Yuletide Blues - Diane Scantlebury

Christmas Eve
And I'm in bed,
With bloodshot eyes
And banging head,
Not through over indulgence
As you may think,
Or copious tipples
Of festive drink,

Christmas Day
And I’m in bed,
With a snake rattle cough
That would summon the dead,
So don’t bring me your glad tidings
Of goodwill and wealth,
'Cause my nose is streaming
And I’m feeling sorry for myself,

Boxing Day
And I'm in bed,
Drugged up to the eyeballs
Popped every pill or remedy
That's available to take,
But this Yuletide viral monster
Is impossible to shake,

New Year's Eve
And I’m still in bed,
No chance of testing out
My new suede shoes,
While I'm down in the dumps
With the Yuletide blues,
And the paper tissue shuffle
To keep me awake,
The bronchial rock and roll
Are the only New Year moves
I'm likely to make!

Diane Scantlebury

You Call This A Golden Handshake! - Lester Queripel

Today's poem is a "Golden Oldie" and was originally published here in December 2012.

A golden handcuff, a golden handshake
Surely there’s been some kind of mistake
I’m only fifty-five
I’m still very much alive
Yet I’m being shown the door
They don’t want me anymore
I’ve still got a lot to offer
Yet I have got to suffer
I have to stand in the unemployment line
Wait my turn…………………and sign
They’ve dispensed with all my knowledge
I will now have to summon all my courage
I don’t know how long I can cope with the indignity
We’ll have to wait and see

Lester Queripel

Obituary - Lyndon Queripel

You never stood in the middle
Of a complete silence
Without a pin drop
A curtain call
A breath of wind
Or Summer rain
On the window pane
Without a sound surround
A turn of the tide
A distant dog barking
Children trying to hide
Just laughing outside
Without a bluebird
Singing on the wire
A passing car
A squealing tyre
The tick tock
Of an office clock
Without a radio wave
Telephone tap
Radar trap
Supersonic boom
A jet soaring high
In a cloudless sky
Without a shadowed doubt
A ghostly whisper
In an empty room
A creaking floor
Footsteps in the corridor
Without your heart beating
Pounding, louder, faster
Pulse racing in the gloom
You never even heard
The shot that killed you.

Lyndon Queripel

Gull - Tony Bradley

Grey gull, gliding gracefully
in the September squall
I need only your wings
I have a plaintive call.

Your Autumn is here again
as, indeed, is mine
I, too, just had Summer
but the sun didn't shine.

These seasons, even time itself, have nothing for me
all I care about, everything of worth
was taken from me, before I realised
overseas, to the far side of this earth.

Gull, you now circle the same harbour water
for forty years I've had my tear-filled eyes on
that took Janie away, in a big boat
following the sun, beyond the horizon.

Tony Bradley

Sonnet For Newtown - Andrew Barham

Today's poem is a "Golden Oldie" and was originally published here in December 2012.

Suffer little children come unto me
But not so young for their Maker to see;
Cut down when their lives are just beginning –
What evil hour here is Evil winning?
Madness speaks, and Death untimely answers –
Get thee hence, Death! Cast elsewhere thy grim lures.
Children so young, so fragile filled with hope
For a bright future they will never see;
Through these dull days of endless night we grope;
Our pleas beseech whatever gods there be
Demanding answers from this tragedy:
From meaningless horror, we seek meaning,
Plunged as we are in Grief's bottomless sea –
Instead we hear only children screaming.

Andrew Barham

December 26th - Trudie Shannon

That Angel came again last night
Said Everybody’s missed it.
I can’t understand it.
No he wasn’t born in a stable but
Down at the bottom end of the car park
Between the supermarkets,
In a bus shelter.

No there wasn’t a star as such
Just the old street lamp, often put out by vandals.
But for that moment shining a dim light
Onto the concrete floor
A couple of members from the Salvation Army band
Who’d been playing in the High Street
Passed by, saw what was going on and offered to take her to the hospital,
They said they’d be back shortly, just needed to go and get the car.

Two stray dogs wandered into the shelter
And for no apparent reason stood guard.

A trio of bankers went by soon after, laden with expensive gifts
For spoiled children and ungracious wives
They tut tutted to each other when they saw
The swollen bellied young woman crying in her birth agonies
(Mary was sixteen)
Disgusting, shouldn't be allowed on the streets
Why the hell get pregnant, there's no need to these days.
And in their self righteous indignation, they headed home.

The street light flickered.

The Angel hesitated in recounting his story,
Momentarily seemed overcome with emotion.
He apologised, said I’m sorry
But this bit is so painful, such a terrible waste.

You see, when the Sally Army people came back with the car
The girl had gone, leaving her child wrapped
In a thin scarf inside an old Tesco shopping bag.

The two dogs sat vigilant, either side of it.

Such a cold night.

And with that, the angel disappeared.

Trudie Shannon

Do You Believe? - Ian Duquemin

Do you believe the heavens once held a star?
Guiding the wise men to lands from afar
Travelling miles with gifts they would bring
Knowing they'd find the new king

Do you believe that the shepherds in fields sound asleep
Were summoned by Angels to gather their sheep
As they too must witness the birth of a child
The baby soon born and beguiled

Do you believe that Christ was born on this day?
A saviour then placed in a manger of hay
An innocent child that his father had sent
On which every man could repent

If you do not believe...
Then why do you celebrate Christmas?

Ian Duquemin

I Believe in Santa - Donald Keyman

the powers that be
have ignored everybody's warnings
so we'll be lucky if we see
any ship sailing in
on Christmas day in the morning

the people's fears
are undoubtedly well founded
we shan't see that multi-million pound
millpond boat, but there's still
hope that Santa won't be grounded

Donald Keyman

Song Of The Christmas Turkey - Richard Fleming

We have grown fat, my friends and I,
and although some birdbrains say
these gifts of food Men bring us
must be treated with suspicion,
this I doubt.
I feed on corn aplenty and rejoice,
grow plumply satisfied and portly stout.
My fellows fast become inflated too:
such fine birds with no work at all to do.

I call the doubters paranoid and mock
their pessimistic attitudes and gloom.
Another feast arrives, I gulp it down
then gobble thankful sounds
and strut about.
We grow each day more pillowy and sleek.
Our future is assured, our species blessed.
This is the life, I think, no need to fear:
December is the season of Good Cheer.

Richard Fleming

Festive  Birds - Tony Gardner

Christmas is a-coming
The turkey's in a fright
Dreaming of a butcher
With a hatchet in the night
I don't begrudge you people
Your festive meal, he said
But I don't see why I should die
You could have duck instead

Christmas is upon us
And the ducks are full of fear
To hear the words the turkey spoke
At that dreadful time of year
When every bird was worried
And the ducks all wondered why
The people don't want chicken
It's so easier to fry

Christmas Day is fast approaching
And the chickens don't feel bright
Running wild around and clucking
And afraid to roost at night
They feel that they're hard done by
And they loudly crow and squawk
It isn't fair on poultry
Why can't they just eat pork

Then the hogs there in the pig sty
Set up an awful squeal
We're cooked too much already
Find some other Christmas meal
Something nice like T-Bone steak
Or ox tongue soup might do
For cattle meat's more tasty
And much easier to chew

But the roaring from the bull pen
Seemed to loudly disagree
And it wouldn't do to argue
With a beast as big as he
He snorted then he muttered
I don't see what there's to say
Just go for the tradition
Of a turkey, Christmas day.

Christmas is a-coming
The turkey's in a fright
Dreaming of a butcher
With a hatchet in the night.....

Tony Gardner

December 21 - Stephen A. Roberts

Today's poem is a "Golden Oldie" and was originally published here in December 2012, when, according to some, the world was going to end.

A brace of gin and tonics,
ice and lime;
South American, ironic
as we drink to the end
as predicted by an ancient
calendar, created without
an atomic clock;
invented by just another
delusional cult
who basked in their arrogance
in the face of suspicious ignorance,
weaving their spells
to maintain control
of a craven populace.

If you're reading this tomorrow
then the deadline was missed
and I got pleasantly drunk,
forgot the brandy butter,
parsnips and presents,
not to mention the Mayan days;
I mean, hic, the mayonnaise…

Stephen A. Roberts

Altogether, not a bad trip - Tony Bradley

The youngster trips again, more bruises
luckily his limbs, and his spirit aren't broke
he's got good at falling, though, up quickly and laughing
some people think he tumbles just for a joke.

He'd lie awake at night, worrying, wondering
why he so awkward and clumsy and all
nobody told him, you can't run like the others
you're deformed, unbalanced, you're gonna fall.

Because his feet were growing hoof-like, not flat
they were partly paralyzed, the circulation was poor
this caused callouses and chilblains, and trench-foot
even frostbite, his feet were always sore.

Suffering this daily torture as a youngster
made him very tough to normal pain
although small, he was good at fighting
he could take a punch, but come back again.

His playground boxing skill soon got him some cred
and the bad gang 'adopted' him, their little fighter
so he never ever got bullied, or laughed at
and that probably made his school days brighter.

He loved the games and sports at school
never better than average, but loved to compete
enough skill and timing, but balance always let him down
when a smooth, flowing action required two good feet.

