Friday, 31 October 2014

'School Shootings'





Danny P. Barbare

Danny P. Barbare resides in the Upstate of the Carolinas. His poetry has appeared locally, nationally, and abroad. He works as a janitor and has been writing poetry for 33 years.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

'What Ed Milliband Should Do'

When the ex-wife of the king-to-be died
in that car crash in Paris –
that’s when Tony Blair fucked up.
That speech about the ‘People’s Princess’
seemed great at the time –
the whole country backing a Labour Prime Minister,
but then he went and advised Her Majesty
to get back to London pdq and join in
the widespread looking sad.
He thought he was showing leadership,
being patriotic; what he should have done
was let her continue her holiday in Balmoral,
stay away, let us all manage without her.
Then he could have announced:
I won’t be having tea with her no more.
I won’t be visiting the Palace.
If she has anything she wants to say to me,
she can write in, just like Citizen Spart,
and my Officials will send an acknowledgment, as they do.
Hanging round palaces doesn’t do
for Labour Prime Ministers, it sucks them in.
Ed Milliband should make it clear
he won’t be having tea in the Palace.

Richard Devereux

I belong to the Lansdown Poets, Bristol. My first love is Greece - I won Bristol Poetry Festival's  Dead Poet's Slam as Giannis Ritsos. I've been published on the Stare's Nest.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Sunflowers- For Vincent van Gogh

I’ve heard the musings-
the may-be's of your despair:
mental illness, schizophrenia,

bi-polar disorder, OCD.

Now a new book tells all-
more than a century later.
Of cowboys and pretense.

Of a shotgun, lingering death
and your silence screaming,
even now.

In your paintings,
hanging in Philadelphia,
the Louve, the Musee d’Orsay: in these,

I see exuberance.
Hope. Determination.
I see a man who drank deeply,

longed for a love to taste,
touch and smell.
Love that would sustain

despite any coloration of mood-
How we all hunger for this love.
Unconditional, no-strings-attached love,

offered up sweet and straight,
but most of all: unconditional.
You wore a recycled name.

Born after the first-born,
the first Vincent, had died.

Those sunflowers, your sunflowers, say it all:

Cleft petals carved, flourished and stroked,
like the ardent lover I imagine you could be.
The pallet knife digging into impasto,

gently caressed afterglow.
Winding out from floral button cores.
Eye-popping sunshine at the brush mark’s rim.

Ochre, rust, sienna, shimmering verdant leaf. 
Dear Vincent like you, a wild, intense tourmaline sky.

Melinda Rizzo is a freelance writer and reporter, living in rural Bucks County, USA. She shares a nearly 200-year-oldfarmhouse with husband Phil, their son Adam and a black Labrador named Caleb.
The large kitchen - centrally located on the first floor - is the heart and soul of their home.

Every summer, she grows a wild-eyed variety of sunflowers.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Cash Flow Fiasco

Shares fall,
brought low;
lying little Tesco.
Top guys?
Porky pies!
Jackanory stats.
Imaginary futures,
greedy little…

Tesco, uh oh!
Pants on fire.
Tongues as long as a telephone wire.
Cashflow fiasco;
Pinocchio noses.
Standardised carrot size?
Shove it
where the sun don’t…

Tesco swing low,
all fall down.
All the credibility

of third rate clowns.

Strident yet curiously engaging, Laura Taylor is a gobby Northerner with a penchant for upsetting apple carts, and she never knows quite when to shut up.

Monday, 27 October 2014

The Things We Can't

As I queue for my flu shot,
I think about Ebola,
about international flight bans
and thermal guns to screen for fever.
I think of thirteen-year-old Bintu
frightened by every siren,
watching neighbours’ children die,
mattresses and bedding set on fire,
the dry-throated hunger of quarantine,
strangers trying to spray the virus
out of homes in Kailahun and Kenema.
I think of the pet trapped in the Dallas apartment
of a healthcare worker now in isolation.
I offer up my arm to the nurse –
here, a vaccination line moves fast.
Still, there’s no immunity to fear,
to Ebola or another deadly virus spreading.
The syringe’s silver slips through skin to flesh
easier than sunlight through glass,
and every bit as glinting.
But I know that this is nothing
to the ease with which a virus passes
from sneeze to hand, hand to another’s sleeve, cheek, mouth…
There are things that we cannot stop,
but that shouldn’t stop us from trying.
And while we’re trying, not forgetting
that every sliver of light
off a window, off a knife edge,
in the running of tap water
is a slice of life that is silver, so very silver:
each new day a piece of luck
that glitters in our fingers.

