Empty Nest - John Carré Buchanan

And now they've gone.
Where the stairs thundered,
Where guitars or music blared,
The chatter at the table,
Excited voices through ceilings,
The summons from the kitchen
not needed.
The slammed door,
the morning rush,
the toilet flush,
I sit and wonder
the cacophony of
twenty one years

John Carré Buchanan

Den - Adam Clayton

we built a bunker together
using pegs, ormer shells and sheets
it withstood some rainy weather
and kept us our heads from the heat

we summoned a furry demon
collected his dreams in a hat
plugged our ears ‘gainst his sermon
and scared away the neighbour’s cat

feeling protected and safe there
we gave up on our weekend plans
went only far as the kitchen
to get apples and cakes and flans

no matter the sun went down then
we fell straight to sleep in our den
peace pervaded; we were both brave
in this makeshift cotton-shell cave

Adam Clayton

Song Of The Christmas Turkey - Richard Fleming

We have grown fat, my friends and I,
and although some birdbrains say
these gifts of food Men bring us
must be treated with suspicion,
this I doubt.
I feed on corn aplenty and rejoice,
grow plumply satisfied and portly stout.
My fellows fast become inflated too:
such fine birds with no work at all to do.

I call the doubters paranoid and mock
their pessimistic attitudes and gloom.
Another feast arrives, I gulp it down
then gobble thankful sounds
and strut about.
We grow each day more pillowy and sleek.
Our future is assured, our species blessed.
This is the life, I think, no need to fear:
December is the season of Good Cheer.

Richard Fleming

SAT.NATIVITY - Richard Fleming

Once, Three Wise Men went on a quest
to seek and find the Christ-Child, blessed,
they took with them the new “must have”,
a camel-friendly, cool Sat.Nav.

A Guiding Star said travel East
and, as its radiance increased,
they harkened to this Bright Informer
and muttered, “Guys, we’re getting warmer!”

But hark! The Sat.Nav disagreed:
due North was what it guaranteed.
So off they trekked on camel-back.
(Alas, they were on the wrong track.)

They’d brought, as gifts, diamonds and fur
(sadly, no Frankincense and Myrrh)
and fancy jewellery, gold-plated,
to clothe the Christ-Child when located.

Instead of East, they galloped North
and that is why these three, henceforth,
the Sat.Nav-trusting Un-wise Men,
were simply never seen again.

Richard Fleming

A Christmas Note - Ian Duquemin

Dear Santa

There's just one thing I ask of you
I do not have a list
My presents, could you share them out
To those you somehow missed
I'm not at all ungrateful
And I hope you understand
But could you just divert your route
And not the one you've planned
I have a friend that says
That she does not believe in you
She doesn't get a single thing
So how can you be true?
It isn't fair you miss her
As she does her best like me
So could you leave a little gift
Beneath her Christmas tree
I know that many get too much
But one would be just fine
And if you haven't brought enough
Then give her one of mine
That's all I ask this Christmas
And I hope you find the way
To bring a little joy to her
This coming Christmas day

Ian Duquemin

Siren’s Call - Ross Attwood

When the ocean gets rough it's like your love
A thousand kisses breaking on my bones
When it stills I'm filled with fear, maybe now you don't want me near
If I could drown in you please keep me down
The dry earth has broken this man

An ancient mariner of sinful desire
Your siren’s song has quenched these fires
Take me where you will on your waves
Don't wash me up on beaches or in caves.

Ross Attwood

Wondrously Bright - Kathy Figueroa

The future of humanity
Could be wondrously bright indeed,
If only the many warnings
We'd try to understand and heed.

If we'd raise our voices in song,
Instead of conflict, strife, and war,
We could become like the angels...
How the human spirit would soar!

Kathy Figueroa

Wondrously Bright was published on October 9, 2014, in The Bancroft Times newspaper.

Imelda - Ian Duquemin

It once was told a house was built upon a silent hill, and stood there in the shadows now for many, many years
It's true to say that many often passed the door that filled them with an inner dread that preyed upon their deepest, darkest fears
But long ago this very place was home to sweet Imelda, who would run around its structure through the dark and empty halls
It's said she had a gift, and she would see them as they freely moved around the house, then disappear behind the solid walls
No one ever visited, and as the seasons hurried by, a lonely woman lived within this dark and damp abode
And with the passing years, the cracks and peeling paint were of an age in which this shadowed home of hers was miserably showed
When passers by came close they'd hear the sobbing of Imelda, that would break the heart of any living thing that came to care
But all would keep their distance, as the fear was overwhelming... Imelda had her demons who were locked away in there
The voices that were heard were incoherent in a whisper, like the wind that sent a frozen finger running down a spine
The sun would never shine upon the broken tiled rooftop, and the passers by would see this as a supernatural sign
So poor Imelda passed away and no one mourned her sorry soul, but still her sobs are heard as though she never really died
And to this day not one has ever had the nerve to turn the handle of the creaking door of hers and visit her inside

Ian Duquemin

2017 - Richard Fleming

The television screen displays
a demagogue, with bloody hands,
demanding flesh; a nation, crazed
with twisted zeal, that owns a bomb;
the voice of reason, gentle words
of sanity drowned out by guns
whose bullets scream: I will be heard.

I will be heard: a billion tongues
shout out, a billion keyboards spit
pollution in a billion ears
until that billion multiplies.
What room is there for reason when
unreason is normality?
What place is there for hope or love?

Here amidst chaos, love remains
the seed that hopeful men must plant
to cultivate in fertile soil,
if fertile soil may yet be found.
There, it may germinate and bloom,
a small, resistant splash of light,
to guide us through encroaching night.

Richard Fleming

Finders Keepers - Lyndon Queripel

I found an old map of gold
That my greed could claim
Looking closely at the deed
I was able to read my name
But the last part was missing
It was a crying shame

Finders keepers, losers weepers game

I found a coat of colours
Lying in the midday mud
The buttons shone like diamonds
But it had a broken stud
So I tried it on for size
But the pockets were full of blood

Finders keepers, left after the flood

I found a box of silver
In a cellar of cold stone
I started to count my blessings
When the wind began to moan
It slammed the door so fast
Was locked in all alone

Finders keepers, misfortune unknown.

Lyndon Queripel

Over the Edge - Diane Scantlebury

Head first over the precipice she plunges,
Freefalling into a different age,
No safety harness to impede her progress,
As her life speeds past to another page,

No mayday calls or rescue boat launched to find her,
Nor helicopter circling to seek out where she’d be,
While over the edge she was falling, falling,
To drown in the depths of the aging sea,

At the edge there’d been no warning,
No easy route on which to stick,
So she’d trundled on through life oblivious
Of the inevitable path that time would pick,

Into the sea of age she was falling, falling,
Life passing before her in a flash,
No outstretched net below to catch her,
No one had pushed, there’d be no splash.

Diane Scantlebury

La Belle Etoile - Tony Bradley

In Spring, before twilight, I saw a star so bright
though so beautifully glinting, the orbit was wrong
I dreamt it was mine, in a warm silvery light
but the dream, and the star, didn't stay long.

The star captured me, but soon left, come the bright day
the pain of reality, stabbing me, like a knife
but it's up there, and although a distance away,
it's still brightening up my dull, little life.

Tony Bradley

The Peace Keeper - John Carré Buchanan

They trained him to kill.
To remove a face mask with his fingers,
slit a throat, sever a brain stem.
He can shoot centre mass,
advance with bayonet,
post a grenade,
take out a tank and make a bomb.
He's directed fire and lase'd targets.
They taught him to ambush
to advance under fire,
to suppress his own fear and press forward,
to fend for his mates - he will go it alone
and can kill with a shovel a stick or a stone.
His aggression's controlled, but
behind his tranquil eyes and square jaw
is a highly trained soldier ready for war.
Now he stands between combatants
capability checked,
the irony...
The rules of engagement in his pocket
and the blue beret on his head
make him the peace keeper.

John Carré Buchanan

Not That We Would Ever Dream Of Not - Ric Carter

You had canned laughter in your hair.
It accompanied everything you said,
drowning out the ends of your sentences,
your sentence ends.

I had had my sentence ends trimmed, tidied up so as
to cut down on my talking, which I told myself was
getting out of hand, and now I never got to the end of
sentences and no one understood what I was trying
to say.

I made phone calls and they came out garbled.
But I knew these were victorious conversations –
uselessly stupid, stupidly fruitless, fruitlessly weird,
weirdly important, dreams with dreamt-up punchlines,
mostly but not entirely jokeless.

