Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Tears at the Chapel Royal.(a low-key affair)

in a box
the forgotten heir

without light

while that family, as she called them,  
now have fresh blood and a new line 
(of worship)

duely christened

to the coven of seven (god 

© Philip Johnson

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, 29 October 2013


Discovered in its case
Strapped to his drowned body
The violin he played
Aboard the Titanic

Salt water that flooded
Into straining lungs
Had no time to destroy
This well-built instrument

And even though the bridge
Looked unusually frail
When correctly tensioned
The strings still sang sweetly

Mozart, Handel, Schuman
Haydn, Paganini
Old favourites, hymn tunes
Nearer My God To Thee

Too sad to be endured
The fiddle was condemned
To decades of silence
In a dusty attic

Brought out again at last
On show for a few days
Then sold at auction for
Nine hundred thousand pounds

The violin he played
Aboard the Titanic.

© David Subacchi 

David Subacchi was born in Wales of Italian roots. He is a well known poet in the UK especially in Wales and the North West of England. His English language collection ‘First Cut’ was published by Cestrian Press in 2012.

Monday, 28 October 2013

A Peasant's Revolt

John Ball encourages the rebels. Wat Tyler is shown in red at the front.
The peasants, it seems, are revolting;
the Estuary stirs to unrest:
there are those who speak out for rebellion
on behalf of the sorely oppressed;
and then there are those who will cower and cringe
and complain things have got out of hand;
and those who will plot to keep power and place;
and those who say fight and be damned;
then again, there are some who prefer not to see,
or who see but do not understand;
and some who excuse exploitation and greed
in the name of supply and demand;
and then there are those who are fearful,
and some by their fears are unmanned;
but others there are who hold the fight dear:
as Essex bred Tyler, so it bred Brand.

Abigail Wyatt

Peasants' Revolt
Wild emotions...

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Sunday Review

Philip Johnson's poem "the perfect poem for april fools" was our Monday poem and up one of the big themes of the week, that of mistrust of governments. Disturbingly enough, all around the world, this "cynical" attitude appears to be well founded. As Philip says we may believe anymore "now they tell us work will always pay".
 Luigi Pagano's poem addressed the feeling that we all have of being under surveillance. "I Spy" concluded with : drop this eavesdropping / and do for once play ball. Which something we all feel like saying at the moment.
On Wednesday David Mellor urged us to "Blow Up The Pipelines"   which will have had the NSA becoming very interested in us.  It is a very good poem and says what a lot of people are feeling. I recommend that you seek out the youtube clips of David reading his poems. 
On Thursday Abi got her bears to ask for submissions and luckily we got "A Prayer" by Vala Hafstad which focused on the misadventures of the  "Bishop of Bling". Not a very inspiring chap but a very good poem. A heartfelt prayer from the Bishop about those things closest to his soul.
Please keep the submissions up folks, Poetry24 has never been more important to use to tell the world what you think of it.
Have a good week.

Friday, 25 October 2013

A Prayer

My father, thou who art up there,
I hope you hear my humble prayer.
My congregation is upset;
They say I’ve got to pay my debt.

I want my Heaven here on Earth;
That’s why I’ve served you since my birth.
I’ve built myself a fancy home
That doesn’t please the guy in Rome.

But think about it, dearest Dad,
There’s reason for you to be glad,
For every good and loyal son
Undoubtedly deserves some fun.

I’ve sacrificed so much for you:
A woman I may not pursue.
Since I may never have a spouse,
My compensation is this house.

So, let me keep my gilded doors,
My jewels and my chest of drawers,
My sauna, bathtub and my wine,
The table where I sit and dine.

I know they’re not the cheapest kind;
My taste is said to be refined.
IKEA simply ain’t my thing,
Your son, the bishop, nicknamed Bling.