At 15, he passed exams to join the Royal Engineers
the Army Doctor treated it like a joke
“During wartime, in the Regulars, they'd have stuck you up front
but there's no room in the Sappers for a disabled bloke.”

With the black humour he was grinning, but his head was spinning
the word 'disabled' echoed in his ears
this was his problem, right from the beginning
small wonder his anguish, over the years.

The Army doctor referred him to his family GP
who pretended the infant polio was already written down
they suggested, now, special crutches, or surgical boots
after 15 years trying to be normal, he suddenly felt a clown.

He took it on board, now this polio tag
to him, it was like a 'get out of jail' card
Now, he just had to do his best,
or do something else, if things got too hard.

He worked on building sites, got accepted, no problem
mind you do your job, everybody gets on fine
but suddenly the 'elf n' safety' boys came in
they thought he was drunk, couldn't walk a straight line.

Mustn't work at heights, no heavy power tools,
no carrying loads over twenty-five K
"for his sake, and the safety of others"
no more manual stuff, he had to walk away.

He'd gone a full circle now, returning to architecture
despite some saying he was too dim, when he left school
but, he was artistic, and knew a lot about building now
he'd carve a career out of it, now he's nobody's fool.

Now he's in his Autumn years, reminiscing
he's had some fun, he's not one to snivel
now he's in the garden, or beachcombing with the dog
and his real raison d'etre, spewing rhyming drivel.

Tony Bradley

Ship In The Sky - Lyndon Queripel

The morning Sun was warm and bright
Over the fields not far from home
When there was a flash of light
A shimmering of polished chrome

I've seen a ship in the sky
I've seen a flying machine

I've no proof, I've no photograph
I half expected you to laugh

There were no engines, no silver wings
And no sound filled the air
I thought I was seeing things
As I watched it disappear

I've seen a ship in the sky
I've seen a flying machine

It left me in wonder, it left me in awe
And it left me wanting to see more.

Lyndon Queripel

Port Soif revisited, on a calm day - Bryony de Lat

Some years away, I may decay, or die today, . . either way
I listed some sick soundtracks, for the day I'm to burn
and at this special venue, may I ask, can you . . .
scatter my ashes, without pomp, turn the urn.

Here, when the tide's high, it's a tropical lagoon
yet some locals still race off, on an annual chase
having saved up their wages, they scour travelogue pages,
but there really is no more beautiful place.

Bryony de Lat

Grizzlies In Town - Andrew Barham

Today's poem is a "Golden Oldie" and was originally published here in December 2012.

Where have all the Black Bears gone?
Eaten by Grizzlies every one!
So many Grizzlies in town –
One night last Summer
There were nine strolling around;
In The Village, a young male built his den
And all the little children to school in cars went then;
Mothers with cubs on the edge of the school grounds
Raiding gardens and dumpsters
And annoying the wife of the new parson –
It reminds me of a cartoon by Gary Larsen:
Bears on a fishing dock flossing their teeth
With fishing line to clean out bits of meat –

Yet! I've never actually seen a Grizzly
Though I've been within ten feet of a mother and cubs
Hidden from view by the thick brush along the trail –
She let me know I wasn't welcome.

Andrew Barham

The Human Sickness - Ian Duquemin

Human beings spread their sickness
Poisoning our Mother Earth
Yet she forgives and grants us life
With every new born baby's birth

Still we take, returning nothing
Planting only seeds of hate
Mother Earth embraces all
But too controls our fate

Every living, breathing, earthling
All have purpose, all the same
None have rights to be more worthy
Yet we are to blame

We the scourge of all the living
Think that we're superior
But one day Mother Earth shall teach
The meaning of inferior

Ian Duquemin

Men In Ice - Richard Fleming

Three figures, shrouded by a broken tent,
lie, curled like question marks, in icy death.
A group of living men
with breaths, collectively,
like exhaled ghosts,
pronounce a brief but solemn prayer
and execute one last salute,
then leave departing footprints in fresh snow.

Years pass.
A century of change occurs.
Two great wars come.
God dies.
Prayers seem a waste of effort.
Man strives for planets not for poles.
Sons become fathers, grandfathers, then dust.
Scott, Bowers, Wilson, shrouded still,
lie frozen in Antarctica,
as far from home as any man can be.
Entombed in ice, preserved
unchanged, they seem to sleep.

Amongst the floating bergs
a massive silence rings.

Richard Fleming

Pink Sky - Kathy Figueroa

Pink sky
Pure snow
Fluffy white crystals
Blanket the ground
Silence reigns
All around
During this time
Of rebirth
...If only this peace
Could cover the Earth...

Kathy Figueroa

"Pink Sky" was published on February 3, 2011, in The Bancroft Times newspaper.

Syrian Carol - Diane Scantlebury

Ding dong not so merrily on high,
When bombs are raining from the sky,
Find some shelter if you can,
There’ll be no peace
In your fair land,

The wise men have voted from afar,
To send their birds of Armageddon
Against your wayward rebels to fight,
No chance of negotiation or reconciliation now,
They’ve scores to settle
And to flex their might,

Ding dong not so merrily
For Syria upon high,
More homes to be blasted into rubble,
More innocents to die.

Diane Scantlebury

Closure - Tony Bradley

Strange, at last, years later,
the numb shock's gone away
the cruel pain I can live with
you just couldn't stay.

Hideously; suddenly, no warning,
I just wasn't to know
I like to think you were called,
and somehow prepared to go.

This must be your sweet work
this peace now shone through
'cos everything good in my life,
it all started with you.

It seems suddenly again, my life is worthwhile,
for no new reason, it's hard to explain
the memory of you is protecting me now
as if we're sharing some happiness again.

Tony Bradley

A Time Of The Signs - Lyndon Queripel

As I looked out this Monday morning
The birds were coughing on the wires
The sky bled and the smog was red
With the Sun almost breaking through
Yawning, I heard the sirens warning
Today there would be no coal fires
Again there was a pain in my head
I knew my prescription was overdue

A newsflash late on the State radio
Said that California was on the slide
The mystery of history held no clues
And the weather wasn't altogether fair
The clock was slow and so I had to go
Outside to ride on the rush hour tide
Elevated, escalated and calculated queues
A free for all to share in the stale air

Well I don't know but I've been told
Absence makes the heart grow fonder
The meek shall inherit the Earth
And that patience is indeed a virtue
But when a distant love grows cold
A fond heart will often wander
And incidentally for what it's worth
There's a "No Waiting" sign next to you.

Lyndon Queripel

Late Night Shopping - Donald Keyman

The Donkey is in the Town again,
blinking in the festive lights
window shopping in the internet showroom
until the rain provides the necessary excuse
to stop looking for this season's holy grail;

The relief provided by this
meteorological curfew shows in his face,
as he joins the drinkers in the De La Rue
to await the late night shopping bus back home,
the annual pilgrimage over once more.

Donald Keyman

Cave Paintings - Stephen A. Roberts

The stone age warrior
sits in his cave
and admires his handiwork,
paintings crudely sketched by his primitive hand
in blood and ochre, scenes of hunting and slaughter.
In the flickering light of the fire,
some of the figures appear to move.

The drone age warrior
sits in his cave
and witnesses his handiwork,
the paintings are not his, though still rendered by his hand
scenes in blood and ochre, of hunting and slaughter.
Fires are flickering, but
none of the figures appear to move.

Stephen A. Roberts

Where Man Had Been - Ian Duquemin

If everybody grew a tree
Including them and you and me
Our planet may begin to thrive
And in its beauty come alive
We'd breathe in air so clean and pure
Have pride in what each human saw
Something that we all gave back
To stop our cruel attack
And maybe in a future bright
A visitor may see a sight
A view that eyes had never seen
The wondrous place where man had been
An Eden for eternity
Designed by them and you and me
With healing hands the seeds we'd sown
Had saved our broken home

Ian Duquemin

Memories - Trudie Shannon

Our first kiss in a thrice built shed, wood smoke curling between us.
Our exchange of symbolic gifts.
The soft drift of a whispered story melding us together in the darkness.
Reunion in a bleak underground station, where strangers said "Never part".
Scrawling our small angel amidst pebbles and seaweed.
Rock hopping like misguided would be ballet dancers, chasing the tides.
Stone skimming to the earth’s end and still smiling.
And the tale of The Little Prince that wound around us
Binding us together in invisible glue.
You do not remember our first kiss
But if I remind you, perhaps you will glimpse our yesterdays
And be like Pooh bear who taught us that the uncarved block
Is as beautiful in history as it is in the present.

Trudie Shannon

Another World - Diane Scantlebury

I’ve drifted into another world
A place where many happy moments are spent,
A secret place, hidden within my head
Where balloons and bubble thoughts invent,
An inner sanctum where I can dream,
Word concoctions brew
And new imaginings scheme.

Diane Scantlebury

The Butterfly - Liz Woodington

Today's poem is a "Golden Oldie" and was originally published here in December 2012

Flying in the sky,
Fluttering her alluring wings,
Is a beautiful butterfly,
Totally free and alive,
Full of elegance and grace,
Displaying complete splendour.