Your hair laughed whenever you moved in your sleep,
soundtracking memories accumulated during the day –
our comedy situations that were awkwardly disastrous,
disastrously awkward, awkwardly disastrous,
disastrously awkward, ad infinitum, infinitum ad

Ric Carter

Vazon Strand - Steve Rowe

we would run
ancient heroes
on the long silver beach
chase wild water ’til midnight
on the shoreline of the reach
over timber
to the causeway
'neath the granite of the quay
over silence of the soft wet sand
to the edge of the sea

and some would seek fortunes
others wade in deep mud
or standing like a legion
with a banner under god
chant longing for the master
rave passion for the king
open up for the chalice
to wear the robe and the ring

and we were lit by the stars and the planets
looking for the holy grail
with your pale face staring
at the full moon's train
down on the vazon strand

we were cold on the monday
stony broke in the week
waiting long for the holy days
when we gathered to the street
and we were all fine companions
on the journey to the end
sea salt sailors
friends of friends of our friends

and I knew you when I met you
and I found you in the crowd
like an island in the moonlight
like a star above a crown
and we shared all our fortune
and buried all our tears
in the depths of the dunes
in the shadow of the pier

and we were lit by the stars and the planets
looking for the holy grail
with your pale face staring
at the full moon's train
down on the vazon strand

Steve Rowe

The Last Trump - Oscar Milde

(1 Corinthians 15:52 King James Bible.
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,
at the last trump we shall be changed ...

Donald has a Trumpet
that he Trumpets on each day.

Observers fulminate and moan,
You ain’t supposed to blow your own!

But Donald doesn’t give a hoot
and blows it anyway.

When he’s not trumpeting, he Tweets
of fake-news-media-deceits
or, when he really gets upset,
issues his oft-repeated threat
to squash, demolish, wipe out, ruin,
that little nutter, Kim Jong Un.

With Armageddon coming fast
let’s hope Don’s Trump is not the Last.

Oscar Milde

Drowning - Trudie Shannon

He is drowning.
Little by little.
Hour by hour.
Day by day.
He begs no witnesses
Only the reflection
Of the man he once knew
To recognise him occasionally
From the surface of every other bottle.
He has cast himself out, is adrift
On a shattered amber sea, whiskey dreaming.
Outside it rains
And the river runs wild with white horses
And the dog pleads for exercise
And the cat chases windblown leaves
And half bottled, he sleeps
Slipping sideways, an indoor down and out
Fearful of living, angry at life.
Comatose in his leather armchair.
He is drowning.
Little by little.
Hour by hour.
Day by day.
Beside the garden gate
His woman bids farewell to silence, to loneliness.
Inside, he waits, little knowing
That Death will not succumb to bribery.

Trudie Shannon

ZOMBIEPHOBIA - Richard Fleming

Others, they call us The Undead
and everywhere we go, they flee;
if trapped, they shoot us in the head;
they simply cannot let us be.

For we can’t help the way we are:
with rotting skin and clothes not fresh.
It’s hardly our fault if we all
enjoy the taste of human flesh

and clump around on shaky legs
or claw at people that we meet,
so you should not discriminate
and keep your distance in the street.

We tore the postman limb from limb?
Hands up, we did that: a mistake.
But these things happen, life’s not fair.
We only kill when we’re awake.

So what, if we smell of the grave?
Most days we are polite and good.
We are not the repulsive bunch
portrayed on screen by Hollywood.

Okay, we ate your Mum and Dad,
and maybe others, quite a few,
but you must make allowances
for Zombie folk are people too.

Compassionate society
should make us welcome and be fair,
enjoy diversity, be cool.
Embrace a Zombie, show you care.

Richard Fleming

Oh Garlic! - Kathy Figueroa

Oh Garlic, of the great Allium Tribe
Bulbous root, so vibrant and exciting
You cast a magic spell that works so well
To make food delicious and inviting

Beneath that papery exterior
Is a flavourful essence, bold and true
Other seasonings seem inferior
Compared to the razzamatazz of you

Elevating plain old soup to glory!
To bread, adding a delectable glow!
Of all veggies to be acquainted with
It’s versatile you I most want to know!

You add pizzazz to all types of salads -
Potato, cruciferous, and green tossed -
With toothsomeness worthy of great ballads
You rescue appetites from being lost

You’re also useful medicinally
To keep cold and flu viruses at bay
And when garlic oil is mixed with water
It makes an effective mosquito spray

An incredible versatility
Extends beyond what could be expected:
Your antibacterial properties
Were used to keep war wounds disinfected!

Sometimes, Garlic, you receive a bad rap
“You’re much too odiferous,” some folks claim
Those who are worried about dragon breath
Should know it’s something that parsley can tame

If the thought of vampires gives folks a fright
Some legends claim garlic is protective
It’s said that a clove worn around the neck
Is a repellent that’s most effective

I’ve extolled these fine characteristics
In verses of joyous veneration
And thank you, Garlic, for your qualities
Worthy of this public adulation!

Kathy Figueroa

Oh Garlic! was published on August 10, 2017, in The Bancroft Times newspaper.

If I Could - Lyndon Queripel

If I could sing I’d be a singer
If I could play guitar I’d be a star
If I could think I’d be a danger
If I could go I’d go too far

If I could act I’d be an actor
If I could be myself I’d play the part
If I could forget the script of debt
If I could remember I’d know by heart

If I could write I’d page a poem
If I could understand every word
If I could face the fact not fiction
If I could use a pen I’d lose my sword.

Lyndon Queripel

The Scramble Of Time - Tony Gardner

Scrambling brambles up the side
Of walls once weatherproof and warm
So much was lived and loved inside
Those stones where I'm still strangely drawn
So many lives were tossed around
In this old home of war and peace
And happy hours richly blessed
With never dream that all might cease

A skeleton is all that's left
Of warmth and safety, strength and dreams
Hopes and memories fade so fast
For nothing in this life will last
Brambles scramble up the wall
The Ivy strangles everything
Our little lives are shooting stars
For Mother Nature always wins

Tony Gardner

Deity Doll - Lester Queripel

Gods and Goddesses.
Forever immortal.
The perfect angel.
Statue memorial.
Purity and perfection.
Collective resurrection.
Hail Mary.
Open to the elements.
Standing alone.
Seemingly untouchable.
Fragile and vulnerable.
Handle with care the Deity Doll.
If you want to save your soul.

Before your eyes.
Baptise and memorise.
Shine the light.
Rejoice and delight.
Fight the good fight.
Don't lose sight.
Or get blinded by the light.
From the cradle to the grave.
In castle and cave.
With the cross and the nail.
In search of the Holy Grail.

Lester Queripel

Bunker Hill - Stephen A. Roberts

They stop to watch
their watches stopped, and
time stands still,
on Bunker Hill.

The cold grey sea
begins to fill, the
hollows around
old Bunker Hill.

The wall has gone
they spent a mill, and
nothing can stop
the overspill.

They can only watch,
and wait until, the
tide laps up
to Bunker Hill.

Stephen A. Roberts

Solitude? I could get used to this - Tony Bradley

Hey, this isn't so bad, after all
Hasta la vista, babe, stay on yer bike
no more TV soaps , I'VE got the remote
I can flip channels as much as I like.

Now I brazenly swagger to the fridge
savage a sausage, or chomp at the cheese
maybe, instead of cooking, have a jam sandwich
I can eat EXACTLY what I please.

I can cash in the Co-op divi, or Christmas club
and completely waste the spoils
I can bath every day, with no-one to say
"You're going to lose all your essential oils . . ."

Tony Bradley

Your Pedestal - Ian Duquemin

I sat on your pedestal waiting
Keeping it safe while you're gone
So high was its glory, my skin of milk white
Was scorched by the heat of the sun
Nobody noticed me waiting
They walked by without any care
Yet they'd have all stopped if I wasn't up here
And you were the one sitting there
I never intended to trade you
I thought I was being a friend
But where are you now when I need your return
So I am then free to descend
The seasons have changed since you left me
The tides turned to salt from my tears
And yet I remain here just waiting
Your promise of days became years

Ian Duquemin

Restaurant Review - Egon Rongway

I don’t want grub served on a slate,
a bucket or a block of wood.
This sort of nonsense tends to grate.
It’s simply gimmickry with food.

Just serve the meal with less display
and please, oh please don’t cry Good choice!
or, with a flourish, bow and say
Enjoy it! in a stupid voice.

