Saturday, 31 March 2012

Strange Behaviour

We said we would sort out the country's money;
Cut deficits but not the NHS -
Yet people think we're up to something funny
When chums of ours are taxed a little less.

We gave the proles advice on how to forage,
And how to fill a British jerry-can
For purposes of prudent petrol storage -
And then they all went crazy, to a man.

We said "emergency" and "COBRA meeting" -
The poor benighted creatures rushed about.
Could they not see that it was self-defeating?
Why could their chauffeurs not sort something out?

We do not wish the proles to think us nasty
As we deposit millions on the dump;
But why do they complain of their cold pasty
And flock in panic to the petrol pump?

© Philip Challinor

Panic-buying of fuel continues despite prospect of peace talks
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Weblog: The Curmudgeon - You'll come for the curses. You'll stay for the mudgeonry.
Books: Philip Challinor's Books

Friday, 30 March 2012

The Big Sky

It’s about the bigger picture, you say,

tilting my chin skywards,

How can we make sense of something

we can never see in its entirety?




All I know is I am happy to be

an un-joined dot, sometimes obscured

by low cloud and light pollution;

a past fast diminishing.



But I understand the urge – no matter

how we direct each other’s gaze,

there are things we can’t share.

We are a picture seen only from the inside.



I wonder if we’ll ever be worth study,

as an example of something –

a man, tilting a woman’s chin

towards a picture neither understands.

© Jessica Traynor

Picture captures a billion stars
------------------------------------
Jessica Traynor is an Irish poet with poems published in New Irish Writing, The SHOp, The Moth and The Stinging Fly. She won the 2011 Listowel Writers Week Poetry Award.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

A Shooting in Florida

Blood shed,
but on whose hands the stain,
a crimson red,
hoodies blamed,
the press unbound by facts or details,
only hope to ignite the fire,
and fan the flames,
the life lost,
young,
dancing eyes in the photograph,
the smile a killer,
racism questioned,
as once again a nation lost,
over reacts,
impatient,
and immature,
the whole story never known.

© Douglas Polk

Trayvon Martin Shooting Doesn't Slow 'Stand Your Ground' Bills
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Douglas is a poet from Nebraska. He has published three books of poetry; In My Defense, The Defense Rests, and On Appeal.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Nutter, Notter

Pigs fly
past aspirin
balanced
on priest
knees
while
the pill
seeps out
between
spouse
balls
till
big C
rises
and men
don’t
win
the rubber
game.

©  Lavinia Kumar

Jeanine Notter, New Hampshire Lawmaker, Says Birth Control Causes Prostate Cancer
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lavinia Kumar lives in New Jersey. Her poetry has appeared in several publications, in the US and UK.  She writes a blog for her brother’s seniorsmagazine.org, based in Portsmouth, NH.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

The Reveal

In older times
we might have called this
a quick, dark moment.
But this was white, bone hard.
From the boy's club room.
You were asked questions
that you did not like.
So you got some numbers tabled
which you thought labelled
the question asker, as
Weak and greedy, needing help?
No.
What this piss mark
was supposed to say, was
"Don't mess with me,
in my shining tower".
A minister was revealed
who should be reviled
for this abuse of power.

© Hamish Mack

Dalziel-Brownlee red-zone spat
---------------------------------------
Hamish is a 51 year old New Zealander, married with 2 children. He has been writing poems for about 3 years, and has had a some published. He also blogs, at Light of Passage.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Blue Sky Thinking

Dear me, what a very poor show!
The proles have no get up and go!
Despite all we've cut,
We're stuck in a rut:
Our profits are awfully slow.

We'd sell off the countryside, but
There's little of Britain to put
On sale now to grow
Our capital's flow -
This problem's a tough little nut.

Well, this is a bit of a blow,
But business is business, and so
We'll righteously jut
Our low-flying gut
And up the supply of Heathrow!

