Remember to look up at the stars


Not the kind who whine about their first world problems on a million different channels

always me me me


to look up at the stars and not down at your feet


and reach out to the universe with all your tiny fingertips


and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see


in a world where reality TV isn't real

and filters alter everything

teeth tits face fists

tiny hands and truth


and wonder how the universe exists                                                        


especially now

when our weaponry of satire is extinct


how the universe exists.

Be curious


but don't forget the NHS

or the cunt in charge of it


And however difficult life may seem            


poison on the streets

two women every week

babies being bombed by BAE artillery

young guns silencing the songs that others sung   

corruption in the corridors

lungs full of gas

love from Assad


there is always something you can do

and succeed at


even if it's breathing in

getting up

putting one foot

on the floor

and then another


It matters that you don't just give up


did I?


It matters that you don't just give up


be a butterfly





Rest in peace, Stephen Hawking. Today is Pi Day. What a strange universe :)


◄ Celia in Silhouette

Wilfully Blind ►


Profile image

Brian Maryon

Sat 17th Mar 2018 08:37

Arguments and counter-arguments, but I still hate that word whether used by a woman or a man or any other gender variation. I read everything posted on WOL but will stop reading as soon as I encounter that word. That's my only exception; that's my line in the sand. I don't think that is hypocritical.

Profile image

Laura Taylor

Fri 16th Mar 2018 10:48

Thank you for your contribution, Colin.

That remark made to Brian was flippant and dismissive, and springs from having to explain myself, my language, my opinions, my everything to men for years and years, in the face of constant disapproval for not fitting into the mould of what a woman 'should be'. It gets incredibly tiresome and frustrating, so sometimes I resort to one-liners. The hypocrisy in the statement of the use of every other swear word being acceptable but this one not (some kind of silent, invisible and unpredictable pre-judgement) irked me too.

Profile image

Graham Sherwood

Thu 15th Mar 2018 14:29

Different strokes for different folks then eh? Generations apart!

Profile image

Laura Taylor

Thu 15th Mar 2018 14:08

'let alone a woman', Graham? Oh dear. I'm going to choose to laugh at that, and remind myself of the generational gap between us. As for hackneyed, well, does farting ever lose its humour? Not for me it doesn't. Some things don't get old.

Good point well made, Stu. I just checked. Yeh, interesting. And yet there have been three objections to the usage on my poem.

Profile image

Stu Buck

Thu 15th Mar 2018 13:57

perhaps pillory was a little pre-emptive on my part. pardon this particular use of pillory.

Profile image

Graham Sherwood

Thu 15th Mar 2018 13:35

An opinion is a far cry from pillory Stu! Once again I repeat my first para:

"Oh dear, once again the furore over the use of a certain offensive word is quite likely to overshadow the whole piece".

Profile image

Stu Buck

Thu 15th Mar 2018 13:01

i so rarely get involved in these things, but cant help but suggest those offended type the word cunt in to the search bar at the top of the page and scroll through the myriad uses of the word both in the titles of pieces and in the works themselves. so far i've read four pieces with the word in the title and the poem itself, nowhere to be found, however, is any complaint of any kind. it can't have become offensive all of a sudden can it?

there are many instances of shock value on WOL, I myself have utilised both the damning word and other techniques to get my point across and have never faced criticism.

i do find it odd that this piece has become subject to such pillory.

thats all i have to say on the matter though as, as i said, i never get involved in this sort of stuff. live life and be happy thats what i say.

Profile image

Graham Sherwood

Thu 15th Mar 2018 12:24

Oh dear, once again the furore over the use of a certain offensive word is quite likely to overshadow the whole piece.

For my two-pennyworth, the C-word is a particularly ugly word, one that I wouldn't expect a man to use, let alone a woman, in such a serious piece as this.

I think the play on the C-word and Mr Hunt is also too hackneyed now to be effective.

Reading this several times, my view is that if the offending lines were removed it wouldn't reduce the piece at all.

The subject is a very clever balancing act between the banality of everyday life and the "wonder" of what's out there and how etc???

I hope more people read it fully. On my second reading I ignored the offending lines and enjoyed it even more.

