Sunday, 31 March 2013

Sunday Review

This week  we began the week with 'Of Popes and Prelates' by Andrew Johnson who brought us the spectacle of the swearing on of the Archbishop of Canterbury and reminded us of the mismatch between the teachings of the the Christian church and its actual practice. As Andrew says: 'A camel and/ the eye of  a needle/ spring to mind.'

Then, skipping Tuesday, we went on to Wednesday and 'Miss Plath's Father Calls Sylvia for School' by regular, Noel Loftus. A response to a story  about the perils of social networking sites, this was a very clever piece that challenged us to spot the Plath allusions. Well done, Noel. It was an original idea and skillfully executed.

Thursday brought us Carolyn Cornthwaite's 'If The World Ends..' which was, as one of our readers observed, 'a powerfully written poem'. Carolyn reminds us - and, sadly, it seems that world does need to be reminded - that the problems of rape and sexual violence against women cannot be addressed by inflicting restrictive and punitive measures on the victim. If you have not yet read this poem I suggest that you do so immediately.

Friday brought us back to Noel Loftus with Sundowning and the cuts to be made to elder care in Ireland. Generally speaking, we try to restrict individual poets to one poem per week. Rules are made to be broken, though, and this week we did exactly that.

Finally, on Saturday, we closed the week's offerings with Damien Healey's 'Rael Pale' which opens with the stark and powerful line 'Peace is just a word without actions' and brings us the affecting image of  'a father holding his lifeless son'. 

On behalf of us all here at Poetry24 I would like to thank all the above contributors for their continued support. Please, everyone, do continue to submit your work. (You can find the full guidelines here.) We try to respond within a two week period but sometimes this is difficult so we don't mind at all if you query. Here's wishing you sunshine and chocolate. 

Best wishes from Abi





Saturday, 30 March 2013

Rael Pale

Peace is just a word without actions,
No matter what intentions are behind it.
We have heard it all before behind the whimper of mothers crying.
It’s been seen in the pitiful pleas of a father holding his lifeless son.
The differences between the two of us,
Our beliefs and a sheet of skin.
Vying for a piece of barren, useless land,
Killing our neighbors over a two-bit piece of real estate.
Both brought up to believe each other is wrong,
Skewed history and patriotic songs taught to the innocent masses.
One supported by a very big brother,
The other, friends with misled individuals.
But everyone agrees that if we do not find a solution,
All that will be left are real pale corpses on the barren streets of our territories.

© Damien Healy

Barack Obama passes separation wall on road to Bethlehem

Damien Healy is from Dublin, Ireland but has been living in Osaka, Japan for the past twenty years. He holds an MA in Applied Linguistics and teaches English at university. He loves poetry about nature and has recently found the time and energy to read and write some. He has been published in The Ofipress and Spinozablue.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Sundowning

Blah Blah was twelve again.
He kissed goodbye to Mammy but
Didn’t go to school today.
Went to the railway bridge instead.
Saluted the driver who looked like a lego.
Spat over the bridge onto the train.
Thought of his mothers’ stories
With tenses for the dark people
Whose faces you never saw but who dropped through the road, turning away,
When you dared speak to them, because they were dead, and distant.
So he ate his sandwich and two crab apples which made his belly a bit sore.
Saw a dead fox half in the well and felt a bit sick.
Wow is a girl in a vague and startled face
Smelling nice and only slightly,
With an uncle who buckled his belt near his tie. Turf tomorrow.

Later Blah Blah lost a ball in a game in a town
While playing with some fork-tongued children.
Greyed with some wife.
Laid with himself.
His ears grew hair.
So he blessed himself with mellow and mass.

Later Blah Blah went a little blind, spat politically, vomited religiously.
Recalled old headbutts.    
Put in his tongue and put out his palm and his tongue again.
Might have met a stroke, or two.
Might have met a whore, or two.
Might have met a smile, or two.
He wouldn’t tell you.

Because you see his face was kind and tricky.
Had a really good rosary and wore it well.
Dropped his head to the side.
Wet himself with eloquence.  
Or mixed them all up with the Ukrainian nurse
Who helped him to sleep sometimes.

Finally Blah Blah couldn’t be sure which part dropped off first.
Because when he looked down his belly looked back.
Eventually Blah Blah pulled up his pants and screamed
All the way home to Mammy.
Blah Blah was twelve again.


