Thursday, 30 May 2013

It's Like That in China

(Title taken from an anonymous comment made on the Internet)

After the miracle of birth,
another miracle, this time
the miracle of survival:
this tiny, fierce spark of life
hangs on in there
and refuses to give up.
Two days, they say,
when every breath was a struggle
and a lifetime teetered
in  the balance:
years, loves,
everything it might
mean to us
to be wholly,
joyously alive.

But some of us, it seems,
barely see the child
and so we miss also
the wonder,
seizing instead,
on the chance
to feel smug and point
the grubby finger of blame.

Look at the rescuers, though,
as they peel away the pipe;
see how their faces
are transfused
by their humanity.
It's like that in China:
a child is saved
that they - and we -
may hope for life's best.

© Abigail Wyatt

Baby saved from toilet pipe in China

Abigail writes poetry and short fiction whenever life allows her to do so.  She has a bad cold, a bad arm, and a major part in a murder mystery which is due to be staged at Carnkie early in June. David, her partner, is fond of saying that she takes on far too much. Just occasionally, she thinks he may have a point. She can be contacted via Poetry24.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The Summer TV Schedule

There is a tendency by TV programmers
to show lots of repeats during summer.
Old films like ‘Gone with the Wind’,
comedies with the comic Lucille Ball,
films both of the first global conflict
- a war that was to end all wars -
and the second that very soon followed.
Documentaries of past achievement
and old newsreels are being provided
for the viewers’ interest and amusement.
A great emphasis is placed on the past.
At the moment they’re showing a report
which tells us of car bombs explosions,
in Baghdad, that killed 45 pilgrims
and a further 27 people in Shia areas.
I have seen several like this over the years
but I know that they can’t be fresh news;
they must be prior to May 1st 2003
when George W Bush assured us: 
“Mission accomplished.”

© Luigi Pagano

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

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Africa's Sahel

A boy stands alone,
under the stinging heat,
hungry and thirsty.
he sees animals
lying over each other,
teary eyes, stunned
by the scale of death
laid out before him.
Even the sky
seems to look on
with disbelief.
Countless flies
move over the carcasses,
raising great grey clouds
before settling again.
Visions of his mother
He is nearly certain
she isn’t dead,
wished he didn’t have
to witness

With only his mother
for company,
he waits.

© Amy Barry

Mali: a humanitarian snapshot of refugees, health and education

Niger offers hope of homegrown solutions to Sahel crises

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. She lives in Athlone, Ireland.

Monday, 27 May 2013

The Uprising

At the poets reading people sit,
read the paper before she begins.

They read about portraits;
the unflattering portrait of
a pregnant princess and the
true portrait of a dead sir
with a catalogue of crimes.

There is a revolt against both.

These portraits are unearthed
in the museums downstairs
lecture hall. Upstairs the works
of Irish artists sleep where we
would have sat if the reading
had not been oversubscribed.

There is an uprising in poetry today.

We wait to hear the poet’s
observations of events, flukes
weaved through stories lit, licked
and spoken. Truths or half-truths;
we have no way of knowing.

The poet draws us, reaches us
somewhere. She speaks of birth, death,
things that come between the two.
I scan the sea of bobbing brunettes
and peppered brunettes; wonder
about the absence of bookish blondes.

When the poet reads we celebrate
her cleverness, and our own,
for being the types to travel to
lecture halls on Saturday afternoons
off and that we are inside when

riots are lighting ‘round Belfast city.

© Kelly Creighton

Belfast: It's not just about the flag

Kelly Creighton has work in Wordlegs, The Ranfurly Review, A New Ulster, Electric Windmill Press and numerous other publications. Kelly has an historical fiction novel.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Sunday Review

It has been an eventful week with news of awful things and terrible stories that have rocked the country in a number of different ways. My week has been busy in work and with my writing. I also saw my ex-tutor give a poetry reading and my other ex-tutor launch a novel. So the week, here at Poetry24, began on Tuesday this time, and it began with a positive story of astronaut, Chris Hadfield, who talked about his experiences in space and adapting to life on Earth again. We saw this in Hadfield Shows us Earth from Space by Jan Harris, whose poem was, as one commenter put it, written spectacularly.

