Friday, 29 April 2011

Divorcing the Masses

on the morning of yet another
royal wedding i got up late
and unplugged the telly
choosing not to watch bargain hunt
(not rhyming slang) with all
that royal doulton royal worcester
all kinds of chipped and broken royal tat
or some other boring daytime chit chat
about what colour
kate’s royal knickers would be
‘cos i knew that today the media
in a bid to patriotically outdo each other
would be non-stop waving union jacks
as a regressive demonstration
of what a backward nation
we really are
with all that ancient pomp and ceremony
uniforms and royal etiquette
curdling the milk of me cornflakes
and when cutting a slice of bread for toast
it made me think of eating cake
madame guillotine
and finding the money to pay the bills
twenty first century job seeking man
running amok
in the museum of modern england

© Paul Levy

The Royal Wedding
P.A. Levy has been published in many magazines, both online and in print, from ‘A cappella Zoo’ to ‘Zygote In My Coffee’, and is a founding member of the Clueless Collective.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

An Invite to the Wedding

I didn’t get an invite to the wedding
and, frankly, it is hard to mask the hurt.
I suppose there isn’t any point in threading
this button on my Marks and Spencer’s shirt.
My present lies beneath the stairs, inert,
(newlyweds cannot have too much bedding)
but, feck them, it’ll stay there gathering dirt
‘cos I didn’t get an invite to the wedding.

The postman brought no invite to the wedding.
Apparently I amn’t on the list.
This was the very thing that I’d been dreading –
being callously and royally dismissed.
Frustration at my absence from their tryst,
like poison, through my psyche has been spreading.
I’m sure my august presence will be missed
by those that got an invite to the wedding.

It seems that I’ve no invite to the wedding.
My diary is empty for that date.
I’d booked a B and B in downtown Reading
beside a nice industrial estate.
The yellow men behind me indicate
the salty trail of tears that I’ve been shedding.
Snubbed, not just by William, but by Kate,
I never got an invite to the wedding.

Did I mention I’ve no invite to the wedding?
But Ryanair will recompense my flight.
My Gatwick ticket’s only fit for shredding
but the airline’s sympathetic to my plight.
Thanks to this right royal oversight,
it isn’t down to London I’ll be heading.
When I get married, they can go and shite
if they think they’ll get an invite to my wedding.

© Peter Goulding

Riffraff at the Royal Wedding but no Tony Blair
Peter Goulding works in a warehouse in co. Kildare, Ireland and has bribed editors in four continents to accept his poetry. He has no practical talents whatsoever.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Happily Ever After

Where's my Prince Charming?
Even when I drop my left shoe
along the stairs
someone just picks it up
and places it back
with it's right one
I should have known
a fairytale wouldn't begin
with a doc marten boot.

Where's my Prince Charming?
Have I left him behind
in my pop-up fairy tale books?
Even when six
I thought the princess
looked a little passive
I wanted to be the one
on the white horse
racing through the woods.

Where's my Prince Charming?
There he sits watching the news
and carrying the heavy bags
in from the Tesco shop
I sigh and look in the mirror
and ask 'Who is the fairest of them all'?
My prince Charming replies:
'You, it's always going to be you'
I am the star of my own fairytale.

© Brigid O'Connor

Royal wedding: Fans camp out at Westminster Abbey
Brigid O'Connor is an Irish writer. She writes short stories and poetry.
Her work has been broadcast on Irish radio and her stories have been included in anthologies and literary publications.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011


If not enough of you should drown in mud
To fossilise and let the future know
That you were here, when finally the blood
And flesh of earth is clean of you? E'en so,
Fear not oblivion, for we shall wait
And of your glowing glories testify
To future insects curious of your fate.
Vast as your poisons, we shall never die.

© Philip Challinor

Nuclear waste: Keep out – for 100,000 years
Philip blogs at 'The Curmudgeon' - He insists, "You'll come for the curses. You'll stay for the mudgeonry." Philip is the author of a number of books.

Monday, 25 April 2011

A Question of Policy

Syrians suffer,
the revolution defied,
Libyans protected,
by the jets in the sky,
the answers unsettling as to the reasons why,
Libyans valued more than Syrians.

© Douglas Polk

Syria: Eyewitness accounts
Douglas is a poet from Nebraska. He has published three books of poetry; In My Defense, The Defense Rests, and On Appeal.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Sunday Editorial 2

Martin left me minding the Poetry24 shop this week and, as I have cheerfully informed him this morning, 'nothing bad happened' in his absence.