Don’t plunge in while I chat with friends,
just wait, as proper waiters do.
Inept intrusiveness offends:
no need to stick to us like glue.

You’ve overcharged us for the wine:
that’s greedy, it impairs the taste.
The main course, when it came, was fine,
the pud was served with too much haste

so you could push us out the door
to rush some other punters through
production-line style, more and more,
a hungry, never-ending queue.

I’ll go on Trip Advisor to
review your fancy restaurant
that I don’t fancy much, it’s true,
and come back, no, I surely shan’t.

Egon Rongway

The Working Week - Diane Scantlebury

Moany Monday

Monday’s for misery
Monday’s for groaners,
Whiners and complainers
Monday’s for moaners,

The grumpy and the grisly ones
Are never the stay at homers,
They love to spread unhappiness
For Monday’s for moaners,

The angry ones, the unreasonable ones
Always shouting down the phoners,
They save it up all weekend
Till moan day,
‘Cause Monday’s for moaners!

Terrific Tuesday

Tuesday’s a better day
Hardly ever manic,
A time to reflect day
When no one’s in a panic,

Tuesday’s a calm day
A perfect day for meetings,
Everyone seems so relaxed
With more time for greetings,

Why Tuesday’s such a nice day
Isn’t down to things specific,
A relief from moany Monday
Tuesdays are terrific!

Strange Wednesday

What’s the point of Wednesday?
It’s neither here nor there,
A middle of the week day
When no one seems to care,

Wednesday’s such a strange day
Sometimes it’s full of woe,
A shelter from the rain day
When there’s nowhere else to go,

Wednesdays can be busy
Most times they’ll start off quiet,
Just occasionally someone kicks off,
But it’s not a day to riot!

Crazy Thursday

Thursday’s a crazy, busy day,
Thursday’s always manic,
Waiting room noisy, full to bursting,
The Staff are in a panic,

Angry parents with tempers frayed,
Kids bored, around in circles run,
Such an unforgiving day,
Crazy Thursdays aren’t much fun!


Hurrah, hurrah for Friday
A day that should be fun,
Friday’s the day to thank the Lord,
‘Cause the working week is done!

Diane Scantlebury

All Summer Long - Steve Rowe

Sky and earth
where I dwell in circles turning
land of birth
air of breath in wind and curl
beneath the clouded heavens
I make for water from the heath
to skim the surface
low beneath
the hills of bracken gorse
and sanded slopes
in coarse and sheltered dips
where we hid on weekends
watching ships
caress the edge of our seen world
while sunlight warmed our skin
and we gamed upon the dunes
our clan in faithful tunes
of common days
when all was well and still
and life was fresh
in youth and thrill
and simple to the core
from the valley to the shore
and when we ran
and chased and tagged and raced
in full energy
and leaped and jumped and twirled
like flags in the breeze
sending signals of our ease
shameless and careless
in earnest release
of joy and guileless peace
a ritual of our earthy song
encased in heaven's bliss
all summer long

Steve Rowe

Remembering Fred (Fred Williamson 1941 - 2017) - John Carré Buchanan

Fred wrote of very simple things
The things he'd seen, places he'd been
Monkeys dancing in the trees
Dolphins, sunsets, a cool breeze
He looked to be a frail old man
with weathered face and tattoo hands
but the smile he wore was strong
it made him stand out in a throng.
He wrote poems on paper scraps
and couldn't always read them back
but his wit, his smile, his zest for life
always made listening worthwhile.
Yes he wrote of very simple things
But Fred you got it right
you left a world a better place
because you helped show the light.
I'll remember you
through some words you wrote;
for you "walked the land with head held high
With dignity purpose and pride
We value you for who you were
and what you were inside." *

John Carré Buchanan

*Inside - Lester Queripel and Fred Williamson

Brought You Onions - Adam Clayton

I brought you onions in my backpack
Sifting through those dry skin pickings
Felt like building our rickety shack
While the sun shines in through beetroot fittings
I picked four pound of pendulous pears
Hung up/lightbulb-ing by the back wall
Our love grows up through minute tears
It’s like this fruit tree – 9 foot tall
We’ll make you jam and chutney too
Not just to share but to give your family
Don’t care if they don’t know who grew
These plants or who it is that owns the tree
I’ll bring you melons and cucumbers out the span
They hang down, engorging daily in the sun
Like this joy, which grows according to plan
Apple, from the day we met you were the one

Adam Clayton

Testament - Richard Fleming

Forget the florid words
and speak in language, commonplace,
of what our brief connection made
of us, our lives, how we were changed.

As for myself, I am enhanced.
For you, perhaps the same is true.
I only know a better man
emerged: a testament to you.

Richard Fleming

A Study, Oil on Canvas (1970) - Julian Clarke

Bohemian, in her semi-nude pose,
Dunhill cigarette impatiently burns
Belying loves truth of white petal rose.

Art of capriciousness in amber eyes
Captures spirit like dancing fireflies,

Lying abandoned, Pucci’s Capri pants,
A chiffon scarf her modesty covered in scant.

Of course her playfulness be cast in part
Cold Excalibur, drawn, pricks crimson heart.

Poets scribe her in gilded lily prose.
Enigmatically the painter flourished
Blood red, on lips, thorn of Baccara rose.

Julian Clarke

Nature - Tony Gardner

It's a wonderful day
with the sun smiling down
Warm breeze tickling leaves
with a soft happy sound
And the tinkling of water
gurgling along
In sweet harmony with
the Lark's joyous song
I know that I'm lucky
and I look forward to
The daybreak each morning
empty and new
When I see by the trees
if the wind's cruel or kind
If the moody old sun
will hide or will shine
Guess I can't hide it,
I'm an old Country boy
And far from the city
is what I enjoy
But I've seen so many
Summers and Springs
Wonder how many more
will this old Life bring
I've been a good boy,
well as far as I could
Slipped a few times
as anyone would
But we all have our time,
and Nature's not Fair
Some have more,
and some less than their share.

Tony Gardner

The Young, The Very Beautiful - Owen Monie

The young, the very beautiful, on days
when sunshine warms the tide-washed azure bays
they make their own,
stride on the sands like emperors of old,
utterly fearless, confident and bold
yet not full grown

nor yet past youth and beauty as we are,
who sit and watch them from our little car
which rarely starts,
with each a bag of chips upon our knee
and battered fish (with extra salt for me)
and aching hearts.

Owen Monie

Les Bourgs Hospice: Angels? - Trudie Shannon

I have read and I have heard
About the ‘angels’ who care for those in the hospice.
I have met and shared with them, these ‘angels’
But never saw a golden wing or glowing halo
Never heard celestial voices singing in the corridors
Never caught a glimpse of heavenly perfection.
But each day I did see, did share, did live
With real, tangible people, diverse and individual
Who in their every word and action
Expressed the absolute beauty of true humanity.
To be referred to as angels is the ultimate tribute I guess
But to me conjures images of intangible figures adrift in the sky.
I’d rather see the mother, the wife, the child, the sister
Whose feet get tired, whose shoes get worn
Whose hearts ache, who have meals to cook, clothes to wash
Kids to get off to school, parents to care for, friends to laugh with
Who eat, sleep, cry, hurt, dance, sing, play, fall, and love
And love enough, to share with strangers, their quiet compassion.

Trudie Shannon

The Wrong Place? - Lester Queripel

Everywhere I went I felt as though I was in the wrong place.
So I jumped aboard a spaceship and headed for outer space.
My destination was the Moon.
I thought there'd be plenty of room.
But when I got there I wasn't alone.
So I jumped back in the spaceship and went back home.

Lester Queripel

Days We Knew Before The War - Lyndon Queripel

I am a generaI and I lead the fight
My blood will tremble at the sight
Above the ranks I'll get the thanks
Blazing tanks through flanks of the night

I am a hero and I’m strong and brave
See the free country I fought to save
Pin medals on my chest and put the best
Flowers fresh and blessed on my grave

I am a coward and I had to run away
My feet on retreat for I could not stay
I’m still alive and so I try to survive
For I might yet fight on another day

I am a bullet and I found my mark
I ricocheted along with a spark
A soldier falls behind the walls
Telescopic sights, infra red dark

I am a child and I’m waiting for
My father’s face at our back door
Until his return how I still yearn
For those days we knew before the war.

Lyndon Queripel

Fancy Food - Joan Etoile

Does every cook want to be a celebrity?
Me, I just want a bit of tea
With no posturing or tasting menu
A plain steak please, leave out the wagyu

Why do these people crave shallow fame
Their TV faces lit by the blow torch flame?
A modus operandi that makes no sense
When using the simplest ingredients

It takes no time to make a Guernsey treat
Some crispy vraic or rabbit's feet
Do I need to be told by chef Ram-say
That my bean jar is a cassoulet?

