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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