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

R.I.P. David Jones - Stephen A. Roberts

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I can't explain the sorrow I'm feeling
And I shed a tear for what it is worth
For the loss of music's chameleon
David Bowie, the Man Who Fell To Earth

In between all my snuffling, weeping sobs
I'm pouring change and coins into the juke
Force feeding the pig with Diamond Dogs
To hear those great songs by the Thin White Duke

Years ago Top of the Pops in my beige home
Your strange androgyny shocked my parents
Aladdin Sane, Ziggy, the Laughing Gnome
Starman to "Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence!"

Jean Genie plays, I wipe away my tears
David, you gave us all your Golden Years

Stephen A. Roberts

A Present Worth Having? - Diane Scantlebury

If I gave you a box
All tied up with string,
Decorated with pretty paper
A beautiful thing,
Think how disappointed you’d be,
When you looked inside
And nothing could you see,

Long ago I made a promise
You made one too,
But time eroded your memory
Honesty and faithfulness
You just couldn’t do,
Now I’ve moved on
And no longer resent,
The box of empty loneliness
You left for me,
Or the wasted years spent,

When a gift is offered
Surely you’d agree,
At most it should be given with love
And at least sincerity,
I decided not to judge you
Although countless others would,
For a present is only worth having
If the giver's intentions are good.

Diane Scantlebury

Duel At L’Hyvreuse 1795 - Richard Fleming

The ancient elms were saplings then.
Two figures stand in morning mist with pistols raised aloft.
Picture them: straight-backed, as would become army men,
their jacket collars loose despite the cold.
With steady eyes, they bow, then muster back-to-back
like bookends with a library of insult held between them.
There are no Seconds here: no one to witness or to testify;
no one to pray, officiate or remonstrate.
With ornate pistols, slackly held, they pace away.
Each counts from one to twenty-one then turns.

A musket is a heavy brute: the heart a heavy heart that must destroy
one that, till yesterday, was friend.
A flintlock seems as fearsome as a blunderbuss
when faced at forty paces, little more:
it fascinates, the way an adder might when readying to strike.

Imagine it. You stare, a child again, into a well so deeply dark
it swallows, whole, your pounding heart,
and try to focus on the length of avenue that lies
between you and that other: the opponent with the awful eye.
Young elm trees stand like silent onlookers in swirling mist,
as startled starlings start up from the meadow’s edge.
You see a puff of smoke before you hear the crack,
a sound too frivolous, by far, to have the import that it does.
You see red earth exploding upwards towards your face.
Then there is silence.

Richard Fleming

Word Of Mouth - Lyndon Queripel

Old school rule, blotted copybook
Repeat to cheat your mind
Reverse charge callers off the hook
Just leave them all behind

Flashgun cameras and paperweight
A prolific under hand
The time, the place and the date
In triplicate as planned

Word of mouth from ear to ear
Key hole eyes that disappear
Business nose, rumours sell
And never fail a tale to tell

They caught you up halfway there
You'd only just made the lights
Wishful thinking you were clear
Of their telescopic sights

Was it true, was it a lie
Or was it just a just a joke?
Your dream of love left you dry
In the morning when you awoke.

Lyndon Queripel

Our Bloney Winter Weather! - Jenny Hamon

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

We’re in the middle of winter
And nothing is able to grow
The ground is completely sodden
I’d much rather have some snow

The hedges and banks are collapsing
And roads have been closed by a flood
The poor farmers can’t access their crops
As the fields are too deep in mud.

We could do with a cold dry wind
To clear all of this water away
And then a crisp sharp frost
To keep all the bugs at bay.

But I see they’re forecasting sleet
In the next few days to come
And of course it will then turn to rain
Will we ever see the sun?

Jenny Hamon

I'm indebted to Mother - Tony Bradley

Mother would send around to the neighbours
with a note, asking to lend five quid
I remember slammed doors, and angry faces
no, I don't think anyone ever did.

