Thursday, 31 May 2012

Thirty Years Vintage

Thirty years’ choked voice crackles,
mostly white noise, whispers-
this man kills him, but he forgot.
The miracle of oblivion winds through the child’s city.
Rocks the crown of the trees parked in a circle.
On some black days the memories celebrate with salt and wound.
Those occasions rise in blue moons or old kin’s visitation.

© Kushal Poddar

After 33 Years, Police Make Arrest in Case of Etan Patz

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.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The Last Waltz

There was always something
Addictive about you
Despite the dark suits
The big bow tie
The slightly uncool image
“Please release me”
We chorused tipsily
Staggering home
From underage nights
In discotheques and bars
Defiant at the rejection
Of haughty heartthrobs
In miniskirts wearing flesh
Coloured lipstick
“Every day I wake up
Then I start to break up”
Lifted by your emotion
Annoying the hell
Out of the neighbours

Later on your star faded
Outshone by Mohican punks
Dance, techno, indie, garage
And every other fad around
Till they brought you back
To reprise your talents
In the Eurovision circus
But too good to be a clown
You did your best
And although you didn’t win
You were just unlucky
It’s the effort that counts
Because for me you’re still great
And I’m still trying
To get my timing right
So I ask that girl for a dance
Just as you start to sing
The Last Waltz.

© David Subacchi

Eurovision: 'Engelbert did UK proud' - pub friends

David Subacchi’s first English language collection ‘First Cut’ was published by Cestrian Press last month. He is a regular contributor to ‘Poetry 24’.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Spring in Syria

The birds can still sing in the city of Homs,
where the trees are still scarred by the bullets and bombs,
there’s a carpet of glass,
on the road as you pass,
and a sniper alerted if anyone comes.

Some children of Houla are missing today,
they cannot be heard in the streets where they play,
but they’ll not play again,
no, for here they’ll remain,
Syrian violence will not go away

This is the rule of the tank and the gun,
don’t try to hide for there’s no place to run,
it’s barbaric, it’s brutal,
the world’s comments are futile
for nothing, no nothing at all, will be done.

©  Wendy Nicholson

Syria massacre in Houla condemned as outrage grows

Wendy is an ecologist studying animals and plants but likes painting, and writing all kinds of poetry.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Vox Populi

Stuff the Olympics,
and screw the Jubilee.
Up yours with the hype;
it means nothing to me.
I aint got no money,
no job, and no home;
since the wife took the kids
I’ve been living alone.
She’ll take me to the cleaners;
at least, that’s what she said.
It seems to me that Cameron
is stuck inside her head.
No pity, no mercy, no feeling at all;
where greed rules ok,
it’s the weak to the wall.

So who cares where the torch is,
or who won the cup?
I’ll be out on the streets soon
if things don’t look up;
and the plain fact is that none of you
gives diddley-squat for me;
but, one day, we will change
all that and stuff austerity.
We’ll remember where we came from,
how we marched, and how we won
before New Labour sold us out
and all our dreams were done.
When that day comes,
what a party we’ll have;
every street in the land will be free;
and people like you will be shafted
by ‘orrible oiks like me.
So screw your Olympics,
and stuff your Jubilee.

© Abigail Wyatt and David Rowland

Olympic torch: Huge crowds turn out to cheer flame

David Rowland is a former psychiatric nurse and Abigail Wyatt is a former teacher. Everything they believe in is under threat but they go on protesting anyway.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Sunday Supplement

Our Review of the week
Headlines: Tim Waldron's Houla
News Review: Mike Richardson's 'Random Nursery Rhyme News'
Celebrity Life: Craig Guthrie's 'Colleen'

What happened? Some kind of poetry eclipse on May 22nd  provoked 7 poets to send us poems in one hour (normally we only get 2 or 3 a day)! So here's a special Sunday Supplements with 3 extra poems.


This week we had poets putting themselves in someone else's shoes: Helena Nolan speaking as Hildebrand to set the record straight about The Real Meeting on the Turret Stairs, Philip Challinor  Just Trying to Help by putting himself in David Cameron's shoes or, more uncomfortably, Lavinia Kumar's visceral Immolation from the point of view of desperate Tibetans. Kay Weeks' teasing, unrequited Joe Biden on LOVEwas yet another authentic-sounding voice.

