Bio - Richard Fleming


Richard Fleming is an Ulster-born poet and short-story writer, currently resident in Guernsey in the Channel Islands. His work has been broadcast and widely published and will be familiar to listeners of BBC Radio Guernsey, BBC North-West and Radio Ulster. He has performed at various literary festivals in the UK and Europe, has two collections of verse in print and a third, with accompanying CD, is scheduled for publication in 2016.

He describes his work as "Poetry for those who think they don’t like poetry."

His popular blog, Bard at Bay (http://redhandwriter.blogspot.com) contains many of his better-known poems and short stories, together with various experimental pieces and observations.

I Tip My Cap To La Hague - Lyndon Queripel


I tip my cap to La Hague
And the French government
I'm sure we'll be the first to know
In the event of any accident

I tip my cap to La Hague
It makes me feel so secure
As the sea weed turns to red
Washed up on Guernsey's shore

I tip my cap to La Hague
In complete satisfaction
Our coastal electric currents
Are the latest beach attraction

I tip my cap to La Hague
And nobody can deny
The benefits of nuclear neighbours
Now we've bigger fish to fry

I tip my cap to La Hague
It's boosted our tourist industry
People come from the World over
Just for the colour of our sea

I tip my cap to La Hague
Look up at the changing sky
Clouds are seen turning green
As they go on rolling by

I tip my cap to La Hague
The tide is very high today
And we've enough problems
With sewage in Belle Greve Bay

I tip my cap to La Hague
Turn around from where I stand
Stumbling on the crumbling rock
And slipping on the shifting sand.

Lyndon Queripel

Fire - Tony Bradley

I've taken a smooth dude, so cool, so sure
and hurled him into the flame
I've thrown a young girl angelic and pure
into a life of dirt and shame.

I've lured a housewife, from making pud
into perfume and slinky dress
I've broken a husband, so perfect, so good
leaving his world an awful mess.

I've driven a righteous father, drooling
for a girl, his daughter's age
I've left a middle-aged mother, gagging
for a rock star on the stage.

I've turned warriors and heroes into blubbering fools
made them slaves of their own desire
so beware, reader, lest I change your world, too
I am passion, I am lust, I am fire.

Tony Bradley

Lines - Richard Fleming

Where is the birdsong and why this spring no flowers?
And in the minutes after church bells ring,
why no departing rooks, this evening,
from the tall trees around the old churchyard?

Why have the fields become silent, devoid of grasshopper or bee?
Why are the fruit trees barren?
Why does the sea move sickly, like tar? How can it be
that the fishing boats come back empty each morning?

What has become of our summers
or the refrain of west wind in the chimney pots
or the fresh rain of spring mornings? Will the swallows return again?
Why are our rivers dry when there is so much weeping?

The seasons, which had soaring highs, then dipping lows before,
have now a dull monotony: they come and go unheeded:
one flat line running east to west and reminiscent so
of lines, on monitors, which signal that the heart is dead.

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

For further information go to http://redhandwriter.blogspot.com

The Early Morning View from my Balcony in Bulgaria - Elizabeth Fisher

The sky merges into the pale blue sea,
Tranquillity prevails.
Trees stand still and proud.
The houses blush under the early morning pale pink light.
Everything is peaceful
And the morning has arrived
With the not too loud twittering of birds.
Being on holiday is the best feeling...
Awareness of nature and life.
Why do we not always see this in everyday life ?

Elizabeth Fisher

Dreams - Julian Clarke

I saw you in my dreams last night
I reached out to touch your face,
My hand went through your skin
And then your image dissipates.
Like a reflection in the water
That’s broken by a pebble
The ripples go on forever
Like warm memories
Of a lost Lover.
The morning
Chased my dream
Away and there you
Were still sleeping, I lent
Over to kiss your face and
You smiled as you were waking.
The alarms shrilling ring-ring-ring
Was I really still dreaming, slowly,
Eyes opening, you were softly sleeping.

Julian Clarke

? - Ian Duquemin

Is there anyone out there
Who might lend me an ear?
I'm a needing some answers...
To questions I fear
Like...
Why is there war?
Why do so many die?
I can't ask the government... as they'd only lie

So I'm hoping you'll help me
And I hope you don't mind!
But I'm losing my faith...
As I'm losing my mind!
I just don't understand
How the other half live...
They may gain my respect if they'd try more to give

I'm a-needing to ask them!
Am I begging too much?
All the answers I'm wanting!
From my questions as such...
They might be unanswered
As the dumb cannot speak
They've stolen my paddle... and I'm right up the creek

I'm a-needing to find out
And I'm gonna scream loud!
My fields may be stony
But they are gonna be ploughed!
And for every seed sown...
Is a question I'll ask
And to harvest that field is one hell of a task

So what about money!
Why is paper so great?
Do you think you deserve it?
When you buy only hate
Do you help out the needy?
Do you help out the poor?
Or do you keep for yourself and accumulate more?

