Thursday, 31 July 2014

New York Morning

             Brooklyn goes dark
and then Manhattan,
as they shield the world
from prying eyes.
Scuttle unseen
through landmarks
of dreams
and bleach from skin
the stains of war,
so when we wake
from fist of sleep
is it to surrender
or first flutterings
of peace?
© Maurice Devitt

Wednesday, 30 July 2014


Seeking uncertainty
She sets out on a voyage
To the sound of sea-shells
Smelling the soil of other planets.
Betraying ceremonious sermons
in those parted skies
When wrinkled lips weave woes
Ushering a quest for perpetual bliss
in vermilion marks.
Stories are given birth
In those rustic gardens
Embracing atom and universe
Where the ordinary girl hides her wound
Wearing a crown of rhododendron.

© Sutanuka Banerjee

India alone accounts for one third  of all child brides worldwide

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Sunday Review

We began this week with a very hard-hitting poem on the subject of the lost Malaysian jet MH17.  'Crimson Sleet' by Ra Sh must rank among the most powerful pieces we have seen this year at Poetry24. We are reminded with a force quite proper that:
    'As the flesh rain progressed,
     Heaps of smoldering meat
     Fell everywhere on everyone,'

I think that perhaps we must all bear some responsibility for making sure that the truth about this incident is uncovered. I don't suppose it will happen, though. Too much money and power at stake.

On Tuesday our poem was 'Prisoners'  by our own Hamish Mack. The piece was written in response to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine.  Hamish's poem brings out very strongly both  the human tragedy behind the suffering and the apparent impossibility of bringing the two sides together, While
      'Their leaders talk of
      political gains and
      moral highground
      and the right to
      defend themselves'

the unpalatable truth is that: 
     'only the disappeared
     truly have any freedom'

I know, respect, even care about people who have a passionate belief that right lies on one side of the conflict.  How do I bring these people together? At the moment, anyway, I have no idea.

Wednesday's poem was 'Investigating Invisibility' Sue Norton which struck home with me, As a woman of a certain age - and even as a women not infrequently described as 'striking', whatever that really means - I am accustomed to having to jump up and down and shout to attract attention.  I have been jumping up and down a good bit lately in the course of my battle with the local branch of the French corporation SITA.  I am pleased to say that with the help of the local paper, The West Briton, and a sympathetic councillour, I have their attention now.

'Knowledge @ School' by Sutapa Chaudhuri was our offering on Thursday. This is another hard-hitting power that speaks of the brutal rape of a six year old child by two members of staff at a school in Bangalore. Regular readers will know exactly how I feel about this kind of callous cruelty. Wherever in the world we are and wherever we find it, we must all do what we can keep the issue in the public consciousness.

Our final poem this week was 'MH17' by Cornish-based poet, Mac Dunlop who is making, I believe, his third appearance here and is well on his way to becoming a regular. I simply love the opening image of this piece, Mac, and I wish I had thought of it: 'A tired angel followed me to bed'.

Well, that's all from me. Have a peaceful and productive week, everyone. 

Abigail Wyatt

Friday, 25 July 2014


A tired angel followed me to bed, wings like sheets across a target range
crowed on about addictive texts, undisputed fonts and typesets
gathered its treaty written wings in utopian eves before rising up
and into dream where the angel covered with it's wings, the dead.
The harvest that day was burnt and spread with toys, the angel said,
"Where have guns led but here, to fields of broken ears?" I picked a pillow
from a burning seat, once a plane above a field of wheat, a knife through sky
now ghost, now language disappeared, a whisp of air the wind will keep
An angel's goodnight kiss, and hard fought/hard to resist
the whole world left on earth to wish upon a star, a home
where angels sing their lullabies and close our tired eyes.
And only starlight lights the way between its whispered notes
in tune with time, running before our wants and needs, pushing
buttons where no middle ground consoles our inbetweens

©Mac Dunlop

Mac edits The Poetry Point and is also the cartoonist MacD, who recently
won a Pluto Press award. His radio monologues and cartoons and writing are available online through the satirical website Politoons at:

