Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Naming the Hurricane

Perhaps it is the child in us, saying
come, hold, do, even please,
seeking incantatory possession
of the uncontrollable.
But of course the storm has its way,
as does each silent soul
like so many trees
with wide green heads
both bending
and waving.

© Mark Kerstetter

Hurricane Sandy's U.S. death toll climbs to 33; at least 7.4 million without power

Mark Kerstetter steals time away from restoring an old house in Florida to write and make art out of salvaged wood. 

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Bewabs and Mozzas

He hawks as we pass;
she drops something
into the folds covering
his crossed legs. Hand rising
in salutation, his eyes
busy scrutinizing light
trying to squeeze through
the closing door.

I, aghast: but why?
She smiles -
he’d tell the world
I’m a whore and you,
my love, even worse
a naswangi- womaniser.
I’ve saved your Western
face - now get upstairs!

Our bewab: cleaner
of my Mozza’s purse
gate keeper,
moral arbiter,
since she started
staying over.
Her reputation assured
with Egyptian pounds.

© Michael Ray

The doormen policing Egypt's morals

Michael Ray  is a glass artist living in West Cork Ireland. In 2011 he won the RTE John Murray National Poetry Competition. His work has appeared in The Moth, Asylum, The Independent and Cyphers.

Monday, 29 October 2012

My mother read Plath

My mother read Plath
with her toes curled up,
spilling her sherry
as knife slit skin from skin.

She turned the pages quickly
to find bloody bits
and underlined any
reference to whiteness.

She studied a photograph
of Sylvia in a dirndl skirt
and compared the blueness
of their eyes in a mirror.

She kept wide masking tape
in a dark cupboard
and always made sure
there was bread and milk

for a rainy day.

© Fran Hill
Remembering poet Sylvia Plath

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

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Sunday Review

Hallowe'en is imminent, and autumn is slipping its leash, allowing us to slide into the shorter days and darkness of winter. The current rash of news stories are doing little to cheer us up, and this has resulted in some pretty sombre submissions, this week.

Anthony Baverstock started the ball rolling with My Name was Amanda Todd, a harrowing poem about a 15 year old girl who killed herself after being bullied online. We included the link to a video she posted on YouTube, where she tells her story in a set of handwritten notes. One of the saddest things I've witnessed in a long while.

On Tuesday, Jane Slavin brought us, Who Killed Cock Robin… the sorry tale of how the environment ministry licensed the killing of two robins and a wren, after they became trapped in a food factory and were considered a threat to public health.

Next, Not On the 9 O'Clock News!  Philip Johnson was disturbed by the apparent reluctance on the part of the BBC, to deal with Jimmy Savile's alleged paedophilia, despite rumours of his inappropriate behaviour as far back as 1973.

It's more than three weeks since five-year-old April Jones disappeared whilst playing near her home in Machynlleth, mid-Wales. David Subacchi tells how "‘STOP’ is the anguished word on the lips of everyone,"  as the town's clock tower is lit up up in April's favourite colour, pink.

On Friday, Abigail Wyatt highlighted new advice given to doctors and health and social workers by Liberal Democrat Care Minister Norman Lamb at a conference on end-of-care, on how to select candidates for a "living will."

And Anna rounded out the week with Black Holes and Worried Souls, inspired by a German woman who feared the Earth would be sucked into oblivion in a black hole, caused by the Large Hadron Collider.

Touching wood that we'll all manage to get through the coming week, please don't let the prospect of black holes stop you from writing news-related poems for us. We are extremely low on submissions, so now is a good time to tell you about our new email address. All submissions should now be sent to us at Clare and I decided that this would make the submission process easier for everyone. All we need now, is for you to try it out. So, bracing myself for a flurry of topical poetry (Clare's on her hols until next Friday) I'd like to wish you a great week ahead.


Saturday, 27 October 2012

Black Holes and Worried Souls

Try as she might
she cannot quell the fears
that exist deep inside her,
that man with one twist of a knob,
one press of a button
could permanently turn out the lights,
turn day to everlasting black of night
as they play God,
attempt to recreate creation
with the Large Hadron Collider.

She knows nought of elementary particles,
of quantum fields and symmetries;
her understanding of her world
is what she feels and sees,
mass to her is not something acquired by vector bosons
but something she attends on Sundays;
her worry is that one day mans inquisitiveness
(with one push of a button) will decide her fate,
her demise as they attempt to recreate creation
with the Large Hadron Collider.

