Question, or Nominate?

I attended a friend’s poetry book launch last night, and on the bus home I read of the passing of William G Stewart, a former TV producer and presenter in the UK. He hosted a quiz show, 15-to-1, for many years, in a famously unfussy, non-demonstrative style. I found myself strangely moved by his death, and compelled to write a poem about it, perhaps because of how television – and quiz shows in particular – have changed in the last few years. To me, he is a lost link to a different time.

William Gladstone Stewart,
Or to me just William G;
A remnant from a bygone age
Of simpler TV.

No flannel between questions,
No inconsequential padding.
Just quizzing for the purist
Within a geography teacher’s cladding.

No cheesy catchphrase churned out,
No tearing people down.
A host with quiet dignity,
No need to play the clown.

You reached the final round
Scored the maximum throughout.
From fifteen, to one, your time is done;
Your lights have all gone out.

RIP William G xxx

 

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The Wheel Moves On…

Hi, it’s been a while… everyone good? … The last time I was on here, I was encouraging you to submit poems for a charity anthology, Diverse Verse, organised by Richard aka https://skaggythepoet.wordpress.com/ . Well, I took my own advice, and am now officially a published poet!

Richard invited me along to the launch on Saturday, so I caught the train over to Walsall to join him and a number of friendly, local poets for only my third ever open mic poetry reading… you wouldn’t believe how much preparation I put into a six-minute open mic slot! I’m planning a post on this in the near future. For now, check out Richard’s report on the launch here, and please support the book if you are able: diverse-verse-2-is-launched It was wonderful to finally meet Richard in person – he was exactly as I expected, although taller! He is the first blogger I’ve had the pleasure of meeting offline. Hopefully not the last 🙂

For those kind enough to have asked, I haven’t gone away completely, although it’s fair to say I’ve lost my love for blogging for a host of reasons, not all of which I want to share. I’m still writing, now performing too (!), and intend to be back here with the odd tidbit now and again. Who knows, maybe I’ll even find the “moderation in all things” approach that everyone keeps talking about!

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The poet in full-on “action mode”

Banish the Blues – Get Yourself Published!

My friend Richard is putting together a poetry book to raise money for charity, and is putting out a last call for contributions! Entry is completely free. So #banishtheblues , dust off a couple of poems, contribute to a good cause, AND be able to state that you are now published. You can’t go wrong!

(I’ve also submitted a couple of mine, so we could be book-buddies! 🙂 )

https://skaggythepoet.wordpress.com/2016/12/01/new-poetry-collection-seeks-poets/

I’ve copied below the key rules:

1. All poems must be the author’s own work, please don’t submit something that isn’t yours.

2. Poems are welcome from anyone, anywhere in the world.

3. Please submit no more than two poems

4. Submitted poems must be in arial font in a format free word document. If you are unable to do such then just paste the poems into the body of your email.

5. Poems on any subject and theme are welcome, however sexually explicit poetry and poems with extreme bad language will not be considered.

6. Poems should be no longer than 400 words approx.

7. Previously published poems can be submitted as long as the writer holds the copyright.

8. When submitting poems please include your full name for inclusion in the book’s contents.

9. Email your poems to Diverseverse@aol.co.uk

10. If I receive more poems than I can fit in a reasonably sized book then I shall do one of two things. Firstly I shall endeavour to put at least one of each contributors poems in the book, failing that if there are too many poems I will select my favourites and publish those.

11. The book will be published via Lulu the online publishers.

12. Closing date for submissions is 31 January 2017

alistairlanewrites

A gratuitous bribe

One way to win people over is with the power of your words… another way is bribery… another bit of January fun to #banishtheblues !

Oopsy me, how careless
I don’t know what to say
You said there was no charge…
But I thought I had to pay

So here’s some rhyming chocolate
A piece of poem pie
Left down on a table
With a winking of my eye

And just in case you do not love
Those words what I have wrote
You’ll find beneath this poem
A crisp new ten pound note

 

🙂

 

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Picture credit: flickr.com/photos/dysanovic/197527093

 

 

alistairlanewrites

Sleep In Beauty

One way to #banishtheblues is through humour. There are other ways…

My beauty, my love, my heart’s desire,
Curls up beside me, in front of the fire
Sleeping so soundly, peaceful, serene,
Enjoying the deepest and softest of dreams.

I snuggle in behind her, cuddle her tight,
Whisper so gently, what I’d do tonight,
If only she’d wake and kiss me right here
Imagine the sounds those ears would hear…

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Picture credit: flickr.com/photos/cuppini/622856689

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Then There Was One

To help us all get through the dismal dirtsack we lovingly call January, I’ve started a #banishtheblues hashtag. I’d love it if you joined me! Just write, or draw, or photograph, something light, or fun, or happy, or even joyous… anything to #banishtheblues !

This is another that was written as part of an (unsuccessful) application to join the funeverse, a children’s poetry collective. It was inspired by Jion Sheibani’s sharktastic image of a shark looking hungrily at eight teeny tiny fish…

There’s eight of us, and one of him
No need to feel afraid
If we just stick together,
He’ll need First AND Second Aid!

Oh, we’re down to seven,
Mikey’s wandered off…
He had been feeling peaky,
With that ticklish, wheezy cough

But still, we’re strong at seven!
Err… has anyone seen Jill?
Six is plenty to beat that shark
We’ll not end up like those krill!

