Watching From the Beach - Diane Scantlebury

Freedom from persecution is all they want
A chance of a new, safe life to live,
But duped by the avarice of traffickers
They’re abused and cast adrift
Onto the hostile sea in a leaky sieve,
Rejected and unwanted by every European nation
Is the certainty of a salt water grave
To be their only hope of liberation?
Desperation drives them to take a risk
That would border on insanity,
To seek refuge from war impoverished homes
And become today’s humanitarian tragedy,
How many more children will it take to drown?
While we stand and watch from the beach,
Because no one wants to put their hands in their pockets
Rescue will always be too late and just out of reach.

Diane Scantlebury

Suitcases - Richard Fleming

Crouching in attic gloom,
where skylight beams illuminate their pool of silver dust,
old leather suitcases doze like alligators
dreaming their prehistoric dreams.

They sleep soundly having eaten up my father’s life ...
the photographs, the hearing aid and collar studs,
the safety razor with its rusted blade,
the letters and the wallet with the ticket stubs

... yet I am so afraid
that when I kneel beneath the skylight
to prise apart those sagging, alligator jaws,
the life that I will find compressed within
will be too small to match my memories of him.

Richard Fleming

This poem appears in Richard’s second poetry collection, Strange Journey.

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Folk Law - Lyndon Queripel

Remember that phrase
"If it feels good, do it"?
Well, these days
It doesn't apply anymore
Because if it feels good
It's probably against the law
But there again
It probably was then.

Lyndon Queripel

The Treehouse - Bryony de Lat

Not long ago my life was simple,
a world full of magic and toys,
my den in the trees, where no-one could find me
away from all trouble and noise.

With only the sky and the birds,and the leaves
up there,where Nature's beauty surrounds,
no people, no evil, up here in the trees,
imagination and time have no bounds.

I can't go up there now, my trees are gone,
like a circus, long left the town.
How I miss the beauty, the magic
and the clown, who had to come down.

Bryony de Lat

Vestige - Ian Duquemin

My darker side...
The trigger in mind
The finest of line between badness and kind
My tightrope wire I balance upon
The bullet in barrel that's recklessly spun
A ghost on the pavement who flaunts in the light
The cunning who hides in the blackness of night
You... My shadow
The Hyde within me
Beware of the Jekyll you fail to see

Ian Duquemin

Keeper of the Flames - Katherine Svensson

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

Firelight died so long ago
No flickering flames to incandesce.
No longer yellow hues to see
No more dancing flames for thee.

The flames went out they were not fed
Smothered by jealousy instead.
You sought control now fire burns
Without love to anger turns.

Where flames once flickered
Grey ashes lie.
For without love
They fade and die.
Not even afterglow we see
No more dancing flames for thee.

Katherine Svensson

Tamerton Creek - Tony Bradley

© Copyright Andrew Le Couteur Bisson licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence.

Sometimes in my mind, I go back to the village,
through childhood memories I search
bright Devon days, through quaint cobbled ways
little houses, corner shop and the church.
flowering hedges flanked the twisting lanes,
down to the woodland ,by the silvery creek
rabbits hopped,squirrels jumped, grass-snakes slithered
and ducks and waders bobbed their beaks.

On the mud-banks of the creek, glistening grey,
still damp from the tide,now gone
little birds bustled, digging for worms
and filled the air with song.
With bottles and jam-jars, we waded the creek
after tadpoles, minnows and newts,
and daydreaming now, …..I can still smell the mud
..... on my corduroy shorts and boots.

Tony Bradley

Temptation - John E Blaise

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

I woke up in the middle of the night
Wearing striped pyjamas that was strange.
I could have been dreaming I wasn't sure
As I walked towards the open door,
Outside, inside the enclosed garden
I followed a snail trail left on the paving slabs.
The trail was delicate and fine
But so direct and purposeful a ley-line
Led me to a beautiful woman, a bright paragon
Naked, bare, uncovered yes nude
Apart from pink petals that covered her feet
An awesome presence yet she was so petite
She smiled and asked me to follow her
I must have been shocked I just said no
So she asked whether she should go
I said I didn't really know
She ordered me to close my eyes real tight,
Then open them real slow.
I woke up in the middle of the night
Naked that was strange.

