Inscrutable Death - Andrew Barham

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

Just sits there
In the corner
By the ceiling
In the antiseptic isolation
Of the Neurological Ward,
For that final moment
To spring
Propel itself from its perch up there
And grasp its prey
Utterly lacking compassion
As alien
And incomprehensible
As any predator
Dreamed up by Science Fiction …

Andrew Barham

Falling Through the Cracks - Diane Scantlebury

Today I saw a hungry man steal food
But I turned a blind eye,
As I opened the shop door to the street
He rushed past and stepped out,
Clutching the carton to his chest
Cradling it as if it were
A precious baby,
It happened in a fraction of a moment
So, was I complicit in his crime?
Surely the travesty was that he should need
To carry out this desperate act,
Whereas I had the luxury
Of choosing what I fancied,
How had he fallen so easily
Through the cracks of life’s pavement?

Diane Scantlebury

Dietc. - Lyndon Queripel

Vegetarians don't eat meat
And as everybody knows
They spill the beans
Split peas
Repeat cucumbers
And dig potatoes.

Lyndon Queripel

Painted Smile - Ian Duquemin

I looked into her deep pool eyes, she stared back into mine
A chill then raged upon my back and shivers froze my spine
I heard the words she said aloud, believed them to be true
They unlocked free the beast in me to do the things he'd do
I took her tightly by the throat and wound my grieving grip
I noticed blood from biting teeth had dribbled from her lip
I kissed her for the last time and we fell against the door
A moment spent in passion 'til collapsing on the floor
Her eyes lay still and lifeless... Like in negatives of old
I held her in my trembling arms, her flesh now turning cold
It's then I let a cry out... A kind of agonising squeal
A call that some might pity if my pain they came to feel
Then in a moment mortified I stood back on my feet
I pulled a stool beside her and I sat down on the seat
Unsure of what had happened, I calmed myself and thought awhile
I took a lipstick from her purse and painted her a smile
I sat in morbid silence then was woken by a bell
Perhaps it was the demon who would drag me into hell
I covered up my ringing ears...
Dried off my fallen sticky tears...
I wondered how I'd cope inside for many, many years
A bang upon the barricade would shake my bones inside
I looked into the beady eye that lets you see outside
Behind the peeling painted door I spied an ageing priest
His hair as black as asphalt, combed back flat and highly greased
I asked him what he wanted... He held high a silver cross
Said, he had come to pray for me and comfort at my loss
I opened up the door to him and let the preacher in
He gazed at my predicament... Then stepped over my sin
He mumbled through some passages from script I did not know
Then spoke about the hellish place where I was sure to go
I said I'd never leave her, and as I bowed my head and cried
He stabbed me with his crucifix, blood spilled out from my side
My dying breath was awful cold...
My soul had been already sold
I held a hand toward my judge, who looked at me and grinned
He vanished right before me like the freezing winter wind
I looked upon the girl...
Who grinned her ruby painted smile
I tried to say "I loved you" but those words now tasted vile
I guess she had the last laugh as I lay there on the floor
The crooked smile upon her face the last thing that I saw

Ian Duquemin

This is not a moralistic poem - Marianna Pliakou

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

The cherry tree carries the seeds of hope.
We look for it when most in need.
It caresses our eyes and speaks the language of our heart.
The last one we forgot. Now it’s all about the language of dry logic.
Its sterilized vocabulary dictates our lives.
Lives of attempted dry logic and linear narratives.
Progressive success is the dangling carrot.
But here we are, looking for the cherry tree.
Because our eyes are aching, our dehydrated consciousness suffers.
But we won’t find it in the forest, nor in the shape of a tree.
Because the cherry tree is the “other one”.
The one we chose to ignore, the marginalized one, pushed outside our micro-world.
The one we need to approach again.
The one that carries the seeds of our decency.