©Noel Loftus


Noel Loftus is a member of ward9writers based in Mayo and enjoys very short bursts of inspiration tempered by long periods of work.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

What can the matter be? (a parody)

Oh, Rio, what can the matter be?
Dear, dear, what can the matter be?
O Rio, what can the matter be?
Johnny Foreigner is being unfair.

We built a stadium to last a lifetime
but after six years it’s closed for repairs.
We built our hopes for the next world cup
but now the plans are up in the air.

They promised to bring so many spectators
but after this fiasco we have denigrators;
we should always consider all factors.
It’s such a sad state of affairs.

© Luigi Pagano 2013

 Rio's stadium closed indefinitely

Luigi Pagano is a contributor to Poetry24 and other websites. He has published three poetry collections the latest of whichis Poetry On Tap.

If The World Ends...

‘Things like this happen every day and nothing will be changed. Only if the world ends will anything change.’

Later, when you stagger beneath palms. Gaze at stars.
Inhale
on salted air swept up in foamy sea.
You’ll wonder at this beauty, spread
before your feet. Already
violated
by three others and declare,
‘So – why not, also, me?’

When the roar of surf against the beach batters
your eardrums, you’ll try to halt her
roar
of pain. Leading you on.
Silk, sari, sensuous. Revealing breasts and hips and broken
jaw
where three fists, flung. Driven fucking crazy with her sexy
strutting home – alone – from college or the call centre.

They all do It.
Travel after dark. After 6pm.
(Your sister wouldn’t)
Dress like that. Provocative. Asking for It.
And, as golden sand thrusts
between your toes, you’ll ponder, RAPE:
a big, big problem. For women.
Who ask for It. Wearing short and sexy dresses.

When you think of shadows, of men gathered beyond
the veil
of light that bathed the street, you’ll recall she begged
for It. And screams and cries and howls
mean nothing when a woman travels late
at night – well – after seven.
(Your sister wouldn’t)
get a job or think she’s safe or want equality.

Or shiny cars and huge bank balances
rammed
between bruised and battered legs.
Or dress like that, or walk the streets, or go to work,
or dream of
safety, in numbers, when
you felt threatened by this woman who, so evidently,
Asked for It.


(As told to Gethin Chamberlain in Baga, Goa, 2013)


© Carolyn Cornthwaite

'If girls look sexy, boys will rape.' Is this what Indian men really believe?

Carolyn writes poetry sporadically or relentlessly (depending on the season) and is influenced by travel, former careers and people watching. She dreams of Booker Prizes and a life in France. @carolyn_corny

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Miss Plath’s Father Calls Sylvia For School

Let us not try to rhyme this right through!
Your Mammy’s not morning, like you!
But be a good girl, and be true.
No, Bell Jar’s not needed for class.

I’ve opened your curtains. Your brother
Is eating his breakfast. And yours.
Did you pack off your best hockey stick?
I thought you were fourteen. Still do.

Daughter, for the love of St. Jude!
We called you on time. It’s true.
I don’t know what Project Maths means.
How many more showers do you need?

And none touched the cold tap. It’s true.
He was never Colossus, or true.
How many black tights do you have?
Now I know Ariel wasn’t you.

Porridge! And orange juice too!
Oh child, you were certainly not
Born with cheeks of that metal. That hue.
Braces always melt into a smile.

© Noel Loftus


Noel Loftus is a member of ward9writers based in Mayo and enjoys very short bursts of inspiration tempered by long periods of work.



Monday, 25 March 2013

Of Popes and Prelates

A camel and
the eye of a needle
spring to mind when
popes and prelates
don sumptuous finery and
process gaily at
opulent gatherings
to mark their leadership of
those before whom
their Big Man
showed that humility
was the stuff of holiness.

© Andrew John

Eyewitness: Canterbury, UK

Andrew John has been writing poems on and off since the 1970s. He recently had the “Poem of the Week” on the Poetry Kit blog www.poetrykit.org

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Sunday Review

We began this week with Kellie Doherty who wrote about Ramey Smyth who completed the Iditarod Trail to Nome, Alaska, in 2 hours, 19 minutes in her poem Alaskan Adventure. Like the subject matter, it was very quick-paced with the two-word lines that gave a rhythmic feeling to the actual sense of the arduous journey.