But our own shoes can be uncomfortable too. We also heard what felt like very personal responses to recent news: David Subacchi's memories of a recent trip to Modena adding a unique perspective to the earthquake there, and particularly E R Olsen grappling with memories reawakened by the funeral of the bomber in Lockerbie at 23: the furrow in ancient ground, a ripple in my brainy surface, a wound...opened from underneath after years.


Blood pours in Houla,
mourning echos on arid lands,
innocent lives gone.

© Tim Waldron

Syria crisis: Houla child massacre confirmed by UN

Tim teaches English at a secondary school in West Lancashire.

Random Nursery News Rhymes

Humpy dumpy sat on a wall
Singing a song on behalf of us all
All the attention was on the Queens men
Trying to rubbish the Euro again

Georgy Porgy opened his box
Heard IMF head was wearing a frock
Thought that meant that he needn’t take heed
Any advice to roll out plan B

Little Theresa in front of Blue geezers
Said put these delinquents away
When off duty coppers, tried so hard to stop her
She crimbo’d them all away

Wee Little Sebbie ran through the town
Up streets and down roads, torch lit and found
Thousands were willing to run with his flame
Then sell it on Ebay the very next day.

Little Rebekah has lost all her sleep
Didn’t know how bad times could find them
Her cell phone would ring
Comforting text things
From David with Lol stuck behind them

© Mike Richardson

Mike lived in Pembrokeshire and still hankers after the country that has inspired his writing.


I like Colleen in her blue bikini,
And she’d like me in my stripy beanie,
As long as we could keep our mouths shut tight,
We’d dance in Andalucia on Saturday night,
All would be bliss until the next day,
When I would demean her verbally in the most horrible way,
She’d throw a plate, I would duck,
We’d laugh, make up,
And go back to discussing Sartre on the lawn.

©  Craig Guthrie

Get a room! Coleen and Wayne Rooney get hot and heavy with some pool PDA in Vegas

More poetry and prose by Craig Guthrie can be found HERE

Saturday, 26 May 2012

The Real Meeting on the Turret Stairs

Frederic William Burton's
Hellelil and Hildebrand,
the Meeting on the Turret Stairs

Everyone thinks that this is our goodbye
That, after this, we never meet again
Only we know that this is how we met, this
The first touch you ventured on my sleeve.
Why don’t they realise that when you left
For the last time, your future a sea of blood
You would have kissed me fully on the mouth
And met my eyes directly with your own?

How can they think that this kiss is the last
Shielded from skin by folds of cloth and mail?
How can a kiss like this translate the love
That tore me from my family and home?
Our lost embrace was so much more than this -
The branding of the blood in every kiss.

©  Helena Nolan

Romantic scene voted Ireland's favourite painting

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.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Lockerbie at 23

She looked up at me with half-masted eyes;
continuous rhythmic motion draining
warm bottles – it was my shift by then,
an oar finally to the water with
these two o’clock feedings and CNN.
In the dark, pale flicker on our faces,
my eyes reflected that trench and debris
in the Scottish village whose sky rained down
a moment of fire and coating blackness
that stuck to the bricks and people like soot.

Time has slipped past the corners of my eyes;
the silk skull, tiny nails, now a woman,
I am up at two just for the body’s
own call, not the innocent cries, but those
somnambular scenes are fresh as Tuesday’s;

the furrow in ancient ground, a ripple
in my brainy surface, a wound to them
--like the scar I’ve since felt burn from a brand
in the shape of a son—looking healed, it
was opened from underneath after years

when the monster was let loose to his cave
and now, again, that he’s gone to his grave.
I cannot think of her sweetness without
their sadness, tender rocking without
the lingering soot – no burial will
change that.

©   E R Olsen

Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi's funeral held

E R Olsen writes poetry and practices law in Nevada, in the U.S., where he lives with his wife and four children. His poems have appeared in several U.S. journals, most recently in Viking.