Beneath the colourful wings
There is a story,
A life of hardship,
And of immense struggle.
To reach this place of glory
Shea has been on a journey,
A journey packed with difficulty
Which sometimes got extremely tough,
A journey of transformation
Changing her from insignificant
To someone of great value.

And if you were able to ask her
Was it all worth it?
Her answer
Most certainly would but

Liz Woodington

Georgia - Bryant Doyle

I've gone all unnecessary, get a grip, . . . there SHE is
My heart's gone all funny, and I've got the cramps
the most beautiful thing that ever walked this Earth
and I'm old enough to be her Gramps.

Old men still appreciate women, like good wines and ports
with their knowledge they can admire, though not partake
I've always had my own short list of tipples and snorts
but my unofficial role of wine-buff, I now gladly vacate.

Having just seen her, that list is nonsense
if scribbled on paper, it would be up in smoke
. ..God in Heaven, . . . DROP-DEAD GORGEOUS . . .
ignore me, I've died, I'm a happy bloke.

The (slight) age difference could invoke inappropriate response
hence the analogy women to wine, a cunning disguise
but it's only from a distance I look at GEORGIA
'cos I just melt when as I gaze into her eyes.

Bryant Doyle

It's Winter - Kathy Figueroa

Today's poem is a "Golden Oldie" and was originally published here in December 2012

It's winter, right now
In the Northern Hemisphere
There's much darkness
Cold weather and snow
So people try to spread good cheer
Festive outdoor lights are strung
To brighten up the gloom
Pretty decorations are hung
In the living room
People reconnect with
Friends and relatives they
Haven't seen for awhile
Folks go out of their way
To make others smile
At this time it's hoped
That everyone will feel like
They belong to one big family
Regardless of origin or creed
Everyone is welcome
Around the Christmas tree

Kathy Figueroa

Am I in Rochester? - Tony Bradley

My little brother and I sometimes looked after Aunt Winnie
Mother would bring her, but herself not stay
turns out Aunt Winnie wasn't a relative at all
but we had to watch her, sometimes all day.

Her mind used to wander, we were too young to realise
we just thought she was mad, or a witch
we used to play along, in her ramblings
we were either afraid, or amused, I can't remember which.

"Am I in Rochester . . .tickets please . . .mind the doors
let the cat out, Beryl, two-and-thruppence, . . .where's my hat ?"
We'd assume our roles, both looking for the 'hat', and stamp her ticket,
and I'd be 'Beryl', and remove the 'cat'.

If we were older and wiser, we'd have understood better
although, in a way, for Aunt Winnie it was good
she wanted to go back to happier times
and the days she was with us, the dear old soul could

Tony Bradley

Autumn (Nature's Artist) - Ian Duquemin

Soon the seasons change in colour
Blending into one another
Mosaic leaves shall paint the land
Enhanced by Mother Nature's hand
Reds and browns will cover all
As from the trees the colours fall
Spiralling before they lay
As autumn's own display

Ian Duquemin

Used To Be - Lyndon Queripel

I used to be a folksinger
Left without a word
There was nothing I could do
I just could not be heard
For my voice it was broken
From calling through the rain
But somethings are best unspoken
Than misunderstood to explain

I used to be a gambler
Taking half a chance
Slipping through my fingers
The cards began to dance
Spinning wheels and rolling dice
It wasn't hard to choose
But I never would've played
Unprepared to lose

I used to be a soldier
Bullets flying around my brain
Before I get much older
I think I'll go insane with pain
The doctors tried so hard
To help rid me of my doubt
They told me not to worry
There was a lot of it about

I used to be a drifter
Just moving from town to town
Then one night down by a harbour
I thought I heard someone drown
So I dived into the water
And swam against the rising tide
I knew I'd lost when the current crossed
And I never reached the other side.

Lyndon Queripel

Conversation Overheard - Diane Scantlebury

Woman in the seat in front
Speaks too loudly on her mobile phone,
Her personal life exposed,
Laid bare for all to witness,
Her face unseen, her voice unknown,

Revealing every intricacy of her travel plans
For half an hour unwinds the tale,
Until mercifully a tunnel intervenes
Brings respite and silence with a technical fail,

"Allo" "allo" the woman still shouts
As if across a continent her friend could hear,
What remained of a banal conversation overheard,
Unsolicited eavesdropping,
Too tortuous,
For fellow passengers to bear.

Diane Scantlebury

The Fairy Ring - Andrew Barham

Today's poem is a "Golden Oldie" and was originally published here in November 2012

There's a ring around the sun
After the rains have come and gone;
Later, I see it reflected on the ground
On a knoll within a circle of stones.

Where are those Elven Folk
Who once peopled these ancient hills?
The stones around the ring are soaked
With the light which spills
From the sun dying across the sky
Just above the World Edge it lies on
Where Sky and Earth meet to try
To form a new horizon.

This forsaken place is empty now,
Forgotten – a remnant of a past time,
Not even the abode of a stray sheep or cow:
Man has moved on – and that's fine –
Science has brought us greater wonders.
The Moon is a goddess no more
And Apollo's chariot no longer blunders
From skyline to skyline on the new day's shores,
For we have set foot on Diana's soil
And probed the heart of the Sun;
Through creative blood, sweat and toil
We have met the gods and won.

Andrew Barham

People - Trudie Shannon

They sit in the café,
Just the few
Who have weathered the weather,
The wet and the cold,
Who have donned waterproof clothing, coats, hats
And carried umbrellas.
Now, in reward, sit warm, in the café
Drinking warm drinks, warming cold hands.

Not too faraway
Others have fled bombs and guns
Crossing into foreign lands and then braving the sea,
Huddled miserably in leaking boats
Waves washing over them.
Cold, wet, worn with fear and exhaustion
Finally they reach land, but not salvation.
The wind blows icy and the sleet
Cuts into fragile, exposed skin.
Babies cry, children are stilled into abject silence.
They fall to the ground in open fields
And sleep the sleep of near death

In the café people bemoan the inconvenience
Of the drizzling rain.
Such a difficult life.

Trudie Shannon

Daydreams - Bryony de Lat

I used to use dreams, to create and design
but now my dreams come, cemented in rhyme
before, there was an exact brief, a strict deadline
but now, the only constraints are mine.

Don't underestimate the power of imagination
the ability to float away, thus boredom forsaking
to mentally stroll off, for a whimsical walk
later returning to now, neither wheezing nor aching.

Store in your mind, a place to wander
whistle, or sing, if you think you can
and always have that daydream ready,
for when the shit starts hitting the fan.

Bryony de Lat

The Wind's Words - Tony Gardner

As the wind wraps itself round the house and it winds
and caresses, impresses its will on my mind
Then I fight for my freedom, my own way to choose
as it whispers "Come with me, only then can you lose
All the tightly bound ties, gain your bright strangled dreams
come with me, we'll soar in wild, fanciful streams,
Leave your world that is weary, the troubles and woes
come and be happy where anything goes
Where you never need worry what others may feel
for your own needs and pleasures are all that are real"
The wind's words are tempting, and they waken in me
a deep selfish longing for my soul to fly free
Yet it's warm and it's safe in this cosy old home
so.....I may go tomorrow........but I probably won't.

Tony Gardner

She didn't care - Bryant Doyle

Three girls before her, or twenty-three?
not important, she just didn't care
it was only how I treated her
suddenly this romance seemed special, rare.

'Cos we were getting closer, by the minute,
I was dreading it, but had to say
the childhood polio, my funny feet
but she turned it round, in a funny way.

Turns out she'd noticed my stupid feet
long before we'd ever talked
she said the first thing she liked about me
was my 'cute, little, tip toe' walk.

Although she was pretty, (like Felicity Kendal)
her tastes were edgy, a little odd
actors, singers, she liked the strange one
probably why 'yours truly' got the nod

From then, suddenly, I had a new confidence
whatever the challenge, I could face it, now
an easy role now, just be a good husband
I had a gorgeous wife, and I didn't quite know how.

Whatever 'disaster' happened, it was never so bad
"didn't get the promotion?..you're probably too clever"
she'd say WE were all that mattered
"dented the car? ... careless twit …whatever."

The early neglect and abuse, affected me
like a cancer, it would inevitably grow
but something stronger turned my life round
unconditional love, that only some know.

Bryant Doyle

Taken - Ian Duquemin

What have you done to our homeland!
You continue to take as you please
And not pass a thought for the locals
Not even consider their pleas!
Do you not see the old quickly fading?
The unique that has gone from our past
All is replaced with your modern and new
Where granite was put up to last
You've destroyed a culture once famous!
You've pushed us away to new lands!
You've caused us to watch as you blatantly lie
Whilst washing our blood off your hands
And what do you get for your scheming?
A bank account filled to the brim
Money you've made from an island not yours
And decisions you've made on a whim!
You've taken a place that held beauty
And turned it against all its folk
You've squeezed so hard were unable to breathe
But still you hold on 'til we choke
And all we can do is to watch you
As down fall the stones of our youth
While stupidly looking at photographs
As they show the damaging proof

Ian Duquemin

What Is? - Martyn Legg

Today's poem is a "Golden Oldie" and was originally published here in November 2012

What is beauty, but the child of dreams and longings held deep within us.
What is love, but the sister of pain and sorrow, wrung from our hearts into new birth.
What is joy, but the lighter shade of loss and feelings so dark and cold.
What is life, but the passing of moments in which we learn to love and remember.