John E Blaise

Over - Trudie Shannon

I turn over to occupy the space
You have just vacated
And realise, in the pit of my stomach
That the receding warmth
Is the closest we get to each other.

Trudie Shannon

No Laughing Matter - Tony Bradley

There are children that cannot laugh,
Their happiness has been shattered.
Demons will haunt them, all their lives
because no-one was there when it mattered.

They have fears that they cannot face,
too painful to remember the cause,
frightened to sleep, afraid of tomorrow,
bright lights and suddenly opening doors.

That choking terror, that being held down,
that cold black feeling, just wanting to die,
and now longing for love and affection
and trust from someone's eye.

This torment, that someone they accepted,
they looked up to for truth and care,
has betrayed them, spoiled them, hurt them, soiled them,
when tempted into their lair.

Now they are older, but still have the scars.
Things make them too angry, or mild,
visions flash back, memories so painful,
again they're the tortured child.

They cannot enjoy life, like others,
share in the fun others have,
a smile, a smirk, but it doesn't really work.
Some quiet ones have no laugh.

Tony Bradley

Dead Head (My Grain Or Yours) - Lyndon Queripel

Lying in a darkened room
With no light nor sound
I could be in a tomb
Sanctuary underground
In vain I wait for the pain
To fade or to ease
Shaking in silence once again
Just longing for release
Don't talk, don't speak, don't try
For even my own voice
In a blinding reply
Is just another noise
There's an ice pack on my back
There's one across my head
I sometimes wonder when under attack
If I'm half alive or half dead.

Lyndon Queripel

A Glasshouse - Peter Kenny

A collapsing umbrella,
its tottering frame rotten.
I crunch through a crooked door
on glass chunks like punched out teeth
and trespass in an Eden
of bramble, dock and bracken
serpented by fractured pipes.

I stand here to remember
when workmen’s shadows lengthened
against this whitewashed glass.
But something then disturbs me:
a plane, maybe, or the wind
making a ruined music
among the raddled panes.

Airborne once from Alderney
I glimpsed a summer Guernsey,
cuddled by the setting sun,
with all her glass glistering.
My Sarnia, my Sarnia Cherie,
faceted by industry
like a gemstone in the sea.

Peter Kenny

This poem was first published in A Guernsey Double by Richard Fleming and Peter Kenny. Peter's latest collection is called The Nightwork and is published by The Telltale Press.

The Missing Part Of Me - Ian Duquemin

I may not be your saviour
Yet I'm always by your side
I might not always save ya...
But heaven knows I've tried
I may not find the answers
To questions that you seek
I know I'm not the strongest
And need you AS I'm weak

And I am here...
Just like I promised you I'd be
And you are there...
The missing part of me

You may not always want me
But I know you will return
Crossing over bridges
You always failed to burn
Knowing I'll be waiting
Just like I always do
Healing arms are waiting
To hold and comfort you

I will be here...
Just like I promised you I'd be
And you'll be there...
The missing part of me

We belong together
Even when apart
Times spent separated...
I search within my heart
There I always find you
There you always are
No matter what the distance
No matter then how far

I'll be here...
Just like I promised you I'd be
And you'll be there...
The missing part of me

Ian Duquemin

Harp - Diane Scantlebury

Your pale hands hover
Over the harp,
Curved and curled
Like eagles claws,
Paused and poised
As if to strike,
Beautiful melodies
From the strings to draw,

Your head it nods
And then it dips,
Each note trickles
As your fingers slip,
Across the screen
Of vertical wires,
Our cores to melt
Our hearts to inspire.

Diane Scantlebury

Fragments Of You - Bryony de Lat

This crumpled sweet wrapper down the back
of your favourite sun-lounge chair,
this half scribbled recipe in the drawer
along with the neater ones there,
or this beautiful dress in the wardrobe
that I never saw you wear.

That last sweet wrapper,
that meal you can't cook,
that dress you'll never put on
endless reminders
stabbing my heart
now that you are gone.

