Saturday, 31 December 2011

Clearance

A woman held a crucifix up
against a flaming sky
they said she was a nuisance
out to cause us harm
but they put her on the front page
the day they cleared Dale Farm

The bailiffs dressed in blue
police in yellow and black
with clubs and shields
they crossed the fields
the day they cleared Dale Farm

Then I saw a child in tears
at a home torn full of holes
and people chained
to scaffolding poles
the day they cleared Dale Farm

And I turned away in sorrow
with something burning inside
as power and force
took hope by the arm
the day they cleared Dale Farm

© David Subacchi

Best pictures of the year 2011– dramatic eviction at Dale Farm
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
David Subacchi is a civil servant who has been writing poetry seriously for just over a year. He hopes to publish his first English collection in 2012.


Friday, 30 December 2011

Above the law















What happened to the Magna Carta?
What happened to the rule of law?
While David Kelly is a martyr,
habeas corpus is no more.
Attorney Generals are the culprits
they flout United Nations’ law,
and from their House of Commons’ pulpits
take our country into war.

About the death of David Kelly,
What should anyone believe?
Not the “Commons” on the tele’
the Right Dishonourable Grieve,
who smugly told compliant Members
no inquest ever for our ears;
trusts that nobody remembers
in seventy unforgiving years.

Goldsmith shunned the resolution
turned to war, and, Holy Cow,
Grieve maintained the evolution,
the two are holier than Thou!
Attorney Generals are mighty,
and don’t you think the matter odd
pretending they are God Almighty,
when Gus O’Donnell’s known as God.

© John Goss

Decision not to hold David Kelly inquest was 'unlawful'
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

John Goss has a degree in International Studies from the University of Birmingham. He is a lyricist and playwright.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

December 2011, a Memory of August 1968 - For Vaclav Havel

















They woke us from our tents
In the darkness before dawn
And gave us each a candle.
They had crouched over the radio all night
And guessed the worst.
We made our way to the water’s edge
A row of tiny lights on the dark shore.
To the mournful sound of a single flute
We stood, silent and bereft
Looking into the black night
While hundreds of miles away
Another kind of darkness rumbled forward
Over the frontier
Grinding the dreams of Spring
To dust.

We thought hope lost
And could only offer our sad tribute
To those who fought for freedom.

But hope and freedom are seeds that will not sleep
Small bright shoots split stone
Shatter concrete
Their progress more inexorable
Than any trundling tank.
The brave gardener whose fearless tending
Of improbable seedlings
Gave us back belief,
Now returns himself to the nurturing earth
And reminds us
That when the darkness seems most complete
Dawn is not so far away.

© Elizabeth Soule

Vaclav Havel funeral: World leaders pay respects

--------------------------------------------------

Elizabeth Soule is a retired Head Teacher and I belong to Poetry Aloud, in Bury St Edmunds: 'Poetry is how I process my reactions to the world.'

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Kim Jong-un is Any Son

Kim Jong-un was a child once,

looking to Jong-il as a son

looks to a father.



Kim Jong-un was a child once,

filled with the innocence of age.



All of the same form,

earth born and bound,

nothing more,

or less,

supreme,

as any child.

© Mark William Jackson

'Great successor' visits body of Kim Jong-il
-----------------------------------------------------
Mark William Jackson is a Sydney based poet whose work has appeared in various print and online journals including; Best Australian Poems 2011, Popshot (UK), Going Down Swinging, Cordite, Blue Crow and SpeedPoets.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Poetry24 Review of the Year 2011

Clare and I would like to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who has helped to establish Poetry24 as a place where poets can express their thoughts and feelings about what's happening in the world around them.

Since our launch, in February, we've been able to publish, pretty much, on a daily basis. This would have been impossible without the poets among you. Equally, the poet's work needs to be read, and that's why we appreciate you, our visitors, and your valuable comments.

We owe a further debt of gratitude to Anthony Baverstock, who took the time and trouble to create this video. So, please take a few minutes to enjoy Poetry24's Review of the Year 2011.

We aim to be publishing again on 28th December, so do keep the poems coming. In the meantime, have a very Happy Christmas!


