Tuesday, 31 December 2013

mad as cheese (the miner's version)

like the lave of worms
we have a constant need to burrow
road up for repair

yet we ask how do the holes appear 
in the cheese

 coal dust gold diamond
oil we dig sprinkle salt
on fish n chips

after church on sunday the wine
and the spirit 

discovery of methane and the fun
we make with a light as we take it in turn
to burn our farts

and all this while we are sinking ourselves deeper
into this fracking great nightmare 


Philip Johnson

Philip Johnson's poetry has previously appeared in: Poetry 24, The Ugly Tree; Poetry Scotland, 
Emergency Verse, Write Away, Caught In The Net, Red Pencil, 
Writer's Hood, Transparent Words; Emergency Verse 
and The Robin Hood Book.

Monday, 30 December 2013

Neruda’s Exhumation

Blood is gushing from a wound
in the desert’s starry side.
You are there on hands and knees
trying to staunch the flow
with seashells and strange-shaped bottles
a narwhal tusk and emerald ink
and old ships’ mermaids.
Suspended now like ghosts in mid-flight
around a house you dry-docked
on the black rocky outcrop
they crossed this spring
with tools of a trade
to dig up the past to bury it again.

Selfsame day everything in her sank
low like a warship or mineshaft
or tea drank with a general in Pimlico.
Becoming good being gone
the lady is not for returning as you turn
your face from sea to sun
ribs rife with light and needles
from a stand of pine.
Engraving the white dry salty air
while a figurehead called Maria Celeste
weeps winds to flame
your revenant bones rising.
With the cello’s flaming mane.

Clare McCotter's poetry has appeared in Abridged, Boyne Berries, Crannóg, Cyphers, Decanto (forthcoming), Iota (forthcoming), Irish Feminist Review, Poetry24, Revival, Reflexion, The Cannon’s Mouth, The Moth Magazine, The Poetry Bus, The SHOp and The Stinging Fly. Black Horse Running, her first collection of haiku, tanka and haibun, was published in 2012. Home is Kilrea, County Derry.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Sunday Review

This is my wishing tree.  I am sharing all my good wishes for 2014. 

So, here we are remembering Christmas and approaching the New Year.  In Cornwall, at least, the weather has been windy, wet and wild and this has led to some problems getting on line.  Thanks are due, therefore, to our regulars, both readers and contributors, for bearing with us over the festive period.

We began the week with Clare McCotter's 'The Light in Argenteuil', which makes a telling comment on two quite different stories both of which relate to a decision over whether or not to grant bail.  One anonymous commentator was bold enough to challenge Clare's use of the lovely word 'cypseline' which turns out to mean 'of or relating to swifts'. Now I freely admit to not knowing this word either - after all, even editors can't know everything - but I look forward, with much relish, to using it on at least one occasion in 2014. 
On Tuesday, Christmas Eve' we published my own 'A Blessing for the Winter Solstice' together with a photograph of the bears' Christmas party which showed just some of my six or seven hundred bears. This was followed on Thursday by Bryn Hyfrd's 'Slaves at Christmas' which, unfortunately caused us a few problems in as much as we appear to have confused two versions of the poem and, due to Hotmail being down for some time, were unable to do anything about it.  Hamish and I are mortified that this happened and we hope that Bry will forgive us. Now that there are just the two of us things can sometimes get a bit fraught and, recently, both the weather and the demands of the season have gone against us.  

On Friday we published David Mellor's 'A Gift X' and I hope that readers took the time to click on the link for the video. I tried to embed it but it was one of those occasions when my PC just wasn't having it.  Anyway, thank you David for sending us the clip. I  for one could listen to that accent all day. 

Finally, on Saturday, it was left to Eric Olsen to remind us of the recent passing of the very elegant and talented 'Joan Fontaine' who played opposite Cary Grant in the Alfred Hitchcock classic,  'Suspicion'. Thank you,Eric, for allowing us to pay tribute to one who might easily have been overlooked.  

