Miss Penny - Tony Gardner

The pre dawn light is filtering through
And wakes still drowsy minds
Though others sleep and dreaming lie
I'm up and feeling fine
The dog's awake and once she's fed
She's looking for a run
I find her lead, put on my coat
And face the rising sun
Then blindly walk up to the Ring
Where through the sunless trees
She sniffs and gruffs and pokes around
Chasing things that I can't see
I'm now awake and feeling fine
Full of Get up and Go
I s'pect she'll soon want walks again
Can't I just let her go ?
But no, my Life would be so drear
Without Miss Penny's shine
Always showing, always proving
She's the the truest pal of mine

Tony Gardner

The Bells In Town Talk Of Snow Coming Down - Adam Clayton

The bells in town talk of snow coming down
I heard the clunk of tills’ metallic sound
Black Friday: shopping season begins
Within this tight stampede, nobody wins
Piled up with bags, rest in a discount chair
Escape the crush, look up and breathe fresh air
Frenzied Friday now, nearly Christmas day
Last minute attachments, promise to pray
Now, lights on the tree speak only to me
Tinsel-tied trance sings perfectly in key
Resting high, let’s float together in wine
Watching Jimmy Stewart: we’ll see him shine

Adam Clayton

Twelve Days Of Christmas - Ian Duquemin

On the twelfth day of Christmas
The sky was turning black
The winter wind began to blow
Its chill upon my back

On the eleventh day of Christmas
I watched some children play
The snow they threw while laughing
Made a winter scene cliche

On the tenth day of Christmas
A beggar raised his hand
I gave a word of sympathy
He didn't understand

On the ninth day of Christmas
A choir sang aloud
But no one even listened
They were lost within the crowd

On the eighth day of Christmas
The bells began to chime
Celebrating something
From a long forgotten time

On the seventh day of Christmas
The shops were nearly clear
While many would awake with gifts
Some would wake with fear

On the sixth day of Christmas
The bombs began to fall
Beneath the pile of rubble
Was a frightened child's call

On the fifth day of Christmas
While gun shots filled the air
Others wrapped their presents
Not a thought and not a care

On the fourth day of Christmas
The wine began to pour
While blood flowed freely somewhere else
In someone else's war

On the third day of Christmas
A star hung in the sky
But no one even noticed
What it came to signify

On the second day of Christmas
While many mourned their dead
Crackers pulled, exploded
And the corny jokes were read

On the first day of Christmas
The celebration starts
Before you fill your stomachs
Take the time to fill your hearts

Ian Duquemin

Christmas Morning - John Carré Buchanan

Giggles erupt from the huddle.
Excited nudges, toothless smiles.
The air fills with high pitched chatter,
as children talk all at once; no one listening.
Too much fun.

Shiny paper torn asunder, thrust behind.
Fingers break into cardboard boxes
to grasp treasures within.

Hovering in the background,
camera flashing,
parents revel in the joy before them.
A Christmas scene played out
in a thousand living rooms.

It won't be long before little voices everywhere plead;
Daddy, please can I have a go?

...... IT IS MINE !

John Carré Buchanan

Christmas 1914 - Richard Fleming

Out of the trenches stepped one man,
a truce flag held above his head,
then from the other side was waved
a cloth and word was quickly spread.

From blackened ground, like seeds, they grew
to cover those disputed lands:
a khaki crop mingled with grey,
cautious at first, then shaking hands.

Gifts were exchanged, tobacco, smiles.
Creased photographs were shyly shown.
Then, from a trench that frosty day,
a leather soccer ball was thrown.

The goalposts were four bayonets.
A match was played in friendly style
by muddy boys, for boys they were.
War was forgotten for a while.

Richard Fleming

No Escape for Santa - Diane Scantlebury

Father Xmas was back in Barbados
On a sun lounger by the pool,
With his rum punch and dark glasses
He thought we’d all be fooled,

In a green hat, with beard shorn short
His disguise was oh so thin,
For his round, brown belly shook
When he dived in for a swim,

There was a hearty ho, ho, ho as he laughed
When his swim trunks wriggled down,
His jolly cheeks with embarrassment flushed red
It was an unmistakeable sound,

Away from the pressures and arthritis
Incognito he’d hoped to have slipped,
For a bit of winter sun
And his toes into the warm Caribbean to dip,

Alas he’d been spotted
By a smart Alec with a smart phone,
Who tagged him in on Twitter
His cover had been blown,

Santa’s now back in Lapland
In his thermal vest and long johns,
Any chance of a peaceful winter break
Like his tan, had long since gone,

Poor old Santa
He’d really tried his best,
But when you’re a world famous celebrity
There’s no escape or rest!

Diane Scantlebury

George Torode (Part 3) - Tony Bradley

George was such a popular guy, when we were all in his truck
almost every oncoming driver would wave, or hoot
He'd often be too engrossed, to acknowledge them
planning charity stops, into our route .

So we started doing all the waving for him
but, so much, it ended up a laborious feat
so we devised a cunning plan
at the Yard, we called into 'Polystyrene' Pete.

Next day, we were set up, the game's afoot
on the dashboard, a big polystyrene mitt
stuck on a wire, so it permanently wobbled
greeting anyone, who waved at it !

Tony Bradley

Doctor, Doctor - Richard Fleming

Tracey has translucent skin
but her focus is adrift:
got a split lip, shattered nose,
and it seems her next-of-kin
gave these to her as a gift
when she could have had a rose.

Right eye’s black, her left one’s closed:
she’s been knocked around the house
but she swears she simply fell
when the vital question’s posed.
She protects her cruel spouse.
Tracey’s house is Tracey’s cell.

When a weapon strikes soft skin:
plate or bottle, fist or boot,
skin will break or skin will bruise,
it depends if skin is thin.
Some men never give a hoot
if they’ve drunk sufficient booze.

Richard Fleming

Bang - Trudie Shannon

There was an angel
She was small and insignificant
Dressed scantily in an old spotted nighty.
Her wings cygnet coloured
Her voice not good enough for the heavenly choir.
She spent a lot of time on the move
Criss crossing continents in the blink of a humans eye.
The first time, she just lifted a missile and hid it, under his throne.
She didn’t ask, just waited till he was required elsewhere
He was all seeing and everything so she guessed that if he’d minded
He’d have said.
After the first thousand, seeing as there was still loads of room
She became bolder, lifting whole nuclear missile installations.
She scrambled after submarines and aircraft, swept beneath the ground,
Gathering, gathering, even the chemical and biological stuff.
After that it was the small stuff, the mortars, mines, grenades
And then every kind of gun and knife.
Soon she’d managed to lift every kind of weapon known to man
Out of human harms way and stashed it carefully with all the rest
Under his throne.
She was amused at her own cheek.
He’d said nothing, though lately she’d noticed
He couldn’t rest his feet upon the ground,
His throne having lifted a little.
Obviously on earth the disappearance of life’s essentials was noticed

And the people were suspicious, each suspecting the other and fist fights broke out.
In the meantime, from where our angel stood, things were looking up for humanity.
That’s when he summoned her.
She flew as fast as cygnet wings can fly
And stood before him, head bowed at his majesty.
I’ve watched over your collection long enough, he said.
Now it is your turn to do something with it.
That flummoxed her, as far as she was concerned, it had been sorted.
He wasn’t angry or anything, just offering her an opportunity, he said.
Okay, she said, I’m on it.
So from beneath his throne she started lifting, carefully,
So he wouldn’t come down with a bump,
Every piece of weaponry that she had stashed.
It took a few trips.
Where to now she wondered?
Then remembered the black hole just outside of nowhere
And she took everything there, throwing it in recklessly
And then something she hadn’t considered happened.
There was the most enormous bang.
The biggest bang since last time, things exploding imploding
Clouds and gas and colours she’d forgotten she remembered.
This whole thing lasting forever and she watching the whole time.
And when time stood still and the flashing was over
She saw a sphere floating where once there had been a black hole
And she guessed that may be she’d inadvertently used her opportunity
To a worthwhile end.
On the earth, several scientists marvelled at the new star

And wondered if it were a portent, beyond scientific explanation.

Trudie Shannon

The Face In My Dreams - Lester Queripel

I know that face, I really do.
but I can’t quite put my finger on it.
it’ll come to me in a minute.
I know that face, I really do.
I think I know you.
I know where you came from.
I think I heard you in a song.
I think I saw you on the street.
I hope one day we meet.

I know where I saw you.
it was in a dream.
we were drinking champagne.
eating peaches and cream.
we were licking our lips.
eating giant marshmallows on sticks.
but when I woke up…………… my pillow was gone.
plus, I had a mouthful of feathers.