It matters not to her how matter attains mass,
whether Higgs boson exists or not,
what matters to her is that she is, she exists
and the worry deep inside her very soul
is that with one twist of a knob,
a scientist generated black hole
will suck the Earth into oblivion
as they play God with the Large Hadron Collider…

© 'Anna'

German woman fails to prove atom-smasher will end world

Anna is passionate about her world and writes about her feelings in both poetry and prose.  She lives in the UK and for personal reasons, prefers to remain just 'Anna.'

Friday, 26 October 2012

Norman Lamb

With apologies to William Blake
(who, on reflection, probably wouldn’t mind)

Norman Lamb who made you?
Do you know who made you,
Gave you votes and gave you wealth,
Placed in your care the nation’s health;
And clothed you in a sacred trust
To put our health and welfare first
And let you loose to do your will
Only to find you’re dressed to kill?
Norman Lamb, it shames you.
Don't you know who made you?

Norman Lamb, I’ll tell you.
Hear me and I’ll tell you:
We’re the ones who worked to make
The wealth for all your sorry sakes,
The ones who scrimped and saved so you
Could live as you’re accustomed to;
And yet, when we are sick or old,
If we can’t pay, we must be culled;
While you, meanwhile, will make the most
Of savings made by our poor ghosts.
But Norman Lamb, we’ll fight you;
Don’t think that we won’t fight you

© Abigail Wyatt

Family doctors asked to identify patients likely to die

Abigail Wyatt lives in Redruth in Cornwall where she writes poetry and short fiction and does her best to remain positive.  She blogs at She can also be found on Facebook.

Thursday, 25 October 2012


The word on the road at Machynlleth
Reads ‘STOP’, here before the great clock
That dominates the town, traffic
From the east must halt if only
For a second, checking for vehicles
Approaching from the north and south
Before moving on

And for many who don’t know it
That’s all there is, ‘STOP’
Stop by the clock, perhaps
Pause at Glyndwr’s parliament house
Or pick up petrol at one
Of the garages that guard
Each entrance to this place
Maybe a visit to The Plas
Or the Alternative Technology Centre

But today this modest
Mid Wales market town
Is catapulted into the spotlight
As a child fires a stone at the sun
By evil deeds committed
Against a girl that never
Did harm to anyone

And in Machynlleth now
‘STOP’ is the anguished word
On the lips of everyone.

© David Subacchi

April Jones: Clock Tower Lit Three Weeks On 

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

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Not On The 9 O'clock News!

the head of the fly

saturday night
lovely raw with it's vomit

the body sees me through the week

sunday got to be grateful to god
the legs of the thing

caked in shit

© Philip Johnson

BBC aware of Jimmy Savile rumours and fears in 1973

Philip Johnson has appeared in: The Ugly Tree; Poetry Scotland, Emergency Verse, Write Away, Caught In The Net, Red Pencil, Writer's Hood, Transparent Words; The Robin Hood Book. Works in elder care.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Who killed Cock Robin…

Who killed Cock Robin?
I, said the man from the ministry.
with my semi-automatic,
I killed Cock Robin.

Who saw him die?
I, said the marksman hired.
Through the cross wire,
I saw him die.

Who caught his blood?
I, said the factory owner.
In a plastic bowl,
I caught his blood.

Who'll make the shroud?
I, said the civil servant,
For food health and safety,
I’ll hide behind that shroud.

Who else has gone?
Why, cried the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.
205 skylarks, 35 song thrushes,
81 meadow pipits and 200 blackbirds.

No birds of the air
To a-sigh or a-sobbing,
All shot – under licence,
Just like poor Cock Robin.

© Jane Slavin

Defra killed Cock Robin

Jane is a former journalist, now council press officer, living in Plymouth. In her spare time, she is falling in love with words again by making her own stuff up!

Monday, 22 October 2012

My name was Amanda Todd

In 7th grade
     I would go with friends
          on webcam
got called stunning,
     wanted me to flash...
          So I did....

Im stuck...
     whats left of me now...
          nothing stops
The girl and 2 others just said
     look around
          nobody likes you.
A guy than yelled
     just punch her already
          So she did..