Monday, 19 December 2011

Legacy of the 7th Commandment

The Catholic Church wrote vistas in the sky.
Naked cherubs with wings fly around clouds,
babies sit in laps of virgin mothers,
chaste white marble, alabaster, granite

beliefs are slung with arrows from priests’
mouths, till pants sag as a naked mole rat
burrows, does not pay the toll at each stop,
but chisels chips on tombstones of the youth,

who are not cremated – their bodies caught
on thorns. One spike, then another, pierce hard
as boys serve the wine, chew on bread wafers,
chew on graven stones, as they are impaled,

money thrown on the table as the plates
are passed, while chaste johns toil, disinfected
by white collars, white pages in large books
of words with gelt edges, under windows

that are stained, and have hard glass with leaden
frames – witness to turns and twists of young,
bodies whipped, stolen by ghosts in the clouds.
They are no longer virginal cherubs.

©  Lavinia Kumar

Dutch Catholic sex abuse revealed in report
--------------------------------------------

Lavinia Kumar lives in New Jersey. Her family includes a variety of cultures and immigrants. Her poetry has appeared in Waterways, Thatchwork (Delaware Valley Poets), Orbis, US1 Worksheets, and more.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Sunday Review

As ever this week, we've dipped into: the cultural - Lavinia Kumar on the perils of allowing women to drive cars (whatever next?) in  MF-LGBT Car; the scientific -  with David Caruso's Earth-like planets; the military - with Then Conquer We Must by Philip Challinor; the trivial - with my own  Observations on televised reality; and the political (poetry political, that is) -with Gabrielle Brydon's Making a Stand

As Gabrielle says in her poem:
but making headlines - 
must be good
for poets and poetry

Let's hope headlines are good for making poetry too - so yes, blow whistles, blow as John Goss says in Blow for Bradley Manning on the American soldier at the centre of the WikiLeaks revelations.

We've something very special coming up this week, so keep visiting!

Have a great week
Clare




Saturday, 17 December 2011

Observations










Look, look through the bars
The specimens are dancing
They tango, can-can, rhumba
Every sequin the glistening tear
Of a D-list wannabe also-ran.

Look, look through the bars
The specimens scratch their arses
Nibble bugs and roll, dirt-caked,
Fake friendly til the third day
When God makes rice and beans again.

Look, look through the bars
The specimens are angry
They feel our eyes upon them, prowl
Shake their fists for freedom
To fornicate while we avert our eyes.

© Clare Kirwan

Edinburgh celebrities
Strictly meets I'm A Celebrity

-------------------------------

Clare Kirwan, can't sing, can't dance, can write a little.
Blog: Broken Biro

Friday, 16 December 2011

Then Conquer We Must

Say, can you see by Thursday's lunchtime gleam
That flag come down upon the latest end
Of our crusaders' mission to extend
Their petrol-powered, cluster-bombing dream?
Say, can you see the cost in western lives,
In dollars and in sterling plain and dear?
The cost to lesser people is less clear:
Among sectarians, truth seldom thrives.

Say, can you see this brutal, honest truth?
We must not be afraid to face reality,
Or learn convenient lessons if we can.
These natives, so ungrateful and uncouth,
Iraq's weapons of mass ethereality,
Must not make us afraid to bomb Iran.

© Philip Challinor

US exit from Iraq: 'this is not a withdrawal, this is an act on a stage'
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Philip blogs at 'The Curmudgeon' - He insists, "You'll come for the curses. You'll stay for the mudgeonry." Philip is the author of a number of books.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

MF-LGBT CAR

The new cars are shown off with lights, balloons,

and women, those models with tight curves, lines

match the cars, and men come time after time

to touch the chrome, the paint, they nearly swoon

while the women with soft voices lightly stroke

the doors, the seats, the wheel, and then the stick

until the men in high gear feel they must get in quick,

must fondle – they have tightness in their throat.

But in Saudi land, the car is a bold man

since pictures of burkhas can never be sleek.

Saudi girls may not hold a gear in their hands –

it's known they turn lesbian, or a loose freak.

When they drive their labia become untied

sending all the men into a collective cry.


© Lavinia Kumar

'End of virginity' if women drive, Saudi cleric warns
---------------------------------------------------------------
Lavinia Kumar lives in New Jersey. Her family includes a variety of cultures and immigrants. Her poetry has appeared in Waterways, Thatchwork (Delaware Valley Poets), Orbis, US1 Worksheets, and more.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Earth-like planets

earth-like planets
how she looks at me with her
water-covered surface

© David Caruso

Found: Earth-Like Planet That Might Be Right For Life
--------------------------------------------------------------------
David began writing haiku and tanka after taking a course in Buddhist poetry of Japan under the late Professor William LaFleur. He invites you to browse on over to DavidHaiku.com

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Blow for Bradley Manning

Praise to whistle-blowers,
we need good referees,
penalising dirty play,
more disclosures please.

