Tuesday, 4 August 2015

The Politics of Envy v The Politics of Greed

I do not envy you your trillion pounds
And the luxury lifestyle that you lead
Or the billions you have hidden away
That typifies your rapacious greed.

I do not envy you your million pounds
Your 5 star holidays and crates of wine
Or the thousands in generous bonuses
And expenses allowing you to fine dine.

I do not envy you the hundreds of pounds
You can throw around like confetti in my face
As many vulnerable struggle to find a place to live
That in a wealthy country is an absolute disgrace.

The specialist doctors say I am too sick to work
But welfare assessments say I am well
I seem to have had an overnight miracle cure
Although I am enduring a painful kind of hell.

So why do you begrudge me my benefit
A few pounds to keep me alive
When ill health has also stolen my dignity
And I am now struggling to survive?

The obscene wealth has not trickled down
From the fountains of avarice you create
For the poor are becoming poorer
With the rapid shrinking of the state.

Today I am down to my last few pennies
I do not know how I will eat tonight
Sanctioned because I struggled to breathe
Surely this cannot be moral, ethical or right.

©Suzanne Kelsey August 3rd 2015

I had always been very fit and proactive in my efforts to lead a healthy lifestyle.  I was a trained teacher specialising in dance and drama, dance trained at the Laban dance studios in London, a qualified health and fitness instructor and a tutor on the 'Look after your heart' programme, as well as a full-time teacher and lecturer in education and child development.  Imagine my horror when I suddenly collapsed in 2009, my heart going into bizarre and alarming rhythms.  I was diagnosed with heart failure and a chronic condition called dilated cardiomyopathy apparently triggered by a virus.

When diagnosed with a chronic and/or acute illness the psychological effect can be as traumatic as the physical threat. As well as doing my best physically I also  needed to restore my self-worth that in an instant had been stolen from me. I wanted to engage with something purposeful that would benefit me and hopefully others.  To show my gratitude for the wonderful care I was receiving from the Cardiology Department at the Cumberland Infirmary I decided to do some fund raising for them and Cardiomyopathyuk a brilliant support group.

At the same time I had returned to my love of poetry to help in my recuperation and finding myself at home alone instead of talking to the walls I put my feelings down on paper. I had often used words in my choreography because of the rhythm and musicality although I hasten to add I had never taken a class in creative writing. I already had a small private collection of poetry, so I started to organise this and it motivated me into writing more, reflecting on recent events, which I found very therapeutic. The truth is I never stopped writing and was able to self publish 6 little poetry books and raise almost £7000 for various charities. Alongside this I campaigned to save our wonderful NHS and became very involved in politics using poetry to raise awareness of how austerity can affect us when at our most vulnerable. I find it is shared widely across social media and hopefully it can make a difference.

Suzanne Kelsey

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Fair Helen wakes from her age-long sleep;
Loose-locked and long limbed,
She walks down to Piraeus harbour.
Gazing across the wide blue ocean,
She turns her face once more to the ships.
Where are her heroes now?
All dead and gone;
Their shades whisper in the islands.
She remembers her young maidens
Running through the sacred groves
The sky so blue; the blood so red.
Then the Germans came to plunder what was left of Troy,
What was buried and forgotten.
They gouged deep trenches
Through the land,
In the name of Archaeology.
They came for bones,
For treasure and for gold:
For fame.
Helen fears the coming of Another;
A terrible northern god,
Three-headed, vengeful, with
Fangs of the Bear,
Talons of the Eagle.
It comes to ravage the innocents,
Demanding a terrible price.
A monstrous debt
Wreaks havoc throughout the land.
The deprivations descend like the Furies.
Helen is scavenging amongst the bins again.
She sleeps in a doorway.
She sells her jewellery
For rice and beans.
She cries out,
“Where are my Heroes? Where are my Warriors?”
Waves lap against the hulls of boats, murmuring
Resilience, Democracy.
She turns and sees the Furies
Pursue an old man
Through Athens’ dusty streets,
Down alleyways stinking of refuse.
Their icy breath falls upon the starving,
By the black market trucks,
The empty shops
And the bread queues.
She runs past the empty temples;
The sacrifice is now exacted
In homes and markets.
The privileged are unchallenged,
Their incantation is broadcast around the world:
“None shall prosper, save they bow down.”
She runs into the city;
There are new voices rising
In Syntagma square.
Bright flags are waving,
The People’s hearts awakening.
On sandaled feet she runs
Faster and faster
To join the hour of triumph.
She cries out, “Is brave Theseus reborn?
He who can slay the Minotaur once more.
He who can rescue us all
From the beast called Austerity?”
The Furies turn
To look upon her
With dreadful eyes and hollow cheeks.
Hissing their spite,
They brandish the Spear of the Troika
To drive it into the heart of Greece.
Helen fears the chaos,
Kinsmen turned foe,
The Oracle’s ravings,
Fissures and schisms,
The warring of nations,
The death throes of states,
Deceit and betrayal.
But the People call out to her
“We are the Heroes. We are the Warriors.
We are One; we are Bold.”
She lifts her hands
To the sky
In an invocation,
Powerful, primordial,
That this time, this time surely,
The centre of Freedom will hold.

