Wow, it seems only a little while since I updated my profile; but how things have changed. It is now more than 3 years since up the day job to concentrate on more creative work with some freelance teaching to pay some bills. I started writing poetry (quite) a few years ago but then got out of the habit for some time. Then someone told me about Write Out Loud and attending a session prompted me to start writing again and years later I'm still at it. As well as writing and image making for the last few years I've moved my part-time freelance teaching work into the special needs arena working with young people with very severe behavioural and social issues and at the same time I'm a trustee and worker with a small charity in Rochdale working with young people who have suffered trauma. Both of these are really rewarding as they can make real differences to young people who often need a metaphorical leg up. Writing makes me feel good so I carry on. Performing (or "reading out") is daunting at first but then it gets to be a real buzz - everyone should think about having a go. If someone gets something from what you have written then that is a terrific feeling, if you can change or challenge views, if you can affirm. Or strengthen views, if you can help someone to pause for thought; that means more than just words on paper. Over the last few years I've been delighted to be involved in the Rochdale Literature and Ideas Festival and the first editions of the new and growing Altrincham Word Fest (a literature festival that focuses on encouraging more people to write more). I previously launched my short collection "Thinking Too Much" and am now working on a couple of new writing projects which will become more visible during 2020 and ran my first "20:20 Visions" workshop early in January 2020. So if anyone is looking for a poet, a teacher, a speaker, compere or photographer then give me a shout on firstname.lastname@example.org and I'd be happy to hear from you.
And Eagles were Kings Soaring in the clear blue As a dream or a thought Sun warming broad aquiline wings Surveying all And he understood The smoke was long gone Blown on a thousand year wind And just the shell remained Brittle and dry, sapped of strength Empty buildings, old and burned Skyscrapers, appartments, churches And temples to industry Lying empty and desolate Men thought they had answers Unrivaled intellect Complex society A global economy But men had, perhaps To much And now the bones of society Laid bare Picked over by vultures of violence Crushed by the hyena grip of despair Men couldn’t set those shattered bones And they crumble to dust Just a memory Of a time men lived Long ago And he stretched his wings In the clear blue As a dream or a thought And he understood Still higher he flew Surveying all And nature was restoring As it always would And eagles again were kings Not Like the Rest (This is a true story about a girl I knew for just a little while. It’s a genuine tragedy, She wasn’t like the rest) Young, slim, pretty Shiny black hair In satin waves Freshness of youth Delicate features Fragile like the mayfly A shy nervous smile Flickers briefly She looks much like the rest And she walks and talks Just like the rest She tells me her story Reads me her poems Glimpses a future Inside she struggles Stresses and worries Insecurity, plagues her like locusts Eating confidence, consuming spirit An empty bottle, beached On life’s shore Forgotten, a lonely, abandoned lamb To face her wolves And she hurts “What about me?” “What about me?” “How should I feel? I don’t matter” Not like the rest Doctors diagnose, plan intervention Prescribe medication, a hospital bed Nurses monitor and report Administer the treatment Provide some care Nobody really listens Nobody really knows Or understands So she remains Hospitalised, medicated Pacified, stabilised Tranquilised, desensitised Monitored, protected Contained, controlled How does she feel? She can’t explain Then how could she Doped and drugged Her feelings blanked Smothered and flattened And they Can’t explain Then how could they? She doesn’t look ill She carries no mark She wears no badge They say she’s recovered Finished her treatment She’s not so sure They send her home Parents plead A mother knows She’s not ready She’s still hurting She still needs help Her bed’s allocated Her budget’s spent Her resources gone Released, discharged Just like the rest Her care in the community Her one brief day Of freedom They came too soon Unwittingly created A torment too far On a bridge She pauses No samaritans No witness No mothers arms She’s gone A solitary column inch She didn’t matter Not like the rest Standby My old television Had a big old switch On and off With a clunk My new one has Standby No switch Just a