Kids filmed it.
     I was all alone
          and left on the ground.
was on facebook –
     She deserved it,
          did you wash the mud out of your hair?
I felt like a joke in this world...
     I thought
          nobody deserves this :/

All from my past..
     lifes never getting better..
          cant go to school
meet or be with people...
     constantly cutting.
          Im really depressed.
I have nobody
     I need someone
          my name is Amanda Todd....

© Anthony Baverstock

Author's note: I pondered for quite a while over whether or not to tidy up Amanda’s spelling and grammar. Finding the case for each option equally strong, I decided in the end to leave her text exactly as she wrote it.

Amanda Todd: Memorial for teenage cyberbullying victim

FULL VIDEO: Amanda Todd: Struggling, Bullying, Suicide, Self Harm, Fighting 

Anthony Baverstock is from Colchester, reputed home of Humpty-Dumpty.  

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Sunday Review

It's been a hokey pokey week, here at Poetry 24, with perhaps more outs than ins.

Philip Challinor's Occupy protestors in The Cleansing of the Templewere trying to stay in IN by chaining themselves to the pulpit in St Paul's, but 'the money-changers, most devout, / Then took the poor, and threw them' OUT.

Spasibo - was a thank you from US poet James Schwarz to queer Russians who, having been IN 'iron closet' were vilified for nailing their colours to the mast on Coming OUT day. On the subject of another bigotted attack, E R Olsen's simple mathematics in poetic form added up to a terrible equation about the appalling shooting of Pakistani student Malala who only wanted to stay IN school.

Two for the price of one, with two different perspectives on Felix in Free Fall - the Austrian daredevil's mind-bending descent when he jumped OUT of a balloon 24 miles above the surface of the earth: Helena Nolan explored the nature of falling, while Anthony Baverstock, master of the modern fairy tale, describes him being ... wait for it... SHAKEN ALL ABOUT during his 'strato-stupendulous' freefall and wonders what his mother will do.

Also on the subject of fall guys, Abigail Wyatt suspects nothing will come OUT of two enquiries launched this week  - into the police cover up of details around the Hillsborough disaster and creepy TV star Jimmy Savile's long and predatory reign at the BBC. They will both find The Patsy - 'some capo who knows how to keep his mouth shut / and is willing to fall on his sword;'

Saturday was for shopping again with Laura Taylor's blistering Smart Card Shopping Fest on the latest government HOKEY POKEY* - smart cards for those feckless persons who want to buy drink and other treats - which really shouldn't be allowed to according to British politician Ian Duncan Smith.

That's what it's all been about this week, and we're still low on submissions, folks!

Have a good week.

Clare (and Martin)

* I'm using the American version of Hokey Cokey because it fits better with politicians poking their noses in!

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Smart Card Shopping Fest

It’s a Smart Card shopping fest
No frittering of benefits
on booze and lovely cigarettes
No choice no voice
No clubcard points
It’s credit in reverse

Unfantastic this new plastic
Technically illegal
That won’t stop the government
from ploughing through
the bank accounts
that don’t belong to them

‘You’re a problem family,
draining the economy,
ruining the country
with your drug-addicted ways
Yes we know you didn’t start it all
nor did you have a part
in continuing the dive into the shitter
But frittering your benefits
on booze and lovely cigarettes
makes the Daily Mailers apoplectic
And now we have to make a point
so rather than claim taxes due
we’ll drain the blood from poor people

When shopping list autonomy
becomes a thing of history
I suggest we shoplift all we need
and then
no more Smart Card shopping fest
We’ll smuggle all our cigarettes
and sup our booze within the Tesco aisles
No choice no voice
No clubcard points
But all the paupers will rejoice
and luxury will come to us for free   
Oh yes

©  Laura Taylor

  'No booze' smart cards for benefit claimants who spend their handouts on drugs and alcohol

Award-winning poet Laura Taylor is a regular festival and open-mic night guest performer throughout the North West of England. She has been writing and performing poetry for two years, and has been widely published.

Friday, 19 October 2012

The Patsy

What we need is a patsy, a fall guy:
we've a mind to find someone to blame;
we're thinking we'll launch an enquiry
in the hope it will throw up a name.
We'll need to go back through our archives
to establish where things went awry:
it won't be straightforward, of that we're convinced;
but, still, we're determined to try.

We need to come up with some answers;
our backs to the wall are hard pressed:
there's been some suggestion we knew all along
but hushed it all up at some big-wig's behest;
and, yes, this is all  speculation;
at the moment, we're still in the clear;
but, sooner or later, a stone will be turned
and heaven knows what will appear.