© Philip Challinor

Top Tories admit: we got it wrong on third runway at Heathrow
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Weblog: The Curmudgeon - You'll come for the curses. You'll stay for the mudgeonry.
Books: Philip Challinor's Books

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Sunday Review

This week has had a distinctly familial feel to it, in that most of the poems are rooted in shared relationships, whether intimate, or in the broadest context of humanity.  David Francis Barker started it with Descent, a tribute to Jacob Bronowski with a link to photographs published by the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Poland. And, from the evil of the Holocaust, Barbara Gabriel led us to the Horn of Africa, where Dedicated Indifference has resulted in starving people being failed by aid agencies and regional government.

But money doesn't always provide an answer, as Lavinia Kumar made clear, with her story of Huguette Clark. The Reluctant Heiress left an estate with an estimated value of £254.4 million. But that amount wouldn't buy a plaster to stick on the ailing NHS. Mike Richardson's Schrödinger Proposes a bill ponders the fate of the patient, which may well be alive and/or dead.

In a world away from science, it was a Piers Morgan interview with Dennis Waterman, that drew an admission from the actor, that he had beaten his former wife. And, on Friday Abigail Wyatt's Love Story spotlighted the emotional and physical pain of domestic abuse.

At the end of the week, Wendy Nicholson's reflective, Into the Void, brought the tragic loss of young lives to the fore, as memorial services were held in the wake of the Swiss coach crash that claimed 28 lives in total.

* * *

I'm ending this review with yet another call for poems. As I mentioned, earlier in the week, I have only a handful for consideration at the moment. We don't want to let the barrel run dry now, do we?

Why not join us on Facebook, where you can share ideas and opinions about poetry and events that shape poetic work. You can also request to join the Poetry24 group.

Looking forward to hearing from you, and receiving your poems.

Have a great week.

Martin.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Into the Void

That bus speeds
into the void
that kerb, that wall
the squeal of brakes
and all
the screams and cries
no time to know
the how or why
so unaware
so unprepared
too young to die

©  Wendy Nicholson

Swiss coach crash: Belgian town holds memorial service--------------------------------------------------------------
Wendy is an ecologist studying animals and plants but likes painting, and writing all kinds of poetry.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Love Story

I’ve told you my secrets,
now tell me your lies;
how you can’t let me go
and you don’t want to try;
though you’ve loosened my teeth
and busted my jaw,
you love me completely,
much more than before;
and now that you’ve beaten
my face blue and black,
how grateful you’ll be
if I’ll just take you back.
Tell me you’re sorry,
you just lost control;
you never intended
to hurt me at all.
Then bring me a cuppa
and kneel by my chair;
beg my forgiveness,
and brush back my hair.
Adore me, amour me,
and make a great fuss;
then tell me a story,
that glorifies ‘us’.

© Abigail Wyatt

Dennis Waterman's ex-wife: 'The truth is out over beating claims'
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Abigail was born in Essex and now lives in Cornwall. She writes poetry and short fiction and pokes her nose into places where it is generally little wanted.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Schrödinger Proposes a bill

One can even set up quite ridiculous cases.

The future NHS is penned up in a red box,

Along with the following device

(Which must be secured against direct interference by the NHS):

In a Tory proposal, there’s a so called tiny bit,

A radical restructure from the top,

So small that perhaps in the course of the parliament,

The course of its health bill passes, but also,

With equal probability, perhaps not;

If it happens, their partners discharge their duty,

And through a relay releases amendments

That transforms a small clause in the bill.

If one has left this entire system to itself for a term,

One could say that the NHS still lives

If meanwhile no bill is passed.

The politics of the entire system would

Express this by a small red box by George

Having in it the living and dead NHS

(Pardon the expression) mixed or smeared out in equal parts.

It is typical of these cases that an indeterminacy

Originally restricted to the political domain

Becomes transformed into macroscopic bureaucracy,

Which can then be resolved by direct observation.

That prevents us from so naively accepting as valid

A "blurred model" for representing reality.

In itself, it would not embody anything unclear or contradictory.

There is a difference between a shaky or out-of-focus bill

And a snapshot of clouded or foggy judgements.

So David could proclaim “By George…

That is a humdinger of a bill!”