On Tuesday we had Bull in a China Shop by Philip Johnson. This short, but powerful, poem talks about Archbishop Welby putting pressure on Ian Duncan Smith for the harsh and unfair welfare reforms. The final line: “the poor are paying off the national debt / while the tories pay off the rich” we particularly powerful.
 

What Happens in Conclave Stays in Conclave by Gwen Seabourne was a satirical look at the newly elected Pope, Francis I. The comic tone of: “Or maybe they'll decide it's better / to go for the chap with the biggest biretta” was a key point of the poem, indicating a kind of farce that goes with the Papel.

On Thursday Niamh Hill wrote School’s Out. This was an angry look at MP Michael Gove’s proposed national curriculum which would actually damage children’s education, making them learn “endless lists of spelling, facts and rules.” I got a sense of irony from this piece when Niamh wrote: “Dates, and places and verse / will be drummed into us / til we are a nation of parrots / no ability to think, or act.”

On Saturday, Mark Brophy's The Laughing Hangman reminded us of the plight of the poor and the vulnerable and also of the shameful failure of the party that should represent them. There is one line I want to quote from this poem because it should prompt the rest of us to action: "the only way to prove/ you're incapacitated is to die while you're at work."

Please sumbit your new-based poems to poetry24@hotmail.com and include the title of your poem in the subject. We love hearing from you. Have a good week.


Michael.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Laughing Hangman

The executioner does not relish their subject's end.
The art is to give dignity, some sorrowful respect.
Tread gently on the killer's grave while snuffing out that life,
Pierrepoint himself would never crow at his vengeful task.

Why then backslapping and cheering, giddy and triumphal
as if they'd just seen a try scored in the Varsity Match?
This is a sombre occasion for those beneath the noose.
The bell announces division; But it only tolls for some.

The lever is pulled, the trap falls! They file into the lobbies.
Disenfranchised first on the rope, unopposed, they're dangled:
Free labour, working for nothing, or lose their little lot.
And if it proves the law's broken; just change it, make it suit.

Subsistence benefits reduced; the only way to prove
you're incapacitated is to die while you're at work.
Will less food do for the hungry? Houses can be colder?
No shirkers, scroungers tale here just poorer, sicker, older.

I suppose they're all still laughing? Here's some jokes for jokers:
When is a house not someone's home? When underoccupied.
What's black and blue, and kicked all over? You and me, never them.
Two men walk into power, Ouch! It was all a mistake.

© Mark Brophy

IDS' emergency jobseeker law sparks civil liberties outrage

Why did so many Labour MPs accept this brutal, unforgivable attack on vulnerable people?

Mark is a seething ball of resentment towards inequality and injustice, but rather than do anything concrete he writes about it on his blog http://markbrophy.blogspot.co.uk and on twitter @mark_brophy

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Schools Out

He wants us to sit in rows
like Victorian school children,
but we won't learn about them
while we are young,
instead we will study
events we are not old enough
to understand, they happened
so long ago.
We will learn our times tables
all the way to twelve,
perhaps Britain will leave Europe
and we will back to pounds, shillings
and pence,
so this makes sense.
Dates, and places and verse
will be drummed into us
til we are a nation of parrots
no ability to think, or act;
automatons for a robotic space age.
What do they know that they
are not telling us? 

© Niamh Hill


100 Academics savage education secretary

Niamh Hill is a former accountant and primary school teacher on a career break, indulging in yoga, reading and writing. 

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

What Happens in Conclave Stays in Conclave

Dressed up, sealed in, the world excluded,
Princes of the Church, secluded;

I suppose they sit in chapel
arguing who's fit to grapple

with corruption, who can handle
uppity women, priestly scandal;

but God knows how they'll really pick
a Pope to follow Benedict.

Spin the chalice, pass the dalmatic
musical statues, hunt the relic,

pin the tail on the priceless fresco,
all-in combat roller-disco?

Or maybe they'll decide it's better
to go for the chap with the biggest biretta.

Eventually, they'll pick some bloke
and never let on what they smoke.

© Gwen Seabourne
Legal historian and casual poet, Gwen has had work in various magazines and 
collections, and on BBC R4's Poetry Please.

