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?'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

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