Lester Queripel

Broken Children - Ian Duquemin

My old man he wasn't much
But had the loudest laugh in town
Him a father? Not as such
He'd turn my whole world upside down
His eyes like mine the colour blue
Were passed to him and then to me
But on my birth, or my debut
A different world I'd see
The horrors that would come my way
I'd store them somewhere deep inside
But on occasions, like a play
They did not want to hide
And in my nightmares standing there
The very ghoul that I would fear
Would laugh out loud without a care
And whisper in my ear
Hush little baby don't you cry
Nobody cares if you live or die
Then laughter fills the room with dread
The room of fear within my head
The sheets I'd pull around me tight
While through the darkness shadows crept
No comfort in the black of night
Where broken children slept

Ian Duquemin

Nora’s Still Working Hard - Diane Scantlebury

Nora's still working hard,
Nora knows her place,
She always says
She's happy to see you,
With a bright smile upon her face,
Expertly serving coffee
Deftly pouring the tea,
Nora stands for no nonsense
From the likes of you and me,

Nora's always working hard,
Nora's in her place,
Nora has outstanding patience
With the foibles,
Of the human race,

Nora is a trooper
She'll soldier on and on,
She always goes that extra mile
Where no one else has gone,
Coffee pot in one hand
Tea pot in the next,
Nothing's too much trouble
No order too complex,

Nora has a private life
Not that you would know,
She cordially smiles
And greets us,
But never puts her feelings on show,

Nora can't help working hard,
Nora loves her place,
To many she's invisible
But she never forgets a face,
No one knows what Nora thinks
Or cares if she lives alone,
She fills her days
By obeying others,
Then quietly marches home.

Diane Scantlebury

Mister Bore - Oscar Milde

He’s a dull bird in today’s world:
no strutting,
no nothing,
no brag,
no swagger,
no guile,
no style,
no profile online
no quips,
no sell,
no kiss and tell
of whips or gels
or girls or drugs
or private hells,
no bugs,
no hugs,
no movie plugs ...
he simply shrugs.

You might opine
he doesn’t shine
and think, at sixty-nine,
he’s in decline.
He chinks your glass
and laughs
and says he’s fine.

Oscar Milde

Just a Has-Been - Tony Gardner

It's years since I took to stage now
Or held and picked a guitar
Uncut are my fingernails now, and my voice
Is cruelly changed by the jar

For a singer's life is uncertain
He has to fight so hard to win
Recognition and fame and position
Until real money rolls in

Then after the work and the sweating
The practice, auditions that wear
Ambitions down to dejection
'Til all you have left is a prayer

I'll sing songs to myself if I want to
Or if you like I'll sing them to you
But I'll not sing again for money
For the words could never ring true.

Tony Gardner

George Torode (Part 2) - Tony Bradley

So well-loved was this talented, kind man
not just the anecdotes, his endless repartee
a disabled chap in his gang, called John
sometimes bore the brunt of his humour, even he

George lampooned everyone, no-one was spared
even chaps like John, it would seem
John was a grafter, but he was uncoordinated
he was a loose cannon, not really part of the team.

George would say,"Look out, give him room, boys
he does the work of three, . . . he's all action . . .
he's got to, mind, he's injured the other two . . .
they're at the PEH, in traction!"

Tony Bradley

Wear Your Poppy With Pride - Lyndon Queripel

Wear your poppy with pride
That's what the sign said
Remember the ones who died
And the ones who bled
Wear your poppy with pride
It's time to pay the price
For those who turned the tide
With their ultimate sacrifice

Wear you poppy with pride
For we must never forget
It can't ever be denied
We owe them such a debt
Wear your poppy with pride
Give generously if you please
Now that the blood has dried
And we all live in peace

Wear your poppy with pride
There's freedom in the air
And take your place beside
The silence of our prayer
Wear your poppy with pride
Let the services begin
Remember the widowed bride
And the unsung heroine

Wear your poppy with pride
For those who rose and fell
Across the great divide
Of bullets, gas and shell
Wear your poppy with pride
If only those poor souls knew
The same banks financed every side
In both World war one and two

Wear your poppy with pride
With faith,hope and charity
In God they trust and hide
From behind this conspiracy
Wear your poppy with pride
To honour the brave hero
But who gets to decide
Where all the money will go

Wear your poppy with pride
As a tribute to the many
There's veterans far and wide
Who won't even see a penny
Wear your poppy with pride
For the old soldier on the street
He sold his medals and cried
Just to buy something to eat.

Lyndon Queripel

Vazon Shoreline - Richard Fleming

After the storm,
a cleansed beach to walk upon
and early sunlight on washed sand.

Gulls guard the tide line,
police the sea: soft breezes ruffle
feathers, not composure.
Arrogant figures with dagger beaks
and pale, dispassionate eyes
of contract killers,
they stare me out.
Plovers race along like commuters,
hurrying, hurrying,
shoulders bent, drab as clerks,
then dart into collective flight
sprinting low over water,
their silver under-wings
glinting, glinting.

Black and white oystercatchers,
tiptoe round rock-pools:
liveried butlers polishing mirrors.
A single white egret shimmers
like a jilted bride.

After the storm,
a cleansed beach in sunlight;
the blanched sand
an unspoilt page.

Overnight, the world stopped.
Now it begins again.

Richard Fleming

This poem first appeared in The Man Who Landed, as part of A GUERNSEY DOUBLE, a joint collection with poet, Peter Kenny.

For further details and availability of this book please go to http://redhandwriter.blogspot.com

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!


Rascally Rasputin - Kathy Figueroa

Rascally Rasputin
Bedded women near and far
Reprobate Rasputin
Was the favourite of the Tsar

Recondite Rasputin
Taught that “Jesus saves”
Rapscallion Rasputin
Led the royals to their graves

The mad monk of Siberia
Influenced the Romanov clan
By presenting himself as something
More powerful than just a man

A huckster, a hoaxster
Not a shaman was Grigori
But he had powers of persuasion
To a tremendous degree

Alas, Tsar Nicholas, The Second
Didn’t show much common sense
His trust was misplaced
With a dire consequence

For his iniquity, Grigori
Rasputin paid a great price
His painful, protracted demise
Wasn’t very nice

Poisoned, shot, beaten
Then, eventually, drowned
Felix Yusupov ensured the monk
Would no longer be around

And, though the royals prayed that
Jesus would save them in the end
It was proved that miracles weren’t
Something on which they could depend

Rascally Rasputin
Bedded women near and far
Reprobate Rasputin
Was the favourite of the Tsar

Recondite Rasputin
Taught that “Jesus saves”
Rapscallion Rasputin
Led the royals to their graves

Kathy Figueroa

Rascally Rasputin was published on October 27, 2016, in The Bancroft Times newspaper.

Kumbuka - Stephen A. Roberts

Image: Paignton Zoo

Kumbuka stares out with an angry demeanour
The ape in there - eyes the ape sans hair
From his Gorilla Kingdom secure enclosure
Is "Kingdom" really the right word there?

Giant, agitated, western lowland gorilla
Cannot be tamed by treats and cakes
He goes wild, turns psycho killer
Smashes the glass, that's all it takes

He just wants to be one of us
So in a human-style temper tantrum
He busts out - to cause a fuss
And escape his violated inner sanctum

Bored with all the pointing and peeking
He's finally grown tired of looking back;
and now the human chimps run yelling and shrieking
From the massive male silverback

To restore him to his voyeur prison
They shot him with a dart and fed him a muffin
In an interview on daytime television
he signed "I just got fed up - it was nothing"

Stephen A. Roberts

Walter Le Page, L'homme des Pignons - Bryony de Lat

At the Model Yacht Pond, he's feeding the pigeons
never on Sunday, though, he's to church
they climb all over him, pecking the seed
sometimes, even on his head, they perch

Bryony de Lat

Boots 1916 - Trudie Shannon

My boots are invisible.
I cannot see where my torso ends and my thighs begin.
I cannot see my trouser legs, or my legs within
I am become a shapeless form encased in cloying mud.
I cannot feel the cloth that clothes my skin.
I cannot feel the skin beneath the cloth
I cannot feel a bloody thing.
My boots are invisible.
And the gun in my hands is slick with blood,
My blood and bloody rain.
And I cannot see where my torso ends and my thighs begin
I cannot see ought but this sea of mud
And its tide of body parts.
And it’s so quiet, so deathly quiet.
My boots are become invisible roots
And the bloom of my youth a poppy.

Trudie Shannon

Turn It Around - Lester Queripel

Poor levels of communication.
Lack of cooperation.
Resulting in frustration.
Put it in the boiling pot.
Boil it up.
Turn frustration into energy.
Set it free.

Turn it upside down.
Turn it all around.
Don’t let them drag you down.
Don’t let them knock you to the ground.
Transform all the negativity.
Turn frustration into energy.
Set it free.

Lester Queripel

World Watching - Diane Scantlebury

Watching the world pass by my window
Some march fast,
Some walk very slow,
Up and down the challenging incline
To reach the places they need to go,

Some pause briefly in the doorway
To catch their breath,
Or to have a smoke,
Some faces sad, others expressionless,
Some laughing at an unheard joke,

Through the frosted one way glass
Upon their lives I can surreptitiously spy,
Captured in full colour,
For a fleeting moment,
The to and fro world that passes me by.

Diane Scantlebury

Samantha Barks . . . (there is a Heaven.) - Tony Bradley

She illuminates the stage, the TV, and my little world
such divine beauty, I'm sure I've pictured, since the day of my birth
never ever such passion, such talent, in one being
nor ever such loveliness, graced this Earth.

