Before The Service - Vic Gamble

Sundays were by fate, grey,
lacking even peculiar grace,
my old man chewing over communion
and crudely caught in his own private act
of bewitchment and the folly of fear,
under the inescapable eyes
of some inconsolable God.

My young shoes polished
by a firm pious mother,
peeling off the dirt
like an enemy;
my hair stretched on the racks of comb
slicked surface as smooth as any
covered grave.

Father smiled his nervous disappearing act
in low roofed pantries
to nip at Dutch courage
for the sake of God & sanity,
brushing long slashes of ash
from his best suit
and smacking vulgar lips
as if his mouth was full
of the sensation
of his own carcass.
His wink was for me,
his scowl for God
and revealed, like a poor trump card,
he handed my mother
the creased eyed pain
of a wilted bouquet.

in the church
it was all air
and strange decorum,
the tinge of whiskey
still jigging my father’s tongue
like a devil sick to death
of its own inbreeding.
when no-one looked
I ran a hand through my hair,
digging up that grave image
so carefully earlier laid,
and catching her eye of disapproval
I yearned for the day when,
like my father,
I could play at evil
and still be loved by her.

Sundays were by fate, grey,
lacking even a peculiar grace………

Vic Gamble

Here I Go - Lester Queripel

Your brown eyes are deep pools of wonder
I want to jump in the pool and go under
Under your spell in the wishing well
Will our relationship be heaven or hell?

If I take the lovers leap
Will I go in too deep?
Will it be the end of me?
Between heaven and the deep blue sea

Unless I jump, I will never know
So here I go.

Lester Queripel

St James - Diane Scantlebury

So many feet across
These creaking boards have walked,
Where so many
Prestigious speakers have talked,
Many necks have craned
From the back row to see,
Within these walls that have echoed
To Sarnia Cherie,
The atmosphere’s still laden
With symphonic blast,
The trumpets, the voices,
The ghosts of proms past,
Each creative element contributing
To the isle’s rich heritage,
Encaptured now for posterity
On this St James’ stage.

Diane Scantlebury

Angry Falls - Fred Williamson

From the normal river flow,
The river waters gaining speed,
Towards the rapids of Somphamitt falls,
Soon the distant vibrating,
Thunder sound becomes so clear.

Trails of heavy gushing waters,
Between narrow and deeper rock,
Trapped in the turbulent,
Smoky spray, of death rapids,
There is no return.

Fred Williamson

Depth of Silence - Joan Raleigh

Switch off the radio.
Lock the door.
and try to listen
to silence.

With no noise to disturb
the nothingness,
your brain is still.
But listen,

listen to the stew of noise.
A high resonation
inside your brain.

It’s not tinnitus
but anathema to peace.
Your blood is pumping,
pumping, and you hear it.

Soon your breath
is noticeable in its rhythm.
Soon you see there’s was never
silence at all.

Joan Raleigh

Today While You Shine - Ian Duquemin

If TODAY... I make you smile
Then my day has been worth WHILE
As when YOU smile to others bright
The day will SHINE with golden light
And as that light begins to beam
A billion smiles will be seen
All because I smiled at you
The whole world smiled too

Ian Duquemin

The Traveller - Ros Willard

Father was always an adventurer.
As a boy he journeyed in his imagination
to Africa.
Paddling across Penrose Lake
on the raft he had made
he was Burton or Speke,
Stanley or Livingstone,
searching for the source of the Nile.

As a young man
he climbed the Ruwenzori Mountains,
cycled from Izmir to Istanbul,
rode a golden Palamino across the Pyrenees.

In middle age
he cruised on luxury liners
to Antigua, Barbados, Mauritius,
travelled on the Patagonia Express,
the Deccan Queen, the Rocky Mountaineer,
painted watercolours
in Hong Kong, Honshu, Honolulu.

In old age
he wandered the streets,
bare-foot in the snow,
trying to find his way home.