Joan Etoile

The Phantom Bikes of Grandes Rocques - Tony Bradley

It's just after dawn, I'm on the beach again
and something so really strange occurred
I saw it, or did I fantasize . . . ?
(I'm quite capable, . . . I'm a bit of a nerd .)

Two bikes raced along the road, beyond the dunes
but my still sleepy eyes and brain detected
in an eery moment, that made me shiver
there were actually no humans connected.

I paused, half-asleep, to consider the event
I probably appeared cool, quite laconic
I reasoned, that if there had been riders aboard
they were obviously invisible, and at that speed, bionic .

I was suddenly startled again, whilst still assimilating the facts
another bunch, three this time, in the opposite direction
I know it wasn't the Valkyrie, or headless horsemen
but I don't view that beach now, with the same affection.

Tony Bradley

Frog Army - Diane Scantlebury

From the pool
And strangely squelching,
A dark horde emerge
In clinging black suits,
Bare feet slip slapping
On wet tiled concrete,
As they tip water from
Their sodden rubber boots,

Now stripped to the waist
They peel off dripping trappings,
To dry out in the heat of the sun,
Reborn from the chrysalis
Of their soaking wrappings,
A bronze-bodied army,
Laughing, drenched and having fun.

Diane Scantlebury

A Little Room For Me - Ian Duquemin

I wondered where you went to
I looked but you weren't there
I thought that I might follow
But with thought I didn't dare
I ask that you might listen
I was blind and couldn't see
My prayer is you might try to find
A little room for me

I threw myself in darkness
Found the place called Babylon
Not knowing of the hurt I'd find
Believing it was fun
I've worked hard for redemption
Packed my bags so I could flee
And I'm asking you to try and leave
A little room for me

My lies were only mortal
Now stains I've left behind
A lifetime spent deceiving
Now seeks for peace of mind
I've thrown away my hatred
From sins I've broken free
And all I need to know is there
A little room for me

I've called your name a thousand times
Yet not heard your reply
I've gazed at every shining star
Not one has caught my eye
Amidst this vast eternal
I hope there just might be
A chance that you have saved a space
A little room for me

Ian Duquemin

The Naturist - Edward Bare

Supine in the breathing grasses
I lie, as a rider passes:
slender woman on a hoss,
figure not unlike Kate Moss,
gees her hoss and tosses head,
goes another way instead.
I would rather that she’d fainted.
Now we’ll never get acquainted.

Edward Bare

Armchair Warrior - Stephen A. Roberts

In the land of vacuous bling
In the shadow of statues and kings
There's a small but well insulated house
Where the armchair warrior moves his mouse

The peace dividend sits in folds round his waist
As he engages in a combat he's never faced
One day he's a Soviet, the next a Peshmerga
Whatever his role he's still got a burger

The screen character ducks, rolls and then dies
He pauses the battle to reach for his fries
The Goddess of War beckons, he willingly greets her
Then offers her death with a slice of his pizza

Stephen A. Roberts

Drifting Tunes - Tony Gardner

Oft times at night I catch the drift
Of songs from long ago
Sometimes it seems I feel the things
I'm sure I cannot know
Days gone by and in the past
Long before my time
Are fresh and present and alive
And sharp as winter's rime
The songs rise raucous in the light
Of the campfire's mystic glow
Or from rude bar rooms of the West
Where rough, raw whiskey flowed
The strains come whisp'ring through the years
Tunes that I feel I know
Some drift still from the Western front
A hundred years ago
It's just half-death before I sleep
When these false mem'ries wind
Their strange and half-known melodies
Around my drowsy mind
Soon I'm asleep and unaware
Of tunes that come and go
But oft at night I catch the drift
Of songs from long ago

Tony Gardner

West Coast Sunset - Richard Fleming

When the Fat Lady sings her song
of death, her red dress billows out.
Her stage is the horizon there
beyond the sea where white birds shout
like stage-hands in the cooling air
or, lazy, simply bob along.

Her audience, this perfect night:
beach strollers, men with barbeques,
joggers, dog-walkers, laughing girls,
wet-suited boys in bright canoes;
stare as her aria unfurls
its ruby notes in dying light.

Collectively, we hold our breath
to watch the Lady, red as paint,
sink down, her wondrous final scene
completed in a breathless faint.
The colour now, the tangerine
of saffron robes, perhaps of death.

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

Two Things That Should Never Mix - Kathy Figueroa

He wasn’t supposed to be born that way
But it wasn’t something he could choose
You see, his mother was a party girl
And really liked the booze

So he was awash with alcohol though,
As an embryo, shouldn’t have been drinking
Now he’s got problems and owes it all
To the fact his mother wasn’t thinking

“Fetal Alcohol Syndrome” or “FAS”
Is how the condition is commonly defined
It not only affects folks physically
It also affects the mind

Poor concentration, focus that flops
Around like a flag in the wind -
Pregnant women simply shouldn’t imbibe
Or else against the unborn they’ve sinned…

…By taking away their capacity
To have lives that are happy and productive
And ensuring a host of problems that are
Socially alienating and destructive

FAS means there’s no ability to understand
That there are consequences to actions
It also often means trouble with the law
Because of negative attractions

Being naïve and malleable, never
The master of their own mind
Their only hope is for an environment
That’s protective, structured, and kind

Some brutally hard facts,
Ones which no one likes to say,
Are that the condition is preventable
…And won’t ever go away

Alcohol and pregnancy are
Two things that should never mix
Lest there be problems that doctors
And prayers simply can’t ever fix.

Kathy Figueroa

The Spoils of War. (Get rid of all the bunkers.) - Tony Bradley

I often come for a stroll on this headland
they come for contrasting reasons, some others that do
some seem to have blinkers, ignoring the beauty
they're attracted to evil's past, blind to the view.

They don't seem to see the rainbow surf,
swirling gushing up gullies, 'gainst the granite peaks
the evening sunlight, on the wet rocks,
glistening a gull hovering over, as sheltered perch it seeks.

They just come to see the ugly concrete wasteland
coastlines desecrated, all beauty offended
do we wish to immortalize past sins ? . . . .
let's give Nature back her Earth, for the beauty intended.

Tony Bradley

Believe It - Lester Queripel

Borrow from tomorrow.
It could bring you joy or it could bring you sorrow.
It could become a noose around your neck.
You'll need to keep it in check.
It's payback time until you clear the debt.
There's no need to worry or fret.
Don't live a life of regret.
Do what you need to do.
Don't wait.
Don't speculate or contemplate.
Build your castle in the air.
You have the time to spare.
You have everything you need.
So there is no reason why you shouldn't succeed.
Roll up your sleeve.
It's possible to achieve.
All you have to do is believe.
It will be worth it in the end.
As long as you don't go around the bend.

Lester Queripel

Red, White and Blue - Diane Scantlebury

Outside the Britannia pub
Red faced, blue nosed he stands,
A smouldering cigarette dangling
From the scarred white fingers of his hand,
Ash spatters his scuffed shoes
While he reflects unseeing on a life,
Frittered recklessly away on beer,
Battered and abandoned like his wife,

With toothless mouth, he curses,
Foul and reeking of booze,
Slowly drawing on the stub
He’s nothing left and nothing more to lose,
Outside the Britannia pub
Red faced, blue nosed he stands,
Unsteady on white legs that once would swagger,
Now he can only grab the door frame
And back into its darkness stagger.

Diane Scantlebury

Breath - Julian Clarke

is our being.
Being is beautiful, and
being with you is as beautiful
as the breath itself.
Take nothing for granted,
appreciate the love
our breath

Julian Clarke

Big Plans - Joan Etoile

I worried about my Guernsey boys
Spending so much money on new toys
With them it's all "want, want, want"
That's why they traded in their little punt
For a nice big boat without a sail
What use is that when the engine fails?

Now they've asked for their inheritance
Though they said it was only "bants"
It seems they want to extend their drive
In case more people should arrive
I said they won't come, not when they twig
That your house is not so big

But they keep going on about their plan
How they could park a bigger van
They're even paying one of their mates
To find out who offers the best rates
Well at least someone will see some lolly
From my children's stupid folly!

