Archive for November, 2012

Not birding but birded
November 28, 2012

First seen across the river

A pearly streak between the reeds.

Head hunkered down, body bunched.

A sinuous cipher in a strange place.

Overwintering, maybe for the first time.


Then, from a train.

A gleaming snowy-feathered capsule

Lurching forward, stilting step by step,

Acid yellow spike of bill against the green

Delving in the slime and weeds,


Delicately-boned and feathered,

Curving neck and breast and legs,

A plumed pod

With bill that juts and probes

Into the cold and grub-filled Barrow’s water.


Now, suddenly met close, upriver,

You turn and scan me with

A look of gentle shock

The river running in your small bird ears,

Head tilted, perched on the high bank edge.


Great white egret from the rain forest

Look at me,  through your round eye

Before the startling of your huge white wings

Six-foot-spanned with trailing tips

Conveys you, floating on a river thermal,

Off down away.


Enheduanna     28/11/2012

Photograph: Dick Coombes

Ode To Gordon Hudson
November 25, 2012

“You could do with a day’s work, I’d say” said the Captain of the ship, taunting me and I had that sinking feeling.   I picked myself up and dusted myself down.   Captain, I said, “listen to our plight”.   His small dead rodent eyes stared back at me.   In an instant his anger turned to discomfort as he reassured me that he felt my pain.   He pointed to the choppy sea, said if the storm got any worse we’d be all be sailing together out of the rocky harbour waters, back into the open sea and on to safety.
The Captain readjusted his cap and moved on to reassure the rest of the Islanders that the mainlanders’ thoughts were with them all and wasn’t it a nice day on this fine Island.   He told the Islanders the evacuation had been called off and they could stay where they were, as he’d been reassured by the met-service that the worst of the hurricane was going to hit further south.   The Captain glanced back at me for just a moment and his smarmy countenance left me in no doubt that his ship was not meant for the likes of me.
Slowly the Captain slipped out of view and then it was like he had never been there at all.   I knew then the Captain would never return and that we’d have to face the coming storm on our own.  I turned away from the babbling Islanders and their happy chatter, went to the pub with my own crew to plan the next course of action.   I went to the bathroom, splashed cold water on my face.   I looked at myself in the mirror and decided to carry on, for I too was a Captain of sorts.   On Golden Island, my fifteen minutes of pain had failed to kill precious hope.  The placebo effect would be short lived.

Shaadi  – 25/11/2012
[Inspired by a confrontation between Enda Kenny and an unemployed protester in an Athlone shopping centre]

Oh, Is It Raining Again?
November 21, 2012

It makes me very angry

that you think fit to hate me.

Your storms come and go

with such predictability,

That I am always ready

as your dark clouds envelop me.

I am tired of being rained on.

I want to feel the warmth of the sun;

And the drying touch of the wind

On my living heart.

I want to live under clear blue skies.

See sights to gladden my eyes.

I want to skip and run in a green meadow;

Chasing and dodging my own shadow.

I have had enough of your rain.

I am so cold in your ice and snow.

I want to crack through the pain;

And go, and go, and go.


Andrew49  –  21/11/2012

Never Again
November 17, 2012

”Never again” was the cryptic clue in a mind game being played by a prison officer I’ll call Billy. [not his real name]

Billy and Lily [not her real name either] had hatched a scheme to get stress leave for the weekend. Working shifts in lieu [not getting paid but on the promise of days off in the future] I guess made them less regular down the pub on a Friday or Saturday night.

The scene was set as I heard them scheming outside my cell. Billy was to provoke a reaction out of me come my turn for the use of the phone, shower and supper.

The cell door opened and I walked out into the arena cautious that something was coming my way. The four Loyalist orderlies had positioned themselves for a ring-side view, wearing their colours [anything red white and blue] while smoky-face Lily almost tripped over herself and swallowed her fag keeping pace with things as she hurried to be near the screw’s panic button. Once she pulled that, it was over to the Ninja’s [riot squad] and like the hounds out of hell, they don’t return to their realm empty handed.

