Puška* - John Buchanan

They stand in front of me
wide hollow eyes search my soul.
Grubby faces, ragged clothes, empty eyes.
Itchy fingers point,
the word "puška" comes again.
In my hands it's a tool of the trade;
yet their young eyes have seen,
their young ears have heard
and their, so very young lives, have lost.
I reached into my pocket
pulled out marbles and squatted.
There in the dust we played.
That day I lost a few marbles,
learned the word "puška"
and the hollow eyes still haunt me.

John Buchanan

* Puška = Rifle

Precious One - Diane Scantlebury

You’ve come and gone
My precious one,
This isle was never big enough
To hold your interest for long,
Before the lure of the mainland
Drew you back
To its excitement and sparkle,
Leaving me behind
With a mother’s sadness,
The nest emptied
For a second time,

Off again on another adventure,
With hopes high
And your two dear cats in tow,
The unknown beckoning you
Enticing your restless spirit,
Like the summer
You’ve come and gone,
Stay safe in your new life
My precious one.

Diane Scantlebury

Vote Vote Vote – Oscar Milde

We voted half the last lot out
and voted all the new lot in.
We thought that when we’d had our shout
there’d be an end to lies and spin
but here we are and nothing’s changed:
someone who votes must be deranged.

It’s one thing voting on the phone
for Strictly dancers week by week
or jungle celebs, who just moan
because we know they’re past their peak.
Those are honest competitions.
What fool would vote for politicians?

Their manifestos, every time,
are works of fiction woven through
with fancy promises, sublime,
where not a single word is true
and yet we trust them, offer votes
instead of fingers round their throats.

So what’s the plan, a coup d’etat?
Cheer a dictator and his crew?
You might as well elect a cat
or move away to Timbuktu.
There’s always leaders and the led
but true democracy is dead.

Injustice is a fact of life
as much as inequality.
It’s them and us. In peace or strife
there’s no escape from polity
or politicians, sad to say,
until they carry you away.

Oscar Milde

Immortality Is Overrated - Lyndon Queripel

I tried to write a poem
About how I'd like to be remembered
Well, believe me I tried
But all I could think of was
I'd like to be remembered as
The man who never died
But then again you see
Who would remember me
If I just lived on
And you and everyone
That I know
Were all gone ?

Lyndon Queripel

Hanois - Vic Gamble

The shadow & sink of night
fills the water’s simpering.
Murkish, musty clouds
edge,shove and elbow by the heights
of Hanois,
as she fingers accusation
to the muddled moods of elements.

The sun is ginger
when it finally hits this fusion
and softens there
naive in  warm illusion.

The petal & smoke of sunset
is clearing from the battlefield
whilst white eyes stalk the waves;
it is either madness of foam,
or the underbelly of mirrored stars,
(but the dance is elfish anyway.)

Nowhere is breath breathing
and Hanois grows rigid
with the fear of loneliness,
a crazy monolith to the
wild, still movements
of space and air and water.

The last long shadow
thrown out like the cat
is caught in the wink
of its own blink
and sinks,
conquered then
in the toll of the fold of a

Vic Gamble

Sarah's Lament - Sarah Tonan

Now everyone I meet these days
tells me that they’re writing poems.
Not modestly: they’re sorry that
they’re not the Poet Laureate.
They rattle on like metronomes
about their skill. I’m in a daze.

So why’s the Guernsey Poets blog
not inundated with their verse?
A Sonnet shortage? Odes as well?
Not even one neat Villanelle
or little Haiku, short and terse?
Attention poets, it’s no slog

to get your arsis* into gear
and send your precious poems here.

Sarah Tonan

* A poetical term referring to the unstressed syllable of a metrical foot.

The Bugle Call – Ian Duquemin

The bugle called, yet no-one came
Out from the blood, the mud and the rain
Silenced the call left an empty space
A barren, desolate place
Rusty wire entwined with hair
Had ripped the flesh in its tangled snare
And darkness covered this land of red
Hiding the glorious dead
Prayers of loved ones were never heard
By those in trenches left here interred
Eyes that witnessed such hurt and pain
Stared lifeless upon the slain
One hundred years have come and gone
And with each new and thankful dawn
That bugle to this day is blown
Calling them back home

Ian Duquemin

Inscription - Trudie Shannon

Upon this candle,
I inscribe these words.
May peace embrace you.
I will take a match
And light the stranded wick.
The living flame will burn my words
Out into the ether.

Would that all words between people
Could be dispersed
With such gentleness.