Martyn Legg

Shooting In The Dark - Lyndon Queripel

The man looked at me and said
"Son, you're in a mess
If your hair gets any longer
You'll have to wear a dress
And those pills you're popping
What are they for?
'Cos you just walked through the window
And looked out of the door?"
So I turned to face him
As the Moon began to spark
And replied,"I guess we're all
Just shooting in the dark."

Lyndon Queripel

The Riddler - Tony Bradley

I don't think I'm a proper poet
I abhorred the academic aspects of school
I found it dire, and disguised my dimness
by being belligerent and acting the fool.

I don't act the fool now, time is too precious
in a way, all my jokes have long been said
I'm the clown, now, who's missed out really
there's a load of stuff now, way over my head.

I know it's horses for courses
and even favourites don't pocket the lot
but I wonder if I hadn't been lazy, and blinkered
how different my own course through life would have got.

Tony Bradley

Gone - Diane Scantlebury

Life is so brittle
So precious,
But so easy to shatter,
Snuffed out in an instant
As if it doesn’t matter,
A gunman,
A bomb,
One blink,
Life’s gone.

Diane Scantlebury

Loyalty - Chris Hudson

Today's poem is a "Golden Oldie" and was originally published here in November 2012

God bless...
Beautiful England
As the last living Rose
Quivers in your hand.

The grey and the damp and the filthiness of ages
Through the stinking alleys where drunken beatings rages
Past where the Thames river does flow, glistening silver and gold
That for vain dreams and frippery was hastily pawned and sold

Night falls and moon does rise on silky sliding river
Moon sliver in the moving sky watches ocean’s shimmer
The fields of corn are ripe in beautiful England
As the last living rose quivers in your hand.

Our forefather’s planned we’d never be enslaved in this land
Under yoke of foreign oppression, by another’s hand
Will our blood rise up, brothers, and cast off our shackles?
Or tolerate and suffice in raising of our hackles?

God Bless Beautiful England
As the last living Rose quivers in your hand

The chain that binds us is the boundless winding ocean
This thread that runs through us like a fuse to an explosion
Like Hugo in his exile cross the waters there that pour
Yet conversely my blood my DNA not of these shores

I live and die forever through all England’s merry lands
My undaunted never failing love for you will always stand
God Bless Beautiful England
As the last living Rose quivers in your hand.

Chris Hudson

Lament - Richard Fleming

(Paris, 2015)

Ice petals on the blackthorn bow,
in twilight, masquerade as white
but it will never blossom now.
The world is slipping into night.
Weep for the last-extinguished light.

For generations to be born
into a world without birth-right,
for darkness, fast approaching, mourn.
Weep for the last-extinguished light.

Grieve for the final, breaking wave
that slips away, the bird in flight
that falls to earth, the hungry grave.
The world is slipping into night.

Tears in the grey, relentless rain
resemble signatures we write
on farewell notes imbued with pain
Weep for the last-extinguished light.

Lament the sharpness of the blade,
the flesh, so vulnerable and slight,
the future plans so rashly made.
The world is slipping into night.

We must stand firm, repudiate
the bullet in its ghastly flight,
the torrent of extremist hate.
The world is slipping into night.
Weep for the last-extinguished light.

Richard Fleming

Another Day - Trudie Shannon

In the countryside this morning,
There is heavy cloud cover and a soft drizzling rain.
Beside the water there are flurries
Of birds calling.
Skeins of seabirds wending their way, low key, upriver.
To where, no-one knows?
In the pools left by the ebbing tide
There is barely sufficient weight in the rainfall
To leave telltale circular ripples.
All the same, invisible fry undoubtedly dance
Beneath a miniscus transparently fine.
The wind is breezing in from the south,
Contrarily cold, heralding a skewed winter's debut.
But everything feels skewed this morning
The morning after, like so many other mornings after
When wanton killing has laid its curse upon the innocent.
A lone gull stands guard
Upon the rapidly disappearing pond.

Trudie Shannon

Paris Be Strong - Ian Duquemin

Paris be strong
You are not left alone
We are all with you
You are not on your own
Together we weep for your children that fell
Your hurt and your pain we are feeling as well
United as one you have friends at your side
And we mourn for your loved ones who died

Ian Duquemin

Hear for keeps - Bryant Doyle

Shedding characteristic modesty, there's clever things in my head
unfortunately, there's also this sort of humming
it varies, instrumentally, from woodwind to percussion
a haunting humming, sometimes a strumming, or a discernible drumming

Ironically, this germ has sprouted in a fragrant patch
where, if there are any toxins, they're certainly sparse
for this unwelcome pollution harmlessly exists
in my pretty land of Poetry, . . (yeah, I know, up my arse.)

It's picked the wrong person, this audio-virus
if it wants to be nasty, or drive someone barmy
'cos right from birth, I've fought off worse demons
I'm The Black Knight, me, I'm Pepperami.

I've been bestowed, or bewitched, (I dunno why)
with a child-like, over-active imagination
the humming's just a breeze, from a shore, nearby
but the drumming warns of warriors from the Zulu nation.

I'm diverse, but my first wife's step-Gran, at about 75
began hosting a humming, . . .or was it a drumming? . . .
anyway, first she said it was like bees round a hive
but it blossomed into real characters, going and coming.

My noises are just rhythmic, 'cos I'm musical, me
whereas she was literate, cultured, (had Cezannes and Renoirs)
if her diaries hadn't been stolen by a carer,
BBC were going to dramatise her memoirs.

Delayed concussion? Could be, my sister threw me out the pram.
Or, in the compost of my brain, was this noise created?
Sort of psychokineticaudiophotosynthetic . . . Yeah, right
just don't save my brain, when I'm cremated.

Bryant Doyle

The Robins of Cardiff - Kathy Figueroa

Today's poem is a "Golden Oldie" and was originally published here in November 2012

Though the snow did cling, 'twas the first day of spring
And I wanted to celebrate
No matter what faith is dear, to all it's clear
That this is an important date

It was Sunday, too, so the thing to do
To start the brand new week
Seemed to me that it would be
To go to church and hear the minister speak

So off I went as a congregant
Since my celebrations weren't of the partying kind
And I hoped that a measure of spiritual treasure
Would be something that I'd find

I wasn't wrong, sermon and song
Spoke of a man from the distant past
Who was wise and kind, a type hard to find
So fond memories of him still last

I sat in the pew and listened to
The minister speak some interesting words
And then was surprised when I realized
She had started to talk about birds

She said she'd learned, when early each year they returned
That finding food could be a difficult feat
So to make it less hard, she spread seeds in her yard
For the birds as a special treat

This once attracted a flock from all over the block
That enjoyed the unexpected lunch
'Til assailed by feathery blows from a crowd of crows
Which were a raucous and boisterous bunch

Suddenly, during the melee, from the fray
A big robin did appear
Then it perched quite still, on her window sill
And showed absolutely no fear

There it stayed, unafraid
As it looked right up at her face
And, with a knowing nod, she said it was sent by God
To illustrate God’s divine presence and grace

The sermon came to an end and I thought of a friend
Whose name was 'Mary Lou'
She had a heart of gold and stories are told
About the kind things that she used to do

All critters wounded or lost, no matter the cost
At her place were welcomed and mended
They convalesced, with food and rest
And were most carefully tended

With the hurt and stray, she had a way
She'd heal them or give them a home
It was a good circumstance, if by chance
To her place they managed to roam

Once, by bad luck, a tragedy struck
And baby birds were left bereft of a mother's care
Though still alive, they couldn't survive
They were too young to find food anywhere

Someone knew about Mary Lou
And her way with creatures large and small
Then correctly guessed the young birds in the nest
Should be taken to her to have any chance at all

Mary Lou fed them by hand and could understand
Exactly what they needed to eat
And people were amazed that the birds were hand raised
Because that was an unusual feat

Thus, by and by, they grew large enough to fly
After being nurtured so carefully
And, for they were wild, not tame, the time eventually came
When they had to be taken outside and set free

It was hard to part because, with all her heart
Mary Lou loved those birds, it was clear
So, her eyes shone bright, with a radiant light
When she said what happened the following year

It was a lovely day, in April or May
Her living room window was open wide
And to her delight, some birds paused in flight
Then, through the open window, hopped inside

They wandered about and checked things out
And seemed as if, to each other, they said
“Here we were raised, mercy be praised
We were kept safe, sheltered, and fed

Though far we did roam, this is our home
When we were motherless we were brought here to stay”
And they looked as if they knew kind Mary Lou
And thanked her, and then flew away

Medicine and technology were employed, but her body was destroyed
For her, doctors couldn't do anything
And right 'til her last days, she continued to amaze
With the way she’d ease all creatures’ suffering

She found relief in her belief
In a man who performed many a miraculous feat
Through the stories told, from times of old
She believed that, eventually, she and he would meet

Poorly she fared, but she never despaired
Or cried out from self pity or the great pain
And though, one day, she went away
I believe Mary Lou lives, again

When birds sing at dawn, maybe they pass the story on
So it's known in each new bird generation
Of how the kindly soul, on whom illness took such a toll
Is now held in great veneration

“It was a sign of love, from Heaven above!”
Said the minister that day in church
“An example of grace, from a holy place
That sent the robin to the windowsill to perch!”