Ros Willard

Times Whispers - Trudie Shannon, Fred Williamson & Lester Queripel,

Time has hollow hands
Cups its palms irreverently
Forever hopeful
I’m frozen in thought
Storm cloud passes over the sea
No rain to touch the waves
The sun shines on swaying flower baskets
The winds light caress
A ripple across delicate petals
Nature too is held in thrall
To master time and majesty
Impossible to measure
Priceless in value
The intake of cool air and oxygen
In silence
I hear no birdsong
Only whispers
Of intelligence

Trudie Shannon, Fred Williamson & Lester Queripel

When We First Heard the News - Chris Hudson

We heard it on the Beeb, it was no freebie
This news so sad, that the mother of our monarch
Was deceased. She went in her sleep, for,
She’d had a good life.
Seen so many changes, lived through two World Wars
Of all the good work she’s done we heard the reports
And of the illness which finally carried her off.
It was a surprise, we were kept in suspense
Until finally from their archive the words came across
It was quite a shock, unexpected and sudden
We wondered how this could affect the government system?
We were always so fond of her hats with their fruit
The Nation was aware of the tension between riches and paupers
The Church to test its mettle, the armed forces to embattle
Will coats of arms change and family trees alter?
Will prisoners at her pleasure wonder about the future?
Families in her employ draw curtains and ponder?
Will we look back on her years as a Golden Age
From our far distant future or projects of grandeur
Destined to falter; do her children now mourn
Like mere mortals, with tears of blue blood?
The ranks will salute her, all the flowers bow down to her
As her soul walks into the ether
Will some African mother give birth and re-incarnate her?
Will gods new and old berate her or bless her?
She was buried with great pomp and splendour
Rest In Peace, the Queen Mother.

Chris Hudson

The Last Hours of Edith Cavell - Joan Willard

Edith Louisa Cavell was a British nurse who helped save the lives of both Allied and German soldiers during the Great War. Famously she helped around 200 Allied soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium. This action resulted in her arrest and court martial for treason. She was executed by German firing squad on 12 October 1915.

"Patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone." Edith Cavell

The Last Hours of Edith Cavell - Joan Willard

I have only a short time left.
Tomorrow morning my life will end.
At least I know how I shall die,
no long drawn-out painful illness,
no heart attack, senile dementia.
My end will be quick,
a hail of bullets
at 2 a.m.
2 a.m., 12th October 1915.
I am not afraid,
I have seen death so often,
it is not strange
or fearful to me.

I have written my farewell letters,
the one to my mother
the most difficult –
she is losing a child.

The Anglican priest visited me.
I told him what I would miss –
nursing the sick,
helping allied soldiers to escape,
the old vicarage,
two beautiful dogs,
Norfolk, where the sun never sets
over the sea.

To my dear family
I say a fond goodbye.
Please don’t weep for me,
my life has been wonderful.

I am ready to go.

Joan Willard

Moon From Attic Window - Vic Gamble

The moon wanders past our window,
as silent as the thunder in a small bird's heart,
you gaze at it in wonder,
while I stand from you apart
watching the yellow champagne of beams,
quicksilver a wild feather flow
to fall across your skin,
I find myself, in this room's small space,
less in wonder of the beauty of the moon,
just captured by the jasmine sweetness
of the softness of your face....

Vic Gamble

Our Beautiful Summer Days - Lester Queripel

The last thing we need on summer days, is a horrible haze.
The kind that blocks out the sun, and deprives everyone.
We’ve had a long winter and we’ve been cold long enough.
So let’s all join together in a communal puff.
Let’s blow away that horrible haze.
Let’s reclaim our beautiful summer days.

Lester Queripel

The Rubbish Tip - Susan Jones

Herring Gulls, glide,
underbellies glistening white.

Carrion Crows,
black ashes in the sky.

Feathered members line the fence,
waiting for the food lobby.

The impression – playful,
scavenger birds having fun,

as they ply the warm thermals
on a February day.

While I eat ice cream
with my Octogenarian Mum
embroidering a memory dress.

When she is no longer earthbound
and I watch the birds
on another persistent birthday,

Alone, and on my own
I won’t be completely naked.

Susan Jones

Nostalgia Is Proportional To Love - Marianna Pliakou

You exchanged the smell of the pine trees for the wet grass of the north.
But your dreams are full of pine needles
and you can still hear the sound of the buzzing grasshopper.

You exchanged the touch of the burning rocks for the beaten stones of the Atlantic.
But your body craves for the sun
and you can still see the emerging dance of the heat on the sand.

Nostalgia floods your room
While images of your mother and father swim across the bed like goldfish.
And in the infertile loneliness,
your friends emerge from the ground like olive trees and rivers.

So you put their smiles in your pocket
and tenderness in your palms.