Vatican suspends Bishop of Bling.
© Vala Hafstad
Vala Hafstad lives in Iceland.  She finds inspiration for her poems in strange news.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

We Need Submissions, Please and A Seasonal Wish from Abi's Bears for Our Great British Government

By eye of bat and blind worm’s sting
I think I have the very thing:
I’ll make a potion, chant a spell
to send them spinning down to Hell;
and in the pot I’ll lob a snake,
a worm, a toad which mess should make
a potion fit for those who shun
the weak and think of number one.
I have it now, an apt solution:
what’s called for here's a revolution. 

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Blow up the pipelines

Blow up the pipelines
They’re driving us mad
It’s like mustard gas is covering our country with
Pockets bulging at the seams
While pensioners and the poor rip open their anthrax  ridden fuel bill
Shiver in the corner
Set fire to the bill for warmth
Then  finally ….
Driven mad through fear
Fill their room with gas, and strike…  … .. .
“Blow up the pipelines
They’re driving us MAD”

© David R Mellor 2013 
Npower today unveiled an increase of more than 10 per cent across the UK

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

I Spy

The Yanks are in danger
of ruining our alliance
as they have been spying
on the citizens of France.
It may appear harmless
to be spied on, except
every word we utter
is subject to intercept.
Perhaps they even know
of everyone’s dalliance,
of those who have affairs
and the ones affianced.
Let’s ask Laurent Fabius
to tick off their embassy
and tell them it won’t do
to pursue this lunacy.
If we are scrutinised
we’ll suffer from stress;
will have to be discreet
or lie about our mistress.
We don’t have other secrets
apart from "L’amour".
We follow in the footsteps
of Madame Pompadour.
So please United States
listen to our earnest call
drop this eavesdropping
and do for once play ball.
© Luigi Pagano 2013

Snowden leaks: France summons US envoy over spying claims 
Click to see Luigi Pagano's authors page on Amazon.

Monday, 21 October 2013

the perfect poem for april fools‏

they promised gas would be free

once they tapped into the North Sea

and then they told us that the fruits of the family

would cascade over generations

now they tell us work will always pay

 ©Philip Johnson
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.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Sunday Review

I must begin this week with an apology for the fact that there was no poem yesterday.  The fact is that, since Michael's departure, Hamish and I have decided to publish from Monday to Friday - plus, of course, the usual review on Sunday - at least for the time being. We will see how things go over the next few weeks and then make a decision about whether or not to seek another editor. We may also build in a little more flexibility to the submission guidelines in order to accommodate slightly longer work. We like spare, economical writing and, of course, we will continue to look with favour on shorter pieces; however, there have been occasions in the past when we have had to refuse excellent submissions simply because they exceeded the forty line limit. In future, we will be a little more 'forgiving' in this area and, once again, we will see how things develop. If all goes well, we may amend the actual guidelines ready 2014.

This week we began on Monday with Laura Taylor's 'Assembly', a wonderfully strong and passionate piece which juxtaposes the protest that recently took place against the NHS cuts in Manchester and the woeful events of the similarly peaceful protest that, in 1819, became the 'Peterloo Massacre'.  There is much that is quotable in this poem; sadly, to select at the length required to do the work justice would only serve to fragment it. By far and away the best course of action, therefore, would be to do as I have just done and read the whole thing again. At a time when the 'gagging bill'  has been hurried through the House of Commons with what (at a meeting in Penzance last night) Andrew George, (Lib-Dem MP for St Ives) described as 'indecent haste', it behoves us all to consider very carefully the consequences of the passing of this bill into law for free speech, political assembly, and, indeed, democracy itself.

Still on a political theme, Tuesday saw us with David Mellor and 'Pounds, shillings and pence', a real treat in that this submission came in the form of one of David's video clips. (I keep meaning to get around to this myself but never seem to find the time. Of course, I don't have the benefit of David's delicious accent which in this piece, as in others I have heard, is deployed to striking effect.

