Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Woman in Chains

Slavery: “the condition of a person over whom any or all of the powers of the right of ownership are exercised” – 1926 Slavery Convention

In Liverpool city, the International Slavery Museum
curates relics of humans subjugated by their own kind:
collars, brands, whips, shackles, bits and so on, ad nauseum.
In relationships skewed by absolute power, the ties that bind
one person to another as property, that life and fate controlled,
are everywhere declared wrong; anathema to the natural mind.

Restrictions on movement, coercion, the use of force, are enrolled
to compel servitude. The arrogation of sexuality is a sign too
of heinous exploitation of the unwilling weak. A story as old

as the fundamental panic to disarm your woman and rule,
to seduce and use, mating and begetting. She bears the brunt
of your pro-life fanaticism, your anti-wife bias, your sleight to sue

and deprive the world of salvation’s best hope  -  her blood every month

for her own regulation, her agency blessed, the posse called off the hunt.

© Caroline Hurley


Caroline Hurley's poems have previously appeared in Poetry24, as well as in The Electric Acorn, threemonkeysonline.com and in ESOF's 3nd Science Meets Poetry anthology. Clebran.org featured a chapter from her novel and also some flash fiction. Her current focus is on young adult fiction and screenwriting. She lives near an Irish bird reserve.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

For the Common Good

Three Catholic men breakfast at the cliff’s edge
Obeying eternal rhythm in the July sun

They sweep the canyon floor, slightly drunk
with nature’s joy – they’ve heard of a royal

child and they ask the moon to call its name
in an old-fashioned way.  All they think of

is beans and eggs – a hopeless misfit on a
plate.  They bid the stones to dance a royal

oak before the baby falls asleep.  The white
twitter of the birds colours the sky in red 

and blue until, light-headed, a lone fiddler
unhinges the silence in c-minor.  

© Martha Landman
Martha Landman lives and writes in North Queensland, Australia. Her writing feeds off the news and a rich imagination.


Sunday, 28 July 2013

Sunday Review

Monday's poem was "I Beg Your Pardon" by Luigi Pagano. It looked at the move by the Catholic church to award indulgences for Twitter follows of the Pope. Luigi skilfully makes the point about the church adopting this very modern practice but being so very medieval about others.

David Mellor's poem "Wait for it" was the first of poems about the royal Prince. David made good points about the media obsession with the birth and the privileged life the boy will have. The final lines are very memorable  “Oh what a life / You will never see."

Laura Taylor's "Regal Potential' continued the royal theme and gave the benefit of doubt to the baby for now while urging him to "spit on tainted luxury, become a man / of liberty, equality and peace." which would, indeed, be a good thing.

Thursday's poem by Steve Pottinger "369,000" used the royal birth to show that for the other chidren born on that day things would not be so good.  I like this phrase "in homes of plastic and flattened tin /in spat-out estates in lands / whose time has gone."

David Subacchi's "A Royal baby" wrapped up the week by looking at the various perspectives on the baby and asking pertinent questions about the baby and its future.  I liked the structure of the poem and the way the questioners made comments relating to their work.

So a pretty baby-centric week this week. Which is how the news played out and what you reacted to. Which is what we're all about. Beautifully cyclic isn't it? Have a good week folks, in NZ we are starting to get a few cracks in Winter's facade and the temperatures are millimetering up.

Friday, 26 July 2013

A Royal Baby

Can you wash a royal baby
Asked the midwife testing with her elbow
Or is he born already spotless
As radiant as a rainbow

Can you really hold a royal baby
Asked the young mother with the child that clings
Or do angels keep him tightly clenched
Beneath their powerful wings

Can you really bless a royal baby
Asked the bishop wearing a golden ring
Or has he been newly anointed
Predestined to be a king

Can you really guard a royal baby
Asked the sentry outside the palace gate
Or will he soon escape from my charge
And fail to co-operate

Can you really love a royal baby
Asked the princess clutching a christening cup
Now that he’s married will he mature
Or will he never grow up.