Well, we are almost done with 2013, though there may be a poem or two still to come.  We will be trying to operate as usual over the New Year but, with another storm forecast for Cornwall, there may be disruptions. Here's wishing you all a happy, peaceful and productive 2014.  Please keep those submissions coming in but, also, please read the Submission Guidelines.  It does make things a great deal easier for Hamish and I if our contributors adhere to them exactly. 

Abigail Wyatt

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Joan Fontaine

I fell for you

in a revival house

Watching you

suspecting Cary Grant

When I was fourteen

and you,

you were

my age now

I think

But on screen

you were 24

Within reach

even in B&W.


becomes you still

Though you

are nearly ninety-seven

it makes you

24 again,

from where I sit

in the silver shine

on the red seat

turned to gray

Where I too

am B & W

and young

©Eric R. Olsen


E. R. Olsen lives in Nevada, where he practices law and writes poetry.  His poems have appeared on Poetry24 and other magazines and journals, including the Naugatuck River Review.

Friday, 27 December 2013

A Gift X

Waiting in the queue
As far back as the eyes can see
I wait
And wait
To get you something
For all the things you've done for me

Priceless, you gave it free
Held my hand when sadness swept over  me
A smile at the end of a long day.
I’m paying you back in a small way

Waiting in the queue,
Tired after a long day.
Now just a few more paces to go
Imagining your face

I say
Thank you ,
For being

©David R. Mellor

Please click here for the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rXCBbDyEfg

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Slaves at Christmas

Said the master to his servants
'You must feed her with a silver spoon
And she will sing at my command
And sang she did, 
a lonely nightingale
in a golden cage 

Who is master, who is slave 
Is it the master, the servants or the nightingale ?

A starving lioness kills and feeds her 
weakest cub to her other cubs

Is it the lioness, the cubs, or nature
Who is master, who is slave ?

She laces the babies milk with vodka
A docile baby makes begging easier

Is it the mother, baby, or the traffickers
Who is master, who is slave ?

340 times she applies, gets no replies
Can she sink any lower, when there's 
fewer jobs than people

Is it the woman, or economy
Who is master, who is slave ?

The old man's stays cold in December
His arrears, a mountain too high to climb

Is it the man, the utilities or free trade
Who is the master, who is the slave ?

His allies are cooperation's and banks
Not the voters who put him there without thanks

Is it the m.p., the banks, or the voters
Who is master, who is the slave ?

Taxation serves the rich at the expense of the poor
Polarities widening more and more

Santa cannot feed his reindeer 
Eats at the foodbank
Buys gifts at Poundland 

As we rape our planet of its finite resources
Are we now the slaves of our own master plan ?

©Bryn Hyfrd

Charities condemn Ian Duncan Smith for Foodbank Snub

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Winter Solstice

A Blessing for the Winter Solstice

Let us make ready to make Saturnalia
by upturning this grim world on its head;
let us be jesters who go tumbling, all,
to find a new expansiveness of heart.

Today let us be kind to each other,
making fools of ourselves for love's sake.
Let us rejoice to exchange our crowns 
for a wisdom worn to tatters and rags.

And let us be merry, and offer small gifts,
tokens of good will and affection:
here is a candle, here a blessing, and a prayer.
Say that, even in this darkness, we will shine.

Abigail Wyatt

Hamish and I would like to express our grateful thanks to all our contributors.  I am afraid that Hotmail is down at the moment so we cannot access our submissions so we- and the bears - are sending this seasonal greeting. We will resume normal service as soon as possible. 

Monday, 23 December 2013

The Light in Argenteuil

Has gone from Room 10 Merrion Square.
The black sun left by a puncturing fist
enshadows lozenges of lapis
and light-blue and aqua -
rapid broken brushwork
one time shimmering
water and autumn’s russet ghosts.
Drifting toward a village flecked with gold.

