Saturday, 31 August 2013

Clarion Call

Why has nothing changed in Georgia
blacks still poor and rich still white?
Justice flows in one direction
veering off from what is right.

When a crime has been committed,
you are guilty if you’re black,
‘I’m innocent, not guilty.’
‘Prove it first.’ - the answer back.’

Yet fifty years have passed now
since that call for freedom spread
to change all for the better -
‘I have a dream.’ he said.

Although there’s been some progress
it has seemed so mighty slow
for all men should be equal
and there’s still some way to go.

But those words are all inspiring,
still around the world we see
others joined in hope aspiring
that  ‘One day we shall be free!’

© Wendy Nicholson

Martin Luther King

Wendy is an ecologist studying plants and animals. She also loves painting and writing poetry.


Thursday, 29 August 2013

Hooray for the Wreckers

Hooray for the wreckers.
One can see, that what they leave behind
is fertile and grows things.
Hooray for the smashers,
"Too much dead wood, here", they say
"It has to go. Make way for the new"
Hooray for uprooting
the tried and the trusted.
Like so many tin cans that have rusted.
Hooray for cannibalisation
eating our young.
Oh all right, just their futures.
Then hooray to the snakes
as they slither away
to better jobs and bigger pay
Not you old man, not you
These are the dumps where you'll stay.
Now when you can't find a job
and live's getting grim
you're boiling your shoes for later
and reading about  their new salaries
on the front page of the paper.

© Hamich Mack

List of vice-chancellor salaries

Hamish is a 51 year old New Zealander. He has been writing poetry for a couple of years.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Cheesy Chips and a Huge TV

Curious fingers caress, soothe,
trace the curves
admire the hues
depths of purple, blushes red.
Choose
                        cheesy chips
                        in Styrofoam
                        no plates to wash
                        in modest homes

an aubergine, that spritely bunch
of purple dusted broccoli.
Pick fresh peas – just enough –
to feed your superiority.
Refuse
                        that fucking huge
                        wall-mounted TV
                        disturbing the peace
                        of a poor man’s tea

the plastic bags
and ‘smart-price’ tins
and ‘value-added’ crates of
wine. Eat at tables. Socialise.
Safe from
                        foodbank queues and
                        public derision
                        benefit claimants and
                        poor nutrition

supermarket purgatory. Inhale
on deli-spice and herbs and scents
and crystal rows of condiments,
oozing cheese and fresh-shellfish
all the trappings of a rich man’s dish.

© Carolyn Cornthwaite



Carolyn writes poetry and fiction and blogs at http://wimpywriter.com/. She has just finished the first draft of a novel and is slowly recovering. Next time she will write an uplifting tale with a joyous ending



Monday, 26 August 2013

Me and My Shadow

When I was kidnapped
it wasn’t me they rescued
but you, and gifted,
with my pointy ears,
you became me.
Welcomed home
by parents
you had never seen,
to toys
that were never yours,
you  learnt
to live my life.
While I
slipped through
the wardrobe of time
to a place
where no-one knew
my proper name
and chores were done
by someone else.
Still, all was well
until today
when, losing faith
in family photos,
you checked your DNA
to find
that you were never me
and I was waiting in the wings
to start it all again.

© Maurice Devitt

Boy snatched in 1964 returned to wrong family

A graduate of the Poetry Studies MA at Mater Dei in Dublin I was recently short-listed for the Doire Press Chapbook Competition. During 2012 I was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, was runner-up in the Cork Literary Review Manuscript Competition and short-listed for the Listowel Writers’ Week Poetry Collection Competition. Over the past two years I have had about 60 poems accepted by various journals in Ireland, England, Scotland, the US, Australia and Mexico. I am a member of the Hibernian Writers’ Group.