I remember my shame at junior school
I'd lie awake at night, dreading tomorrow
kids would say things about me and my family
making fun, because we had to borrow.

My Dad was in the Navy, earning good money
but she was pitifully extravagant, such a shame
her family had been rich, but her Father died suddenly
and she wanted to return to the good life, again

She couldn't budget, would never prioritise
we never had corned beef, it had to be gammon
and I was the only kid at school
eating sandwiches filled with bacon, and salmon.

Now, because of poor Mother, I've learnt to be frugal
sometimes doing without, to put a bit aside
so that, when the Tollman comes for his money
we don't all have to run and hide.

Tony Bradley

Together For Peace - Ian Duquemin

Brother, lift up your gun
Shoot it skyward and aim at the sun
Empty the chamber then lower it down
Then place it upon the ground

Sister, take hold of my hand
Let's join together in making a stand
Raise up your banner with slogans of love
And hold it up higher above

Mother, join in our plan
You are the bearer of every man
Take all the children and gather them near
Protect them from hatred and fear

Father, teach them of peace
Tell them the reasons why fighting must cease
Our children's futures are slipping away
Direct them the right way today

Ian Duquemin

Poetry Competition Secrets - Stephen A. Roberts

Let's get writing;
You know the ropes,
Death and birds
Trot out the tropes.

Carefully place some enjamb-
without overdoing it, too
of a good thing can be...

Remember what Adrian Mitchell said -
about why most poetry isn't read

and don't -

forget a dramatic twist
where the poem's subject slits
her wrists...

Stephen A. Roberts

Goodbye, my friend - Bryant Doyle

It's hard to write this, and hurts more to read
I can't stop the tears, my heart's gonna bleed
such a precious time, with my only real friend
but their tormented, painful life will soon end.

All purpose, all joy shattered, this hideous grief
so brave , so inspiring, a life so tragically brief
only the death of one's child could hurt this way
going to a better place, on this, their last day.

Bryant Doyle

After the Party - Diane Scantlebury

No more harking of herald angels,
The shepherds went home
With the three men wise,
They’d gone before it was time for turkey curry,
When all the booze was done
And there were no more mince pies,

All had stuffed to their fill,
Celebrated with drunken merriment
And loud shouts,
But they’d left without tidying up the debris
Almost none had eaten their sprouts,

Under the table gathered the litter
Bright plastic toys from crackers pulled,
Stuffing squashed into the carpet
And minus a handle, a broken cup,
Ruby stained by Christmas wine mulled,

From a distance comes the faintest jingle
As old man Xmas returns Rudolf to the fold,
Staggering in the crisp snow he stumbles,
Smothered in myrrh, his pockets weighed down
With clinking coins of gold,

The party is over,
The uninvited guests have all had a blast,
Joe mops Mary’s exhausted brow
While the birthday boy, now asleep,
Settles down in his crib at last.

Diane Scantlebury

Into The Storm - Andrew Barham

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

When bleak roses die, a thorny blight
Their petals falling in the soft afternoon light
From faded flowers turning brown
To make a sad carpet on the hardening ground
Then Summer is gone and Fall is soon to follow ...

The leaves and flowers have all died away
Resting deeper down on a darker day,
Turning to ashes beneath the snow;
Arctic winds that icy blow
Scatter us with snow, a fine mist of luminous white

In the midst of this snow mist, a girl is there;
I picture her with snowflakes in her dark brown hair
In the soft glow of a street-lamp's beam,
Tiny snow crystals in her long eyelashes gleam
As together, we drift with the snow, fading ...

Andrew Barham

An Immutable Law - Kathy Figueroa

An immutable law of the universe
Which, time and again, proves true
Is that what you wish for others
Most likely will happen to you

If you hope that they’ll have troubles
Deprivation, turmoil, or war
These things could afflict you
And maybe even more

But if you wish for them joy, peace
Success, and an absence of strife
You might find that you're the one
Enjoying a blissful life

So, may wondrous things and happiness
Multiply and abound
And in this brand new year
May there be plenty to go around!