© Lisa Rossetti July 2015

The Abduction of Helen of Troy - Antwerp School

Monday, 6 July 2015

Legal Observer

June 30th, 2015.
The new Tory government
cuts the Independent Living Fund.

Essential support
for more than 17,500 disabled people,
enabling them

to live independently at home,
is withdrawn, risking
them housebound, or in care homes.

On 24th June,
disability protesters,
angered, following a petition of over

10,000 signatures,
stormed the House of Commons,
just before Prime Minister’s Questions.

That day, wearing
an orange high-viz jacket,
with ‘Legal Observer’ on the back,

a young woman filmed it all.
She held her smartphone like a witness,
a testimony in pictures,

to say, the public can see.
We recorded this, as a Commons’ official

told the BBC News not to.

© Cath Davies

Cath Davies lives and writes in North Wales. She has worked in social care for many years. Currently, she is currently studying creative writing at degree level at the Open College of the Arts where she has been a student since 2008.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Tunisia et al....

It started as a spring-
A Spring- new shoots
ah, the irony
of shoots

A Spring to democracy,
words get jumbled don't you know?
like fear, like hatred

squashed emotions produce
and blinkered desperation

is where we are- on so many fronts
in the bloody void
of boated migrants, of 'terrorism'

can we continue to look away
as we look to the surface
and not examine the roots?

The ravaged remains of rubble, of humans, of hearts
of what we have done?
By the doing of everything and nothing,

we are all humanity when it suits us...
some say, in it together

The seeds of the Spring?
the camera- ever on and moving on.

Ah, in high summer I await winter, reflection of roots
and a Spring of reality for the decisioners,
treating the cause and not the symptoms
probably requires profuse pain for the privileged
as well as the rest who have already paid.

©Kathy V.J. Miller, June, 2015

Kathy V. J. Miller is currently an English teacher in South London who writes poetry, children's stories and is currently working on a novel about those who returned to Portugal in 1974 from former Portuguese colonies following the fall of the fascist regime, among other themes. She worked at the Universidade do Porto in Portugal for 12 years before returning to the UK in 1998. Fascinated by issues of identity and committed to the importance of literacy, she is also interested in politics, language and literature.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

The Beginning

We marched as if our lives depended on it.
We marched together, the young and the old,
The Monks, the Buddhists,
The Fire-fighters and Teachers;
And believe me it seemed
The Police too walked with us.
Marching for the poor, for the weak,
For the frail, for all
Condemned to live in Austerity’s gaol
Of hunger and cold.
A sea unstoppable, in our thousands we marched
Deep into the dark heart of the City,
Where temples to Mammon rose up around,
Like a forest of stone.
Do you not see
How their roots go a long way down?
The rot goes a long way down.
The Capitol was breached;
It was cleansed with our tide,
Our footsteps on The Strand.
Marching down Fleet Street;
The echoes of History
In the alleys of urchins,
Past the dead eyes of Wellington,
The blind stare of Nelson,
The stone faces of those who guard the elected elite.
Upon pavements, the perfumed ones
Sidled past, staring.
Was that fear in their eyes?
Or just glazed indifference?

I saw the fires they feared, the masked revellers,
Carnival flares burning brightly,
Hearts beating faster,
Shouts growing louder.
We do not believe in your authority.
We believe in communities;
We believe in togetherness;
We believe in kindness and in compassion.
On that day one quarter of a million,
Marched together as if all our lives depended upon it.
For we are many; and you are few.
And this is just the beginning.