Blow for Bradley Manning, blow your whistles blow.
That's the only way that we ever get to know.

Praise the whistle-blowers,
eyes as sharp as owls,
whistles at the ready
blowing up on fouls.

Blow for Bradley Manning, blow your whistles blow.
That's the only way that we ever get to know.

Blow for Julian Assange,
and Cathy Massiter
blow for Mr Murray
a true ambassador

Blow for Bradley Manning, blow your whistles blow.
That's the only way that we ever get to know.

Blow for Sarah Tisdall
and Doctor Kelly too
for all the whistle-blowers
who risk themselves for you.

Blow for Bradley Manning, blow your whistles blow.
That's the only way that we ever get to know.

© John Goss

Bradley Manning: MEPs' open letter to the US government

WikiLeaks accused Bradley Manning 'should never have been sent to Iraq'

Author's Note: Today (13 Dec) there will be a small vigil outside the US embassy in London at 2 p.m. On Friday a pre-trial hearing starts at Ford Meade in Maryland which is expected to last 5 days. After 18 months in prison his mental state is said to be 'fragile'.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
John Goss has a degree in International Studies from the University of Birmingham. He is a lyricist and playwright.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Making a Stand

T.S. Eliot
Prize for Poetry
is supported
by a hedge fund –
that’s a bit prickly,
a bit pear shaped,
a bit suspect
for an anti-capitalist.

Ouch!
John Kinsella
makes a stand
on the pointy end
of capitalism.

I withdraw my nomination,
he shouts, then jumps
with a dramatic flourish.

It began with Alice Oswald  -
poetry should be questioning
not endorsing such institutions.


The Government
is pulling the funds,
left, right and centre.
What’s a poor
Poetry Book Society
to do?

Where do you find
that stream of purest money
to finance the arts?

No-one has an answer
but making headlines -
must be good
for poets and poetry;

another layer in the
proof of existence.

© Gabrielle Bryden

We shouldn't forget that TS Eliot was a banker
--------------------------------------------------------
Gabrielle Bryden is an Australian poet published in a range of books, print and online journals and on ABC National radio. She blogs at http://gabriellebryden.wordpress.com and tweets as GabrielleBryden.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Sunday Review

Philip Challinor almost topped and tailed a week that started out with Positive Notes before fading into a season of myths and fallow usefulness with Douglas Polk's An American Autumn.

Newcomer to Poetry24, Tim Waldron, debuted with Rage. Tim's poem deals with the plight of those who have risen up in the face of what seemed hopeless, while Lavinia Kumar's moving account of those living in New Jersey's 'Tent City', deals with the difficulties of the homeless.

Another poet, new to this blog, came to us with a question, "Whatever happened to the heroes?" Kieren King was responding to claims by some archaeologists that graffiti drawn on a wall by former Sex Pistols frontman, John Lydon, is comparable to Paleolithic cave art.

Philip Challinor explains the story behind Well Fair, with this response, "The original has been in my head for a while now, for no reason I can discern except possibly as a counter-earworm to Jingle Bells, so I thought I'd get thoroughly into the modern Christmas spirit by flogging the parody of a dead horse."

Well, Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, so it seems appropriate to include this extra offering from Lavinia Kumar, as proof that Scrooge is alive and well, and living in the guise of Newt Gingrich.

WHAT THE DICKENS?

Now this is the season of Grinch
When everyone’s feeling the pinch
So poor kids must clean up schools
They need to mop up after rich fools
Says Gingrich the maker of each GGRIINCH.

© Lavinia Kumar

Have a great week, and don't be shy about getting those poems to us.

Martin.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

An American Autumn

the Arab Spring used to birth an American Autumn,
restless youth not yet overwhelmed with creating a life,
flow from the fringe to the center of the financial world,
voices raised without fear of dying,
the American youth,
less victims,
more comfortable in the role of tyrant,
demands made,
redistribution of wealth important,
wealth can not be created by just anyone.

© Douglas Polk

Arab Spring and American autumn
-------------------------------------------
Douglas is a poet from Nebraska. He has published three books of poetry; In My Defense, The Defense Rests, and On Appeal.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Well Fair

There was an old man, who had his grey hair;
All along, down along, out along, he
Had worked forty years yet his cupboard was bare,
From big bankers, little wankers,
Hedge funders' little blunders,
And Margaret Thatcher and all,
And Margaret Thatcher and all.

