Monthly Archives: November 2016

Refugees by Bill Lythgoe

I am not a silent poet

Number 3:
Someone’s mum,
everybody’s auntie.
Her round black face
beams in greeting
then fades, frowns.
We have no papers,
no passports, no ID.
When you see
your husband slaughtered,
meat on a slab,
you don’t grab your documents and run.
You grab your children.

Number 7:
Uprooted from his mountain village,
transplanted to a bare bedsit,
softly speaking foreign English.
When they hanged Saddam Hussein
they did right,
he was – what do you say? –
one of the mafia. Yeah,
a gangster.
You’ve  heard of Halabja,
you say Saddam killed
a lot of Kurdish people. Yeah,
he killed my dad.

Number 12:
A pretty face,
short black hair, tight curls,
a tear in her right eye.
An ugly bruise
on the left side of her neck,
parallel to her jaw.
Do you know about Islam?
You have friends who are Muslims,
you’ll understand
I’ve left him.
Last night…

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No Blame to You by Susan Jordan

I am not a silent poet

You didn’t bother to wait till night;
you knew nobody would stop you,
not with all the English neighbours.

Easy to pretend the stone
the stone flew through the window by accident,
claim you couldn’t stop the dog
shitting on the doorstep

say you dropped your lighter and
what a pity the spark should happen
to catch the Polish house.

It wasn’t your fault: it can’t be
if you belong here. And how were you to know
they were still inside? You’d gone home

before the smoke-shocked faces, the arms
stripped to glistening flesh,
the child they kept on trying to wake.


Susan Jordan has an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University and writes both poetry and prose. She has had poems published in a number of print and online magazines. Her first collection, A House of Empty Rooms, will be published in 2017.

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Percentage by JD Grant

I am not a silent poet

I don’t float in any particular direction.

I live in the space between,

separated by the same exact distance.

Both bring pain and frustration,

both bring happiness and joy.

I don’t feel trapped

or influenced in any way.

The direction I go in

can and will change constantly

throughout my existence on this earth.

I have long made peace with this.

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Fidel Castro by Ananya S Guha

I am not a silent poet

Fidel Castro
is dead
I remember college
Neruda and his poems
I suddenly remember
words such as communism
and  revolutionary
I remember the seventies
eighties. nineties
and the two hundreds
three hundreds I keep
looking at spaces and strands
of time, future in looking glass
Alice and her memories
Long live him
because he is dead
and he gave finally
that golden handshake
to immeasurable time.
In 2016 I read that he was dead
I actually forgot that he was alive
Now I will forget that
he is dead.

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Extrapolation by Angi Holden

I am not a silent poet

I was in the chandler’s the first time it happened.
I’d gone in to buy a cleat, so while the staff were busy
I cruised round the aisles. The lad with the ginger hair,
the one who knows the tide tables and the weather forecast,
was helping a father and daughter choose a life-preserver.
The ones they’d already tried lay scattered round their feet,
discarded, like those abandoned across Greek beaches.
And as the child bounced between the shelves,
the orange jacket tied snugly around her small body,
I saw her bobbing away from the boat, her mother
calling her name, weeping into the salt water.
Now it happens all the time: in the street,
in the supermarket, in the school playground.
I see children, even the lucky ones in life-jackets,
drifting just out of reach, swallowed up by the sea,
bone-chilled, to be washed up on some distant shore.

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Safe Harbour by Suz Winspear

I am not a silent poet

As Orson Welles said on the wheel,
in times of strife and chaos, art will thrive.
If that were true, these nervous times will show
a huge resurgence of creative acts.
The last-night buses will convey
a thousand stories, insight-deep
to counteract abusive angry words,
and sonnets will be piled up high
behind the foodbank doors.
Mystic sculptures will adorn the polling booths
and arias resound in jobcentres.
When transatlantic news reports
tell tales of unimagined power
handed to sour white men with ugly views,
a generation will enchant us with new thoughts
that no-one ever dared to think before.

Maybe . .
or maybe not.

Maybe what we need are some few souls
shining like lanterns on a headland late at night,
warning ships of rocks they must avoid,
warning of hazards, lights to show the way
and guide them safely through the breaking storms
that swamped and wrecked…

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