The Children's Forest of Cortes - Andrew Barham

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

Mushrooms emerging from thick moss
Or pushing through the darkened duff,
Sunlight slanting through the coniferous canopy
Until the hoary moss coating the cedar's branches
Glows golden through the massy filaments;

Spiders silk, fine filaments of light
Strung between the trees, or,
Orbs suspended between their branches,
Cobwebs running their length –

To see Sitka Spruce sidling up to Douglas Fir
In a forest where Arbutus pokes out
Above the waters of lagoons
And sheltered bays …

Artists amongst the trees transfigured
As they in turn are transformed by the forest
Alive with the light and the voices of children
Emerging like the fungi from the humic soil –
Indian Pipe – but whiter than I've ever seen it before,
And each sepal and petal tipped
With intense carmine, like no other Monotropa;

I was fooled by this unusual display
Of unaccustomed colour: Could it be
An Allotropa instead? But no:

This unlikely plant emerging everywhere
Bears its flowers singly atop its thickened stems;
Yet candy-striped it appears to be;
A flower of Christmas colour coming up
In the blazing August sunshine of High Summer …

Candy-coloured flowers and stems –
What more could one ask
Of a Children's Forest?

Andrew Barham

I Thought I Saw Aliens - Elizabeth Fisher

I thought I saw Aliens - or so it seemed
Their blood red eyes
Shooting rays out in beams.
Their long dangling fingers
Hanging so long
And curly tentacles touching the ground
where they did not belong.

Their large long oval faces
Lying so low.
Oh!I thought I saw Aliens
Oh what a show.

Had they crash landed?
Did they know where they were?
Their tunnel shaped vehicle
Was standing out there..

I had been walking
In the Guernsey St Martin lanes.
Oh I thought I saw Aliens
I'll have to look again...

I crept down the driveway
But oh what a shock.
Bright red tomatoes. beans and courgettes the lot .

The bright red eyes beaming and shining so red
Turned out to be tomatoes
Alien eyes were in my head.

The spindly fingers
Long beans hanging down I could see
Oh! I thought I had seen Aiiens
What is happening to me?

The polytunnel not a vehicle
How could this be?

The house owners came out
To see why I was there
I told them that I had only come to stand and stare.
I thought I had seen Aliens in your garden back there.

But instead they have turned into a vegetable surprise
the polytunnel spaceship transformed before my eyes.

They are our prize vegetables they stated with pride
Then linked arms and stared at them and sighed.


It's our very first trial.

Elizabeth Fisher

Run, Run, Run - Kathy Figueroa

Run, run, run
Go, go, go
Gotta get things done
And can’t be slow

Work, work, work
Can’t hesitate
There are too many things
That just won’t wait

Go here, go there
Go up and down
Work at home
Make a trip to town

I don’t want to spread
Myself too thin but,
At times, I’ve so much to do
I don’t know where to begin

Something always
Needs to be done, so
It’s easy to work too hard
And forget to have fun

But a sense of achievement
Is my reward and
I never get depressed
…And I’m never bored

Kathy Figueroa

Run, Run, Run was first published in The Bancroft Times newspaper on July 23, 2015.

Time To Live Again - Tony Robert

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

How did all this happen? You sometimes sit and ponder.
Your life’s been turned upside down, is it any wonder?

You want to start your life again, to leave the past behind
So many loose ends to tie up, many new joys to find

You’ve so many memories, some happy, some so sad
You can’t seem to forget them, some good, some so bad

You always do what’s best for everyone and leave yourself ‘til last
Time to put yourself first, instead of living in the past

You must start to look forward now, grab the chance with both hands
There’s happiness for you right now, time for dreams and plans

You must be brave, you must be strong
Go for it, you can’t go wrong

Time for positive thinking, put aside those doubts and fears
Time for smiling and happy thoughts, forget the pain and tears