Dr G.C. Seabourne, Senior Lecturer, School of Law, University of Bristol.
G.C.Seabourne@bristol.ac.uk

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Bull in a China Shop

queen signs charter to encourage equality
government sign welfare reform bill
citizens organise nationwide demonstration
church urges war on hypocrisy
Theresa May for PM

the poor are paying off the national debt
while the tories pay off the rich

© Philip Johnson

Welby’s call on welfare puts IDS on the defensive

Philip's words have appeared in: The Ugly Tree; Poetry Scotland, Emergency Verse, Write Away, Caught In The Net, Red Pencil, Writer's Hood, Transparent Words;  he works in elder care.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Alaskan Adventure


Winding trails
Wet booties
Cold nights
Little food
Less rest
Stars wink
Moon glows
Pups howl
Checkpoints far
Nome farther
Push on
Push on
Push on
Good dogs

©Kellie Doherty


Kellie Doherty is a writer and editor. She freelances whenever she can and loves every minute of it. She blogs here

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Sunday review

On Monday Philip Johnson showed us the irony of the situation that "The Desert Rats" find themselves in 'Cardboard Boxes'. They may well be back to playing in boxes as they used to as children. 
Luigi Pagano in 'Decision Time' also showed us some of the irony of the sutation that The Falklands Islands find themselves in being such a far-flung piece of the UK.
In Thursday's '12 Men are Gone Today' David Mellor brought a sobering statistic to our notice which is the sort of thing that Poetry24 is so good at.
David Subacchi's poem 'Slipping Away' gave a well considered view at what may be going on inside the head of the recently retired Pope.
While Clodagh Beresford Dunne gave us all a feeling for how the election of the new Pope feels to his congregation in 'Pope'.
We also received  'foreword to spring' by Philip Johnson and thought that we would include in the Sunday review for us all to feel some Springtime.
Have a good week.
 

foreword to spring

last week we dared take picnic lunches
as the sun had warmth which lingered
a little longer into the evening

flowers in bud 
lit a smile on your face
which this morning upturned
how some

snowflake

crisp
on frosted glass
outside the window 
tapped   
 


Philip Johnson

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Pope

Abrakedabra !
and a plume
of white smoke,
Habemus Papam.
We have a Pope!

Through crimson
curtains he emerges.
Immaculate.
Cassock and cape
like fresh snow.

The conclave
gushes behind.
All blood red
and sanguine.
They are umbilical

Connecting me to my grandmother –
who polished her front step
with a tin of Cardinal Red
reciting her forty-day-prayer,
in rhythm with the bristles of her brush -
her incantation
a crucifix of indentation -
up and down,
side to side,
going nowhere.
The end result gleamed but was slippery
like dripping.

Do you know the pope
wears red shoes ?
I do – for the blood of the martyrs
or maybe as a mark
of the elite.
Do you know he wears
a fisherman’s ring?
I do – for St. Peter who cast
his net into the sea,
or maybe to dress his hand
with gold and diamonds.
Do you know he gives out a Plenary
Indulgence on special occasions?
I do.

And then to my surprise the pope raised his hand
And drew the world to his palm
And I remained there.


Clodagh Beresford Dunne lives in Waterford. She writes poetry, plays and short fiction. She is the recipient of a number of awards and her poems have appeared in The Stinging Fly, The Moth and Southword - she is presently compiling her first collection of poetry. 


Friday, 15 March 2013

Slipping Away

To push aside
With trembling hand
Gently but firmly
The heavy keys
Entrusted for life
The power to bind

To know your seal
Must be broken
So violently
To be replaced
By another man’s
To bow once more

To feel the chill
From Tiber’s banks
And know the boatman
But waits nearby
To do what is right
Without regret

To lift your eyes
To seek a sign
To pray for release
And know it’s time
To slip off quietly
Those two red shoes.

©David Subacchi

No red shoes

David Subacchi is a well known poet and performer of his work especially in Wales and the North West of England. He loves to write about the news and is a regular contributor to Poetry 24. His collection ‘First Cut’ was published by Cestrian Press last year.


Thursday, 14 March 2013

12 Men are Gone Today.

12 men are gone today
not down to the pub
but to slip away
not to a casual fling
or to cheer their team on

12 men have gone today

managed to push through
youth , money, plans, children in mind
then they come,
 then they go


12 men have gone today

© David Mellor

Why are more middle-aged men turning to suicide?

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. He has lived on the Wirral for the past 8 years.