And, to give the minister her due, what she said was true
But there was more, of which she was unaware
You see, Mary Lou used to live in that Cardiff, Ontario, neighbourhood
And I’ll bet the robins still look for her there

Kathy Figueroa

Dogs Enjoying Budloe Night - Tony Gardner

Shivering and frightened
nowhere to find safety
Stay by me Daddy
As strong as a stone
There's lots more of those
Loud bangs and hisses
Won't they ever stop
And leave me alone
It used to be one night
That we burnt the Budloe
But now it spreads long past
Traditions we’ve known
A one night remembrance
Of something so special
Has turned into something
So wild and unknown

Tony Gardner

The Poppy - Ian Duquemin

I am the flower worn with pride
Commemorating those that died
My colour that of blood once spilled
Upon the muddy battlefield
When I am worn admire me
I represent what they set free
You, forever in their debt
Shall never then forget

Ian Duquemin

Safe - Diane Scantlebury

My darling man
You were so tired,
That you didn’t feel
Me kissing your back
In the night as you slept,
But I could feel
The vibrations of your snores,
Against my lips
And I was comforted,
Knowing you were alive
Warm and snug beside me,
Laying on your side
With my body pressed close,
Listening to your fitful breaths
Punctuate the half darkness,
I knew we were safe.

Diane Scantlebury

Just A Thought Away - Lyndon Queripel

Wild winds begin to blow
As if they know
You're leaving today
But no matter how far you go
To me you'll always be
Just a thought away

Lyndon Queripel

How Peculiar - Julian Clarke

"Oh! I don’t like that,
It’s not my cup of tea."
How odd some quotes can be
Now let's put the kettle on,
For a nice cup of tea.

Julian Clarke

The Gynaecologist - Tony Bradley

I produce these little babies now,
at a fairly regular rate
there are some very fast productions
others seem to develop late.

Some are sometimes lumbering, large
at the end it's a big relief
others are compact, little cherubs
their production is smooth and brief.

My babies mean a lot to me
there's love and care in all my work
and if it's appreciated, what I do
to me, it's a massive perk.

I think the title of this rhyme confused things
to be honest, I really know it
I wish I earnt a gynaecologist's salary
but I'm just another, . . penniless poet.

Tony Bradley

Paper Plane - Oscar Milde

He lets fly a paper plane,
from his window airstrip, high
into gentle light that seems to welcome it.

The folded-foolscap floats and glides.

His bright eyes follow its haphazard flight:
first right then
erratic as a butterfly.

Down, down it drifts,
a pleated page of insubstantial words.

It dips and stalls,
then on warm updrafts, rises again
like a despairing cry.

Oscar Milde

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!


The Demon and the Angel - Ian Duquemin

The demon asked the angel
"Why do people think you're good?"
The angel shone and smiled, then answered
"God has said they should"
The demon thought a moment, and replied
"But God's not true!
Or why would he have made me bad..
Yet put the good in you?"
The angel didn't answer, she just gave a wicked grin
As she had been deceitful and had not confessed her sin
The demon he got angry, and then shouted "That's not fair!
I'm only in man's mind but you are called to every prayer"
The angel told the demon that an illness he shall be
"You should have been a liar... Just like me!"

Ian Duquemin

Silver Surfing? - Jenny Hamon

Communication's very poor
Conversation is no more
'Cos hubby's on his iPad now
As long as batteries will allow

It's great that he can surf the net
And as a pensioner, that's no mean bet
But home life suffers, time runs away
He loses track of time or day

The shipping lanes keep him amused
From where ?, going to?, the ships have cruised
His Facebook friends converse with him more
Am I really that much of a bore?

I leave him to it 'till I need
To tell him that it's time to feed
But he's engrossed, the hearing's dim
Tea's ready, I'll just message him

Jenny Hamon

Flotsam - Diane Scantlebury

There's unusual flotsam on this beach,
A place where before only the foam of the surf
Or the sandaled feet of tourists would tread,
Now every day is filled with apprehension and dread,
Of what will be washed up
To be mingled in the golden sand,
Perhaps a discarded life vest,
Perhaps a small child’s hand,
This vivid snapshot of tragedy
Now the debris of desperation and grief,
To momentarily prick our conscience,
A reminder and remnants of life so brief.

Diane Scantlebury

Why Is It Called A Boxing Ring When It's A Square? - Lyndon Queripel

Was it the second round ?
The boxer couldn't tell
That last punch was hard
And it had hurt like hell
Against the ropes he reeled
And to the floor he fell
Through a mist of pain
He heard the referee yell
"Seven,eight,nine," and then
Clang! Saved by the bell.

Lyndon Queripel

Witch - Richard Fleming

Black shawled, she gathers sticks, views you aslant.
Her cat is black, it has an evil eye.
We tread an extra mile, though we are tired, to avoid her gate.
Our children, in their sleep, cry out in fear
while pregnant women shy away when she appears.
O’Riley cursed her in a drunken rage
and afterwards
his cattle ceased to milk, his horse fell down and died.
They say she rides a broom on summer nights
when shadows cross the moon like ravens’ wings.
Dark toads squat wetly on her windowsill
and croak the Devil’s name in foreign tongues.
No luck, no luck for us while she remains.
She must be gone, like others of her kind:
first by the ducking-stool and pins
while priests intone their cleansing Latin spells,
then by the fiery stake, where she will burn
and burn
and burn
and burn
and burn
and burn
and burn.

Richard Fleming

The Pumpkin Beast - Kathy Figueroa

Today's poem is a "Golden Oldie" and was originally published here in October 2012

In the blackest hours of Halloween night
Stir creatures that moan and wail
Such sounds can give a soul a fright
And cause your heart to fail

But there's one that makes the other bunch
Sound as innocent as a birdie's chirp
When it goes CRUNCH, CRUNCH

"Oh, tell us, please, what is this beast?"
Hoarse, hushed whispers query
"On what does this monster feast
And make noises that are so scary?"

Listen carefully to what I say
Make sure my words you mark
Things transpire in a mysterious way
On Halloween, after dark

Behold yon pumpkin, with an eerie face
Lit by a candle from within
It's to keep bad spirits from that place
That's why it has a hideous grin

But people give nary a thought
That, inside, the pumpkin is being toasted
The candle flame burns so hot
The pumpkin becomes roasted

Certain epicureans of the quadruped kind
Esteem this squash 'cuisine'
And, in abundance, it's easy to find
On the night of Halloween

There's one with which I'm acquainted
That has a legendary appetite
And I nearly fainted
When I first saw the following sight

Only scraps of rind lay on the floor
The Pumpkin Beast had struck behind my back
And he was still looking around for more
After his initial snack attack

'El Perro Gordo de Paudash'
Is the name by which he's now known
And he'll choose pumpkin in a flash
Any day, instead of a bone

Kathy Figueroa

No if, just do - Tony Bradley

Don't worry about 'not fitting in' any place
for you, it would have been like a prison
you work better on your own, a wild card,
a loose cannon, or some other euphemism.

When the bright are young, they always get smothered
but some go on to create, if they manage to breathe
and if they get noticed, just look who's most bothered
it's those twisted smotherers, see the jealous seethe.

Probably born in the wrong time and place
characters like you will be slandered, abused
the mindless masses will close ranks and cluster
and, without thought or trial, hang the accused.

So sail your own boat, dude, do your own thing
they'll be things you can't change , or avoid
if you just try and impress yourself
those who put you down will be well annoyed.

Tony Bradley

Freezing - Tony Gardner

Fingers of coldness are creeping all over
Iciness eating the flesh off of me
A dog fox is barking outside in the darkness
Clouds are forbidding the Moon to break free
And all that I want is for Time to drop backwards
Back to the years when we tasted Life's wine
When all was a breathtaking, red-blooded exploit,
Not like this cold, bitter frost riven rime

Tony Gardner

The Wrath - Ian Duquemin

The crying wind blew up the hill
It dragged along a frozen chill
Bending trees with ease apart
Its destination was my heart
Hunting for its feeble prey
There was no place to hide away
The skies grew black when it was here...
To feed upon my fear
The whispers taunted "Let me in"
And lightening cracked a frightening grin
As here was I now all alone
Within this twilight zone
The chill crept in and covered me
Completely raped and savaged me
I gazed upon your photograph
And swear I heard you laugh

Ian Duquemin

Recycling Techniques - Oscar Milde

These are mandated recycling techniques
ordained by bureaucrats with marker pens:
recycle paper, plastics on alternate weeks.

Pack tight your kitchen cupboard till it squeaks
with jars and cartons squeezed like battery hens:
these are mandated recycling techniques.