This planet we live on...
We are gonna destroy!
From the mess we are making...
And the bombs we deploy
Do you think of the children...
When you're lying in bed?
Do you dream of the gun that you aim at their head?

Now I know you won't like this
But I need to know why!
Why the rich they get richer...
And the hungry they die
Is it too much to ask?
Just to give a bit more!
Or will you close up your eyes and just simply ignore?

All you leaders and rich men
In your ironed silk ties
Will you open your wallets...
Will you open your eyes?
And just answer my questions...
Try to hear what I say!
Because many like me... we just won't go away!

And I will make you hear me!
And I will make you see!
That it's not all about you...
It's not even of me...
It's the fact that you can do...
What so many cannot!
So do what you can with the gift that you've got

And I'm sure you will find out
That the good that you do
All the happiness given...
Will then come back to you
Those wars may continue!
As a man needs to fight
But at least you can say that you fought to put right!

Ian Duquemin

A Different Dance - Trudie Shannon

My head is a soup kitchen with no takers,
No queues of the impoverished standing
With empty polystyrene cups awaiting replenishment
So the soup just slops, wave after wave
Endlessly swirling.
My ear is home to a hive of excited bees
Permanently preparing to swarm
High pitched buzzing seeking union
With high tech communication satellites.
Dulled improvisors in search of an invisible queen.
My stomach is residential home
To unenlightened sots permanently
Groping for solid ground, dithering with burned toast.
My legs are rebellious teenagers street fighting,
Hiding needles just under the skin
Frequently disengaged from the mother ship, my torso,
Exploring idiosyncratic rhythms
Popping to the tune of disappearing myelin.

Trudie Shannon

All That Mattered - Tony Bradley

All memories, hopes and dreams, in tatters
when such a beautiful thing just shatters
somehow I knew it would soon be gone
Nothing that perfect could ever last long

Suddenly, shatteringly, I'm broken, undone
I'm feeling nothing now, frozen, numb
I'm hearing nothing, not really seeing
my soul has died, my very being.

All that mattered has vanished, as if never here
It was all just for moments, now so dear
now only memories can soften my sorrow
of an unconditional love I could only borrow.

Tony Bradley

Heads I Win, Tails You Lose - Lyndon Queripel

On the other side of the coin
Another dream shatters
The latest revolution fails
It's turned tails and fled
No pause for a cause to join
Without minds over matters
Or crossed hammers and nails
As the crown unveils the head
But when will we stop
Running at a loss
For the penny to drop
To ever give a toss.

Lyndon Queripel

Fathers - Kathy Figueroa


Some men are fathers only
In name, but not deed - though
They’ve performed a physical function
And fulfilled a biological need

To their offspring, they don’t offer
Any guidance, support, or care
And the children grow up knowing
Treatment that’s cruel and unfair

But many men aren’t indifferent
Or inclined to abuse or neglect
They treat their children kindly
And instill values and respect

So, to these caring men
Here’s what we’d like to say:
We salute you, one and all
And “Happy Fathers’ Day!”

Kathy Figueroa

"Fathers" was first published in the June 11, 2015, issue of The Bancroft Times newspaper.

At Grandfather’s - Richard Fleming

Along the entry he would come caterwauling,
striking bin-lids with his stick,
through the backyard knocking over milk bottles.

Up the wooden stair, rolling like a tar,
to lifeboat-bed and disapproval:
his salty, mermaid wife growling like an ocean.

On Sunday mornings there, we children crouched,
like mice, digesting toast and catechisms,
as grandma stepped, stiff-backed, around him.

He would be still as stone, his bowl of porridge cooling.

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

For further information go to http://redhandwriter.blogspot.com

Acrostic Sonnet: The Opening of a New Real Ale Pub - Andrew Barham


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

Take us down to a grand and ancient pub
Hidden away on a lost avenue
Every soul consigned to Beelzebub
Bartered away for a drink grand and true
Each quaffer on his foaming pint intent
Sups mightily at perfectly hopped brew
These lads know from whence springs their deep content
Revealed only to the lord’s chosen few.
Eager drinkers of the world’s finest beer,
Alone or with friends, hie they hither here;
Let’s drink up!” the lord of the land bellows!
All things end for the best of fellows!
Last orders all round while the night is young;
Egad! It’s all over! Last bell’s been rung!