 

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Decision Time

There is quite an argy-bargy
going on in the South Atlantic
and although we have two wooers
that affair is not romantic.
On one side, the Argentines
have for ages been insistent
that they own the Falkland Isles
but the Brits are resistant
and rebuff the foreign claim.
The first sight, it’s almost cert,
in the year sixteen-hundred,
was by mariner de Weert.
One can argue that the islands
were discovered by the Dutch
but the link is very tenuous
and does not amount to much.
Now president de Kirchner
stakes new claims to Port Stanley
and although she’s a woman
her demands are rather manly.
This issue, most contentious,
should be sorted once for all;
the archipelago’s inhabitants
go, tomorrow, to the polls.
Yet I have got this gut feeling
that the debate will run and run
and there won’t be a resolution
when all is said and done.

© Luigi Pagano

Falkland referendum: Islanders vote on British status

Luigi Pagano is a regular contributor to ABCtales.com and UKAuthors.com
He has published three poetry collections the latest of which - ‘Poetry On Tap

Monday, 11 March 2013

Cardboard Boxes

as kids we used em as tanks all through the summer holidays
to win our wars

we lost a few when it rained, though.

unable to mobilise em in bad weather
as the wet ripped em right through.

troops returned to barracks whenever it rained

© Philip Johnson

Desert Rats Lose Tanks in Cutbacks

previoussly appeared in: Poetry 24, The Ugly Tree; Poetry Scotland, Emergency Verse, Write Away, Caught In The Net, Red Pencil, Writer's Hood, Transparent Words. He works in elder care.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Sunday Review

Here in Cornwall the first signs of spring are to be seen in the fields and hedgerows: splashes of brilliant yellow have been daubed along the roadside and patches of purple and white have appeared in our waking gardens where the early-flowering crocuses have popped up their heads. After a long and cold, yet predominantly wet, winter without even the relief of of a little snow, this incipient explosion of life and colour has been more than welcome. Everywhere around us are the signs and augurs of the blossoming of new life and new hope. 

Not so, with our poems, however: here at Poetry24 it has been a bleak and solemn week.  Amy Barry took the lead with her harrowing and heart-rending response to the plight of the children of Syria, those innocents who are obliged to endure: 'Muffled, strangled cries/ Maggots on decomposed bodies,/ severed heads and limbs' because they have 'little choice'. Later in the week, on Thursday, Janine Booth brought a similar mood closer to home. Her poem, 'A Homeless Man Dies', reminded us that cruelty and culpability are alive and well in the affluent West. Like the children of Syria, 'Daniel deserved to survive'. The system, however, does not ' because 'Capitalism kills'. 

Wednesday's poem was 'Fell Asleep at Noon' by regular, Noel Loftus. The poem is the author's response to the injustice of  that same, fallible system, a system which, in this case, and I quote the author, obliges the Irish taxpayer to 'pick up the tab' for some banks - and also some individuals - who 'gambled on a grand scale'. This poem delights with some felicitous word choices and delicious, rolling rhythms. Appreciate, for example, the deftness of the alliteration in 'Fridge looms into view/Forehead rests of freezing things' and the precise writing of 'A curious collision scythed/ through a humbled mind,/ saw a cruet in the thin hands of a boy'. 

Friday's poem also came to us from Ireland, this time from Thomas Martin whose baldly-stated Recession is, or it seems to me, very much to the point. Because it is short - and because, as an editor, I can - I am going to reproduce it here in full. Thank you, Thomas for this timely warning. Let us hope that, in the interests of humanity, we are all able to hear it and take it to heart.

They have us where they want us, lads:
Public against private
Waged against unwaged 
Generation against generation
Men against women
Urban against rural
National against immigrant
Frontline against rearguard
They have us where they want us.
And we have them -
In our sights. 

Finally, on Saturday, we were back to Syria, this time to the story of the Syrian refugee who, having reached the age of one hundred and five, told a war correspondent that:

'she wants to die.
Not because she is too old,
that’s not the reason why.
Her wish is not a whim
but a sign of desperation.
She has witnessed the futile
destruction of her nation,
the bombing, the shooting
from both warring sides,
she’s seen the consequences
of martyrs’ suicides'.