Thursday, 24 May 2012


We raced between flames, the piercing light

melted our bones into the earth, glued

by burned muscle and melted tendons. We could

see the prayer wheels darkening and women knit

while they walk on mountain paths. But our hands

were empty of prayer beads, our prayers were now

hot, red, yellow – screaming as wind. The words

follow soldier machines that stamped on dresses

and school books to forbid the very language

we used to tell stories, to pass on ways to cook,

to herd sheep, and to find steep trails to shepherd

our yak and goat. Our knees no longer felt temple

floors, our arms could not gather barley from fields.

Our lips had been sealed with hot wax. But still

we could leave in flames – even as they throw bitter

water. Wind comes from east and west

until dark comes.

© Lavinia Kumar

China TV blames Dalai Lama for Tibet immolations
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, based in Portsmouth, NH.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Joe Biden on LOVE

How many times have I said just that?
Forget I said this; disregard; delete!

You know, trying to squirm and squiggle
out of my (what?) last mask and pose

When what I would love to do
is touch your's not it...

When Joe Biden said we should
be living with the one we love...

and I literally sucked in my breath
because I'm not but said, JOE, you are right
to the evening news, alone with cats,
not to get into the political marriage issue...

So, here it is, straight from my semi-crooked

It scares me to ask you to marry me

when you are Jewish and years younger
and already living with someone...

So, driving home from Rehoboth,
I thought I'd pose it this way and
just laughed and laughed out loud
for miles...what a fool...

The script was this:

OK! We'll have a pre-nup:
No sex, no salt
and no f___king profanity!

Of course, I probably won't tell you
because you'll laugh that laugh
that draws me in to such an extent

that I have to shut the door on feeling
and just stroke my cat.

© Kay Weeks

Biden on Gay Marriage: ‘Who Do You Love?’

Kay Weeks. Ellicott City, MD. Worked in national historic preservation for 30 years, Dep’t of Interior, National Park Service, in the policy-setting Wash. DC home office.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Just Trying to Help

The euro-thingy's full of fear and yelping;
It's time to let our British spirit rip.
I'm sure they'd like a bit of expert helping
Now we've achieved our little double-dip.

These Frogs and Huns, they think they are so mighty,
And yet they cannot solve this simple thing!
They ought to do what we have done in Blighty,
And let their rich folk have a bit more bling.

The Greeks are having trouble with their workers:
Treat proles too well, and soon the business sours.
They need to get to grips with all their shirkers,
And give them more of what I'm giving ours.

I'll tell them all to pull themselves together
And show a bit of character and force.
If Britain suffers, George can blame the weather,
But foreigners do not have such recourse.

I only want to help the wogs do better;
But they seem not to wish to listen more.
Their dreadful history is such a fetter!
They need reminding just who won the war.

© Philip Challinor

David Cameron criticised for delivering 'irritating' lectures to eurozone leaders

Weblog: The Curmudgeon - You'll come for the curses. You'll stay for the mudgeonry.
Books: Philip Challinor's Books

Monday, 21 May 2012


The epicentre was in Modena
Six reported dead, yet only
Last august in dazzling sunlight
We sipped Peroni on those streets
Arrivals by train from Bologna
Fierce heat driving impatience
For the next cultural fix
Followed by Panini with ham
And aceto balsamico

Now over British tea with toast
On a crisp May Sunday morning
We stare silently at cracked walls
As Modena’s rubble tumbles
From screen on to breakfast table
Struck with shock still we say nothing
Though inside we’re both wondering
With each of our senses reeling
Is this really grief
Or relief we’re feeling?

© David Subacchi

Deadly northern Italy earthquake hits heritage sites

David Subacchi’s first English language collection ‘First Cut’ was published by Cestrian Press last month. He is a regular contributor to ‘Poetry 24’. 

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Sunday Review

We've had the worries of the world on our shoulders here on Poetry24 this week from a range of different voices. In the UK, where even the Police Protest (from David Subacchi ), we started out with Ralph Killey's The Real Speech in which the British monarch whimsically bemoans not being offered a seat on the bus... out of here!