© Lisa Rossetti June 2015

Click for more about Lisa Rossetti

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Slipping Through The Cracks

I'm not going to lie and say I'm a happy person all the time.
There are days I don't want to be around anyone, literally.  My illnesses affect me in a vastly complex ways. I have a wonderful GP who I wouldn't be here if I hadn't met over fifteen years ago.
He and a few others over the years have said I should write down what I feel and maybe get it off my chest. This more important than ever now there are such high demands for mental health support and limited one-on-one sessions. So here is a snippet.

Slipping through the cracks of what used to be a life.
People turning away from me because my dark thoughts aren't so nice.
I've been feeling down for quite some time now: four years, maybe five.
Memories of better times and now my daughter are what keep me ticking by.
Week in week out at night I'm sat alone.
I can't watch the TV and abject misery it brings.
I've heard so many tell me, "You're young. Things will change..."
With two chronic illnesses, a little girl, no prospects 
and no support, no confidant to engage.
I wonder how people can pass on by when I am one of millions more, 
shuffled to the side-lines abandoned and ignored.
They say I'm angry , bitter and mean, no wonder I am alone....
But once I had support and was standing tall, all on my own.
I've had that support taken from me; there's no one left to hear my cries.
I can't take much more of these cuts;
I can see why others have already died.
I am angry that alone I have to fight:
for my dignity and fair treatment just to stay alive.
I didn't choose to live this way. It's not a choice anyone makes
but I slipped between the pavers of the rules governments make.
I couldn't toe the line enough; my minds not built that way.
I’m creative and loving and whimsical;
but that's nowhere near enough these days.
Society's become so crippled with wise cracking and a vicious streak,
with everyone's inadequacies barely hidden underneath.
To point at others and mock them and deflect the heat from you:
it's a game of poker faces, laughing – until the fingers point at you.
So who is next to feel this despair then, who's next to be singled out?
Because these cuts are only just starting of that I have no doubt.
If you think that your life's perfect and people like me bring it on ourselves,
remember I wasn't always like this. I used to be someone else.
I had a job, I worked hard; and played hard too, just like you.
Then an illness took me over and that could so easily happen to you too.
Circumstances balance on a razors edge. We never realise
what we  were truly blessed with till we are left with nothing.
Where is the exit? I'm off!

Anyone else who feels like this sometimes, I hope this helps you see you are not alone xx

June, 2015, A Contributor

Monday, 22 June 2015

Some of Us Think

When it was Mental Health Awareness Week
the media embraced it, springing into action:
everywhere there were posters emblazoned with images
designed to make us stop and think;
on Facebook pages memes were being shared
and people were tweeting words of wisdom;
appeals were made and, on morning TV chat shows
where interviews were hosted and given,
statistics were quoted that would help us to see
just how easily it could have been us.
With a bit of bad luck or a life event or two,
we could have been drowning, not waving;
adrift in a sea of too many starless nights,
our starved hearts stifled by depression,
a flat black ocean ahead and behind us
as we floundered in the current of despair.

Some of us, however, already knew that;
some of us have been there;
some of us remember how steep the cliff face
and how wide-eyed and deep the abyss;
and some of us worked on, and some of us didn't;
and some of us soon gave up the struggle;
while some, the lucky ones,were able,
in the end, to find the long and winding way back.

But time moved on and Mental Health Awareness
somehow has slipped down the agenda.
Now is the time for new radical approaches
that will 'help get the nation back to work'.
Some of us, though, know how the system
works and some of us are angry and suspicious;
some of think this is just another heartless,
fraudulent, Tory Austerity trick.

And some of us believe this is just another stick
for beating those who already struggle.
a way of getting them 'off the sick'
by ticking boxes and 'treating' them with CBT.
Once the sick are not sick but 'seeking' a job
how much easier to get them all on sanctions.
Some of think there's a war going on
and the lines are being drawn for all to see.