So, we need to come up with a scapegoat.
Now who have we got who might serve,
some capo who knows how to keep his mouth shut
and is willing to fall on his sword;
or, perhaps, some poor chap who is ripe to retire
and doesn't have too much to lose;
we'll double his pension and see he's ok
in exchange for a week in the news.

In the meantime we'll have an enquiry
to cut through the swathes of  red tape.
Who do we have that the punters will trust
to establish an open and honest debate?
Who do we have in our pockets?
Transparency must be the key.
Don't worry, old man: I'll cover your back,
if you'll do the same thing for me.

© Abigail Wyatt

Hillsborough disaster: watchdog to launch biggest ever inquiry into police

Jimmy Savile sex scandal: BBC apologises to 'victims' as it launches two inquiries 

Abigail is one of the three founding members of the Red River Poets. The latter will be appearing at the Heartlands Project in Cornwall, 29th September, as part of 100 Thousand Poets for Change.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Felix in Free Fall

The Man Who Fell to Earth

We have been falling all our lives.
When we first learn to walk
Our parents cheer the walking but for us
The suddenness of falling is the prize.

We earn degrees in falling
Learn to dredge success from every fault
We are the much-praised generation
We know the power in the fall.

We fall into everything
Falling forward into steep-climb futures
Falling backwards when emotion pushes
When memory drags us down.

The years are falling from us
Thoughts we clung to are so many leaves
Our lives are autumn and the branches
Sketch their meaning on a purple sky.

Not long ago we saw the people falling
Turning from the firewall at their backs
Tonight a man stands up, a resurrection
After the farthest fall from the highest point.

©  Helena Nolan

Skydiver Felix Baumgartner breaks sound barrier

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.


Austrian Baumgarten,
spinning and thinking of
strawberry jam;

falling from space like an
home to a hug and a
smack from his mam.

© Anthony Baverstock

Skydiver Felix Baumgartner's out-of-control spin

Anthony Baverstock is from Colchester, reputed home of Humpty-Dumpty. 

Wednesday, 17 October 2012


Little dove
Just wanting
To be a person

Not wanting her
To rise above

Aloft now
They’ve made her
More than

And themselves
“The Students”
Less than

For it all
Must add up
To zero

© E R Olsen

Malala Yousafzai: Pakistan girl 'strong' - doctors

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.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

The Cleansing of the Temple

Into the temple Jesus went
And said, "Don't covet or resent
The wealth of usurers and thieves.
For every camel that believes
The Nicene Thingummy, say I,
We've shortcuts through the needle's eye.
Partners and allies are my thing;
Proceed, gents, with your chaffering."
The money-changers, most devout,
Then took the poor, and threw them out.

© Philip Challinor

Occupy protesters chain themselves to St Paul's pulpit

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

Monday, 15 October 2012


Pogrom pub.
Hooded hate.
Nationalist state.
Moscow majesty.
Rock and roll Tchaikovsky.
Iron closets.
Masked history.


Anatoly Steiger.
Georgy Adamovich.
Anatoly Mariengof.
Sergei Yesenin.
Rurik Ivnev.
Vyacheslav Ivanov.
Valery Pereleshin.

Orthodox anarchy.
Coming Out Day.
International unity.
Proud to be gay.

© James Schwartz

Russian nationalists attack Moscow gay bar on international Coming Out Day celebration

Poet and slam performer, James Schwartz strives for the simplicity of Cavafy mixed with modern gay wordplay. Author of: The Literary Party: Growing Up Gay and Amish in America (inGroup Press, 2011). Twitter: @queeraspoetry

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Sunday Supplement

Noel Loftus started our week with a small and delicate poem prompted by the search for missing 5 year old April Jones in west Wales, Always A Baby.
Anthony Baverstock continues to educate and enthral with unusual poetry forms. This week he treated us to a qasida, a pre-Arabic narrative form, allowing us to 'feel the age-old rhythms stir desert sand' as the Warrior Poet recounts his tale of love and loss and deeds to be remembered.

