,
always apologising ---
has finally gone …….. well almost!

I’ll keep pushing the guilt cloud away when it does cloud over me (which it can still try to do, more often than it should).

But I reckon I’ve had my share !

And what’s wrong with a little bit of naughtiness anyway?

I’ll drink to that !!

Rosemary Slimm

Richard The Third ~ The Sequel - Joan Raleigh

From the media, (as we know by now),
King Richard wasn’t dug up by a plough,
or discovered under a Bosworth field ...
but instead his bones were buried to yield
(through the auspices of a council clerk),
beneath a city’s municipal car-park.

Leicester is now exceedingly chuffed,
claiming ‘finder-keeper’ rights of bluff.
But white-rose York expects by Easter
to inter King Richard in their Minster.
They’re calling for a judicial review,
to settle the disputed ‘rite of venue’.

Planning to meet in twenty-fourteen,
a ‘red and white’ battle is foreseen.
The outcome being dependent upon
the extent of arguments undergone.
And so it appears the King will ferment
Another winter of discontent.

Joan Raleigh

The Awakening - Jenny Hamon

In the sodden depths
Of the countryside
Nature is a stirring
In The rain soaked ground
Evidence can be found
The plants below are moving

Look under the hedge
Out of the wind
A primrose there is blooming
In a sheltered spot
Where the frost is not
It looks most unassuming

There’s some daffodils
And some gorse of course
And a violet hiding from view
I’ve spotted some catkins
High up on a branch
And tender green leaves so new.

The long dark days
Are shortening now
And nature realises this
She will wake from her sleep
Through the soil she will peep
As the sun greets her with a kiss.

Jenny Hamon

London Grey - Diane Scantlebury

London grey,
Charcoal smudge clouds
Suspend heavy,
Hover over dark tiled roofs,
Row upon row
Of grim brick houses
Line damp, car choked streets,
Everything is dull
And grey,
Soul sapping,
London grey,

Sad and grubby,
Limp inhabitants
Drag their tired feet,
Dark shoulders hunched
Against the rain,
The rain that won’t stop
Until the gutters overflow
And deep puddles form,
To drench pedestrians
As cars speed and aquaplane by,
And all is grey,
London grey.

Diane Scantlebury

From Desenzano to St Malo - Judith Anne Finetti

Image Source: Judith Anne Finetti

From Desenzano to St Malo - Judith Anne Finetti

Over the viaduct soon after dawn
Leaving the sparkling blue lake below

No security checks
No luggage restrictions
No weight limit and no queues

At the next stop Milano Centrale
We enter a cathedral of a station
We find our train to Paris and
Everyone takes their allocated seats
No pushing and shoving here
How civilised

We all wait in anticipation for our train`s departure
Italian trains are always on time

One quite elegant Milanese lady misjudges her ascent
Onto the train despite arriving in plenty of time
The doors glide shut and she is left open mouthed on the platform
As the train slips away
One can`t help wondering what she did next

All the world is on this train
The Irish missionary priest returning from darkest Africa
The students
The attractive young couple, the girl with a sleek dark bob
Who sit in silent togetherness
Until her head suddenly drops onto his lap face down and stays there
The guard entering to check our tickets might well think he has stumbled upon something else
But no one looks surprised
The asian family with a baby where the mother sleeps for the entire journey wrapped in a shawl and a big towel
And the father feeds the baby Pepsi in a baby`s bottle

Clickity Clack We`ll be back
Clickity Clack We`ll be back

As our train gathers speed we leave the totally flat pianura behind
The scenery changes as we go higher and higher as the Alps approach

The long dark tunnel under the Alps and then
At Chambery some more interesting passengers join us
How lucky we are to speak English, French, Italian, a bit of Spanish
Short friendships develop but friendships nevertheless
Details are exchanged, the internet opening up new friendships easily
Even in the knowledge that our paths may never pass again
It doesn`t matter in the scheme of things
We are all here to share the ride