Trudie Shannon

The Twitcher - John Buchanan

The birds flew in just after dawn.
They skimmed the treetops,
left ripples on the surface of the lake.
The first, and last, their prey knew of them
was a mighty, stomach clenching, roar
as they flashed past;
leaving dust and devastation in their wake.
Up on the hill top
he tucked the laser away,
confirmed the kill,
then crawled over the brow,
stood and broke into a stooped run.
Job done,
bug out.

John Buchanan

Thinking of Dad - Diane Scantlebury

I’ve got great memories
About my dad,
He’s long been gone
But I still feel sad,
When I think of him
There’s a bright beam that shines
And only illuminates the happier times,

Gregarious and fun
He kept our family together,
Loved to party and would barbeque
Whatever the weather,
Beneath a huge umbrella
In our small back yard,
With smoke billowing from the grill
And the rain falling hard,

A green fingered wizard
His forte was gardening,
His pride was his allotment
He could grow almost anything,
From apples and pears
To runner beans and flowers
In the border beds,
Pumpkins, potatoes, tomatoes,
Even grapes in the garden shed,

Which of course he turned
Into homemade wine,
Then made sake from rice
If he had the time,
There’d be demijohns bubbling
And yeasty smells from under the stairs,
The cupboard would be packed to heaving
With bottles of homebrew stouts and beers,

Much to mum’s annoyance
My little sister’s first word was “beer”,
Pointing her finger to the door above the fridge
And the brew that was hidden there,
She’d not settle and bounce and whinge
Upon my mother’s hip,
Dad would just laugh,
And when mum’s back was turned
He’d let her have a little sip,

I’ve got great memories
About my dad,
He may be gone
But I no longer feel sad,
When I think of him
There’s a bright beam that shines,
And will only illuminate the happier times.

Diane Scantlebury

Lifeline - Joan Etoile

The news today has bothered me
The Co-op want to close their facility
There's talk of 'contingency' and 'food security'
But what if it snows like in '63?

Their plans have filled me all with dread
I'm fearing for my Sunday spread
That's why I've got a year's supply of bread
In a freezer in my shed

My grandsons and Stroobs the cat
Won't survive on toast without fat
Nor will I, if it comes to that,
I don't want to be like Jack Spratt!

No, to keep the wolf away from the door
We'll have to call the Red Cross once more
To bring us the foodstuffs that we adore
Just like the Vega did, back in '44!

Joan Etoile

The Beauty Within - Julian Clarke

When you feel the
Beauty within
You will see more
Beauty around you;
When you feel the
Peace within
Calm stillness will
Surround you.
It’s there for all
Of us hiding in
Every breath;
Majestic trees
Purify the air
As they dance and
Sway in the wind;
The oxygen released
Holds the breath
To give us the
Beauty within;
Can’t you see the
Extinction of trees
Suffocates the world
We all live in.

Julian Clarke

Ormer Trauma – Stephen A. Roberts

Low tide atrocity:
Wading, hunting
Turning the rocks.
Lifting the roof,
Shell heart beating
In its watery home.

The tide has turned!

Low tide anxiety:
Wrenching, pulling
A leg that's stuck
Under the rocks.
Flesh heart beating
In its watery grave.

Stephen A. Roberts

How’s Your Father (these days) - Vic Gamble

{ part one}

God was not such a bright spark
cajoling Noah to build an ark
and then, with celestial watery eyes
matched only by His wilted watery brain,
He drowned everything He had created
in His god-dam godly game
(except for the usual twosomes,the lions,giraffes
 and big horns of the jungle).
But what about the ones that noble Noah had forgot,
the insects and the platypus, the amoeba
and the tsetse fly, not to mention the No 7 bus?
and if Noah had a chance to veto
why didn’t he swat those two mosquito?

(oh! didn’t that heavenly Father make one hell of
a beautiful bungle!).

{ interlude }

I may not be the one to say
but is it not somewhat deranged
to destroy all you have created
and carefully arranged,
little fluffy things drowned
in wild wide eyed fear….
the one saving grace of course being
God does not actually exist,
He is not actually here.

{part two}

But his little elves don’t feel that this is so,
How’s your Father? you ask them,
still messing up the world?
Oh! yes indeed they say, He’s still all go! go! go!

It’s all a bit weird and wearisome,
with a touch of gruesome for Godly gains of glory,
this vacuous How’s your Father (these days)
this little fairy story.

Vic Gamble

Author's footnote:
Not to be confused with “How’s Your Father?”
a Victorian expression used to ascertain the whereabouts of a young lady’s Daddy, prior to any potential rutting.

