News of Volcano on Monserrat
From his balcony on the seventeenth floor of a London tower block
an old black man sits flying paper planes
He launches them with great dexterity
then through thick binoculars, he follows their descent
and smiles with satisfaction as they ziz-zag crazily to the ground
From the top of his mountain on Montserrat, Lord Vulcan too amuses himself
sitting on his haunches in a state of undress
leaning forward to perform such an unmannerly display
of belching, throat-clearing and spitting
that the devil himself would cringe
I knew a man called Michael, once, who had but one ambition
to build a “back home” island dream house of his own
high up on a hill, with the sea as his front lawn
wild woods as his back yard and mountain ranges for a fence
And he did
With his lifetime’s savings and his own two hands he built this house
now, nothing but a faint memory blurred by billowing black smoke
the sulphuric smell of red-hot ash and the acrid taste of volcanic soot
Now, as I watch this frail elder while away his days
from the confines of this concrete height
I remember Michael and cannot help but wonder
Whatever’s become of him?
Jane Ulysses Grell
IN PASSIONATE JANUARY
the rains return you newborn
fresh flowing, no pollutants
vomiting out your mouth
no messy birthing smells.
nourishing night and day
full the creases out, flood
your subterranean world
you a fresh flowing
a wide shiny gurgling
slithering through winter grass
now a long sashay in the rains,
an almost silent dance in blue
a blue, deep with no warning
a voluptuous blossoming
in January’s everlasting passion
falling on Wandle Park in Croydon
you ignite imagination fires, colour words
throw excitement like a wedding bouquet
and painters try to catch moments
moving sounds, all with a rainbow
Jack, Tom, Kiki, Max, Bruno watch
sensing this is not
time to be boastful
test the competition
chase the lightening
This is not the time
Milli in tantalizing red coat steps daintily away
there is no play for Sam and his Frisbee today
Samson lost his voice to perplexing sounds
The mighty talking a-hurrying in the rains
inspiration for the music, you the dance
a bespectacled friend dons beige linen jacket
matching hat and with cane to walk beside you
the poet walked through your wildflower banks
in days when you were lazier, gossamerlike
a flirting last summer, in yellow afternoons.
© irma u-h (2014)
Raspberries, peaches and pectin
I threw the raspberries on the lawn
And hoped the wildlife would come.
And the fruit just rotted.
Pink polka dots on soiled green.
I couldn’t be bothered to make the jam.
My darkness had come down
And the time seemed against me.
The lawn is pink and mushy
And the peaches just rot.
On the table.
In a bowl.
I didn’t think the creatures would want them.
Too many stones.
Just sweet, sweet compost for the garden
And no treats for tea.
Benjamin Cusden © June 2014
NEEDS TO BE
Each day becomes a wonder
As your smile
Fades to the dark.
Time has slipped and stuttered
And left us
Where we are.
Slowly swept our energies,
Yet never ceasing to increase
Our needs and
The basic ways to cope
Now outweigh the needs to be
Just existing to exist
Hoping, wishing to be free
Of the mundane struggle
That life’s become
With anxious breaths
And faltered steps
Clinging to our dignity
Now outweighs the dreams
Of needs to be.
Benjamin Cusden © June 2014
Those small and shy in nature
go by the covered way,
shuffling round the pasture rim
away from the light of day
nosing aside the couch grass,
the bindweed and the rue,
intent upon a feeding task
to complete before the dew.
This world is web and decay
with mouldering bramble leaf,
where toadstools hide from the moon,
far off from the silvered heath.
A tawny owl in a blasted tree
is stiff and watchful, knowing
some small prey must go their way
when thistled backs are showing.
Snouted heads pick up the scent,
lock on to the glassy trails
hedgehog jaws are moving
on herds of slugs and snails.
THE BALLAD OF WANDLE PARK
Let’s hear it for the flowers and the bees
the birds and the trees,
the grass that’s underneath
and the heather on the heath.
Let’s hear it for the flies and the worms
for the seagulls and the terns,
the slugs and the snails
and all their glassy trails.
Let’s hear it for foxes ghosting by
and the swallows flying high;
for the lichen on the urn
and the thistle and the fern.
Let’s hear it for the toads and the frogs
and the newts by the logs,
the bushes in full leaf
and all the life beneath.
Let’s hear it for the moles in their mound
and the rabbits underground;
for the badgers in their sets,
the mice, the voles, the ferrets.
Let’s hear it for the cabbage white
and the moths at night,
the damsels and the dragon flies
and the bats up in the skies.
Let’s hear it for pippit, lark and owl
and all the fish and fowl;
for the milfoil, sedge and frond
and the lilies in the pond.
Can we hear it for every living thing,
that can squeak, or squeal, or sing,
for the stone, the sand, the clay,
the frosts at night, the sun by day?
Keep all of this within our grasp,
let the green days always last.
George Wright 2014