Andrew Barham

Waning Moon - Diane Scantlebury

My mind was distracted by the waning moon,
As encompassed in your arms I lay,
The dawn had come all too soon,
To sweep the shadow of earth’s eclipse away,

By chance I caught a glimpse of that moon,
Fading fast from the sky as I struggled out of sleep,
While chinks of sparkling light danced around the room,
And into the dusty, dark corners tried to seep,

Pressed against the pillow your face reminded me of that waning moon,
Marooned high in the sky of increasing blue,
A pale candescence illuminating the gloom,
Softly arousing the new day with its radiant hue.

Diane Scantlebury

Guernsey Punks - Ian Duquemin


These were our streets
The cobbles we walked
Parading like peacocks
While locals all talked
We were the new breed
The colourful sons
It had to start somewhere...
And we were the ones
Hair short and spikey
Alcohol breath
Our image perfected...
Looking like death
Banned from the buses
Banned from the shops
Banned from the night clubs
Watched by the cops
Records revived us
Keeping us sane
Guernsey disowned us
As we were not plain
We may have been different
We may not have fit
But we added colour
You have to admit
We were rejected
By the home that we knew
But it didn't take too long
Til we forgot about you
Many years later...
You still have your drunks
You still have your troubles
Yet you don't have your punks!
Duque and Youngo...
Still talked about now
We were bigger than Hugo...
And your boring old cow
It's not that I'm bragging
And my friend would agree
That your Island was dreary...
Without him and me

Ian Duquemin

Lonely Me? - Tony Robert

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

6.45 alarm rings in my head,
Time to get my arse out of bed.
There’s a brand new day to start,
But do I really have the heart?

And so another day begins,
Somebody loses, somebody wins.
Me? I’ll be happy to just break even
Seems I arrive as lady luck’s leaving.

Paint on my smile, forget the pain,
Maybe today I’ll find love again.
Kid myself that I don’t care,
When all I want is a love to share.

Laugh and joke, I’m everyone’s mate,
Try to pretend that I’m doing great.
But deep down inside my heart,
I feel I’m slowly falling apart.

“Keep your chin up” I hear myself say,
Cheering up others throughout the day.
But I know when I’m home and close the door,
I’m all alone just like before.

And so I drag myself to bed,
A hundred thoughts in my head.
I’ve so many friends so how can it be?
That I always end up lonely me

Tony Robert

No Time To Waste - Tony Bradley


Now I know why your life was such a rush,
it always had to be now,
you couldn't wait 'til tomorrow
for the when, the where, the how.

You had such fanciful ideas, such dreams
yet simple things in life gave you pleasure,
but all the chores you devoured in earnest,
leaving time for your passions, never leisure.

You were always pushing, urging
You could never slow down, or wait
it's as if you had some appointment
and knew you couldn't be late.

So much energy, such hunger, such thirst
and too few days for your dreams
You never did it all in your full short life
ended so soon, so cruelly it seems.

It seems people like you, who live with a fire,
It's because their time won't be long,
I know you lived a lot more than many
who just grow old, like an unsung song.

Tony Bradley

The Rivers Of Sadness - Lyndon Queripel

The rivers of sadness are over flowing
The jungles of hate are over growing
The winds of war are for ever blowing
And there's fear on your face
Yes, it's here in this place

The statue of death has been unveiled
In the form of a battle field
A mother's son has just been killed
And there's tears on her face
The grief beneath her black lace

The spirit of life looks sadly down
At the ruins that were once a town
An orphan wearing just a frown
And lost years cross his face
To disappear in time and space

I look up at the sky above
Search in vain for the sign of love
Now we've waited long enough
It's so clear on my face
Unanswered prayer, unquestioned grace.