So you embrace this nostalgia as you embrace their love.

Marianna Pliakou

A List Of Birds - John E Blaise

Duck, she’s thrown a plate
Pigeon, sitting on a bar stool
Cuckoo, mad and crazy, playing the fool
Coot, bored and pissed
Owl, wise and old
Blue Tit, must be cold
Lark, up for a jolly jape
Robin, wearing Batman’s cape
Kite, flying high in the sky
Swan, just lazing around
Parrot, the words abound
Rook, will screw you for a pound
Goose, it must be chased then cooked
Chicken, are you scared of me
Gannet, just too greedy
Swallow, chew your food
Crow, gloating with satisfaction
Shag, it’s just for a reaction.

John E Blaise

Ten is the Magic Number - Diane Scantlebury

Ten is now the magic number
I’ve become a statistic,
Ten years of survival
If I’d blinked hard
I could’ve missed it,
Why ten should be so special
Why not six or seven?
I suppose if it was only nine
By now I’d be in heaven,
I guess I should be glad to be alive
And be grateful for the significance
Ten has given it,
Pleased to be a lucky one
In the fifty percent that’s made it,
Be happy that the wheel of fortune
Has spun the right way for me,
For one in two is always better
Than one in four, or three.

Diane Scantlebury

Return To My Childhood - Fred Williamson

I wish I never had to grow
From innocence and purity
To become a part
Of this crumbling life
Caught up in a tangled web
Like some of the people in the dark
With deceiving and diseased minds
Through jealousy
I escape now
Return to my childhood

Fred Williamson

Incy Wincy - Jean Jorgensen

Incy Wincy, black as night,
Hiding from the bathroom light.
Throbbing beat from hairy legs,
Waiting, waiting, who’ll be next?
Creepy crawly. Skitter skatter.
Screams and cries! What IS the matter?
It’s Incy Wincy - no surprise -
He’s only hunting careless flies.

Jean Jorgensen

Wash Day - Joan Raleigh

‘Mind you see that while I’m out
you wash those dishes clean and nice.
Don’t forget to poke the spout
and check the glass is rinsed alright!
Set the water nice and hot,
(you can’t clean things with lukewarm suds),
and do the floor while I’m in town,
I want to see it bright, not brown!’

Now no-one’s such a pain as she,
and so I made a cup of tea;
then turned the taps on, cold and hot,
the water filled the plates and cups.
It filled the bowl and then the sink,
(I think the cupboards had a drink).
The water seeped across the floor
into the sitting-room next door;
it washed the rugs and more than that,
it washed the sleeping Persian cat.
And so the house was washed right through,
while I had tea, and biscuits too!
The moral is, she shouldn’t oughta
command the use of all that water.

Joan Raleigh

A Memorable Visit With a Tiger - Elizabeth Fisher

"Tiger, Tiger, burning bright
In the middle of the night''
We have heard these words many times before.
But I saw that tiger.
Thats for sure.

I was totally petrified and in fright
And this wasn't in the night.

A huge cage was placed close to the main gate
And we were kindly asked if we would pay and wait.
And have our photos taken carrying a baby cub so small
There were eight in all
Each like a fluffy ball.
They all looked the same
"Don't worry we were advised
The mother is quite tame".

The huge head
The cruel bright green eyes
The severe black stripes
All gave rise
To a terrible fear
Why was I here?

I froze ridgid to the ground
My vision was blurred
I couldnt look around.

Shadows were passing me
Shoving me
"Move on and give us our turn"
I could only hear groaning.

I couldn't move
As i said before
There was no way I was going through that door.

Photo flashes passed my vision
Children were holding cubs
Tonight they would be on television.
They were next to this creature
With the terrible features.

I could'nt talk
I was glued to the spot
Was this was my lot.

People were still walking passed me
In groups of twos and threes
Fear had completely taken over me.
And frozen my knees

This was a nightmare
When would i awake?
This was my most terifying moment
How could I escape.?

I quickly questioned myself
Why was I in this queue?
I asked myself this question as the tiger came into view.

When I moved closer and saw her face
So manlike and large
I suddenly woke back into reality
And doubled my pace.

I ran back to my car
Which seemed so far
My legs still wobbly
My head spinning round
I was so glad when my feet left the ground.

I slammed the car door
And looked across to the cage
In my mind those terrible eyes were starring in rage.