Joan Etoile

The Beggar - Ian Duquemin

A beggar came calling, he knocked on my door
I swear I'd not known of a beggar so poor
I may not have much but I've got quite a lot
I guess I'm content with the little I've got
I broke him some bread, shared a bottle of wine
I gave him a coat that was comfortably mine
He thanked me and smiled, then he went on his way
A little more richer than he was yesterday

Ian Duquemin

Childhood - Tony Bradley

I was on the beach again, soon after dawn
just mooching, beach-combing, had a little jog.
Sitting on the sand, I re-enacted a game
that we used to play, when I was a sprog.

I made a pyramid of stones, with a tall one, on top
balanced, so it would have little resistance
I moved well away, with stones to throw
it seemed a bit cocky, quite a distance.

Anyway, I lobbed one, just to stretch my arm
to get the range, you know, casually tossed it
I only whacked it, sent it tumbling
I quit, swaggered home, I haven't lost it.

Tony Bradley

Goodbye, Victor Tango - Stephen A. Roberts

Image: Facebook - Joey & Friends - The Trislander Appreciation Page

You were a punky little thing in 1977;
and your snarling youth
never really left you,
even as you grew old and settled into
a life of loyal service.

How many glorious days did you soar into the air,
your island realm spread out before you -
and in those moments
all thoughts of life in Joey's shadow
were drowned out
by your own
triple-engined drone.

Now it is time to be pensioned off, and after
one last hurrah in Sarnian skies
you head for Duxford
dipping your wings
in farewell;
Goodbye, Victor Tango.

Stephen A. Roberts

Black Wave - Richard Fleming

The sea is like a black-edged card.
Oil creeps in on a rising tide,
announcing doom: another spill.
As stricken seabirds, petrified,
lurch over rocks or huddle still
awaiting death, their feathers tarred.
Black fingers reach into our lives.
A tanker, carelessly maintained,
managed by fools, ineptly crewed,
has left our waters grossly stained.
When rich marine life faces crude
and brutish oil, nothing survives.

Behind this little tragedy,
as always, greed and grasping hands.
Voracious men, whose selfish world
is ruled by bankers’ brusque commands,
care nothing for the curses hurled
by we who toil beside the sea
to rescue one or two or three
fouled victims from spoiled habitat.
While many thousand birds have died,
survivors surely wonder that
this nurturing, sustaining tide
became, today, their enemy.

Richard Fleming

Stumbling Through - Tony Gardner

Looking at me, you may think 'He's OK'
Doing just fine, walking down his own way.
I suppose that maybe partly it's true
But for most of my life, I'm just stumbling through
Through feelings of confidence, feelings of worth
Of making the most of my short time on Earth
What I morally owe, what I'm entitled to
In this crazy minefield, I'm just stumbling through.
Through times of despair, disappointment and woe
Through happiness I never dreamed I could know
Through dull days and bright days, I always knew
Through all of my life I'd be just stumbling through
Should I do this or that or try something new
I'm just doing my best and stumbling on through.

Tony Gardner

Chosen Paths - Julie Gallienne

Life is a lesson
we've agreed to learn
until we are returned to source
when it's our turn.
If we make mistakes
along the way
they are the dues planned
we agreed to pay.
But upon this journey
our time on earth
Spirits guiding light
is with us from birth.
Our hearts can be filled
with joy and bliss
through meditation
we can achieve this.
So open your hearts
and pass the love around
to people you meet
because what you give
they will repeat.
As I sit in contemplation
amid a life
of shattered dreams
I have come to the conclusion
all is not as it seems.
My life path has changed
to the future it's meant to be
but my final destination
is not entirely up to me.
I have a guiding hand
to push me along the way
but although I can give input
I can't have the final say.
A higher consciousness
to my greatest good
is prompting me
until I've understood.
If all the world
behaved this way
every war
would be held at bay.
We would live in peace
and harmony
talk through world problems
with tolerance
No showing of anger
no shifting the blame
pointing the finger
never again.
So if we all do a little
to help earth's people
the effects will expand
into a ripple.
Let this be felt
all over the world
so the future we demand
can unfurl.

Julie Gallienne

Brick Wall Battles - Lester Queripel

‘Brick wall battles’ can be won.
Not every single one……..but some.
You might get a headache.
An awful backache.
Even occasional heartache.
Think you’ve had all you can take.
But don’t let your spirit break.
Because ‘brick wall battles’ can be won.
So keep going….….keep going on.
Because ‘brick wall battles’ can be won.

Lester Queripel

Vegetarian - Kathy Figueroa

It's delicious
And delightful
It's nutritious
But not frightful
Because it's not filled
With blood and gore
No animals have to die
When I buy food at
The grocery store
I'm on the vegetarian diet
That includes fruit
Vegetables, nuts, and seeds
Sometimes I add
A few edible wild plants
Because wild plants
Aren't always weeds
Yes, I love vegetarian food
And have it every day
Usually, it's raw because
It tastes better that way
I make salads in minutes
With many different
Vegetables, spices, and olive oil
No longer, in the kitchen
Over a hot stove, do I toil
Recycling is a snap
The peels are just
Composted outside
Vegetarian cuisine is easy
Healthy, ecologically friendly
Makes me feel good
And best of all
No animals have died

Kathy Figueroa

“Vegetarian” was first published on March 31, 2011, in The Bancroft Times newspaper, and later in Kathy Figueroa's book, "Paudash Poems,” which was published in July, 2012.

Guernsey Tsunami - Greta Flood

High, high as Vale Church spire it rolled:
it bypassed Herm as on it bowled
then gathered speed and gathered height
till something in the change of light
silenced the gulls, caused dogs to bark
and people at Bordeaux remark
that fishing-boats out in the Bay
behaved in an unusual way.
Down at the Kiosk, talk was stilled,
as eyes turned seaward, hearts were chilled.
Men clutched their wives, wives hugged their brood
for out at sea a mountain stood;
a wall of water soaring high,
metallic in a darkened sky.
A wave, gargantuan and pale,
engulfed, then swallowed up the Vale.
As boats and cars were swept away
and houses left in disarray,
inhabitants of coast and lane
tried swimming but all was in vain.
There was no hope: they drowned like rats,
themselves, their children, dogs and cats
No one survived. It was a purge.
All perished in the deadly surge
like flies beneath a huge fly swat,
the locals, non-locals, the lot.

Greta Flood

Spider’s Feast - Diane Scantlebury

Captured in a cruel web
Her lurid wings flutter fast,
As she struggles hard against her fate
Body arched, the throes of death to wait,

No more to soar up to the heights
No more dancing around flowers aflame,
By curiosity drawn to her own demise
And to be a spider’s feast is such a shame,

Like her we’re here on borrowed time
A chance to shine for what it’s worth,
Drawn as moths around life’s flame
In our brief last dance upon this earth.

Diane Scantlebury

Jaws - Adam Clayton

the machine's jaws are 80 foot wide
busy gathering scraps, we crouch inside
flesh is ground up, transformed into paste
gratefully we ensure there's no waste
life on the edge is what we live out
some crumbs are that rich there's a risk of gout

assisting dental care, out of harm's way
we're living toothpicks with offcuts for pay
the machine consumes vast orders of meat
avoiding destruction is such a treat
picking fangs together, we're a right pair
working away, we get our fair share

Adam Clayton

Freedom Road - Ian Duquemin

I walked along a country road
Where I met an unknown friend
He'd travelled many, many miles
His journey had no end
I said "I'd like to join you...
Just nod if you'll agree"
He whispered in a soft tone
"The road ahead is free"

I said "This may sound crazy...
But I don't know who I am!
No one seems to know me...
Not many give a damn"
My friend he looked me in the eyes
Said "You have a soul that's true...
The only friend you need right now...
Is one that walks with you"

I listened to the silence
As if to ease my mind
I'd come in search of freedom
A place so hard to find
While heading t'wards the setting sun
The sky above turned red
"If you wake to see it rise again...
You're there!" my new friend said

We came upon a mountain
My feet were worn and tired
My eyes looked to the summit
I felt instantly inspired
The steps that raised us skyward
Left footprints on the ground
"We'll leave them there" my good friend said
"For others freedom bound"

And when we reached the heavens
We gazed upon our miles
Our journey ended silently
A hug, a nod, and smiles
He carried on his own way
We'll meet again sometime
Until then I shall journey on
This freedom road of mine

Ian Duquemin

Monumental Blunderings - Donald Keyman

In the land of monumental blunders, we need more public art
to celebrate our illustrious past, but really, where to start?
A donkey in the harbour? well yes I thought it wrong,
though the way they park the Condor, it wouldn't have lasted long.