Kathy Figueroa

Nuclear Neighbours Non! - Lyndon Queripel

Love thy neighbour as thyself
Turn the other cheek today
May his cloud of atomic dust
Pass right by us if we pray

Love thy neighbour as thyself
And honour everything you say
Let the Sun set on your trust
Beyond horizons of decay

Love thy neighbour as thyself
Will the peace of green betray
Rainbows rising above the crust
In between the shadow play

Love thy neighbour as thyself
As skies turn to red from grey
Before your sleep starts to rust
Radiate and just fade away.

Lyndon Queripel

My cat Kacey - Tony Bradley

My wife got Kacey, the youngest of three
she later 'rescued' two from the sanctuary
although terminal cases, as happy as can be
trouble is, they all attached themselves to me.

I never had a cat, only dogs and that
rabbits, gerbils, even a rat
I didn't know an apparently well-known fact
cats pick you, mate, and that is that.

Wifey got him, fluffy kitten, bit of a fad
now he's old and not well, it's a bit sad
but Kacey's my cat, and I love him like mad
he's the most loving friend I've ever had.

Tony Bradley

The Starfish - Stuart Price

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

He has no need of X Factor auditions
As he cruises the murky ocean depths
Looking for some tasty seafood to eat.

He has no anxiety about being a one hit wonder
Or being relevant in a constantly changing marketplace,
As he silently crosses coral reefs and
Converts sunlight to energy, while being
Swept along by warm ocean currents.

He doesn't dream of snorting cocaine from the chests of groupies
As he senses shades of light and dark from eyes at the end of his arms.
Just clean water and plankton are all he needs for happiness.

To reproduce he has no need of sordid snatched encounters
With star struck whimsies, in a drug fuelled haze at public conveniences.
He simply breaks an inch or two from a leg, which grows into another him.

Not for him the tortured artist persona, at the mercy of public taste or abandonment,
Because he truly is, and always will be, a Star [fish].

Stuart Price

Being Ian Duquemin - Ian Duquemin

I write what I'm thinking
I write what I see
I write about conflicts... That rage within me
And when I'm not writing
I think just the same
As a million words swirl around in my brain

Some think that I'm crazy
Some say that I moan
Some see me as strange... As I spend time alone
But that's how that I am
And that's how I will stay
As I choose to be lonely and lock me away

I may not have beauty
I may not be bright
I may see the wrongs... In the things you see right
And I see that my world
Is all battered and bruised
And don't like the way that my mother's abused

I'm not always angry
And I'm not always sad
Sometimes I make good... Of the things that are bad
Lessons once learned
And decisions I make
Have always decided the steps that I take

And I walk with a caution
I walk on a wire
I walk upon eggshells... And I walk upon fire
Not many will follow
On this path that I tread
With its hills and its mountains that loom up ahead

I guess I'll die lonely
But between you and me
That's how that I lived... So that's how it should be
But while I'm away
If I haven't been burned
I'll write down my journey and all that I learned

Ian Duquemin

Unsinkable - Richard Fleming

Stiff-collared and stiff-upper-lipped,
they bade their womenfolk go first,
with children, into lifeboats
that were only there for show,
then, ramrod-straight on tilting decks,
they braved the icy, ill-starred night
or went below to congregate
with other men, pale, poker-faced,
in state-rooms loud with jokes and boasts,
to camouflage their growing fear,
as cocktails, spilled, or scattered cards
made nonsense of forlorn attempts
at nonchalance.

In that dark realm of bitter cold,
of signal-flares and glacial stars,
where massively impassive bergs
moved sure and silently as gods;
where all around, like tombstones, ranged,
squat ice-flows gleamed a ghostly white,
snow fell, in feathered silence, then
on black waves breaking endlessly
on lifeboats, where survivors prayed,
their upturned faces, pinched and wan,
for fathers, lovers, husbands, sons;
but when such supplication failed,
prayed for salvation.

Richard Fleming

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