Transmuted now to a square of shade
on red embossed wallpaper.
His monument to the moment
spirited away by a flock of cypseline hands
straining under swan neck lamps
to suture not restore.
Discharged light rendering the canvas
always dimmer than before.
That dawn that he caught
the transient luminous riverside.

His wild moth eyes full of violet
tracking protean prey
through field and orchard
and the garden where he knelt in old age
to plant among the iris
rhizomes of light.
Spreading shoots near and far
one stolen this year from a boat’s white sail.

The perpetrator remanded in custody
same court same judge same day
a Belfast rapist is granted the bail he jumped
to flee the country for the Continent.
His victim wondering what price placed
on the safety of women
on the dark efflorescence that suppurates
between her legs and will not still.

© Clare McCotter
Rapist who fled from North was found in Dublin | Irish Examiner 
Court refuses bail to Monet damage rap man | BreakingNews.ie

Clare McCotter's poetry has appeared in Abridged, Boyne Berries, Crannóg, Cyphers, Decanto (forthcoming), Iota (forthcoming), Irish Feminist Review, Poetry24, Revival, Reflexion, The Cannon’s Mouth, The Moth Magazine, The Poetry Bus, The SHOp and The Stinging Fly. Black Horse Running, her first collection of haiku, tanka and haibun, was published in 2012. Home is Kilrea, County Derry.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Sunday review.

Douglas Polk's "Ukraine" started the week at Poetry24 with a look at how the Ukrainians are continuing their resistance against their government.  I like how the opening of the poem reminds us of the history of the country:
Lenin falls again,
still unfeeling,
a heart of stone
Amy Barry's "The Revisit" on Tuesday, took us back to the return trip to Robben Island that Nelson Mandela took and surmised at how he would have felt. Amy makes a very poignant assessment in:
Blessed be the part

of me that protects

from too much pain
and sorrow;
Apologies to Amy for the formatting error. Blogger must have been playing its tricks again.
James Bessant  with "No Laughing Matter" made a welcome return to Poetry24 on Thursday. He looked at the way even the best of intentions can lead us into seriously bad company. It is a sobering thought.
 Luigi Pagano finished up the week with "News Travel Fast"  which says how a lot of us feel about the "24 hour news cycle"
Oh, how I wish that the Muse
would bring me good news!
Mildly cheering would be an improvement!
Well, have a good week everyone. If you're celebrating Christmas then I hope it's a good one. Keep sending in your poems, Poetry24 will still be open.

Friday, 20 December 2013

News Travel Fast

The news travel fast
from Cape Town to New York
to London, Belfast
and all over the world
by way of TV
or the printed word.
Who hasn’t heard
that Mandela is dead,
that he’ll lie in state,
like the papers said.
But the Fourth Estate
has said much more:
a leaked Labour memo
has caused furore;
in times of crisis
one has to know this:
the Honourable members
are taking the piss
by accepting a rise
of eleven per cent,
an increase most of us
will consider indecent;
it has been a bad week
for the culinary goddess,
it will take her some time
to clean up the mess;
Down Under the cricket
for the Poms isn’t good,
the Aussies’ attacks
they haven’t withstood.
Oh, how I wish that the Muse
would bring me good news!
© Luigi Pagano 2013

Luigi Pagano is a regular contributor to Poetry24 as well as other websites such as UKAuthors.com and ABCtales.com

Thursday, 19 December 2013

No Laughing Matter

Oh the grip the greedy lawyers have
In league with the corporations
Over every aspect of our lives
Including our charitable donations.

By decree investments must be safe
And returns to be maximised
Disqualifying the ethical funds
In favour of those most despised.

And though the progress on the ground
Is positive; Improvements made
Charity still boosts the coffers and backs
Tobacco, Alcohol & the Arms Trade.

So the rich win again
In their game of take, take, take
Killing off kindness, hijacking humanity
When will their death-grip break?