I went about my business and at every turn, Billy boy was in my face trying to get me to bite. As I moved between facilities getting the essentials, Billy was there throwing out remarks and posturing as he paced with his two thumbs anchored in the chest/armpit of his body warmer like you might see cops do on patrol.

I bided my time and as I filled my lighter with petrol, Billy began again…”Never again I tell you.” Staying cool, calm and collected I asked….”Never again what?” To which he went on to elaborate in a biting manner, ”You’ll not put us off the wings again.” He said, referring to Long Kesh were pre-ceasefires, screws weren’t permitted onto republican or loyalist wings.

”Who’s yous? I enquired, seeing as he’d placed me in some sort of collective. He gave no answer but was thinking hard.

”Too many officers were murdered and we’re not going to let yous put us off these wings like the Maze.” [Long Kesh]

I had all my essentials for the evening and although my Mothers teaching words ”Hold your tongue” were with me right through I felt the absolute need to tell Billy boy and I did…… ”It’s Prison officers with attitudes like your’s that get good decent prison officers killed.”  It left him speechless.

I returned to my cell not wanting to give him or Lily the pleasure of ”ordering me” to lock up. There was a silence, footsteps and my cell door slammed.

They’d forgotten to close my cell door flap which was a small metal door, oblong shaped and vertical. I heard Lily say, ‘‘this one next” and thought nothing of it until I heard the distinctive sound of a Travellers voice plead to have his medication and refusing to take a shower. It later transpired that the Loyalists were bullying him and I guess like so many, he felt alone and afraid.

I made my way to the cell door and turned out the cell light to take advantage of my view point and watched as Orange Lily staged managed an assault on herself.

I heard her say ”I’m gonna charge him” to the other screws and ordered the Loyalist orderlies locked.

She approached the Traveller’s cell and entered. I watched and listened as she systematically stitched him up. Out of view of the cctv camera, she smashed a glass vial [containing the Traveller’s medication] on the floor of the cell and stepped out holding her eye.

“Right, you’re on report,” she said and slammed the door, “no need for the ninjas” she said, “ he’s contained”. Lily, Billy and co sat at their desk on the wing conspiring and forging an account of the incident and soon after, Lily left the block using her fingernail to exaggerate her lie.

“See yous on Monday,” she said and as the screws were now a man down and had insufficient staff to continue work ‘for security reasons’, our wing was locked down.

Soon after, the Traveller was transferred to the punishment block and if you ever get to wondering why prisoners might despair and hang themselves and what really happens behind bars, now you know.

Trow 17/11/2012

The Reservation
November 13, 2012

Poetry don’t need no reservation.

Rich seam of adjectives.

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

But we all know where the buffalo roam.

And it ain’t in no reservation.



Oh so genteel.

When so much depends.

On the cavalry call.

The bugle.

That tells you.

It’s time.

To go apache.

On the gig.

Burn down Tom’s cabin.

Throw away the trinkets.

We’re looking for scalps.

White man.

Red man.

Black man.

Yellow man.





Image: Master Musicans of Joujouka Festival 2008 Copyright Jill Furmanovsky/

KevBar  –  13/11/2012

November 11, 2012

Annually,  from the sluice
Of fallen leaves,
The shallow pace of earth provoked
Into floral hysteria.

A black spot
On gaudy crêpe,
Papering over bullet holes.

You drop coins to explode
In a plastic can,
Washing the smell of gas.

Digging trenches deeper
To remember the sacrifice
Of old photographs,
The hollow glory of a cluster bomb.


5intheface – 11-11-2012




C is White
November 4, 2012

C is white

Like the cold tiles of a morgue

Or the keys of a piano


F is green

Like the tropical jungle

heavy and oppressive


D is yellow

like American mustard

and lively and bright


G is the blue

Of the sea and the sky

Happy, not sad like the blues


E and A are mysteries

keeping their colours hidden.

Is that red I see peeping out? No. Never.


B is muddy brown

Like the Orinoco river

It goes with F like dirt under grass


That’s all

I don’t do things in halves.


Sam Lord    4 November 2012


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