Abigail Ottley Wyatt, June, 2015

From the Budget Document
1.236 Budget 2015 also announces a package of measures to improve employment outcomes for people with mental health conditions. Starting from early 2016, the government will provide online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to 40,000 Employment and Support Allowance and Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants and individuals being supported by Fit for Work. From summer 2015, the government will also begin toco-locate Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) therapists in over 350 Job centres, to provide integrate employment and mental health support to claimants with common mental health conditions.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Capable (for Jacqueline Harris)

Am I capable of what?
Of catching what?
A bus?
I'm sorry. I'm not sure I understand you.
Haven't I just told you of the pain I am in daily,
how I have to school myself to bear it,
how it eats away at the edges of my life
while my courage shrinks smaller every day?
I have such pain in my back,
and in these poor hands of mine;
and my eyesight, too, is failing.
A bus, you say.
I do not understand you.
What is it you would have me do?
Work? Yes I used to work.
Until my body was pressed
past all enduring.
I was a nurse. Yes.
There was a fall. At work.
My life was much altered that day.
Now you come at me with questions
I do not understand.
Have you not heard 
what I have told you?
Am I capable of catching a bus?
Are you capable of feeling 
Are you capable of human kindness?
Are you capable 
of love?

Abigail Ottley Wyatt, June, 2015


Thursday, 11 June 2015

I Am Not Charlie

I am not Charlie so my name means nothing.
I can never hope, in the current climate,
to become that kind of cause célèbre.
A buzz of curiosity is all the notice I attract
through a series of whispered exchanges;
there is early morning drama, something to see:
the shrugging of a pair of sleepy shoulders;
a question asked by a pair of arched eyebrows,
answered by the down-turned corners of a mouth,
the slow and solemn shaking of a head.

Last night I made my bed, as, lately, I’ve been forced
to by curling up tight  against the darkness:
I brought my knees up high, so, used the crook
of my arm to make a kind of cushion for my head.
Now, well into June, this sharp cold is unseasonal.
Still, in summer, most people do not think of us.
Only afterwards it strikes them:
'Oh, yes,’ they say, ‘I think I saw him.
In the underpass, going into town?’

Now, in the morning, they recollect some detail
that betrays how they knew all the time.
‘He didn’t have a dog like some of them do.’
‘His sleeping bag, wasn’t it blue?’
‘I saw him there a week ago, just before dark.’
‘He wore jeans and his eyes were like hollows.’
But I am not Charlie and, if you knew my name,
I am afraid it would mean not much to you.

Abigail Wyatt, 11th June, 2015

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

The Nudge Unit

I forgot to pay my car tax.
It isn’t the first time,
but with one thing and another,
well, you know how it is.
The letter they sent me,
well, it looked like any other,
addressed to me, Joe Bloggs.
A polite reminder.

But it slipped my mind again.
Buried under a pile of stuff,
it was out of sight.
You know how it happens.
But then they wrote to me again,
this time, with a big headline,
you couldn’t miss it,
‘Pay your tax or lose your Ford Fiesta.’

And there was a photo of my car,
my old car that I love,
underneath the headline.
Well, as you can imagine,
I kind of took notice.
I mean, that letter talked to me.
Not just anybody. Me.
It was addressed directly to me . . .

So I paid up. Went straight
to the Post Office and paid up.
And I wasn’t sure why.
But I kind of felt uncomfortable
about the letter.
It kind of felt, I don’t know,
intrusive? Weird? I mean,
who took the photo of my car?
When? What was I doing?
I felt a bit uneasy about it.

So I went on driving.
Tax disc all sorted. All alright.
And I put to the back of my mind
that strange letter they sent
with my photo in it.
It was only, well, months later,
that I was in the pub,
and I got chatting to somebody.
They used to work for the DVLA,
that kind of thing.

They said that, in my area,
at the time I forgot to pay my car tax,
the government, I don’t know,
some scientist it was,
did a kind of experiment
with the way they wrote the letters,
trying to get us to pay up.
Especially people like me who,
well, forgot more than once.

The person I was speaking to,
said they’re called the ‘Nudge Unit.’
You know, they kind of
give you a nudge
if you don’t pay things.
Saves the government millions.
Apparently, they text people who
don’t pay court fines.
Works better than a letter . . .
Well, it worked on me.
I’m not breaking the law now . . .

© Cath Davies 2015

Cath Davies lives and writes in North Wales. She has worked in social care for many years. Currently, she is currently studying creative writing at degree level at the Open College of the Arts where she has been a student since 2008.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Scrap Heap Austerity Blues

Austerity, you got me down, 
you got me on the floor:
no rainbows shining through my storms, 
no buds or flowers any more.
Not much money in my wallet;
I got little cause to smile;
got a lot of cause to worry though;
got debts that stretch for miles.
Got my children going hungry,
got my landlord getting mean;
got no way of moving forward;
got a bunch of broken dreams.
Got no man to rub my shoulders
or to wake me with a kiss;
got no faith in prayers or fairy tales;
seems life goes on and on like this:
buying cheap and counting coppers
so as not to break that ten pound note;
thinking always who needs uniform,
who’s outgrown their winter coat;
who has a birthday looming,
who has wrecked their good school shoes?
It’s no wonder how I cry at nights
when all I got to lose

is those going-downhill-and-run-down,
can’t-stop-my-crying, feels-like-I’m-dying.
who-would-be-a-single-mother blues.