Marianna Pliakou

Awaiting Dawn - Trudie Shannon

In the early hours, Town, St Peter Port,
The hub of island life, is like a subdued infant
Who, finally after a bout of screaming, has given itself over to sleep.
The street lamps still shed pools of orange light upon the roads
And reflections dance upon the water lapping at the marina walls.
But raucous people have finally stopped their racket and gone home.
The last glass drained, the last needle spent.
Gusts of wind lift stray papers, to accompany final dribbles of conversation.
Police cars cruise stealthily.
The cobbles on the High Street glisten with dew, and ATM’s glow,
Their humming, indiscernible during the day
Now like the humming of a distant, discordant choir.
The terminus is agape with space, all shelters empty, save for litter.
Buses stand silent in the old tram sheds along the Front.
On the mast at the Weighbridge the flags droop, sullenly unmoving.
While in the harbour, small boats jostle each other ,
Water slapping at their sides in rhythmic tidal thrum.
And the lifeboat stands sentinel on its mooring.
At the entrance the navigation lights make silent conversation
With those outcast in The Little Russell,
Roustel, Platte, Corbet du Montes
At Herm’s Southern tip the lonely cardinal buoy rocks moodily,
It’s bell redundant on the gentle swell
Early hours, Town, St Peter Port,
Gateway into Guernsey awaits the dawn.

Trudie Shannon

The Storm Bear - Ted McMahon

Round doors and windows, like a bear
outside an igloo, storm wind prowls;
disturbs our rest with fearsome growls.
It is at home in icy air,
whereas we turn the heating up,
try to escape the strange unease
that settles on us by degrees
like skin in a cooling tea cup.
We bar our doors against this caller,
unwelcome but persistent; fear
his footfall, ominous and near,
as we tremble and grow smaller.

Ted McMahon

Passion Killers - Denise Bishop

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

Forget the diction in this Humourous poem, written as it should be spoken in the the Guernsey accent Caw La! Better when it is heard spoken out loud La! I have placed the punctuation in my particular way, it's to help you read it as I intended. Hope you have a giggle. - Denise

Caw! The weather! It's been cold,
Perhaps it's me that growing old.
Damme joir! My fingers! they go blue,
... But you youngsters, it's alright for you.

Thermals! is what I've got on.
Ahh, it was different when I was young,
Lacy frilly underwear, Hot or cold weather and I didn't care
Caw! When I think back to 'eres of old,
and when I didn't feel the cold

My 'Usband, he used to look at me,
But with thermals on, there's nothing to see.
Then we tucks up in our bed, Nothing Happen's, nothings said,
So I look in the mirror at me, and I dream of how we used to be.

Caw La! The Passion! It's gone!
It's cause of these Thermals I've got on.
Well, the morning comes we've 'ad our rest,
And I see's Jo,standing there, In his Vest.
Well! What A sight I 'ave to see, But Ahhhhhhh,
He's got Thermals! Just like me.

Denise Bishop

Fallen Leaves - Diane Scantlebury

Gathering fallen leaves
Is as futile as trying to turn back the tide
With your finger tips,
They roll and gambol before you
Like tumbleweed,
Mocking and dancing in the wind,
Then to add insult
A wicked thorn pierces your glove,
Drawing blood and oaths
That would make the devil blush,
But you will have the last laugh
When you toss them
Still protesting,
Into the flames of the bonfire.

Diane Scantlebury

New Clear Ink - Lyndon Queripel

Playing on a saying, coining a phrase
My pen is mightier than the sword you hold
But have you ever tried writing on the wind
Just lost for words and missing a link
Between lonely nights and empty days
Thoughts left unspoken, unheard, untold
Beneath the shadow of a missile finned
With invisible letters in nuclear ink.

Lyndon Queripel

With You - Ian Duquemin

This life so short I've shared with you
Walked with you... Loved with you
Now in our twilight years so few
Our love remains brand new
And under skies forever blue
My heart still beats a rhythm true
It sings as though it always knew
My life I'd spend with you

Ian Duquemin

Pets - Dee Jinkse

Please come and watch the goldfish swim,
for our amusement, round and round:
my father bought it for a pound
on Tuesday last week on a whim.
The frog we caught last summer died.
Thumper fell victim to a fox.
The budgie’s buried in a box:
I think his death was suicide.
Our cat spends most days at the vets:
nine lives have gone, it’s extra time.
She coughs up multicoloured slime.
We never have much luck with pets.

Dee Jinkse

Steroids - Elizabeth Fisher

No pain
No pain 
No gain
No shopping
I had been crippled with pain for days and days
And couldn't walk a pace
But look at me now

I'm racing
I really can't be late

Shopping shopping
Go buy a dress
The message ringing in my head.
Was drawing me in like bait.