Tony Bradley

Cold Horses - Richard Fleming

Cold horses, in the field, forlorn,
are statues, stark, in pale half light.
Tethered beside bucket and hay,
they have endured a winter’s night
and must now face an icy day.
A half-moon lingers. This grey dawn,

diamond dew sparkles on their
mighty shoulders. They exist free
of man’s presentiment of death:
theirs is a careless reverie.
Life challenges: they acquiesce.
Rain, wind, ice, sun: they do not care.

Their gentle eyes meet my concern,
by the stone wall that separates
man from beast. I come with apple,
stand, wait. What differentiates
beast in field from man in chapel?
What do they know, that I must learn?

Richard Fleming

This poem first appeared in The Man Who Landed, as part of A GUERNSEY DOUBLE, a joint collection with poet, Peter Kenny.

For further details and availability of this book please go to http://redhandwriter.blogspot.com

Painting Words - Julian Clarke

Take your angry words
toss them to the sky
hear them jingle and jangle
breathe a hefty sigh;

on an artist's palette
land with a clatter
watching them mix in rainbows
hues all a splatter,

dip a fine sable
lilac is my cue
colours leap out from my heart
painting, I love you.

Julian Clarke

Poetry Not In Motion - Sara Kreckler

I sat down but I couldn't think
So I washed the dishes in the sink
One plate and one saucer
Then I thought of Chaucer
Also William Shakespeare
And whatshisname
But nothing came

I suddenly thought of something to do
Mix all the words together like a stew
Chaucer became saucer
Shakespeare became disappear
To be or not to be?
Now where have I heard that?
I'd get on my bike but the tyres are flat
Oh well......I guess I'd better eat my hat!

Sara Kreckler

Listening to "It's 5 o'clock somewhere" - Tony Gardner

I don't usually wear a watch
'Cos Time is time all over
All that matters is the thirst
When the thirst takes over

Half past five or half past ten
Half past twelve whatever
When the craving comes around
Then the thirst takes over

There's no stopping pouring it
It flows like the Wild Rover
And sinks so easy down the throat
When the thirst takes over

Nought nor nothing mean a jot
When I smell the odour
I'm a lost soul, doomed and damned
When the thirst takes over

Tony Gardner

Bomb The Bans - Lyndon Queripel

You've got an atom heart mother
A plastic fantastic lover eats your bread
You're tired of talk of love and peace man
Now the hour of flower power is dead
You can't relate to the seeds of hate
They'll bomb the bans instead

The acid rain is falling down again
And there's a pain inside your head
Mushroom cloud returning, eyes still burning
From the propaganda that you've read
Answers blow too late in the wind of fate
They'll bomb the bans instead

You've got a stereo, computer, video
And an active radio beside your bed
You say a prayer to a God that's not there
But you don't care, it has been said
Ex-communicate you're just dead weight
They'll bomb the bans instead.

Lyndon Queripel

Skin - Dermot O’Logy

Skin covers us from head to foot
It starts out smooth, without a flaw,
then wrinkles like a well-worn boot.
It’s sad, but that is Nature’s law.

Some think that law can be defied:
they hanker for a surgeon’s knife
then end up smooth but slitty-eyed,
so they are stuck like that for life.

An unread book has pages, smooth.
A book, well loved, looks less than new.
There’s no point hankering for youth
when youth has gone. It’s surely true

that you are wedded to your skin
and your skin is attached to you,
so treat it well, stay off the gin,
the cigarettes and vindaloo.

One movie star from Hollywood
had lifts and tucks and tweaks, it’s said,
until her navel reached her chin
and nipples sprouted from her head.

So treat your epidermis well
as though it were designer stuff.
It may be saggy, what the Hell,
it covers you when things get tough.

Dermot O’Logy

Poets Prevail - Kathy Figueroa

Poets prevail
When politicians fail
Bards rhapsodize
While warmongers wail
A surer aim was never had
But with a pen
It's a time when poetry
Fills the land, again...

Kathy Figueroa

"Poets Prevail" was published on September 15, 2016, in The Bancroft Times newspaper.

Conquistadors - Donald Keyman

They sail in a vessel of great splendour
to unknown shores, where
the throng of slack-jawed natives
gives way as they stride through
the town in their finery

The conquistadors ascend the steps by the temple
to the abandoned market,
where they are feted and adored by the few
who see opportunities for
trade and aggrandisement

To their surprise, the visitors find
that the heart has been torn out of the beast
and, still beating,
it is offered to them

Donald Keyman

Walk of Shame - Diane Scantlebury

You saw me
And you smiled knowingly,
That early morning as I passed
Walking the walk of shame,
I nodded back in acknowledgement
But my nonchalant expression lied,
For I was in heels
Still wearing last night’s clothes,
With mascara clogging
My tired, sleep deprived eyes,
I remember you gripping your newspaper
Almost in unspoken judgement,
Tightly under your arm
As you made your way to breakfast,
And I? From a secret rendezvous,
Somewhere you’d never know.

Diane Scantlebury

What's The Worst Thing That Could Happen? - Lester Queripel

I'm going to make a mistake, I know I am.
I'm going to look a fool.
Be an object of ridicule.

At a crucial point I'll stumble and stutter.
My heart will jump into my mouth.
My knees will melt like butter.

It really is time I got a grip.
After all, what's the worst thing that could happen?
Well, I could lose face and fall from grace.
End up in an embarrassing place.

But why should that bother me?
Why can't I set myself free from this tyranny?
Give myself a break and forget about making a mistake.
Because after all...................it's only ego.
And wherever egos I go.

Lester Queripel

Rocquaine Mermaid - Richard Fleming

She heaved herself up on a barnacled rock;
sea-water broke from her sun-blond hair
down over shoulders, freckled with salt:
a broad-breasted sea-nymph
launched from bright water.

No seal she, nor odd fish either,
but strangeness enough
in her queer duality.
Something feral
in those luminous eyes, some leonine thing
in the strong, broad face
turning, in sunlight,
to Lihou, Fort Grey.

in triangular space,
among moonscape rocks, sea-wall, sky,
too close to shore or for comfort;
misplaced, adrift
in a place unfamiliar,
she saw me, heron-still
in chill water, staring, staring

and slid like a seal, soundlessly, smoothly,
into the rising tide’s rich, sweet sanctuary,

leaving me,
human me, her land-locked kin,
excluded, bereft, imprisoned in air,
with a longing to hold her, inhale
her salt skin,
to fill my rough hands with wet fistfuls of hair.

Richard Fleming

This poem first appeared in The Man Who Landed, as part of A GUERNSEY DOUBLE, a joint collection with poet, Peter Kenny.

For further details and availability of this book please go to http://redhandwriter.blogspot.com

Memories - Tony Bradley

Without warning, again, yet more tears
yet more sudden, stabbing pain
you realise it's been twenty years
since you walked together, along this lane.

There'll always be memories, to be digested
pain-filled reminders, to be diagnosed
because you can only manage bite-size pieces
until your own little book is closed.

Tony Bradley

I Am A Little Knitter - Sara Kreckler

I am a little knitter but I am no quitter
Day by day I get fitter and fitter
Like a moth I flutter and flitter
I knit and knit and never slack
The amount of wool I use would reach the Moon and back
But you can't pull the wool over my eyes
I intend to carry on until I dies
On my headstone please make sure they write
'The wool ran out...............goodnight'.

Sara Kreckler

Right Now - Tony Gardner

At this very moment there are killer whales
Chasing seals in the ocean.
Right now Polar Bears are playing with cubs
On the ice covered Arctic ground
At this minute seas are lapping golden sands
Beneath rustling fronds of palm leaves
And right now Nature's most intelligent creature
Is in a world of his own, playing Games on his I-pad
Somewhere at this very moment anxious folk get ready to
Embark on quite a serious First Date
Somewhere else is someone sitting an exam
Of vital importance for their future
Right now some ordinary girl is putting on her wedding dress
For the most memorable day of her life
While right here somebody is oblivious to all
But the images on his laptop
AS you read this there is Civil War in some far country
It does not affect you, until you realise
That people fleeing from this Hell may end up in Your Country
After all their tragedy and torment can you deny
Peace for them in this Land of the Free
Or do you close your mind because it's easier
To hit that button and turn on that electronic drug
And lose your great, superior mind to Fantasy

Tony Gardner

Lost Childhood - Julian Clarke

before school,
water drips like a tear drop,
mesmerised by the unfairness, I stop;
your head bows to your reflection
cupped hands break the tension;
and daily,
tear drop, by tear drop
water trickles through fingers… it seeps;
slight ivory shoulders weigh so heavy,
laden, the vessel’s half the size of,
no matter whether girl, or boy;
look from the image on your t.v screen
your youngster plays with a new toy:
and still
tear drop, by tear drop
water trickles through fingers… it seeps;
slight ivory shoulders weigh so heavy,
laden, the vessel’s half the size of,
no matter, girl, or boy;
my heart weeps;
step by step
they go 

Julian Clarke

Unpack All Your Problems on Your Facebook Page - Chris Hudson

(to the tune of “Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag”)

Unpack all you troubles on your facebook page
And rave, rant and swear!
Unpack all your problems on your facebook page
And act like you don't care!
The whole world’s going to Hell in a hand cart,
So I’ll complain while I still can!
Unpack all your issues on the facebook page
And swear, swear, swear!
What’s the point in being stoical?
It won’t get you anywhere!
So, unpack all your troubles on the facebook page
And swear, swear, swear!
What’s the point in being polite?
It won’t get you anywhere!
So! Unpack all your troubles for all to see
and swear, swear , swear!