“The appliance of Science” Old Nick replies.
"The devils in the detail!"

© Mike Richardson

Health reforms - where they stand
-----------------------------------------
Mike lived in Pembrokeshire. After University in West Wales, he left for City Life. He still hankers after the country that has inspired his writing.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

The Reluctant Heiress

Last I heard she was wallowing in bed,
her diamonds lolling unseen in a safe.
For fifty years she had lived with a dread

of relatives, and they were certainly not
allowed to go near either of her homes,
and were absolutely not to be caught

near her stash of timber, copper or rails.
It was so unlikely she’d share these things
that there was never to be any will.

But she did bequeath money to her nurse,
a reluctant and contrarian move –
since property could only be a curse.

So the relatives are making a fuss
an aggressive and predictable move –
when really the only thing left is to cuss.

©  Lavinia Kumar

Reluctant heiress's jewel collection expected to raise $10m at Christie's
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lavinia Kumar lives in New Jersey. Her poetry has appeared in several publications, in the US and UK.  She writes a blog for her brother’s seniorsmagazine.org, based in Portsmouth, NH.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Descent

(for Jacob Bronowski)

Only months before he died
I watched Bronowski's bare veiny hands
descend into that familial darkness,
digging deep into the killing ground
of soil and ashes, pasts
remote and more recent,
a stunning act of catharsis
I still appreciate
but do not dare to comprehend.
Thirty years separated him from family,
trauma and pain has remained
an undiminished stain in his time
and in mine
but if time, like death, is a concept
known only to man,
his mind would chart a different ascent
and wish for better worlds to come

© David Francis Barker

Auschwitz-Birkenau, then and now
-------------------------------------------
"I try to paint, write poetry, prose, sometimes music - I guess that makes me an artist." David Francis Barker. You can enjoy more of David's work at his website.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Sunday Review

Jessica Traynor made her Poetry24 debut, this week, in the midst of a solar storm, with her poem,  A Modern Mayan Calendar. There may have been fears for our lines of communication, but Jessica's work came through loud and clear.

Abigail Wyatt's Small Change reflected the economic pinch felt by those over 50s known as the 'squeezed middle', while David Subacchi reminded us that, for some, money is no object. His poem, My Love, sprung from the story of musician, Nicola Benedetti, who impressed a London banker so much, with her playing, he handed her a Stradivarius, worth an estimated £6.3 million.

In a week when the Obamas and the Camerons were cosying up to each other, Lavinia Kumar's, Birther, again, highlighted the claim of an Arizona sheriff, that Mr President's birth certificate may be a forgery. And, while questions were being raised about Obama's origins, Philip Challinor put the Camerons under his own magnifying glass, with A Measure of Strength.

Mike Richardson, our second newcomer this week, marked the finale of the Six Nations Rugby Championship, and St Patrick's Day, with a heady piece of pseudo Shakespeare, to stir the blood.

**

One poet brought to my attention the fact that the new word verification system makes the commenting process difficult, if not impossible. As a result, we've disabled it, in the hope that we can encourage more people to give feedback to the poets. So, now you can have your say without tripping over any words.

Have a good week.

Martin. (Clare is currently on holiday in the USA)

Saturday, 17 March 2012

St Patrick's Day (apologies to the Bard)

Duw Duw, I prospect not for Clogai gold

Or care not who sups Brains at my own cost;

I grieve not for those who have no garments red

Upon their backs, or forwards, bear no blues

But should I sin by wanting future glory

Then perhaps consign me to the heretic’s fire.

No Faith is better placed, as one from Little England knows

God’s peace rests and it is no lack in honour

To all would say this side of Severn’s flow

It’s best to Hope and wish for one try more

And proclaim it, West Walian, with the hwyl filled host,

Should men in blue have no stomach to this fight

Let them depart; Their passport shall be stamped

And pay their homeward fare into their purse.

Red men would rather die than miss their presence

And the fearing of a scarlet tidal wave to rise

On this eve of Patrick’s day, for green

Envy of our safest passage through their lines.