I couldn't walk for days you know
What had caused this sudden change?
I tell you 
They make you walk again.

Elizabeth Fisher

Tribute to an Artist - Trudie Shannon

In the great tidal surges of colour,
I am immersed, enfolded in the heart of your creation.
Eye witness to moments,
Held in thrall by your palette knife,
My head spinning in cultural giddiness.
The core of the earth, the sea, the pull of the moon,
The whisper of a breeze,
The wild screech of winter gales
Accost and absorb my being.
Yet simultaneously
Tranquility, hope and trust all stand guardian
Within the textures that have emerged from your fingertips
No photographer can transcribe elemental energy like this.
In your canvasses, the stillness of a lost echo, a spent wave
Somehow touches the heart and inscribes itself upon the soul.

Trudie Shannon

Sardines in Portugal - Andrew Barham

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

Sardines in Portugal,
Sardines in the Sea
Sardines on the beach
Going straight into my tummy!

Sardines massing
Sardines in a school
Sardines chased by dolphins
Because Sardines really rule!

Sardines in Cornwall?
Sardines in a boat
Sardines are pilchards
Sliding down my throat!

Andrew Barham

Slaves - Trish Cann

The bin sack has a solid heft:
tied at the neck it seems to weigh
a ton. I struggle to the lane
then dump it down where bins are left.
Tonight bin-men take it away.
Tomorrow it all starts again;
disposal, accumulation:
the rhythm of uneventful life
to which each chain-bound person sways.
There is no emancipation,
no flight. Self-slavery is rife.
Captive, we measure passing days.

Trish Cann

Political Asylum [Class Of ' 86] - Lyndon Queripel

There was a conservative woman at Number Ten
The English Prime Minister of all the Queen's men
While a "B" movie actor was trying to play
The part of the President of the U.S.A.
In Cancer Ward they bet on Russian roulette
Without a blindfold or a last cigarette
Astronaut fought, the space race was on
The final frontier, Star Wars had begun.

Lyndon Queripel

Final Destination - Diane Scantlebury

Economy flyers
With no riches or fame,
Stroll slowly
Along life’s travelator,
Occasionally pausing
To cause an obstruction,
No fast track for them,

The high flyers
Push past without excuse,
Their pace fast
And full of self importance
Their destiny assured,
Their world has purpose,

While the rest just dawdle,
Chat and drift along,
Their queue may be longer,
Their space more cramped,
But they’re all heading towards
The same final destination.

Diane Scantlebury

Brothers (Grime) - Ian Duquemin

Between the cracks in your high wall
I see the truth, I see it all
Your structure built to hide behind
Might make you hard to find
It keeps the monsters safe at bay
And locks the evil you away
To gain in riches on your isle
A rock not but a mile
In your castle built of greed 
The only god you'll ever need
Will leave you there to die alone
Upon your island home
The winds around you ever rough
The big bad wolf shall huff and puff
And blow your house beneath the waves
Towards your lonely graves

Ian Duquemin

Of Happiness - John Buchanan

Ebony hair stirs softly on a zephyr.
Laughter dances at the corners of emerald eyes.
Ruby red lips part to reveal a dazzling array
of almost perfect pearl white teeth;
and the world…... brightens.

They lie beside each other on the grass,
naked feet casually raised to the firmament.
Elegant fingers craft a daisy chain
which she places on his head with a giggle,
He holds a buttercup to her chin.

Four twigs tumble to the gabbling brook;
whoops of joy echo in the verdant valley
as feet patter across the bridge.
Eager eyes scan the chuckling water 
and an excited young voice calls; ‘I won!’

Hands swing in unison, fingers entwined,
untroubled feet rustle autumnal leaves
as they flash gold, and red and tumble aside.
Two clouds of breath linger on the chill air
melding to one, as they fade.

With eyes closed he basks in the winter sun,
the scent of her perfume when first they met,
the ecstasy on the face of the new mother,
and the smile on her lined face;
as she held his hand and gently slipped away.