© James Bessant 2013

Comic Relief Accused of Investing in Tobacco
James lives in London and is hoping to get back to writing stories and poems regularly again. He also blogs occasionally.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

The Revisit

Today I had a chance to visit,
the place I had spent
most of my life,
where I had passed
the time calmly enough
where I had often asked myself,
‘What more-
am I suppose to do?’

Desperation pushed
me to take risks.
Sadness hit me
like an arrow,
entered my flesh.

Blessed be the part
of me that protects
from too much pain
and sorrow;
because when the torment
was too severe-

I felt nothing.


Amy Barry

Amy Barry writes poems and short stories. She has been a regular contributor to Poetry 24. Her poems have been published in anthologies, journals, and e-zines, in Ireland and abroad such as Mad Swirl, EDP, The New Ulster, First Cut, Misty Mountain Review, The Plum tree kindle. Trips to India, Nepal, China, Bali, Paris, Berlin, have all inspired her work.

Monday, 16 December 2013

The Ukraine

Lenin falls again,
still unfeeling,
a heart of stone,
or steel,
as Stalin would say,
people repulsed,
freedom much more than a word on a page,
felt and understood in the soul,
not to be captured in theory,
or corralled in ideology,
a fire raging within,
but only for a moment.

Protests in Ukraine

Doug Polk

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

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Sunday Review

We began the week with Darrell Petska's 'The Needle's Eye', a comment on the remarks made by talk show host Rush Limbaugh to the effect that the Pope's 'Evangelii Gaudem' was little short of 'pure Marxism'. Then, on Tuesday, we had Bryn Hyfrd's poem 'The Things' which addresses the very pertinent question of the media's representation of female identity. I love the final stanza so I am going to quote it in full:
      Between tiara, knicker-line and page 3 heads
     Women as commodities make a good spread,
     Stuck between the whore and Madonna we stand
     Whilst the profiteers rub their grubby hands.

On Wednesday, we published 'AIDS in Light and Shade' by Pijush Kanti Deb, a poem written in response to World AIDS Day and to the suggestion by a ONE report that we might have reached beginning of the end of AIDS in Africa. The poem reminds us, however, that 'This is not a foregone conclusion' because and that 'an ocean of blood and sweat / is yet to be spent'.

On Thursday, we had 'Self portrait' by Martha Landman, a poem which, as Deborah Tanzer commented, was 'Powerful, moving and beautifully worded.  It you have not read this piece already, then please clink on the link immediately.

Finally, on Friday, it was the turn of regular contributor, David Mellor, to comment of the 'selfie' for which David Cameron posed alongside the Danish Prime Minister and Barak Obama. 'Photo.............Shoot' is an uncompromising poem, as we have come to expect from Mr Mellor. It is true that another contributor, Luigi Pagano, has suggested that David Cameron cannot be blamed for events that occurred before he came to office; personally, however, I am in agreement with David M.  It seems to me that Mr Cameron makes no secret of his admiration for Margaret Thatcher and the fact is that, in his youth, at least, he was no great friend to the equally youthful Mandela.  

And, on that note, I leave you for another two weeks.  Please do keep the submissions coming in but please also be aware that, as the holiday season approaches, Hamish and I will be under some pressure.  In particular, if you could make sure that you add your bio to your submission even if it is the same as last time. The thing is, you see, it saves us a lot of time when we are getting your work ready for publication.  

Friday, 13 December 2013


Where  were you when he really  needed you ?
Labelled a Terrorist
Pumped money into the hateful regime
Let Barclays bank buy  bullets that cut his people down
Your party is obscene

you’re taking a selfie now
like it’s a wedding
or lads stag do

you had no respect for Mandela
and you couldn't
have cared less
about Soweto
Johannesburg   and Cape Town too

you’re on a photo ………..shoot
that’s  what you let the apartheid  regime do

Cameron's selfie at Mandela's memorial

©David Mellor

Thursday, 12 December 2013


I faced the screen and painted a dream
In rhythm with a mourning crowd
Three of us, like wedding guests,
Hell-bent on mind-moving moments
Demanded that our walk to viral freedom
Be justified, be glorified

My paint dripped in rainbow colours
And for a minute there I thought it
Was Madiba’s hand I shook, but when
I heard the crowd: Ubuntu! Obama!
I set the imprisoned fingers free,
Surprised at my self in the Cuban eyes.