I've looked all over Europe, and great statues I have seen
some so fine and noble, and others a bit obscene
in Jersey they've a monument, of people dancing free;
the silent Guernsey obelisk gives the finger, doncha see?

There's a big fish, up in Belfast, made of toilet tiles
it is a bit bizarre, but it raises many smiles
Edinburgh has Greyfriars Bobby, he moves the crowd to tears;
So what fantastic gewgaw could ideally grace our piers?

What about a massive chancre, cast in solid bronze?
(ignore the spider lovers, who would say that it was wrong)
Perhaps a bust of Len and Enid, or a lifelike Stone de Croze
Or maybe a popular deputy, in suitably statesmanlike pose?

Google "famous Guernsey people", and it will tell you this -
The most renowned donkey was a chap called Roy Dotrice
But delve a little deeper, there's Sir Isaac, famous for war
and his brother Daniel, who stayed to practise law

If we widen our net still further, to those from overseas
inevitably we find that author, of "Toilers of the Sea"
another statue of Hugo? well I know that he's the best
but surely now it must be time, to give the guy a rest?

There has to be a figure, who would justify the work
Calm down, hold your horses, I don't mean Maurice Kirk -
No this guy was a local legend, he was permanently peed
Yes - let's have a colossal statue - of the actor Olly Reed!

Donald Keyman

I don't really care what they do, it'll brighten up our day
as long as this poor ol' taxpayer doesn't have to pay...


Kingfisher - Trudie Shannon

The kingfisher,
A blur of iridescent blue and orange,
Hovered like some predatory humming bird
A hands breadth above the slow incoming tide,
Which swirled itself into eddies, a dancer searching for space.
And the kingfisher, seemingly caught in some invisible net
Or maybe just encapsulated in a bubble of air,
Was as still as fluttering wings allow.
And I was its witness, land heavy and in awe.
It’s departure was swift as if some careless hand had burst the bubble.
Falling like a stone, plunging fearlessly out of the air
And into the water, to emerge seconds later, a silver fish in its beak,
Water droplets falling from its feathers like luminescent rain.
Then it was gone, a blur of iridescent blue and orange
And I, its witness remained land heavy and in awe.

Trudie Shannon

Shattered Dream - Lyndon Queripel

You danced on the water
With lightning in your eyes
Raindrops in your heart
And thunder in the skies

You played on your harp
An angel without a prayer
Love was all around you
And electric filled the air

Your mouth was so dry
When at last you awoke
You held a broken mirror
In the coloured smoke

Sparks were still flying
In the wind of the storm
And you were all alone
No one to keep you warm

You reached out your hand
To touch the fading beam
Just left in the shadows
Of a shattered dream.

Lyndon Queripel

Guernsey Lily - Richard Fleming

Guernsey Lily
Unite our people
Elevate us
Return our sons
You are our symbol
Lily of the ocean
Island beauty
Let us endure as
You have endured

Richard Fleming

Gardens, . . . and memories - Tony Bradley

I love to look at your beautiful garden
I had one too, with rockeries, borders, and lawn
the morning dew, the birdsong, and the flowers
like sparkling jewels, in the glistening dawn.

I've had to forsake my garden now
I couldn't still manage it, so I couldn't stay
my old bones, and eyesight, have let me down,
but nothing can take my memories away.

Tony Bradley

Twilight - Tony Gardner

Sitting here in endless twilight
Smokey dreams stroll through my mind
From below the cliff I fell from
I remember sweeter times
When we'd live in endless sunshine
When the nights would never end
All we looked for was each other
Every minute was our friend
Then like snow when warmer days come
Watched you melting fast away
Left me mourning, like the night bird
Weeping in the silver-gray.

Tony Gardner

Guernsey Buses - Anon

Up and down the roads of Guernsey
we sit, happy, on the bus.
Cars are swerving into hedges ...
they are terrified of us.

We mount pavements ... it’s exciting.
Pavement users go quite pale.
Cyclists tumble from their cycles.
We leave chaos in our trail.

Look, we nearly smacked a jogger
but he had amazing luck ...
leapt aside before we hit him,
disappeared beneath a truck.

Did you see that silly driver
crash into a granite wall?
Our bus-driver kept his cool and
how we giggled, one and all.

Hikers, bikers, how they fear us:
big as dinosaurs we are.
Round blind corners with abandon ...
this ain’t transport, this is war.

All our cheery little faces,
through the windows, grin and smirk
as we flatten finance workers ...
our bus-driver’s gone berserk.

Up the Val de Terres we trundle ...
starting, stopping, setting down,
letting traffic jams behind us
form a tailback into Town.

Such a thrill to ride on buses.
Cats and donkeys go to ground.
Seagulls take avoiding action.
All of this for just a pound!


Who Cares? - Diane Scantlebury

You can always tell
The crazy ones,
They have an air
A vacant stare,
They drift along,
Without a care,

You can always spot
The cocky ones,
They jog along
Their shirts undone,
They have an air,
They don’t care,

You’ll always know
The happy ones,
They always smile
Stop to chat for a while,
They have an air,
Because they care.

Diane Scantlebury

Bus Pass - Lester Queripel

I’ve not yet reached my pension age.
but I’m not far off that stage.
I know I don’t need to worry or fuss.
because I’ll get a free pass for the bus.

I can ride around to my heart's content.
not a penny of my own money will need to be spent.
every single second on the bus will be free.
but it’s a shame they don’t give you a cup of tea.

but I’ve never been one to complain.
I’ll happily ride round again and again.
although I hope I can wait in a bus shelter.
I don’t want to wait in the rain.

and why do they call it a bus shelter?
it’s there to shelter people not the bus.
but like I said I won’t cause any fuss.
I’ll be happy just to ride for free on the bus.

Lester Queripel

Secret Cabaret - Ian Duquemin

In this secret cabaret
Sheets in twisted disarray
Hair disheveled, skin unclean
The mirrors misted ghostly sheen
Amidst this den of tortured lies
Still echoing perverted cries
Bodies stretched now lying still
Contented with unholy fill
Sweat drips cold on hot licked flesh
The sins which neither shall confess
Heartbeats simmer, silence loud
No love in here allowed
In the shadows candles dance
Ignited by a spirit trance
One which holds no bounds of sleep
Enticing those to fall in deep
In an act of mortal whim
Where every bent and splintered limb
Shall blindly fall undignified
And keep their shame inside

Ian Duquemin

Juneau, Alaska - Kathy Figueroa

Juneau city
Views are pretty
Streets are gritty
Tramps want spare change

Ravens chatter
Footsteps patter
Workmen clatter
Some sights are strange

A port of call
For one and all
With mountains tall
A snow-capped range

A kind greeting
Pleasant meeting
Make time fleeting
At gold rock grange

Kathy Figueroa

Too Much Chocolate - John Carré Buchanan

Last week we heard a distant roar
that drifted on the air,
it crept ever closer
and bought with it despair.

The pillars are still falling
and all around us now
the constant whine of chainsaw
lays our forest bare.

You'll turn it into pasture
or cover it in palm.
Drag away the timber
to turn into a barn.

In places you'll plant cocoa,
where it shouldn't really grow
and it will leach the soil
and the insects they will go.

Then the birds that feed upon them
and the plants they pollinate
will vanish in a moment
from the hell that you'll create.

This Easter as you celebrate
the life that was reborn,
remember us, I beg,
for you decimate our forest
for a f***ing chocolate egg.

John Carré Buchanan

Epitaphs - Sally Forth

The things we do leave their mark:
pale scars, cave drawings, photographs,
imprints in clay, shadows on glass,
echoes, verses. The list goes on.

The things we fail to do, it seems:
missed opportunities, lost dreams,
choices avoided, moments gone,
hours not grasped, days allowed to pass,
that failure to ignite the spark.
With these we shape our epitaphs.

Sally Forth

Room At The Top - Lyndon Queripel

And as you leave, close the door
I don't want to breathe anymore
Stale air coming up the stair
All the way from the thirteenth floor

And as I sit staring at the ceiling
I don't fit, I've lost the feeling
All alone with the telephone
Off the hook to look more appealing

And even though I'm not to blame
I don't even know my neighbour's name
And for a while though I try to smile
My face just grows tired of the game.

Lyndon Queripel

I got POEMS, me - Tony Bradley

I have an affliction, it's not hereditary
I got POEMS, me, they're coming out my ears
it started when I was a nipper
so I suppose it's been a few years .