But other countries have their problems too. Lavinia Kumar sees as An East Wind blowing across Europe and Sutanuka Banerjee's Dream Broker exposes the exploitation of newcomers in Bollywood by lascivious executives. Meanwhile, over in the USA, the death penalty comes under sad scrutiny from Abigail Wyatt in A Long Time Coming.

It would be nice to think that all of this was just a bad dream. In yesterday's disturbing Children Who Died in a Fire by Michael Holloway, a recent suburban tragedy was portrayed in a dreamlike way which both harrowed and consoled.

Don't forget to remind us of your Twitter name, if you have one, when you submit... and 'like' us on Facebook for interesting poetry links, news from our poets and more!

Have a great week!

Clare (& Martin)

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Children Who Died in a Fire

Which children echoing their thoughts?
I thought it was over.
Each one, as myself, a little younger,
Pretends to be an aeroplane.
Do you like to wear Spiderman shoes?
He asks.

I am asleep now. Perfect as death.
Rest easy, little glow on the shore.
Slowly in the evening, same place as before,
My shadow shrinks. The sand is gold.
The sun is just fire, I think.
Who are the children who once was me?

I think I smell petrol. On your hands.
Is there Heaven? she asks.
Of course there is, I say.
I pretend to be God,
Standing in the middle of the ocean.
Each one, as myself, a little younger.

© Michael Holloway

Derby fire deaths: Neighbours to form human chain

Michael Holloway was born in Liverpool in 1985. He studied English Literature and Creative Writing at UCLan and is currently studying a Masters in Writing at LJMU.

Friday, 18 May 2012

A Long Time Coming

Twenty-three years is a long time to wait
and I wonder if it matters to you now:
if the lime burned out
your heart and your eyes
and the earth stopped your mouth,
then nothing has mattered
since they strapped you down
and slipped the needle in;
but what if your soul
or something like it
outlived that mortal shell,
did it dare to dream
the day might come
when the lie would be undone?
And how did it feel at the very last
to know that you must die
for the sake of some who shut their ears
and some who would not see?
Despite your face, your shirt and your shave,
in the end, they saw only your race.
‘A Hispanic male’ must outrun the world;
and justice is a long time coming.

© Abigail Wyatt

Wrong man was executed in Texas, probe says

Abigail is the 2012 winner of the Lisa Thomas Poetry Award. Her collection, 'Old Soldiers, Old Bones and Other Stories' , will be published by One Million Stories early in 2012.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Police Protest

I'm on a march in London
With Sarge and Bill and Mary
Thousands of other coppers
We must look pretty scary
Not on strike we're all on leave
Here in our own time
To protest about police cuts
Putting safety on the line
Fooling with our pensions
And pretending things are fine

We walk along the Embankment
Say hello to old Big Ben
Pass the Houses of Parliament
Wave at Number Ten
From Whitehall to Trafalgar Square
They all know we're in town
And up on his lofty pillar
Winking with his one good eye
Even Nelson looks down proudly
As the boys in blue go by!

© David Subacchi

Marchers police themselves as protest calls for role reversal

David Subacchi’s first English language collection ‘First Cut’ was published by Cestrian Press last month. He is a regular contributor to ‘Poetry 24’.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Dream Broker

Limping she walks
Blood on the couch grass
Tiger yawns with red teeth
Spider spins web.
Paws pounce on the body
Shaking shadows flicker in TV
Scotch-filled glasses
Relish the notched flesh
Weigh the bones
Ruptured rapture.
Ruby on her lips
Black veins under cloth.
Vase-shaped figures leaning with stilettos
Moistened and glistened
Coiling up the corridor.
Viewers, touts, directors
Stare at hips
Size the breasts
With tobacco teeth
Casting gaze.
Conspiring silhouette
Serpentine dance
Inebriated muse
Gluttonous glamour
Popular culture.

© Sutanuka Banerjee

Casting couch grabs bigger role in television world

Sutanuka is a researcher in the University of Malaga, Spain as an Erasmus Mundus student. She tries to pick up pebbles from the path of life and treasure them as the new chapters of experience.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

An East Wind

Winds from Prussia and Mecca swirl
over the rowboat in the Greek pond
where oars and laws slap against the bow,
and beards sometimes fly away.