John Buchanan

Lament - Richard Fleming

(Paris, January 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

Or Sow It Seams - Lyndon Queripel

I remember when we were young
And our parents were penny poor
We had patches on our old blue jeans
They couldn't afford to buy us more
But now it's the latest in fashion
To be well faded and threadbare
Holes beneath the knees if you please
And a tear here and there for wear.

Lyndon Queripel

Portrait Painting - Trudie Shannon

Today we done painting and that nice lady comed.
I done a picture of my Mummy and
Jack done a picture of his Dad.
I gived my Mummy green hair, I like green hair.
That lady comed to look at my picture
And she said
Oh Mark, what is the real colour of Mummy’s hair?
I didn’t say nothing because my Mummy looks nice wiv green hair.
Then the nice lady taked my paintbrush and
She painted my Mummy wiv brown hair!
I gived my Mummy a brown jumper and brown trousers
And the nice lady comed and she taked my paintbrush
And she painted all over and gived my Mummy
A dress wiv flowers on.
My Mummy don’t even wear a dress!
I gived my Mummy big yellow eyes and a big smiley mowf
And the nice lady comed and she … laughed
And she said
Oh dear, poor Mummy, what colour are her eyes really?
And then she taked my paintbrush and she gived my Mummy blue eyes.
Just like yours Mark, she said.
And then she gived my Mummy different hands and different feet as well,
And then the nice lady said
There, now that’s better isn’t it?
All finished, good boy, go and wash your hands.
I didn’t say nothing,
Jack done a picture of his Dad.
Jack’s lucky, bloomin nice lady didn’t help him.

Trudie Shannon

Aftermath - Pierre Savage

This morning, rocks and seaweed lie
far beyond slipway, stout sea wall:
debris of storm, of driven tide,
wild-scattered-wide, haphazardly;
an obstacle, a slalom course
for passers-by, for motorists,
for even some unwary fool
who stops to watch bright-painted boats,
that sway like reckless fairground rides,
and waits, excited as a child,
a sixpence burning in his hand.

Pierre Savage

Bean Jar Attack - Diane Scantlebury

There’s a methane cloud over Guernsey
The sky is turning black,
More deadly than a force nine gale
There’s been a bean jar attack,

How a tasty treat when taken in
Could produce such odours rotten,
Bean jar could be the next lethal weapon
An explosive experience never to be forgotten,

There are rumblings all over Guernsey
Louder than a thunder crack,
Only the brave will eat a second bowl
(At their own peril),
Or face the fall out of a bean jar attack!

Diane Scantlebury

The Lament of a Witches Voice - Ian Duquemin

There once was a witch with a whine and a wail
So scared were the children she turned them all pale
Her shreiks and her screams were the sounds of the night
Filling the darkness with fright

The witch with the whine and the wail was caught
Captured and charged for the misery she brought
She stood in the dock of the courtroom and cried
Frightening she sadly denied

The judge with a grudge said the witch she should swing
He accused her of terror... A rope they should bring
The jury agreed and the sentence approved
The witch from the court was removed

The crowd ever loud said the witch she must burn
This judgement on her was a lesson to learn
They shrieked and they whined and they wailed to the judge
Who was quickly regretting his grudge

"This court will abort" said the judge to the crowd
"Compared to the witch you are all twice as loud
Silence in court or I'll set the witch free"
But none of the crowd could agree

The judge put a smudge on the paper and ink
The court was adjourned so the judge he could think
He decided the witch was the only one quiet
And the towns folk were causing the riot

The town upside down in its chantings of hate
The witch was set free, the judge opened the gate
She turned to the crowd, said "I meant you no wrong...
I was trying to sing you a song"

The witch with the whine and the wail of the night
Followed the moon in its silvery light
To the cats of her choir who'd taught her to sing
They gathered around in a ring

So cruel was the rule that the wind and the rain
Howled in the night like a song sung in pain
The song of a witch not allowed to rejoice
The lament of a witches voice

Ian Duquemin

Waiting for Morpheus - John Buchanan

I lie in the dark, waiting.
Time passes unmeasured,
and here in the pitch black silence,
I wait and wait and wait.

The body craves sleep,
Yet pain forces it away,
and here in the inky black silence,
I wait and wait and wait.