*Poetry24 begs to be forgiven for having inadvertently posted an incorrect version of the above poem. The correct version will now remain until Wednesday morning. AW



Sunday, 25 August 2013

Sunday Review

Here at Poetry24 we were privileged to start this week with Clare McCotter's 'The Red Olinguito'. This is a remarkable poem in that it manages, without being predictably 'cute',  first to communicate something of the wonder of the discovery of a completely new species and then to make a biting a comment on the Snaresbrook 'child predator' controversy. The opening image of the creature so long hidden away but 'luxuriant in deep coral fur' is quite breath-taking. I read it with the feeling that I had just opened that drawer myself. 


On Tuesday, it was James Bessant's 'Savannah Westminster' that drew the comments of our readers, with one anonymous contributor pronouncing the poem 'better than Byron' and another, VSam, quite rightly drawing attention to the visual power of the piece when he - or she - said 'Could see the situation unfolding in front of my eyes.' James is not new to Poetry24 but he has, quite recently, added 'late night feeding' and 'nappy-changing' to his skills profile so we are particularly pleased that he was able to find the time to write and submit this poem.

On Wednesday we brought you Luigi Pagano's 'A Nation in Crisis', one of those deceptively simple pieces that actually depend on a mastery of language and tone. Luigi, of course, is one of our regular and long-standing contributors. We thank him for his loyalty which, we have to be honest, has got us out of many a fix when, for one reason or another, submissions have been a bit thin on the ground.

Thursday's poem was by Laura Taylor. It's title was simply: 'Upgrade'. There had to be a poem on this topic and we are very glad that it was this one. As one commentator observed - actually, VSam again - 'Such sensitivity is memorable.' For me the clincher is the combination of simplicity and great power. Thank you, Laura. Great photograph, too.

Friday brought us our last poem of the week. It was 'Red Line Crossed (Sarin Skies)' by Kerry-Louise Greenfield, a response to the recent use of chemical weapons in Syria. 'Powerful' and 'moving' were just two of the words that our contributors used to describe this piece and there is certainly no disputing the impact on the reader of the author's imagery.  So, all in all, another excellent week for us and for our readers. Please keep those submissions coming. Have a great week.

An Afterthought...

Requiring Some Attention

How delicate the art of political posturing
with its process of slow deliberation,
'judicious review', 'fact-gathering',
'contingencies' and 'claims';
the 'prompt investigation' of the 'so-called attack'
and those 'civilians' who 'appear to be' suffering';
'horrific symptoms', 'costly interventions'
'a big event of grave concern'.
It was seen as clear as day a long age ago
by a man who took some pains to try to tell us;
but still the politics of the English language
survives, very much alive and well. 

Abigail Wyatt


Friday, 23 August 2013

“Red Line Crossed” (Sarin Skies)

It’s like watching hyenas
in the dark
slowly break the bones
of Syria alive,

Powers scrap in the shadows
of bloody entrails
as they try but fail
to decide,

On a mandate that sanctions
for the crime
of sarin
raping star-ridden skies,

Poison forced inside
to convulse
the most innocent of
Damascan eyes,

Then like lambs after slaughter
the silence of children
lying shrouded  
already died,

And the screams of those
left harrowing behind
wondering on words
for their unlawful goodbyes,

“Red line crossed,” “condemnations”
of the emptiest kind
sound from a world
asking about who and not why,

Choking the UN staying next door
whose voices
to count down bodies
the regime permittedly denies.

© Kerry-Louise Greenfield


Kerry is 30 years old from North West England. She say "I don't remember a time that I didn't write poetry and hope that it moves whoever reads it in some way."

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Upgrade

  
in the third month
the water rose
and fell upon the land

300 tonnes came later
as an angel blew to warn
of oceanic bitterness                                                                          

will a great star fall from heaven?
did we miss it?
is it here?

a wormwood wasting Fukushima
waits on level 3

© Laura Taylor






Laura Taylor has been writing and performing poetry for nearly 3 years, and has lost control of the brakes.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

A Nation in Crisis

In the land of Pharaohs
there is confrontation
and opposing factions
are dividing the nation.
One side had made
the initial protest
but now the country
is facing unrest.
The opponents claim
that their policy is best
and to govern once more
is their earnest request.
Tanks are on the streets
to make the conflict cease
but for the time being
there’s no prospect of peace.
There should be harmony
under a united flag
but bullets are the cause
of many a body bag.
Against the military
there’s been a backlash,
their fierce clampdown
is condemned as rash.
The current situation
amounts to idiocy,
there’s only one solution
and that’s diplomacy.