We missed Wednesday because there was nothing available to put up. Thursday, however,  brought us to Mark Mace Smith's poem on the Mark Duggan inquest. Suddenly The Gun Disappears Testimony of V3 (anonymous cop) is another very powerful piece the more so, as commentator Laura Taylor pointed out, for its use of actual quotations from the evidence of 'V3'.  There can have been little in the findings of this inquest to comfort or console the family and friends of the victim of a young man with the best years of his life still ahead of him.  We are grateful to the author for choosing to submit to Poetry24.

On Friday, it was me again, I'm afraid. I have had a frantically busy week with two launch readings for 'Murder of Krows 2', an important deadline pending, and a major part in a musical comedy show which is coming to production  next week. Nevertheless, when I came across this story about police action against the homeless I knew I had to write something and the result was our final poem for the week 'Negative Impact'. If I was profoundly shaken by the original story, I am somewhat comforted by the fact that many people seem to share my concern over the wider implications of a policy which seems as pointless as it is inhumane.  Please join us for another week next week and keep those submissions coming in. In the meantime, have a peaceful and productive week.
Abigail Wyatt

Friday, 18 October 2013

Negative Impact

What is the ‘negative impact’
of a few hungry souls sleeping rough?
Why should we care, when we’re tucked in our beds,
that they’re out in the cold and not eating enough?
What is the point of such cruelty?
Can it be, really, to ‘clean up’ our streets?
How can it help to take blankets and clothes
from a man with no shoes on his feet?
And what is the ‘negative impact’ on us
of this power that crushes the poor,
when Duty excuses oppression
and love finds no place in the Law?
‘Negative impact’: what does it mean?
And who is that bloke for whom the bell rings?
Woopedy-doo: today, it’s not you.
Who knows, though, what set-backs
tomorrow might bring?

© Abigail Wyatt

Police 'reduce negative impact of rough sleepers'

Abigail Wyatt is one of the editors of 'Poetry24' and the co-editor, with Duncan Yeates, of two anthologies of new Cornish voices, 'Murder of Krows 1 and 2'.  Otherwise, she writes poetry and short fiction and does what she can to foster and encourage the development of poetry in her home area.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Suddenly the Gun Disappears Testimony of V53 (anonymous cop)

The minicab door opened and Mark Duggan jumped out at pace.
I was convinced that Duggan was trying to escape.

It's like a freeze-frame moment. In my head the world had stopped.
My focus was on what was in Duggan's hands, a gun in a sock. 

I was now facing Duggan broadly square on 
The only thing I was focused on was the gun.

There is a tipping point, because he's moved it away from his body 
I now have an honestly held belief that he is going to shoot me

Duggan had now crossed a line in the sand 
I brought my weapon up and I discharged one round.

It struck Duggan in the right of his chest. 
I fired a second time, hitting him in the right bicep.

It's something I'll never forget.
He fell backwards... 
and other armed officers... 
converged on the suspect.

My focus is glued on the gun.
I reassessed the situation and…

the gun was not there. 
Suddenly the gun disappears.


The Duggan family didn't start the riots, 
I didn't start the riots, 
but you can't ignore the fact 
that London and the country's burning, 
to a certain degree 
because of what I've done.

My name..?

 © Mark Mace Smith

Mark Mace Smith, poet, painter, photographer, journalist based in Manchester UK.

Monday, 14 October 2013


Late September, summershine,
fifty thousand pair of feet
hit the streets of Manchester;
Assembly of the People
come to call on Cameron.

Come to cry, come to shout,
from Inverness to Somerset.
Fifty thousand mouths assault
the air in Oxford Road,
to stop the cuts today, to say
We did not give permission to sell the Welfare State.

The spirit of Joe Hill flew in
the flags of solidarity,
in cries to trample down the dirt -
the great lie of austerity;
to stop the cuts today, to say
We did not give permission to sell the NHS.

With whistles and rattles
and clapping of hands,
PCS samba band,
children in prams,
bubbles in sunshine
and rainbows in clouds,
we played the drum slowly to march.