Watch the sails of the Nina, the Pinta,
the Santa Maria flap in the breezes,
while the boat turns, twists in a dance
as sailors shout “land ahoy”

for those who hope the seas will calm,
that their feet will be set steady on land
which will not move or shuffle, that men
can truly see land – and boats come to harbor.

But now watch faces daze, as prayers become
loud, as minds of the people spin in the wind,
and hope to reassemble from left, from right.
But watch for the end, the pond swallowed whole.

© Lavinia Kumar

Syria's Muslim Brotherhood rise from the ashes

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, based in Portsmouth, NH.

Monday, 14 May 2012

The Real Speech

How have we landed, in this situation?
I’m talking about, the state of our nation.
What seems to matter is, profit and greed.
Morals and honour, have all, gone to seed.
V.A.T up on the Champagne and Gin
They tell you what rubbish to put in which bin
But always remember, we are the chaps,
Who outwitted the Germans and thwarted the Japs.
People forget this, now nobody cares.
Most of The Government are now millionaires
Even my ‘old man’ he sleeps all the time,
If you turn on the Tele, it’ Soaps, Sport or crime
The Common Market, it’s still them and us
You never get offered a seat on the bus.
The churches are closing nobody prays.
All people want are cheap holidays.
Packed in like cattle on rusty old planes.
Sometimes I wonder, what’s wrong with their brains.
Look at the footballers, Spanish and Polish
If you fancy a drink, your Pub’s been demolished
The Euro is sinking, The Pound doesn’t float
If We weren’t the Queen, We’d be on the next boat.

© Ralph Killey

Queen's Speech: Where are the big ideas to save Britain?

Ralph Killey worked on the Liverpool Echo for thirty years and became part owner of World Group Newspapers, Lancashire. He has a collection entitled: 'When there's Notin' on the Tele'. 

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Sunday Review

It's rare for Poetry24 to publish two poems by the same author, in the same week, but there are occasions when the exception, rather than the rule, takes precedence.

On Monday, Abigail Wyatt was Holding Out for a Hero, as expectations were raised about the extent of Boris Johnson's political ambitions, in the wake of his mayoral election success. Fast forward to Thursday, and Abigail offered us her powerful, They Call It 'Grooming', after the conviction of nine men who ran a child exploitation ring in Rochdale. The poem carries a personal message from Abigail, "…that people should understand that it is not only the educationally disadvantaged and the 'vulnerable' who are the victims of abuse."

Perhaps Val Hafstad, demonstrated how a punishment doesn't always appear to fit the crime. Grand Canyon was prompted by the story of a Norwegian man who received a jail sentence for running over a woman's toe.

This was also a week when we published A Very British Victory, by Philip Challinor, following the revelations that the Ministry of Defence has let a US company undertake a potentially lucrative excavation of a British 18th-century warship. And the MOD doesn't only have problems with marine activities. Peter Flint treated us to Olympic Ring-a-Roses, inspired by the MOD proposal to station surface-to-air missiles on the rooftops of flats, close to the Olympic site.

Still with the impending Olympics in mind, Jane Slavin's, Tom, rounded out the week.

Who knows what will catch your eye in the news, this week? Whatever it happens to be, write a poem about it and send it to us.

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Saturday, 12 May 2012


Tom Daley’s nicked my parking space.
I watched him from my room.
“Show us your permit!” I wanted to shout,
but didn’t.
Tom-tied, I gawped as he steeled himself,
blocking out the rat-run traffic, stacking up behind him.
Breathed in, out, focussed.
Lifted his arms to grasp the gear stick.
The Mini wheels tumbled backwards, two and half times – maybe three –
I’m not sure, it was so quick.
Target tarmac hit, but deftly missing the curb.
Not a ripple in the puddle as he tightly executed
the perfect parallel park.
Got out of the mini,
smiled, strode off.
What a driver.