©Martha Landman
Obama at Mandela's memorial service

Martha Landman writes in tropical North Queensland, Australia.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

AIDS In Light and Shade

The benevolent heart
of a global health policy director-
embellished with a sacred soul too,
seems to be quite blissful
in saying to telephone,
‘’it is time to retire the phrase-Aids in Africa’’,
as a troop of warriors of sixteen countries
in sub-Saharan Africa,
declared a war against the curse- AIDS,
tarnished its fatal power
and compelled it to sneak behind
keeping lower the numbers of new HIV infections
than the new patients of AIDS in the same year.

Quite enthusiastic is the report,
the medical world gets a cool bath
in the heavenly shower of hope
and describes it with a luminous smile as,
‘’Beginning of the end of AIDS’’.
Thankful are the countries like
Ghana, Malawi and Zambia
to the active efforts of the governments,
grateful to the international donors and
hopeful to the civil society leaders-
fighting together against the dreadful foe-AIDS.

Alas! Shade always follows light
as some unfortunate countries like
Cameroon, Nigeria and Togo-still lag far behind
in fighting against the curse
as circumscribed they are by a black girdle
of lack of political will, adequate fund ,
hygienic delivery system and
sympathy for the marginalised population-
cursed mercilessly by the horrible AIDS.
Let’s feel the caution that reverberates In the air
as pronounced by the policy director,
‘’Beginning of the end of AIDS’’ is
‘’Not a foregone conclusion’’,
an ocean of blood and sweat
is yet to be spent to purchase
a new world---free of dirty curse of Devil- AIDS.

New Report- Time to Stop Saying AIDS in Africa 
Pijush Kanti Deb

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

The Things

Like his mother before her
Their cameras flash at the sapphire ring
Like his mother before her
The media moulds her into a living thing

A thing with its grey hairs magnified
A thing when the wind exposes its thighs
A thing that comforts the public mind
with displays of sadness and all things kind

 You'll find them for sale on the newsagents shelf
Where images of others things generate wealth
The pages flick to bodies in common,
fully dressed, semi dressed and top shelf un-dressed

They all look down upon her crown,
Pouting and crotch-less
Cheaper than the price of any duchess
Kept in line by each shot and caption

...'Another Marilyn moment' in action
A bullied blond falls drugged from the sky
Her skirt is lifted by the authorial eye

Between tiara, knicker-line and page 3 heads
Women as commodities make a good spread,
Stuck between the whore and Madonna we stand
Whilst the profiteers rub their grubby hands.

©Bryn Hyfrd

Bryn Hyfrd juggles poetry, children and work, attempting to keep most of the balls in the air most of the time.Waveattheworld.blogspot.com

Monday, 9 December 2013

The Needle's Eye

Pope Francis is preaching Marxism?
Oh my!
Does that make him a Commie?
And aren't Commies bad?
My oh my!

Doesn't Francis preach the spirit of Jesus?
Oh dear!
Could Jesus have been a Commie?
Dear oh dear!
That would make Jesus bad—

But wait! Who said it?
A very rich man.
Who lives in a very rich house.
Who is paid very many millions each year
to speak what's in his mind.
Of course.

And what's in his mind?