Bryony de Lat

Harvest (Cluster Bombs) - John Buchanan

The grass grew tall this year.
Shadows flow like waves
across its golden heads,
as a warm breeze passes.

The hay crop’s lost this year.
Shadows cross his face,
across his sun tanned face.
As a deep frown passes

The war passed by this year.
Shadows flashed above,
the compound left in ruin
the field fallow evermore.

For the crop changed this year.
seed pods scattered wide,
hidden amidst the grass
hanging around to harvest.

The grass grew tall this year.
Shadows flow like waves
He’ll have to plant next year
as a warm breeze passes.

John Buchanan

Refugee - Richard Fleming

Overhead lights, bright in a white room,
a masked regiment around me
at my command.
In timeless hush, I work:
my steady hand and shining blade
make neat incisions, cast out
tumours like blind, destructive moles.
It’s done. Eyes, above masks, are joyful.
The patient lives.

That was before.

Today, I wear a white coat in a bright room.
Around me, pale unmasked faces,
that have not witnessed war,
ignore my requests.
In harsh, obliterating noise, I work
steadily with shining blade.
My practiced hand
cuts pizzas into segments
that do not bleed.

Richard Fleming

The Chain Ferry - Bryony de Lat

The chain takes the strain, as the ramp swings up,
so long she's been crossing the tides
the creek is flat calm, but the waves awake
to start their dance along her riveted sides.

The grand old lady has crossed the water so often,
in hazy sunshine and Winter's cold rains
on each new day, and each new tide
that chug, and the smell of huge oily chains.

Now time and rust have ended her days,
she's grown old, and tired, and weak,
but at dawn, when it's quiet, I'm sure I still hear
The chain ferry crossing the creek.

Bryony de Lat

Insomnia - Lyndon Queripel

In the middle of the night
There's nothing more boring
Than laying awake till daylight
Listening to some one else snoring.

Lyndon Queripel

The Sark Folk Festival 2014 - James Willis

Bright birdsong morning,
Sark weather warming
Seen thro’ the hedgerow
A fine festive glow.

Campers, dishevelled
Wet weather bedraggled,
Welly boot fashion
Pac-a-mac passion.

Sark Festival singing,
Folk music ringing,
Fast fiddle fingers,
And folk song singers,

People connecting,
The words reflecting.
Noises of choice
In fine fettled voice.

Musical gold
For young and for old,
Tunes we know well
With a story to tell.

James Willis

Why? - Diane Scantlebury

I sat in his mother’s conservatory
For a quiet moment,
Surrounded by floral tributes and cards
To have a silent weep,
While I thumbed through a selection of photos,
Snapshots of a blue eyed boy
Taken from us in his sleep,
My eyes stung
As the tears welled up,
But I had to let them fall,
To stain the images in my lap
Of a young life so strong and tall,
Every frame captured still in time
His journey from child to man,
Bright smiles betraying his lonely demise,
Why he’s gone?
We’ll never understand.

Diane Scantlebury

In Fear Of Me - Ian Duquemin

I hide inside my hollow self
Like a serial killer unknown
No friends...
No one...
And I like this darkening place
For here I am left completely alone
With no sympathy for my pain
Hidden behind a clean fake smile
I'm seen as though I am free
But tethered within I remain restrained
With a frightening fear of me

Ian Duquemin

Beyond - Shannon Shell

What happens when you return to school
and there's no way to express the feelings you feel inside?
When you don't even know the words to describe what you think, what you feel.

I'll tell you what I learnt, I taught myself to turn my feelings into fists.
'Cos when you don't understand what you're feeling, you begin to fight it, thrush at it.
You turn the things you feel into violence.
And so the powers that be react...
They push you further out, they don't stop to listen, they don't stop to ask.
They stop to fight you. They stop to shout.
They put you in groups with others like you that don't understand what they think, and feel and fight about.

What do you do when you look in the mirror
and all you see is something you don't understand? You don't recognise...

I waited and waited for something to tell me to do
other than being violent.
I waited and waited for someone to look beyond the burning inside.
Something beyond what I felt was me, beyond what I felt was true.