© David Subacchi

Royal baby boy: 'We could not be happier,' says Duke of Cambridge after wife Kate gives birth

David Subacchi was born in Wales of Italian roots. His English language collection ‘First Cut’ was published by Cestrian Press in 2012. He won the Ceredigion Museum Poetry Prize in 2013.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

369,000

Here is a poem
for the others
who are born on mud floors
marshland and high plain
in homes of plastic and flattened tin
in spat-out estates in lands
whose time has gone
in the mewling sprawling cities
of the south and east and rising world
who tumble down out of shanty towns
looking for work and hope and food
who doss down in shop doorways
on park benches in abandoned cars
who snatch sleep on night buses and on tubes
amid the echo of gunfire
who ride the long trains north in the night
running the gauntlet of gangs, police, La Migra
who slip across borders soft as water
on blistered feet
and take their calloused hands
to the sweatshop, the factory, the scramble
for work at the corner of the street
who live in fear of being
denounced, detained, deported,
who will be trafficked, who will be sold
who will die before they are one year old
who will deal drugs in the barrio, the favela
who will get by, whatever
whose crops will fail
whose names will be known to no-one
but themselves and the hot dry wind
who dream, as we do

who are coming now,
an unstoppable future.

© Steve Pottinger

Royal baby: What does the future hold for the Cambridge prince?

Steve Pottinger writes and performs poetry whenever and wherever he can. He has a website at stevepottinger.co.uk and can be found on twitter at @oneangrypoet

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Icing on the Cake

Fever of a George
Cambridge not Oxford
Born to a Beauty
Pushed to a legacy
His Kingdom to build
A palace dependent on media coverage
and travellers from the commonwealth
One has to wonder if his Mum will see him crowned
King or as purveyor of party objects
Meanwhile, shouting ‘foul’ at media coverage
Suggesting weight loss for a new Mum
We queue to soak up her soul
To eat it with fine beans and a chianti
In memory of son’s paternal grandmother.
We are as fickle as the peasants at Anne Boelyn’s execution
Craving a reality beyond our dull lives
In a world of sliced pans,
Maybe George’s Mum should shout
‘Let them eat cake’.

© Maire Ryan

I have had one piece previously submitted printed. My name is Maire Ryan McSherry. I have been writing since 2011 primarily poetry, flash fiction and short stories. I live in Wexford Town, near the sea, in Ireland and am Mum to 2 boys. I work fulltime in the financial services sector.

Regal Potential

The world awaits, the headlines scream,
the herd awaits in dead-eyed glee.
She is delivered;
the future King.
A boy of promise,
accident,
a common egg, sovereign seed, an ovary to spark a life, a womb to breed a parasite?

When you grow up to be a man, will you reject the riches tumbled to your lap?

Will you refuse the unjust state of monarchistic privilege, or take the weight of Empire’s stains upon your regal head?

Will you renounce this sceptered gold to overthrow a system put in place by death and robbery?

Open wide the highborn doors and distribute the spoils?
Lift children out of poverty, give dignity to age?

Or learn to wave and smile just so and take for granted all your life
free from hunger, homelessness, redundancy or debt?

You could right so many wrongs, replace ‘what is’ with ‘what could be.’ Free your soul
from purgatory, change the face of history, spit on tainted luxury, become a man
of liberty, equality and peace.

You have potential.
We shall see.

© Laura Taylor

Royal baby: Messages of congratulations flood in after birth

Laura Taylor has been writing and performing poetry for nearly three years and has finally found a space in which to air her grievances with authority.
www.writeoutloud.net/profiles/laura


Note: 'She is delivered' was quoted from the Today programme 22/7/13

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Wait For It...

“Wait for it…..”
“Oh it’s on its way”
Sorry we have no clean
Sanitation the power
was cut off today.

“I wonder what it will be?”

Let’s just hope they both
See the light of day.

Flashbulbs popping
Blanket coverage around the baby
Smothering new channels.

“Wait for it...”
“It’s on its way.”

“And what a life”
you will have...

Not dying in infancy through lack of meds
Not working as child labour
Not sold into child prostitution
Not queuing at food banks
Not spending years unemployed
Not growing up in a ghetto so hungry it hurts
Not living in fear of bullets whizzing by

“Oh what a life”
You will never see.

© David Mellor

Duchess of Cambridge gives birth to healthy baby and future King

David was born in Liverpool in 1964. He left school with nothing, rummaged around various dead end jobs, then back to college and uni. In his 20s he first discovered poetry, starting writing and performing and has done so ever since. I has lived on the Wirral for the past 8 years.