It's been a curious week here, with unlikely subjects sparking poems: Kat Mortensen's Jelly Bean Queen set the quirky tone, and Philip Challinor's edgy Pissed Off was an interesting piece for Easter week. I was also delighted to receive two submissions from popular blogger Fran 'Being Me' Hill - Recipe for a few weeks off work on the demise of the Best Before date and 21 April 2011 (which was the date of the future 'Judgement Day' in the Terminator films). I was thinking about the end of life as we know it, too, with my climate change poem for Earth Day: Dry Weather.

What do we learn from all of this? That it's worth looking at the smaller, quirky stories for inspiration too... and that we're always happy to look at broader issues if you can link it to a recent news article - so keep those submissions coming! Let's have some more quirky takes on the Royal Wedding, or surprise us with something completely unexpected.

But don't forget that all-important news link.


Saturday, 23 April 2011

21 April 2011

I watched the food mixer like a hawk today.

It was exchanging slyness with the toaster, I swear

And … was that a wink, flashed at the rice cooker?

I lingered in the kitchen for hours, keeping an eye,

Pretending to sort tins, vaguely dusting shelves

With a homely red checked teatowel - the only safe thing in there.

I daredn’t make tea. That would mean turning the kettle on

And giving it a voice, turning on its red eye.

I swigged lemonade from a bottle with little fizz, but no danger.

At five minutes to midnight, my shoulders breathed again

And I risked the microwave to heat up milk.

When it beeped, my mouth went like dust. I turned slowly

But it was just saying, ‘Your milk is ready.’ Friendly, like. Benign,

I think.

© Fran Hill

The date 21 April 2011 has been prophesied in the Terminator series as Judgement Day


Fran lives in the West Midlands (UK). She teaches English in a local secondary school, writes, performs, blogs, tweets and tries to resist chocolate.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Dry Weather

It was the hottest ever April.
After that winter we threw off our clothes
at the first sign of sunshine, ran to the coast
(after we’d hosed down our azaleas).

If this is climate change, I’ll keep it!
Laughed the blonde with skin
the colour of smoked salmon.
Her child, plastered in factor 30
almost scurvy-fied through lack of sun.

We dripped away the old raised-eyebrow reliables:
There’ll be a hosepipe ban before you know it!
...bound to rain on the coming parade!

A continent away, it hadn’t rained for years.
Crops failed and children gnawed
the bones of their own mouths. What then?
Those who could walk, fled north – wouldn’t you,
your withered rags of family in tow?

The beach looked smaller that year
– the sea edged closer. Even as reservoirs
emptied their favours across profligate nations,
subtle changes meddled with the settings.

Remember then? Remember when
we had fresh running water every day,
before Africa became a desert
and all the borders closed? Remember when
we hosed down the azaleas?

© Clare Kirwan

Britain heading for warmest Easter weekend on record

Food crisis looms in Horn of Africa


Clare Kirwan used to work for an environmental charity but gave up because no-one seemed to care. She still cares a bit, but blogs as Broken Biro about other stuff.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Pissed off

"Love your foe," enjoined the Saviour,
Who foresaw not this misbehaviour.

He scorned idolatry, and thus
His image is a cult with us.

We tolerate the Jews and Druids
But draw the line at body fluids.

However peaceable our mission,
We must crusade at micturition.

© Philip Challinor

Attack on 'blasphemous' art work fires debate on role of religion in France



Tuesday, 19 April 2011

A recipe for a few weeks off work

You know that old yogurt pot – back of the fridge -
The one that’s been there since last year?
Well, now you can eat it, whatever its state,
'Cos they're doing away with the best before date
So you can scoop up the mould straight off the plate
Without even a smidgeon of fear.

You know that old bit of Brie – next to the Cheddar?
Yes, that bit that’s leaked – that’s the one.
Well, get out the crackers and spread it all over
And eat it with out-of-date butter or Clover.
There’s nothing to fear as you will discover
Now that the eat-by date has gone.

You know those old sausages – on the top shelf –
The ones that have gone green? Yes, there.
Well, let’s fry them up with a nice bit of bacon
We won’t worry much at the stink it is makin’
Or fear that tomorrow our bowels will be achin’
Now the best-before date isn’t there.

© Fran Hill

Clearer food labelling plan 'to bring an end to waste'


Fran lives in the West Midlands (UK). She teaches English in a local secondary school, writes, performs, blogs, tweets and tries to resist chocolate.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Jelly Bean Queen

One day this lovely lass,
May launch a hundred ships.
The world will keep a watch
On what goes to her hips.

That smile could turn for south
When paparrazi press for shots
But now, this bride -to-be
Enjoys the ride with no pit-stops.

The sapphire ring's gone viral;
Her gown will get knocked off.
So far, no downward spiral;
All in good time, (I mustn't scoff).

Some think she is a vision-
New model—right for queen.
Her face is everywhere-
It's captured in a jelly bean!