© Jane Slavin

Daley wants to be GB super hero

Jane Slavin lives in Plymouth and Tom does actually park on her street, when he’s not off winning medals.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Grand Canyon

I took a wrong turn in Arizona –
Drove a rental car into a one-way street.
A crowd of people,
Gathered for a music festival,
Rushed against me.
In their eyes, I was a monster
Swimming against the tide.
Waves of anger swept over the car,
A fist charged through the open window,
Shattering my nose,
Sending a gush of blood down my face.
All I wanted was to escape
This surge of madness and hysteria.
Terrified, I steered the car through.
Then I stopped, gasping for air.
The nightmare continued
With a Kafkaesque plot:
Five armed policemen surrounded me, shouting.
They found me guilty of aggravated assault
With the use of a deadly weapon.
(That’s what they call a rental car.)
I’m shackled, in solitary confinement,
Falling ever deeper into a grand canyon of despair.
It’s been seven months.
They call me “the failed mass murderer,”
Who killed no one, but broke a woman’s toe.
I’ve been sentenced to seven years in prison,
A foreigner, visiting Arizona,
Enjoying the scenery,
Until my life took a wrong turn.

© Vala Hafstad

Norwegian man gets 7.5 years for running over woman's toe

Vala lives in Minnesota.  Most of the time, she writes humorous poems for children as well as adults.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

They Call It ‘Grooming’

Now they call it 'grooming'
but the Swinging Sixties
was a decade lost for words,
certainly those the  press serves up,
all righteous indignation and disgust;
though it happened then, just the same,
just as it happened to me.
Grown men took our hopes
in their calloused hands
and caressed pale curve of our breasts,
then they laid us down in the dreary dark
to croon  their secret songs.

One man I knew, his name was Peter,
staked out the public library after school
and waited there, a lazy shark,
through summer's steaming heat.
A little man and cramped he was
who somewhere had a wife
who inhabited her sadness
in a three-room council flat
and waited while he wooed me
with the ardour of his ways.
He held my hand down muddy paths
to where he took my trust.
'Feel this,' he said, then thrust
me where I did not want to go.
There , in the dark, beneath the trees,
too scared, too proud to flinch;
and, afterwards, I worried
that my mother’s heart would know.

And then, next day, in morning prayers,
'Jerusalem' rang out;
and, while I felt my innards churn
I prayed it was undone.
I bore the pain above my thighs
but could not grasp my loss:
I had looked for love but missed my step
and all my long, sweet youth.

© Abigail Wyatt

Grooming convictions are 'fantastic result for British justice'

Abigail is the 2012 winner of the Lisa Thomas Poetry Award. Her collection, 'Old Soldiers, Old Bones and Other Stories' , will be published by One Million Stories early in 2012.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Olympic Ring-a-Roses

Fight or flight reaction
We all know what it means
Nor do you need to be a genius
To know it's in our genes
No fangs or claws or poison-stings
We were set up to be beaten
We had to think of other ways
To eat and not be eaten
So we started throwing stuff
Like pointed sticks and stones
Running fast and jumping things
Until such skills were in our bones...
Ancestor sat in his mud hut
Or perhaps a cosy cave
With his prehistoric remote-control
Watching episodes of 'Dave'
Mrs Ancestor looked scornful
As she surveyed her mate,
"Since you discovered seeds and ploughing
You've been piling on the weight...
You need to get some exercise!"
He sighed, "Perhaps I ought..."
Hence the: running...jumping...throwing things
Developed into sport
Thus, chasing food or self-defence
The most primeval of Man's aims
Spawned a commercially-sponsored circus
That's called...'The Olympic Games'!
We've still got: running...jumping...throwing things
To boost each nation's pride
But behind the medals, flags and torches
There is a darker side...
Masked cops with machine-guns
T.V. appeals for blood
Wall-to-wall surveillance
To nip trouble in the bud
Gunboats on the River Thames
Aircraft in the sky
Snipers...hi-tech missiles
On roof-tops way up high...
Like Olympic Rings we've come round
Showing we have learned to fight
If passport checks at airports weren't so long
I think I'd prefer the flight!