© Luigi Pagano 2013


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. His author's page can be seen on Amazon.co.uk Amazon.co.uk


Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Savannah Westminster

In the grasslands of Westminster
They prowl
With hyena laugh
And vulture cowl.
Dividing up
The leavings; A carcase
Of the country
Of us.
Taking advantage of the weak
The fair minded
The generous
And the kindest.
They never work
For what they take
And never give
Watch out!
They might take yours
While you still live.

© James Bessant 2013

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-23691209


James lives in London, and with a two month old baby, considers it a success if he gets to put pen to paper; He also blogs occasionally.

Monday, 19 August 2013

The Red Olinguito

You turned up in a drawer
in the Smithsonian
luxuriant in deep coral fur.
Samples and swabs
pokes and prods proving
beyond all doubt
a new species
could shine bright
lengthening lists
in museum catalogues
in mammalian taxonomies

No time till they spotted
copper eyeshine
burning in the forests of blue
noctilucent cloud
you travel by night
drinking from flowers’
velveteen mouths.
Solitary in misty canopies
shy fig-eating carnivore
smaller by far
than others
thought your kind.
Misidentified for years
now named
Bassaricyon nelina
round the hearth olinguito.

Thirty five years since
a mammal discovery                             
then two in two weeks.
The first an omnivore
red in tooth and claw
yet so easily caught.
Standing for all to see
solo in spotlight
at Snaresbrook Crown Court.
The female of a species
renowned for
consummate cunning
and great guile
categorised sexual predator
formerly a child.

© Clare McCotter

Clare McCotter's poetry has appeared in Abridged, Boyne Berries, Crannóg, Cyphers, Decanto, Iota, Irish Feminist Review, Poetry24, Revival, Reflexion, The Moth Magazine, The SHOp and The Stinging Fly. Black Horse Running, her first collection of haiku, tanka and haibun, was published in 2012. Home is Kilrea, County Derry.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Sunday Review

Clare McCotter's  The Glass Case was our Monday poem which was inspired by a story of a python that killed two children. The poem gave a very good evocation of our two faced view of nature and how we sometimes forget about that "red in tooth and claw" bit. 
Abi's first poem of the week was "I'd like to think they're listening" on Tuesday and gave an interesting take on Irish newspapers dropping topless page 3 girls. I like the last two lines, especially:
for the truth is they fear us and hate us
who will neither be harlots nor toys.

Martha Landman's poem "The Broken Economic Clock"  pointed out that the economic system is largely unchanged and just as chaotic as ever. I like the lines:
falling backwards
head over heels.

Because of the imagery of tumbling they invoke.
Luigi Pagano's "Automation" told of the latest, frankly horrifying, piece of technological wizardry to afflict us all. A brave new world, citizens! As Luigi says :
I can’t see how it works,
if you want the truth,Abi's third poem "I Do Not Forget" was a sobering reminder of the past and how we must not forget it. Recent events on Twitter and in newspapers reveal that we have not progressed as much as we thought.
Have a good week folks, get your poems down on pixels and in to us. We want to hear what you think of the world and it's fabulous automated toilets, etc.  It is one way that we can stay in touch and share our concerns and our hopes.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