Kat Mortensen©2011

Bride-to-be in a bean: Kate Middleton's face spotted in sweet


Kat is a Canadian poet, and the author of 'Shadowstalking'.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Sunday Editorial

Martin and I have decided to use the Sunday slot for a brief editorial each week - let us know if you like it, or you just want the poems!

With the blog just two months old, we've been astonished at the variety, and encouraged by the quality of the poems we've received. And with 50 followers here, more on Twitter, and more than 5000 hits, it looks like the blog has hit a nerve.

In case you missed them this week, we've had poems that highlighted the implications of the MI5 recruiting in Scottish universities St Andrews Worksong and mourned the assassination of prominent Arab/Israeli theatre director Juliano Mer-Khamis in The show must go on. We've also had a poem that 'covered' the French burqa ban in France, uncovered, a powerful reminder of ongoing environmental impact in The Gulf and yesterday's extremely moving poem inspired by stillbirth figures released this week in Stillbirth. (For Grace).

We're now listed on MsLexia, Duotrope, National Writers in Education and Write Out Loud - all sites which are well worth a visit.

If anyone would like the Poetry24 logo to add to their blog, please get in touch, but meanwhile thanks for reading the blog, for spreading the word about it and for contributing to it - keep 'em coming!


Saturday, 16 April 2011

Stillbirth. (For Grace)

Listen, although your ears are stopped for good.

Look, and see my love, although your eyes are blind.

Feel the cup of my hand, your cradle,

although no touch will fire your frozen skin.

I‘ve held you deep within my body’s beat,

felt flying flutter and drum of dancing feet

tattoo new rhythms, and sing new

songs; your precious heart the score before me.

Now love’s labour’s done.

Brought forth with no anticipation,

hope killed;

life stilled.

Spooling out across the years your colours slide.

From needles stripped, the pattern, sly, derides.

Unstitched the fabric of our lives

and tore the stuff to shreds before our eyes.

Look back; I see your shadow flying forwards,

not futureless but written through each story;

a single, perfect, shining thread

tacks tight the tattered tissues of our hearts.

© Rachel North

UK stillbirth rates among highest of rich nations
Rachel is a Nurse and has only just started to write creatively.  This story particularly touched her because she has nursed women who have endured stillbirth.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

France, Uncovered

Exceptions are: crash helmets,
Surgical masks,
Protective covering
For dirty tasks.
Optimal hats,
Sensible shades,
Dressing up
For big parades.

But, madam,
You're under arrest.
There's a law that states
You're improperly dressed.
Come to the station,
Show us your face.
Our shared society,
Will show you your place.

© Martin Hodges 

France issues first fine for woman in Islamic veil
Martin is a writer, and former columnist. He has twice been editor of Viewpoint (a forum for INDEPENDENT internal comment within the University of Southampton), and is co-founder of Poetry24.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

The show must go on even as the ghetto rages in flame

A cold blooded murder
in the heated sand strewn streets of Jenin.
An execution
in front of the affirming doors
of the Freedom Theater.

God was a blind eyed nonpaying
Member of the audience that day,
Seemingly a critic of his own creation,
It was said that he left after the first and only act.
Which portrayed the slaying of a proud man
who had breathed
and now bled,
struggling through a divided life
with only one want
one artistic vision
to produce peace
upon a ghetto stage.

By pursuing freedom,
the release of creation,
the liberation of performance
the safety and sanity of the theater
as a relief from the chaos
and out of control insanity
of the daily drama portrayed beyond
the theater doors.

read more here...

© Joshua Baumgarten
Actor Juliano Mer-Khamis gunned down in Jenin

Joshua Baumgarten is an ex-pat New Yorker living in Holland. He organises the Irrational Library evenings - nights of poetry, rock n roll and casual chaos, and performs as a Standup Spoken Word artist.

Monday, 11 April 2011

St Andrews Worksong

The cat provided cover
But still aware the trap was closing?
When the Middle East controlled
By less than 3% of the World...
It played no other part in the story
Except it survived

Recruitments in state school on the edge of Atlantic
Where they were once fired
It's now handshakes and welcomes
On every available surface
In every valuable language
So when they graduate to Embassy
They can gather and report work back?
A bright new dawn
Of enlightenment?
I don't need to build a shelter
I can predict the weather
The Middle East goes on forever

Many more will get murdered
But more eyes will open
You will not see this reported
So enjoy camcorder footage
When the Middle East controlled
By less than 3% of the world...

© Aaron Murdoch

MI5 advertises for possible recruits in St Andrews University student newspaper


Aaron Murdoch is from Wirral and performs poetry widely around Merseyside. More at: Write Out Loud.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Just to clarify

We don't want to punish the poor;
George Osborne's no Bullingdon boor;
Duncan Smith is a wit,
Boris Johnson's no twit,
And up is the way to the floor.

