Our Writing


Time and time again
the weeping lychees are left
to ponder their fate

Elaine Cusack

Finding my voice
A shaft of moonlight illuminates the night in front of me,
the glowing fire crackles and stutters behind me,
the world slumbers quietly around me.
No other sound invades this solitary place.
Until the pen cuts through the surface of the paper, breaking the silence,
tattooing my unconscious upon the page.
The words assemble covertly,
before plotting their escape down the pen.
The ink dances rebelliously in swathes,
while my mouth remains pathetically silent.
Caught within my mouth, so many things to say, but the words are jumbled,
swilling around like washing, awaiting the stains of shame to dissolve and disperse.
The ink is less easily shamed or contained, it races for freedom, pouring from the nib,
blowing contemptuous raspberries, and hissing ‘fuck you’ at my dumb lips.
It demands the paper soak up every drop, in the form and meaning that has waited for this moment,
it rejoices in making it’s own mark, proclaiming itself the blood of thought.
It colours and commands every fibre that it touches,
giving meaning and breathing life into the page once so lifeless, so quiet.
The words squawk and screech like infant birds, breaking free from their eggs.
They fledge quickly and learn to fly, lifting themselves on tiny breezes of my breath,
flying on thermals of meaning in front of my eyes.
They circle my head and rest there for a while,
before leaving to forge a path through the darkness for my voice to find.

Gail Curry



Snow-white butterfly
Floats by on a summer breeze
Slowly melts away

Rowland Hill


The Photograph

The past is gone, yet lingers on,
In your picture and in my soul,
That longing for our youth again,
And for those summers long ago,
Temptation still is in your eyes
With lips begging to be kissed,
To take you in my arms again
Holding your body close to mine
Whilst whispering words of love
Not forgotten after all this time.

There’s a girl lives in my pocket
Someone that I once knew
When life was full of promise
And summer painted a rosy hue

There’s a photo in my wallet
Which I take out once in a while
To dream of kissing her red lips
Whilst basking in her winsome smile.

John Gardham Lowe

Childlike exuberance
Caught in a reflection
Of a sideways glance
Peter Pan prancing around
Wendy looks on quite by chance
Head in the clouds
Pulling them in
Boys in a gang
Some fat some thin
Jumping and flying
Screeching and fun
They hurtle around
And crash to the ground
Wendy observes
This awesome sight
It is Peter she craves for
With all her might
His arms all around her
His kiss on her lips
If only he’d see her
If only he can
Peters a boy now
But never a man

Jackie Wilson 

Grizzled Badger Falling Asleep
Sinking into the centre
Of the earth,
I cover my nose with
Charred paws.
The earth’s engine hums
And floats my cinder bones
Into amniotic space.

Stella Yule



A National Service Man’s Lament

They sent me aboard the ‘Narvik’, for a peaceful Pacific cruise,
I was only a National Service Man, so what ‘ad I got to lose.
’twas a chance of a life time they told me, to see all those wonderful sights,
Exotic islands with palm trees and strange dazzling bright flashing lights.

We sailed across the Atlantic, where the ship almost split in two
And the top brass in London were worried, for they didn’t know what they would do.
But we made it at last into Kingston, where they patched us up good as new,
And sent us on through the Isthmus, where they gave us a bit of a do.

Then on across the Pacific, for day, after day, after day,
Until we made landfall at Christmas, to be told, “you’re not here to stay”,
Malden’s your base for the future, there’s work there a plenty to do,
You’ll swing to a pick at your leisure, which didn’t please most of the crew.

Life for the most was plain boring. Though the officers did of their best,
And launching the Sea Boat at Midnight was considered the ultimate jest.
Swimming was out of the question; the surf on the beach was so great, and
the sharks that lived round the island would have thought we were there to be ate.

On May 15th they were ready, in our best No.9’s we all dressed,
And anti-flash gear it was issued, so that we could witness the test.
We sat on the deck in the sunshine, with our hands clasped over our eyes,
And we thought there was no need to worry, for we’d listened to all of their lies.

Then we turned and gazed out in wonder, at the sight of the great mushroom cloud,
And the blast of the bomb was alarming, for it was so tremendously loud.
They kept us on deck all morning, for they wanted to know the results,
That nuclear bombs when exploded, had on we hardened old salts.