I've worked and I've worked and my payments I've made,
All along, down along, out along, me;
So when shall I see all this money I've paid
For big firms, little worms,
RBS and its mess,
And Hong Kong and Shanghai and all,
And Hong Kong and Shanghai and all?

Alas, said the Chancellor, all of it's gone,
All along, down along, out along, see?
I'll give you no more, but you'll have to work on
For true blue values,
Police mutts, tax cuts,
And jolly old England and all,
And jolly old England and all.

And if, he went on, you want someone to blame
All along, down along, out along, free,
See our public sector at its nasty game:
Teachers, nurses, cut-purses,
Migrant brothers, single mothers,
And students and cripples and all,
And students and cripples and all.

And all of you pensioners with your grey hair;
All along, down along, out along, we
Will work you and freeze you because we must care
For David Cameron, George Osborne, Nick Clegg,
Michael Gove, Andrew Lansley, Vincent Cable,
And Ashcroft and Murdoch and all,
And Ashcroft and Murdoch and all.

© Philip Challinor

New NHS pension offer protects lower paid but puts burden on higher earners
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Philip blogs at 'The Curmudgeon' - He insists, "You'll come for the curses. You'll stay for the mudgeonry." Philip is the author of a number of books.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Whatever Happened To The Heroes?

In ‘77 The Stranglers asked

Whatever happened to the heroes?

The same year Robert Di Niro was asking

“You talkin’ to me”?

Then punk kicked off and its attitude reflected

The disaffected, the rejected, the disrespected

Who wanted the freedom to choose to do

What they want to do

When they want to do it

When that freedom of choice found its voice

You couldn’t ignore it

But then rebellion became a target market



Fast forward to today - Whatever happened to the heroes?



Johnny Rotten seems to have forgotten

He was once the clown prince of punk

And since he’s sunk in my estimation

Straight to the gutter

Nowt better to do than advertising butter

Nevermind the Bollocks!

Whatever happened to the heroes?



Well Joe Strummer’s dead, Tony Wilson’s dead

Joey Ramone’s dead, Kurt Vonnegut’s dead

So it goes

There’s no more heroes

Except

A punk in attitude only standing lonely

Leonard Cohen’s still going

But who’ll replace him

That won’t sink but swim

For me the outlook’s looking grim



Now I’ve got my own mind

I don’t need anyone to follow

And I’d like a John Lydon

But I’m just stuck with Bono

© Kieren King

Twitter - @mankygitt

Preserving the Sex Pistols' graffiti is an archaeological swindle
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Kieren King is a poet, a heathen & an anarchist and must be approached with caution at all times. Tickling him behind the ear has been proven to soothe him.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Homeless

The land is of grand sequoia trees, the free,

the river to the sea, rockets to the moon

and to Mars


and the tea parties flow with green money

but waiters are forbidden.  They have no

clean clothes.


since it is raining on tents in the woods,

the dark bark of trees screens scuttling people

hiding –


they run in night visits to public toilets,

or teeth brushing at spigots, like sparrows

flown away


thrust away, hidden where the night is day,

but for just one meal they’d sail the sea, sing

to the stars, or grow tea on the land.

© Lavinia Kumar

AMERICA TODAY: Heartbreaking Pictures From New Jersey's Homeless 'Tent City'
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lavinia Kumar lives in New Jersey. Her family includes a variety of cultures and immigrants. Her poetry has appeared in Waterways, Thatchwork (Delaware Valley Poets), Orbis, US1 Worksheets, and more.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Rage

Rage, rage in the city of Cairo,
betrayed by brothers and stalling their hope.
Heart against heart, voice against voice,
where bitter rubble carpets the street,
with nights lit by flashes, scarves on their faces,
hidden identities or protection from gasses.

Flags cover bodies, a democracy coat,
dirt trodden already and only months old.
Resistance and ballots arrive hand in hand,
now people have hold of a choice they can make.
A line in the sand is carefully drawn,
where people might see the beams of new dawn.

© Tim Waldron

Egyptian protesters condemn security forces' tactics
---------------------------------------------------------------
Tim is a 32 year old living in Liverpool. He's married and teaches English at a secondary school in Ormskirk, West Lancashire. He writes on various themes such as nature and sport.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Positive Notes

Hello! My name is Michael, girls and boys.
I play with schools as you with siblings' toys:
That is, I carp and criticize, and take
Whatever I'm denied the chance to break.
My promises and answers, when they come,
Rival in truth the ones you give your Mum;
But, boys and girls, please note my latest boast,
Which doubtless is reliable as most:
We're slimming down your schooling, it is true,
In aid of Ashcroft, Philip Green, and you;
But, subject to the weather and my brain,
I more or less think music will remain.
As someone said - the Bible? Mother Gove? -
Melodic stimulus is food of love.
That's why our fast-food chums provide Muzak,
Enhancing your affection for Big Mac.
Be useful, occupy your mouths and hands;
Don't take drugs when you form your little bands;
Work hard, keep out of jail and do not panic:
Play on, and mop the decks of our Titanic.