Monday, 22 July 2013

I Beg Your Pardon

Although a baptised Catholic
- non practising, I confess -
I always found it strange
that the Church of Rome
was resistant to change.
Its views on women priests
and the ban on birth control
are truly symptomatic
of a religious creed
whose tenets are dogmatic.
So what are we to make
of indulgences being offered
to followers of Tweets
of the current pontiff?
All I can think is LOL:
it doesn’t happen often
that the Vatican softens.

© Luigi Pagano

Vatican offers 'time off purgatory' to followers of Pope Francis tweets

Luigi Pagano is a contributor to Poetry 24. He has published three printed collections of his poems and his work has been showcased in several anthologies.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Sunday Review

As usual I’m writing this from my home in Liverpool where the temperature reached an un-British 27 degrees and I’m not really a Summer person so I take cold showers after long 10-hour shifts in work and get back to sitting in front of my laptop, writing my novel and reading over poems.

Hamish Mack, one of our editors here at Poetry24, was the first poem we put up on Monday. The Arms of America was based on the story that was heard over the world of the aquittal of George Zimmerman, the police officer accused of shooting dead Trayvon Martin who was unarmed and had only a bag a Skittles. The news story is of Obama calling for calm as protests began calling for Zimmerman’s imprisonment. I enjoyed the way Hamish wrote the poem with a sense of paranoia, judging and labelling young people as criminals.

We carried on the story to Tuesday with Lesson by Steve Pottinger. The same story of Zimmerman’s aquittal was a strong with a lot of you. Lesson was again about the paranoia and fear that exists in America, treating young people as if they are ‘all the same.’ There was anger in this poem as well as a sense of futility: ‘Poor and black and young / are up to no good anyway.’ I particularly liked the line: ‘Dead kids tell no tales.’

We had something different on Wednesday with Carolyn Cornthwaite’s Ganika, Rupajivas and Pumsachali (the Courtesan and her Missing Muse). Possibly the largest title we’ve had at Poetry24. This was about Scotland’s debate on prostitution, whether they should be tough or tolerant towards it. This was a very interesting, visually, which flipped between a normal existence and that of a prostitute (in italics). What I found interesting was the final line: ‘The / man who never features / in this never ending / tale.’ Purposefully, the first time a man was mentioned, meaning this is all about woman and her choices as a woman and her life and her body.

David Mellor wrote Dating in a State which went up on Thursday. This was more light-hearted than the previous poems, which was about online dating and if it’s a marriage-maker. The speaker stays ‘in control’ and soon, as Carolyn Cornthwaite commented, it ‘slides in and out of control.’ David commented that the internet has not always been a ‘virtual togetherness.’

On Friday we had Our Hero by Luigi Pagano. The shot Pakistani schoolgirl, Malala Yousafzai who addressed the UN, urged education for all. I liked the line: ‘The efforts to silence her / were bound to fail.’ It’s a strong subject, full of power and tenacity. Malala is quoted as saying: ‘I am here to speak up for the right of education of every child.’

And Yesterday was Asef Hossaini with the modestly titled poem, Poem. I thought this was a particularly provocative piece, which is why I chose to go with it. There seemed to be a number of news stories to go with it, so I chose the Edward Snowden story (as well as the Muslim Brotherhood story, which was mentioned briefly). Whistle-blower, Snowden, applied for asylum in Russia as the US renews the surveillance program that Snowden exposed. I liked the last line which was reminiscent of previous locations were protests and demonstrations and sources of public outcry existed: ‘Let’s just find a way / to Tahrir, Taksim, Azadi, Tiananmen Squares....’

I hope you have enjoyed the poems this week. I noticed last week that we reached over 200 Facebook ‘likes’ on our fb page and we are happy this number is rising. Please spread the word about us and continue to send us your work to poetry24@hotmail.com and our Facebook page at Poetry24.

Enjoy the English Summer (or whatever Summer you have).

Michael.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Poem

We have no place to stand
Snowden,
Everywhere is occupied by Obama’s shadow
Papers by his rhetoric jokes
There is no place to talk, to drink, to read
Everywhere is occupied
by one percent and 99 surveillance cameras
You are one person, one percent!
Just stay in the transit area of Moscow Airport
And send asylum requests to many far corners of the globe
While,
today is sunny and we are happy of EU new member

Mountains are occupied by the Taliban,
Churches, mosques by Brotherhood,
Let’s just find a way
to Tahrir, Taksim, Azadi, Tiananmen Squares....