On Wednesday we began to see a more political side to our submissions, and Peter Flint gave us If Ukip Want To … This Guy’s Not A Kipper! This was a satirical take on the views of the Ukip political party, which Peter had told me he wanted people to know about. The view of the poem was from a Ukip member, which blatantly undermines them and shows them in a negative light, a kind of truth Peter sets out to demonstrate.

On Thursday we had submissions about the terrible and barbaric attack on a man in Woolwich. David Mellor wrote Nothing … which was a simple take on the the idea that another person was dead, highlighting the fact that, although a highly unusual and disgusting attack, it is ‘nothing new,’ since we’ve seen so much death and fundamentalism in the media before.

Undercurrent by John Saunders was about the same news story. This was a short, two-stanza poem written in heavily-loaded metaphors. The idea seems to be an undercurrent of something negative in an ‘aquarium of differences.’ I particularly liked the lines: ‘Sometimes a prey will be preyed on, / a sacrifice made in the name of some god. / Who knows why it is this way and not different?’

I chose Maleficium by Caroline Hurley for Saturday because I thought it a particularly strong piece and I liked the idea of comparing the story to the witch trials. The news story was about a jail terms of up to 14 years for women in Ireland who have an abortion and the story about suicide during pregnancy. I found it extremely interesting how Caroline merged this to the witch trials, beginning with the quote: ‘There were neither witches nor bewitched until they were talked and written about.’

That was our week in news-based poetry, please submit again to us at and remember to tell people about us and like us on Facebook.


Saturday, 25 May 2013


“There were neither witches nor bewitched until they were talked and written about. [Better is] silence and discretion.” – Salazar, lawyer & objector to 17th century witch-trials.

In an enlightened Ireland, colonised no more
by England or Rome or anywhere,
nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.

Nonetheless, here it is, like the triumvirate
of headmaster, priest and guard who once
governed intimate relations in the villages.

Ideologues lobby and bullies jockey;
careerists territorialising biological turf,
comically aped by their cosseted wags.

They rail, apoplectic, and insist on the charge
that the gravid female can feign suicidal ideation,
as if in fear that there be witches here.

They’d make her swim to test her guilt, if they could.
Instead, if her mood lifts too much post-partum, they’ll nail her
with a sentence heavier than any laid on a serial killer.

If, perilously inseminated, she’s any sense, she’ll choose
the water terminus by boat or plane herself over long-term
dominion of a misogynistic, hypocritical and archaic system.

Otherwise she’ll be tried by a panel of three untouchables,
her evidence and confession extorted in exchange
for the indelible stamp of insanity on public record.

She’ll be stigmatised like the sacked midwives,
last refuge of conscientious women, before her;
both loath to inflict on ill-begotten unborn embryos

the perverse right to mean lives induced by
breeding-mongering cadres of mostly male gynae pros
bleeding the world and his groaning wife dry.

© Caroline Hurley

Maternity hospital masters differ over suicide provision in planned legislation

Jail term of up to 14 years for a woman who has an abortion in Ireland ‘bizarre’

Witch trials in the early modern period

Caroline's poems have previously appeared in Poetry24, as well as in The Electric Acorn, and in ESOF's 3nd Science Meets Poetry anthology. 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, 24 May 2013


On the surface the soft yashmak of surf
bubbles over the sheen of army green water
underneath which a shoal of multi-coloured
fish fill an aquarium of differences
where species pass each other with diffidence.

Sometimes a prey will be preyed on,
a sacrifice made in the name of some god.
Who knows why it is this way and not different?
Beware of the deep undercurrent.

© John Saunders

Woolwich murder: The suspected attackers

John Saunders’ first collection ‘After the Accident’ was published in 2010 by Lapwing Press, Belfast. John is one of three featured poets in  Measuring,  Dedalus New Writers published by Dedalus Press in May 2012. His second full collection Chance was published in April 2013 by New Binary Press.

Thursday, 23 May 2013


A man dead
And another dead
Doesn't  matter
Where it takes place

It’s a man dead
And another dead

Human life as cheap as the newspaper you buy
As disposable as crisp wrappers
As worthless as yesterday’s news

A man dead
On its way

A machete
A gun
A slash across the throat
Thank god it’s not you
It’s certainly nothing ... new

© David Mellor

Man dead in suspected Woolwich terror attack

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 eight years.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

If Ukip Want To ... This Guy's Not A Kipper!