You can do it; you’ve got yourself through it
Time to live again

Tony Robert

Blind To Beauty - Ian Duquemin

What is it you see that I fail to see?
An island once captured yet never since free!
The warmth of its people who stab in the back...
Who notice the sea yet they don't smell the wrack
I'm not just a misery or a negative creep
But you need to wake up from your coma-like sleep
You live in the same little prison as me!
Where the sharks rule an Island surrounded by sea

Ian Duquemin

Sunflower - Lyndon Queripel

You gave me a flower in the morning Sun
And said every hour that I was gone
Our love would blossom and grow so strong
The earth and the water would help it along

Sunflower it's with you I belong

At the end of the road was a bend of rain
And clouds of questions overcast again
Without an answer I kept on trying
I looked at the flower and it was dying

Sunflower I hear an ill wind sighing

When I returned you were not around
I called your name there was no sound
Over the hill the sky was still red
I looked at the flower and it was dead

Sunflower you left me in shadows instead.

Lyndon Queripel

Gone - Tony Bradley

Struggling, climbing our mountain together
then, as I looked around , you fell
I'm all alone now, stranded in darkness
there's no mountain, and I'm an empty shell.

Something magical brought us together
such a happy time in love we spent
but time is fragile, and never forever
my Heaven and you were only lent.

Tony Bradley

Chillin’ and Grillin’ in Oistins - Diane Scantlebury

Flames flare high into the pitch Oistins night
On the barbeque fragrant fish are grillin’,
By a hut in the icebox stacked like sentries on guard
The beers are cool and chillin’,

Between the rows of plastic chairs and tables
The waiter slides and glides,
Working each one with his swagger and sweet walking,
Saving most of his attention for the orders of pretty girls
As he tries to smooze them with his charm and sweet talking,

Like a pasha surrounded by his giggling harem
His offensive becomes a tightening belt,
He prizes the caps from their now ‘beastly’ cold beers
Flashing an icy white smile that the sun couldn’t melt,

Acrid, the flames that flare from the grill
Billowing in clouds, smoking and choking,
The young girls shield their noses with their hands
To cover their embarrassment,
As the waiter goads and teases them with his joking,

Hungry, the girls ponder on what has become of their food
The charmer has gone, they’re no longer chillin’,
Flames leap even higher into the pitch Caribbean night
While on the barbeque forgotten, burnt fish are still grillin’.

Diane Scantlebury

Hedgehog - Richard Fleming

Oh Hedgehog,
if you would just stay
among hedges all would be well.
Instead, you run pell-mell
on stilts. There will be hell to pay.
You are an inoffensive brute
and easy prey
for car or hound.
You deserve safer ground.
Reluctantly, I use my boot
to shunt you
off the road, at least.
You clamp yourself tight as a fist,
and squeak ... Resist, resist
this interfering
human beast.

Richard Fleming

Dinosaurs of Rock, We Salute You - Stephen A. Roberts

I used to follow bands, to gigs far and wide
But as I've got older, my curiosity has died
Been there done that, no need to attend
Seen them, heard him, the artist and friends
New noise by the old boys, I have had enough
Your latest isn't your greatest, play the older stuff
Time to stop fooling yourselves, time to give it all a rest
You're past your sell by date, well past your best


I bought your last album, which I thought was final
Now I see a limited release on 180 gram vinyl!
A remastered box set of early material is coming
I know I'm gonna get it, 'cos I already started humming
Parting with with my readies, milked like a cash cow -
Yes, I've got my tickets, to come see you take that final bow...

Stephen A. Roberts

Words - Martyn Legg

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

I place these thoughts upon the page
Expressing anger, full of rage
Broken promises and dreams
Endless nights and silent screams

Take these words and set them free
Let them be as they should be
I close the book the words are gone
Still the rage goes on and on

I place my heart within your hand
You know exactly where I stand
Fill these eyes with something new
Yet another glimpse of you

Words just come and then they go
There is no reason to their flow
Transcending time they state the pain
They speak of loss, they speak of gain

Could I control the way words fall
If I could live to use them all
Still there would be things left to say
Words enough to fill the day

Take these words and set them free…

Martyn Legg

A Taxi Ride into Varna to the Mall - Elizabeth Fisher

So many green trees
The landscape is beautiful.
The soft warmth of the sun enfolds itself around us.

