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Sheila 01823 67 28 46

Valerie 01884 84 04 22

Friday 29 January 2016

Suffer the Children

Young human beings, children but not quite
without fear, hunger, and family woes,
in an unjust world fragmented and trite.

Innocence plundered, crushed spirit their plight,
where’s the parental protection for those
young human beings, children but not quite?

Camilla of Kids Co outspoken forthright
floats hope love and fun to those in the throes
of an unjust world fragmented and trite.

An army of helpers paint their world bright,
need fosters kinsfolk of sisters and bro’s
young human beings, children but not quite.

Cut welfare, rife rumour, venomous spite
as carrion crows pick peck at their foes
in an unjust world fragmented and trite.

Kids Co shut down. We’ll rage wild at the night
riven by shame for their lost tomorrows
young human beings, children but not quite,
in an unjust world fragmented and trite.

© Helen McIntosh
All rights reserved
August 2015


Primary coloured carousel
relic of yesteryear
with curlicue fonted canopy
encircling its lit interior
and golden dancing ponies
and dragon scaled chariots
their barley sugar poles
clasped tight by tiny hands
as round and round and up and down
they spin to the fairground organ
whirling on the wheel of life.

© Helen McIntosh
All rights reserved
December 2015


Cast out.

Their sin?

To have fanned the flames of fear and paranoia,
diseased and untouchable,
the curse of certain contagion.
Then, their act of survival stigmatised:


by extended family (orphaned as they are),
friends, landlords, mosques, football clubs,
market stallholders, motorbike taxi drivers, et al.

Leprous Ebola outcast.

© Helen McIntosh
All rights reserved
November 2015

Thursday 28 January 2016

The Outcast

One final look at his desk, clear save a note for his replacement. 

Coat on, he walked through the uncharacteristically busy office alongside the brisk woman from HR. “Thanks for… ” began the open-faced intern.

Outside, he handed over keys and wondered if or where he might catch a bus.

© Tim Scott
All rights reserved

The Art of Manliness

Five years a hipster, Geoffrey suddenly wished to see his face again and shaved. Outrage greeted him at the gentrified store that sold pricey bowls of cereal.

'That's taking irony unacceptably far,' bayed a friend.

The choice was clear: be an outcast - or knit himself a new one.

He knitted.

© Tim Scott
All rights reserved

Santa Claustrophobia

The carousel of chavfests over, Peter retrieved lights from the lock-up.

Soon Santa’s reindeer scorched across the rooftop of No 42, whilst LED elves lit up the bay windows like Amsterdam hookers. The drive’s ‘No Turning’ sign was flanked by sparkly unicorns.

“Can’t beat the spirit of Christmas!” he sighed.

© Tim Scott
All rights reserved


Books jammed on shelves
tobacco yellow ceilings;
His thoughts curling around,
struggling for new roots -
complexity with precision;
tapping words on the typewriter.

Ladies in linen trousers,
concealing floating tops,
their words, feather-light
for polite bonding;
‘coad’ ‘renovation’ ‘original:’
His books carefully placed,
smoothed by heritage and accuracy.

© Valerie Taylor
All rights reserved


Hot place, there is loss in the air; dark lacy shadows; red wine – a bitter smell – a woman with bare shoulders, thin straps – at a cafe table – cigar smoke. Secrets.

Leaves scud along the cool stone tiles – dry, papery. Low voices – intense eyes. A betrayal. Footsteps echo. Outside it is light, bright – the sun is fierce – the chorus of crickets deafening – mountains in the distance, blue.

She leaves – lights her last cigarette – sits on a wall – paint peeling. Ready or not ready to begin the rest of her life.

He shrugs. Makes himself a cup of strong black coffee – in Hebrew they call it "botz" – mud.

Her seat is empty. She's left a memory of her perfume. He hears the heels of her strappy sandals recede into the blinding heat. He swallows the thick sour coffee which scours his throat.

Yet again – it is done. Finished.

Trapped in the burning spiral, he sits watching the waitress as she delivers the sweet cake to his table. Again, he plays music with her eyes, never giving up the weaving of his spell for a minute.

© Valerie Taylor
All rights reserved

Eric the Red

He wanders
beard and temper
flame red;
voices of villagers
shrieking in his ears,
long after.

Silence makes
strange noises
as he tramps through
crunching snow;
through icy desert,
the hollow blue tunnel
of sky and land;
creaking icebergs,
pearl textured islands,
floating sculptures,
melancholy drifts
lifting, folding;

until the cries of
the purple afternoon
slip deep into night;

he lies in a cloud
of embracing snow,
red beard – hoar
clings white to hair,
as he slides into the void;

he says to the air,
‘I am a useless burden.’

© Valerie Taylor
All rights reserved
November 2015

The Listener

Your face lies secret in my memory,
the image parchment thin now.
You supplied words for my silences,
incandescent pearls in a long tunnel;

The night of the howling babies,
mothers weeping in their pillows.

You walked beside me as I described
my baby’s look, her dark shining eyes;

you whispered, ‘Eternity’.

© Valerie Taylor
All rights reserved

Three Holiday Words

When I'm rambling,
I'm on a flat page of
a ladybird reader,
faded colours,
stiff and ordered as
my childhood was supposed to be;

but the breeze lifts the grasses –
splitting sword shadows,
combing green blades,
rippling, swimming;
disturbing the surface.

No rock of ages,
just shifting sands.

© Valerie Taylor
All rights reserved


‘Ride my golden horses,’
the barker’s voice rang out
harsh above the hurdy-gurdy.
‘Thr’pence a ride, Missy.’
‘Please, Granddad, please,’
we begged.

Then we were up,
spun round, shrieking,
delighted, dazzled
as Granddad leaned
heavily upon his walking-stick
and smiled …

I’m the watcher now
and see the children find
those golden horses

©  Gill Dunstan
All rights reserved