Good work

Profile image

Laura Taylor

Thu 15th Mar 2018 09:53

And thanks once more, Hannah 😃 You have been busy! 😀 I'm very glad you enjoyed it. I took his most well-known quote and played with time on some of the lines, and interjected them with other ideas. I like it too, so much so that I'm going to use it as the pivotal poem in my next book 😀

Profile image

Laura Taylor

Thu 15th Mar 2018 09:51

Well Colin, I think the word I finally selected is the correct choice. It’s a shame you couldn’t look up from your feet, as it were, either to continue reading and/or to recognise the intelligent structure of the poem, playing as it does with ideas of time and effect using one of SH’s most well-known quotes, using themes integral to his life’s work. I’m pretty sure SH would approve, given the fierce battle he was engaged with against JH and the creeping privatisation of the NHS. I could have said it’s a divisive word for a divisive figure, but I can’t actually think of anyone who defends him and his policies. Your reaction is interesting, however, in that it mirrors my reaction to said figure - revulsion. A repulsive word (for you) for a repulsive person. That fits nicely, as another aspect in defence of the choice.

There are a wealth of poems and songs to do with the person referred to, all of which make the joke about not actually saying the rhyming word. Indeed, the Commoners Choir sing the most perfect example of that:


In the words of John Cooper Clarke,

“What kind of creature bore you
Was it some kind of bat?
They can't find a good word for you
But I can…”


Your objection reminds me of the time when a promoter booked me for a gig and then told me not to do any ‘sweary poems’. I wrote this poem in response:

Alphabetic gang fight
offends with every twist
of this liberated tongue.

My organ will defy,
decline your regimental
right and wrong;
inclined to lick around
all the edges of the words
that you label as ‘profane’.

Likes to spit out sonics
thick with breaches
of vernacular.
not integral to its means.

Loves the kick of fuck on teeth,
the sibilance of pissing,
can curl a prudish lip
which will never feel the joy
of a cunt upon the tongue,
or the diction of a prick.

This ‘vulgarity’?
Profanity is what you see.
Dirty words are what you hear.
Allow yourself to take offence,
enraged at one arrangement
of our common written signs.

My organ of delight
is designed to lick around
all the edges of all words,
not to tick your boxes
of allowed and disallowed.

Whose mouth is this anyway?

Profile image

Hannah Collins

Wed 14th Mar 2018 19:22

This is a wonderful poem Laura.
From the very first line I thought of Stephen Hawking.
Then the topical issues, poison on the streets and the way we can overcome things if we try.
It's all there.
Love your work.


Profile image

Laura Taylor

Wed 14th Mar 2018 16:54

As I do actually have one, I'll use it all I like, thanks Brian.

Cheers Stu.

Profile image

Brian Maryon

Wed 14th Mar 2018 16:31

Sorry...I'm afraid I can't accept the use of the 'c' word. I'm not a prude...I use virtually every other swear word but this one is beyond the pale for me.


Profile image

Stu Buck

Wed 14th Mar 2018 15:01

great stuff laura. think you might enjoy this painting someone made on reddit today


Profile image

Laura Taylor

Wed 14th Mar 2018 14:20

😃 😃 thanks for getting that last line. I always think 'oh, it's too obvious' and then worry that no one will get it 😀

I honestly tried a load of ways to avoid saying cunt, but failed miserably on this occasion 😉 I was so made up when SH took him on.

Yeh, it definitely opens up the 'what happens afterwards' idea doesn't it, knowing that he's gone over (or not).

Thanks David

Thanks Stephen 😃

Profile image

Wolfgar Miere

Wed 14th Mar 2018 14:00

Lots to like here Laura and pulling no punches. I have met Jeremy Hunt, whose name is fittingly cockney rhyming slang for what he seems to be, he told a Sylvester Stallone story which was shite.

Any way, there are so many terrible things going on and to battle against them (or at least not succumb) we must breathe inspiration from somewhere, and why not the stars.

I absolutely love the simple last line. We can flap our tiny wings and on occasion if we only make one persons life easier or better we are making a difference.

I hope Mr Hawking has passed through a black hole and can now see what is really there, or not.


If you wish to post a comment you must login.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more Hide this message