I Do Not Forget

Don't talk to me about the 'gender divide'
as though it is a mystery to be plumbed.
I have not forgotten how a woman in Delhi
was beaten and raped and left to die;
nor how, in Britain, a child of thirteen
took the blame for her own abuse;
and I do not forget how many rapes go unreported
nor how every woman knows why;
and how each of us likes to think we would fearless
when none of us can ever be quite sure
until the time when we are tested,
when we, and we alone, are the ones
who, if not on trial, are questioned closely,
doubted, probed for cracks.
A barrister asked me once, in open court,
if I had taken off my knickers myself.
I was just a child but I stood my ground;
though I faltered, I would not cry;
but it did no good since they
blamed me anyway and I,
I have been crying ever since.
So, I do not forget all the mutilated women
and the women stoned and burned;
nor do I forget those women murdered
by the men who shared their beds.
I do not forget all the infants abused
or the grandmothers, robbed and raped;
or the women beheaded, and those shot or disfigured
who would neither lie down nor be still.

© Abigail Wyatt




Abigail Wyatt lives in Cornwall and writes whenever she can.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Automation

There are luxurious toilets
controlled by a smartphone
which flushes, plays music
with a distinctive tone,
lifts and lowers the lid
then releases fragrances
and does all that is bid.
It is a new technology
done with an application
dispensing with the need
of manual sanitation.
I can’t see how it works,
if you want the truth,
but in order to function
the toilets use bluetooth.
The pin code is hardwired,
meaning it can’t be reset,
so that is why the system
can easily be upset.
I bet you have spotted
the obvious handicap:
anyone can activate it
if their phone has that app.

© Luigi Pagano 2013



Luigi was born in Italy and lives in England. He has published three collection of poems, entitled ‘Idle Thoughts’, ‘Reflections’ and 'Poetry on Tap'. 

Thursday, 15 August 2013

The Broken Economic Clock

A found poem for Jody Elliss

I couldn’t leave it alone when I
found it lying on the
investor’s floor

An economic clock
broken like pieces of bread,
shared amongst the poor.

Big men trip over commodity prices,
trade tigers all over the globe
rising, rising
their overseas
reserves

rating
tighter and tighter
without interest

falling backwards
head over heels.

Unemployment increases
in the mean time
between the rise
and the fall

and the clock
starts
all over
again.

© Martha Landman

The Global Economy

Martha Landman is addicted to words in any form and loves to play with them.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

I'd like to think they're listening

I'd like to think they're listening;
I'd like to but, truly, I don't think I can.
Is this, as they claim, a step forward;
or is it a sop and a scam?

And what of the people of Ireland:
are they really so 'different' to us?
Are the men altogether less macho,
or is it the women have just made more fuss?

So I'm not sure I've grasped where they're going
or where this whole business might lead.
It isn't a question of nipples or not
but a matter of profit and greed.

And, if they think now to placate us,
we should resist and reject this new ploy;
for the truth is they fear us and hate us
who will neither be harlots nor toys.

©Abigail Wyatt

The Sun's Irish edition drops topless page 3 pictures

Abigail lives in Cornwall but is thinking about moving to Wales. People have a fondness for poets there, or so she has heard.

Monday, 12 August 2013

The Glass Case

 Baffled they have called in
the experts who all agree
this extraordinary case
could not have been foreseen.
No one could have predicted
aggressive behaviour
from apex predator
Python sebae sebae
housed a decade or more
in a corset of glass.
Sassy to be sure
taking down
an antelope or a croc
but this totally aberrant
turn of events
simply is a freak accident.
For what scrying stone
could have shown
their bewildered breaths
mingling eye to eye
their two small hearts
fluttering bone to bone.

