Monthly Archives: April 2018

Because, by Rupert M Loydell

I am not a silent poet

Because they live longer lives
……we let them sleep all day
……then die alone.

Because they do not understand
……we cannot teach them,
……prefer not to talk.

Because they do not earn enough
……we let them eat badly
……and live somewhere else.

Because they are not us
……we are not interested
……and leave well alone.

Because they will die sooner
……we make excuses
……and put ourselves first.

Because we do not understand,
……they are always there;
……thankfully somewhere else.

Because we do not care
……they are not cared for,
……and live on their own.

Because they live such lives
……we push them away
……and let them die alone.

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Proletarian Poetry

wattylerIn 1381 Wat Tyler led the peasant revolt against Richard II’s poll tax (Richard was a uppity fifteen year old at the time). The Black Death of thirty-five years prior had wiped out more than a third of the population, leading to a shortage of labour, thus increasing the power of the peasantry. The lords and landowners wanted to raise more money, in particular as the war with France was proving very costly. The peasants wanted a wage rise, the aristocracy wanted a poll tax. Things got a bit out of hand when Tyler’s lot marched on London from Kent, riots ensued, the King gave in, but was weak to implement promises, and Tyler had his neck slashed.

poll tax londonThatcher tried to do a Richard II in the late days of her reign. The Community Charge, aka the Poll Tax, was the introduction of a per head tax, which negatively…

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The lad on the bus watching porn on his phone. A true story.

Robert Garnham


The lad on the bus watched porn on his phone.
He thought he was alone.
He was probably going home.
Sitting at the front upstairs on a midnight bus
Between sleepy Devon villages, he’s
Not realised I’m sitting there,
Four rows back, trying not to look.

His phone screen lights his little corner,
The attended windows reflecting on two sides
Lots of limbs and flesh and to be honest
I really can’t tell what’s happening and I’m
Trying to distract myself by memorising a
Pam Ayres poem.

He’s wearing a hoodie with the hood up and a
Baseball cap and a thick coat and trackie bottoms
And the poor lad must be hot under all those layers,
Unlike the man and the woman on his phone who
Aren’t really wearing much at all, though even I
Can tell that she’s faking it,
And the man for some reason is…

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Two clerihews by Oonah V Joslin

I am not a silent poet

Theresa May-be/May-be not
changed my mind cos I got caught
‘s moral superiority
suddenly found a money tree!

Queen Elizabeth dispassionately examining her crown,
flicked at a huge, dulling pearl, with a frown.
Pearls should be worn. They need keeping warm, she said.
I’m afraid, she hung her head, this poor pearl is dead.
clerihew /ˈklɛrɪhjuː/) is a whimsical, four-line biographical poem invented by Edmund Clerihew Bentley. The first line is the name of the poem’s subject, usually a famous person put in an absurd light, or revealing something unknown or spurious about them. The rhyme scheme is AABB, and the rhymes are often forced. The line length and metre are irregular.

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Nora, by Paula Matthews

I am not a silent poet

May she be blessed a thousand times who first blessed me.

Little do you know my story. You seem to like me.
You identify something I can’t recognise.
You even asked me out to lunch.
Twenty people in this office,
you choose me for the seminar.
When you pop your head around the door,
in your lovely stripy top, like the funny clowns,
from the happy circus, before the dark clowns came,
little do you know your holy role in the hidden tale.
You think you are offering me coffee;
you’re giving me life. You’ve never seen
beneath the mask, but you soothe the deepest wound.
Precious Nora, if I could tell my story,
you’d be cast as an angel, or Mary Magdalene
anointing damaged feet with oil. The hero and the star.


Paula Matthews is a poet and social worker with personal lived experience of mental health. She…

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Hardworking Families, by Dominic Berry

I am not a silent poet

You’ll never clean toilets for cash.
You’re someone who’ll never need charity.
You’ll never get spots or a rash
for you’re in a hardworking family.
You’ll never get cramp or chlamydia.
You are an icon of normality.
Your child can’t have spina bifida
for you’re in a hardworking family.
You’ll never need badgers or foxes.
Your healthcare is just a formality.
You’ll never sleep in cardboard boxes
for you’re in a hardworking family.
A loved one cannot tell you lies.
Your Grandma will not lose her sanity
You’re safe while the sea levels rise
for you’re in a hardworking family.
The Tories will cleanse all the mess
when rioting leads to fatality.
You’ll never get mugged or depressed
for you’re in a hardworking family.
You won’t break an arm or a sweat
or face any kind of calamity.
You’ll feel no harm or regret,

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Definition of Success, by Dominic Berry

I am not a silent poet

Not good enough to feel bad.
Not rich enough to earn poor health.
No privilege of being mad
with fortunes of good mental wealth.
Decided when each life’s begun;
Who’ll lose their minds, who’ll lose their homes,
Who’ll starve to death, who’ll die too young,
Who’s brains will break, who’ll die alone.
From palace grounds to terrace towns
whose life’s worth more? Whose life’s worth less
when judging life in pence and pounds?
A definition of success.

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stations of the crossed, by Kevin Reid

I am not a silent poet

… condemned to death

he won’t leave
the country is sick
but it’s home

… carries his cross

his want to stay
drags his need to escape
it’s difficult to hide

… falls for the first time

bombs don’t discern
he prays while he waits

… meets his mother 

weak they weep into each other
the first time since the invasion

 … helps him carry the cross

an orphaned friend
i’m coming with you

… wipes his face  

he knew those eyes
they saved him from sniper fire
wiped his blood with her hijab

… falls the second time 

prays while he’s down
water is scarce

… meets the women

mothers of lost children
wives of dead men
sisters of fighting brothers join us

… falls the third time 

into killing hands
still he prays


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