© Asef Hossaini

US court renews surveillance program exposed by Edward Snowden 

Fugitive Edward Snowden applies for asylum in Russia

Muslim Brotherhood threatens civil war in Egypt

www.asefhossaini.com

Friday, 19 July 2013

Our Hero

We heard it with shock
that a girl had been shot
and we asked ourselves:
was it part of a plot?
What was behind it,
what was the reason?
She must have committed
the sin of high treason.
The attackers were guilty
of discrimination;
her only demand
was the right to education.
She survived the ordeal
by luck and will power;
her enemies could do nothing
but rage and glower.
She showed to the world
that a girl - a fifteen year old -
could defy prejudice
by being brave and bold.
The efforts to silence her
were bound to fail
given her resistance
to the fanatics’ blackmail.
She addressed the UN
and she said books and pen
scare those extremists,
misogynist men.

© Luigi Pagano

 Shot Pakistan schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai addresses UN

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Dating in a State

I’m hanging around on a dating
In a state
Keyboards covered in tobacco, crisps, sticky with beer
Telling someone I like to climb mountains, 
I’m calm and sensitive and in control 
But I’m typing.. words …I can’t ….see

And I’m starting to spill truths 

“Divorced” “Kids”

“Oh “

I like betting, drinking, smoking ,doing most things to stop me thinking or feeling 

“Mmm”

Kids miles away, and I’m up in the air 

………..

Are you still there?

© David R Mellor 2013


David was born in Liverpool in 1964. He left school with nothing, rummaged around various dead end jobs, then back to college and uni. In his 20's he first discovered poetry, starting writing and performing and has done so ever since. I has lived on the Wirral for the past 8 years.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Ganika, Rupajivas and Pumsachali (the Courtesan and her Missing Muse)

Her hoodie hides the horrors
of a ravaged mind – strewn
with garlands and bouquets –
sweet imaginings
in time spent
sprawled,

            They trained in music, conversation, learned to
            dance and act. Took starring roles, took
            lavish salary

thrown upon an unmade
bed. Where is your legislation
now her teeth – her kids – are gone?
Is this the object of your
thrusting, the taste of things to
come?

            Their words sang beyond the courtyards,
            eyes glittered long after stars had blinked,
            hands outstretched in welcome

She could flip burgers –
ignore stale scents and fingers dripping
grease – then, long after the burger
bar has ended, she’ll remember
the taste of evil on your
tongue.            

            Their hair could light a thousand ballrooms,
            feet whisk a man to heaven and never
            would another hurt them as

She worked the streets, her private
flat, sweated saunas,
clad in bondage for the
man who never features
in this never ending
tale.


©Carolyn Cornthwaite 

Carolyn writes poetry, flash fiction, short stories and has almost completed the first draft of a novel. She dreams of Booker prizes and a life in France and blogs at http://wimpywriter.com/

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Lesson


These gated communities
cicadas chirring
calm, empty streets
are not for you.

These fucking punks are all the same
hooded tops, iced tea and Skittles
not a care in the world.
Unarmed. And dangerous.

Dead kids tell no tales
and the suburbs know that 
the poor and black and young
are up to no good anyway.

Know your place.
You, and uppity Rosa,
and White House Obama
it’s the back seat of the bus, boy,
in the land of the gun and the free.
  

© Steve Pottinger. 14 July 2013


hyperlink: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-23304198

Steve Pottinger writes and performs poetry whenever and wherever he can. He has a website at stevepottinger.co.uk and can be found on twitter at @oneangrypoet

Monday, 15 July 2013

The Arms of America

Do you remember that kid?
The one at your school,
who had it all. Who was
seriously cool and 
looked good, stood tall.
Had the best clothes,
the best music, 
even the best hair.
And you all wanted
 to be like them.
We all grow up, 
and we all mature 
but they seemed 
Very centred, very secure.
Is that them, now?
Down that alley
with a gun in their hand
Just left a seedy bar,
sore as fuck
mad as hell
looking to kill 
and kill some more.
Then they'll walk
and have a nice day.
It's a killer's theme park
done the American way. 

© Hamish Mack

As well as being one of the editors of Poetry24 Hamish Mack and an all round good guy. (Written by Abi since there was no time in which to get a revised bio.)

