Monday, 5 January 2015

The Last Post

Well, here we are in 2015 and the first thing Hamish and I would like to do is wish all our readers and contributors a very happy, peaceful and productive year. Sadly, though, Hamish and I must begin the year by communicating some bad news. We are afraid that, in the course of the holiday period, Martin withdrew his offer to resume editorship of Poetry24.

We have to say right off that we do not blame him at all. We know only too well how keeping the site going can eat into one's time and we know, too, that Martin has many projects and interests, not to mention a beautiful family which he more than deserves the time and leisure to enjoy.  I must be honest about one thing, though: when I first heard the news of Martin's change of heart, I did postpone this announcement for a few days while I considered whether I could keep things going, even for a month or two, while we waited for someone to come forward. Eventually, I decided against this, however; the fact is that I, too, have a couple of projects which I am keen to get on with. Also, I have to take into account the fact that we have already made two appeals and no one has come forward so perhaps it is time for Poetry24 to come to an end.

Martin agrees with us that, for the time being at least, we should leave the site up as an archive of material. Therefore, if you are a contributor and you would like your work taken down, please contact Hamish or I as soon as possible. We we would all of us, Hamish and I and Martin and Clare, like to thank our loyal and very wonderful poets and readers for their support. For myself, I hope that some of you will stay in touch. Again, for the time being, Poetry24  will continue to have a Facebook page, as, indeed, I have myself. It would be good to hear from some of you via one or other of those pages. We wish you all the very best.

Abi and Hamish

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Christmas, 2014

Merry Christmas from Hamish, Abi and Percy.
Poetry24 will be back in the New Year. 

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Thinking About Dustin Hoffman and Steve McQueen in the film Papillon; This Week’s CIA Torture Report, The US Prison System, The 30th Anniversary of the Bhopal Gas Disaster, and the Finnish Prison System while Writing an Ode to the Possibly Extinct Diana Blue Morpho Butterfly



When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” --John Muir

Wild morpho butterflies in tropical French Guiana were harvested by prisoners
in the film Papillon to make US dollars.  In other words, nature, flight and freedom
were converted by symbol-makers to mind traps enslaving billions.

Species of those butterflies are gone or severely threatened
and petroleum distillates that killed them have replaced Diana blues on dollars
which have never existed in nature.  From ancient Sumer to now,

money has always been a mere illusion in workers’ minds.
However, the killing ignorance and arrogance of clay-carvers,
symbol-makers, and their political puppets are stronger now than ever.

Former CIA Director Michael Hayden recently said
“Legally, It's Not Torture,” “We have a soul and a conscience too.”  “I didn’t lie.”
Sting once wrote, “Everybody wants to look the other way/

When something wicked this way comes.” News media reported Americans are
uninterested but I wonder how this would change if hummus
were jammed up their butts.  This will not end well.

Somewhere between Bhopal, India, Union Carbide, Dow Chemical, and the CIA;
somewhere between solitary confinement in the US and organic gardening in Finland,
a cricket sings in my attic, and anyone who visits this poem can hear it. 
© Scott Starbuck 

“ [ . . .] it could well have been one of the butterflies collected by Henri Charriere, on whose life “Papillon” was based. Today, pollution and urbanization resulting from extensive oil drilling in the area has degraded much of this butterfly’s original range. Because the species has not been collected in over 50 years, it is very possible that it is now extinct.”-- 100 Years – 100 Objects: Diana Blue Morpho by Nancy [Greig] , blog.hmns.org, The Houston Museum of Natural Science, April 27, 2009

“40 Years Later, the Cruelty of Papillon is a Reality in U.S. Prisons” [ . . . . ] “In New Mexico last week, for example, a 73-year-old grandmother sued state officials after she was placed in solitary confinement for five weeks without proper medication.”  -- Andrew Cohen, theatlantic.com, Dec. 16, 2013

Union Carbide has paid an amount of $470 million U.S. dollars with an average compensation per person for 500,000 victims of 500 U.S. dollars each. Not a single person has been held criminally liable for an act that left 20,000 people dead and 150,000 maimed for life. -- Raghu Rai, magnumphotos.com, Portfolio - INDIA. 2001. Bhopal Gas Tragedy

“One of the eight suppliers of organic potatoes – located in a radius up to 250 km – is the prison Satakunnan vankila, [Finland], where around 100 inmates are incarcerated. They are given various activities, and one of them is cultivating the institution’s own land. They farm 215 ha organically, [ . . .]” -- Kai Kreuzer, “Finnish manufacturer supplies ten countries with organic starch,” organic-market.info/web/Europe/Finland, June 9, 2013



Scott Starbuck was a 2014 Friends of William Stafford Scholar at the "Speak Truth to Power" FOR Seabeck Conference. His "Manifesto from Poet on a Dying Planet" is at splitrockreview.org/news

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

And Still We Live

And still we live…
Despite the years, despite the days,
Wars, famine and the like
We never rest
We always strive
If we’re not busy dying,
We’re busy being alive
And now it’s Christmas
Which always tells a tale
of the year gone by:
No one remains static
It’s a time to cheer or cry
as we measure our status in numbers:
The number of cards (received and sent)
The number of presents (received and sent)
Of invitations to visit (received and sent)
The number at Christmas dinner:
Is it more or is it less?


Thomas Martin

http://www.thejournal.ie/chernobyl-children-arrive-in-ireland-1843650-Dec2014/

THOMAS MARTIN lives in Dublin. His writing has been featured in Piranha, Figments, The Weary Blues and Shot Glass Journal

Monday, 22 December 2014

Echoes of Grief

Pockmarked walls,
residues of revenge
that massacred hope,
wailing in echoes of grief. 
Rooms-full of innocence
slaughtered, burned, buried
in a rubble of books, pens
and examination paper.
Corridors explode in eerie silences,
pools of blood map desolate floors
and litanies of heartbreak ricochet
from the courtyard, where
the hundred once laughed;
their dreams still alive
under brimming backpacks
and ochred clothing.
Somewhere, a lone shoe
seeks a lost foot.

An inhuman act etches
itself on the frenzied face
of the weeping mother
and the reeling nation.
Somewhere, a reporter  
cries at a candle-lit vigil  
and I lament in lines
of unreconciled verse,
as the sky lies wounded
on the school steps. 
  
© Usha Kishroe, 17th December 2014.
  
                    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-30508689

 Indian born Usha Kishore is a British poet, writer and translator, resident on the Isle of Man, where she teaches English at Queen Elizabeth II High School.  Usha is internationally published and anthologised by Macmillan, Hodder Wayland, Oxford University Press (all UK) and Harper Collins India.   Her poetry has won prizes in UK Poetry competitions, has been part of international projects and features in the British Primary and Indian Middle School syllabus. The winner of an Arts Council Award and a Culture Vannin Award, Usha’s debut collection On Manannan’s Isle has been published in January 2014 bydpdotcom, UK.  Forthcoming are a book of translations from the Sanskrit, Translations of the Divine Woman  from Rasala Books India and a second collection of poetry, Night Sky Between the Stars from Cyberwit India.  Usha is now working on her first novel.