button Touch sensitive That doesn’t really move Or a remote With flat batteries It doesn’t ever really turn off It’s ready to burst into life To satisfy an instant need For entertainment, for news For diversion To fill an empty moment We can’t wait a few seconds We need it now Go on Touch the button My new computer sleeps The screen goes blank The fan stops whirring The disk winds down And parks But a little light flashes And then Touch the button It bursts into life Straight back to where it left off Its not really asleep Its on standby Go on Touch the button This is the modern way Life at the ready On 24-7 watch Don’t stop Don’t go to sleep When I close my eyes The world keeps going The world might pass me by The world never stops I wouldn’t want to miss Anything I wouldn’t want to be Left behind We live In a thoroughly Modern rush Go on Touch the button I don’t really sleep anymore I close my eyes Lie quiet Might snore But I‘m not asleep Oh no! I’m ready to jump up At the drop of a hat The bark of a dog The rattle of the wind The morning birds A filling bladder An empty stomach The ring of the alarm No I’m not asleep I’m on standby Go on Touch the button I don’t have a little red light But the alarm clock has The phone has The TV has The digi-box has I don’t need my own Little red light I’m surrounded by them They’ve got inside my head Glowing Flickering Light emitting synapses Waiting to switch on Always at the edge Ready to go I’m not asleep I’m on standby Go on Touch the button And if I finish my days In a hospital bed Plugged-in Connected Then When my lights go out I won’t be dead Resting in peace No Not dead I’ll still be On standby Go on Touch the bloody button The Hood Old man shuffles Stooped, shrouded, muffled Against cold and damp Uniform of age Coat grey Woolen scarf Hi-shine shoes Capped head bowed Furrowed brow Sunken cheeks Age-dimmed eyes Lines of life Life lived Duty done Passes by Nods hello And the dogs watch And tails wag Young man struts Perma-scowl Too-young Too-deep, furrowed brow Thin stretched lips Suck On the last of ten Smile-proof Sunken eyes Beneath The Hood The Hood Hides, covers The accused' blanket The judges wig Executioner’s mask Hiding feeling Hiding all The skunk cloud Beer puddled brain Swaggering With sham-strength Confused values Misplaced, replaced Aggression, size Anger, power Resentment brimming Arrogance wrapped And the dogs bark And he Wonders why! A Far Cry It’s a far cry A far cry from nature A far cry from humanity From civilization I know, ‘cause I smelled the foxes In the cold morning breeze ‘Cause I watched them grow ‘Cause I saw them play ‘Cause I heard their cry Far in the distance And the foxhunters? They Watched them die The hunters Caring, caring for the countryside Caring for nature, caring with their hatred Their seething anger, their aching lust For blood, for fear, for power And yes, their lust for death All their fancy jackets Expensive tweeds and shiny boots Sitting high and mighty, toasting their success With blood-red wine on a pedigree horse A pedigree horse groomed by stable hands Delivered by Range Rovers Polished and paid for by the working classes Charging through the countryside Like some long lost cavalry Red coats bright, bugle calls shrill But these brave toy soldiers They won’t see battle, they won’t feel fear Or wonder when their final moment comes They won’t lie forgotten In some God-forsaken foreign desert No! the hunters Defending their privilege their “Way of life” Looking after the peasants and paying a pittance To keep them in their place To keep up traditions To keep flaunting their power To race through your back yard, or mine Hounds baying for blood The blood of a fox, or a family pet Who cares? “Stand aside! we’re coming through” The hunters days are numbered But they still can’t see the truth That there never was a God-given right To hunt the fox, to ride roughshod over our land Over the working classes and over our laws But they still can’t see Because they never smelled the foxes In the cold morning breeze All they smell Is diesel fumes, polished leather Warm wine and horses and dogs The pungent sweat, the sickly-sweet scent of blood The sharp reek of fear and the stench of death And all they hear is Snorting horses, yelping hounds Tearing flesh, breaking bones A vixen’s cry and her last breath I know, ‘cause I smelled the foxes In the still night air And the hunters? They Watched them die
All poems are copyright of the originating author. Permission must be obtained before using or performing others' poems.
Imprisoned Thoughts - (Freedom) (28/10/2010)
Dead Eyes (13/04/2009)
Different Dad (04/03/2009)
Not Like the Rest (22/01/2009)
Time after time (11/10/2008)
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