Obama calls for calm

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Sunday Review

Another hot day in a scorching week here in the South West. My partner's son has friends from Poland staying, making their first visit to Cornwall and, indeed, to the UK. They are enjoying their stay and, while regretting the poor surf,  are relishing the sunshine and the beaches. However, they doing this in the innocent belief that it is 'always like this in Cornwall'.  Everything, they tell us, their faces wreathed in smile, is exactly as they imagined their holiday would be. We smile back and are happy for them. We don't tell them they have just struck lucky. The weather this week has been glorious, just as I remember it from childhood, a fine spell such as we have not seen in quite a long, damp while.

Anyway, down to the poetry. Simon Marks kicked off the week with his 'This Song's for You, El Presidente' which, for those of us who are old enough to remember, makes a grimly ironic nod to to the huskily warbled felicitations conveyed by another  glamorous and  pouting chanteuse  to quite a different and ill-fated 'presidente'. This is a waspish poem and Marksy has a point. Ms Lopez and her PR machine may make all the excuses they like but it would not have taken more than a minute or two of research to establish the presence of the human rights concerns that they claim to have known nothing about. This is a case, I think, where ignorance cannot be held to be a valid defence. Of course, human rights is so last year even in  our own 'sceptr'd isle'  that it is, perhaps, mean of us, and Marksy, to take her to task.

On Tuesday we saw the return of one of our most regular contributors. Luigi Pagano's 'Inheritance'was prompted by the handing over of power by the Emir of Qatar to his son, Sheikh Tamim Hamad Al Thani, a move which, as Luigi points out, has raised some questions in a region where 'Peaceful transitions/ are rare'.

Then, on Wednesday, we had Philip Johnston's 'here in dementia bay'. Philip is also a regular contributor to Poetry24 and, in this piece, he highlights the mismatch between the 'health advice' we as a society give to our most senior members and the the rapidly dwindling financial support that we are prepared to offer in order to ensure that they receive adequate support and care. There is a real and pressing issue here and, as an older person myself, I am pleased to see Philip bring it into focus. I admit I am fearful for my eventual fate should I live to the age of my mother who is now in her mid-eighties. There is a real danger, I think, that our  society is moving in the direction of gerontophobia. Like the sick and the disabled and the mentally ill, that section of the population rendered anonymous as 'the elderly' has become a 'soft' target.

On Thursday, try as I might I could not get onto Hotmail to access our folders. As a result there was no poem at all.  This failure was addressed on Friday, however, with David Mellor's extremely hard-hitting 'Unemployed'. As usual, David shows that he can be relied on to 'tell it as it is'. The message of this poem is one that needs reiterating - over and over and over again. I was quite happy, therefore, to leave it up on Saturday when I had to start work at an unspeakably early hour. Sorry folks. I'll try to do better next week.  Have a good one.


Abi

Friday, 12 July 2013

Unemployed

Not picked….
Not chosen
Not held in high esteem
Not on everyone’s lips
Almost unclean

Not the dish of the day
Not even
The tasty scraps
Thrown away

Just someone
Way down a list
That quickly becomes shredded…

Applicant 21B
Please don’t care if your face didn’t fit
That you couldn’t fit into their box
Just remember your life is more than this
And it is they…. who have lost

©David R Mellor 2013


David was born in Liverpool in 1964. He left school with nothing, rummaged around various dead end jobs, then back to college and uni. In his 20's he first discovered poetry, starting writing and performing and has done so ever since. I has lived on the Wirral for the past 8 years.


Thursday, 11 July 2013

Apologies

Having tried repeatedly this morning to access our folders, I am forced to conclude that Hotmail is temporarily unavailable. Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible. :-)

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

here in dementia bay

Huh?

costs money does paper
ink n’ stuff

and they get it on their hands

blackened fingers n’ nails
need scrubbed

n’est pas

and all that paper’ll lead to a fire hazard
don’t you think

no

why do the buggers running care homes always fail
to understand that there’s more to the art than say

we have to keep em clean

well dressed and
presentable

nice

so we wash and clean and dress em well and sit
roll over

fetch

carry go die for the queen
don’t ruffle any hair

they don’t want to paint or make a noise

at their age they want hush and a lot of rest
and keeping clean

it’s what’s expected

best they get is tv (and mick jagger leading the stones
on stage at glastonbury)

the late mr nick minickers used to string keith Richards guitar, y’know

lest we remember
eh

no   whitewash    gloss and make do with old age’s linger    here in dementia bay


© Philip Johnson

An active brain keeps dementia at bay.