We had a shorter... but not so sweet poem from Philip Challinor on the defacing of art in Posthumous Collaboration but regular contributor Vala Hafstad's verse was on collaborations of a different kind: Vala continues to keep up us up to date on the wackier side of the news, this week with horny bovines texting their booty calls for a Hot Date
The UK's political conference season has not inspired many to wax poetic, so we were happy to welcome new contributor Philipos who had a few words to say in How Down at the Hyatt? about 'triumphal borismus / a portly olympostatic one'.

We're so short of submissions at the moment I even snuck in one of my own: Out of my depth - it was that or the test card. So do, please, keep your poems coming in or it will be nail-biting times here at Poetry24... which brings me to a poem from Kay Weeks on that very subject, below.

Have a good week

Clare (& Martin)

Nail Biting

I’m biting nails—thought it was OK--
Pathology has named it, Aw, Gee whiz!
Down to quick, and OCD, dismay;
It’s just another kind of “not their biz!”

© Kay Weeks

Nail Biting: Mental Disorder Or Just A Bad Habit?

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Out of my depth

They’re trained to look for signs:
like me, jittery in the fish aisle
with wild staring eyes.
Rising panic – credit card or cash?
loyalty card and coupons.
Help I am out of my depth!

What I really need is
a hand firmly under my chin
to drag me out of the waves of
mothers with small children
before I fall under the wheels
of pushchair and trolley.
Help, help – I am out of my depth!

Home brand, buy local, food miles
fair-trade, organic, gluten-free
special offer, buy one get one free.
Help – I am out of my depth!

This stupid trolley
with its wonky wheel
is pulling me under, I’m
weak and goosefleshed as
battery chicken in the chiller cabinet,
lost as a lone tahini abandoned near the jam
Other shoppers basking in
the warm glow of the bread aisle.
unaware that danger lurks.
Help – I am out of my depth!

The cry goes up
– a few strong strokes
and the supermarket
lifeguard is by my side,
dragging me to the shallows of ten items of less.
People stop to gawp
and as I thrash wildly
amongst the salty snacks
it sounds a bit like applause.

© Clare Kirwan

Shoppers baffled by promotions overload

Friday, 12 October 2012

How Down at the Hyatt?

i think i mean hoedown
or should it be showdown
i ought to check with boris
that man around town
brown-nosing for cameron
after ‘a bloody good lunch’
before the fudgearama

there was a soviet twang
about bearded rasputins
and triumphal borismus
a portly olympostatic one
even squirrels got a plug
well-fed ones of course

in an up market hotel
where chandeliers
outshine silverware and
cut-glass accents abound
airs of expectation arose
among the snooty-nosed

yet who could outshine
him with the blond mane
renowned for transgressions
with the nearest game bird

at insane bozzo hq there’s
one hell of a stew brewing
so prime minister beware
your front bench as well
as your posterior is at risk

et tu boris?

© Philipos

Conservative conference: Masses hail Boris Johnson as he swoops into town

Philipos began writing poetry near Cape Town back in the mid-90s, appearing on local radio and TV programmes. Now his offerings occasionally feature in local UK magazines, etc.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Hot Date

I’m writing a quick SMS.
It’s faster than mail sent express.
I’m restless and sick
With love, so come quick.
My darling, I am in distress.

I’m glad I discovered this phone.
Its ratings are not overblown.
My spelling is checked
With auto-correct,
For errors it will not condone.

I do not use Facebook or tweet.
For that I am way too discreet.
I’ve seen people boast
Of dumb things and post
Obscenities they can’t delete.

Remember the postcards of old.
I used to write words that were bold
To tell of my state.
The card might come late.
I’d panic – my love uncontrolled.

I need you, my dearest, right now.
Excuses I will not allow.
My love is complete
For now I’m in heat.
Love, Bella the beautiful cow.
© Vala Hafstad

Swiss Cows Send Texts to Announce They’re in Heat

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

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Posthumous Collaboration

The darling of the critics' hypes
As present fashion swings,
He painted lots of squares and stripes
And coloured blobs and things.

A joined-up scribble makes of this
Great work a greater one:
The only masterpiece of his
A grown-up might have done.

© Philip Challinor

Rothko painting defaced at Tate Modern

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

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Warrior Poet

Stay, listen, friend...
feel the age-old rhythms stir desert sand,
hear poets past whisper bygone praise of tribe, lord and land.
There rest our forefathers, brave deeds writ in more blood than ink,
proud men who built cities, wrought rich cultures, worked, loved and planned.