Chris Hudson

No Claims Bonus - Lyndon Queripel

I don't know how I got here
I can't even remember my name
I don't know where I was going
And I've forgotten how I came
Security crossed, the key's been lost
Without a label I look the same
I'm another face less case
Just waiting for my claim

Lyndon Queripel

Old Lady, Old Dog Together - Trudie Shannon

Evening tide, high water on the tidal river
Old lady and her old dog together.
Old dog wanders the shore head,
Ancient nose sniffing at delectable debris
From the morning's tide,
Seaweed, crab shells, the odd, small rodent’s corpse.
Old lady bears a small rucksack and a stick
The accoutrements of all serious walkers
But ….
She is not here to walk.
She removes her shoes and rolls up her trouser legs.
Old dog raises its head, sniffs the air
Looks at old mistress and potters on.
Old lady enters water,
Lets the sea rise to her wrinkled knees.
She stands awhile,
She stands in tree shadow,
Looking out across the river as the sun casts last light,
To parry and to dance upon the flowing water.
Old lady wades a little.
Old dog sits awhile.
Small crabs scuttle at her feet,
Fry gather in flashes and fish leap at mayflies.
Evening tide, high water on the tidal river
Old lady and her old dog together.

Trudie Shannon

Tilikum - Ian Duquemin

He swims in circles going nowhere
Exhibited throughout the day
An audience then marvels
At his sad and cruel display
This creature with his freedom taken
Does what he is taught to do
Entertaining those who gather
Tricks preformed for you
You then leave SeaWorld wet and laughing
With your family, journey home
Without a thought for Tilikum
Imprisoned all alone

Ian Duquemin

In a Hurry - Diane Scantlebury

Kids never walk
They always need to run,
Kids never talk quietly
They always need to shout,
It’s the impatience of youth
Can’t wait to know what life's about,

Kids are always in a rush
In case there’s something they're missing,
We tell them to slow up
But kids will never listen,

Kids think they're invincible
They never seem to worry,
They'll leap without looking first
'Cause kids are always in a hurry!

Diane Scantlebury

Dieting Can Be Hell - Kathy Figueroa

This dieting can be Hell
With nary a late-night snack
I wage a constant battle
When the hunger pangs attack

And should I dare venture out
To the neighbourhood café
The waitress takes my order
And “salad” is what I say

When at the farmers’ market
I’m careful where I inhale
If too close to the pastries
My diet will surely fail

Falafels and samosas
Torment me in night visions
While lettuce figures largely
In my mealtime decisions

No more tasty onion rings
Or scrumptious golden french fries
No more sublime bread puddings
Lemon squares or berry pies

I only dream of pasta
With rich, red tomato sauce
…That’s until my bathroom scales
Show a substantial weight loss

Every store-bought beverage
Now must bear close scrutiny
And won’t ever touch my lips
Unless it’s calorie free

To date, I’ve lost a few pounds
My step’s a bit more sprightly
I can squeeze into my clothes
And don’t feel so unsightly

So, a salute to all folks
Who must struggle with weight gain
I’m waging that same battle
…And certainly know the pain

Kathy Figueroa

They could be aliens - Tony Bradley

I was in the park with my nephew Vincent
he's my Godson too, he's nearly four
he's growing up well, sensible, grounded
healthy and happy, you couldn't ask for more.

Way up in the sky,he saw a long-haul jet
guessing, I'd say Amsterdam to Madrid
he said "They're aliens, I think", I saw an old lady wink
we both knew he never really did.

But for a minute, it made me wonder
just who the passengers really were
M.D.'s of global organizations . . . heading
for a half-year summit, to cause a stir . ..

Some hi-tech whiz kids, with fiscal figures,
with programs and data of trends and percentage
with innovative graphics of their pro-active thrust
and apps. attached to their almost every appendage.

Film director types, with their latest protege
and fashion gurus of dubious gender
haute couture models, who could sit three to a seat
they're so lifeless, limp and abnormally slender.

As the jet disappeared in dusky clouds
with all its occupants, into the night
we went home, for Nature Watch, and tea
"Yeah, mate," I said, "you're probably right."

Tony Bradley

Don't Doggy Doo - Donald Keyman

The dog piss crucifix stains the street
Marking the place that Rover will s(h)it
Straining over his yellow river
He defecates with a violent shiver

Oh I'm sorry is that he a she?
I only saw the stream of pee
My, what a sweet and charming pup
Goodness, you'll have to pick that up!

Why can't you see that your doggy's poo
Will stick to an unsuspecting shoe?
People will thank you and think it super
If you invested in a pooper scooper

Tell me why I fear being thumped
For remarking that your mutt has dumped?
Take the excrement from man's best friend
And flush it down your own U-bend!

Do you not somehow perceive it wrong
To cover the thoroughfare in bestial dung?
Is it the animal, or the owner, who
Is to blame for all this doggy-doo?

Pray wait sir, why do you walk on by
Now that your pet has made his pie?
Yes, grab your doggy's pile of cack
And put it in your plastic sack

Now surely you cannot think that right
Just to abandon your pooch's shite?
Leaving that stool all neatly wrapped
In the place that Fido crapped

I know I'm like a dog with bone
I feel it anti-social to have to moan
But who decreed that beasts all furred
Could coat the paths with sticky turd?

So - don't leave it there out in the street
All packaged up like some shiny treat
We all deserve clean paths to roam
Please take your canine faeces home!

Donald Keyman

Death Is My Shadow - Lyndon Queripel

Death is my shadow
It keeps following me
Down on the corner
Out on the street
Cast like a spell
Beneath my feet
When will I be free

Death is my shadow
It sits on my shoulder
No matter where I go
At each and every turn
The rocks might melt
And the sea may burn
Before I get much older

Death is my shadow
Extreme so it seems
I've tried everything
I can't shake it loose
I fight to sleep at night
But there is no use
It even haunts my dreams

Death is my shadow
It stays close behind
And if I stop and stare
It all looks so black
But I know that it's there
Whenever I look back
From the edge of my mind

Lyndon Queripel

Negativity Poem - Chris Hudson

Bad People
They Swear a lot
They don’t Care a lot
They Spam a lot
They Jam a lot.
Bad People
The don’t Give a jot
They Live a-Blot
They’re Often shot
They Haven’t got.
Bad People
Smoking Pot
Shout A lot
With Junk besot
Been Here since dot
Bad People.

Chris Hudson

Again - Trudie Shannon

There’s no point in writing words
Of sorrow, disbelief and pain,
It happens again and again and again.
Someone’s child and someone’s child and someone’s child
Dead in the name of some Cause,
Dead in the name of some God
Dead, in some kind of global insanity.
The reality:
We only have one world,
There is only one humanity.

Trudie Shannon

Battle Ensues - Sharon Dando

I feel you
waiting, watching
ready to catch me when I fall

I know you are there
waiting to envelop me
grip me tight and not let me go
I could run from you
but I don't have the strength
you are stronger than I ever could be

I want to fight you
I need you to go now
repeating my mantra
tomorrow is another day
the tunnel light fades
your arms embrace me
a strong hold

I am yours yet again

Sharon Dando

Good News Doesn't Sell Newspapers - Lester Queripel

'Good news doesn't sell newspapers' the journalist said.
His words ran around inside my head.
He said 'Drama sells newspapers not good news'.
'In that case' I said 'We have opposing views'.
'We never tell lies' he emphasised.
'But we do occasionally sensationalise'.
'But' said I 'You misquoted me and I'm asking for an apology'.
'No can do' said he.

'But there are people out there who believe what they've read.
What you printed wasn't what I said.
Now I'm being challenged out in the community.
That's why I'm asking for an apology.
You have damaged my reputation.
For the sake of drama and sensation'.

He sighed 'You could of course write in and complain.
On the grounds that you say we've tarnished your name'.
'But how long' I asked 'Will it take for that to be addressed?'
'Ohhh' he replied 'A couple of months at best'.
'By which time' I said 'The damage is done.
And once again the paparazzi have won'.
So the moral of the story I ask you to heed.
Is please don't believe all that you read.

Lester Queripel

Driving Ambition - Jerry Hattrick

I’m hard of hearing and bat-blind,
with a stiff arthritic shoulder
and the slow, painful reactions
of some one a great deal older,
not to mention nervous twitching
and persistent chronic itching.
Bits of me are red and swollen,
other bits have ceased to function.
I’m less mobile by a long chalk
than a train stuck at a junction.
While others sing and dance and leap,
I just nod off and fall asleep.
My chest wheezes, my knees wobble
and I get peculiar visions:
voices, disembodied voices,
help me cope with my decisions.
When getting drunk or getting high,
sometimes I think that I can fly.
One leg’s shorter than the other,
my right hand jumps like a lizard.
Just to make me halfway normal,
would, for certain, take a wizard.
Chronic pain with every step, see.
Did I mention, epilepsy?