©Darrell Petska

Pope is preaching 'pure Marxism'

Darrell Petska retired recently after more than 30 years as an editor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His poetry appears in a variety of online and print publications.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Sunday review

Monday, confusingly enough, stated with David Mellor's poem "It's Black Friday" which is a cry against the sort of aggressive consumerism that engulfs people from time to time. David gives a message in the poem that is eloquently summed up by this extract.
And that one day
You are “passionate”
About  something
Other than
Tuesday's poem was "end of the bird shooting season" by Philip Johnson which centred on the announcement that Amazon made that it will soon have drones delivering books. I may be wrong but I think Philip welcomes this addition to target richness. Amazon appears to be trying to prove the saying of sales flying out the door.
Laura Taylor provided Wednesday's poem "McGarrigle's Glasgow" which is a wonderful memorial of a poet killed in the helicopter crash in Glasgow. It has some great imagery in it for example
"in the midst of McGarrigle’s Glasgow -
the artists and players, singers and sculptors,
poets and prophets and pipers and drummers
remember the heat of your heart;"
Abi contributed Thursdays poem Knit One, Slip One, Pass the Slipped Stitch Over about Casey Jenkins who is probably not going to be appearing on the Knitting Channel any time soon. "Boring the bloody pants off the rest of us" is very nice word play.
Friday's poem "A Lost Generation" by Mari Maxwell would be one of the more confronting poems I have read on Poetry24 but with absolutely every right to be like that. The incident it describes is extremely shocking. Mari manages to retell horrifc events without pulling punches and yet we don't feel so revolted that we blot it out. It's very well written. The comments for the poem will repay your reading of them too.
Have a good week, may the news muse visit and convince you to send in the results.

Friday, 6 December 2013

A Lost Generation

  They burned the horse.
 Petrol across her fine ebony flanks.
 Swirls and curlicues of peacock, blue and green,
 shimmering, undulating in the setting sun.
 Her proud eyes, magnificent beneath whisper of soft lash.
 Unused to the whoops, the flaying belts, the gurriers kicking
 at her belly.
 Her heartbeat pushing the mackerel mane in and out. Out and in.
 Nickering with the cloying oils.
 She whinnied, shook herself, showering the boys
 with petrol drops.
 Her mane and tail like candle wick as she shrieked
 and bucked burnt hair on November wind.
 They no longer whooped.
 She watched them through the smoke,
 smouldering beside her.
 Skin sizzling and popping - unable to flick
 the equine fireballs from cloth and hair.
 And as she died, horsemeat to the gang,
 she found she had no pity.
 No sorry in her thud-thud, thud, quietened heart.
Horse doused in petrol and set alight

 ©Mari Maxwell

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Knit One, Slip One, Pass the Slipped Stitch Over

Using the thumb method cast on 30
(35, 40, 45) stitches (according to size)
Then, keeping the tension correct, *Knit 2, Purl 2.*
Repeat *K2, P2* to the end of the row.
Maintaining the rib pattern, continue
until the finished work measures 8 (9,10, 11, 12) inches
(again according to size).
Alternatively, continue in pattern
until you find the work satisfying;
or until, with luck and a backer,
you make the Sundays and win the Turner Prize.
Admire the photographs, file your clippings;
talk a lot of arty, pseudo-feminism.
Say: ‘It is just a bit of a body‘.

Bore the bloody pants off the rest of us.
Says it's all art and 'craftivism'.
Really? Really?
Now cast off.
©Abigail Wyatt

Vaginal knitting

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

McGarrigle’s Glasgow

One of the scribes was taken tonight.
One of the seers, one of our own.
One of the prophets will write no more lines
in radical rhymes
nor preach them to people like us.

He struggled against his emptying days,
though yearned for contentment and calm.
Thought he had lost that angry young man,
but McGarrigle – words never die;
they’re beyond a stillness of pulse.

You spoke of a Glasgow unknown to the rich,
of the Cross, of a town built on sweat.
In the Clutha, the Scotia, the folk and the verse -
dance of the underdog, lies of the land –
were given a life in tune to your truth.

Tonight in a town made of working-class gold,
in the midst of McGarrigle’s Glasgow -
the artists and players, singers and sculptors,
poets and prophets and pipers and drummers
remember the heat of your heart;
raise their glass to the fire within.

May your flame spark gently in unsurpassed sunset tonight.

Laura Taylor
Laura Taylor just wanted to commemorate a fellow working-class poet.