I swear that Shelley was with us today,
his eloquence heating our heads.
And I thought of the few,
and the country they sold.
And we beat the drum faster to march

Then as we turned the corner
into Lower Mosley Street,
the air grew thick and shimmered
with the litany of protest.
The ring of steel and batons,
the string of London Guns,
told us they were in there
and could hear the many roar.

We opened up collective mouths,
let grievance leave our lungs.
NO to constant cuts and caps,
to taxes on the poor!
NO to non-stop brutal chops
and private profiteers!
NO to blood-stained ATOS hands
and working for your dole!
NO to ConDem Nation,
to devastating lives!

The right wing rags ignored the sound
of fifty thousand pair of feet,
of fifty thousand voices
calling Tories on their lies.
They see no, hear no, speak no truth,
so silence and blank pages
censored mention of assembly;
betrayed responsibility.

And though we did not change the world
or overthrow the government,
we demonstrated opposition;
flagged up our resistance.
We showed a strength of unity,
community and care.
Sharpened our collective teeth,
gave succour to our souls.

And on this sunny Sunday,
late September,
we remembered Shelley

‘Ye are many - they are few’.

© Laura Taylor

50,000 march in NHS cuts protest in Manchester
The Peterloo Massacre

Laura Taylor has been writing and performing poetry for 3 years, and has lost control of the brakes.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Sunday Review

Hello everyone, Michael here, I have been one of the editors of Poetry24 for about 12 months (one whole year) and I’ve learned a lot as an editor and I’ve enjoyed my time working in this team with Abi and Hamish. However, recently I decided I wanted to apply for a PGCE to become an English teacher. So I’ve gone back to college to re-do a GCSE maths course to help with my application, then I’ll be observing classes in a school before I even apply. Also I’ve been working hard on my new novel, which is halfway through and I’m about to send my first written novel to a publishing co. All this and I still work full-time in a department store. So you can imagine how much I’ve taken on recently. This all means that I can no longer be an editor of Poetry24 and after today I will have ended my time here.

But still the week’s poetry needs to be reviewed. We began on Monday with Lampedusa by Steve Pottinger. The story follows a few days after the tragic migrant shipwreck off the coast of Lampedusa, Italy. Bad weather had postponed the search for 200 unaccounted for migrant workers. Our readers found this poem strong and moving filled with poignant sadness. The final lines were the most poignant and sad: ‘their dreams and their names / known only to the sea.’

On Wednesday we had Mystery People by Darrell Petska. This was from an interesting story about a mystery man who saved a baby from drowning. The poem hints that everyone is suspect to be one of these ‘mystery’ people who might be brave enough to do a good deed. The irony at the end being that even the speaker of the poem could be a ‘mystery’ person and maybe not so average after all.

On Thursday we had Higgs Moment by L.S. Bassen about the Nobel prize in physics being awarded to Peter W. Higgs and François Englert. They were the two men primarily involved with the discovery of the Higgs ‘God’ Particle and theorised ‘an invisible ocean of energy suffusing space is responsible for the mass and diversity of the particles in the universe.’ The poem mentions some religious mythology and Goethe fiction yet realises that we, as a species, glimpse the prophecy and ‘welcoming embrace of that destiny.’

On Friday we had Low Voltage & High Prices by Luigi Pagano. This was about SSE who were to raise the prices of gas and electricity by 8.2%. This is an angry poem filled with sarcasm and irony showing the dismay we all feel about this decision and the bleak vision that we’ll be worse off ‘bankrupt / as well as frozen stiff.’

That was my final review. I’ve enjoyed it at Poetry24, it’s been a challenge, it’s had its ups and downs, and I’ve had the opportunity to read vast amounts of your poetry almost everyday. So I’d like to say thank you to the loyal readers and contributors and I hope you all carry on supporting Poetry24 since it can’t survive without you.

And finally thank you to Abi and Hamish for putting up with me this past year. Sometimes I could be difficult to work with but I’ve learnt a lot from working with you two.