So to manage these afflictions
I have turned to gin and whiskey
but I take heart medication
so strong alcohol is risky.
Thank God though, life’s still starry,
when I race my red Ferrari.

Jerry Hattrick

Their Day Will Last Forever - Trudie Shannon

Upon the summer soft shimmering air,
There are voices, fleet of foot calling invisibly.
And suddenly my own childhood re-emerges shyly
To sit quietly upon the yawning gate, observing.

Swiftly kinesthetic memories activate
To clamber and to climb compelling trees,
Rough rock faces and granite walls
To jump fearlessly from a million miles high
Into puddles and stinking tomato stalks.
To dunk small fingers into the hearts of jellyfish
And sugar bowls and cream
To capture cabous quicksilver flashes
And flies and grasshoppers
To feel sand between toes inside plimsolls
And salt from the sea drying on skin
And bathers, wet a zillion times, dry going home, clothes in the bag.

I take a breath and open my eyes.
Childhood has slipped from the gate.
The evening air is still warm and I know,
For the children shrieking happily,
Bather clad, on the swings
Their day will somehow, magically never end.

Trudie Shannon

The Youth App - Ian Duquemin

The children of a modern day
Are locked inside a darkened tomb
No longer outside will they play
Their world is now a messy room
Technology has "Caught" them well
Their view a HD TV screen
The world outside it must be hell
Without a pixel in the scene
Fingers tap away on keys
No conversation that of tongue
They concentrate on their disease
The "Apple" that caused wrong
On every day just like the last
They need an app to concentrate
The children of a distant past
Were spared then of their fate
But what will happen in the end?
When idiots control the earth
On them all others shall depend
To teach all those from birth
Then what will children grow to be?
An app? A game? Or something new?
I hope that I shall never see
What future holds for you

Ian Duquemin

Brexit - Donald Keyman

The worm has turned on Project Fear
to smash the European idea
but now it's "gone Pete Tong"
they're telling us the vote was wrong

and fearful now some people agree
that they voted out - but can see
that a beer in the Costa del Sol
will cost them more, wtf, lol

The misled voted to be pure
but the borders won't be more secure
the EU monster is still there
wounded slightly in its lair

Cameron's made us look like fools
we can't escape free movement rules
so many lies were told on both sides
in the end our brains were fried

The PM trowelled on the sincerity
"Let me be clear" he stated ominously
"a careless vote in Clacton-on-Sea
could easily spark off World War Three"

Michael and Boris, his hair in a muss
seemed surprised that they hadn't lost
"50 million quid a day - it wasn't us
who wrote that on the campaign bus"

Jeremy found the task too Sisyphean
he never wanted to be European
but his party forced him to pretend
that Jean-Claude Juncker was his friend

Nigel, Nigel where to start?
welcome as an unwanted fart
for laughing in the EU's faces
they turned and said he was a racist

Now Nicola looks to seize the chance
to renew the old alliance with France
it seems that poor "Wee Burney"
is determined to continue on her journey

So consider the massive irony
people want to come here to be free
to join in with a democracy
that won't let them cross the sea

Donald Keyman

Price of Democracy - Diane Scantlebury

The vocal majority angry and aggrieved,
Voted with their feet
And wanted to leave,
Tired of the ‘haves’ patronisation and hypocrisy,
They took back the power
This was the price of democracy,

Persuaded by tactics
Of the lowest denomination,
Fear and xenophobia
Divided a nation,
Promises made, promises broken,
Fragmented Britain
The people have spoken!

Diane Scantlebury

House Of Cards - Richard Fleming

A house of cards is bound to fall:
it’s insubstantial after all,
and so it shall

The UK card’s the first to go:
that will disturb the status quo.
It must be so.

Merkel and Germany are vexed.
The Undecideds are perplexed.
Will France go next?

Richard Fleming

Stillness - Julian Clarke

Why chase the stillness
when the feral mind runs wild;
inhale, accept, exhale, be free
body still, body quiet:

take these precious moments
for they're yours
for you alone,
relax in the stillness of being.

Julian Clarke

The Wailing Boat - Tony Bradley

Wail on, sail on, you prophets of doom
all you can see is despair and gloom
why not build another Ark, with plank and tar
In your whirlpool of ignorance, you won't go far.

Yes, we devour Earth's resources, as soon as we find them
we crash, and trash, and make a mess
but all the while, the boffins are working
rest assured our offspring will progress.

Complete myth, that it's just modern man
who's abused the earth, and made it bleed
we've been spoiling things, since we came out the trees
our two main instincts, survival, and greed.

Yes, we wastefully devour Earth's resources
we crash and trash, and make a mess
but all the while, the boffins are working
so, rest assured our offspring will progress.

Tony Bradley

Binner - Kathy Figueroa

Cans, a modern treasure
Just waiting to be mined
A little bit of digging
Could result in a rich find

Hands, gloved and deft
Pick through refuse, rank and ragged
Which is fraught with dangerous stuff
Like broken glass with edges jagged

“Binning” is what it’s called when
Someone mines dumpsters full of trash
And takes the salvage to scrap dealers
Who then turn it into cash

It’s not for the faint of heart
Or those who, from grunge, recoil
Though a grimy line of work
It seems a useful form of toil

For the metal is recycled which
Conserves our natural resources
This planet’s health can be protected
When recyclers arise and join forces

Every little bit helps
There’s a cumulative effect
And so, to the humble Binner
Ths poem is dedicated, with respect

Kathy Figueroa

The Mask - Kate Gallienne

Have we met? For I think I know you. A familiar face that I recall
I know that smile and those big brown eyes. I’m sure you help me when down I fall
Why then do you appear distant? With a smile painted thick like a clown
Your eyes are open but do not see me, always flitting or looking down

I cannot ask you how you feel, as I fear I don’t have the time
If you started to express what’s real, what’s buried deep in your mind
Your protective mask keeps you safe inside, never showing the naked truth
Afraid to look behind those eyes, preferring to believe than seek for proof

Looking deeper though and closer still, the reflection doesn’t lie
For it is not you, it is actually me, through the mirror I watch myself cry
To the outside world I am someone else, somebody I’m really not
Portraying to others that all is fine, when inside fear is all that I’ve got

If I wear a smile others smile back, confirming all is well
If I look down or ill at ease, my true feelings they would tell
I cannot bear their sympathy, or their saddened sorrowful eyes
For they reflect the truth to me, that something is wrong deep inside

If this happens my tears won't stop. I’d be crying the whole year through
For there’s no release and no let up, never knowing what to do
So I apply the makeup day upon day, hiding the lines on my face
Hoping no one can see the real me, for like me, they’d see a disgrace.

Kate Gallienne

Lazy Day - Tony Gardner

I'm sitting in a soft chair out the back
The sun is shining down and wind is slack
My dog is on my lap and she's OK
It's such a lovely tender kind of day
A blackbird singing in the tree
Lifts the spiritual in me
It's work today but I don't care
Just gonna sit here in my chair

Tony Gardner

I'm So Poor I Can't Even Pay Attention Anymore - Lyndon Queripel

It seems to slip right through my hand
Just like grains of sand
It burns a hole in my pocket
Unless I get a safe and lock it

I am up to my eyes in debt
It's going to get deeper yet
Penny wise pound foolish they say
Not until the last bill you pay

It always seems so strange
How I manage to lose change
It won't buy you happiness it's true
But it makes misery easier to go through

It's invested in stocks and shares
Some say it talks others say it swears
Some say it makes the World go around
That's why they bury it under the ground

New paper to print new coins to mint
New prices always leave me skint
The technology is so fantastic
Now it's even made of plastic

Man cannot live on bread alone
That's why the banks have all over grown
If you pay the piper you call the tune
Will the one World currency be here soon

You can be rich,you can be poor
For sure you're going to want more
But when you love it more than people
Then you'll find it's the root of all evil

Lyndon Queripel

Electoral Dysfunction - Donald Keyman

The sour grapes of frustrated wrath
Have been trodden into the electoral path
By six aggrieved and trembling males
As power emerges from beneath the veil

It seems that they all fear the coming
Of a world that's ruled by women
Though surely it would be a gentler place
If we were governed by a softer face

The "Sour Six" have alleged there's cheating
Because the evil women had a meeting
The sore losers revealed their single fear:
The spectre of a Deputy Boadicea!

So worried that a modern day Joan of Arc
Could reintroduce pay to park
They made their complaint to the Registrar
Who ruled in favour of the bra

Even now the verdict is not sinking in
They've got a problem with "Women2Win"
Maintaining still that Betty or Maud
Has perpetrated electoral fraud

As this story shows no sign of ending
I'm simply and firmly recommending
That the unenlightened "Sour Six"
Seek out the services of a dominatrix!

Donald Keyman

Open Wound - Diane Scantlebury

He couch surfs from friend to friend,
Who walk softly on egg shells
With sympathy quietly spoken,
A long term relationship bites the dust,
Sad and newly lonely
Another poor heart unexpectedly broken,

She almost took it all,
But callously cherry picked the best bits
When off she ran herself to discover,
She took the dog,
But left the kids behind
As she fled to the arms of her lover,

In the emotional storm that followed,
The windows of his soul
Shook violently and rumbled,
Then cascaded in tiny splinters to the ground
As the walls of his domestic castle crumbled,

When the sun of love and hopefulness
Crashes and burns,
There’s never a happy end,
Just a personal injury that festers
A painful, resentful open wound,
That’s never forgiven and never mends.