Stack piles of paper high as mountain peaks,
let children use waste cardboard to build dens,
recycle paper, plastics on alternate weeks.

Old cooking oil can give you rosy cheeks:
rub it in sparingly each night after you cleanse.
These are mandated recycling techniques

Spare bin-bags make a cool, black dress, with tweaks;
milk cartons, sturdy shoes, but just size tens.
Recycle paper, plastics on alternate weeks.

Exemplary reuse is what your Parish seeks.
Comply, comply if you have any sense.
These are mandated recycling techniques.
Recycle paper, plastics on alternate weeks.

Oscar Milde

Back to GMT - Jenny Hamon

Today's poem is a "Golden Oldie" and was originally published here in October 2012

I hate it when the clocks go back
And the evenings are so dark
The hours of daylight go amiss
As we are all at work

What a depressing thought
Why can’t we stay on Summer Time
(I know many people have fought.)

I think they call it SAD disease
As darkness makes me depressed
I feel I want to hibernate
All alone in the darkness

I know I just have to put up
With the dark and dismal days
And if I seem miserable
Just put up with my grumpy ways.

This SAD disease will pass
And happiness will return to me
I will be back to my happy self
When the clocks change to BST

Jenny Hamon

Lunar Eclipse - Diane Scantlebury

There you were resplendent
In the middle of a star freckled dark sky,
The blood orange moon
We’d all been excitedly waiting for,
Not so much red, but brown,
As if a muddy thumb
Had smudged you,
I craned my neck
To get a better view,
Under the half closed blind
Of the bathroom window
And then wondered,
How many more sleep encrusted eyes
Were upwardly gazing
In those early, pre dawn hours?
Just to catch a glimpse of you
Before you vanished,
Never to be seen
For another eighteen years.

Diane Scantlebury

Autumn Colours - Yasmin Mariess

Today's poem is a "Golden Oldie" and was originally published here in October 2012

Turned Red,
leaves dead.

All green,
now unseen.

Leaves brown,
floating down.

golden hues,
light defuse.

orange leaves,
summers thieves'

at last, my dear,
Autumn's here.

Yasmin Mariess

In A Dark Place - Tony Bradley

My secret little room here, under the stairs
no-one can hurt me behind this little door
safe in the darkness, as if I'm not real
I've melted into the walls and floor.

I can forget for a while, in this dark room
nasty things that keep happening, every day
forget the bad people, remembering only
the kinder ones, who never stay.

They never look for me here, snug in my den
I suppose the big spiders would give them a fright
nothing scares me in here, the evil's out there
creepy people, and demons in the night

No-one can see me or hurt me in here
I love the quietness, the safety, the black
I'll hide away, for most of the day
and try and be braver, when I go back.

Tony Bradley

Mean Old Crones - Kathy Figueroa

Mean, old crones
Rattle their bones
In the middle of the
Dank, dark night

A buffet of pills
Won’t cure their ills
It just whets
Their appetite

With sighs and moans
Wails and groans
They crave pity
For their plight

But chortle with glee
When they can see
They’ve hurt someone
For sheer spite

Mean and bad
Or maybe just mad
Hate fills them
With delight

They like to lie
And get high
...Without a broom
They still take flight…

Kathy Figueroa

Mean Old Crones was published in The Bancroft Times newspaper on October 8, 2015.

Winter - Julie Gallienne

Today's poem is a "Golden Oldie" and was originally published here in October 2012

Winter's bleak message
of trouble to come
foretold in the skies
and dead leaves
on the run.
Blown around
on gusts of wind
dreams and desires
for us to chase.
Autumn's last ditch
at dressing the worl
in bejewelled attire
giving way to black
and grey.
A clear indication
of the direction we'll follw.
But as if by magic
the world is transformed
by the flutter of flakes
glistening like crystal
in a midnight sky
against a full moon.
Laying in peace.
Life takes on a calm
unhurried pace
showing a clean canvas.
Giving us time to reflect
on nature's wonders.
One minute our lives
in complete turmoil
are turned upside down
in a heavenly
serene scene.
Never extinguish
the flame of hope.

Julie Galiene

The Bottle - Ian Duquemin

If you should die and I should live
What of the love I couldn't give?
I'd store it in a bottle tight
Topped up with tears I'd cry each night
So when we finally meet again
We'd share this bottle filled with pain
And get drunk on the love I'd kept
For whom I'd sadly wept

Ian Duquemin

Kids - Oscar Milde

We meant it when we said
that we’d stay in love forever,
but that was years ago
and it wasn’t cool or clever.
We were young as kittens:
love was a ball of wool.
I don’t know which of us turned out
to be the greater fool.
I have your letters still,
suspended in time and space,
but us: those kids we were,
have gone, vanished without a trace.

Oscar Milde

Grand Prix Heroes - Lyndon Queripel

Today's poem is a "Golden Oldie" and was originally published here in October 2012

Mike Hawthorn was a champion of the fifties code
He retired at the top only to be killed on the road
Jim Clark died at the wheel and Peter Collins too
The plane of Graham Hill dived out of the blue

Fangio and Nuvolari have now passed away
But the magic of their driving is still revered today
Stirling Moss was the complete driver of his time
A near fatal accident stopped him in his prime

Auto Union, Maserati, Vanwall and B.R.M.
Were they all as classic as we remember them?
Goodwood, Kyalami, Donnington, Zandvoort
And the time before Hockenheim was cut short

Jochen Rindt was killed at Monza in nineteen seventy
But he still became the champion posthumously
John Surtees did the double on four wheels and two
Jackie Stewart won three titles and a safety first issue

Hunt the Shunt was a nickname James had to live down
But that didn’t stop him from winning the crown
Niki Lauda survived the inferno at The Nurburgring
And amazingly came back, again to be king

Villeneuve of steel behind the Ferrari wheel
As engines scream and tyres squeal
Gilles was on the track when it all went black
In a fast lap speed trap and never came back

Ayrton Senna lived to drive and that’s how he died
Unless he was winning he was never satisfied
The San Marino weekend was such a tragedy
But the cause of his crash is still a mystery

In the Grand Prix circus, the ring of Formula One
With twists of the wrists the gladiators shone
It was death or glory in the most dangerous drives
But the power of the story cost so many lives

Lyndon Queripel

The Cannon Rock - Tony Gardner

The gorse is gold as Guernsey butter
Linnets flitting through the thorn.
Thick the scent of elderflower
On the cliffs this summer morn.

Through the warm, blue skies the swallows
Twist and glide in skilful sport
Down below, our destination,
The Cannon Rock at Petit Port.

As we scramble down the cliffside
With our tackle, rods and bait
Ostensively it's fish we're after
But just the solitude is great.

Now the climbing sun grows stronger
Sparkling on the placid waves
As we bask in peaceful pleasure
I know this is all I crave

Sitting on the weathered granite
The lapping waves a foot away
Catching one or two small "rockies"
Which we return to swim away

When I'm old and stiff and creaky
When I can climb the cliffs no more
Still will glow within my memory
The Cannon Rock at Petit Port.

Tony Gardner

October - Julian Clarke

The dew soaked grass looks soft as silk
Shrouding the valley floats a ghostly mist,
Just for a breath the sun rests on tree tops
Rising slowly for a new autumn day.

Golden brown leaves fall on the ground
Dancing in a frenzy, swirling around,
Foreboding clouds sail on blustery winds
A watery sun hides behind one, it rains.

Leaning into a south westerly gale
Bodies bent double into a head wind,
People fighting with their umbrellas
Waiting for bus a huddled together.

Julian Clarke

Sitting In A Bar At the Airport - Andrew Barham

Today's poem is a "Golden Oldie" and was originally published here in October 2012

Sitting in a bar at the airport –
Moody, melancholic day-dreaming bar
Taking me away from everything
As it draws it all into perspective
Waiting to see if I shall board the next flight

Been a while since I've sat in a bar
Contemplating the meaning of life over a pint of beer
While ogling a favoured waitress,
But nowadays they're all sports bars –
That ubiquitous telly staring down at one
From every possible point of vantage
Advertising sports, endlessly …

I hate sports – thugs in gaudy uniforms
Paid ridiculous sums of money
To knock a bit of rubber
Or an inflated bladder
About with their hands or their feet
Or batter it with sticks and bats
For the entertainment
Of beer-swilling couch potatoes.
It puts one off by focussing one's attention
On something utterly ephemeral and worthless;

Been too long since I had a drink at the airport,
Yet, I remember a time when we would never dream
Of going to the airport
To board a flight or see someone off
And not have a drink while we were there …

Andrew Barham

Billy Fisher - Tony Bradley

Back at your granite seat, Billy, love
though you'll come this way no more
six years since it was placed here, above,
your favourite stretch of shore.

Six winters now, tide in, tide out
the earth will turn, beyond my life
you're out at sea, where you belong
and I wait here, a fisherman's wife.