©Sarah James
Sarah James's most recent collection is Be[yond] from Knives, Forks and Spoons Press. Next year she has a narrative in poems, The Magnetic Diaries, out with KFS and, plenty-fish, with Nine Arches Press. She has a poem, 'That Night', animated in this year's Blackpool Illuminations. Her website is at

Some of the news links for this piece: 

Sarah James, poet and short story writer: website at & V. Press, poetry editor. 
Be[yond]poetry collection now out with Knives, Forks and Spoons Press (July 2013).
Into the Yellpoetry collection, Circaidy Gregory Press, 2010 - third prize, International Rubery Book Awards 2011.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Sunday review

Simon Williams started this week with "Dendrogramma Enigmatica' I like the poems final stanza that reveals what we all feel sometimes about science. Could it be more exciting some times?
there’s just the edging of a wish

that, rather than a minute mushroom animal,

it could have been a gryphon.
Tuesdays poem was Anne Whatmough's "MILK" which made a good point about the work that farmers put in and how they should be paid a living wage price for the very valuable  product they make.
Milk on the cheap we all enjoy

Doesn't warrant the work they employ
On Wednesday we published Melinda Rizzo's "October Pumpkins" which is a very evocative poem about the seasons and pumpkins overlayed with the thought of a pumpkin festival that got out of hand. The names of the pumpkins seem to come from the past.
Pumpkins are hauled in from local farmers:

‘Buck’s Skin,’ ‘Jack-be-Little’and ‘Cinderella’s Coach.’
Holly Magill's poem "Tonight I'm Washing My Hair" was Thursday's poem which looked at the pronouncements of a British Lord that some disabled people are not worth paying full wages to. The point is well made here that loss of wages to anyone causes hardship.
that shampoo was on offer, better value
 – I’d prefer a more expensive brand,

the same as everyone else.

Now the £2 coin in my pocket

may need to stretch so much further.
Janine Booth gave her view on the same incident on Friday in "Freudian Slip" which looked at the attitudes behind the statement.
No, he wasn't just acting the jerk as
Though he'd just come down in a shower

He was voicing his deep-seated feeling

Have a good week everyone, keep sending in your poems. Please give some thought to being a Poetry24 editor next year. Abi and I will be moving on but we will give full training. Contact us by submissions email.

Friday, 24 October 2014


When he answered that councillor's question
He let out a Freudian slip
When he argued for wages exemption
It wasn't a gaffe or a blip
When his Lordship said disabled workers
Should get by on two quid an hour
No, he wasn't just acting the jerk as
Though he'd just come down in a shower
He was voicing his deep-seated feeling
And saying what most Tories think
And his innermost bigot revealing -
A slip named for Sigmund the shrink
Now the trouble he's in - give him credit -
Is not for the vile thing he said
But merely the fact that he said it
And didn't stay tight-lipped instead

Cos the party that's not above shutting
The life-saving fund, ILF,
And doesn't think twice about cutting
Back Access to Work for the deaf
Will not likely have moral objection
To cutting our wages next June
And Lord Freud - he just needed correction
For letting it slip out too soon
©Janine Booth
Janine performs poetry as The Big J, on everything from rants against injustice to the correct arrangement of cutlery drawers. Hackney resident. Lefty, trade unionist, campaigner, railway worker and author.

Thursday, 23 October 2014


There’s a bottle of shampoo in my bathroom
telling me I’m Worth It, but he disagrees.

Well, it’s only advertising, propaganda
to popularise a notion. Sell it.

We blame him, the man on the tape,
questioned covertly, off-the-cuff,
a face to spit a label on

for the labels we rail against:
heard every day in the bus shelter,
in Weatherspoons, queuing in Tesco
when someone a bit funny-looking
is fumbling with their bags,
getting in the way.

Sometimes it’s us:
we gripe under our breath,
mean and unrecorded.

Feeling greasy at the roots?

That shampoo was on offer, better value
 – I’d prefer a more expensive brand,
the same as everyone else.

Now the £2 coin in my pocket
may need to stretch so much further.

© Holly Magill

 Holly Magill is from Worcestershire. She has a BA in Creative Writing from The University of Birmingham and has had work in “Ink, Sweat & Tears”, “The Poetry Bus” and “The Stare’s Nest”. She is visually impaired.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

October Pumpkins

They litter the fields nearmy house.
Decorate neighborly frontsteps, porches,
tumble in wrought wire hangingbaskets,
are gathered up like eggs.

I’ve tucked a few into fadingsummer containers,
along with variegated winterkale. Chrysanthemums.
Flushed with withering frost-kissedsweet potato vines.

Some pile into the back seat
of an empty clay pot.
Others are marker spaced-targets, really,

so many walking paces apart.
Dueling partners, ormigrating robins,
breathing a weary sign onfence posts.

I haunt the local growerswhere in season
I buy coleus, six-packs of celosia,
zinnia starter plugs, and trailingvinca.

Now the vinca is gone.
Pumpkins are hauled in fromlocal farmers:
‘Buck’s Skin,’ ‘Jack-be-Little’and ‘Cinderella’s Coach.’

