Smyllum Park

A bit dark, this one. BBC Radio 4 recently broadcast an interview with a former resident (inmate??) of the Lanark orphanage run by a Catholic order. Her story is chilling. This poem is in memory of the victims of Smyllum Park and other places like it.

Smyllum Park

(dedicated to all child victims of abuse)

lap dog
hot dog
caught dog
whore
I am accused
confused
abused
They make me lick my vomit off the floor
I sleep in piss and this
this too
is my fault
I was caught
red handed
being
a child

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Train of thought

I like to write when I’m on the move, especially when I’m on a train.

On a train bound for anywhere,
racing sunset red down stubborn tracks,
forehead resting on the glass.
The sun, a furious typist,
hammers on vellum lids:

CLOSED                  CLOSED
TO                            TO
VISITORS                VISITORS

Heat and light sear through to consciousness.
Memories of summer
bubble and simmer,
and thoughts rise like damp
on crumbling plaster.
I rise too
and leave this train.
I take its rhythms
with me
into winter.

 

Jog on, Mendelssohn

Came across a picture today that inspired the following poem. It showed a couple, the man with his arm around ‘his’ woman, at their backs a large house with a ‘For Sale’ sign in front of it. A ‘Sold’ sticker had been pasted on top of the sign. My eyes drew a triangle from the man’s arm to the woman’s face to the ‘Sold’ sign.

Shared on dVersepoets site, for Björn’s challenge on metaphors.

How long have I been
up for sale?
Since birth?
Since they stripped me
of all hope?
Who sold me
this falsehood?
I am a Lego brick, jammed down hard,
plastic on plastic,
on bloody plastic.
Slotted in. Stuck.
My life has crouched,
squatted,
crept on its belly
for too long,
waiting,
for what?
Are you my unsticking or
my undoing?
I will not hear the bells
that chime for jellied love.
The party’s over.
I’m not ready
to set
quite yet.

The truth of it

It’s not a new concept, that of never truly knowing the truth behind the news, or ever knowing the real news. Paul Valéry famously said, “That which has been believed by everyone, always and everywhere, has every chance of being false.”

But as I scanned the news items as presented by the media this week, it struck me again how totally and utterly manipulated we are by the elite and powerful. What often passes for news is not only ‘un-news’ but also shields our vision of the real disasters occurring around our world that should be in the news.

I wrote this simple poem as an expression of my frustration.

 

Changing minds

They stuff us full of what to know,
steer beliefs like dying bulls,
blinker us to make us go on thinking
like their puppet fools. Something
has to change.

Tragic news of unscored goals,
an internet sensation,
politicians switching roles,
proud tales of one great nation.
Something has to
change.

The truth screams silently between the lines
as Twit-face chooses where to look
empty parcels, bright designs
mute futures hang on tenterhooks.
Something
has
to
change.

 

Flux

Written as a quadrille for dVerse Poets. Thanks for the prompt, whimsygizmo!

They
own the land
I stand on
in the river that flows
where they tell it
to go
even the fish know
their home is not
their own
I stand with the fish
still
in the flux
owned
by no one
I am
free

Terminal Conscience

The minority Muslim population of Myanmar continues to be slaughtered by the Buddhist majority while Aung San Suu Kyi and the world look on …

Meanwhile in Myanmar

soft applause
slips like summer rain
amongst the books
in the bookshop
as a new edition is unleashed
audience in silent rapture
meanwhile
fires rage again
in Rakhine State

glasses glinting ting
smiling muscat faces
praise peels off lips like petals
scattering success
meanwhile
a baby boy is found
face down in mud
in Rakhine State

I ponder
the power of words
to transform reality
tomorrow I will use my pen
to prick the eyeballs
of a leader who has forgotten
suffering
and lets the fires rampage
through Rakhine State

Callander Poetry Weekend

Last weekend was inspirational, with over eighty talented poets sharing their work in a wonderful setting. Hosts Sally Evans, Ian King and Finlay the cat made everyone feel welcome. As well as fine poetry, there was singing and instrumental entertainment. The following little poem was inspired by some awesome musicians.

In the church hall

one acoustic guitar
and four mandolins
well matched strike up
music fills the room like
the sudden exit of bats
from a cave
and my ears show me
the moon
being set on fire

 

Shiny shoes

A wee frivolous one, just because  …

 

I want some shiny shoes
that reflect the sky as I run
that taxi the rain in proud little drops
and dazzle the day just for fun!

I want some shiny shoes
but Mum wants a sensible brogue
I’m at school, she says with a sigh
and not on the cover of Vogue!

I want some shiny shoes
they’re all I’ve ever wanted
but Mum says she hasn’t been paid yet
and the piggies have all been emptied

I want some shiny shoes
from the charity shop will be fine
Because even though they’ve been worn
they’re still shiny and they’re mine!

 

 

flowers in the bin

Having just posted a poem about dreams, I thought I would post one about something that has been haunting my dreams for many months now, the plight of refugees. I wrote it in response to the latest dVerse Poets’ challenge, which is to include a line from a song lyric. Mine is from the Sex Pistols: God Save the Queen (“we’re the flowers in the bin”).

from seed to bloom
our journey’s long
who will listen to our song
who will give us standing room
we’re the flowers in the bin
we’re the flowers in the bin
some day soon they tell us
we’ll be free
we’ll be free they tell us
some day soon
what’s our sin we ask them
what’s our sin
you’re the flowers in the bin they answer
you’re the flowers in the bin
babies mothers fathers twins
we will overflow their bins
what’s our sin we ask you
tell us please
our hopes discomfort you like fleas
we’re the flowers in the bin
we’re the flowers in the bin