We couldn’t bear to get pally
With those awful plebs in the valley
We’re sure that they’re simply not nice
Because we read every grim tale
In our grail Daily Mail
Of course we all pay our taxes
While each of them just relaxes
And lives off the fat of the land
They’re all lounging and scrounging
In free houses and flats
With more kids than Family Planning had planned
This is only just one of their perks
Scarcely one of them works
I wish that someone would please explain
It just doesn’t make sense
That while we mugs pay their rents
Our savings disappear down the drain
With each large benefit hand-out
Surely no-one possibly can doubt
That something’s gone terribly wrong
They’ve over-sized tellies
Plus over-sized bellies
And excuses just drip off their tongue
While we’ve scrimped and saved
Been discreet, well-behaved
They have been having a ball
Soon we'll have our backs to the wall
Now I don’t want to scare ya
But all the folks in Bulgaria
Will soon pour over here in their droves
We’ll just have to give up our car,
Champagne, caviar
Queue at Sainsbury’s food-bank for loaves
Yes the outlook seems bleak
But we won’t whinge or shriek
We won’t riot or even complain
We’ll keep a stiff upper-lip
Take a very firm grip
Then move to one of our villas in Spain!

© Peter Flint

Des Lynam endorses Ukip ... in song!

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

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Hadfield Shows us Earth from Space

Sunrise is a sequin poised
on the bolt of silk that wraps the Earth
in blue. Islands are luminous snails

or exclamations marks
shouting ‘Look’. The Outback,
an abstract from the walls of The Tate.

Lights reveal where people live,
cobweb cities with roads that snake
or segregate the buildings into blocks.

Patterns emerge. Deserts, ridged and whorled
like human skin under a microscope.
Perspective shifts. Near and far are one.

His camera fails to catch
the grinding heat of sand, the tug
and pull of wind through hair

but shows the desolation of the Aral sea,
grit in the eyes of storms, our place
in a universe too vast to understand.

Looking up we see the astronaut
behind the lens. The scientist, teacher,
poet, most of all, the man

who searched within himself
to find the courage for his voyage
and then reached out to carry us along.

© Jan Harris

Chris Hadfield: 'Space was too good not to share it'

Jan’s work has appeared in Abridged, Ink Sweat and Tears, Ribbons, and A Night at the Movies, an e-book published by the Poetry Kit. Her proudest achievement is becoming a grandmother.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Sunday review

Siobhan McLaughlin's  poem 'Aleppo' started off the week reminding us of the horror of war arguably being best described by poetry. The comment on the poem by Mari talks about the rhythm in the poem and they are maintained very well.
'Catwalking in Catastrophe' by Peter Flint  on Tuesday did an excellent job of contrasting the situations that humans are finding themselves in and the florid extravagance that is based upon exploitation. 
Luigi Pagano's "Behind the Facade' talked about the Cleveland kidnappings and showed how thin our civilisation can be. I like the way that the poem considers the future in the last stanza. Life must go on and part of that is trying to understand what happened and why.
Ajit Sherawat's 'Sarabjeet - The twenty two years' illuminated a case that I had not heard of before and emphasised the pawn-like existence that people in the wrong place at the wrong time can get trapped in.
Steve Pottinger's 'Angelina' illustrated that real insight can come from unlikely places. I like the description of Gary drinking the silence. 
I am sure that all Poetry24 readers and contributors would join with me in wishing a speedy recovery to fellow editor Abi Wyatt who is a bit unwell at the moment. Take it easy Abi, and get well soon. have a good week, everybody and keep the submissions coming.   

Saturday, 18 May 2013


never known for his subtlety
three pints in at The Anchor
half an eye still on the game
orders another lager

stands tall at the bar
and tells us all
this changes nothing
he wouldn’t kick her out of bed

he’s no oil painting himself
never has been never will
shouts of he should be so lucky
in another life in his dreams

of the old anglo-saxon
to put us in our place
and then the surprise
he takes a sip and asks us

the quacks went at your jewels
with a knife
to save your life
could you would you tell the world?

never known for his subtlety
three pints in at The Anchor
drinks the silence
nods and tells us

looks and more balls
than all of us together that Lara
and then Gary orders another lager
half an eye still on the game.