©Clare McCotter


Clare McCotter’s haiku, tanka and haibun have been published in many parts of the world. She won the IHS Dóchas Ireland Haiku Award 2010 and 2011. In 2013 she won The British Tanka Award. She has published numerous peer-reviewed articles on Beatrice Grimshaw’s travel writing and fiction. Her poetry has appeared in Abridged, Boyne Berries, Crannóg, Cyphers, Decanto, Iota, Irish Feminist Review, Revival, Reflexion, The Moth Magazine, The SHOp and The Stinging FlyBlack Horse Running, her first collection of haiku, tanka and haibun, was published in 2012. Home is Kilrea, County Derry.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Sunday Review

We began this week at Poetry24 with ‘Morrissey’ by David Mellor, an intensely personal and affectionate response to the suggestion made Andrew Harrison of The Guardian that the singer’s ‘light’ may have finally flickered out. I am not a great fan myself but I must say I found the tone of Harrison’s piece unnecessarily waspish and David’s poem, by contrast, honest, open-hearted and affecting. On balance, it seems to me that anyone who devotes a lifetime to the arts in general and one area of creativity in particular is more than entitled to hit a rough patch here and there. Therefore, Mr Harrison, if you can’t say anything nice, did you need to say anything at all?

On Tuesday it was the turn of Luigi Pagano, another of our regular contributors, who gave us ‘The Call’. On the surface this is a playful little piece about dolphins and their ‘signature whistles’ but there is, I feel, an underlying message for humanity on related the subjects of  communication and the valuing of our individual uniqueness. It is ‘sensible’ to ‘keep in touch/ and the effort required isn’t too much.’

Moving on to Wednesday, Wendy Nicholson gave us ‘Liquid Magic’.  Scientists in Bristol have devised a means of using urine to charge a mobile phone, ‘a secret essence/ to succour gnarled roots/ and seeds/ liquid magic/ activates the chain’. What a contrast, though, on Thursday with Steve Pottinger’s ‘Bongo Bongo bad’, a lively, political piece which attracted much favourable comment. I make no apology for reproducing in its entirety the following most pertinent stanza. Thanks, Steve, for allowing us to publish this poem. Clearly, among our readers at least, you touched on a nerve.

‘But don’t ever think to begin to ask why
the rich get ever richer while the poor can’t get by
could it be something to do with dividing the pie?
Don’t bother your head with that. Blame the Bongo Bongos.’

On Friday, the mood was different again. We chose Ian Whitely’s powerful and heart-rending poem ‘Daniel in the Hyena’s Den’ with its challenging closing lines:

‘pity etches scars
upon a tiny coffin
we should remember
and, as a nation, mourn him
we, who could not protect
a child
from the clutches
of hyenas’

This poem has a particular and personal impact for me since, almost fifty years ago, my parents, experienced foster parents with many years of experience behind them, were on the brink of adopting a little girl whom they had been caring for almost since her birth. Almost at the last moment, their plans came to nothing when the child was suddenly withdrawn from their care and returned to her mother. It was not, however, until many weeks later that we learned that she had died and that the inquest recorded the presence of multiple wounds and bruises. How it saddens me to be reminded that, since that heartbreak, so little has changed.  Thank you, Ian, for giving expression to what so many of our readers must be feeling.

Finally, on Saturday, we come to Philip Johnson’s ‘Cuts’ which is another strong and outspoken piece. It comes on a day when a friend of mine included the following in her Facebook status:

‘What has happened to my country? Don't get old, don't get sick and don't be poor.’

My thanks to Viv Tott for that and sincere thanks, too, to Philip who asks the question ‘where are the lifeboats the doctors and nurses’.

All in all, it’s been a strong week, I think.  Please keep those submissions coming. Thanks to those people who have sent messages of sympathy over the loss of my beautiful dog, Sadie.

Abigail Wyatt

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Cuts

when there’s no-one on duty
where there’s neither nurse nor doctor
its like the sinking of the titanic all over again

see every post deserted

and they assured us the lifeboats
would never be needed

they take our trust as well as our money

(our money)

we hear is taken in fraudulent expenses claims
by MPs

a large screen tv and the dry clean on the suit
never worn never bought never seen
the never had receipt

never more important

than the swollen legs of the patient come retaining fluid
and drowning in their own excessive waters
drowning

not waving but

where are the lifeboats the doctors and nurses
here

the ship’s in port
as the lungs are filled and liquid outs
dark lips


© Philip Johnson


Philip Johnson's work has 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; Emergency Verse and The Robin Hood Book.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Daniel in the Hyena's Den

his limbs break like sticks
and these protectors
these vermin hurt him
he has no more dreams
only the lonely nights
locked in the room
where pain will come
with demon eyes.

