Daily Archives: April 14, 2018

Ride to the abyss*, by Mandy MacDonald

I am not a silent poet

Is this the beginning of the end
after all? Hell-bound,
slip-sliding on power & money
& lies,
our nations’ mad charioteers
career after the old horsemen aroused
from their uneasy sleep, eager
to mow & slice & erupt in blood
from land to land.

Contagion of savage pointless deaths,
those small wars like inkblots on a map,
their edges bleeding out, flowing together
into one great redblack pool, meniscus
slick with death.

Here in my garden, spring comes late,
yellow & blue;
the small birds flutter & pipe, nest-foraging
in slow green.
It is pleasant here
but it is not an island.

Am I just to stay here & wait?


*The title is borrowed from Berlioz’s opera, The Damnation of Faust.

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Bang, by David Ralph Lewis

I am not a silent poet

10- A diplomatic communication is mistranslated.
9- A chemical plant triples its production.
8- Grass continues to grow, stubbornly ignorant.
7- In a small country, a single bullet is fired.
6- Denial, lies, confusion. More denial, more lies, more confusion.
5- I try to do nothing but inhale and exhale slowly.
4- The pavements are buried under a blizzard of newspaper.
3- Everyone is shouting but words have been forgotten.
2- A hawk hovers above the motorway, waiting to strike.
1- Without speaking, we agree to stay in bed. We wait.

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Syrian Poems by Isabel Palmer and Antony Owen

I am not a silent poet

I would like to submit two new, unpublished poems to I Am Not a Silent Poet. The first is my poem about the current crisis in Syria and the second is by Antony Owen, who says his poem was written in response to mine and is happy for me to submit them together. Antony and I are currently working together on a new, collaborative collection about the last hundred years of war.

Kakistocracies, by Isabel Palmer
Noun: Government by the worst people

 This is the house that Trump made,
its drains and gutters over-run, his words
rat-droppings in the night.

This is the child, legs folded under him
like a cat’s: thorns, forgotten
for a hundred years, in its paws.

These are the dogs of war,
off the leash, rolling over
Syria, licking their balls.

This is the girl, cow-eyed
and crumpled under the hose,
bubbles bursting from her…

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Did you Dream of Fire, by Joe Williams

I am not a silent poet

Fire in the desert.
Fire in the streets.
Fire that tore through the air at night.
Fire in the bellies of those
who are not with you,
so must be against you.
Fire that burnt through your bed.

Did you wake up screaming?
Did you dream of blood?


Joe Williams is a writer and performing poet from Leeds. In 2017 his debut pamphlet, ‘Killing the Piano’, was published by Half Moon Books, and he won the prestigious Open Mic Competition at Ilkley Literature Festival.

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Sorry, by Oz Hardwick

I am not a silent poet

Sorry wants to know why the rain is burning, why night is brighter than holidays, why the city is a fairground with everyone screaming; Sorry wants to know why bus queues are silent and underground, who that funny man is and why no-one is laughing, where this place is that looks almost like home; Sorry wants to know when it’s bed time, when it’s dinner time, when Daddy will come home; Sorry wants to know why it smells of burnt meat though everyone’s hungry, why no-one likes the fireworks, and why everyone cries when they whisper her name.

Oz Hardwick is a poet, photographer, academic and occasional musician, based in York (UK). He has published six poetry collections, most recently The House of Ghosts and Mirrors (Valley Press, 2017). http://www.ozhardwick.co.uk

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