They stand well cocked, stud to stud, toe to toe

And be aroused at the name of Patrick.

He that lives through this to see old age

Will each year ready self on Dewi Sant

To get the drinks in and the tables spread

Next fortnight is St Patrick’s Day my friend

And he will raise his vest to show beneath

The redded breast with feathers three-emblemed

To say that he was there upon St Patrick’s day.

Old props forgot; but Half backs names are never lost

We’ll all remember, Bennett sidesteps three

What feats he did can yet be done again

And you at ten become as well remembered.

Household names like John the King, Edwards

Merve the swerve, The one and only Shane

Initialled too as JPR and JJ from the west

Be in their clubhouse freshly honoured too

This game shall every fan recall to son and son

And David, Patrick's heir, shall not be passed

From now till eternity’s beginning

Or twenty two, the band of brothers

Will mind of Warren’s talk to lead them on

“Whoever sheds his blood and sweat today

Shall be my brother; be he never set his foot

South of the equator, gentle though we’re not

And gentlemen antipodeans all

Would be as proud, and think they were accursed

That they could not be warriors red like you

And hold their manhood cheap while any speaks

That played with us upon St Patrick’s day."

© Mike Richardson

Gatland's Wales are good enough to take on the southern giants
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mike lived in Pembrokeshire. After University in West Wales, he left for City Life. He still hankers after the country that has inspired his writing.

Friday, 16 March 2012

A Measure of Strength

Why, yes, it does take strength, I must confess,
To turn one's dead into an anecdote
And wave his corpse to hustle for a vote,
While nursing plans to kill the NHS.

So, Barry, when there's Mullahs you must tame -
Not picking fights, of course, but making free -
Be sure that you can always count on me
And Sam, and useful little what's-his-name.

© Philip Challinor

Camerons praised as parents by Obama at White House state dinner
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Weblog: The Curmudgeon - You'll come for the curses. You'll stay for the mudgeonry.
Books: Philip Challinor's Books

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Birther, again

For six long months the horses galloped,
trotted, then walked from the Arizona desert
to a deep freeze where cold cases shrink
the skin off even the finest stallion, and bones

rattle their emptiness near the ink and quills
of a chilled Cratchit.  He counts births, adds
names honoring kings, lords and knights, lists
those named after infidels – birthers sent by

witches.  And as their numbers swell, money
grows, it blossoms, on trees, till Cratchit can
move up two levels of frost.  But the horses
die at last, their riders converted to turkeys.

©  Lavinia Kumar

Arizona sheriff says Obama's birth certificate a "forgery"

Republicans Starting to Say Obama Wasn’t Born in US Again
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lavinia Kumar lives in New Jersey. Her poetry has appeared in several publications, in the US and UK.  She writes a blog for her brother’s seniorsmagazine.org, based in Portsmouth, NH.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

My Love

My love lies gentle on me
with his fragile body
my fingers wondering
the length of his neck

My love sings so sweetly
his voice is unsurpassed
it is like no other
the sound of Cremona

My love is so passionate
I’m still not used to him
he has such tenderness
an addictive quality

My love is not all mine
he is loaned by a rich man
who was moved by my touch
to whom I am indebted

My love is Gariel
made by Stradivarius
worth over six million
how could he leave me now ?

© David Subacchi

‘Banker lent me £6.3m Stradivarius after he heard me playing’
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
David Subacchi is a civil servant who has been writing poetry seriously for just over a year. His latest collection ‘First Cut’ is published this month by Cestrian Press.



Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Small Change

We didn’t fight for freedom and
a land fit for homecoming heroes.
We didn’t survive rationing, air raids,
fire bombs, dog fights, death camps, the Blitz.
We didn’t wake up to the stars above us
and shards of splintered glass in our slippers.
We didn’t see the ghastly dust that hung
on the morning like a shroud.

We didn’t fight it but the war was as real to us
as our fathers and our grateful mothers;
we grew up in the sunlight of their great relief,
heard their terror in the telling of their tales;
we sucked it in with our National Health milk
and we learned that we were the future;
at school, we bought poppies for the fallen dead
and wore them with innocent pride.