© Peter Flint

The high-rise homes turned into Olympics missile base

Peter is 77, belongs to Rossington Writers' Group, Doncaster, and writes short stories and poems  for his grandchildren. He taught for forty years...mainly English. 

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

A Very British Victory

Your Evil Multiculturist
Has No Regard for English Hist,
And would do Much, without a Qualm,
To Cause True Englishmen Alarm.
Our great Cathedrals he would See
Bound over in Muslimity;
Our Palaces and Stately Piles
Would not Escape their Horrid Trials,
For Certainly the Boor and Cad
Would Never Rest until he Had
These Vessels of our Nation's Soul
Broke Up to House the Idling Prole.

The Noble Instruments of War
Which so long Held our British Shore
Against the Integrating Foe,
Into the Dustbin He would Throw;
And Spare no Effort and no Means
To Make us Merely Europeans.
But We, with Britishness in Force,
Will Halt the Nation's Fatal Course.
Our Government will have No Truck
With any Fancy Foreign Muck.
We'll Steer us to a Future Bright -
The Nineteen-Thirties seem Just Right.

A charming Private Company
Has gone Beneath the Channel Sea
To Excavate a Wreck whose Hold
May just Contain a Bit of Gold.
Our Noble British Bottom Line
Proclaims that Profiteering's Fine,
And Nothing may be Let to Trash
The Turning of some Rapid Cash.
They've Graciously Agreed to Sell
Some Cannon Back to us, as well;
So why not Let them Asset-Strip
Some Mouldy Bits of Sunken Ship?

© Philip Challinor

Archaeologists accuse MoD of allowing US company to 'plunder' shipwreck

Weblog: The Curmudgeon - You'll come for the curses. You'll stay for the mudgeonry.
Books: Philip Challinor's Books

Monday, 7 May 2012

Holding Out For a Hero

So the Party’s on the look-out for a hero
and Boris, it seems, is its man;
Boris, who’s brave, and as tough as old boots;
as smart as new paint and as meek as a lamb;
Boris who’s funny and ballsy and brash,
and who basks in the warmth of The Sun.
‘It’s Boris,’ says London, ‘’e’s one of yer own;
‘e likes a few beers an’ some fun.’
And Boris is affable, Boris is frank;
Boris tells it straight, just like it is;
while Osborne lies lurking and Cameron quakes,
BJ knows the future is his.
Because, don’t you know, he’s a chap just like us,
and what’s more he’s been on TV;
he’s clever and quick, and not ruthless at all;
but as safe and as sweet as high tea.
They call it ‘the bonus’, the ‘popular touch’;
they say he’s the man for the fight;
but it’s nothing but branding, the weight of the press,
and the power of media hype;
and Boris is Boris is what people want
because Boris burns bright like a star;
if Cameron blusters  and Milliband bleats,
then Boris will buzz like a wasp in a jar.

© Abigail Wyatt

Boris for prime minister? London win raises stakes

Abigail is the 2012 winner of the Lisa Thomas Poetry Award. Her collection, 'Old Soldiers, Old Bones and Other Stories' , will be published by One Million Stories early in 2012.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Sunday Review

I've been mostly absent this week due to work commitments, so many thanks to Martin for keeping everything going... and what a week I've missed!

We began with two fox tails - Jane Slavin and Abigail Wyatt taking very different slants on recent fox sightings in the news in the UK recently... I saw one foxtrotting down a suburban street in broad daylight last week, though I don't think he had an iPhone! Swan's were in the dock, too, in Vala Hafstad's Swan Song.

Heroes and villains featured in other poems this week: one of each from Africa. John Goss with his controversial First among equals on the trial of Sierra Leone's Charles Taylor, and Lavinia Kumar singing the praises of Kenyan environmental activist, Ikal Angelei, in Lake Turkana.

Yesterday's poem The Panacea from new contributor Sutanuka Banerjee flagged up the plight of street children. Using dream-like images: 'The boy bags a foamy mass of buttermilk sky' and the simple sentence structure of a child's reading book the poem cleverly captures the innocence and magic of childhood.