Big And Strong - Lester Queripel

If you drink your milk
You’ll be big and strong
But I didn’t like it
So I didn’t drink it
That’s where I went wrong

Lester Queripel

Mad Woman - Trudie Shannon

She walks the wet, windblown street,
A tatter of human flotsam.
Her voice tumbles before her
A persistent litany.
She articulates each word into the rain full air,
Rants to the invisible,
Plays both sides of some heated conversation,
She berates herself, her anger
The heartache, the cruelty, her loneliness.
But nevertheless, she strides purposefully on,
Oblivious to the strangers she passes.
Were she a poet in performance,
She would receive a standing ovation
But isolate, on a people filled street
Her madness is pointedly ignored
Hidden inside upturned collars
And embarrassed glances into shop windows.
She walks the wet windblown street
A tatter of human flotsam
And we are shamed by her.

Trudie Shannon

Crazy Butterflies in Love - Diane Scantlebury

Circling, circling we spiral
Ever upwards,
Around and around,
Crazy butterflies in love,
Spinning and spinning
Till we crash, exhausted onto the roof,
But featherlike land without sound,

Was it an autumn thermal that drew us?
Up to these dizzying heights
Away from the leaf spattered floor?
How we got here
We didn’t notice or care,
While locked in the throes of amour,
Too absorbed in our passion
To feel the north wind’s
Breath chill,
We butterflies in love are helpless
And have no free will,

Circling, circling we’ll spiral
Ever upwards,
Around and around,
Crazy butterflies in love
Spinning and spinning
Till our desire is diminished,
And the north wind floats us, spent,
To the leaf smothered ground.

Diane Scantlebury

Masquerade - Ian Duquemin

When did I reinvent myself?
As foetus in my mother's womb?
At birth when light out-shone me?
In times when life had frightened me?
Or when presented with my truth?
The truth of who I really was... Repulsive! 
But then my mask was stapled on
It's sunken cheeks, eyes azure, and lips that longed to be kissed...
All features that disguised the hurt
And kept the curse at bay
But sometimes when I'm forced to smile...
In that moment horrified
My mask has slipped... Exposing pain
Where my broken parts remain

Ian Duquemin

Anthem For Doomed Youth - Wilfred Owen

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
---Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,---
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

Wilfred Owen

This item is from The First World War Poetry Digital Archive, University of Oxford (www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/ww1lit);
© Copyright The Estate of Wilfred Owen. The Complete Poems and Fragments of Wilfred Owen edited by Jon Stallworthy first published by Chatto Windus, 1983. Preliminaries, introductory, editorial matter, manuscripts and fragments omitted.

The Dangers Of Literature - Oscar Milde

Literature is fascinating:
keen discussions, sharp debating,
makes us fervent, animated.

Literature is complicated.
Some like poems, others prose:
rhyme or reason, I suppose.

Not contentious, one might think
unless you add The Demon Drink
then it’s a case of life or death.

Two Russian drunks, with vodka breath,
grew heated in their chilly hut:
one stabbed the other in the gut.

When charged with this outrageous crime,
he claimed to be defending rhyme.
His sorry victim lies in state:
murdered for being literate.

Oscar Milde
Based on a true story!

Remember Larry - Julian Clarke

The battle lines are drawn
From many miles away,
The soldier looks within
He hopes it's not today.
His head's in such a spin
Forgets it's his birthday,
Go; go, over the top lads
A bullet goes astray.

Mum sits by the telephone
A birthday wish to say,
Lying in the mud alone
The ultimate price he paid.
The soldier and his Noreen
Were soon going to marry,
When they turned eighteen
Not to be; poor young Larry.

Julian Clarke

Death On An Axminster Carpet - Vic Gamble

she went blubbering into
the bathroom
& spliced her wrists with his razor,
her beautiful & delicate wrists,
as if they were rotten saplings…
as if they were  romantic molten wax
of candles…

her husband found her in an incidental barrage in,
left, & locked the door
& called an ambulance as if it were a shout
for pest control,
as if a predacious animal had been found,
his voice croaking with need
for mesmerising lights of blue
and other flashing toys of emergency.

“Don’t save me” she cried, “He lied”
& the ambulance man leaned close,
like an angel, and said,
“Don’t worry honey, he just didn’t want more blood
on his new bloody carpet”

Vic Gamble

The Only Way Is Up - Lester Queripel

The only way is up
Unless you would rather go down
Do you prefer to wear a smile?
Or do you prefer to wear a frown?