If you have not already read this powerful poem by Luigi Pagana, I suggest that you click on the link immediately.  Though I am nowhere near this lady's age, I am no spring cuckoo either, and I have to say that, in the current climate, even in the face of the present onslaught of daffodils and crocuses, I, too, have felt something of her weariness, her desire to simply turn her face to the wall and countenance no more: no more exploitation, no more cruelty, no more bloodshed and despair. We all say that we want to end these evils but how do we make it happen

That's all from me this week - except to leave you with these lines from Bill:


In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
       
Sweet lovers love the spring.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

She is One Hundred and Five

A war correspondent
comes to her tent,
teeming with refugees,
and asks her for a comment.
She’s one-hundred-and-five
and says she wants to die.
Not because she is too old,
that’s not the reason why.
Her wish is not a whim
but a sign of desperation.
She has witnessed the futile
destruction of her nation,
the bombing, the shooting
from both warring sides,
she’s seen the consequence
of martyrs’ suicides
and now she is a frightened,
defenceless spectator
of the fight between the rebels
and an unyielding dictator.
On the streets of the capital
the tanks ominously rumble,
the mortar’s shells explode
and the edifices crumble.
While hundreds of thousands
have mercilessly been slain
all attempts at diplomacy
have, alas, been in vain.
The outcome is uncertain
and the outlook is bleak
but their one and only hope
is to find the peace they seek.

© Luigi Pagano 2013


Luigi Pagano is a regular contributor to ABCtales.com and UKAuthors.com
His work has been featured in several publications, including UKA anthologies and ABCTales magazines. He has published several ebooks that can be viewed at

Friday, 8 March 2013

Recession


They have us where they want us, lads:
Public against private
Waged against unwaged 
Generation against generation
Men against women
Urban against rural
National against immigrant
Frontline against rearguard
They have us where they want us.
And we have them -
In our sights. 

© Thomas Martin, 2013

Frontline alliance falls apart in pay split

Thomas Martin lives in Dublin. His poems have been featured in Poetry24, Shot Glass Journal and Nostrovia!. He is currently working on his first verse collection.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

HOMELESS MAN DIES

Homeless man dies frozen on doorstep of empty bungalow
Man named Daniel Gauntlett
Headline of Kent local paper
Just words
But real death, real tragedy, real outrage
Homeless man dies frozen on doorstep of empty bungalow

Homeless man dies frozen on doorstep of empty bungalow
Boards on windows and lock on door
Standing between him
And the meagre shelter that could have saved him
No bed, no luxury, no comfort
But at least a barrier between him and the murderous cold
Homeless man dies frozen on doorstep of empty bungalow

Homeless man dies frozen on doorstep of empty bungalow
A person without a home
Dies on the steps of
A home without a person
In what sort of irrational system does that happen?
Someone 'owned' the empty home
And possession is not just nine-tenths of the law
But the iron law that says you can't come in
Even if it makes the difference between life and death
Homeless man dies frozen on doorstep of empty bungalow

Homeless man dies frozen on doorstep of empty bungalow
It was not just the temperature that killed Daniel
It was the system
Property is not just theft
It is also murder
Daniel deserved to survive
But this system does not
Capitalism kills
Homeless man dies frozen on doorstep of empty bungalow

Frozen man dead on doorstep
 ©Janine Booth

Janine Booth. Marxist. Trade Unionist. Socialist-feminist. Writer. RMT
Executive member. Partner, mother, aspie, bi. Posh fan. Hackney.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Fell Asleep at Noon

Now there is a melancholy,
now there is a chill,
now some addled trip reveals
teacher took our babies years.

Redressed the chosen few.
Washing cycles to its end,
wakes us to hang out.
This silence is resounding, pounding.

Fridge looms into view.
Forehead rests on freezing things.
Hello mister always can,
and mister never could.

Age made work superfluous.
What a useless word.
A curious collision scythed
through a humbled mind,
saw a cruet in the thin hands of a boy. 
This house is creaking cold and old and
floorboards smell of dust.
Oil has work to do.
Teacher took our babies years.

Three pm on Monday, they have will to run
and run and bless them on their way.
And we would do that too if we had will.
Hid. Safe. Spouse has life beyond us,
is soothing mental friend
whose partner, they said, leaped (hunting sanity once craved).

Decades slipped away when asses
bray was eight miles loud
across two thousand years.
Teacher took our children,
left back a mighty task.

A mirror in the hallway
is the stranger who resides here.
Hello mister always can,
and mister never could.
How are you our brother, sister, how are you, yourself.

Washing cycles to its end.
This silence is  resounding, pounding.
Could we begin again.

© Noel Loftus

Quinn 'spent €327,000 in year'

Noel Loftus is a member of ward9writers based in Mayo and enjoys very short bursts of inspiration tempered by long periods of work.