Write outloud.is Laura's web home

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

end of the bird shooting season

night sites and day
especially in rural areas
the occasional crack of thunder
sunday boot sales

just got that little bit better

© Philip Johnson


Philip Johnson's have previously appeared in: Poetry 24, The Ugly Tree; Poetry Scotland, Emergency Verse, Write Away, Caught In The Net, Red Pencil, Writer's Hood, Transparent Words; Emergency Verse and The Robin Hood Book.

Monday, 2 December 2013

It’s Black Friday

“For those starving in Africa?”

“For Civil Rights in America ?”

“For those destitute and poor?”


It’s” International Greed Day”

Open warfare

For a mobile phone

Plasma screen

Anything cut price

You shoppers are obscene

You should be storming the barricades for human rights

But NoNoNo

Carnage, injuries, blood on the floor

I hope  all the goods are faulty

And that one day

You are “passionate”

About  something

Other than



© David R Mellor 2013

Black Friday flurry for UK retailers

David was born in Liverpool in 1964. He left school with nothing, rummaged around various dead end jobs, then back to college and uni. In his 20s he first discovered poetry, starting writing and performing and has done so ever since. I has lived on the Wirral for the past 8 years.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Sunday Review

First up this week was Luigi Pagano with 'The Hair of the Dog', a response to a story from Amsterdam about 'Alcoholics paid in beer to clean the streets' allegedly with the consequence of making those involed reduce their alcohol intake.  One of the participants in the scheme, however,  is reported as refuting this claim. According to the article, he told a reporter that 'we drink in a more structured way but I don't think we drink less'.

Tuesday brought us, on a more serious note, to P.K Deb's deeply felt and though-provoking 'Civil War and Syria'  which reminds us of the anguish of 'Mother Syria' and asks us to 'listen carefully to the whispering prayer / that she leaves in the air'.

On Wednesday the topic was another kind of violence with Philip Johnson's  'before they abolish the rope', a brief and pithy response to the arrival of the 3 D gun.  Over the past couple of weeks, we have found submissions have been dwindling so we are grateful to Philip for getting us out of a hole.

Again, due, at least in part, to the lack of other submissions, on Thursday it was me again with 'Greed is Good'.  Regular readers may remember 'Holding Out for a Hero' which warned against the slyness of Mr Johnson who is, I believe, a very nasty piece of work.  This week, however, appalled as I was to hear of this latest piece of moral repugnance, I was then shocked again to hear the story being covered in the BBC's 'The Papers ' without any of those present feeling the need to suggest, even in the gentlest way, that the promulgation of such a notion might be morally irresponsible, unethical, and socially destructive. Must be just me, then. I see. Ho hum.

Nothing available for Friday at the time of writing so I leave you for a lovely long weekend in a cottage by the River Fal which we have been given - yes, given - by a friend who cannot make it. Long bracing walks, wood burner, mulled wine, that sort of thing. Have a good week next week.

Abigail Wyatt

Thursday, 28 November 2013

'Greed is good'

'Greed is good,' says Boris,
'Greed will make us great.
Greed it is that oils the wheels
and steers our ship of state;
and greed it is inspires us
to do what must be done
to dispossess the workers
for the sake of Number One.
Greed is the light that warms our days
and keeps us from the dark;
our Saviour, our Redeemer, too;
Greed is our fire, and we but sparks.'

Now no one's greatly shocked
to hear that this is BJ's creed:
the sanctity of profit,
the heresy of need;
yet, surely, it should worry us
that not one voice has said: 'Hold on,
The whole idea is flawed, old boy.
It is, quite simply, wrong.'