We were – we are – the baby boomers;
though now we are a nuisance and a burden,
then we were the tender young
for the sake of whom thousands had died.
When we were still in our nappies,
we were plagued by doubt, and pregnant
with our parents’ expectations: to be happy
was our daily task as our business
was to make things make sense.

Now as we grow older, close in our hearts,
we confront the grey ghost of our failure:
we doused the flame, we dropped the ball,
we turned our backs on the fight.
We dared a while but then we slept
and woke to find our shiny new world broken.
Now hope spills out like so much small change
and our pockets are bereft of our dreams.

© Abigail Wyatt

Why baby boomers fare worst in recession
----------------------------------------------------
Abigail was born in Essex and now lives in Cornwall. She writes poetry and short fiction and pokes her nose into places where it is generally little wanted.

Monday, 12 March 2012

A Modern Mayan calendar















Must set a reminder for 2012 –
how to keep this within
the 250 character space limit?
Sun stretching arms to grab satellites.
Hide magnets. Turn off TV.
Cancel business trip.

It’s a storm.
We remember storms, don’t we?
Hatches battened down,
voices hushed, a single candle,
family all a-huddle?

It’s not like they’ve been lost
to living memory; the shadowy groups
we see from the corner of our eyes
still crouched beneath our stairs
or in tube station stairwells.

Coax them from their shelters,
turn off your phones and ask them to tell
their stories, no character limit;
make a living reminder,
a solar flare lighting the line
from the past to today.

© Jessica Traynor

Solar storm passes without incident so far
The strongest space storm since 2008 creates a dazzling display
--------------------------------------------------
Jessica Traynor is an Irish poet with poems published in New Irish Writing, The SHOp, The Moth and The Stinging Fly. She won the 2011 Listowel Writers Week Poetry Award.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Sunday Review

This week, we marked International Women's Day with a fine poem by Abigail Wyatt, To Be or 36B, A Question of Identity. And while it appears that there really are some women who would consider trading intelligence levels for bigger breasts, or a slimmer figure, spare a thought for Mary Nyekueh Ley. She is the woman, whose truly miserable existence inspired Kushal Poddar's South and North.

On Wednesday, David Costello offered us Birth Day, reflecting the joy of four boys born to Emma Robbins, in Bristol. On Friday, Kim Rooney was moved to write War of the Roses, a reaction to the loss of six more young men in Afghanistan.

And, in a raid on Dublin's Christ Church Cathedral, a heart was stolen. Helena Nolan's, The Stolen Heart, contains a message from Dublin's Saint Laurence O'Toole.

Finally, a message of hope. Anthony Baverstock's haunting video, You, who stand dying, is a poignant work to mark the first anniversary of the Japanese tsunami.

Remember, if you find yourself moved to write a poem in the light of a news event, we'd love to read it. We'd also like to use more YouTube footage of poets performing their topical work.

It seems fitting, as we in the UK are being treated to a special astronomical event, to offer you this, from James Schwartz.

Alpine Stars

O Switzerland! O Fatherland!
Minds fine as Chillon,
Litter your lineage.

Hugo, Byron, Shelley, Rimbaud:
To fete a favored few,
Left love lyrics lingering...

Through alpine peaks below,
To pristine skies uncluttered,
By broken satellites.

© James Schwartz

Switzerland Announces Plan to Clean Up Space Junk
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Poet and slam performer, James Schwartz strives for the simplicity of Cavafy mixed with modern gay wordplay. His book, The Literary Party: Growing Up Gay and Amish in America, was published by in Group Press in 2011.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

You, who stand dying



© Anthony Baverstock

Lone pines symbolise Japan hopes
------------------------------------------
Anthony Baverstock is from Colchester, reputed home of Humpty-Dumpty.

Friday, 9 March 2012

War of the Roses

War of the Roses
Will only the poets write
of the leaving of War-
minster? Enlistment to
the 404. Six sons
from the Houses of York
and Lancaster, together.
Huddersfield to Helmand
The white rose to the land of the poppy
and a single red rose too.