In troubled times, where you can't tell men from animals, where basic rights must be fought for and children must fend for themselves, it's tempting to yearn for another kind of world. That's exactly where Helena Nolan took us with the stunning Leaving for Gliese - a multi-layered poem which many of you responded to. Which of doesn't sometimes wish to find our skin blooming again in [the] ambient glow of another body whilst still feeling the gravitational tug of the familiar?

Let's hope Poetry24 continues to exert its gravitational pull on fine poets like these.

Have a great week!

Clare (& Martin)

Saturday, 5 May 2012

The Panacea

The girl desired to have a delightful sky

The boy wished he were the king of the clouds

The kite connects the hearts in the air

Reality pulls the thread.

The boy washes dishes in the shop

The girl sells flowers in the street

They live on fragments

in perishable forms.

Life is an immortal spectator

passes by the scattered sketches.

Time keeps on writing the prolonged essay

with a lullaby in the dim light of the hurricane.

A dragonfly flutters in the dream

The girl is decked with glowing stars in her zenith of joy

The boy bags a foamy mass of buttermilk sky

Sleep embroiders fulfilment.

© Sutanuka Banerjee

International Day for Street Children

Sutanuka is a researcher in the University of Malaga, Spain as an Erasmus Mundus student. She tries to pick up pebbles from the path of life and treasure them as the new chapters of experience.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Swan Song

The trial is beginning;
I’m ready in defense.
The outlook is alarming;
I’m feeling rather tense.
I know I killed a person
Who trespassed to my land.
This didn’t have to happen,
But things got out of hand.
I do admit I’m sorry,
Although I had the right
To guard against invaders
Of my home, both day and night.
The victim ruffled feathers,
And I became upset.
His presence seemed to tell me
He posed a real threat.
No wonder I am shaking;
I am a nervous wreck,
For if they find me guilty,
They’ll hang me by the neck.
It’s early in the morning.
The judge conceals a yawn,
“State your name,” he’s roaring.
I answer, “It is Swan.”

© Vala Hafstad

Man Drowns in Swan Attack

Vala Hafstad lives in Minnesota. She writes humorous poems for children and, occasionally, their parents.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Leaving for Gliese

If I leave right now, I will be sixty seven when I reach you
My skin blooming again in your ambient glow
A soft red blush will blossom in your climate
Like the dimly-lit atmosphere of a cocktail bar.

Your red sky wears a sunny, starry face
Such beauty will have me always looking upwards
No time to turn around to see the past
Recede behind me at the speed of light.

I will be glad to start again in another universe
There is room in one life for two lifetimes, after all,
I should go out into the night seeking a moonbeam
The one that will lead me to the exit door.

And yet the greens and blues of here still tempt me
Even the greys and browns have subtle tones
That your new look has not yet re-invented
The tugs and ties of gravity are strong.

©  Helena Nolan

Astronomers find new planet capable of supporting life
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.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Lake Turkana

Warm, wet womb of the hominids,
the lake now teams with fish, turtles,
crocodiles – and it is salted, a desert sea

from the river Omo in unthinking
Ethiopia. There men seek to build
a dam to steal water from lake, to dry

the desert to dust, to take breath from fish
and those who eat them in north Kenya,
home of the woman, Ikal Angelei,

whose words flow, grow and multiply.
With her net she catches foreign banks
digging fingers and hooks in poor Africa,

and she talks. Her Africa is those who must
grow food, must eat, they are salt-of-the-earth
humans in need of water, a measure of peace.

© Lavinia Kumar

Water proves a prize asset
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, based in Portsmouth, NH.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

First among equals

Thank you so much Charles Taylor,

somebody had to be first,

first among the world leaders,

but not the worst of the worst.

You’ve paved the way for the others

who condone maiming and rape.

at last there’s something like justice,

no tyrant can ever escape.

Yet something seems to be missing,

something is not really fair,

the prisons are too overcrowded

to contain tyrants like Blair;

and who is going to arrest him,

him and his henchman, Jack Straw?

A very extraordinary rendition

of some kind of flaw in the law.

© John Goss

Charles Taylor found guilty of abetting Sierra Leone war crimes

John Goss blogs at where some of his opinions may not meet with
everyone’s approval.