By evening we were back on the island for a thoroughly good look around,
but there wasn’t much left to look at, and no relics there to be found.
They tested the Bomb twice again Sir, 31st and 19th June,
Then ordered the ship sail homeward, which wasn’t a moment too soon.

Many of the crew they are dying, from cancer and related disease,
The Government won’t give a penny, their suffering and misery to ease.
So through the courts we must fight them, we mustn’t be humble of meek,
And right in the end it must triumph, for justice is all that we seek.

John Gardham Lowe



From sterile whiteness
bathroom towels morph into
goldfish and sunflowers

Stella Yule

South Shields Gasometer
Iron wrought and cast
Iconic gasometer
Relic of the past
Proud like The Coliseum
On the edge of town
Eyesore or landmark?
Built in the 1950s
Future looking bleak
Built to store coal gas
But soon to be dismantled
And wiped from the map
Rowland Paul Hill 12 November 2015


The Garden
Time for my garden to go to sleep.
But like an overexcited child,
This year it just won’t settle down.
Nothing this year has run its predictable course.
First the June referendum.
Despite the long lead up
I never imagined Brexit,
Never mind the subsequent Gove stab in the back for Boris!
Gone, finished, I assumed
But like the phoenix he has arisen
To lead the Three Brexiteers.
All for one! But which one?
Next I consider Mrs May’s worthy statement on taking office.
However, those sentiments
Seem to float quite free of her actual policies,
As the latest round of cuts drive her “just managing families”
Towards harder times.
Never think Daniel Blake is fiction. It’s documentary.
Then I give more than one thought
to the USA,
Under President Trump.
I ruminate about the possible implications
For the world we knew
And our own little country,
In or out of Europe.
No! It’s no wonder that my little garden
Wants to see a further piece of the action
Before it too settles down to
A long dark winter.
It is not filled with foreboding, like me.
Spring has never failed it so far.
I will watch, as always, for the first snowdrops.
(The winter jasmine has been in flower since September)
Although the world just now is dark,
Filled with ignorance and fear, prejudice and spite.
I want to believe that, just like the snowdrops in the garden,
Signs will emerge of the resurgence of a brighter future.
We will see again the more tolerant civilized country
We took too much for granted.
Then we must cherish it more.

Joyce Howe,  13th November 2016


Gin Slings in Singapore

It baffles me
I’ve got to say
Why anyone would want to pay
Twenty pounds or more
For a drink in Singapore
And, before you say “Hey!Wait a minute!”,
I can see no sense at all in it!
“It’s Raffles!” they said
With grins on their faces
As big as that of the Cheshire cat!
“It’s the gin sling!
It’s the in thing
For a girl on the town in
So there I sat
Across from them
And I watched them
As down their throats
They slung their slings
With grins on their faces
As big as the boat
Atop the Marina Bay

Sands Hotel!

Rowland Hill 2015

People Pity Me, think I’m a Crackpot; a Crank;
Lost; Potto; needing a Boot up my Loose Bottom!
But, I don’t Cold Blow my own Trumpet and I’m no Seething,
Nasty, Bulley who’d Box, Dent, Clock Face you in a Knockdown,
Brawl, Wrangle in Triangle, after a night on Beer and Booze!
I’m Friendly; a Hearts’ Delight; not a Horrid Hill!
I’ve a Brill life. I’m never Idle; life’s never Dull;
Amble everywhere and don’t need a Black Car!
Been to, and seen, Noah’s Ark,
Mavis Grind, Wetwang and Wark,
Crawley, Crapstone, Crapham Down,
Wig Wig, Ware, Wheelbarrow Town,
Hen Poo, Snig’s End, Rows of Trees,
Cowslip Green and Old Wives’ Lees;
Mudford Sock and No Man’s Land,
Avoiding Loggerheads when I can!
Our great British Isles – miles of footpaths, smiles and stiles;
Wide Open country. No Messing; no Mucking about!
Halfpenny in pocket, avoiding Plush hotels,
I Clatter, Clink and Pant along the Long Road
Through Dog Village, Dirt Pot, Donkey Town,
Up Bank Top, down Causeway Foot,
Round every Cunning Corner,
From Land’s End to John O’Groats.
Day’s Nup End I Retire, Settle down, to Rest and Be Thankful,
Great Snoring, in the Land of Nod! Titty Ho!
Rowland Hill 2015


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