Lyndon Queripel

War Images, An Exhibition, The Square, Guernsey 2010 - Trudie Shannon

Two old women stoop over handbags,
Dowagers prominent humps blessing alternative vision.
They gaze with opaque eyes at photographic images
Of war, in a foreign land.
Sunlight gleams on perspex distorting and distancing the photographs
Into dreamlike nebuli.
There is an absence of time, present here as
Bombs drop lucid memories into trapped screams
Upon furred tongues in dry mouths.
They do not stop for long, these Liberation witnesses.
They cannot dwell or cope with Revelations scars on other shores.
Suddenly cracked words break like waves in the heat haze.
"Is there a box"? she asks her friend
And rummages in her handbag for her purse
Suddenly the Blitz metal souvenir flies skyward
An acrobatic element glinting in its timeless beam of light.
They walk on, exhibition photographs bearing their reflections
Two old women walking between bomb sites in Afghanistan.

Trudie Shannon

Owls - Tony Gardner


Barn owls like spirits glide in the soft evening
Over the fields winding down to L'Eree
Mem'ries of Guernsey that won't go away

Golden gorse glowing on cliffs in the springtime
Wave rippled sand on a warm summer day
Scenes of my childhood that won't fade away

Big, bright moon shining on pale, fragrant hedgerows
Rolling home late from a big summer show
Down ferny lanes only Guernsey folks know

Snug in the cottage on wild winter evenings
Wind-blown white spume blows and knocks on my door
As it was, as it is, and will be evermore

Wherever I die, if I'm far from my homeland
I'll sleep forever in sweet days of youth
When each day was sunshine and each word was truth

Tony Gardner

Jumble - Richard Fleming

At jumble sales and stalls of bric-a-brac,
these old things gather like tide wrack
washed up out of a sea of years:

the shoehorn with the fox-head handle; the candlestick without a candle;
the photograph of Brighton Pier; those carved monkeys that can see or say or hear
no evil thing; the ugly vase Aunt Lizzie sent us from Peking
before the war; the Coronation Mugs and hairbrush sets and bagatelle,
where winner gets the highest score.

Like postcards, from a place called childhood,
that went astray in some post office pigeon-hole or tray,
they are delivered now, belatedly.

We turn them over in our ageing hands,
examining their surfaces, weaving strands of antiquity
into some flawed pattern that we call the past.

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

For further information go to http://redhandwriter.blogspot.com

Fish - John E Blaise


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

Kippers on the breakfast table
Sardines gridlocked nose to tail
Salmon smoked not cured
Sharks on loan from Seaworld
Rainbow trout skate on thin ice
Searching for pots of gold
Codpiece worn below the waist
Monkfish swim to the sermon in haste
Pike staff the factory floor
Soles always down trodden so poor
Chubb swimming so safely in the loch
Conger eels dance in a line
Shoals of minnows everywhere
Carp complain and swear
But there's a ray of light, some hope
And quite a few Red Herrings!

John E Blaise

The Un-affordable "T" in Diet - Ian Duquemin

He who is richest will strive to get more
Yet it's not so disgraceful to say you are poor!
Money is nothing... And only a lie
It's just extra weight they will lose when they die
They may gain in riches... They will gain in weight
But here's something to chew on... And contem(plate)
The difference between diet and die is a "T"
A simple letter... I'm sure you'll agree
But every penny you have could not buy it
And no matter how rich... You will die-T

Ian Duquemin

Dear Mary ( A Corporal's Letter) - Tony Bradley

Jack's gone Mary, you'll know by now
but I felt I had to write
we've lost him too, he was our rock
he gave us all the courage to fight.

He often talked about you, Mary
and your quiet little village near Dover
and his dreams of a rose-covered cottage, there
when this gory hell was over.

There was no-one braver, he showed no fear
he was a hero amongst his men
but his heart was always with you, girl
and now he's at peace again.

Don't grieve long, Mary, enjoy your life
you know he would wish that you do
just cherish the memories, and at Heaven's gate
Jack will be there for you.

Tony Bradley

When Grief Hits - Diane Scantlebury

When there are no tears left
And you’re in that grey, twilight shadow place
Where grief finally hits you,
You busy yourself with the trivia of everyday
And the insignificant suddenly becomes important,
In the sadness zone
You’re sleep walking through the motions,
Not knowing where you are,
A fog of sorrow descends
Its heavy, cold arm drapes over your shoulder
As if to console you,
But brings no comfort,

When grief finally hits you
You’re vulnerable and unprepared,
Nothing makes sense anymore
So you stumble aimlessly,
Trying to break free
From the grip of the sad mist,
For in your heart you know
The sorrow can’t last forever.