Previously appeared in: Poetry 24, The Ugly Tree; Poetry Scotland, Emergency Verse, Write Away, Caught In The Net, Red Pencil, Writer's Hood, Transparent Words. He works in elder care.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Inheritance

One day all this, my son
will be yours to manage.
How many times proud parents
have used a similar mantra
to inform their offspring
of accumulated wealth
that will come their way?
It is in this manner
that dynasties are born.
The genitors are usually
magnates or financiers
who have built an empire
based on material goods.
But it is uncommon
for an entire emirate
to be offered freely
to an heir, on a plate.
Peaceful transitions
are rare in certain regions
so we may speculate
what prompted this move.
It was certainly unexpected
and we shall wait and see
what is the game being played.
Will it be a trump card
that’s needed to bring benefits
or will it be a check mate
to stifle opposition?

© Luigi Pagano 2013


Luigi Pagano is a contributor to Poetry24 and other websites. Author of three poetry collections, his work has appeared in various anthologies.

Monday, 8 July 2013

This Song's For You, El Presidente

Happy Birthday to you
El Presidente it's true
Your rule is indefatigable,
Happy birthday to you!

Such an honour to be here
As your guest, it's so clear
You are one much-loved leader
This song's for you, my dear

Yet when my people gave me this pitch,
I was baffled, I admit
But once the fee was on the table
I knew this was the right gig

And your country looks so sweet
Happy vibes off the street
Seeped through the Hilton Hotel
Up to my luxury suite

The Champagne was fine
The goat's cheese divine
And the service so punctual
With a smile every time

Nice soldiers everywhere
So helpful, always there
As my limousine sped through town
Without a leave or care

And your people, so polite
No arguments, no fights
When my room was not to my liking
And my steak not cooked right

And this party's so fab
Lots of servants to hand
Cristal chilled to perfection
Gaultier, Dolce and Gab

I love the street parties too
The gunfire's so cute
And the fireworks keep going
Banging all the night through

So happy birthday to you!
Oh, and my fee's overdue
Will you contact my people
This is urgent - thank you!

© Simon Marks

Jennifer Lopez criticised for Turkmenistan corporate gig

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Sunday Review

Simon Marks started the week of for us with his poem "Send us Ed – or we’ll cry" 
which commented on the seeming inability of the world's superpower to find one person. 
On Tuesday Martha Landman's "Musical Chairs, A Formidable Game" commented wittily on the bloodsport known as Australian politics. It's easiest to think of it as "The Sopranos" They may sincerely regret whacking you but they will whack you.
 On Wednesday Carolyn Cornthwaite's The Future's Bright continued her excellent run of poems lately. This one captured, succinctly , the feelings of despair which are becoming the new normal in many parts of the world.
Luigi Pagano's Final Curtain gave a glimpse of the very far future and who might inherit the earth after us. It isn't the meek after all, it's the microbes. Wash your hands, folks!
Saturday brought us Martha Landman's "A Piece of the Road"a fine poem poem about Nelson Mandela. The image of the Cape Cormorant is very powerful.
Have a good week folks. There are plenty of stories out there to make poems about, it really is all happening at the moment.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

A Piece of the Road

I could not imagine that the future I was walking toward could compare in any way to the past I was leaving behind.

-- Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom


I am the white-breasted
cormorant of the Cape
of Good Hope, I will spread
my wings above a cloud-
less rainbow sky.

You wouldn’t walk against your grain,
holding the aspirations of millions in your DNA
knowing that freedom is more than a step away.

That momentous Rivonia speech moved the sun and
possibility rippled across a country white with fear.
Quartus de Wet, with averted eyes, gave you life and

never witnessed the alchemy of twenty seven years:
a path spiralling towards holiness, embodied
and signatured in colourful Madiba shirts.

And here we are still imprisoned in short sighted
mediocrity, still not honouring the truth
that oppression violates humanity / Ubuntu.

It is not political freedom, but the freedom from self
that has become your legacy. A man dignified, liberated,
tampered into maturity, restored our faith in humanity.

Paved in goodness and forgiveness
The road to freedom now seems short
Yet, many more hills to climb to
work, bread, water and salt for all.

At last the future has arrived and your spirit rests
at ease. Eternally optimistic, you celebrate the move
to banquet with God and all the other saints.

For your single eyed-focus, your Zen-like discipline
the smile that won our hearts and liberated
us from fear, we thank you, Madiba: Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika!