It only took 3 years for someone to look beyond the fire,
Beyond the petty violence, beyond the pissed off attitude and turn into something else.
Something beyond the surface that was losing.

No-one saw me feel things that have definitions - Words.
And when I talked - Someone listened.
Someone to find what it was I was feeling.
I learnt to live through words.
What they meant, how they define what was happening inside.

I wish I had someone back then to tell me what I know now,
That it's ok to be sad, to feel down.
That it's ok to stop and listen to the sound of your heart beating...
and you don't have to forget everything to remember you're still breathing...

Shannon Shell

The Companion - John Buchanan

We spent many hours together
on the cliffs or in the heather.
I bore your weight, steadied you,
quietly listened to you,
supported you
and checked the path.
You held me in your hand
as we plucked blackberries out of reach.
You pulled me up
when I sank in sand on the beach.
Your hand warmed me on icy days,
took comfort from my strength.
Now cold
and propped beside your stripped bed,
my handle gathers dust.
My silver ferrule, so lovingly polished, tarnished.
To them I am a stick.
To you I was freedom;
you shared your life with me,
you gave this blackthorn reason.

John Buchanan

Repeatoire - Lyndon Queripel

I'm full of emptiness on this on this shelf
Like a hollow Easter egg you beg to break
A child's balloon that pops too soon
A car tyre driven over barbed wire
Well,yes I guess I did make a mistake
As they're all full of air
And a puncture you can repair
But every time that I speak
I think that I begin to leak
So please don't make me repeat myself.

Lyndon Queripel

Somebody Missing - Bryony de Lat

Wandering now along the coastline, as we used to stroll, before
it seems the same waves that we watched are returning again to shore
listening as the grasses swirl in the breeze, just the same
but this time it's different,.... I hear them whisper your name.

It's so easy for me now, with all purpose gone
with this tide, to just slip away
with no-one now to really miss me,
with no-one so dear, to bid me stay.

Another tide ebbs, revealing the rocks,
the seaweed slumbers again, as ocean leaves land
endless movements, as the earth still turns round,
and our precious lives,. . . just grains of sand.

Bryony de Lat

Reflecting On My Life - Jay Cee

I look in the mirror and what do I see?
A bonny baby looking back at me
With happy smile and toothless grin
A child of innocence who knows no sin

I look in the mirror and what do I see?
A fair haired child looking back at me
Playing with toys and imagining
What this life holds in store for him

I look in the mirror and what do I see
A young man with my life ahead of me
With ideas and strength to conquer the world
Going forth into battle with flag unfurled

I look in the mirror and what do I see?
A broken man with injuries
I gave my body and answered the call
I fought the battle and gave my all

I look in the mirror and what do I see?
An old man crippled and cannot see
My strength is gone, my day is done
As my life slips away in the setting sun.

Jay Cee

The Carpenter - Stephen A. Roberts

Today's poem is a "Golden Oldie" and was originally published here in February 2012
Image - Stephen Roberts

The bent nail stares at me accusingly,
The Carpenter says nothing as
I place another and drive it in
Hoping to miss the tendons this time
Some of His blood touches me
But I don’t feel blessed

Stephen A. Roberts

This poem was originally published in 2010, as part of the Guernsey Arts Commission's international poetry competition "Poems On The Buses".

Thinking of Phil - Diane Scantlebury

When I heard the news
No tears or words came,
I couldn’t even say your name,
Standing in the middle of the room
Mouthing, but I was struck dumb,
Clutching the phone, cold and numb,
Wondering how it was possible
For one so young to slip,
Away from us and lose life’s grip,
A lovely, gentle, caring man
Just when your future was about to unfold,
The world caved in and you lost your hold,
In the shock of the news
No tears or words came,
But Phil be at peace
Now I can cry and say your name.

Diane Scantlebury

Mother Rose - Ian Duquemin

Yorkshire... I'll not see beauty again as yours
No rolling hills or meadows green
Each gaze a pictorial scene

Yorkshire... I'll not find a home without
No welcome sure as a long lost son
My heart you undoubtably won

Yorkshire... I pray that I'll see you again
If only as ash blown from somebody's hand
I'll be home when returned to your land

Ian Duquemin

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