Abigail Wyatt


Abigail writes poetry and short fiction and tries to live in hope. Sometimes, as this morning, words fail her.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

before they abolished the rope

we were told a twelve dollar mail order rifle
ended a nation of innocence...and all that
we learned

© Philip Johnson
3-D printer Gun
Philip Johnson's poems have previously appeared in: Poetry 24, The Ugly Tree; Poetry Scotland, Emergency Verse, Write Away, Caught In The Net, Red Pencil, Writer's Hood, Transparent Words; Emergency Verse and The Robin Hood Book.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Civil War and Syria

A bloody devastation-
caused by external jealousy and enmity,
maybe, somehow endurable
but Mother Syria is speechless to console
herself and  to compensate her losses  
as the destruction is caused only by
the jealousy and enmity
among  her own children.
Self-devastated now Syria is,
experiencing quite helplessly
the colossal ambition of dogmatic characters
to attain the status of supremacy -
piling the dead rivals into a stack
to reach the level of abundance
throwing millions of lives at risk
and thus bring about a dreadful
consequence---a civil war.
Mother Syria realises the consequence,
and flies weeping from east to west
and north to south to save her children.
Alas! She cries out seeing one lac of dead bodies
scattered here and there half merged in blood
and 9.3 million children are still in danger-
escaping to save their lives
to the neighbouring countries---
Lebanon, Jordon, Turk, Iraq and Egypt.
Oh dear offspring of Noah-
the devotees of universal mankind,
come out of Ark, observe and realise
the pain that Mother Syria suffers from,
listen carefully to the whispering prayer
that she leaves in the air
and follow the white cloud
that comes from the sky of Syria carrying
the written message of her importunity.
Let us pray for Mother Syria
and reunification of her children and
above all, a peaceful treaty among the warrior
to bring about the end of the civil-war.

© P.K.Deb

P.K.Deb has had poems published in many journals and online and is an Associate Professor in Economics. 

Monday, 25 November 2013

The Hair of the Dog

In the land of the clog,
Amsterdam’s hot shots
have got a new idea
for cleaning the streets:
employ a few sots
and reward their labour
with the hair of the dog.
Five cans of beer,
8 euros and a lunch
plus a pouch of tobacco
are attractive to blokes
who can pack a punch.
It keeps them busy
and Oosterpark clear.

It sounds a good deal
yet some are uneasy
and fear that drink
adds fuel to the fire.
But others think
that the objectors
suffer from zeal.

At least if they sup,
a spokesman said,
they won’t binge.
Moreover it’s good
for them to be active
and be encouraged
to pull their socks up.

© Luigi Pagano 2013

Alcoholics paid in BEER to clean the streets

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Sunday Review

As I write this, news is coming out, slower than molasses, of the deal that has been reached with Iran. This highlights the "interesting" times that we live in and makes us scratch our heads that we had a day with no submissions. Abi's poetry bears made another appearance which seems to have had the right effect. Write on fellow poets!
Abi's poem "Goodbye Western Black Rhino" was Monday's poem. We are all belittled when we allow this sort of thing to happen. New Zealand lost a unique type of Teal duck the week before so this very fine, sad poem had a double piquancy for me.
There are some very evocative lines in it e.g.
"You must take your leave:
your lumbering ghost slips
into the puzzle that is history."
 Janeta Hevizi's poem "Tender Care" was Tuesday's poem. It dealt with a subject that is going to become more and more of an issue as the population ages. There is some justified anger just under the surface of this very good  poem which makes a plea for humane treatment of old folks.  
 "Now a frail, lonely person doesn’t ask for much out of life
Some necessary caring
Normal respect
To be treated with dignity".
Luigi Pagano has a winning way with words and showed that off in Wednesday's poem "An Invitation to the Palace"   which neatly skewered the poetry soiree thrown by Buckingham Palace recently. It is nicely summed up by the final stanza
Her views on the monarchy
is what got her barred
but the Palace hoisted
its own petard.

Thursday's poem was Philip Johnson's "christmas seems a crime to celebrate this year" which was a small sharp stiletto of a poem which asks the pertinent question
'why can't the all just bugger off
to the bank "

I hope you all have a good week and that the muse pays a visit. Better that than Abi's bears, know what I mean?