Diane Scantlebury

Gumboots - Kathy Figueroa

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

When I was in town
I had a fashion attack
And bought shiny
New gumboots
In sleek stylish black
Now, through the mud
I can fearlessly stomp
And I don't get my feet wet
When I cross the swamp
I lived in the city
A long time ago
And had to dress up there
Mainly for show
I worked nine to five
White collar hours
In those great big
Toronto office towers
Now, I live in the country
And life is just grand
When I spend my days
Outside on the land
I'm happy as a lark
As I work in the dirt
In my gumboots, jeans
And an old flannel shirt
You won't find my wardrobe
In a fashion magazine
Because I dress for comfort
Not to be seen
So, bring on the flannel
Bring on the plaid
Bring on the gumboots
The best footwear I've had
I don't look high fashion
But don't give two hoots
Because I always feel good
When I wear gumboots

Kathy Figueroa

Heavy Metal Night In Suburbia - Andrew Barham

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

Guitars gleam, plastic screams
Long hair flowing in the spotlight's beam
Heavy Metal addicts in glittering chrome
Screaming obscene anthems from petrified stones,
Timbered symbols clashing vibrant tones,
The drummer slashing and crashing
To keep it going

Pictures of swords and sorcery,
And where would they be
Without His Satanic Majesty?
The sum total of your soul
Is the rainbow at the end of the gold-
Mine, empty and complete
Like every coked-out bimbo shakin' down the street:

A silent silver streak,
The aftermath's reek
From the King of the Mountain Hall,
Rockin' and boppin' to the ball
Turning above the dance floor

The singer cleaves a shelter for a comely wench
Amid the stage's sulfurous stench,
For they're brewing a devil's broth
These followers of David Lee Roth;
Before swallowing a variety of pills,
He sends a chill wind to blow away your ills:
Gag! Brag; the green queen's in drag!

Boredom and blown speakers as Rock n Roll steals another child
The air-guitarists are swaying wild;
Singer's long hair streaming down –
A perfectly permed mullet to reveal his mighty frown –
Another rebel without a reason;
They throw up a different group for every season.

Andrew Barham

Gravitational Pull - Lyndon Queripel

Life makes less sense every day
Just unfulfilling your destiny
The only thing that makes you stay
Is the law of gravity.

Lyndon Queripel

Duty Of Care - Tony Bradley


Little James sneaked out to the garden
Mummy had just popped to the shop
"Stay inside" she said "I won't be long"
but the back door was not locked.

Little James ran up to the fish pond
too close, his little feet gave way.
The invalid neighbour Tom saw this,
from his window, where he'd sit all day.

Helplessly, Tom called out from his wheelchair
(a landmine had mangled his legs in Iraq)
he struggled out of the chair he hated,
falling painfully onto his back.

Flashbacks of crawling, as shells exploded,
his mates around him, dropping
but he remembered his medals, he didn't get them
retreating in fear, or stopping.

The pain was burning away at his legs
as he crawled through the hedge, teeth clenched,
he reached the pond, pulled Jimmy out,
the little body, limp and drenched.

Tom covered the boy in his dressing gown
pumping his chest, 'til he felt a breath,
then suddenly Tom felt a searing pain,
absurdly late, a soldier's death

Tony Bradley

A Golden Coloured Ring - Trudie Shannon

I wonder, as I sit adrift of you
On this somewhat rattling bus,
Empty, save for you and me.
Who gave you the ring
That sits , marooned upon your gnarled, arthritic finger?
It is not the golden band of wedlock
But sits locked between your swollen joints, still bright.
From where I sit, adrift of you
I make out the tired line of inscription or design
Unreadable to either of us, it is so faint.

In my mind, I believe 'she' gave it to you
Not wife, nor mother or sister
But she, who gave her love to you
When love was swift to blossom and as swift to fade.
When pocket money saved could purchase
A golden coloured ring, insignificant, without value
Save for the initials she scratched upon its surface.

As you stand to leave the moving bus
You grab the post and the gold coloured metal ring
Clinks agains its surface.
And as the the bus draws to a halt
You shuffle to the door
The ring weightless upon your gnarled arthritic finger.
You descend clueless to my pondering,
And I remain seated, wondering
What her name was.

Trudie Shannon

Symphony of Madmen - Ian Duquemin

The piano face down in dirt
Like a boxer beaten senseless
Keys knocked out like broken teeth
Were scattered whilst defenceless
Polished wood now scarred and faded
Wires bent, macabre they sway
Screeching out a pitied cry...
That only wind can play
Once a madman tinkered softly
From his head a symphony
Both composer... and the piano
Died with little sympathy

Ian Duquemin

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