We are in a taxi heading for Varna.
The little old man driving
is tryng very hard to talk to us.
He knows few words in English.
But somehow we can communicate.

The cars speed by
Flats and houses rush past
Hidden and somehow not looking so old and faded among the trees.

We sense a feeling of ancient history
Merging with a modern world.

People start to appear
And we are at the Mall
Very modern inside
And full of interesting up to date shopping.

The food floor at the top is our destination right now...
We take a walk around
We view all the different types of food
The local food interests us the most
Kebabs and fresh salads
We settled for these,
And enjoy a memorable meal.

Tomorrow we will walk around the wooded area
Of St Constantine and Helena

We will visit the monastery
And then off to the hot natural spa waters
And soak and sunbathe for the rest of the day.

There is such variety in Bulgaria
And such beauty in the natural countryside.

it is a wonderful experience to be here
We are totally relaxed.

Time has reverted to the time span of childhood.
The days are long again.
And we can somehow fit in a lot of varied activities.

Sometimes we seem to have the day stretching ahead.
We have had time to paint pictures write poems and short stories.
It's funny how the time
Is never the same when we get home.

Elizabeth Fisher

I Cried For You - Julian Clarke

Swish the automatic doors glide shut
Standing room only no eye contact.
Time passes, the second hand races,
Different races, expressionless faces.

A solitary bag full of mistrust
Hanging innocently from canvas straps,
Indiscriminately taking lives, crossing
Borders – societies cultural divides.
Metal rearranges, twists, screams in protest.
No time to run, just running out of time
Bodies broken, bloodied, ripped to the core.
Discoloured clothing now soiled with fear.

Unremarkable faces
From nondescript places
Aiding the wounded
A word of comfort
Someone to lean on
A hero for the day;
Back to society-then
Gracefully fade away.

Images seen through the eyes of TV
Unconfirmed numbers, but many dead
The bloody violence . . .
How many more tears must we shed?

Julian Clarke

Our World - James Willis

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

Living in between the rays of light strung from the windows of idleness, painted with the colours of your own loving taste.

Where is there an end where there is no beginning? How can you talk when your words just revolve in the circle of an unchartered sea of letters?
When can you explain it?
When can all souls see it and believe that it is you and that it is for the taking.

I want to carry away this thing and yet I cannot lift it from the ground where heroes stood. I am fought back with spears of forgotten wars and the basis of the constitution.

And yet we have wandered in leafy glades past towering love mansions where all noise is wondrous, sounds are voices of peace and loving, where nothingness grows, where friends live in yellow madness, where people are manufacturing the cloth of gladness, where the sovereign is in the trench and the common labourer sits on the throne and shoeless children carve their names on its legs and the elders come to paint pretty designs around those monuments of singular, named existence.

You and I, safe in our own shell of hardest resistance. Love is protecting us from the snatching steel claws of the world around us. The temptation wolves are baring their bus-ticket teeth, the salesmen are opening their treasure troves, promising us heaven and they only have hell. The policemen are wielding their insulated guns but the bullets bounce off our aura of morale. The tarmacadam shines of fresh steam-rollers where the rates have been and gone…..and the shell remains intact.

Where are we going? Where are the others? Where can we find the wanted, needed, required type of idol?
Where is the thing we are looking for? Show us the way…. The simple, easy going, free and easy, carefree life where idleness is the barricade against the prickles of the thorn bush world outside.
Porcupine of politics and magnetic, adhesive existence of deceit, hate, privacy invasion, sacrilegious, nosy, quarrelling, crushing, cheating, doublecrossing, conniving population of the world we left behind.