© Steve Pottinger

Angelina Jolie has double mastectomy due to cancer gene

Steve Pottinger writes and performs poetry whenever and wherever he can. He has a website at and can be found on twitter at @oneangrypoet

Friday, 17 May 2013

"Sarabjeet - The twenty two years"

In anticipation that hope,
would someday shine,
as bright as the sun of may,
and that the light of life,
would reach to him some day,
he continued to die,
each moment that came his way;

At last our neighbors,
friendly as they are,
turned kind,
for, forever, they couldn't be blind,
to a fellow human's plight;

At last they allowed him,
the breeze of his own field,
the air of his own compound,
what if, he now lay asleep,
in deep sleep and slept sound,
and needed air,
neither from the neighbor's,
nor from his own compound;

© Ajit Sherawat

Sarabjit comes home, dead

Ajit is presently working as a Preventive officer with customs and presently posted at Gurgaon. He follows his passion of writing ardently

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Behind the Façade

We often speak of aliens abductions,
of people vanishing without a trace
and assume that creatures from Mars
have spirited them to an outer space.

There are stories and films galore
such as Cocoon and The Fourth Kind,
where the inhabitants of other worlds
have come to earth with evil in mind.

But let us forget the extraterrestrials
and concentrate on another scenario
the one enacted by one wicked man,
one calculating and sordid Lothario.

It was behind the respectable façade
of one dwelling in Seymour Avenue
where he committed a terrible crime,
one so abject that is now going to rue.

For a decade three young women captive
lived segregated from their loved ones.
They were negated the right to freedom
and the happiness they cherished once.

For the young ladies the nightmare is over
now that the villain has been unmasked
but to understand this strange situation
pertinent questions will have to be asked.

© Luigi Pagano

Cleveland rescue: The mystery of 2207 Seymour Avenue

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

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Catwalking in Catastrophe

She wore a borrowed dress
Nor did her crown belong to her
Still, she looked beautiful
Stalking between vassal ranks
Of fawning, enchanted courtiers
Breathing a miasma of greed, lust, envy…
She spurned them all
At once a predator and a prey
Prowling zombie-eyed
Face a corpse-like mask,
Lips swollen as if gorged with blood…
Regal she turned, oblivious of her disciples,
Down the wolf-whistle, sighing walk
Back to the paint, powder and chaos
Of the real world…
Shedding her borrowed finery
Which would be catalogued and copied
To be sold for a pittance
In High-Street temples of commerce…
Laden with bags with escutcheons
Much more familiar…much more affordable
Than this unique Dolce-Gabbana creation
A bargain at a mere £32,000!
I doubt if the Saturday night revellers
Preening in their day’s purchases
Would give a moment’s thought to…
The price of the original…nor…
The nine hundred souls crushed under concrete
Erected carelessly by inefficiency and greed
Working fourteen hours for coppers
Making cheap copies of such ‘borrowed’ dresses
Nor of the starving Syrian child
Staring at us in fear and bewilderment
Sharing the page with this icon of consumerism.

© Peter Flint

Refugees Fleeing Syria are ‘Mostly Kids’
Woman rescued after 17 days in Bangladesh rubble
$32,000 Dolce & Gabbana Dress

The poem arose out of the juxtaposition of a Dolce-Gabbana dress which sold for $32,000 with the image of a starving Syrian child.  In the same newspaper it was reported that the death toll in the collapse of a clothing factory in Pakistan had risen to five hundred and that the designer had been arrested and charged.  He had allegedly added several floors to the original plan at the owner’s request.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013


An old man sits in the town square
smokes his pipe, reads his paper
feigns normality
in the place where sirens blare;

a hundred dead a day.

A young man kneels in the dirt
where his brother was shot in the head
on an errand to buy milk
in the place where shells split air;

a hundred dead a day.

An old woman wails on the doorstep
of her rubbled home with
fourteen family members gone
in the place where bodies rot in the sun;

a hundred dead a day.

 A young woman kisses the bloodied face
of her husband, his body three weeks
dead and decomposed
in the place where snipers pick off people as bait;

a hundred dead a day.

An old man tries to tell the tragedy
but can only sigh and gasp, his pain
flailing the words to pieces
in the place where grief is certain as night;

a hundred dead a day.

Children don’t play outside anymore,
the park full of bodies buried
in makeshift unidentified despair
in the place where war avenges its bidding;

a hundred dead a day.