© Kim Rooney

Afghanistan deaths: Six dead UK soldiers named by MoD
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Kim (aka wordturner) is a writer, editor, and poet. A former BBC online journalist she has an MA in Life Writing from the University of East Anglia.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

To Be or 36B, A Question of Identity












Who are these women who keep their brains
stashed in their pre-moulded bras?
In fifty years, I’ve known many women,
few as shallow as those posited here.
As a child I aspired to a 36B
and learned how inches count;
at fourteen, though, I was never tempted
to give up the power to think.
At least, in ’68, the tits were real
and the best and the biggest of them sagged;
implants were beyond our reach
and the airbrush as yet undreamed.
Now the media would have us teach
our daughters that Essex is the only way.
Perhaps they think, by such a project,
to keep them mute and unschooled.

© Abigail Wyatt

Would you rather have big boobs or brains?
----------------------------------------------------- 
Abigail publishes poetry and short fiction. She lives in Redruth, Cornwall and performs her work at the Melting Pot, Krowji, The Unplugged Chameleon, St Ives, and The Be Spoken Word in Penzance.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Birth Day

You didn’t see them at first.
Segmented.
Like a fruit in cross-section.
Each slice seeded.
One doubly.

Not like last time.
The same grey screen.
Gradients of shape.
A leafy tremble
fluttering inside.

Then your multiple choice question.
And you grasp the answer.
And your world doubles
then doubles again.

And you consider spring
while your doctor ponders autumn.

© David J Costello

Quadruplet boys born in Bristol on 'leap day'
------------------------------------------------------ 
David J. Costello lives in Wallasey, Merseyside, and is co-organiser of local poetry venues “Bards of New Brighton” and “Liver Bards”. David has been widely published and won the 2011 Welsh Poetry Competition.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

The Stolen Heart

You can take my heart

You can take my heart and put it in a box

You can take my heart and put it in a box and lock it in a cage

But my heart will not be there

When you wake in the morning

The bars will be cut open and the box will be elsewhere

I will take nothing else

Not your chalices or candlesticks

I have no use for ornament, no need for burnished gold

I am gone to the old place

To the cave above the lake

I have pared back my ribs to make a new mansion

Lent has come to remind us

Of the need for human sacrifice

For too long, you have made a fool of my heart

I have taken back my heart

I have taken back my harm

You must fill up all your cabinets with other magic charms.

©  Helena Nolan

Dublin patron saint's heart stolen in cathedral raid
------------------------------------------------------------
Helena's work has appeared in anthologies and literary magazines including; The Stinging Fly, The Moth, and the Spoken Ink audio website. She is the 2011 winner of the Patrick Kavanagh Award.

Monday, 5 March 2012

South and North

They draw a line down her home.
This side, they say, is not that side.
Whenever she crosses the line,
they make her bleed.
And take her husband as prisoner
until they decide
which country they have and which they lost.

She marries again.
One crazy beard from the side she live.
Her two sons bring diarrhea in protest.
Her new husband loves her hit and broken.
So she escapes.
She crosses the line again and waits for the new wounds.
They cover up the older ones.

©  Kushal Poddar

For Woman in Sudan, No Escape From Misery
---------------------------------------------------------
Kushal Poddar (1977- ) resides in Kolkata, India. He has written fiction and scripts for TV and his poems have been published in various online and print magazines all over the world.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Sunday Supplement

In this Sunday Supplement we've included the usual weekly Review, an insight into our Submission process and TWO new poems.

Review
The Germans have a saying: 'one eye laughing, the other eye crying'... and that's how Poetry24 felt this week.  Lavinia Kumar's harrowing No Longer Crying Inside about torture in Homs, Jim Bennett's moving Hillsborough and an intriguing poem from Ana Garza G'z relating to blinded policeman David Rathband all brought tears to our eyes. But it was tears of laughter with Fran Hill's beer spilling: The Kitchen Lads and of a sense of frustration from new contributor L.S. Bassen on the US Abortion Bill and  in Philip Challinor's skeptical Helping Out suggesting assistance to Somalia wasn't entirely altruistic - as if!