Thursday, 24 July 2014

'Knowledge @ School'

Everyday a bloodbath
An existence filled with violence
Everyday a fear
Lacerating  in crimson hues
The spotless purity of school tunics
A lurking death dealer

Camouflaged against the white
White walls of a secured sanctity
CCTVs glint recording every moment
Their all-knowing black eyes
Unable to register the red passion
The lusty predator at large

Invading gleefully
The unfenced trust of a pure soul
The knowledge of a red fear
Comes in novel ways
The breach of trust
A deadly sin
Haunting the child heart
Marked adult forever
In a single red moment
Of brutal abuse

Sutapa Chaudhuri
A bilingual poet, translator and an academic, Sutapa Chaudhuri, PhD, teaches English at a college near Kolkata, IndiaShe has two poetry collections—Broken Rhapsodies (2011) and Touching Nadir (2014).

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

'Investigating Invisibility'

Scientists are investigating
transformational optics,
metamaterials that will
bend and twist light,
making things disappear.

Of course
there are simpler
more familiar ways of
becoming invisible.

You could sit cross-legged
on a pavement and
place in front of you
an old cloth cap.

You could sit
in a wheelchair;
you could be fat, old
ugly or nondescript female.

You could be a child
in Africa, your photo
reproduced on a leaflet
asking for clean water
food, education.

But scientists are occupied
by researching
the more esoteric
unfeelability cloaks

and the spacetime cloak
which can edit
out of reality
you really want to hide.

© Sue Norton

An artist’s impression of Tower Infinity in Seoul, South Korea. The skyscraper would be covered with banks of cameras and LEDs on the glass facade so that it could project itself into invisibility – albeit only ‘perfectly’ from a few select viewing locations.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014


Munitions fall
and a family disappears.
While another family
watches on TV
until they can watch no more
and turn it off in stunned silence.
A third family also watches
and cheers loudly,
maybe records the report
for a highlights DVD.
The fourth family watches
while the father
lectures them on what has happened
and explains that
you can't trust these people.
Look what happens,
you must always hate them
or make them fear you.
Their leaders talk of
political gains and
moral highground
and the right to
defend themselves
and how the others,
always the others,
have no legitimacy
and theirs is a
 fight for liberty.
While only the disappeared
truly have any freedom

Israel and Gaza will struggle to get tangible gains 
©Hamish Mack
Hamish is a co-editor of Poetry24 and has been writing poetry for some time now.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Crimson sleet

It began as a crimson sleet,
A flake of two of burnt skin.
Piloting a few limbs.
Then, it became a storm,
A reverse twister of mangled bodies,
Air to surface missiles of flesh.
Five charred legs fell
On an ox cart in Rozsypne.
They lay among the flower sacks
And pulsated still.
Fifty eyes fell on Hrabove.
They fell among the rebel tents
Dreams still frozen on them.
Ears, hands, fingertips
Fell in Russian land
On machine ploughed fields.
It rained ringing mobiles.
It rained ticking watches.
It rained charred passports.
It rained tourists.
It rained students.
It rained scientists.
As the flesh rain progressed,
Heaps of smoldering meat
Fell everywhere on everyone,
On soldiers, rebels, peasants,
Diplomats, poets, workers,
Singers, writers and street sweepers.
The sky darkened, debris fell,
Ash flew around, vultures appeared.
Slowly the land called Ukraine
And the land called Russia
Bore a carpet of chopped corpses
Over the green meadows
And the sunflower fields.
It rained for ages
Till ice from the Arctic
Made its first move.

Searchers comb sunflowers for plane debri

©Ra Sh

Ra Sh from India translates poems and stories from Indian languages to English published by Oxford University Press, Penguin India etc.  Original poems published in magazines and anthologies.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Sunday Review

Some week, eh? Not much good news internationally or in New Zealand. I guess we have to take comfort where we can in such times. Poetry can provide some of that comfort. The poems we had this week were not all optimistic and cheerful but provide evidence of the power and need for good poems to help us through dark times. 
James Bessant's "Sacrifice" started  the week with a poem comparing the mentality behind historical figures and their sacrifices to our own mentality and finding that it's very similar.
And yet still we cannot resist

The immortality bestowed

Sacrificing our human credibility
Barbara Boyd-Anderson's poem "Beached" told the story of a whale stranding and it's successful resolution. I like the way that the tension builds as the fight goes on
Two tow ropes have snapped,

and despair's setting in.