© Philip Challinor

Music in school: Michael Gove sounds optimistic note

------------------------------------------------------

Weblog: The Curmudgeon - You'll come for the curses. You'll stay for the mudgeonry.
Books: Philip Challinor's Books

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Sunday Review

Every time it's starting to look like we've got slim pickings in the pot (I'm mixing my metaphors here) our contributors come up trumps!

This week James Schwarz: Of Bergholz Bondage gave us a cutting poem on the dark side of a particular Amish community and Philip Challinor was back with his customary wit and wordplay with a well-deserved swipe at James Murdoch in his poem about phone-hacking: This Just In.  Sadly, it isn't just Murdoch who wants "To keep the power and outsource the pain". 

We had poems from two new contributors: @ThePoetGeo's acerbic 'Go Compare' on the thin line between the so-called comical and the so-called criminal, and David Subacchi's thoughtful poem about the public sector Strike in the UK this week, which reminded us of the journey the British worker has been on.

Colin Watts was out on the streets, too, with his world-weary but uplifting A Sunday Outing - a poem about the new Occupy Liverpool protest set up under the disapproving  gaze of the ghost of Wellington.  Ghosts were on the menu on again when, in a change to his usual poems, John Goss brought us Ghost of a hungry Hobbit an affecting sonnet about a little cafe being forced to change it's name by the corporation that 'owns' Tolkein's characters. 

Warning:  Poetry24 could become Hobbit-forming!

Have a great week, and keep those poems coming

Clare

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Go Compare

Q. When is a joke not a joke?
A. When it's about smashing windows
in front of the press
and aimed at rioters
on a private Facebook group
and gets you four years.

Q. When is a joke a joke?
A. When it's about shooting parents
in front their children
and aimed at millions
on prime time national TV
and gets you a Prime Ministerial apology.

When does UK law show its true colors to become a sick joke?
When it only accepts the apology of the rich and powerful bloke.

© @ThePoetGeo

Facebook riot calls earn men four-year jail terms amid sentencing outcry

Jeremy Clarkson was only being silly, says David Cameron

------------------------------------------------------------------------

@ThePoetGeo is a semi retired zeppelin builder with the new model army. His interests include; technology, poetry, liberty fomentation, injustice adjustment, direct democracy design and saving and enlightening dumb animals.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Ghost of a hungry Hobbit

The ghost of Bilbo Baggins prowls Hall Green,
Wake Green Road and even Moseley Bog,
local rumours claim his spirit has been seen
elsewhere; not unlikely since he was a dog.
All his life he answered to his Baggins name
and took it with him to his doggy grave.
Today his life would not have been the same,
since now there is a battle on to save
The Hungry Hobbit, a little sandwich-bar,
the cafe-sign of which proudly displays
our local heritage; since it’s not that far
from where Tolkien spent his boyhood days.
Any name-change is down to corporate greed
(if lawyers get their way from SZC)
but quietly ask the question who will feed
the hungry Hobbit, Baggins’ ghost, and me?

© John Goss

Hungry Hobbit cafe told to change name
--------------------------------------------------
John Goss has a degree in International Studies from the University of Birmingham. He is a lyricist and playwright. Here's the Facebook page to save the Hungry Hobbit .

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Strike

















Our parents lived through wars
knew bloodshed, hardship
the meaning of work
and of no work
empty grates in cold houses

We were well fed
taught in schools
warmed in higher
education, protested
against colonialism,
unemployment, apartheid,
all kinds of discrimination
chose public service
to give something back

Even in good times we
made no fortunes
no flash cars or
holidays in Barbados
kids at local schools
we were governors
PTA members
community people

We put away those placards
lapel badges and clenched fists
with the ration books
and the old army pictures
thinking they belonged
to another age
another existence
never to return

But today we reached
back in time to smell fear
and  the enemy’s
cold breath
and we marched
once more
like soldiers
like students
like workers.

© David Subacchi

As it happened: National strike
--------------------------------------
David Subacchi is a civil servant who has been writing poetry seriously for just over a year. He hopes to publish his first English collection in 2012.