Tony Bradley

Green Eyed Monster - Diane Scantlebury

A dragon with a scaly back
And flashing eyes of emerald green,
Leapt onto the page of her laptop
As her cursor scrolled down the flickering screen,
Why he’d come she didn’t know
Or how her firewall he could circumvent,
Nor did she know the jealous troll
Who into her life this jewel eyed monster had sent,
To wreak mayhem and havoc through her files
Just before she could save her precious work
And safely tuck it into bed,
The beast reared up and blanked it out
With a lash of its forked tongue
And a toss of its angry head,
If her only crime was to post
Her creativity for all to see online,
What had she done to provoke such ire?
Or to irritate an envious troll
And place herself unknowing, into his line of fire.

Diane Scantlebury

Runaway - Oscar Milde

It was another boring day,
no harm was planned, it was just fun,
at least it started out that way
but now he’s scared and on the run.
His headstrong pals led him astray,
someone got blamed: he was the one,
and the result was hell-to-pay.
Because a lying tale was spun,
he had to duck and run away.
He’s hiding now, his life undone:
a criminal, or so they say,
but no one ever found the gun.

Oscar Milde

Wrong Place... Wrong Time - Ian Duquemin

I was born in the wrong place
I arrived in the wrong time
I should have been a teenager in 1959
America should have been my homeland
When rock n roll meant something
Tuning into a radio station
To listen to Elvis sing
I'd be driving a black Chevy 55
Taking my girl to a show
Stealing a kiss as the movie played
Pretending she was Marilyn Monroe
But here I arrived in 64
Where I never did really belong
My life at times has seemed way out of sync
And my birth date is what made me wrong
I don't belong in this digital world
Where everything feels so cold
I belong in a place of exciting times
When rock n roll broke the mould

Ian Duquemin

October - Martyn Legg

Today's poem is a "Golden Oldie" and was originally published here in October 2012

October, and the trees are stripped bare of all they wear, but do I care, do I care?
October, and the doors all close but no one knows for no one sees, but do I care?
The leaves are laughing as they fall to the ground, so slowly they drift, without a sound
So slowly I fall, or so it seems, I have all the reasons but none of the means, no infant cries, no tear filled eyes, but do I care?

I see the solution but can’t find a cure, the dreams are all faded, have lost their allure, time is the answer and life is a day, maturity comes in a cruel kind of way, but do I care, do I care?
I’ve asked all the questions and heard the replies so hollow with pity and acceptable lies, the autumn has bitten, the colours have gone, It seems in the end that I held the wrong one.

This thing that I’ve cherished completely in vain, a thing of such beauty has caused me such pain, but do I care, do I care?

October, and the trees are stripped bare, so beautiful were they, clothed in their innocence. But do I care?

Martyn Legg

A Difficult Pause - Trudie Shannon

Across the wooden table, her elbows crooked
Her head cupped in one hand
We talk, of this and that, the past, the present.
Out of the blue she says

I hope he dies before me.

The words seem harsh, hard, cold
As if she no longer cares
I am speechless, have no idea how to fill the void.
In this uncomfortable pause we avoid each others eyes.
Then she says

If I die first,
They will put him in a home.

She says it without emotion
But she is so emotionally charged,
I weep on her behalf.
Truth is all too often
So hard to swallow.

Trudie Shannon

The Perelle Pullers - Tony Gardner

Mine host, Mick Finn, of the Perelle Inn
Had a word with me one night.
We were downing gin that he'd just got in
When he says all serious-like;
Now the shows are near, and I'd like this year
To get the pub esteem
So we'll organise a few of the guys
And we'll get up a Tug of War team.
We can ask Bill Snell, and Jack Queripel
We'll ask the regular boys.
There's Fred Le Cras, and his brother-in-law
It's something they'll all enjoy.
You and I can pull, and that bloke named 'Bull'
Could do as the Anchor Man.
Young Jim La Moye and the Gallienne boy
They'll help us if they can.

Training time was drawn for that Sunday morn
We were eager to take the strain
But we all got tight on Saturday night
And just two were fit to train.
So on Monday night in the evening light
We gathered around to train
It wasn't much fun when we went for a run
And Lloyd said "Never again !"
But in a few weeks we were smart and sleek
And our confidence was high
That we would pick up the 'West Show' Cup
As easy as eating pie.
Well, the big day came, our date with fame
We looked great in our brand new kit
Then Bob Le Feuvre said, "To calm our nerves
Let's pop in the Beer Tent quick."

Let me tell you all that was our downfall
We were there at chuckout time
And we never saw the Tug of War
We missed our chance to shine.
The best laid plans of mouse and man
And the host of the Perelle Inn
Were blown sky high by a beer on the sly
And a fondness for the gin.

Tony Gardner

Living In Sin - Lyndon Queripel

Confession is good for the soul
This motion has always been carried
You must make love and not war
But then only if you are married.

Lyndon Queripel

Raven Rules - Andrew Barham

Today's poem is a "Golden Oldie" and was originally published here in October 2012

Canny old crow
I hear his wings
Beating against the sky
I can't see –
The Forest is silent;
Ancient trees
Shrouded in moss
Which falls in tatters
From moss thickened limbs
Murmuring ancient wisdom to themselves:
I look up
Into the distant canopy
Hearing the Raven calling –
My camera
Set at 28, as wide an angle as it will go
Can't take it all in:
Tree trunks as wide
As a Silver Ghost is long;
Trees …
Moss …
Rules …

Andrew Barham

Energy Conservation (Save Some For Later) - Tony Bradley

When I think back to my stupid young years
the wasted energy almost has me in tears
continuing the lost cause, supporting the lame duck,
I couldn't just leave it, and accept my bad luck.

Nowadays, there's more caution in my moving
any cause for action needs a good deal of proving
I spend time in the garden, keeping it pretty and neat
but much longer basking in my favourite seat.

I'm out driving, admiring some lovely view
I get out for a stroll, it's a bit of a wrench
I'm enjoying the scenery, the fresh spring air
but I'm sure the buggers have moved a bench.

Tony Bradley

Acrobatic Poetry - Fred Williamson and Lester Queripel

Today's poem is a "Golden Oldie" and was originally published here in October 2012

The words leap off the page.
Onto the empty stage.
It’s the start of the show.
The ideas flow.

Words rain from my mind.
I juggle them into line.
Poetry prose and rhyme.
Easy to find.
Pumping from my brain.
Like an express train.

Words, like busy bees.
Like monkeys in the trees.
A wordy display.
A worthy array.
The show must go on.
There is no pause.
Even after the applause.

Fred Williamson and Lester Queripel

War Inc. - Ian Duquemin

All you military men
Who would give up their lives
What of your children?
What of your wives?
You fight for your country
And you fight with a pride
But what of the pain that you leave when you've died?

Yet the generals hide safely
Behind desks where they sit
While you and your comrades
Step deeper in shit
They give you their orders
And await your return
Then act like they might have some kind of concern

When your bullets are loaded
When your missiles take aim
Each one with its target
Each one with a name
Your name too is written
On a shell tipped with lead
And it's pointed and locked and it's aimed at your head

Will you answer my question?
Will the fighting soon cease?
You can't fight for a future
Only peace can bring peace!
Yet wars keep on raging
And still so many die
Can somebody honestly answer me why?

I will ask you one favour
Let my children be free
Keep them out of your conflicts
Leave them here next to me
So I can teach them the one way...
I believe to be right
That peace can't be found if a man has to fight!

Ian Duquemin

Fuzzy ‘Round the Edges - Diane Scantlebury

I’ve got great new specs
Everything’s in HD,
A whole world of minutia
Has opened up for me,
From the spots and lines on my face
To the dirt on the floor,
Toast crumbs in the bed
And thick dust on the door,
But I think I was happier
When all around me was blurry,
Unaware of tangled hair in the carpet
Or bath taps scaly and furry,
So what if the definition is great?
On the leaves of distant hedges,
Ignorance can be bliss
When your sight is fuzzy ‘round the edges!

Diane Scantlebury

Close My Eyes - Tony Robert

Today's poem is a "Golden Oldie" and was originally published here in September 2012

Close my eyes see your face
Reach for you, just empty space
Nothing that side of the bed
Empty pillow without your head

Dream you’re there holding me tight
Snuggled up to me in the night
Think I feel your lovely touch
Perhaps I’m hoping a bit too much

Love so much for it to be true
Want so much to be with you
Start to feel you slipping away
No matter what I do or say

Suddenly awake looking round the place
Feel the tears rolling down my face
Realise it’s just a very bad dream
Try to make sense of what it means

Where do we go from here?
Decisions that I really fear
Hope we can ride out the storm
That your love will keep me warm

Love for us to grow old together
To be with you forever and ever
To love, to care, to cherish you
That’s all I really want to do.

Tony Robert

Le Catioroc - Oscar Milde

At certain phases of the Moon
they’d congregate, toad-faced, to mutter incantations,
where tainted soil absorbed their charnel reek,
and writhe like snakes around
their hairy-hoofed messiah’s horny thighs.
These were no beauties:
in lanes, men passed them by
with eyes averted and a murmured prayer,
while goodwives crossed themselves
and hid away their brats.
When tides, Moon-sung, made pulses quicken,
they’d cast finery aside and, naked, dance a power alive
to curdle milk,
or sour a womb
or make strong men their slaves.