Diane Scantlebury

The Coast - Ian Duquemin

Rocks gather high, so protecting the land
Soaked by the sea they climb rustic and coarse
Shells of the ocean cling tightly to shelter
Close to the land that is scattered with gorse
Breakers lap over like silk sheets in summer
Kissing the land as though deeply in love
Up in the sky shines the sun in its glory
Witnessing all from its seat high above

Ian Duquemin

Cornwall - Trudie Shannon

These are karmic hills,
Their spoil sides steep and perilous.
Granite shards slip invisibly
And cats cradles guard the sultry depths
Of these deep dark burrows, delved by men.
Small men, hard men, poor men, historic men,
Dead men!
It as if the hills themselves are testimony alone
To mans puerile attempts to subjugate Mother Earth.

The stone engine houses are cast down, yet
Forever reaching skyward in mute supplication to a hidden God.
Wind and rain and the incessant passage of time
Have bled most of them dry,
They are mere husks of spent energy,
Shadow casts now, that only wraiths attend.

A sliver of stone slides surreptitiously down.
Its tenuous hold finally lost as the age old wind
Lifts it with a gusty breath.
It slithers, noisily toward the shaft edge
Then drops, mute, into the dark abyss.
The rock piece falls and falls and falls
And then, baptism.
It sinks through water, rocking like a feather on a breeze
Until it touches the mother lode
And is finally still.

On the surface the bird witness soars heavenward.

Trudie Shannon

On a dull day - Tony Bradley

A dull day, with dawn dragging its dreary heels
you could make this day brighter, despite how it feels
just decide, to make it special, a calendar day
why not do that big chore, the one that never appeals.

Just think for a moment, as you mope around
there's loads of people who'd love to be you
you're able to think, to move, and change things
try impressing yourself, with something you do.

Tony Bradley

The Other Side - Sharon Dando

See the light and wake up gently
Walk into the garden and wait
Familiar faces come to greet you
To take you to the gate

It's bright and warm and welcoming
A burden has been lifted
Surrounded by wonder and beauty
you feel you have been gifted

No more worry, pain or sorrow
Dependency or sadness
This day blends into tomorrow
with joyfulness and gladness

Sorrow embraces those left behind
but lessens like the pain
to remember you with happy memories
and know you will be together again

Sharon Dando

Silhouettes in time - Julian Clarke

​​We’re custodians for a moment in time
bequeath what? For our future forefathers.

Cyclical phases of the moon and sun
fields and trees and valleys and seas

Nature's garden with beautiful flowers,
frenetic buzzing, pollinating bees.

Winds of the seasons and rains from above
earth's breath be pure and blessed with true love.

Julian Clarke

JIM - Richard Fleming

He did not die a hero, Jim.
Afghan shrapnel did for him
what no deft surgeon can undo:
one ear, pristine, as good as new,
just one ear where there should be two;
a crater where his eye should be,
but one eye left so he can see
the mirrored image he must greet,
a grotesque creature, incomplete,
that children stare at in the street.

Richard Fleming

Man Became Mountain (Wainwright's Way) - Ian Duquemin

When man meets a mountain
His is nothing at all
The towering summit
The man ever small
Yet one man would rise
Like the mountain up high
Becoming a cairn
Where the earth meets the sky
His footsteps a path
On which others may roam
Surrounded in silence
That he made a home
Writing directions
And mapping his routes
A rugged ascent
For adventurous boots
On one final climb
A life's work was done
And a man became mountain
Forever as one

Ian Duquemin

The Rain Zone - Kathy Figueroa

In the Rain Zone
It can fall for hours
Sometimes just as sprinkles
Often as heavy showers

Water from above
Splashes and splatters
Drums on the roof at night
And, at the window, patters

When you hope that surely
The clouds have been wrung dry
Suddenly a deluge pours
From the mischievous sky

In the Rain Zone
It never seems to stop
Just when you think it’s ended
Down comes another drop…

Kathy Figueroa

"The Rain Zone" was published on April 14, 2016, in The Bancroft Times newspaper.

Absent Love - Kate Gallienne

I was born from you
But you’d never know
For you love for me
Did never show

The last on your list of priorities
I often prayed upon my knees
That one day you’d suddenly see
Your daughter, your child, little me

Wrapped in a world of deceit and lies
You turned your back as I cried inside
Your mind distracted and away from home
Forgetting me, leaving me all alone

My life is a winter, so bleak and dark
With scars etched deep across my heart
Thoughts of you, surely bring me down
I cannot smile with this heavy frown

Time will heal or so they say
But I live this pain day after day
Like a jigsaw piece I’m all amiss
And I cannot recall one single kiss

So don’t be alarmed when I scream in your face
For the rage within me is hard to displace
You say you love me but it cannot be so
For your love for me never did show.

Kate Gallienne

Deadwood - Donald Keyman

It's time to cut out the deadwood
and pile it in the yard
in front of the polling station
it needn't be too hard

yes, it's time to clear the alley
of supine bowling pins
a spring-clean after a winter
that's lasted four long years

so let's get out the new broom
let's get out the axe
yes, it's time to spill some old blood
it's time to cut out the deadwood

Donald Keyman

Modern Poets - Bryony de Lat

I wish to declare my long-held disquiet
regarding the inaccurate image of modern poetry
presented by media, schools and the like
where the poet's a recluse, strange and solitary.

'Au contraire!' in my experience, (quite varied,very long)
yes they step back, but only to digest, philosophize,
by their very nature, folk easily become friends, and more
they hear everyone's woes, an ear kind and wise.

Bryony de Lat

World of Sadness - Diane Scantlebury

Yesterday I saw you,
A shadow walking,
Wearing your sorrow
Like a too heavy coat,
Your face was pale
And the sparkle had been
From your once bright eyes,
Now dull, opaque opals
Stared back at me,
Where there used to be
Fiery diamonds,
You were drifting along
All the fight inside gone,
I wanted to hug and console you,
Reassure you that life
Would trundle on regardless,
But I knew this was not the time,
You were locked in your lonely
World of sadness,
And probably wouldn’t listen anyway.

Diane Scantlebury

Labourers - Trudie Shannon

The church is beset by scaffolding.
A spider web of Metallica.
Inside the welcome porch,
The labourers stand to, folded neatly
In their cement spattered jeans and steel-capped boots,
Drinking tea from battered flasks.
Inside the God space, there is an air of neglect,
Of eternal waiting.
The swear words from the portico rush past
The stations of the cross,
Dust motes multiplying in their wake,
Cruising past sainted images
With the soft, eradicable ease of light.
From his vantage point, high upon the crucifix,
Jesus hangs about, wondering
If any the lads might stand him
A mouthful of water.

Trudie Shannon

Have A Care - John Carré Buchanan

I don't care if you’re a Muslim
I don't care if you’re a Jew
I don't care if you’re Christian
Syrian, or from Crewe.
If your L-B-G-T
they're all fine by me,
because I believe
we're all humanity.

From the tycoon in her ivory tower
to the orphan on the street.
A rebel fighting government
the girl I've yet to meet.
The Inuit in the high north,
the Bajau on the sea,
we all share the basic right
to live a life that's free.

It’s a right we share with nature
with beasts, the birds and bees,
the creatures of the ocean
and yes; the plants and trees.
From tiny little microbes
to the might of the great blue whale,
the spider hanging in its web
and the humble garden snail

Yes, we share that basic right,
to live a life that's free
but we humans also have;
a responsibility;
to mind the world we live in,
to mind the air we share,
to keep the oceans pure and clear,
and above all show we care.

so; I don't care if you’re a Muslim
I don't care if you’re a Jew
I don't care if you’re Christian
Syrian or from Crewe.
If your L-B-G-T
that's ok with me
but if you insist on damaging
this world, that all life shares
we're going to have a problem
because I'm someone who cares.

John Carré Buchanan

The Rock - Ian Duquemin

I never shall leave these rocky shores
Yet the gypsy inside on the open moors...
Longs for a freedom that never shall be
While the vagabond sings within me...
Songs never heard on this island of mine
The prison long lost with the passing of time
Abandoned and never a beat in my heart
Cursed we are never to part
Yet this traveller moves on a higher plain
Untethered and free of his ball and chain
On a journey of silence that leads him astray
So no longer a castaway

Ian Duquemin

Aftermath - Lyndon Queripel

After the last fish has died
Fried in your river of regret
And the truth that you denied
Has slipped right through your net

After the last tree is felled
And the earth is scorched and burnt
The air you breathe is poisoned
From the lessons you never learnt

After the last word you heard
Still echoes inside your head
And the colour of your money
Can't even buy you any bread

After the last well runs dry
You thirst and hunger in the cold
Unable to feed your greed
With crumbs of silver and gold

After the last rays of the Sun
Have set your shadow free
From the guilt that was built
As blood spilt into the sea

After the last page is turned
And the book of life is read
Will you wait with your fate
Surrounded by the living dead.