James Willis

Peacock Butterfly - Trudie Shannon

The butterfly had come in for winter.
We found it... hungry.... in wing tight spring,
A silent beggar.
It opened its wings and dipped its head
For honey water.
And two days later
It flew out of the window.
A whisper of colour
Flooding a small corner of sky.

Trudie Shannon

It Goes Without Saying - Lyndon Queripel

I was told a change was as good as a rest
So I decided to put it to the test
Just as a matter of interest
I changed my mind several times
Read a story between the rhymes
Even spared a buddy some dimes
Completely ignored speed limit signs
And parked on double yellow lines
Drank three bottles of vintage wines
A red, a dry white and a sweet
Which went to my head before my feet
Were able to sleep it off the street
The next morning I was discovered
Over dressed and under covered
And when at last fully recovered
I then made a solemn vow
As I stand before you now
I wouldn't try to find out how
Certain sayings became beliefs.

Lyndon Queripel

The Peaceful Man - Ian Duquemin

The peaceful man said "Follow me...
There's a perfect world for all to see!"
The people gathered, laughed aloud
And hate oozed from the troubled crowd
"Why do you all not see as I?
The sun, the trees, the sea, the sky!"
The crowd filled up their hands with stones
Then raised their hands to throw
"Why is it you all doubt your eyes...
And cover truth with all your lies...
Do you not see that man is free to do what he may please?"
The stones were thrown and brought the peaceful man down to his knees
The angry crowd then walked away...
So dumb they had no words to say
And all because they could not see
That sheep they'd always be

Ian Duquemin

If Only (A Single Story Structure) - Tony Bradley

Looking back, what torturous routes
full of crossroads and junctions of opportunity
some were taken, some forsaken,
with equal degrees of cost and impunity.

Looking back, a saucy little saga
a fascinating, fragmented fable
a hero so bold, but truth be told
sometimes weak, and often unstable.

As a young stallion, I had energy to burn
I could tackle every hurdle, each gate
a bold horse with resource, for every course
but I usually turned up too late.

Often having laboured on an epic piece of work
and all that was needed to conclude it
was a little more effort, a grain of common sense,
I always cocked it up, I screwed it.

Tony Bradley

The Water Lanes - Tony Gardner

Out of mingled childhood mem'ries,
Myriad warm and lovely dreams,
One stands out above all others,
Down the water lanes a stream
Twinkled, singing through the Eden
Which we took for granted then
How I wish I could recover
Those sweet sylvan hours again.

Dappled sunlight through the branches,
Bird song rich from every tree
And the chuckling, happy water,
Dancing down towards the sea
Still I smell that warm, soft dampness,
Still I taste upon my lips
Cold, clean water, full of magic,
When I laid full length to sip.

Happy days and simple pleasures,
Now seem very far away
But in memory I wander
Down that path towards the bay.
Then all those idyllic hours,
When Life knew no care or pain
Live once more as I, in fancy,
Walk the water lanes again

Tony Gardner

Lazy Sunday - Tony Robert

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

Another lazy Sunday morning
And I’m lying in my bed.
Suddenly with no warning
You’re running through my head

Try to shake away the thought
But still the images persist
Think I’m falling, must be caught
But you’re so hard to resist

Said I wouldn’t do it
Go through all that pain
Hearts been shattered, life in tatters
Could I take the risk again?

I’m acting like a love sick kid
You’ve really touched my heart
When we meet like we just did
I never want to part.

Know I should be old and wise
But you make me feel so young
For me you were a big surprise
Haven’t felt this way for so long

At last I’m looking forward
Instead of living in the past
I’m full of optimism
Just hope that it will last.