Others see a thin child
nothing more
but much less in soul
they justify
their negligence
by quoting
numbers
pressures
temporary blindness.

Loveless little boy
whose only sin
is being born
to savages

the night comes
and the darkness
makes him cry
and in that crying
his fate is sealed
as one by one
the blows fall
until there is no
breath to breathe
no heart to beat
no tears to cry

pity etches scars
upon a tiny coffin
we should remember
and, as a nation, mourn him
we, who could not protect
a child
from the clutches
of hyenas

© Ian Whiteley

Daniel Pelka murder: Mother and partner given life

Ian Whiteley was born in Wakefield but lives in Wigan. He is a performance poet and his poetry collection ‘A Step Towards Winter’ was published recently. http://www.writeoutloud.net/profiles/ianwhiteley

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Bongo Bongo bad

When you’ve spilt your red wine and just burnt your dinner
the bills keep turning up fat and your pay’s getting thinner
your boyfriend said he was blonde and it turns out he’s ginger
who’s to blame? The Bongo Bongos.

The neighbourhood sucks and your house is a slum
you were hammering a nail and you battered your thumb
your dad’s had a sex change and now he’s your mum
whose fault is that? The Bongo Bongos.

They’re lazy and selfish (and probably black)
they take what we send and they give nothing back
say they need it for food but they spend it on crack
a pal of a mate of a friend saw them do it once. The Bongo Bongos.

They’re a mythical race who don’t really exist
but they’re someone to shoulder the blame when you’re pissed
and you’re bitter and angry you’ve never been kissed
and it’s simply not fair. Those bloody Bongo Bongos.

But don’t ever think to begin to ask why
the rich get ever richer while the poor can’t get by
could it be something to do with dividing the pie?
Don’t bother your head with that. Blame the Bongo Bongos.

It’s irrational hate that defies explanation.
Aid isn’t the problem, but greed. Exploitation
means food banks for many who live in this nation
but when you’re pointing the finger in despair and frustration
and you think that it offers some consolation
to blame the Bongo Bongos...

you’re wrong, in summation.

© Steve Pottinger

Unrepentant 'bongo bongo land’ Ukip MEP says he'll 'apologise to country's ambassador

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, 7 August 2013

Liquid Magic

A golden stream
bursting forth
salt-enriched liquid
richly scented
pungent, aromatic
body-warm
caught, captured, diluted
cast upon the soil
a secret essence
to succour gnarled roots
and seeds
liquid magic
activates the chain
a decomposing wizardry
to make fresh shoots
appear from crumbling earth.

And now much more
of creativity
with chemistry
urine feeding microbes
Can you believe the power of pee?
Caught short no more
energy to store
as electricity!

© Wendy Nicholson

Bristol scientists use urine to charge mobile phone

Wendy Nicholson is an ecologist with many diverse interests.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

The Call

There’s one thing I want to make clear:
don’t call me pet, or love, or dear.
If you want me just whistle, that’s all.
Follow the advice of Lauren Bacall:
Just put your lips together and blow.
If you are a friend I will let you know
I’ve heard your call and I’ll respond
with the same sound to form a bond.
Identification is the name of the game
and so we call each other “by name”.
I won’t recognise you by your physique
but by your signal which is unique.
It’s a sensible way to keep in touch
and the effort required isn’t too much.