This is what I could see.
They were folowing me.

The weight of her body
I could sense from this space
Could knock someone down
These thoughts went through my head
Round and around.

She could do worse I was thinking
I'd hate her to turn for just holding her cub
This was my concern.

This was not for me .
My life is more important you see.

I have never had such fear
For any other animal in my life before
I have been close to lions and cheetahs
`but have always wanted to see more.

This memory is with me today
I think of myself as

Elizabeth Fisher

Fatal Error - D.B. Morst

So here's the score.
Well actually it's more of a confession.
An admission of a macabre truth
That has plagued me for years.
I wish that I didn't do these things,
But I cannot help it.
I have come to realise that it is a part of me,
That I am powerless where it is concerned.
More sad is the fact that it is only getting worse.
Each time the loss is greater,
The physical harm more abhorrent and the suffering
More prolonged until in the end,
I contentedly watch the lights go out at my own hands!
I do feel remorse,
But it is short lived as soon enough a new victim
Comes along and I begin planning
All the exciting things I can do with it...
There is one next to me now,
A scarred and wretched thing,
Longing to be put down,
For it has been destroyed,
Broken down bit by bit.
Nigh on drowned and then revived
Only to further suffer.
It slips in and out of responsiveness, sometimes
Flitting between a catatonic state and suddenly
Without warning, attempting to startle me in
Piercing alarm.
Yet in spite of my inevitable frustration and anger,
It still refuses to cooperate with my demands.
It is of little use to me now, the next shake could be
The last for all I know.
And that time will come, it always does!
And only then (like those before it), will I swiftly
remove its vitals,
Keeping them as mementos.
Only to wrap its lifeless frame in one of those charity
bags and mail it to some well meaning
organisation; how they must recoil in horror upon
I am a mobile phone killer and this contract's almost up!

D.B. Morst

Trees - Ros Willard

The slender poplars
quiver in expectation
as Spring approaches.

Heads bowed, willows wash
long lustrous gold-green tresses
in sun-flecked rivers.

Dying russet leaves
fall; a discarded ball-gown.
The dance is over.

Silver birches, stark
against a monochrome sky,
bleed internally.

Ros Willard

She Might Just Succeed - Ian Duquemin

Trees are brought down... Trees they do fall
And one day there wont be no trees left at all
The forests of future they cannot withstand
The damage we do to this beautiful land
Yet if everyone planted just one little seed
Then our world... She might just succeed

The oil we take... The oil we burn
When we've drained the world dry then I guess we will learn
That oil is not here for profit and wealth
The planet she needs for the good of her health
If we took just a little for the things that we need
Then our world... She might just succeed

The rubbish we bury... The trash that we hide
We take the worlds gifts... put our poisons inside
Where nothing can grow in pollution and mess
A flower can't grow in the soils of distress
If we enrich the grounds from the strangling weed
Then our world... She might just succeed

The wars that are raging... The wars which we fight
Can none of us just get along and unite?
As where is the answer when so many die?
The answers a question that question is Why!
If we stop all the hatred so others don't bleed
Then our world... She might just succeed

Some they have nothing... Some they have all
How can the rich be so ruthless and cruel?
When children are dying with no food in hand
To save them is something they can't understand
If they could only take time from a moment of greed
Then our world... She might just succeed

Now writers and poets who speak with a pen
Our chance is this moment that might not come again
So talk all you will so that others may hear
Or an ending is possibly all that is near
So write with a truth thats not meant to mislead
And our world ... She might just succeed

Ian Duquemin

Wired To The Universe - Trudie Shannon & Lester Queripel

Dictated to by technology
Is that the way it has to be?
Wired to the universe
Satellite pulse to erase the heartbeat
Remote control or out of control?
Flick of a switch
Which is which?
Press button motion
Eradicate emotion
Invasive technology
Passive response

Dictated to by technology
Mobile phone…….leave me alone
Computer game
Inside my brain
Staring at a screen
Makes me want to scream
What happened to the ‘little things’?
They used to mean so much
An unexpected smile
The loving touch
Let’s get ‘in tune’.
Stay in touch
The ‘little things’ mean so much
People seem to mean less
The faster we ‘progress’