Tony Robert

Z-Bus Pirates - Diane Scantlebury

Pirates of the Z-bus
Bedecked in chains and earrings of golden bling,
Ply their trade along the lucrative highways
With wit and banter to reel the punters in,
At every female they’ll hoot and holler
After every tourist they’ll cajole and cry,
Cruising along the routes to make their dollars
All are fair game and worth a try,
Z-bus pirates of the Caribbean
Plundering the fares of the touring crowd,
Racing, speeding to overtake the competition
Music blaring, deafening, far too loud!

Diane Scantlebury

The Good Ole Days? - Julian Clarke

Time creeps up on us the older we grow
Bent and wizened like an ancient oak tree,
Grasping the future all those years ago
The golden ole days seem the place to be.

A song on the radio from yesteryear
Long summer days drenched in the sun,
Wistful memories and lives without fear
A night out with friends having so much fun.
What if the past was turned upside down
What if the future was flipped all around?
Would we still yearn for the good ole days
And not look back in a rose tinted haze.
How would we welcome the oncoming past?
Imminent conflicts, other people’s wars
A time long before the smart mobile phone,
No Wi Fi or texting so how would we cope
No long haul travel holidaying at home.
The 1970’s a decade of strikes
Fuelling an era of dissent,
Skyward inflation with many price hikes
Bitter was the winter of discontent.
What if we enjoyed the here and now?
What if looked on with a little less haste,
What if we’re more forgiving to others?
Live for the moment in a calmer place.

Julian Clarke

Poem For Nepal - Kathy Figueroa

No one knows the future
Or when tragedy will befall
And no one could foresee
The earthquake that struck Nepal

When the earth moved
And buildings and homes fell
The pictures that we saw
Looked like scenes from Hell

People lost more than
Money could ever replace
And sorrow touched
Every person’s face

But, across the seas
In distant lands
Caring folks rallied
To extend helping hands

And so, we’ve come together
Because we’ve heard the call
That a great deal of help is needed
For the people of Nepal

Now we donate money
As well as our time
To fundraising events
That include song and rhyme

And we hope that our efforts
However seemingly small
Will help to rebuild homes
…And restore spirits, in Nepal

Kathy Figueroa

Janie - Tony Bradley

This is crazy, girl, please try and see
you always knew I had a wife
you're so young and pretty, this can't be
forget me, go and get yourself a life.

My wife and I have changed, with time
grown slowly apart, some people do
but I never thought there'd be anyone else
never imagined this love I feel for you.

I'm many years older, and I should be bolder
cold common sense should be coming from me . . . . .
I'm desperate, I'm trying, but I'm floating, I'm flying
as close to heaven as I'll ever be.

The love grew so strong, though we didn't have long
stealing hours together, not months or years
but we both knew, that this beautiful journey
could only end in pain and tears.

Suddenly gone, emigrating with your parents
after our sunshine days in one short season
before you, and after you, my life is empty
I love you, Janie, beyond time and reason.

I've tasted both sweet and bitter fruit from Life's tree
I've had good sunny days, but usually rainy
I thank God for the hand he dealt me
He gave me such happiness, He sent Janie.

Tony Bradley

Bulgarian Men just Don't Wear Socks (or so it seems) - Elizabeth Fisher

Did you know that Bulgarian men just don't wear socks?

We arrived on a holiday
And our suitcase was small
Don't worry they told us
Bulgaria has it all .

So we packed the minimum
And socks were so few
we'll get plenty in markets
Two pairs will do.

Well do you know Bulgarian men just don't wear socks!
Or so it seems.

We searched high and low
But not a sock could be seen.

We looked at the men
In sandals and flipflops
Strutting their stuff.
But looking for socks
well, we'd just had enough.

With gold chains around their necks they all looked divine
That was fine .

They swagger and ooze confidence
From old men to young .
Who cares about socks
When you're out in the sun.

There is no rhyme or reason
Why this should be so
But i suppose
When you really think about it
Socks and sandals just don't go.