Austerity, you got me, too.
Just can’t seem to get ahead.
I’m young. I should be full of life.
but I am full of fear instead:
afraid they’ll stop my money
if I don’t go here or show up there;
afraid I’ll never find a job,
or get a flat, have cash to spare.
I did everything they told me:
went to college - and I tried my best;
but now it seems they lied to me;
my CV don’t impress.
Now they give me ‘work experience’
when what I need’s a chance:
a chance to work for proper pay,
a chance to play, a chance to dance.
Coz Mr C, you see, I’m young;
I got the legs, I got the shoes;
aint got no opportunity –
and me, well I don’t get to choose.
Coz, well, you guys get the choices
while the likes of us we lose.

We got those no-dough-oh-no
what’s-the-point-of-growing-up blues.

And, Austerity, you’ve done for me.
I’ve got a disability.
My life’s been hard enough without
the extra stress you’ve given me.
I didn’t choose to be this way
and, whatever you might like to think,
your targets are unethical;
and your methods simply stink.
Austerity, you’ve dragged me down
so low some days I don’t get dressed.
I know I should; sometimes I try;
but, mostly, I am too depressed.
These days, you see, I can’t get out
(and I do so miss my little car)
my Care Plan doesn’t care at all
but they say that’s just the way things are.
Austerity, I’m on my knees
with precious little left to lose.
If I could walk a mile I’d say
you should walk a long mile in my shoes.
But, as things are, all I can say
is, when the Great Assessment’s made,
I hope you get what you deserve
and you are left alone, afraid,
to feel the utter hopelessness
that weighs like a monstrous stone
and to try to live as best you can
until the final trumpet’s blown.
Because, then you’ll see, Austerity,
what it is to have nothing to lose

except those low-down-don’t-forget-me,
scrap-heap, austerity blues.

Abigail Wyatt, May, 2015

Friday, 29 May 2015

Coming Soon

Late night TV on the BBC,
more scary than the latest horror movie:
three shiny presenters, glib, well-fed,
none of them much over thirty,
exchange smart remarks
and laugh and laugh
to think that people might die.

But wait. It's ok.
These are not real people.
They are only, after all, 'the elderly';
they are not, what is more,
the elderly well-off
but the sad and shambling poor.
'If they die,' so goes the argument,
'that's a good thing, isn't it?
It will help us solve the problem
of their pensions.'
'There are too many of them.'
More high-pitched laughter.
Laugh? I could have
laughed till I cried.

I did cry this morning.
It weighed all through the night,
this wondering what end might await me:
to be 'passed over', not to be treated
in favour of the young and the fit;
of course, lightly sedated,
I might simply slip away
just a kiss in the pale crook of my elbow.
No pain, perhaps, but not to be mourned,
no evil-smelling, difficult good-byes.

You are never old inside,
my grandmother said;
and she lived to be cosseted and wept for.
Surely, I have given as much

and yet  it's all such a laugh.

Abigail Wyatt

Monday, 25 May 2015


In his Wolf Hall, Hugh d’Avranches is brooding,
Leaning upon his rough-hewn window sill.
From his tower, his stronghold, stranglehold,
He surveys his newly won domain.
The motte and bailey rear up proud
Out of the soft land like a fist.
The mound of bare earth is red as blood;
Ah, but this Welsh hill was won hard enough.
The peasant farmers spilled their guts in vain.
The magpies are still feeding, he notices.
Entrails smeared down the sides of the hill
Where the fair flowers of spring were trampled
By war horse and mailed feet.
He shifts his gaze to the hazy horizon.
These are his lands. His.
Centuries of certain dominion unfurl before him,
Dominance built in stone and glass arise.
The coffers overflow, replenished by that lovely stream
Of taxes, levied upon the poor.
His kind will divide and rule,
Setting communities against each other,
Suspicious of the immigrant, the vagrant and the rebel.
Finally, as vanquished bow their knees and heads,
He sees how his superior race
Will lord over serfs, the sick, the poor.
But today there will be hunting a-plenty,
Crops in those fair fields already
Hoarded for his hall.
After all, the villages have less mouths to feed now.
Yet hungrier still is the heart of Hugh.
He knows what they call him,
“Hugh Le Gros”, grown fat on conquest.
His banner borne before him in procession
To cathedrals built to keep this land
Under the Norman heel,
Proclaiming God, Freedom and the Law,
Conserving the Rights of the noble ones.
The silver wolf, its mouth agape,
Is argent on azure.
He grins, seeing instead
A bloody Wolf’s Head, gore and gold.