Rapid thuds of paws on carpet,
the cat lands beside me.
and here in the jet black silence,
I wait and wait and wait.

He gently butts me with his head,
then curls in a ball beside me.
Here in the velvet black silence
We wait and wait and wait.

He snuggles in tight,
then begins to snore.
Leaving me to fight black thoughts
as I wait for the arms of Morpheus.

John Buchanan

After Christmas Day - Lyndon Queripel

After Christmas Day
The words were read
Without a doubt to spare
I rose and froze
Inside my head
Behind a black ice stare

After Christmas Day
I was feeling low
I'm told I had cold turkey
I ached and flaked
In the melting snow
And the water was all murky

After Christmas Day
And lost communication
Ears burn to learn the news
I suppose the year will close
Without a resolution
Left for me to choose

After Christmas Day
With boxing cloud
Darkness fell to spell the night
Without sleep to keep
No dreams allowed
To meet the dawn's grey light.

Lyndon Queripel

The Diners – Richard Fleming

The woman with provocative hair
is sitting at a rhombic table
with a man whose bow-tie is a daffodil.
Waiters flicker to and fro, like great white bats,
navigating among tables and themselves
by means of high, inaudible squeaks.
She taps her menu with a scarlet finger,
looks up, smiles. Her skin is alabaster pale.
Bow-Tie Man has a small black beard,
shaped like an arrowhead,
with streaks of silver.
His black eyes twinkle.
She orders baby’s ribs, he choses artists’ fingers.
They call for soup distilled from human tears.
To follow, they will share poet’s brain with vegetables al dente.
A chateau-bottled red will wash it down.
They speak in cultured accents
of mutual acquaintances in non-existent cities
where music is forbidden and clocks do not exist.
They talk of towers constructed underground,
lit through by neon,
tall rooms, suffused with pulsing light,
where fish swim languidly in streams of air.
When served, he eats the fingers slowly,
discards small bones into a patterned bowl,
brings napkin to mouth, dabs his beard.
They drink the broth of tears: pronounce it salty.
The Woman’s lips, a blood-red wound,
open and close like an anemone.
She laughs shrilly, pats Bow-Tie’s hand,
falls on the small ribs, devours them like a wolf.
The waiters come, replenish glasses;
serve up the poet’s brain
on a dish shaped like a massive coin.
Surgeon-like, the waiters
sever hemisphere from hemisphere
with glinting knives like scalpels,
their movements quick, decisive, confident,
borne of experience and expertise.
Then they retreat and the diners commence.

He takes the left side, she the right.
Their teeth are sharp and very white.

Richard Fleming

What's 'is name - Lyndon Queripel

(Dedicated to Guernsey's quaint customs)

"And your name is ? "
" Yes,my name Is "
" Is ? Is what ? "
" Just Is. Not Is Watt. And what's yours ? "
" Me what ? "
" Oh, you're Watt ? "
" No I'm not."
"Oh, you're Knot ?"
" No, I'm not Knot ! "
" Are you sure you're not Watt ?"
" Of course I'm sure !"
" Ah, so you're Shaw then ? "
" No,I'm not Shaw ! Who is ? "
" I'm Is ! "

Lyndon Queripel

Beauty in Paradise - Diane Scantlebury

With head down
She trudges, duck footed,
Her limp, greasy hair
Viciously drawn back
Into a tight bun,
The pavement trembles
With her heavy foot fall,
Purposefully she strides on
With shoulders hunched
And head now drooping low,
Low as her self esteem,

Beneath the outward surliness
She is a pretty girl,
A beauty trapped in an ogre’s body,
She pretends to be impervious
To the abuse and insults,
The side glances and sniggers
Of ignorant, thoughtless passersby,
She throws up her shield
Of I don’t care nonchalance,
But the hurt breaks through her guard
And clings in painful barbs to her back,

Finally she reaches
The sanctuary of the corner shop
Where she can grab her fix,
Her daily comfort,
It’s only there among the crisps and chocolate
That her cherub cheeks flush,
And her small, tight lips smile
In ecstatic anticipation,
She is a beauty trapped
In a cycle of self destruction,
But for this brief moment
She’s in control and chooses to ignore it,
For when she gets her haul home
She knows she’ll be in paradise.

Diane Scantlebury

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