Lyndon Queripel

Grief - Diane Scantlebury

Grief is a vulture silently circling,
Circling in the air,
Then swooping down at life’s lowest ebb
To pick the bones of our despair,
But those pickings are slim
When you’ve become frail and thin,
Caught up in the turmoil of sadness,
And all around you the well wishers spin
On a roulette wheel of madness,

Grief is a mantis
Quietly and mindlessly engulfing its prey,
Siphoning out the life force
As you try to struggle away,
But that struggle seems futile
When all that’ll be left is dry bone,
And only years of frayed memories to clutch
After the one you’ve loved has gone.

Diane Scantlebury

Spring - Tony Gardner

As the seared and shriven flora
Grows to new exciting days
Warmer waves give birth to budding
Celandines in golden haze

Then wild and happy daffodils
Spread carpets there for us to see
And give Glory to the season when
All Life seems fresh and free

Hiding their shine in woodland
And under every tree
Is the shy, sweet smile of primrose
But it's there for all to see

Deer and badger, fox and woodmouse
All these creatures feel the rise
Of the temperature as Winter
Imperceptibly dies

All the golden springtime flowers
Cheer our hearts as Winter wanes
Raising hopes of Summer's glory
After Winter's wind and rains

Tony Gardner

Another precious year - Tony Bradley

Those hot, hazy days seem so distant now
bright blue skies, even the winds were warm,
and the sun slept little from its scarlet set
to another bright morning, a dazzling dawn.

But the sun soon slumbered, slow to rise,
and golden leaves glistened, jewelled by night's rain,
falling, twirling, they waltzed to Autumn's wind
leaving bristling bushes to face Winter again.

Now, frosty breezes begin their toil,
crispening a crust to slumbering soil
soon, plucky bulbs will peep, and the dark, stark trees
will herald Spring, again, with little green leaves.

Tony Bradley

The Isle With The Emerald Sea - Ian Duquemin

I sat on the sand on the edge of our land
And listened to seagulls a-singing
The hands of the church clock reached some unknown time
And the bells woke our world with their ringing
They reminded me then, of the home I once had
A home that once bragged of its beauty
Now all that is left are the memories I have
Of the isle with the emerald sea

The town comes alive with its cafes and bars
Where languages speak without meaning
I walk on the cobbles I walked as a child
Who thought that I'd still be a-dreaming?
I never believed that this change would have come
They shouldn't have stolen her beauty
Now all that is left are the memories I have
Of the isle with the emerald sea

I find me a seat, take the weight off my feet
And watch as the sun's slowly sinking
It seems many years since it burned in the sky
I wonder just what they were thinking?
We once had it all 'til they let it all fall
They just wouldn't let us be free
Now all that is left are the memories I have
Of the isle with the emerald sea

Ian Duquemin

The Cyberseas - Kathy Figueroa

I traverse the cyberseas
Where words surge, eddy, and flow
Daydreams fill skies above me
Nightmares lurk in depths below

I crest waves exultantly
And skirt whirlpools that appear
Navigate through glitch-filled storms
That rage in the cybersphere

An intrepid traveler
I long to keep on learning
The need for discovery
And knowledge keeps me yearning

And so, like a mariner
Or adventurer of old
I sail in search of treasure
One that’s far greater than gold

Kathy Figueroa

Retirement - Jenny Hamon

Retirement, oh how absurd
I’m far too young, it's just a word
Although it's just another year
The dreaded date's arrived I fear

Retirement is for the old
Who quietly slip into the mould
Of endless days and aimless ways
Of sitting in a fuddled daze

I'm not that old, you hear me cry
I'm still alive, not ready to die
I can't resign to the mindless doom
Of sitting in God's waiting room

I'll take these days to live life to the full
By taking on the horns of the bull
I have my mind and health and strength
So I'm going to live and spend my wealth

No time to write more poetry
With so much of the world to see
No, I'm not sitting on the fence
I'm spending the kid's inheritance

Jenny Hamon

The Wrong Message - Tony Bradley

Crownhill Wolf Cubs had all met in the park
to play some cricket, on a sunny day
Akela and our leaders hadn't arrived yet
So the boys decided they'd start to play.

A gang of boys from the estate turned up
and they started grabbing our stuff
our biggest boy, Peter, warned them who was coming
but then they just got even more rough.

Then Akela and our leaders turned up
the yobs pinched our bats and scurried away
Peter's nose was bleeding, we were angry
as our leaders listened to what we had to say.

Our leaders ran after them, caught them quick
Blimey, we thought, they're going to pay
but we had a funny feeling, the yobs are coming back
our bloody 'heroes' have asked them to play!

Six of us went home, sod the cricket
we left the club, throwing away our toggles and socks
"Where's the leader?" I hear Baden-Powell scowl
and Rudyard Kipling would squirm in his box.

This tale's about values betrayed, and religous twaddle
kids are taught to, mindlessly, do that and this
it sadly turns out, when it comes to the crunch
children's leaders, behind false morals, are as weak as piss.

Tony Bradley

Winds Of Time - John Carré Buchanan

The Fulani knew my power
as hunched against my breath
they drove herds in search of pasture
that I’d not smothered yet.
You call me Harmattan,
though that is not my name,
for I was here before you
before the desert came
and when your bones are naught but dust
I will still remain.

The Clatsop knew my warmth
as I swept the mountain slopes
I melted snow before me
and bought false signs of hope.
You call me Chinook
though that is not my name
for my clouds enriched sunrise
before the dawn of man
and they’ll brighten western skies
when your last race has run.

Columbus and Magellan
thought they'd harnessed me
as they navigated oceans
in search of destiny.
You call me Trade Winds
but that is not my name
for I blew before the ocean's birth
when a mighty rupture came
and I'll be blowing still
when land joins land again.

I helped shape mountains,
I swept the plains between.
From ice cap to desert
I sculpted the terrain.
I breathed, before life,
before little pools of green,
before cells came together
to crawl out from the sea
and I was here a long, long time,
before apes climbed in the trees.

Yet even I will perish
as time alone survives,
for this planet will crumble
scattered amidst the skies
it's atmosphere burnt off
carried on cosmic winds.
Our atoms will float
through a universe sublime
waiting to be born again
in the ebb and flow of time

John Carré Buchanan

Too Cold to Diet - Diane Scantlebury

It’s too hard
When times are boring and quiet,
To find pleasure in salad
Or stick to an uninspiring January diet,
Impossible to stay dry
When it’s too cold to think,
And the only thing that’ll give comfort
Is to consume stodge and to drink,
Resolutions evaporate
In the blink of a feeble eye,
With the aroma of a heart warming stew
Or difficult to resist, hot apple pie,
Rocky is the road and sticky is the toffee
That will scupper our intentions to become slim,
Unrealistic is the goal and inevitable the knowledge
That come month end,
We’ll have all given up and given in!

Diane Scantlebury

Life's Journey - Ian Duquemin

We make the road with the steps that we take
This journey is ours with the choices we make
The paths are the detours that lead us astray
Though none of them mean you have gone the wrong way
It's just an excursion, a trail or trial
A trek where you learn with each added on mile
Where some like to walk in directions unknown
Enjoying the journey alone

Ian Duquemin

Ashdown - Tony Gardner

The sleet was ghostlike, laughing
with no purposeful intent
It came and covered nothing,
said 'Hi' and then it went
The scene unchanged remained the same,
damp and green and good
Half-hearted snow, that came tiptoe
all over Ashdown wood

A hiccup hardly noticed
in the thousand years or so
Of hunting grounds and industry
and sunny hours that flow
Today I stand and and watch the flakes
ephemeral and false
That dance in stately gaiety
to Time's unending waltz

Tony Gardner

Lover’s Knot - Diane Scantlebury

Softly spooned
Like kittens curled in a basket,
My hand propped and resting
On your thigh,
In unison we inhale, exhale,
You deeply purr
I happily sigh,

Seamlessly we interlock,
As a loving,
Harmonious building block,
Arm upon arm
We’re linked together,
In a lover’s knot that’ll last
Forever and ever.

Diane Scantlebury

Remember - Ian Duquemin

When I first saw your eyes
I fell as if I'd fell from heavenly skies
You gave a smile...
And from that moment I was yours
And then...
When I first kissed your lips
It seemed the sun and moon were bound to eclipse
We sat and watched the waves come crashing to the shores

When I first held your hand
You gave a squeeze to show that you understand
Your hair cascaded...
Like a waterfall in spring
And then...
You said I was the one
You said I cleared the clouds and showed you the sun
Without you darlin' that just wouldn't mean a thing

We just laughed everyday
When not together...
You seem so far away
I'd like to thank you...
For the love in which you give
And since...
We are one made of two
I would be nothing if I wasn't with you
Without you here well I just know I couldn't live

The Stars will always shine
You'll always be my sweetheart...
And my Valentine
We'll be together, I'm not ever letting go
So here...
These words I've written are true
They tell the whole world how I feel about you
I'll love you always...
But then you already know

Ian Duquemin

George Torode - Tony Bradley

George Torode was the best friend I ever had
to anyone who knew him that's no surprise
in just a few years I saw how a special man lived
and it lifted my soul, opened my eyes.