A group of old men play chess
in a spot of the town not far
from the river that deposits human detritus
in the place where gravediggers shovel endlessly
to close the gaping maw of death;

hundreds dead in days.

© Siobhán Mc Laughlin

The River Martyrs

Siobhan is an aspiring poet who chases many muses with avid enthusiasm. She is of the firm belief
that words can change the world. Her blog is: and her Twitter is: @siobhan347

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Sunday Review

Noel Loftus' poem 'Wedding, funeral and incidental song from an old man I met in a pub mirror last Sunday'  was Monday's poem. A poem about the the passing of time and the flood of revelations on past abuse that we are undergoing.
'A Star in the Sky' by Vala Hafstad on Tuesday gave a refreshingly biting look at some the details involved with a trip to Mars.
Mari Maxwell's 'Daddy's Legacy' is a searing look at incest. Told with compassion it treats a very hard to talk about subject with honesty and is a very hard hitting poem.
Luigi Pagano's 'NHS 111' gave an insight into the current state of UK health services which can only leave one with grave concerns. Perhaps best some up by the lines
" though more is promised/
we get less and less."
Which have a familiarity to us in New Zealand.
Philip Johnson's "2am (Universal Credit Begins)"  looked at the welfare reform programme in the UK and found it somewhat wanting as it seemed to be very hard on the most vulnerable. There is a nice bit of black humour in the lines
"with that Ian Duncan Smith stealing all the string
from my straight jacket …there may not be a cord with which to hang"
'Missing' by Carolyn Cornthwaite finished the week with a very nicely done poem that showed the irony of ordinary forgetfulness if applied to nuclear materials.

Saturday, 11 May 2013


I lost you on the bus when
I turned my face
to the dreamy guy
with wavy locks and pale grey eyes
as silver as the
which I left in the bag
I forgot.

I lost you on the street when
my thoughts turned to
the cobalt-60 coloured sky
and I tried to recall
that unsealed source of
iodine-131. It  might seem slack but
my head was full of

I lost you in the park when
my mind was rammed
with handsome men in hazardous
suits, brows furrowed with deep concerns.
Next time I won’t keep my
in my lap, on the bench
as I dream of men

with eyes as bold as the
thyroid gland which
absorbed the waste
I lost that day
when I turned my head and
dropped my ball of

© Carolyn Cornthwaite

Radioactive materials lost in more than 30 incidents over past decade

Carolyn writes poetry, flash fiction, short stories and has almost completed the first draft of a novel. She dreams of Booker prizes and a life in France and blogs at

Friday, 10 May 2013

2am (Universal Credit Begins)

no luck on the jobs front
I don’t know where it’ll all end up
but …

with that Ian Duncan Smith stealing all the string
from my straight jacket …

there may not be a cord with which to hang
but my arms are free …

and able enough to cast a vote

© Philip Johnson

Welfare reform: 'taking money from the poorest in society is a sick exercise'

Philip 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. He works in elder care.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

NHS 111

Viewers who remember
Dr. Finlay’s casebook
know that a phone call
was all that it took
to send the good medic
to a patient’s bedside
where the most sympathetic
treatment could be applied.
But the human touch
was thought less than perfect
so it was substituted
by the NHS direct.
This then became
NHS one-one-one.
It is long distance care
that should suit everyone.
Yet nothing but frustration
awaits callers who dial;
the service is chaotic,
the authorities are in denial.
Everything is being done
in the name of progress
but though more is promised
we get less and less.

© Luigi Pagano

NHS 111 service 'chaotic and fragmented'

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

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Daddy's Legacy

Daddy made me do it.
Said the baby wasn't right.
It hurted.
It hurted when he told me he'd loved me.
Real bad.
I wasn't supposed to tell Mamma.
I didn't.
Then Daddy didn't care for me no more.
Preferred to stay out late.
I saw the lipstick collars.
Smelt the flowers, the cigarettes and the alcohol.
And his strong soft hands didn't rub my special places.
He never, ever cried in my arms again.
Or told me how sorry he was for loving me too much.
Not even as my belly swelled and the bleeding stopped.
Even after he found the baby a home.
Sometimes when the milk flows I wonder.
Would the baby have loved me?
Thought me special like Daddy did?
Or would it have discarded me, like he,
with looks of disdain.
Somehow I think she'd have needed me.
Kneaded me, and kneaded me.
Until I too was able to cry that pitiful cry
that comes from the gut.
The emptiness.
Begging to be soothed and nurtured.
Instead, it is hollowness left after love's gone bad.
Real bad.
Like with my dad.
Couldn't he have just - Left her.
Left me.