© Luigi Pagano

Dolphins 'call each other by name'

Luigi was born in Italy and lives in England. He has published two collection of poems, entitled ‘Idle Thoughts’ and ‘Reflections’.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Morrissey

He’s not a god
But growing up in the crumbling north
He was more…

Whilst Wham blasted out Club Tropicana
And flags waved our troops home
He reminded me that you don’t have to be a thug to be a man, and to read is a blessing not a curse

He’s not a god
But growing up in the crumbling north
He was more

Made me stop
Think
Feel….
That life was not paper thin

His words laying our hearts
Wide open to receive
A nugget, a gem,
That I can still play
Over and over again

© David Mellor

Morrissey: has his light finally gone out?

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.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Sunday Review

It is finally August and 2013 is flying by with excellent poetry submitting to us every day. I recently took on some new writing jobs as an editor for a novel and a copywriter but I’m still here at Poetry24. Just means I’m reading so much that I’m getting a new pair of glasses today. To begin with, we had Martha Landman send us For the Common Good. This was about the news story that swept the world. The royal baby. This was a positive take on the birth of the prince, writing with an easy flowing voice.

Wednesday was Woman in Chains by Caroline Hurley. This is a powerful poem on the subject of abortion laws in Ireland which recently saw The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill make abortion illegal even in the case of rape or incest. The poem directly relates this subject to slavery with the imagery of women being in physical chains with subjective limited freedom.

Next we had Leaving Vigo by Maeve O’Sullivan. This was about the Spanish train crash which killed 78. It is a haunting fantasy-like poem written from the perspective of a passenger on the train, hoping the reach the next stop, with the overwhelming dread that something is wrong.

One one of the editors of Poetry24 submitted on Friday. Abigail Wyatt submitted if you’re happy and you know it... This was an ironic take on the story that the Happiness Index had shown a small improvement, with ‘sadness rooted so deep.’

Yesterday we had Oneupmanship (after the birth of a blue blood) by Philip Johnson. This was about a UK designed mission to Mars that was written alongside a ridicule of the government and MPs. The satire was small be very effective.

Michael.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Oneupmanship (after the birth of a blue blood)

britain can’t afford the petrol to get the sick in A & E
never mind the manufacture

and oncosts

of a mission to mars
though - after two weeks
sunshine

rumour of the chancellor putting in a big bid
on tin foil head wear for MPs

is a much more believable prospect.

© Philip Johnson

UK team designs human mission to Mars

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; Emergency Verse and The Robin Hood Book.

Friday, 2 August 2013

If you're happy and you know it...

Spare a thought for those who buck the trend,
and stick grimly on seven or less;
and those whose sadness is rooted so deep
that their dreams happen only in their sleep;
and then there are those who chanced to be out
the day the man called with his clipboard,
who might or might not have been happy that day,
depending on the weather and their luck.

And, when you switch on your TV and the newsman says
that the Queen's Jubilee made us happier,
that watching the Olympics cheered our hearts,
and that our Government wants us to smile,
spare a thought for those on the minimum wage
who teeter daily on the brink of disaster
and those who depend on our collective ruth
for their security, their comfort, their peace.

© Abigail Wyatt

Happiness index shows 'small improvement'.

Abigail Wyatt lives near Redruth in Cornwall. She writes poetry and short fiction in the passionate but probably deluded belief that it matters.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Leaving Vigo

With sad and friendly eyes she answers yes
when I ask if Santiago trains are on.
Seventy-five fatalities, or more:
 un accidente horrible - she nods.
A message wishes us a pleasant trip,                                                  
the carriage has an eerie muffled mood,
its notice says 130 km per hour,
we read our newspapers and phones, subdued.
I see Camino pilgrims stumbling,
their spirits springing up from bloody rails;
fresh donations from Gallegos streaming
through some survivors’ arteries and veins.
The train conductor doesn’t meet my gaze.
At journey’s end we disembark with haste.

© Maeve O’Sullivan

Spanish train crash: Galicia derailment kills 78

Maeve O’Sullivan works as a media lecturer in Dublin. She has published her poems and haiku widely. Her first haiku collection, Initial Response, was launched by Alba Publishing in 2011. www.twitter.com/maeveos