Throughout Medical History, other people have had POEMS
Wordsworth, Shelley, Milligan, McGough
Doctors can't help you, with sick-notes & tablets
it's not like syphilis, . . . or 'flu, . . or a cough.

These POEMS can fester into Fame or Fortune
those malignant growths would really mess up my 'ed
if they're diagnosed for me, on top of these POEMS
I just hope they'll stay small, 'till after I'm dead .

Tony Bradley

New Neighbour - Trudie Shannon

You are stranger to me than stranger alone.
Stranger because my image of you
Was conjured from disparate sounds
That emanate from the walls that stand between us.

Footsteps, a cough.
Water running, door slamming.
A muffled voice.
A squeaking tap.
The swish of a hand through water.
Creaking floorboards.
Early morning baths.
Foot shuffle.

All came together to paint my portrait of you.

Female, thirty something, neat and tidy.

But today as I drank tea beside my window
I happened to see your shaded form through the hedge
That separates our gardens,
Saw you, as you left your house,
Slamming the door shut behind you.
And I saw the distinct figure
Of a young man in a hoodie,
Shoulders hunched, hands pocketed!

From a series of disparate sounds
That emanate from the walls that stand between us.
I have made a stranger,
Stranger than merely stranger alone.

Trudie Shannon

Crooked - Tony Gardner

A crooked little man with his crooked little wife
Lived a little crooked but a happy sort of life
Laughing at the troubles that his crooked life threw up
Ignoring Life's ill temper like a happy little pup

This crooked little man with his crooked little wife
Smiled at every trouble, and sneered at every strife
They grew stronger with each hardship, with each adversity
And vowed to make the best of it than give in to misery

Twisted roads before him fell straight with common sense
And balanced all the bad times Fate often would dispense
Though seldom down that crooked road he glimpsed Luck's golden smile
The crooked man, his crooked wife seemed happy all the while

Tony Gardner

Missing My Mum - Diane Scantlebury

We never quite got on
My mum and I,
For I was always
A daddy’s girl,
But I miss her most
On Mother’s day,
She was the grit
In our family pearl,

She’d make us wait
Hours and hours
While she prepared,
The tastiest food
There ever could be,
For our mother lived
In her own world and had
No idea of time you see,

Mum never left the house
Without a scarf or bright red lippy,
And we couldn’t go out
Without hair combed or teeth done,
Sometimes she could be
A hideous tyrant,
But underneath it all she’d
A wicked sense of fun,

Pity we never quite got on
My mum and I,
But I loved her a lot
As you can tell,
And secretly I have to giggle
When I know,
Up in heaven
She’s giving them hell!

Diane Scantlebury

Borneo, Nature Boy, the Enigma - Bryant Doyle

I'm 66, but still confused
exactly who, or what I am
sometimes I'm brave, as any lion
but often I'm gentle, as a lamb.

I like doing women's hair, and flower-arranging
cage-fighting, and racing cars
I did architecture, and demolition
I've got qualifications, and lots of scars.

I'm Nature Boy, all animals like me
I've got up to some very weird things
I've rounded up loose horses, sheep and cattle
I never get dog or flea-bites, or insect stings.

I'd be happy living rough
in a tent, a den, or a shed
I live in a nice little cottage
I got no woman, so I got no bed.

Bryant Doyle

Song Of The Sioux - Richard Fleming

Once there were men and buffalo
that nourished us, that fed the tribe.
The land and all it could bestow
was ours. The Elders now describe
it as a Paradise on earth,
harmonious, our place of birth,
before the white men came to kill
our buffalo then break our will.

We dwelt in tribes, our rivalry
divided us: such was our plight
when faced with well-armed cavalry
our indecision, like a blight,
unmanned us, so our young men died,
our old men raged, our women cried,
while they, that force none could withstand,
came, massacred, then stole our land.

In retrospect, I see it clear,
we lived in childlike ignorance.
The world had changed but we, I fear,
refused to see the evidence
while, all the time, approaching fast,
the railroad with its piercing blast:
the Future coming, smokey-haired,
to catch us only half prepared.

Richard Fleming

Busker - Marie O’Nette

In bowler hat, with shoulders bowed, he plays
a ukulele while he blows, with zest,
into a silver fife attached
to a wire harness nursing on his chest,
tunes to beguile the stream of passers-by.
Deep lines zig-zag across his leathered brow,
the threadbare coat is greasy, stained and patched,
his eyes, pale-blue, are watchful underneath
a hat-brim as he swings this way and that.
A small crowd gathers, children point and laugh.
A woman tourist takes a photograph.

Around his wrist a weathered leather strap
controls two tiny puppets at his feet
who prance with uncoordinated glee
as he, when younger, to the crazy beat
of frantic music, might have done
in streets like this, at closing-time, amok
with coursing blood, adrenaline and joy.
Beneath the town clock’s cold, unblinking eye,
the puppets twitch and jig for strings and fife.
No star, this man: he keeps the company of dolls.
Into his upturned cap the conscience-coinage falls.

Marie O’Nette

Some People Are So Poor, All They Have Is Money - Ian Duquemin

They can go on holidays
They can buy a house
Many have actually bought their spouse
They can purchase diamonds
Flaunt expensive rings
Drive the fastest cars,
Wear designer things
But they just want more
Like a junkie needs
And they will not stop till their greed succeeds
It's kind of sad
And yet it's also funny
That some people are so poor, all they have is their money

Ian Duquemin

Two Faced - Lester Queripel

I’ve got people asking me to be their friend on Facebook.

Yet when I see them on the street they don’t give me a second look.

What’s that all about?

Lester Queripel

Baby Boomers Are Aging - Kathy Figueroa

Baby boomers are aging
Sometimes, dementia takes hold
It isn’t a pleasant thing
But happens as folks get old

Personalities might change
This can cause consternation
When someone starts acting strange
It’s a bad situation

What is a person to do
When a friend becomes bonky?
Relationships get ruined
When things go weird and wonky

What if they behave in ways
Both hurtful and offensive?
It seems pointless - of no use
To even get defensive

You can’t suggest to someone
That they go and take a pill
If they’ve “gone off the deep end”
But, yet, you care for them, still

If they become deceitful
And deny the things they’ve done
What are you supposed to do
When you can’t just turn and run?

It’s a terrible disease
One that seems devoid of hope
So, until a cure is found
We’ll pray for the strength to cope

Kathy Figueroa

Baby Boomers Are Aging was published in the February 23, 2017 issue of The Bancroft Times newspaper.

Last Hope - Julian Clarke

The visions are clouded for the cynics of mankind who blindly believe it best not to believe.
But Layla’s last hope for her sick one lay in the palms of a pagan priestess.
And so the priestess cast a circle upon the ground and with eyes closed she rode the latitudes of time.
From all points of the compass winds were weaving weighing mystic chants from the shaman of nations to dance in spiritual trance.
With karma gathered and harnessed in heart the priestess returned to her natural awareness.
Her rainbow gown laced in white flowed silently while hands circled the air as she sang incantations with spiritual care.
Layla wore tears on her cheeks that rolled to the earth as she wept with joy at the breath of her daughter’s soulful re-birth.

Julian Clarke

The Nerve - Philip M Gale

Have you got the nerve
to take it all the way
make it work when all goes bad
fight another day.

Then rise above the odds
to do your given best
battle on against the pain
without a day of rest.

Can you hold your nerve
when they destroy all your trust
turn the other cheek
still love life when love is lost.

Can you look at danger
stare it in the face
have you got the nerve
to join the human race.

Philip M Gale

Trash Ethics - Donald Keyman

We're sending the tip of our refuse iceberg
To the land of Lindgren, Larsson and Strindberg
Yes, thank you Sweden, especially for Abba
Please take these pots from a rusting old crabber

So put out your bags, pile them up on the corner
They're all being sent to their own personal sauna
We're sending our empties, wine, spirits and beer
Crushed and shipped like a flatpack from IKEA

Mamma Mia! it's Swedish, our trash is now sexy
Who wants to dump it on boring old Jersey?
But, can you imagine Bergman and Garbo
Raking through Guernsey's rubbishy cargo?

Donald Keyman

Young Smokers - Diane Scantlebury

As he gazed up from his buggy with wondrous eyes,
A plume of mushroom shaped smoke
Hovered darkly above his head,
Poisonous fumes from the glowing stick
His mother clenched between her lips,
He marvelled as she exhaled,
Every puff obscuring her face
In a peek-a-boo game he’d played before,
She’d reappear suddenly with a throaty cough
Then bend and sweep him up,
Pressing his face into the familiar
Acrid perfume of her jumper,
He was too young to have a choice
Or to know that her selfish habit,
Would eventually cause
His untimely death.