Trudie Shannon & Lester Queripel

The Behemoth of the Deeps - Chris Hudson

Temples of the briny, star-encrusted cave mouths
Realms of razorwire around the sacred sacrosanct abomination
Hallowed ground where now fireweed and poppies
Abound in profusion, the smell of charred metal
And periwinkle and pea-vine flower, udder-like blooming
Where bikers in lace up leather stood in silent surrender
A fell beast had been slain; ‘twas a passage of violence
Innocent choir boy and riddled hag, dishcloth disdainful
Even your own creditors didn’t recognise you, platroon
The “Beast With Two Fronts”, abhor-front and degrade-front
This Narcissus of mine impersonates, blasé and glib
No bouncing bomb of the autumn adage, out of style
Out of fashion, no blues cruise vision revamp,
Spread eagled of the craggy peaks, no shrimp’s water
Of the fecund folio, a folly of fellatio, “So used”,
To hold back a voyeuristic legion, offspring of the cloven goat
Too many stories from the inky black gloaming, to roam is sublime
To pour one’s innards out over a lacklustre page
The toil of kings and slaves, a niggardly “pension”
Martlet, ringing in his hammer-blown ears
Men of high repute dancing dalliance with speckled prows
Whatever was first so to church in wrinkled innosense
Spread her balm all about in mottled radiance
At birth of calf the probe, so strange, muttering,
“Where’s the other one?” all spoke as one, forgot grace,
“Okay coitus breath, where’s the tub-thumper?”
Cock-fenced a thousand, was wrung and spurned,
Spurred and pricked, branded and broiled
Bailed to the hundreds, nines and fives,
Neutered and impotent, they can use their milk-sop to pander
Skin-traders, epitomes of the knackers’ yards
Incubus and succubus, only pit my unicorn’s horn
The law is perverted, progenitors for eternal conflict
Kingdom’s came and went, rulers wax and wane
Can Willow’s Whisp guide frail Gran thru’ the forest?
Wake up! Yon hills that have hived many an inventor
Grizzled Knight of the icy wastes, hunter opalescent eyed
A humble fisherman, investiture of millpond
Frontiersman and anniversary epitomaker
To roost where the burning wagon wheels rock

Chris Hudson

Why I Keep Coming Back - Ron Blicq

In the willful days of seasoned brigands,
Who on stormy nights sought local islands,
Guernsey fell within their frame of reference,
Not always to the Islanders' preference.
(Except, perhaps, women of ill repute,
Who hoped to share the brigands' loot.)

But that's not the reason for my return
To the island of my birth, where I learn
Once again how yellow-petalled daffodils
Are a cure for latent mid-winter ills.
I remember how they'd sway and nod
When, as a boy, on my pedals I trod.

I was unaware then I should take the pains,
As I cycled through The Hubits' lanes,
To observe how I had created a breeze
That caused the shaded petals, still at ease,
To tremble and wave, as if to a friend.
But on my way I continued to wend.

A memory now lies hidden, waiting,
Ready to beckon as I lie searching
For sleep, of the cliff paths above Saints Bay.
A gull hovering in the wind, hoping I may
Part with a morsel, thrown above the gorse
For him to snap; yet I don't, without remorse.

The gull looks bleakly at me, dips a wing
And soars down to the waves, searching
For a careless fish swimming close to shore:
A dive, a gulp, and the fish is no more.
Yellow gorse clings from cliff top to sands,
Pretty, prickly, but only for wary hands!

I know in my heart it's the beating waves,
Rising from sandy beach to the cliff caves,
Or lapping in the harbour at Portelet,
That rest in my mind, ne'er letting me forget,
How lucky to have been born and lived here,
And able to return: so worth a cheer!

Ron Blicq

Sonnet to a Guernsey Cow seen on L’Ancresse Common - Joan Willard

O, gorgeous beast, with well-horned handsome head,
Small dainty hooves, straight back and slender tail.
Your colour, shades of amber, brown and red,
Which blends to subtle creamy fawn, quite pale
Around soft eyes; each one a dreamy pool,
Their sweet expression mirrors inward calm.
Your bearing, well-bred, quiet, poised, is cool
And tranquil. Grazing, causing no man harm,
You pace around on your allotted pitch,
Close to the golden, flowering, spiky gorse,
Until the farmer saunters to unhitch
The tether that confines you to this course.
Your noble forebears journeyed here from France,
Brought by the monks, our island to enhance.

Joan Willard

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