But there's too much at stake

to give up this fight,
Joshua Baumgarten 's "Beaten to Death with an Olive Branch"  looks at the situation in Gaza but very skilfully puts it in context of the world and its wars. It is a seriously good poem.
In a world where you can get
More blood from one stone
Then one would expect

 Thursday showed the value of Poetry24 when Sue Norton and Abi Wyatt shared poems about the deaths of beloved pets. It's a small step but once we can appreciate the shared experiences that we have, we might get some more peace. Sue compared the situation with her dog and humans who have a terminal disease and Abi wrote about the heart-wrenching process. Both are very good poems.
"Waiting for Poetic Justice" by Chandramohan.S is a poem about Gaza and the damage that is being done to  people and the values that they hold. I like the way the poem deals with some of the history involved.
The dead should never speak again

stirring the hornet’s nest
I hope the coming week is better for us all. Keep safe.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Waiting for poetic justice

A dove
that once perched on a giant Buddha statue
could have
flown over the Mediterranean sea
spread its wings
over the Gaza strip


history was desecrated
when bombs rain over graveyards,

justice was maimed when
shells pounced on a facility for the handicapped

altering the maps printed in
edited history textbooks.

The dead should never speak again
stirring the hornet’s nest
And further delaying
the long wait for poetic justice.

© Chandramohan.S

Chandramohan.S(b.1986) is an English poet based in India. His poems reflect the socio-political struggles of the marginalized , the working class and the nomadic  outcasts  of the World who are victimized and then forgotten as nations clash and wage relentless war. His work has been profiled in New Asia Writing ,Mascara Literary Review and About place journal.Counter-Punch poetry,Thump Print magazine,The Sentinel,American Diversity Report

Thursday, 17 July 2014

'Terminal' and 'A Real Fighter'

My dog was 14 when his back legs collapsed.
Helpless, he whimpered and moaned.
The vet delivered him with a syringe.

In Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg,
the terminally ill are helped to a good
death, dignified by family goodbyes.

Here, the grim reaper can wait at the bedside
sharpening his unholy scythe for weeks,
shaving life slowly, agonisingly. Hollow-eyed.

Sue Norton

Sue lives and writes in York

Sadie in happier days

A Real Fighter

'A real fighter,' she told me afterwards.
It was, I think, a kind of apology,
rueful recognition of a duty discharged,
a job not done well but well done.
I felt some sympathy. It was not her fault:
fierceness and resilience were bred into you;
where I looked for peace and the slipping of a leash,
you bared your teeth and fought on.
For my part, though, I could only wring my hands
and surrender to the fury of my impotence
till, when all was done, nothing remained
but the memory of the soft press of your muzzle,
grizzled now but still quick and warm,
searching out the hollow of my palm.

Abigail Wyatt

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

'Beaten to death by an olive branch'

The soldiers with their mellow hats
Shading the summer sun
From faces the perfect age
To be taught to be so fierce.

If you look close enough
You can see the wrinkles
Already forming like
River tributaries of spilt blood
And anxiety
Trickling down stream
To a truly dead sea peace.

In a world where you can get
More blood from one stone
Then one would expect
And the bodies of children are piled
Like sandbags against the relentless
Tides of tanks and combat boots.
The enemy portrayed is
A double sided carnival mirror.
Twisted and contorted faces
That believe their own truths to be eternal.
Each reflection their own inhumanity
Towards the other and their own.

The victims have no say
Never have.
The warlords on both sides
Have it their way.

The peace dove lies in the dust
Behind a bombed out falafel stand,
Beaten to death by an olive branch.

Ceasefire collapses

©Joshua Baumgarten

Tuesday, 15 July 2014


Massive but friendly, these giants of ocean -
majestic, questing, yet curious to know us,
humpbacks in cavalcade along the East Coast.