© Lisa Rossetti 2015

Friday, 22 May 2015

Now I'm 64 (sing along, folks...)

(taken from David Cameron's got no heart club band)

Now I am older and done my fair share
Worked over forty years back from now
You still want to send me back to work again
Nil hours contract, from eight till ten.
I'll still be working past sixty three
Because you locked the door
I had no prevention, you took all my pension,
And you still want more.

You'll be older too
And in a few simple words
I blame it all on you

It would be better, employing the youth
They need things to do
I have worked for decades and you treat me like
I'm a pin, and out in a strike
It is so cold now, food is all gone now
And you still want more
I had no prevention, you took all my pension,
And you still want more.

Every day you stand and shout about austerity
Still you take from me
Who has scrimped and saved
I won't let you send me
To an early grave

You've had it all now, all but my pride
Though I am standing, still.
I will rise against you every single day
Despite your preference that I waste away
I wish you'd listen, and sad you are blind
I expected so much more
For you to hear me, for you to see me
And a million more

But NO!

Marie Antoinette, May, 2015

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Staring at Austerity

I switch on my phone.
'The Black Triangle List',
a film by disabled
Vince Laws,
and film-maker
Andrew Day,
comes up and I select.
On a black screen,
white words
begin to scroll down.

The film is silent.
A memorial,
that, I am warned,
may upset me.
I begin to read.
People who have died
within 6 weeks
of losing benefits:
10,200 . . .
I concentrate in horror.
Black Triangle’s
ongoing list
from media reports:
100 and rising . . .

Then the list.
Details of austerity-
related deaths.
A man, 53.
Blind and agoraphobic.
Atos found him
Fit for Work.
He took his own life.
A woman, 51.
Breast cancer.
Atos found her
Fit for Work.
She died a few weeks later.
The stories mount.
I feel anger rise.
Where the hell
was duty of care?
In my ears, each
life speaks in the deep
silence of the film.

I watch to the end.
The website addresses
for Black Triangle,
(the Disability
and the Samaritans,
are the final frames.
Then a last paragraph,
‘It doesn’t have to be like this . . .’
I repeat the words.
The whisper feels
like it’s gone
around the world;
when it comes back,
somebody has
challenged Austerity.

Cath Davies, May, 2015

Cath Davies lives and writes in North Wales. She has worked in social care for many years. Currently, she is currently studying creative writing at degree level at the Open College of the Arts where she has been a student since 2008. 

Sunday, 17 May 2015

A Lullaby for Our Troubled Times

(originally written as a response to the riots in Greece, February, 2012)

Hush a bye baby,
in the cradle of democracy:
when the wind blows
the cradle will quake.
Hush a bye, hush a bye;
though Daddy croons a lullaby;
when the bough bends,
it’ll shake us awake.

Hush a bye baby,
we’re living with plutocracy:
capital is cool, and all
the rich are on the make.
Hush a bye, hush a bye:
we close our eyes and let it lie.
When the bough falls,
will we see our mistake?

Abigail Wyatt

Friday, 15 May 2015

Another World Is Possible

Another word is possible. 
This is what my heart insists.
It's possible to learn, to grow, 
to rediscover chances missed;
but it’s not by war or weaponry 
our future will be won:
a loving kindness serves us more
than missiles, armies, bombs and guns.
It’s suspicion undermines us; 
and our folly, and our greed;
our vices feed those fears that grow 
to shroud the light we need
to bud and bloom and show ourselves 
in all our lovely grace
and so live well, in harmony, 
in justice, and in peace.
Now our madness overtakes us;
we are beggars, we are thieves;
and, powerful or powerless
we share the same disease:
a corporate greed oppresses us 
and woos us with its honeyed lies.
Another world is possible – 
so wake, and shine – and rise.