‘Cinderella’s’ cleavage runs longitudinallines
from stem end to an ample,curvaceous seat.
Deep ribs create buxom hips on‘Cinderella’ .

No Fairy godmother could haveanticipated this,
no Prince Charming in hisright mind could possibly resist.

Melinda Rizzo

New Hampshire pumpkin riot shows US divisions

Melinda Rizzo is a freelance writer and reporter, living in rural Bucks County, USA. She shares a nearly 200-year-old farmhouse with husband Phil, their son Adam and a black Labrador named Caleb.
The large kitchen - centrally located on the first floor - is the heart and soul of their home.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014


Fresian, Guernsey, Ayrshire and Jersey
Cows for milking at the dairy

Black and white and brown heffers
Milking farmers are now protesting

Supermarkets take all the profits
And farmers need them to stop it

Milk on the cheap we all enjoy
Doesn't warrant the work they employ

If cows could speak what would they say?
"Give our farmers more profit and pay!"

Pennies and pence is what we are talking about
Not unreasonable farmer's shout

Protest they must to save their livelihood
To continue milking if they could

I enjoy milk in my cuppa
And wouldn't be without what they offer

So farmers have the support from me
They deserve more profit I agree

I couldn't do without my milk
The dairy industry should not sink

Give the farmers what they deserve
Whilst milking their dairy herds!
©Anne Watmough

Monday, 20 October 2014

'Dendrogramma Enigmatica'

First scraped off the sea floor with a sled,
the creature of the title, like a seahorse parasol,
has mouthparts down its stem
and a many-forked digestive tract
all through its bust-umbrella canopy
(there’s a notch in each of them
which lets the water  through).

If it’s to be a new phylum,
not species, genus, family, order or class,
but phylum, as researchers claim,
there’s just the edging of a wish
that, rather than a minute mushroom animal,
it could have been a gryphon.

Simon Williams

Simon Williams often writes on subjects gleaned from the BBC or Wikipedia sites and also runs a Facebook group called Poem A Day. 

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Sunday Review

This week our Monday poem was the work of a new contributor, Rebecca Gethin, whose poem 'Entrapment' open with the striking image of 'Tanks squat in the sand/ on the desert ridge/ immobile' which, for me, brought to mind a picture of tanks occupying the horizon like so many ponderous and glittering jewelled toads. Welcome, Rebecca, and thank you for choosing Poetry24.  

Then, on Tuesday, it was the turn of Mandy Macdonald whose 'Thoughts in the bar at Richard Struass's Salome' was inspired by the satisfaction shown by Nigel Farage following the election of UKIP's first - and, hopefully, last - MP.  I think that this poem probably expressed the thoughts of many of our readers. It is, I should say, a particular source of embarrassment to me that my home town of Grays in Thurrock is one of the areas where UKIP looks menacing. I use the word 'menacing' advisedly.

Wednesday's offering was 'The First Artists'  from regular contributor, Sue Norton. This is a beautiful poem written in response to a story about the discovery of some of the earliest cave paintings known. Wonderful, wonderful closing lines:
'Their beauty beckons, only revealing
our hands match theirs. We are their legacy.' 

On Thursday, it was my own 'One Percent' which was a somewhat hot-headed response to three of the stories I found on my Facebook news feed that morning, When I showed this poem to my partner, David, he said: 'It's a bit angry and bitter, dear.' Well, yes, that about covers it. Guilty as charged.

Our final poem of the week was 'Peace Prize' by Dr Fareha Razvi which is a tribute to the strength and courage of Malala Yousafzai, a worthy winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. It was good to have a positive end to the week. Our thanks go to all our contributors. 

Abigail Wyatt

Friday, 17 October 2014

Peace Prize

A gunshot that failed to Slay,
endowed her the Strength and Courage;
to fly high with unclipped wings.
Stand tall for the rights,
become voice of silent slaves,
Detained and Deprived;
No Education No Freedom.
Resonating message of Peace and Liberty.
Defending not only young girls
but children of whole world.
Unintimidated, she strives to
conquer the rivals of Humanity.
With Simplicity and fervent Dedication,
her endeavours to alleviate disparity
and foster a safe tomorrow for younger generations continues!

Malala Yousafzai  wins Nobel Peace Prize

© Dr Fareha Razvi
Omaha NE,USA
"Research is a boat in the ocean of patience, 
Sinks with dismay, Floats with hardwork!"

Thursday, 16 October 2014

'One Percent'

What we need is Jesus with his fishes and loaves,
or some other untainted modern miracle.
I can’t believe that GM crops can ever be the way to go.
Here in the West, for example, we eat too much meat.
Why do we when we know we don’t need to?
Why don’t we just stop and think about it properly?
There has to be a way to put these things right.
There has to be something we can do.