Monday, 4 March 2013

A ten-year old Syrian Child

Dust clouds swirl
on pools of sticky blood.
Bullets fly inches above her head.

Muffled, strangled cries.
Maggots on decomposed bodies,
severed heads and limbs.

Her fingers rake
through bloodied bodies,
her gaze darts frantically around.

Her father’s boots-
Papa’s dying breath,
did he recite the Shahadah?

Sounds of shelling, shooting-
funnel in her ears,
replay in her head.

She doesn’t have time
to moan or whine
about her fate.

She has little choice.

©Amy Barry, 2013

Syria: no child safe from the bloody conflict

Amy Barry writes poems and short stories. She has worked in the media industry as a Public Relations officer. Her poems have been published in anthologies, journals, and e-zines, in Ireland and abroad. Trips to India, Nepal, China, Bali, Paris, Berlin, have all inspired her work.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Sunday Review

We started the week with "Jack's Alright" by Laura Taylor which pretty conclusively shows that things with Jack are decidedly not right. There is a lot in this poem that is arrow-straight into the modern human condition.
Haikus made a welcome appearance at Poetry24 from Máire Morrissey-Cummins. I love these small, dense poems about such a wretched episode.
 The Magdalene story was revisited by Jessica Traynor in 'An Education in Silence" on Wednesday. We can take some hope from such good poems arising out of such terrible times
On Thursday Barbara Gabriel's poem 'Step on a Crack' highlighted the sex-trade in young girls through the example of Latino girls being traded. Poetry does not get much more hard-hitting than this and we are honoured to be able to publish this poem.
John Saunders' 'Sacrifice' told simply, yet powerfully, of the decision made by Burmese monks to burn themselves to death as a political process. There is great dignity in this poem and great bravery.
Caroline Hurley's poem 'Collectable Things' pointed out the rather abysmal record that we have as stewards of the environment and also compared it to our  personal relationships.
Well it was a challenging week of poetry that confronts us with the less stellar sides of our natures. As such it performs a vital task if it can keep us honest. As I mentioned there is a a fair amount of the better sides of our natures on display from the poets, themselves. Thanks very much to everyone who contributed and please keep it up. We always need more submissions. Have a good week.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Collectable Things

Silently, invisibly, a gentle wind glances off the ways
of things that seem filled with the intent to be watched
and weighed; the disasters or crimes, set by places and by times,
at war with what can’t be compelled and is often lost.

Conquistadors compounded cultural estates.
Darwin, the Dutch, Wallace & Co, helped themselves
on islands explored. They reached out and effortlessly
wrung the necks of fearless birds as though plucking apples;
as if the trust of the predator-free creatures was begging
to be exploited and to be thanked with extinction.

Renaissance men libelled the gristly dodo, calling them disgusting,
lazy-arsed beasts while guzzling them down to the last one.
For state bounty, the Tasmanian tiger, reigning over the food-chain,
was hunted from its livelihood; the final thylacine expired as
the Nazi holocaust gained ground. In this twenty-first century,
remaining rhinos risk carnage by poachers hacking their cornucopian horns
that leaven medical brews, gild weapons and ornamental figaries.

Evidence they existed; is that enough to palliate the loneliness of
human spirit first prognosticated after mass buffalo slaughters?
Like seeds that need to be constantly watered and lit before sharing
their natures, conditions must be attended to conserve companion species;
in the same way that love, once neglected and bled, can degenerate
to seem like a dead shell, just a punishable collectable thing.

© Caroline Hurley

Natural World: Flight of the Rhino

Flight of the Rhino

Caroline's poems have previously appeared in Poetry24 and they have also been published in The Electric Acorn and threemonkeysonline.com. Clebran.org featured a chapter from her novel and some flash fiction. Her current focus is on young adult fiction and screenwriting. She lives near an Irish bird reserve.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Sacrifice

Your final act
using what is yours
to make the point
you are in control
and they cannot
diminish your dissent.

You have righteousness.
This is the end of you
and all they can do
is watch you abandon
your young body,
unable to punish.
You have won, Bozu.

© John Saunders

Two Tibetan monks self-immolate as anti-China protests continue

John Saunders' First Collection After the Accident was published in 2010 by Lapwing Publications, Belfast. His second full collection Chance is available is due for publication in March 2013 by New Binary Press