Abigail Wyatt


Get out of the red and into the black.

Black? The dead minds of those who will not listen to the voice of those who have given everything.

Red? The blood of those who gave everything for the dead minds to destroy.

Marie Antoinette

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Poor Tom’s A-cold

Where do you sleep at night?I asked him.
He looked so tired. With his
Blond beard, blue eyes (good teeth),
He could have been a young crusader
In his stony niche,
Huddled in a sleeping bag cloak.
His boots were in good shape.
In the Roodee car park mostly, he said
It’s drier under the cars.
What happened to you, Tom?
He talks of a break-up with his girlfriend,
Loss of his job and flat.
I had a car once, he tells me.
Four months sanction means
He will be living rough through the bitter winter months.
“Regrettably there are reduced places for the homeless due to cuts.”
I fetch him a pastry from the Tesco Express.
Come Christmas though, the Hospice will give me a hot meal,
And a shower; I do want my dignity.
I told him, I’ll come back.
But he was gone, moved on
By the police with new instructions:
“No homeless to be seen in the city centre.”

We are proud of our historical city, and
Its many tourist attractions:
Our wonderful heritage.

Lisa Rossetti

May 2015

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

'Song of the Food Bank'

Pasta. Always pasta.
Nothing wrong
with it, of course,
especially the brown stuff -
a nice bit of sauce
and it's always tasty.
(Someone else can put in
the mix-in tomato sauce.)
It's good for the gut,
filling for the kids;
and you only need one ring
and a saucepan.
That's what makes it
a good choice, you see -
because, well, you don't know
the exact kind of places
where some of these
people have to live.

But, then, what about
the little luxuries, you might say:
a decent cup of coffee
for those bleak and chilly mornings,
hot chocolate, coco pops,
a nice a bit of
iced chocolate cake?
By and large, you won't see
much of these -
expect perhaps at Easter,
and at Christmas.
The cycles of the year
are marked by our giving
just that eensy weensy
little bit more.

Next time you pass by
a food bank collection point
have a look and see
what we're offering.
What are we saying
about what we think
our neighbours deserve?
I am ashamed now to think
that there are women wearing rags,
as my grandmother did
and her mother.
What kind of kingdom
have we made
where mothers bleed
to feed their children
while the incoming kings
drink champagne?

Abigail Wyatt

Monday, 11 May 2015

‘The Clean-Up Stage’

(a response to some remarks made recently on Facebook)

The 'clean-up stage' was how she described it.
She could not know how my mouth had fallen open.
I saw again the cattle trucks pull in at the station,
anxious fingers groping towards freedom,
heard, renewed and re-doubled, the desperate pleas
of those people left to swelter in the sunshine
or else to hack at icicles for water even as they waited to freeze.
She did not deny that some sick people had suffered
but she knew it would be 'ironed out' in the long run.
She believed, she told me, that the government
wanted to 'make things better for us all';
their policies were not only well-intended
but bound to prove successful in the end.
She went on to say that ‘healthy people’
should be ‘helped’ to ‘get out to work’.
At the risk of being seen to ‘moan’, I said I didn’t agree.
What of those people who have already died,
and those whose lives were blighted by ATOS?
When she turns her gaze on the one percent,
I wonder what kind of social justice she sees, or thinks she sees.
And then again I wonder: what is their true objective?
Should I look forwards, or backwards through history
to pick out the outline of the smoke-stacks of their dreams?
Isn’t what she calls the 'clean-up stage' only
the start of an ongoing process
by which they will lead us by the nose
and then crush by slow degrees?

And am I now an 'agitator’ as some have lately suggested,
part of ‘the scum’, the ‘skivers’ and ‘dregs’,
those who have chosen not to work?
So, must I make my bed among the ‘rioters’ and ‘rabble rousers’.
those who are now deemed ‘disgusting’,
the ‘benefit fraudsters’ whom ‘we’ have been ‘feeding’,
and now, or so I have heard it said, like rats
‘come creeping’ from their ‘holes’?
Though I was not with them, I would have been with them;
my heart went with them most freely;
now, as the dust begins to settle,
just as freely I choose my ground:

I stand up for freedom, right thinking, and right feeling;
for justice duly tempered by compassion;
I side with the poor, who must remember they are many,
against the rich and the greedy, who are few.