After Chambery we shadow Lac du Bourget
And see all number of beautiful vistas and birdlife on this very unspoilt lake

Once clear of the mountains the train gathers speed
The countryside at times becomes a blur
Armies of wind turbines appear to march past our window

Suddenly we are on the outskirts of Paris
A dash across Paris and a change of station to Rennes
Hence another change at Rennes and we are at St Malo
We feel the wind from the sea and are near to home
A whole day has passed but what a pleasant way to spend it

Judith Anne Finetti

Earth Child - Chris Hudson

Before the wind kissed my feet
I tied ten blessings in a sheet
Cursed by a Crow, carried afar
I knew not where I left my care
Worries tangle like string, I spoke with Kings
Did tricks with rings and blessed their things
Finger and thumbs smudged the numbers
Which moon I stood under
- “Who knows?
- “Who cares?”
Echoes the gaudy dawn.

Chris Hudson

In Pursuit Of Freedom - Rosemary Slimm

I’m now in pursuit of freedom
Above most other things.
All those years of toil and slog
Now no alarm clock rings!

At school I was a good girl
Would pass my spelling test
Told “behave yourself, “don’t answer back” and
“Always do your best”.

No freedom during college years
Work on – forever higher
‘O’ levels first, then ‘A’ levels next
Keep going, still aspire.

Higher education then
With fun and studies mixed.
Three years later – that was it –
Real world, real job – all fixed.

And so the years have rolled on by
Wage slave my constant role.
Disillusion sometimes there
But some rewards for toil.

In personal life its been the same
Trial, error – some success.
Ups and downs – not much romance
Still chores, still work – no less.

Parents age and lose their power
To rule with guilt and fear
And as the years have rolled on by
They sadly disappear.

But now I’m free – well more or less
No-one to give me orders
With liberation now a fact –
Least till I need a warder!

I’ve been in pursuit of freedom
And mainly got it now
Will make each day a worthwhile time
At last - retired - wow!

Rosemary Slimm

Ode To Richard - Joan Raleigh

I’d like a serious word
about Richard the Third,
who was badly misunderstood,
and really was good.

While up in the White Tower
and with the best of his power
he took care of the boys,
(gave them comfort and toys).

Although much maligned,
(he looked oddly aligned),
there was no need to wisecrack
and call him Dick Crookback!

He earned noble renown
and secured England’s crown,
that he tried to hang onto
but at Bosworth got slew!

In a car-park in Leicester
A few hundred years later,
they said his back had a curve
from the neck with a swerve.

But what else could you expect -
him having a slight defect?
Flaws any could foresee
under tarmac and a JCB.

And as for the histories ....
Just one of life’s mysteries?

Joan Raleigh

The Sales - Jenny Hamon

I’m clearing out my wardrobe
With my old stuff I will part
It’s not that it is past it
But the sales are about to start

It’s said when the New Year comes
It’s out with the old and in with the new
So this is how I translate it
As the sales are in my view

I wonder who decides
The latest fashion for this year
When I have a wardrobe full
Of unfashionable gear

Sometimes I think and ponder
Or maybe I’ll ignore the trend
I’ll wear my outdated fashions
And my money I’ll not spend

But then I think I’ll miss
The excitement of a sale
Where the bargains lure me in
And my resolution will fail

Jenny Hamon

Competition Winner - January 2014
The Return Of Birdsong - Stephen A. Roberts

A pretty tune I think we made
Us 13 notes, upon a crooked stave.
Ready to leave our crowded perch
to fly across this blasted Earth.

On stateless wings we'll take our chance
against the sparrowhawks and nets in France;
We'll soar upon the Earth's magnetic tide
and with nameless brothers will we ride.

Spurred on by vicious avian gods
we'll follow Nature's hidden roads.
When journey's done we'll do the same,
we'll return to face the risks again.

Meeting up in the same old place,
an anxious search for a familiar face;
as we line up in our summer coats
and sing our song - with fewer notes.

Stephen A. Roberts

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