Down and out? Have no fear; you'll be fine.
Don't worry, don't whinge and don't whine.
Be eager to please
And pay the right fees,
And you'll fly in a skyful of swine.

© Philip Challinor

Government admits Jobcentres set targets to take away benefits

My Weblog:
My Books:

Saturday, 9 April 2011

The Survivor

The old lady sat among the destruction,
on page three of the magazine,
rocking herself.
I leafed thru the rest of the magazine,
her image is all I see.

© Douglas Polk

The Calamity of Japan's 9.0-Magnitude Quake
Douglas Polk is a writer of poetry, from central Nebraska. Feeling persecuted most of his life he has published three books of poetry; In My Defense, The Defense Rests, and On Appeal. He lives with his wife and two boys and two dogs on the plains of Nebraska.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Prayer for a Japan

Bubbling laughter
rips out of me
into words
white scent of incense
I can’t help speaking
I see through petals
centuries old
and my hands clasp
in a prayer for a Japan.
Then something wizened
something blackened
turns to smoke
starts shifting
rips out the heart of laughter
stamps pain on my forehead
with a spring wind
ties my hands
and so dries up
my prayer for a Japan.

© Tatjana Debeljački

Tatjana Debeljački - member of the Association of Writers of Serbia UKS, Haiku Society of Serbia, Writers’ Association Poeta, Belgrade and Croatian Writers’ Association - has published three collections of poetry and blogs at

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

The Last Straw

Though times are hard, decisions tough,
Enough can sometimes be enough.
We all have breaking points, you know -
A duck unhoused, a servant slow;
Or taxes constituting theft
Of hard-earned loot that Daddy left;
And if there is one single thing
That really chaps my sphincter-ring,
It is the thought of lower races
Who simply do not know their places.
Their accents odd, their clothing raggy,
Haunting the ruins left by Maggie,
They live like duchesses and kings
On benefits or some such things;
And even those who do not shirk
Do strange and useless types of work.
Why, for example, should one teach
More than the rudiments of speech
To little oiks who'll get themselves
A cushy number stacking shelves?
And is it really fair that I,
My chubby cheeks and old school tie,
Must needs put up, day in, day out,
With northern folk who fly about?

© Philip Challinor

Oliver Letwin 'makes Sheffield family holiday jibe'

My Weblog:
My Books:

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Love Poem for Scott Walker

My tongue is not cheesecloth
enough to strain your syllables,
Scott Walker. This is your love poem.

Every Louisville slugger is a reproduction,
as Baudrillard would have said, simulacra
enough to strain your syllables.

Every ticket has its price. Disneyland,
like Santa Barbara, is a paradise,
as Baudrillard would have said,

but even a town like Celebration, FL
has a record of murder.
Like Santa Barbara, it remains a paradise.

What Marx said: History repeats,
first as tragedy, then as farce.
A broken, murdered record

dragging along the needle of your teeth.
Neither tragedy nor farce,
my tongue is not cheesecloth.
Scott Walker, this is your love poem.

© Andrew Rihn
Here is a link to an article about the Governor's legislation and the mass protests surrounding it.
Andrew Rihn is the author of several slim volumes of poetry, including "The Rust Belt MRI (Pudding House). He lives in Canton, OH and can be found online at his blog Midwestern Sex Talk.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Left Overs

In Sydney yesterday, thousands gathered in support of action to stop human induced climate change and made it clear that if a tax would help, they were for it. A short distance away, an opposing rally was told that a carbon tax was a futile and unnecessary impost on the family budget. 

The old irresponsible breed
Who march to Conservative creed;
Are arrogant fools,
Who ignorance rules,
And live in delusion and greed!

© Stafford Ray

Aussies rally for, and against, carbon tax
Writer of musical plays and reading resources for schools. Wannbe novelist, one completed, two more on the way. Poetry happens when moved, limericks when amused (interchangeable).

Blog : StaffordRay

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Night Mayor

Memorial in storage,
Honour packed away.
We will remember those
Who, sadly, could not stay.

Something monumental
Once stood here on the land.
A focus for remembrance,
That Van de Vijver banned.

Ironically, under darkness,
A vandalising digger
Clawed at hindering stone,
To make the port much bigger.

© Martin Hodges

Village in uproar as Belgian war memorial relocated

Friday, 1 April 2011

How would you like your arts cut sir?

A bit off the top?

Snip, snip, snip.

More off the side?

Cut, cut, cut.

The back's a bit raggy.

Chop, chop, chop.

Your head's a bit flabby

Hack, hack, hack.

Now... anything for the weekend?

Bill Dawson

Where the cuts will hit the arts