Diane Scantlebury

Anyone For Tennis? - Oscar Milde

We hit words to and fro,
employing power and back-swing,
serve and volley,
determined, each, to score points off the other.
We both started out with Love
but now it’s six-two, six-three
and the neighbours are complaining
about the racquet.

Oscar Milde

Valentine - Tony Bradley

My beautiful Valentine, all life now has reason
this was destined, from the day of my birth
the sight of you has set my soul on fire
never has such beauty graced this Earth.

Never could you love me, such barriers between us
born different times, and places, worlds apart
but you're in my heart, and I'm going to love you
the rest of my days, with all my heart.

Tony Bradley

No Strings Attached - Lyndon Queripel

Is there anyone else
Besides myself
Just living in hope
Who'd like to know
When you've reached
The end of your rope
Where is there
Left to go?

Lyndon Queripel

No Smoke Without Fire - Joan Etoile

Some people burn with indignation
While others do it without consideration
Creating bonfires almost all the time
Ignoring the wind and washing lines

Setting fire to tyres and fridges
Yes people know how to burn their bridges
With all the neighbours and other folk
They watch their friendships go up in smoke

Now deputies have got all fired up
Some want the pyromania stopped
But others want a free for all
To turn Guernsey into a fireball

To justify all this hot air
They've invented a pollution scare
The waste strategy's hidden agenda
To stop us combusting all our timber

If the amendments come into law
Let's save up all our plastic doors
To burn 'em legal on a fine weekday
This coming Easter on Good Friday!

Joan Etoile

Farewell - Ian Duquemin

"I'll not come to your room" she said
"I'll not come through your door
I'll not be made a fool again
Or treated like a whore"

Said I "But I do love you and if you should come to me
I'll hold you tightly in my arms and treat you tenderly"

"I'll not lay in your bed" said she
"I shall not comfort thee
No longer will I wake with you
Alone then you shall be"

Said I "But in the morning I shall whisper in your ear
And tell you all the lovely things that you have longed to hear"

"I'll not believe a word" she said
"You'll use me as before
And come the morning with the sun
Not want me anymore"

Said I "Tomorrow my ship sails and I may not return
Of all the women left behind it's you that I shall yearn"

"I'll say farewell to you" said she
"And leave you with this kiss
So over seas and under stars
You can then reminisce"

Ian Duquemin

Early Days - Tony Gardner

We rushed off from school to where the Cradle Rock waited
And spent all the summers on that beautiful beach
Ran down where the Water Lane's wild stream was singing
Sometimes down the hill, where the buttercups bleached

The red of the Campion that filled all the meadow
While the stream whispered musically running on through
Onward we strode past the car park and tea room
To at last where the water was salty and blue

Mrs Cooke at the top with her big pile of deck chairs
With always a smile and a word of Hello
Shall we go down the Slip side or Step side
We must have a swim, where ever we go

There were always us locals, and usually some tourists
Who had no idea where the Men's Gully lay
Or the Castle Rock, too, or where we could catch Caboos
They only wanted to sunbathe all day

As kids in those days, never thinking or knowing
The value of all that was all ours for free
Today on some foreign shore, my mind is knowing
The worth of a Guernsey upbringing to me.

Tony Gardner

Random Guy - Stephen A. Roberts

In the pub I was approached, by some random guy
He smiled and said: "I would like to punch you, right in the eye"
I said "Hold on, I don't know you, what's the reason why?"
He said "it's nothing personal, you're just some random guy"

I waited for the moment when fists would start to fly
But persisted in my efforts to calm this angry guy
I said "Have you no friends, a shoulder on which to cry?"
He said "every mate abandoned me, I do not know for why..."

So we teamed up, became firm friends, I cannot think of why
Drinking buddies, thick as thieves, with a love of whisky 'n dry
We ran as fast as hunting dogs, under every kind of sky
Then we'd go to bars and pick a fight; with some other random guy

Stephen A. Roberts

Garden Diary - Richard Fleming

Old Sion Chapel wall is high:
the ladder feels precarious.
Up here, I combat vertigo,
fix nesting boxes to hard stone
with fingers, winter-wounded-cold,
claw hammer, last year’s rusty nails.
Below, the bird-table is strung
with nuts in cages, fatballs, seeds.
The Parish beech trees all seem dead,
my garden tools are stained with rust.
Wood-smoke, soft dew, birdsong, light,
this mellow January day,
awake my hibernating heart
as, high above, jet trails on blue
chalk out simple geometry.
The hours hang in the chill air.
Damp earth within the Chapel yard
smells like dank cemetery soil
that sucks away without return.

Today I knelt to plant small bulbs,
each squat shape pressed into the loam
like buttons on a telephone:
their planting, one long number dialled.
Down wires of weeks, green life will hum,
till springtime, when these mended hands
may pluck, from softly yielding ground,
bright blooms like syllables of sound.

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

Dry January - Diane Scantlebury

Missing the booze,
Eating out, without a doubt
Not quite the same,
Missing the booze,
The vision blurred,
Sentences slurred,
Reality’s too plain,

Missing the wine,
The aroma, the grapey taste
Flavours so sublime,
Missing the fizz,
The Prosecco hiss,
The tingle on tongue,
When the night’s still young,

Missing the Friday crawl,
Ritual drowning of sorrows,
Blinding headaches tomorrow,
The parched throat,
The red eye,
Life’s too bleak
When January’s dry.

Diane Scantlebury

Ask Uncle Sam - Lester Queripel

How is the world with you?
Does the joy outweigh the pain?
Are you getting more sunshine than rain?
Are you on a mission?
Or do you follow the old tradition?

Do you complain and look for someone else to blame?
Or is your loss someone else’s gain?
Is there something you’d like to rearrange or exchange?

Are you in a jam?
Have you got a future plan?
How many decades does it span?
Do you relate to your fellow man?
Have you had a word with Uncle Sam?
Perhaps you should when you can.

Lester Queripel

The Chingats (One of Daddy's bedtime stories) - Tony Bradley

When my Dad was fifteen he joined the Navy
he'd lied when they asked what year he was born
he told us they weren't bothered, 'cos World War Two had started
and Belfast held no future, so bleak and forlorn.

He came out with seven medals, and a machete, engraved
on the blade, his initials, and rating number
he told my brother and I, it had been in its scabbard
since Burma, '42, when he was much younger.

He told us about the evil Japs, the terrible things they did
(it probably helped bad memories to fade)
but he told us too, about the 'chingats'
the bravest friends he'd ever made.

They were local, jungle fighters, skinny
so tiny, seven stone, wringing wet
but men with more loyalty, pride and dignity
and unwavering courage, he's never met.

He said they'd saved his mates many times
they'd stand and fight, to the last man
the Marines were braver, with them alongside
if the Japs saw any Chingats, they turned and ran.

Tony Bradley

That Place We Don’t Speak Of …. - Trudie Shannon

I wake up I hear a noise.
I wonder Is it Father Christmas?
Is it his sleigh crunching on the sand?
Is it his reindeer hooves drumming?
But it isn’t.
The night was so cold and I had no blanket.
Mumma said. stay close darling, I’ll keep you warm.
But she didn’t and I was still cold.
Mumma is cold now too, very cold.
I try to wake her, Mumma, Mumma, wake up,
It’s Christmas, perhaps we have food today?
Can I have milk today Mumma?
Milk on Christmas Day Mumma, Mumma?
That noise again, that noise again Mumma, Mumma
Barrel bomb Mumma barrel bomb Mumma
Wake up Mumma
But she doesn’t, Mumma doesn’t wake up
And I am cold and Mumma is so cold.
I put my hand in the red stuff on her skin
It is sticky and cold
The explosion, the metal bees buzzing so close, so close
Not Father Christmas
Not his sleigh, not his reindeer
Barrel bomb…..
Mumma, Mumma
Oh Mumma ……………

Trudie Shannon

New Years Grieve - Ian Duquemin

Let us see what this year will bring
Once the skies catch fire and the church bells ring
When the clocks strike 12 (Bring out your dead)
And the ache subsides in your weary head
Will the angels grant all those desperate wishes?
Will the world be cured from those drunken kisses?
Or simply remain in its sorry state...
And the next New Year be a bit too late!

Ian Duquemin

Time Out - Lyndon Queripel

I say the World can't come to an end today
It's already tomorrow in another part anyway.

Lyndon Queripel

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