He urged me to restart poetry now, not later
I said I'd write about him, a light that shone
He said "don't start it yet, that's the last thing I want
an obituary, before I've even gone".

A born-again Christian, but no Bible-puncher
His light shone bright, for all to see
offering kindness and comfort, to everyone he met
the helpless,the needy, even you, even me.

A more popular person, you couldn't imagine
with all his bosses, work-mates, friends, over the years
his incredible stories, and the way he told jokes
he made us laugh so much, we were in tears.

You may not have met him, I feel was a lucky
there's others who can tell you about the man
if there's a Heaven, I know George is up there
and I'll try and join him, if I can.

Tony Bradley

Condomnation - Lyndon Queripel

Together our love was feather light
Lost in dreams of a starless night.

Lyndon Queripel

Preoccupation - Stephen A. Roberts

First Dornier arrives says the in flight mag
it could be a headline from a different Tag
and still produces a shiver of recognition
some 75 years since the submission

I know that I should let it go
it was a long long time ago
but my preoccupation
with the Occupation
is driving me insane
what do I hope to gain?

Stephen A. Roberts

Real? - Tony Robert

Today's poem is a "Golden Oldie" and was originally published here in February 2013.

Nerves a-jumping, heart a-pumping
Why do I feel this way?
Could she be the one for me?
Maybe I’ll know someday

Play it cool, act the fool
Don’t let my feelings show
It’s okay to feel this way
Just don’t let others know

The way I feel is no big deal
It happens everyday
People fall, there’s no rule
To guide us in this way

See pain in her eyes, no surprise
Her hearts been broken in two
She needs to know, I won’t hurt her so,
What do I need to do?

I feel elated, haven’t even dated
But I think that she’s the one
I’m not sure how, to make it happen now
Scare her and she’ll be gone

Take it slow and let her know
The way I really feel
I won’t rush it or try to push it
Could this be for real?

Tony Robert

Tomorrow Never Comes - Aindre Reece-Sheerin

Today's poem is a "Golden Oldie" and was originally published here in January 2013.

Whether it is today or yesterday
or one day next week
tomorrow never comes

How often do we say on Monday
See you tomorrow
Tomorrow if indeed we survive
Monday, is Tuesday
So tomorrow never comes

It rained on Wednesday
and all thru Thursday
Today Friday the sun shone a little

but still, tomorrow never comes

A love that's fresh
and new like spring buds
could last until next week
or even a fortnight's time
but tomorrow will never come

I say that I will do such and such today
and even at night sometimes
I will kneel and pray
giving thanks for the day
without a thought for tomorrow

because tomorrow never comes

Aindre Reece-Sheerin

Don't Forget Your Soul - Ian Duquemin

I know that I have wasted many days throughout my years
I've often given up or never tried
But I've done the best I can
Tried to be an honest man
Tho' even honest men have often lied
Now all that I know
Wherever I might go
Upon this lonely stage I'll find my role
And I'll play out my part
Deliver it with heart
End my days the best that I can do...
And I think my very best times were with you

Throughout my drunken nights within the many crowded bars
I may have lost my soul along the way
But I always returned
It seemed I never really learned
And in the gutter there my soul would lay
He'd give me a wink
Just a little thought to think
Before we staggered homewards arm in arm
Singing a song
From the days when we were young
Times when life seemed nothing more than new
Way before I ever needed you

And now as I move towards the ever aching years
I look back at the times when I would cry
It seems now I'm told
That I'm nothing more than old
And all that I have left is now to die
I think of the years
I lived with all my fears
Instead of letting go and moving on
Inside I'm still young
Perhaps... I may be wrong
I guess I need another drink or two
And I'll raise my glass in gratitude to you

Ian Duquemin

A Cup of Tea Please - Questa

Today's poem is a "Golden Oldie" and was originally published here in January 2013.

A cup of tea please
and two biscuits
thank-you very much
that table over there
by the window
with the view
Nothing for my friend
He's an Alien
Doesn't eat our food
You can offer
If you like
But where he's from
it's considered rude
Oh - and don't stare
I know he doesn't look
like an alien
but he is.
It must be the wheelchair
that throws you
It's a disguise
but he is an alien
Look at his eyes
They're cold and empty
since the accident
When he was human
and his mouth
made words
not noises
but he's harmless now
He can't get back
where he came from
Earth -


Night-Sprite - Richard Fleming

Old houses creak and sigh,
past midnight when the air is still
and different rules to daylight-rules apply.

Then, shifting shadows dye
the carpet while the air grows chill
and rows of toys stand lifelessly nearby.

Child of light, child so slight,
beware the frightful Night-sprite’s bite.

Alone in bed, I cry:
‘The wardrobe door is open still
and something black is hovering nearby’.

Unheard, unloved, I lie.
Night terrifies. It always will,
for different fears to daylight-fears apply.

Richard Fleming

Rambling - Tony Bradley

If I recall too much, my frenetic young years
all that misguided energy would have me in tears
I used to continue lost causes, support the lame duck,
I couldn't just leave it, and accept my bad luck.

Nowadays, I assess things, prior to any moving
any case for my action requires a good deal of proving
even my gardening time now, keeping it pretty and neat
is dwarfed by my basking, in my favourite seat.

Drove Betty topless, Sunday, to the cliffs, lovely view
I inhaled too much fresh air, as one can do
intoxicated, I got out and walked, no great wrench
but, tragically, the States chappies had moved my bench.

Having trekked, may I say it, with some gusto and style
in my new Bear Grylls boots, for over a mile
I had to sit down, where the seat used to be
get some cake out my rucksack, and a nice mug of tea.

The States not returning my seat seemed a bit lax
I was thinking of sending an angry fax
but I was pleased with several of my earlier decisions
to bring a book, and ample provisions.

The day didn't end well, though, as I trekked back
it started raining, I thought it looked black
when I reached topless Betty, she was absolutely drenched
and my thirst for the outdoor life was sufficiently quenched.

Tony Bradley

Amsterdamned! - Lyndon Queripel

Here I am
In Amsterdam
A midnight ride
On a swaying tram
As lights of red
Flash through my head
And I remember
The last words you said

Here I am
In Amsterdam
A rain swept street
In a traffic jam
Stoned and wet
A room to let
And I remember
The last time we met

Here I am
In Amsterdam
A faulty telephone
Lost telegram
Two tone rapid
Number invalid
And I remember
The last thing you did

Here I am
In Amsterdam
Counting sheep
To sleep like a lamb
The darkness dies
In the dawning skies
And I remember
The last look in your eyes.

Lyndon Queripel

The Last Dance - Joan Raleigh

Today's poem is a "Golden Oldie" and was originally published here in January 2013.

We always danced the last dance of the evening.
Neither of us were what you would call dancers, but
that one was special. You would move lightly and slowly,
so that you wouldn’t step on my feet.
And we would hold each other,
concentrating yet feeling the moment together.
Too soon, the music would finish.
I didn’t want it to, I wanted it to go on, and on;
So I could feel the nearness of you a little longer.
When would we dance again?
Time would not allow that hope,
Or answer that question.

Joan Raleigh

With Each Broken Pane... The Wealthy Gain - Ian Duquemin

It's not about the broken panes that collapsed within the twisting lanes
It's not the beaches dulling sands or fast receding greener lands
It's not the people born and bred, not even what this poet said!
The problem only came to view
With cash put down by you
It's all about the mess you've made
It's there within the bricks you laid
An island now controlled by wealth
To satisfy yourself
But who am I to speak aloud?
These words are surely not allowed
Yet here they are for all to see
As you look down on me

Ian Duquemin

Christmas Passed - Bryant Doyle

That first Christmas, . . . God, she looked gorgeous
fleece-lined boots right up to her thighs
snuggly coat, so warm, but so short
pouty little mouth and big bright eyes.

I was Donovan, and she was a Cilla
and even though we were still at school
every day was Heaven, . . . especially Christmas
back then I was such a happy young fool.

The bright Xmas lights, from the shops and streets
reflected in people's faces, and the pavement snow
all huddled round, to hear the band playing carols
everyone singing, smiling, faces aglow.

Christmas carols now, don't seem so clear
the lights, and the tinsel are never so bright
I don't hear laughter, see faces aglow
just empty day, and lonely night.

The happy young fool didn't realise, nothing lasts forever
all good things soon come to an end
this Christmas, . . . just reminds me, for it to be special
it has to be shared, with a special friend.

Bryant Doyle

Roots - Tony Gardner

I gather from your letters that you're doing fine out there
The grandeur of that great, wild land is way beyond compare
The Northern Lights are such a sight they take your breath away
And yet you say you miss the douit that tumbles to the bay.
You've seen the wild and lonely plains, the big sky up above
But yet you say in that fair land, you still dream often of
That little home you loved and left, and one you left behind
But you just had to follow where the Trail of Life will wind.
I hope you're happy in the land that you have made your own
Perhaps it's true the isle you left, kissed by the ocean's foam
Could never offer all you dreamed, but still you write to me
Of missing little gurgling streams, which tumble to the sea.
You never would be happy, prisoned on this little isle
And I, in that great land of yours, would find it hard to smile
But childhood memories cannot die, so evermore will we
Re-live those rambles where the douit goes tumbling to the sea.

Tony Gardner

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