Please submit your poetry to



Friday, 11 October 2013

Low Voltage & High Prices

There is something wrong,
I keep getting a shock.
The energy companies
are talking poppycock:
“The wholesale cost of fuel
is once more on the rise
so to ensure supplies
we must do likewise”.
They follow one another
in putting up the price
and that, you must admit,
is not very nice.
Ed made a suggestion:
“let’s have a freeze”,
but David dismissed it
saying it was a wheeze.
Opinions may differ
on who has got it right
but, looking at the bills,
I know I get a fright.
We can ask ourselves
‘Why?’ and ‘What if’
yet end bankrupt
as well as frozen stiff.

© Luigi Pagano

SSE to raise gas and electricity prices by 8.2%

Luigi Pagano's work has appeared in various anthologies and publications.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Higgs Moment

Not a thought nor an ought in my mind.
This is the moment Satan cannot find.
Blake’s prophetic admonition;
Faust’s wish for the moment to last.
Reading is telescope, microscope, looking glass.
I can see pointlessness waver and gain mass.
Words bind me to this space and past.
The future will erase us all,
replacing with unknown scrawl,
fill the vacuum Nature so detests
that we are forbidden,
though driven to our rests –
this moment, the glimpse of that prophecy,
welcoming embrace of that destiny.

Higgs Honoured 

© L.S. Bassen

Lois won the 2009 APP Drama Prize & a Mary Roberts Rinehart Fellowship; 2011; She is a Book Reviewer for, the, and press1, and has been a finalist for Flannery O’Connor Award. 

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Mystery People

That man near your elbow—
           one of the mystery people?

The woman clicking her heels—
           maybe one, too?

They blend in, belying
           what they really are.

Sometimes, their true nature
           must surprise even themselves.

Often by accident, their deeds
           finally give them away:

Out of the blue to save a child drowning,
           to pull a man from a burning wreck—

Amazing! Where do they come from?
           Sometimes they'll quietly

disappear, sometimes stay to thanks.
           Such a mystery! They turn up

everywhere. My friends, my colleagues,
           could they possibly be?

I look for a sign in my mirror.
           How average. Could I?

© Darrell Petska

Mystery man saves 'lifeless' baby from drowning

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.

Monday, 7 October 2013


This is where they come from:
villages eaten up by sand
river beds run dry
lands of red earth stained with blood
where there are mobs, bombs, bullets,
crops that fail.

This is who they are:
the young, the desperate, the brave,
fathers with daughters, motherless sons,
whose sin was to be born poor
worship the wrong body
bow before the wrong god.

This is what they carry:
hope. Crumpled dollars, memories of home,
slips of paper with the number of a phone
for an uncle in Milan, a cousin
swallowed in the cities of the north
who has work, who sends back pittances
and letters rare as desert rain.

This is where they place their fate:
in the hands of men with guns and easy smiles
who speak only the cold esperanto of money
who wait, patient and sure
promises tumbling from the wet caves of their mouths
smooth and soft as water.

This is where they lie:
washed up in their scores
on the shores of Lampedusa
their souls slipping the leash
back to Africa
their dreams and their names
known only to the sea.

© Steve Pottinger

Italy sinking: Bad weather hampers search for migrants

Steve loves words, loves people more, and enjoys poetry which makes him smile, or think, or want to man the barricades. When not standing behind a microphone or in front of an audience, he can often be found down the pub. He hopes you enjoy his work. His twitter is: @oneangrypoet

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Sunday Review

This week I spent the whole of Thursday and Friday at The Godolphin Arms in Marazion where, at the request of the management, my colleague, Jak Stringer, and I were running the first ever Marazion Ickle Feste in celebration of local literary and musical talent.  With only seven weeks from inception to finish, it was very hard work but, hopefully, this festival will prove the first of many and my thanks are due to all the lovely people that made a contribution.  Followers of 'Poetry24' will have to forgive me, however, if this week's review does not make much sense. The fact is I am so tired this evening that I am struggling to sit upright at my desk.  Nevertheless, here goes.