Submission process
One of the eternal dilemmas for us as editors of Poetry24 is how to choose. I'm not the most decisive person in the world and am often flummoxed by the conundrums thrown up by contributors. If we get a bunch of good ones all at once do we hold on until they're stale (but still good) or go for newer 'fresh' stuff... how long can we hold on before it's too old? You may have noticed we sometimes publish a very topical poem when we've had your submission a week and it may not seem fair. But here's the order of priority Martin and I agree on:

#1 great and totally topical
#2 great and less topical
#3 good and totally topical
#4 good and less topical
#5 ok and totally topical

Of course, we also like to ensure we have a range of styles, subject matter and poets each week, so that comes into the mix too - and all of this on the hoof on a daily basis!  We'd be interested to hear your thoughts on how we're doing - either in the comments here or by email.

All the best
Clare & Martin

Two poems

Macbeth in Syria or
Out damned de-spot!


Basher Assad, boss of Syria,
A leader whose reign is inferior,
Has shown he’s as nasty
As Muammar Kaddafi.
So put the boot to his posterior!

© Stafford Ray


 and finally... no Sunday Supplement is complete without an obituary:

I'm a Bereaver

Davy Jones
Your northern tones
filled up my ears with sixties soap
but filled my heart with hope.

And as the psychedelic colours
turned to shades of grey
the memory of "The Monkees"
is a memory that will stay

Oh Davy Jones
you were so cute
and not as hirsute
as Mike or Mickey or Peter Tork
when on that beach you walked that comical walk

Forever fixed in a zany, kooky past
that train to Clarksville is really the last.
Never again will you smile and sing
and that 6 o'clock alarm
will never, ever ring.

© Jason T Richardson

The Monkees lead Davy Jones tributes
-----------------------------------------------
Jason is a poet, comedian and artist who has supported John Cooper Clarke, performed live in a bed in public and invented the tin opener. (One of these facts isn't true.)

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Helping Out

Duty calls! Let us go forth and foil
Those pirates who try to despoil
Good livings well made
From clean honest trade -
And besides, it appears we've struck oil.

As soon as our pockets are filled,
The fuzzy-wuzzies may rebuild
Whatever they've lost,
And then stand us the cost,
Provided they haven't been killed.

Let's gather our paraphernalia
And don our imperial regalia!
Let's stride forth again
To help little brown men:
Rah rah! We've struck oil in Somalia!

© Philip Challinor

Britain leads dash to explore for oil in war-torn Somalia
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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.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Who Only Stand and Wait

When I consider how my light is spent,
I think of all the windows and the doors
I’ve pounded on—raw knuckles, sore feet—the boards
And panes I’ve stood before unmoving and indifferent.
The waiting is as fevered and as bent
as a dream about a bony whore
who couldn’t give herself away for warmth.
I think about my talent, the one God sent
me with a shovel and a rocky field--
no seeds, no cache, no promise of a find,
no pledge that knocking leads to welcoming.
When god’s joke is night, the laugh is houses sealed,
Dead stones, the seething judgment of the blind:
They never serve who won’t let others in.

© Ana Garza G'z

Blinded policeman found dead
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Ana Garza G'z has an M. F. A. from California State University, Fresno. 35 of her poems have appeared in various anthologies and journals, with one forthcoming in The Mom Egg.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

The kitchen lads

The kitchen lads had eyes as wide as skies
The day I said what I was going to do.
They said, ‘In front of international eyes?
With all the nation’s cameras turned on you?’
They didn’t seem to see: that was the point
Of planning to spill beer down Merkel’s back;
Of making it seem just a newbie’s gaffe.
Pff.  What did I care if I got the sack?
I’d always be ‘The one who spilled the ale’.
I’d have a scrapbook stuffed with every pic.
They’d know me on the street.  They’d point.  And stare.
And get out all their camera phones and click.
               
The kitchen lads had eyes as wide as skies
The day I planned the Merkel beer surprise.

© Fran Hill

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