Oscar Milde

All The Wrong Reasons - Lyndon Queripel

You were down by the river
In the streams of yesterday's dreams
You can't forget but forgive her
Only time will bring healing
Love flies on a broken wing

You were looking for answers
To deny a troubled sky
But only shadow dancers
And grey clouds passed by
Love turns a blinded eye

All the wrong reasons
All the wrong rhymes
Between the seasons
And the changing times

You were lost in the night
With nowhere to share
And no sight of the light
Did you just misunderstand
Love deals a crooked hand

You were beyond communication
Without any role to control
Driving through your imagination
Too far in a street beat car
Love shines on a falling star.

Lyndon Queripel

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 wanes
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

Flowers In Our Hair - Tony Bradley

If you're like me, around sixty-five
you'll know exactly what I mean
when all the young people felt really alive
and global peace seemed more than a dream.

If you're younger, although you weren't there
you may get the vibe from this rhyme
for us wrinklies, it's a bit of nostalgia
the world was better, for a very short time.

You didn't have to go to 'Frisco
'cos love was all around, babe, in the air
pretty girls with gorgeous short dresses
and my light blue, brushed denim, 'South Sea Bubble Co.' flares and long, curly hair.

I must apologise, because in the previous verse
that last line was conspicuously, ridiculously long,
but the whole sentence brings back such memories
to leave any word out, somehow seemed wrong.

The fashions were all different, new styles and tones
frilly shirts, flares, kippers and clogs,
music for everyone, The Beatles and Stones
Dusty, Elvis, Dylan, and Troggs

I could wax lyrically, ad nauseum, about the cars around then
I know I'm just another silly old fart
but a lot of them are still cherished today
'cos like us, they're really works of art.

I honestly don't know if anyone will read this
but I seem to make more sense in a rhyme
I'm hoping that some folks, around my age
have been reminded of their own happy time.

Tony Bradley

Conned Or...? - Donald Keyman

Condor's excuses have now become legion
dropping their bombshells and crippling the region
the States are off hiding behind their closed doors
searching in vain for the lost penalty clause

This winter will be grim for sure, and no doubt
the olives and hummus will all run out
there'll be frenzied pleas on Facebook and Twitter
for some fresh tapenade and a few slices of pitta

Yes, the Liberation has passed us by once more
in an echo of that false dawn of 1944 -
no-one will come with their fags and their Hershey's
to soothe the Donkey's frustrated curses

History rewritten, twice shy twice bitten
no sign of help from good old Great Britain,
will our dear Channel Islands never be freed -
from the sometime occupiers of our silver seas?

Donald Keyman

I'd Sooner Be Poor Than Be Like You! - Ian Duquemin

You look at me as though I don't belong here
But I'm here... And here I will stay!
Your money and expenses could never move me
No matter how much you would pay!
I don't want your money, as I don't have a need
It's the prison you've built and you'll never be freed!
I don't want your wealth... As I'm not into greed
I'd sooner be poor than be like you!

You tell me that I don't deserve to be here
But who the hell do you think you are to say?
To solve all the problems that I can see clear
It's you who should be on your way!
As I'm not the kind of person you ever could use
I don't have a thing so I've nothing to lose!
But I do have a tongue you may have to excuse
I'd sooner be poor than be like you!

You think you are better than I'll ever be
But you are blinded and fooled by your wealth!
It doesn't take money to tantalise me
You can keep every coin for yourself!
As money is something you need in your life!
To buy fancy cars and to purchase a wife
But I don't need to live with all that trouble and strife
I'd sooner be poor than be like you!

Ian Duquemin

Passing Strangers - Katherine Svensson

Today's poem is a "Golden Oldie" and was originally published here in September 2012

I drove past you.
You wore a brown leather jacket.
A skeleton covered in skin;
Cheeks and eyes and body concave.
Life being sucked out of you from within.

What cancer would take your life?
I do not know.
You made me think about you for a while,
As I drove past you,
On my way home.

Katherine Svensson

Sorry, you're a poet - Bryony de Lat

It's no bed of roses and you know it, poet
but you were born to be one, always will
maybe a modern performer, with your mate, mic.
Or ye olde school scribe, with ink and quill.

You're not like news-hacks, who just scribble, and spew
with you everything that happens, hits home
you take it all to heart, no escape for you
it's neither rag, nor paperback, it's a life-long tome.

Everything affects you, with your caring heart
it's your best virtue, but it's also your curse
your emotions are constantly ignited, excited
and to temper and contain them, you oft' turn to verse.

You wouldn't really want to be like some people
full of themselves, with their masquerades, and poses
strutting through their own garden of life
without ever smelling the roses.

Bryony de Lat

Comfort Vessel - Kate Lee

Today's poem is a "Golden Oldie" and was originally published here in September 2012

If I could capture the beautiful essence of our friendship
I would pour it into a terracotta vessel and keep it safely there,
So that when I was alone and in need of comfort
I could gently release the cork stopper
And bathe in the glorious perfume of contented familiarity.

Kate Lee

West is Best - Diane Scantlebury

West is best
And so it seems,
Where tractors around the arena race,
Where ears are pierced
By teen girls’ screams,
As in the embrace of a fairground ride
Into the darkening, cloudy air they rise,

West is best
And so it seems,
Where in the side tents
Piglets, donkeys, fowl and cattle
Compete for prizes,
While cakes, scones and veg
Proudly nurtured do battle,

West is best
And so it seems,
Where under heaving, hot canvas
Friends and visitors meet,
While jostling in the endless queue
For pints lining the bar,
With high spirited banter their neighbours greet,

West is best
And so it seems,
Where local bands strut their stuff on stage
Resurrecting vintage tunes from the past,
For the appreciative, swaying audience
Now slightly drunk,
Wilted and showing their age.

Diane Scantlebury

The future's imminent (it’s not in our hands) - Julian Clarke

The brass key turns tightening the spring
How the second hand races, chasing dates
Evenly stitching together the edges of time:

Facing its face, no smile, no frown
Unzipping the seconds into minutes
Tormenting, teasing, running late
Unperturbed silently setting the day;
Relentlessly sweeping round and round
Each hand turning towards the future:

If the clock work were to stop, no tick-tock
Suspended in time the hands would wait.

Ingeniously, somehow they will always turn
Magically pointing to impending events
Mocking us, they will never age . . .
In time zones across the lands these hands
Never stuffed in pockets in perpetual motion
Engraving the past and sealing the present.
Now the digits twist in time, one understands
The future's imminent: it’s not in our hands.

Julian Clarke

Moth - Trudie Shannon

The sun is shining, the street, people thronged
And all hurrying.
So much business, so much stress and pressure,
So much to do, so little time to 'be'
That the light of this beautiful day
Seems somehow, to be missing.
Suddenly a splash of orange flutters by my head.
I see a night moth, its wings each bearing an open eye
Its head a lion's mane.
It saunters in its flight between bobbing heads,
Pitches between toddlers’ feet
Touches lightly, silk dresses and slick suits
Alights, albeit briefly upon the bare arm
Of a dozing drunk
Then soars up again, not like an eagle
Reaching for the sky
But somewhat erratically clumsily
Crashing against shop windows.
Like the drunk, lost and wandering.

Trudie Shannon

Service Charge - Lyndon Queripel

"Can I put that on account?"
I asked as I winked my eye
"On account? What account?"
I heard the salesman cry
"On account I have no money."
Was my quick-witted reply
As I started up my engine
And smiling, waved goodbye.

Lyndon Queripel

In My Dreams - Lester Queripel

Today's poem is a "Golden Oldie" and was originally published here in September 2012

In my dreams, I dream of stars in endless midnight skies.
I dream of a world where people don’t tell lies.
I dream of a world where the earth never dies.
In my dreams I dream of money being used as an energy.
Being used to help set people free.
Free from tyranny and slavery.
In my dreams I dream of unity.
I dream of people helping one another.
In my dreams I dream in colour.
I dream of sunsets and rainbows, waterfalls and streams, all sorts of beautiful things, in my dreams.
In my dreams, I dream of a world where people really care, and simply wouldn’t dare, pollute the rivers, or the air.
There are no hungry mouths to feed, there is no greed.
In my dreams I can see the sea so clear.
Everything we cherish is held dear.
In my dreams I can hear music and feel the harmony.
We all sing in the same key.
We all dance and we all join hands, our hearts full of joy all over these lands.
I wonder if I will live to see, my dreams become a reality?
I certainly hope so.
If you like, I’ll let you know.

Lester Queripel

Saved - Tony Bradley

If I hadn't met you, I'd be a different me
probably dead, or living in a hostelry,
in prison for robbery, or assault, or worse
or with three old companions, cardboard, hunger and thirst.

If I hadn't met you, I wouldn't be here
the cuts were deep, the damage severe
the real me was squashed, gnarled and twisted
and it only changed , because you existed.

Everyone owes me, and someone's gonna pay
for the pain and neglect, I suffered each day
I'm ready for trouble, I'm going to blow,
a self-destruct lever just waiting to go.

But one day you smiled at me, even though you were shy
a beautiful sunlight filled my dark dismal sky
an angel came to me, on that special day
all my demons and bitterness just floated away

Tony Bradley

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