© Mari Maxwell

Gardai revisit 'house of horrors' paedophile case

Mari'swork has appeared in several online and print publications and anthologies in the USA and Ireland. Among them: Crannog, Haiku J, Daily Bites of Flesh 2011: 365 Days of Horrifying Flash Fiction, Beyond the Diaper Bag, Coping, and Barbie Bazaar magazines and others.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

A Star in the Sky

It’s time for a new destination.
Just fill out a short application.
The prize is a trip to the stars.
You’ll land, if you’re chosen, on Mars.

No need for your rose-colored glasses.
This planet all others surpasses
In redness, as evidence shows.
La vie over there is en rose.

You may want a book in your backpack.
And maybe a super-sized snack sack.
The trip will take 200 days,
Assuming there won’t be delays.

There won’t be a guy there to greet you,
Or natives or waiters to meet you,
No cocktails or food on a tray.
You won’t find a pub or café.

We know you’re resourceful and clever
And ready for such an endeavor.
You’ll figure out how to grow food.
If not, you’re most certainly screwed.

We trust you’re adaptable, always.
You will not find fountains in hallways.
On Mars, there’s no lake and no sea.
No problem:  Recycle your pee.

The landscape is truly attractive.
The air may be radioactive,
But if you get cancer up there,
We really won’t bother or care.

Instead, we will watch as you wither.
We’ll follow you hither and thither
With interest, while sipping our tea.
You will be a star on TV.

Imagine the gold for our station,
The drama, the series’ duration!
We’ll call it “The Star in the Sky.”
It runs till the day that you die.

© Vala Hafstad

Applicants wanted for a one-way ticket to Mars

Vala Hafstad lives in Iceland. She finds inspiration for her poems in strange news.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Wedding, funeral and incidental song from an old man I met in a pub mirror last Sunday

There are some days such a chore- that you wish you’d studied more,
Gained a middle-class rapport- and a part-time job as teacher. 

There are others that restore- your belief there’s something more,
Find the will to go explore- that essential inner creature.

She flies blindly, all aflutter- through a head so full of clutter,
Pauses now and then to mutter-that it’s all just so unfair.

He will ignorantly stutter- stagger into every gutter,
Well aware just what an utter- bitch it is without a prayer.

There’s that song that leaves you dreaming- of a first love, once was steaming,
But you found your love left, scheming- left you desolate once more.

But some seconds have such feeling- that your head itself leaps, wheeling
From that glass until you’re reeling- yet demand a little more.

Find those moments that go sealing-every sore that begs for healing,
Leave behind the less appealing- get back where you were before.

I sucked bullseyes and chewed grass-while a bastard probed my arse.
We’re all old and tired and crass-so fuck off with your lies.

Now I’m talking in a mime-my tired body is a crime,
And my head just will not rhyme-kiss my lips and close my eyes.

© Noel Loftus

BBC broadcaster Stuart Hall pleads guilty to sex charges

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

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Sunday Review

There was a lot of strong poetry published this week that covered a number of topics, all quite serious in tone yet keeping the intelligent perceptive the poet often keeps. Two weeks after the bombings in Boston, the new was stilled filled with sad stories about the three fatalities and the questioning behind the attack. Emily Rebecca Adams wrote the poem Boson Reminder as a kind of photographic reminiscence of the terrible incident. ‘Nothing beautiful can ever stay,’ she writes. A poignant look at the event, made real with the graphic descriptions. I suppose, even after two weeks, we shouldn’t really forget.

Malala by Graham Robinson was about Malala, the 15 year old Pakistani schoolgirl activist who was shot in the head by the Taliban for advocating education for girls. Angelina Jolie honoured the ‘Malala Fund’ which will fund education for 40 girls in Pakistan. The poem shows, in rhymes, the determination and bravery of this girl.

By mid-week we had an obituary poem for Woodstock icon, Richie Haven. Legend, written by Luigi Pagano, is a poignant look at a small part of the man’s life which is greatly lauded as the ‘Opening artiste at Woodstock.’