But perhaps tossed and tumbled
by a wanton rogue wave,
or tempted, distracted by a rippling strong current,
a baby whale strayed too far from its Mum.

A local pair heard the sad night-time callings,
a long sonic singing as the young calf crooned on,
soft-breathed smudged calls 
for a stressed, waiting parent.

For days it was trapped in the wash of flat waves,
its airy spouts slowing to fragile short puffs
as crystal tides ebbed, coolly indifferent.

Such a gamble, but a mission,
and our best and our brightest come gladly to rescue,
bringing ropes, boats and dredger
to refloat this baby, to help her swim free.

They struggle, they strain
with the whale's ten tonne weight.
They must keep her straight, 
not let her roll over,
with a real threat of drowning
as the swell rushes in.

Two tow ropes have snapped,
and despair's setting in.
But there's too much at stake
to give up this fight,
as the whale lifts a flipper, 
salutes to the sky.
Perhaps it's a sign! 
But we won't say "goodbye".

The next morning brings more ropes, 
a second new harness.
And the whale shifts. It leaps.
It clears the last sandbar.
With a flash of its tail it swims out to sea.

A sacred wild moment - hope now transcendent
where we thought there was none.

© Barbara Boyd-Anderson

Monday, 14 July 2014


There were parents
Who offered their children to the Gods
Sacrificing their genetic future
Cleansing with offspring blood
The assumed sins of the community.

And there were Kings of old
Confirming their right to heaven
Sacrificing their earthly wealth for money and psalms
Forever glowing candles to be lit
To the glory of newer Gods.

We thought them simple
We thought them delusional
Despite all the noble intent

And yet still we cannot resist
The immortality bestowed
Sacrificing our human credibility
By the funding of
A $40,000 potato salad.

© James Bessant 2014

Potato salad Kickstarter stokes internet ire

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Sunday Review

This week, we kicked off with a poem from T.R.Collins. 'A Fool's Remorse' is a playful piece but it has a point to make in response to a story about women's health rights being under attack.  This was followed on Tuesday by another health-based contribution, once again giving voice to concerns about the adequacy of treatment and care. 'Diagnosis', from Poetry24 regular, Sue Norton, is an aptly conceived and skillfully executed villanelle, a traditional French form which, as Maurice Devitt points out, is superbly appropriate to its subject matter of the problems presented by dementia.

On Wednesday, it was me again.  I am afraid my passions got the better of me. At the time when I wrote  'Even if' I was angry not just about the fact of childhood sex abuse itself but also because I had been reading lots of Facebook comments that seemed to have dismissed or not to have understood the terrible, terrible damage that the perpetrators of theses offence inflict on their young victims.  It is true that 'Even if' is a very angry piece but I make no apology for that.  Indeed, while I know that the anger of the victims of abuse can make some people feel uncomfortable, I feel very strongly that a society which does not allow us our anger and, perhaps, even embrace it, inflicts on us a second kind of abuse.  For this reason, it is imperative, it seems to me, that we all do what we can to ensure that there is no 'cover up' aimed at the protection of abusers in high places.  At the end of this review, there is a link to a petition which, if  you have not done so already, I would entreat you to sign.

On Thursday, we published Martha Landman's poem, 'In the Race for Fraud',  about the difficult and tragic situation in Afghanistan where elections threaten further upheaval and, on Friday, Sue Nortons's 'What is an Elephant?' which looks into the future to see a time when these magnificent creatures will be mysterious as dinosaurs. All in all, it's been a creative but a not a happy week. Have a good one. I will be with you again in a fortnight.

Abigail Wyatt

Petition Houses of Parliament to stop child abuse

Friday, 11 July 2014

What is an Elephant?

Already it has the fantastic look
of an animal gone extinct; a scarcely
credible mammal, a titanic curiosity

just right for story books. Our descendants
won’t believe we let poachers kill for ivory,
discarding massive bones with equanimity.


©Sue Norton 

Sue lives and writes in York