I am the white-breasted
cormorant of the Cape
of Good Hope, I have spread
my wings above a cloud-
less rainbow sky.

© Martha Landman

Nelson Mandela's life and times

Martha is a South-African-born Australian poet who resides and writes in tropical North Queensland, Australia.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Final Curtain

“And now, the end is here
And so I face the final curtain…”
How prophetic with this melody
the crooner Frank Sinatra sounds.

It looks as if in a billion years
the heat from the Sun will be so intense,
that the oceans start to evaporate
and no human beings will be around.

The microbes will last a bit longer,
give or take a billion years or two,
then they too will eventually vanish
and the Earth will be devoid of life.

That the extremophiles are stronger
and more resilient than even Superman
is a cause for concern to us mortals
always trying to overcome our strife.

Against the Sun’s rays there’s no shield
and I can’t see what defence we can build
if the flaming star becomes much hotter.
We’d be left with our backs to the wall.

I wouldn’t call it a level-playing field
when tiny organisms have the advantage
and will outlive the rest by a long chalk.
It’d be fairer if the curtain fell for us all.

© Luigi Pagano

Microbes to be 'last survivors' on future Earth

Luigi Pagano is a contributor to Poetry24 and other websites. http://luigipagano.wix.com/poetry

Thursday, 4 July 2013

The Future's Bright

Three years ago they told me
‘the future’s guaranteed’,
three years of study was their mantra,
work and riches was their creed.

Three years later on the scrap heap,
a hundred letters sent –
I am your lost generation,
scourge of Europe’s parliament.

My God – what next – a Master’s
of frustration or a Doctor of despair?
Not a Euro for electric, food, clothes, rent –
you can forget about my hair!

You’ll find a job, they tell me,
you're young, literate, highly skilled;
but I’m their lost generation –
out-of-workers, unfulfilled.

I’m not so proud – I’ll sell my
writing, one-fifty Euros for my brain.
I’ll stack shelves in any country,
I don’t want to be a drain

and my family will support me –
we're resilient and close knit.
I turn my back upon your hand-outs
don't want a penny from your State.

So tell me, what’s your future,
is this your Baby Boomers’ dream?
All I see is desperation
whilst the Capitalists get the cream.

This is not my adventure –
wasted youth and forced exile –
I guess I’ll give up
looking, join Europe’s ever-growing pile.

© Carolyn Cornthwaite

Young, qualified and jobless: plight of Europe's best-educated generation

Carolyn writes poetry, flash fiction, short stories and has almost completed the first draft of a novel. She dreams of Booker prizes and a life in France and blogs at wimpywriter.com

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Musical Chairs, A Formidable Game

1.
A time to reign, a time to say goodbye
A time to swap chairs and play to the music
A new beat to an old tune: ladies first.

2.
Then, give this man another chance
Let him take the favourite armchair
While we discuss last week’s history

3.
A nation fast asleep staggers to the morning news
Turns over a new leaf and finds comfort
In a leader who changes the colour of his hair.

4.
I wanted Kevin, I got Julia
I wanted Julia, I got Kevin
Either way, I am a lucky man.

© Martha Landman

Kevin Rudd defeats Julia Gillard 57-45 in Labor leadership ballot, paving way for a return to PM

Martha Landman has published poetry in various online poetry magazines like Everyday Poets, The New Verse News, Eunonia Review, Dr Huley's Snake Oil Cure, and others.  She lives, loves and writes in tropical North Queensland Australia.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Send us Ed – or we’ll cry

They seek him here
They seek him there
They seek that Snowden everywhere
Paranoia’s hardened their veins
Cold War blood runs hot again
“Traitorous scum” their vocal cords cry
They don’t want their filthy secrets hung out to dry
They demand the right
To have them tucked up tight
In a cupboard, next to their .45s
And anyway, it’s their inalienable right
To peer through your laptop screen
Monitor your being
Analyse your soul
They’re the land of the free – don’t you know?
And they get angry, spiteful and rude
When the universe won’t play by their rules
Or when some scared Ordinary Ed
Decides he’s got a conscience instead of a need
To break human law for greed
And right-wing creed
The US again turns its back on the Earth
Uses a prism to peer at the world
While a petrified man’s forced to stay low
Just because he had the guts to say “no!”.

©Simon Marks


My name is Simon Marks, I'm a journalist by trade, in my mid-40s, write non-journalistic stuff for a hobby.