I too have loved, loved and lost, felt ache in heart, gut and loins,
penned ghazals ’neath starry skies, eyes fiery, hair clenched in hand.
That boy is now dead. The fool chased dreams across shers in vain:
no dream endures light of day; few truths can youth’s hopes withstand.

Head hung I cried hearing gunshots crack as men screamed and fell.
No metred foot stops a jackboot; more than words, times demand.
That day I picked up a gun, though never laid down my pen;
long roads I now trek to fight, hide, write for dear motherland.

Sunrise to sunset I kill; sunset to sunrise I write,
seek solace dark nights in verse, fete men and bold rebel band,
chant praise for lost brothers’ brave deeds writ in more blood than ink,
sing songs of hope, justice, peace. Home. Rights that free men command.

We pray.
Sipping hot sweet tea we plan, check our guns,
eyes fiery, ride out on flatbed trucks through wild hinterland.
God willing, none die today; God willing, no mother grieves.
Know though, if death finds me, I, Abu Azzam, made a stand.

© Anthony Baverstock

Author's note: I wrote ‘Warrior Poet’ as a qadisa, the pre-Islamic Arabic narrative form introduced to English by Tennyson in his poem about a soldier’s memories, ‘Locksley Hall’. I’ve followed the classic qasida pattern (as far as I understand it) though in a more condensed manner than usual:

1) Evocation of the past
2) Tale of love and loss
3) Story of a journey
4) Call for deeds to be well-remembered

Syrian rebel commander finds solace in poetry

Anthony Baverstock is from Colchester, reputed home of Humpty-Dumpty. 

Monday, 8 October 2012

Always A Baby

Her warm fragrant head sings fluent babble

Through a smacking soother.

Ten tiny nailed fingers fervently mine a pulse

At the elbow.

Vein throbs, hand is numbed .

Pray for Hypnos, bearing slumber.

Pray he comes soon.

Next door slams to work at six a.m.

Baby body shudders, hands claw.

Khronos, stay away.

© Noel Loftus

Search for April Jones becomes murder inquiry

Noel Loftus is a fellow member of ward9writers from Mayo in the west of Ireland. In his forties, he is married, with two children, and currently works as a buyer for a safety supplies company. 

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Sunday Review

Where do you find the inspiration for a poem?

In the silence of nature perhaps? Where E R Olsen found Rachel’s Eagle, commemorating fifty years since Rachel Carson's Silent Spring inspired the environmental movement.  Or maybe further back in history, where Geraldine Green found Power Lines of greed for natural resources spanning the centuries from Roman times to recent news of fresh gas and oil rigs on Walney.

You might find a poem in the lonely hearts, where Vala Hafsted found the modern A Fairy Tale of the Hong Kong businessman offering big bucks to the man who woos his lesbian daughter. Or in what has been discarded, like the man who got his head stuck in a bin in Aberdeen - A rubbish choice for a hat according to Fran Hill.

You might find a poem in the complexity of science, by extracting the DNA of designer babies - like Wynne Huddleston in Double Helix: Memories of Me - to raise important questions about God and sushi. Or it could simply be a photograph that inspires you, like Scott Devon's Shortly After Takeoff which used images of the air crash in Nepal to capture the chillingly short attention span of the news consumer.

Whatever in the news inspires you to write a poem, we hope it does so soon - we're particularly low on submissions at the moment!

Have a good - and poetic - week.

Clare (and Martin) 

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Rachel’s Eagle

When I looked out through a paned glazing
First I saw the eagle sit
In a dead tree meant for perching
Through the gray and common wet

A glorious return surprising
Early in the saving ban
Fruit of just one woman’s warning
Death of our most honored clan

That farmhouse window’s long since breaking
Fit for what should always be
Mighty eagle far outlasting
Short-sighted eyes of you and me

© E R Olsen

Carson's 'Silent Spring' spurred environmental movement

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.  

Friday, 5 October 2012

A Fairy Tale

There once was a powerful lord.
There’s nothing he couldn’t afford.
His daughter was fair as can be;
On that every man did agree.

The suitors lined up at their gate.
For hours, they’d patiently wait,
But Beauty would all of them shun
And say, “Of those men I’ll have none.”

The father came up with a plan
And said, “I will promise the man
Who woos and wins over my girl
A treasure befitting an earl.

He need not be wealthy or smart,
Or skillful in music or art.
He may not be handsome or tall–
Just someone for whom she will fall.