Will you be optimistic or will you be pessimistic?
Will you be idealistic or will you be realistic?
Is a paradise lost a paradise found?
Can the value of a person be measured by the pound?
To ‘go up’, you need to leave the ground
Light the blue touch paper and retire
Light the fire
Head for the sky
Head for the stars
Head for Mars

The only way is up
Unless you prefer to go down
Do you prefer to wear a smile?
Or do you prefer to wear a frown?

Lester Queripel

Storm - Ted Huge

Like mad puppets, bird-feeders jig.
The wind, a wild puppet-master,
whips them onward, faster, faster,
with rod and bar of branch and twig.

Flower-pots are tumbled; knocked for six.
The fence I built is standing, still;
and bird-table, by force of will
or two strategically placed bricks,

stays upright like a tall ship’s mast.
I pull my cap down, check around;
make all that matters safe and sound;
secure until the storm has passed.

Ted Huge

Remember, Remember… - Traditional

One of many versions of this traditional chant

Remember, remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder treason and plot.
We see no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!

Guy Fawkes, guy, t'was his intent
To blow up king and parliament.
Three score barrels were laid below
To prove old England's overthrow.

By god's mercy he was catch'd
With a darkened lantern and burning match.
So, holler boys, holler boys, Let the bells ring.
Holler boys, holler boys, God save the king.

And what shall we do with him?
Burn him!


Saviour, Monsieur Sidaner - Trudie Shannon

When child small, the lane
Was a deep, grey channel, a gauntlet to be run, save
When the old Frenchman with green hands and black beret
Stood on the hill high bank,
Tomato full greenhouses at his back,
To hold council in his somersaulting tongue,
Whilst we stood, the rescued,
Captivated by his rapid sing song
And the dance of his gesticulating hands.
The bullies always passed us by
When Monsieur held court
No taunts, no pushing, no shoving.
And we always stood together
His rapt, uncomprehending audience of two.
But we listened just the same
Awaiting the moment when
Those green leathery hands would
Proffer fruit for 'Maman'
Which they always did and we would take them, as we always did
Then scurry away in safety
Muttering and giggling Oui, Oui
All the way home.

Trudie Shannon

Where Beauty Sleeps - Diane Scantlebury

Where beauty lies
Beauty sleeps,
So beauty will
Her secret keep,
Where ugliness lies
Then ugliness knows,
The darkest place
Where ugliness grows,
So let beauty wake
And in your heart shine,
Don’t let ugliness creep
And your heart entwine,
If beauty’s secret
You wish to keep,
Don’t let ugliness know
Where beauty sleeps.

Diane Scantlebury

The Youth of Today - Joan Etoile

I made my eldest grandson some fairy cakes for tea
But he didn't want them, because he was high on E
The young are so ungrateful, they don't know that they're born
They've never known real hardship, or woke to a hopeless dawn

These days they're out 'til all hours - no curfew bothers them
Money is no problem, they're changing phones again
It seems they want for nothing, but are never satisfied
The attention spans of goldfish, no morals and no pride

It's a far cry from the old days, when we spoke in Patois code
We did it to fool the Germans - and the Jersey toad
Back then it was real excitement, painting secret signs
Spying on the neighbours, in case they changed sides

We lived in constant danger, there are stories to be told
To my feckless grandsons, before I get too old
I'm sure they listen really, I think there's some hope yet
'Cos I heard the youngest say he had to hide his crystal set...

Joan Etoile

The Terror Cure - Ian Duquemin

The man stood at the boarding gate
All eyes on him were filled with hate
Or was it fear of the unknowing?
Would they get to the place they were going?
Security men had searched him well
He had nothing as far as machines could tell
But on the plane, air conditioners blew
If only the passengers knew!
The wheels touched down from underneath
He heard the sighs of some relief
With feet back on the tarmac'd ground
Arrival... Safe and sound 
Of course the man was searched once more
He had no weapons, they were sure
So he was free to walk away...
His prayers allowed this day
Days did pass, and in a room
The man in sweat... A martyr soon
His virus oozed from deep within
From here, all would begin...
The other passengers at home
Had spread his illnesses, then unknown
Passed to husband, wife and child
To spread like fire... Fierce and wild
And years after the martyr died
A woman screamed... A child cried
The population dwindled fast
How long would sickness last?
They never found "The Terror Cure"
But masks were issued, worn by law
And those that lived would live in fear
As God had put them here
A small injection in the vein 
A foot upon a boarding plane
A carrier let through the door
No weapons... Only war 

Ian Duquemin

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