Thursday, 24 April 2014

Easter in Ansan, South Korea

Laid in rows outside the school, flowers in bud
wreathed in cellophane. They’ll not bloom now.
Hundreds of children lie in the water, under
the hull of the boat. Only their texts escaped,
rising like bubbles from final  breaths. This
may be my last chance to say I love you.
Parents, grandparents, weep at Easter’s tomb,
sealed with steel.  Blossom wilts, tired as hope.
Teenaged neighbours circle the school, clasp hands,
heads bowed. They leave flowers and chocolate eggs
no one will want to eat. Stay Alive, say the labels, but
no one can roll back the weight of what has happened here.

©Sue Norton

Ansan The town of missing children

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Woman dies in fire

Remembering Catherine Novack and others like her

Arms reaching up to heaven,
she's a martyred version of herself -
the dedicated wife, the stay-at-home mom.
Her husband a paramedic,
strayed too far from home,
then blamed his faults on her
with the quick flick of a match.

The family dog lies in its crate,
unresponsive, keeps her company,
the basement their carbon monoxide tomb.
Her once sturdy home caves in
as neighbors wake, think the fire a rising sun,
day exploding into their lives,
bright with mystery,
the word "why" radiating their tongues.

Marital beds uncomfortable from such heat,
neighboring wives toss and turn,
then pace through the halls of their rural homes,
sleep some ghost of itself 
drifting in and out 
of their walls.

©Kristina England
Kristina England resides in Worcester, Massachusetts.  Her writing is published or forthcoming at Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Gargoyle, New Verse News, Poetry24, and other magazines.
We do not, as a rule, publish two poems from the same author in the same week, but I felt that the poems were on  a similar theme and of a similar high quality. HM

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Time to Go.

 Would that we all had a say
In that moment, the very day
That death sends us upon our way
To the oblivion we know nought of.

There is a gain for the state
An easy pension to calculate
At whatever is the going rate
But going where? Below or above?

And for our families there is relief
No sudden shocks; bewildered grief
Time for goodbyes, long or brief
Yet still the tears will flow.

But what power to us to have that choice
Of saying "That's enough" and give it voice
To know when you're ready to rejoice
And celebrate your life now it's time to go.

© James Bessant 2014
James has provided a Soundcloud Link to hear him read his poem.
James lives in London with his family, and has been writing stories and poems for some years. He blogs when he can at

Monday, 21 April 2014

On Your Wife Kissing a Politician

To Heath Peacock

The peacock is the bird of war,
yet you lower your feathers
the very first time your mate
dances for another male.
I know betrayal is hard,
but what of your love?
Where is the strength in your plumage?
Where is your conflicted stance?
Take your mount.
Raise your flag.
Fight for what is yours.
Then again, 
walking away from such games
to focus on your children,
maybe that's the battle call 
that speaks loudest 
of all.
©Kristina England
 Kristina England resides in Worcester, Massachusetts.  Her writing is published or forthcoming at Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Gargoyle, New Verse News, Poetry24, and other magazines.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Easter Sunday Review

I hope that over this long holiday weekend everyone has enjoyed some sunshine.  Here in Cornwall the weather has been a little on the blowy side but still warm and bright. Today is Saturday and I have just returned from an afternoon spent celebrating my mother's eighty-fifth birthday: flowers, presents and huge servings of cake have all featured heavily. In fact. truth to tell, it was only ten minutes ago that I remembered about the review. I must confess to having had a glass of wine a little earlier so apologies in advance for any typos that may creep in.
     So, we began the week with 'No make-up selfie' by Niamh Hill, a poem which which touches on my own experience in as much as, five years ago today, my mother was celebrating her birthday in hospital where she had recently undergone at very short notice a full mastectomy.  It was a traumatic time for her and we all feared for her safety, After all, at such an age, any major surgery carries a significant risk. What perhaps we didn't appreciate, at least until after the operation, was how difficult it would be for her to come to terms with her altered body. Tragically, too, my father died suddenly only a few weeks later. For my mother, after sixty years of marriage it was a testing year.
     Then, a year later, I lost my best friend who, for ten years, had battled against breast cancer having been first diagnosed in her very early thirties. As I re-read Niamh's poem, I asked myself what she would have made of this business. I suspect that she would have tossed her head and said that she was sorry but there really was no comparison to be made between posting photographs of one's naked face and exposing the true face of this illness. My friend was beautiful and always full of life, even when she was dying. It became a point of honour to her always to look her very best.
     Tuesday's poem was Melinda Rizzo's 'Kitchen Art', a delightfully visual response to the story about stolen artworks found hanging on the kitchen wall of a worker in a Fiat factory.  Like Melinda, 'I’d hang those masterpieces/ in my kitchen, too, if they were mine'.
     On Wednesday our poem was 'David Cameron Speaks of Christian Faith in Easter Message by Sue Norton. This was a poem written in response to a development that I for one have found disturbing. I cannot help wondering whether someone has actually advised Mr Cameron that presenting himself as a kind of twenty-first century prophet is a good idea or whether he has thought it up all by himself. Either way, it's worrying. Profoundly worrying. Isn't it?
     Thursday brought us to Steve Pottinger's poem 'the knock', a poem which marks not only the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy but also the the long struggle of the families of those who lost their lives to achieve justice in the face of the intransigence of those who insisted there was no case to answer. It is to be hoped most sincerely that recent developments will help to bring those bereaved families a measure of peace.
     We concluded the week with 'Ruining London', another poem by Sue Norton, this time about the the recent 'high-rise craze'.
     'Greed sticks its shiny fingers up, it licks the city,
    casts avaricious shadows disfiguring posterity.'
I love this ending. Thank you, Sue. Thank you, everyone. Have a good week.