I’ll offer him diamonds and gold
I’ve earned from the stocks I have sold.
My daughter deserves a good man.
To help her, I’ll do what I can.

The daughter said, “Give me a break.
I can’t lead a life that is fake.
There won’t be a man in my life.
I’m leaving, and so is my wife.”

And that is the end of the tale.
The daughter, no doubt, did prevail.
Her father let out a big sigh:
“I guess there are things you can’t buy.”

© Vala Hafstad

Hong Kong tycoon seeks husband for lesbian daughter

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

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Power Lines

Now it’s drilling for oil
and gas under
Walney – but not
in the birds’ breeding season.

Nuclear powered subs from Vickers
carrying nuclear warheads
nuclear waste
coming in from Japan
to be re-processed
up the coast at Calder Hall,
call it what you will.

Wind farms way out on the back of the seal road, whale road,
roaring fathom wide road
, Irish Sea, snagging
migrating birds.

Then it was power fired
from Eskmeals gun range
just down the coast from St. Bees
and again dull
spout of water rising
way out to sea
near Ravenglass
Port of Romans, anchored
there two thousand years ago,
searching fellsides for iron to smelt
for weapons.

Now it’s drilling,
drilling, drilling.

© Geraldine Green

Firm wins permission to drill for gas on Walney

Cumbrian poet Geraldine Green has read and been published in the UK, USA, Italy and Greece. Her latest collection The Other Side of the Bridge was published in July 2012.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

A rubbish choice for a hat

I needed a hat as my old one was fraying and tatty.
I went in a shop.  They said, ‘Sir, we’ve a new one outside.
Just step out the door and you’ll see it right there on the pavement.
The latest design, it is one you can wear with much pride.’
I asked, ‘Can I try it?’  They said, ‘Sir, our aim is to please you
and we’re sure it will look really wonderful on you, it’s true!
It’s not like a normal hat.  Just bend down here.  Put your head in.
Oh yes, what a fit!  It’s so snug, as if made just for you!’
I put the hat on and then wondered, from inside the headgear
whether hats that you couldn’t take off were a new current fashion,
because, try as I might, I could not free myself from its ‘snugness’
and was further upset, too, to find that it had lots of trash in.
        I heard them all laughing as I shouted ‘Help!’ from within
        the worst kind of hat that my poor head had ever bin in.

© Fran Hill

Man freed after getting his head stuck in bin in Aberdeen

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

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Shortly After Takeoff

I saw this photo today, you know,
Of the crash. I thought l could see a face
In the flames, looking right back at me.
One last look before the smoke smothered it.

I heard a woman on the radio today,
She’d known one of them, l forget which.
She choked on her words, tears, l think,
Then a pop song was played.

Do you remember those photos of Concorde,
The ones with the flames? Engine fault wasn’t it,
Or maybe it hit something on the runway?
I remember reading that or something like it.

Was a good photo though, you know.
Really striking. Memorable.

© Scott Devon

Seven British tourists killed in Nepal plane crash

Scott is head of neo:writers, and run the international neo:poetryprize. He holds an MA in Creative Writing from MMU, and has been published in the UK and America.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Double Helix: Memories of Me

Our cells define us, we’ve discovered,
for better, or for worse, within the combination
of our bodies’ sugars, phosphates and acids
is a recipe, a double helix; instructions for making
us who we are— not just our coloring, but
which diseases we inherit. Now we hold
this double-edged sword that we may use
to choose life or death for our bodies…
for our souls?

Our cells have memory— the heart beats
faster and louder when in the presence
of those it loves, whether in our body, or transplanted
into someone else’s.  Likes and dislikes are written
in our organs—a new kidney can turn
a preacher’s wife into a sultry vixen; a couch potato
into a serious biker.

The sperm in the flood of a million others knows
he is the one destined
to fertilize the egg; how can we force
this in a dish? How long before our DNA is rewritten
to perfect us? How long before we are cloned
for body parts?

how will we know which of us is real?
how will we know if we like Sushi or not?
how will we know if we are athletic or artistic?
how will our heart recognize who we love?

How will our souls find God?

© Wynne Huddleston

A big step toward 'designer babies' – and big questions

Wynne Huddleston’s poetry can be read in nearly 40 publications. She is the winner of the 2010 Lifepress Grandmother Earth Environmental Poetry Contest. Learn more about Wynne, HERE.