The plain fact is there are too many of us
and some of us are living that much longer.
Not all of us, mind. It’s a bit of a lottery,
but, that said, it’s still pretty much true
so long as you are PLU,
wealthy and, preferably, white.
Nevertheless, it’s time to get a grip
and pay attention to over-population.
While Marx blusters and Engels weeps,
the spectre of Malthus just grins.

Meanwhile, the wealthy 1%
get richer by the minute
while those at the bottom get
all the shit and, also, most of the blame.
Did you know, for example, half the world’s people
own less than 1% of the good stuff?
Why don’t we just stopand think about it, properly?
There has to be a way to put things right.

But, then again, there are those who would say
there are other ways to solve this problem.
Wars and plagues control populations:
hasn't that been Nature’s way?
I heard today on the radio 
how somewhere far away
a mother feared to nurse her sick children.
While Marx blusters and Engels weeps,
Malthus capers and grins.

Abigail Wyatt

Abigail Wyatt writes poetry and short fiction. She lives in the shadow of Carn Brea near Redruth in Cornwall. You can find out more here

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

The First Artists

Ghostly in the dark like white five-petalled 
flowers, little suns glowing against red 
clouds of powdered paint; carefully stencilled 
human hands pressed against unyielding rock
inside the cave. For forty thousand years 
this skilful painting has lasted. And now 
we see images by the pioneers 
of human abstraction. Hands. Pig deer. How 
we long to know what they are signalling. 
New dating means we’re sure that what we see
came out of Africa. What’s their meaning? 
Are they marks of arcane ceremony? 
Their beauty beckons, only revealing
our hands match theirs. We are their legacy.

Discovery transforms ideas about how humans first developed the ability to produce art.

©Sue Norton

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Thoughts in the bar at Richard Strauss’s Salomé

Oh, bring me the head of the bad politician
the false prophet
of failed multiculturalism
peddler of division, stirrer-up of strife
populist pubcrawler
gurner extra

Bring it to me on that silver platter over there
and I will dance around it gleefully
will slalom down the grand dress circle stair 
slashing through the billowing veils
of obfuscation
                           and the rest of that hot air

How everyone will stare!

What’s that you say? Drink up, there goes the bell?
Sorry, I was miles away, saving us from hell

©Mandy Macdonald

Inspired by Nigel Farage's glee at election of first UKIP MP

Mandy Macdonald is an Australian writer living in Aberdeen, Scotland. She has been writing poetry clandestinely for as long as she can remember, and is now finally letting other people see it.

Monday, 13 October 2014


Tanks squat in the sand
on the desert ridge.
Immobile. Refugees
are lorried away
from the border.
No fighters
are permitted to cross
the line on the map
to help lift the siege.
Who is doing the besieging?

Rebecca Gethin

Turkey tanks idle as IS attacks Kobane

Rebecca Gethin has had two collections of poetry published, the most recent was A Handful of Water ( Cinnamon Press, 2013) and two novels, the most recent was What the horses heard (May, 2014). She lives in Devon and sometimes blogs at

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Sunday review

Monday's poem was "Absense of Remorse" by Lesley Quayle which looks at the horrendous process of a sexual abuse trial where the victim is " skinned and shredded." It is a heart wrenching poem which is made more horrifying by the realisation of how widespread this sort of predatory behaviour is.

Nicolette Foremen's poem "The Taiji Dolphins"   which presents the Taiji dolphin slaughter as the crime against nature that it is. The poem also contrasts the normal silence of nature with the eerie silence left behind the killing. 
Away from the deafening pounding, 
Away from the crimson waters

Wednesday's poem "High Voltage" by Petra Vergunst, tells of a power cut and the romantic scenario that it might start. it sounds very nice.
as we pull our chairs closer to the fire
share crackers, cheese, autumn’s last grapes
 Thursday's poem was "Face of the Earth" by Heather H. Thomas. Heather explores the thought processes we all go through when the news of the murders posted on line by ISIS in Iraq. The poem raises alot of issues about what is happening there, I think the major one being how we are reaping a bit of what we sowed.
Our weapons their weapons looted from Iraqi army  

after we think they have WMD and bomb,

and their dictator hides in a hole.

Clare Hepworth-Wain's poem "And All Your Money... "was Friday's poem and looked at the issue of building a nuclear power station. The poem points out how the inhabitants of the area may be left as the attention of the world moves off.
cannot buy hope for those existing in cardboard rooms,
 left to chew iodine and scarf their children’s swollen necks...
Now, a repeat call for people to take over the editorships from Abi and I for next year. It is not hard work and is somewhere in the region of 1-2 hours a week, at the very  most. Please give it some thought. It is a great honour to be in receipt of such fine poems and be able to publish them
 Have a good week and keep sending in your poems.