We began the week with Caroline Hurley's 'Pest Control', a densely meaningful and thought-provoking piece that wove together a number of recent news stories to ask us to consider if we are 'pride or are we pest'. The poem ends with a series of questions, all of them too often ignored: 
'Can we come to our senses, stop running amok and start travelling light? Can we down-skill
to stewardship, calm the wildfire blaze of us and nurse harmony back into last-gasp
 ecosystems without adding catastrophe to catastrophe?'

Tuesday's poem was my own piece, 'Then and Now' which had its origins in the NHS cuts protest march that took place recently in Manchester and which reminded me of working-class history and the Peterloo Massacre of 1819.  The more things change, perhaps, the more they stay the same.

Wednesday brought us back to the climate change issue with Richard Alfred's brief but entirely pertinent 95% Sure Perhaps and 'the ice of cold hard facts' of the case while. on Thursday, Amy Barry picked us up by the scruff of the neck and shook us awake with 'Flickering in Darkness', her powerful response to the recent massacre in Kenya.  It is no surprise that his was the piece that elicited the most comments this week. If you missed it, I recommend that you click on the above link immediately.

On Friday, we went to Luigi Pagano for his poem 'The Magician'which was a wry and gently probing examination of the career of Sylvio Berlusconi. In it, Berlusconi is aptly compared to the suave and but ultimately fading 'magician' of the poem's title who, finding, in the end, that there is nothing in his top hat, faces a 'disenchanted' audience.  Well done, Luigi. This was a clever and stylish piece.

And that was it for this week, folks.  Keep those submissions rolling in. Now the days are growing shorter and the nights are drawing in - at least for us in the increasingly damp and chilly UK - then you can amuse yourself and keep your wits and tongues sharp by scouring the news for inspiration.  That's all from me for now.

Abigail Wyatt

Friday, 4 October 2013

The Magician

The audience had been enthralled
by prestidigitation and clever tricks.
Three times he had been recalled
to the proscenium to great applause
acknowledged by him with magnanimity
but in the crowd there were also those
who saw him as the deluded emperor
who was sure he wore invisible clothes.
He offered the people renewed hope
by showing them how to reconnect
two broken strands of a severed rope.
Then all of a sudden the magic wore off;
as the audience grew more disenchanted

there were loud whisperings and cough.
The very same followers he had wooed
pilloried him for exercising deceit
and so the great magician was booed.
He looked for a rabbit in his top hat,

or a dove, but nothing could be found,
knew he’d lost his touch and that was that.

© Luigi Pagano 2013

Silvio Berluscony, ex-prime minister

Luigi Pagano is a contributor to Poetry24 and other websites.

His poetry collections have appeared in print as well as e-books.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Flickering in the Darkness

Acts of complete madness,
devouring their minds,
ready to die, not clinging to life.

Arguing the rights and wrongs,
facing death
with careless composure.

Spilling blood. Seeping blood.
Smearing blood, playing dead.

In clouds of smoke,
killings unleashed without mercy.

Words seething in rage,
flickering candles guide
the mourning city.

Unreal as a dream,
the messy process of dying,
of life cut short-too soon.

© Amy Barry

Kenya Survivor 'Smeared Herself In Blood'

Amy Barry is a regular conributor to Poetry 24. Her poems have been published in anthologies, journals, and e-zines, in Ireland and abroad. Her poems have been read and shared over the radio in Australia, Canada and Ireland. She loves traveling. Trips to India, Nepal, China, Bali, Paris, Berlin have all inspired her work. When not inspired she plays Table Tennis.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

95% Sure Perhaps

Adrift by a city bathed in tin can light
Another e-cigarette tossed to make us feel right
Upon the ice of cold hard facts and melting
Caps, we now decide to ponder a future
Where perhaps in arrogance man and women
Can finely maybe take the rap

© Richard Alfred   

richard alfred, Urmston-born Salford-raised Poet, and Actor at at  My poems rarely reflect how I feel, on any kind of personal level excepting where stated, all things seaside related apart, I like to write about broken hearts, dark dreams and things of beauty and sadness.