On Thursday we published Blood Red Dress by Angela Finn. This was about the news story of Primark giving aid to the families of the victims of the the warehouse collapse, one of Primark’s suppliers in Bangladesh. The poem is filled with a sense of guilt symbolised in a ‘scarlet dress.’ The blood image of the dress is seen to be made in Bangladesh while ‘You hear the next day’ about the disaster.

Empty Vessel by Mari Maxwell was about the murder of April Jones and the trial against the accused that may last up to seven weeks. The angelic imagery the poem begins with rots into a dark description of earwigs and maggots. It’s a sad poem filled with powerful wording and reaches a state of anger. There something haunting even in the beginning: ‘I saw the golden halo of your / long, curled tresses. / And I gazed into your sprightly soul.’

Saturday we published Carolyn Cornthwaite’s Bachcha. This was about the arrest of a man over the rape of a 5 year old girl in India. Again, a powerful poem, which seeks to show the anger and sadness all at once. The powerful line ‘Childhood / torn from tiny fingers’ is especially evocative.

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Saturday, 4 May 2013


Words fade, only the
of dirt
taunting my tongue
violating my thoughts.
Can I speak of such horrors?

Afternoon becomes dusk
and the Common
Myna calls your name.
You play, safe
in the shadows
of your family home.

And would they assist?
Would they add their
voice to the search for a
child of the
working class?

Yet you survived.
Battered, bruised,
Cries echoing their
Life shattered, hope destroyed, childhood

from tiny fingers.
Now will they listen?

© Carolyn Cornthwaite

Indian police arrest second man over rape of five-year-old girl

Carolyn writes poetry, flash fiction, short stories and has almost completed the first draft of a novel. She dreams of Booker prizes and a life in France and blogs at

Friday, 3 May 2013

Empty Vessel

I saw the golden halo of your
long, curled tresses.
And I gazed into your
sprightly soul.
Joy and exuberance,
bursting forth.
And I had to taste.
And see.
What I could no longer feel.

You think it makes me feel complete?
Instead, look upon my haunted eyes.
Your joie de vivre will never be mine.
And I may bury those
yellow curls among earwig,
nit and maggot.
But n’er will I see, nor will I feel,
childlike innocence again.

I have murdered it out.
For you. For me. For humanity.

© Mari Maxwell

Trial of former lifeguard accused of murdering April Jones may last for seven weeks

Mari's work has appeared in several online and print publications and anthologies in the USA and Ireland. Among them: Crannog, Haiku J, Daily Bites of Flesh 2011: 365 Days of Horrifying Flash Fiction, Beyond the Diaper Bag, Coping, and Barbie Bazaar magazines and others.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Blood Red Dress

For your daughter
You buy,
A scarlet dress
Shot with silver shimmering thread,
Pure white bolero cardigan,
Ankle socks,
Five pairs of them
Trimmed with broderie anglaise
And an ersatz Cath Kidston handbag,
All for less than twenty euro.

At home, on the television
In the heat of Bangladesh,
Survivors hurtle
Down fabric makeshift slides
Over rubble,
Over dead bodies,
Three hundred, they have estimated.

You hear,
The next day,
Still being hauled
From under heavy dry rubble.
The number of dead has risen,
Close to four hundred and
Primark say,
They'll compensate
The victims' families,
The orphaned children.

And all this
So your daughter can wear,
A scarlet dress
With shimmering

© Angela Finn

Primark to aid Bangladesh disaster families

Angela Finn lives in Dublin. She has been shortlisted for the Francis MacManus and Penguin Short Story competitions 2012 and came third in the 2013 Fish Short Memoir competition.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013


The singer/guitarist ‘Richie’ Havens
was the opening artiste at Woodstock.
Performing from 5 o’clock till seven
he launched the famed Festival of rock
which was to acquire legendary status.
It was billed as an Aquarian exposition,
a stirring and inspired musical afflatus
that generated excellent compositions.
It was to enhance Richard’s reputation,
a major turning point in his career.
Applauded by the crowd on location,
his many encores drew the biggest cheer.
Who can forget his “Motherless Child”?
Hearing the words of this haunting song
the concert-goers went completely wild
and the emotion that they felt was strong.
Alas, this musical colossus is no more
but his name is consigned to posterity;
we won’t be able to listen to his encores
and that for genuine fans is a calamity.

© Luigi Pagano 2013

Woodstock icon Richie Haven dies

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