Elizabeth Fisher

Ships Passing - Rosemary Parrott

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

No moon,
Hardly any stars;
A row of dark oaks
Stand firm before
The window,
Giant prison bars
Causing me to cry:
"Let me go,"-
But silently,
Inside my head,
So that no-one else will know.

Distant pinpricks of light
Inch their way
Along the edges of the sky:
Green ones
On their way to England,
Red, bound for
The Bay of Biscay
And beyond;
While in systematic round,
The lighthouse
Combs its corner
Of the night
With rhythmic,
Sweeping finger.

Rosemary Parrott

Cows - Trudie Shannon

Tranquil cows sough softly
Their dew breath upon the evening grass,
Raising curious heads and heavy lidded eyes
To cast milky glances at the passers by.
Beyond their lazy lowing,
An invisible sun journeys earthward
Bound to join sky and sea,
As the breeze blown, rippling corn
Yearns to tap the gold stream that edges the clouds
Out of land sight.
The evening air is sweeping with residual warmth
Blessing bared skin with the hint of
a kiss.
Between rain showers fit to drown butterflies
The cows close dew eyes in slow motion.

Trudie Shannon

Around - Ian Duquemin

I'm gonna put a foot upon this train, girl
And get me away from here
I somehow know your thinkin' that's ok, girl
You kind of knew I'd disappear!
And when the train starts movin' down this runaway track
Those wheels upon the rail go a-clackety clack
It's gonna be too late to come a-runnin' right back
Cause I will be travellin' around

I'm gonna catch a boat across the sea, girl
No matter where it sails
Is an ocean far enough away from me, girl?
Or did I only need the rails?
I might be on a journey to a desolate place
We did say that we needed us a little more space
Although I have a photo packed away in my case
I might just be needing you around

I travelled round the world to get away, girl
And I walked for many years
It seemed to be forever and a day, girl
To see those happy tears
As I stand here smiling at your welcoming door
I found what I had wanted in a whole world to explore
I guess I searched for something... but I needed you more!
And it's good just having you around

Ian Duquemin

A Minute's Silence - Stephen A. Roberts

Another day, another minute's silence
how many more to stop the violence?
The mute response where words are useless,
a stunned reflection in respectful stillness

Now across all cities, the sound of sirens
another day, another act of violence
Seduced and poisoned by vicious hatred
an endless harvest has been created

Can we quieten the voice of violence -
with a mournful minute's silence?
And still the hand that gives no quarter -
bring peace to end the murderous slaughter?

Right now we all need new teachers
to lead us from misguided preachers -
to help us reject the cult of violence
and save us from another minute's silence...

Stephen A. Roberts

Poolside Mermaid - Diane Scantlebury

A little mermaid by the pool came and sat,
Snorkel and mask pinning back her golden braids
And before I had time to draw breath or make a wish,
In she dived to swim like a silvery fish,
Beneath the surface her tiny feet kicked
Churning up bubbles and small ripples with every flick,

Where each splash landed more circles would grow,
That dissolved back into the waters of the deep
With every twist and wriggle her body would throw,
A rainbow spectrum of shimmering stars
In an aquatic display of colour bizarre,

Then back to the surface with a whoosh she broke
To present to her parents the treasure she’d found,
Face beaming with pride and aglow
Clutching something in her small hand,
A plastic, pink, broken hair band.

Diane Scantlebury

Summer 2012-07-15 - Pat

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

Clouds scudding across blackened skies
Bursting to shed Rain, Rain, Rain
April passes May & June
Will sun ever appear again?

Empty beaches. cafes, kiosks
Fields sodden, crops go under
Forecasts tell us over & over
More rain, hail & thunder.

Birds & Plants, Nature confused
Is it Winter, Summer or Spring?
July comes outlook dismal
But we cannot alter a thing.

Maybe in August or September
The sun will shine to stop the rot
And being human, rain forgotten
We’ll all complain we’re much too hot!


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