There’s six, sorry five, of us
He’ll be quaking in his boots
There’s plenty here to scare him.
No need for new recruits.

Us five will hold the line…
Oops, we’re down to four.
I hope that shark can’t count,
That he isn’t keeping score!

Still, four’s a goodly number…
Now where has Betty gone?
We only need to stick together,
Stay with me, come on!

Three will see us right…
Err… guess it’s just us two
I reckon we’ve got his number,
We’ll take him, me and you!

Simon? Simon? Where’ve you gone?
No time for playing games!
Well, if you want me Sharkey,
You’re going down in flames

What d’you mean you’re full?
I think you’re full of it.
If you won’t face me, coward,
You’d better run off quick!

 

alistairlanewrites-1

The Monster of the Swamp

Happy New Year everyone! I say “happy”, but it’s January…
…it’s cold
…it’s wet
…it’s dark most of the time
…we’ve all put on weight over Christmas and are feeling it
…not to mention feeling super-broke…

Time to #banishtheblues !

Don’t torture yourself with resolutions. You’re not going to keep them anyway!

So join me this month with anything light, or funny, or happy, or joyous… anything to #banishtheblues !

To get this started, this bit of fun was written as part of an (unsuccessful) application to join the funeverse, a children’s poetry collective. Inspired by Kate Pankhurst’s wonderful picture

The Monster of the Swamp
Was preparing for her date
She’d spent hours in the mud-bath
And now was running late!

She combed her thick hair gently
So as not to wake her nits
Shaking off the clumps of mud
Which fell away in bits

She put on her monster make-up,
Made from bugs and flies,
Crushing up a beetle
As mascara for her eyes

She picked her favourite perfume
It had a pungent scent.
No matter where she wandered,
You knew just where she went

A heady mix of armpits,
Mixed with cheesy feet
It smelt of rotten swamp slime
And twelve-day rancid meat

To finalise her outfit
She picked a pretty bow
Tied it neatly to her fur
Now it’s time to go!

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Picture credit: flickr.com/photos/16643636 (this isn’t the one that inspired this piece, but it’s in similar vein 🙂 )

 

 

alistairlanewrites

Twelve Days

My friend Nathalie – https://arwenaragornstar.com/ – challenged me to write something on a theme of birdy vengeance… this is where my mind took it. This is for anyone who wants a non-Christmas post! Warning – not for the faint of heart…

The day the first one showed,
And settled on the sign,
Never thought it was an omen:
I paid it nevermind.

The next day came another.
I thought it rather sweet
That the single lonely raven
Had a friend to share its seat.

On the third day came a third
And on and on it went.
Each day saw another…
And I wondered what it meant.

By the end of day twelve,
Twelve birds sat on the sign.
Brooding there in silence
Waiting there in line.

Each bird would watch me closely
Fix me within its stare.
Not a one did cast a shadow.
My mind screamed out, beware.

They moved as if one creature,
Heads tilt in time as one.
Pecking down in unison
While noise still came there none.

On day thirteen, one left:
It disappeared at night.
I know not when it left
It was gone before daylight.

The remaining flock continued
Their sullen, silent vigil,
As my mind was whirring overtime
To solve this deathly riddle.

What did all this mean?
Did they portent or predict?
Was this mere coincidence,
In a sunny spot they’d picked?

Each day another left
Though I never saw one leave.
The rest continued with their study,
Their study of poor me.

I shut my curtains tight,
Rarely peeking through.
Yet every time they saw me
Each one nodded in my view.

I spurned all food, couldn’t sleep
My mind was always racing
About what these ravens stood for;
What future horrors facing.

Yet on with each day passing
Their numbers shrank still smaller.
I felt some hope returning.
I stood a little taller.

On the day there sat just one,
I sensed I’d passed a test.
I prepared myself a feast,
Enjoyed my first night’s rest.

I slept so long that night,
It was mid-morn when I woke.
I ope’d the curtains wide:
My raven spell had broke!

I ran out of my door,
Danced up and down the street,
So happy then was I…
Till I glanced down at my feet.

For despite the morning sun,
I cast no shadow down.
Where it clearly should have been,
No shadow touched the ground.

I looked up to the sky
And saw them swooping fast
My twelve ravens of judgement
Had weighed and tried my past.

They attacked and pecked as one,
Flaying at my flesh,
Feeding on my eyeballs,
Swallowed while they’re fresh.

They squawked their final verdict
Leaving not a trace
Of flesh or bone in situ:
Only blood now marked the space.

So should you venture from your door
And spy a raven scene,
Count the number carefully,
For now we are thirteen.

 

 

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Picture credit: flickr.com/photos/srdjanjovanovic/11980047516

The Night Before Christmas, 2016

I wrote this as my entry for the Amazon competition, for a modern take on The Night Before Christmas. I’m guessing I didn’t win, so here it is for your seasonal entertainment, from this Grinchiest of writers 🙂 Merry Christmas everyone!

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all over town
A sprinkling of snow began to come down.
Few could remember the last time it snowed
But on this night of enchantment, soft magic flowed.

A gentle white blanket, a snuggly sheet
Covered each house, every flat, every street.
Inside each bed, wrapped-up children slept well
As their hopes and their dreams started to swell.

They’d been good this year. Perhaps an X-Box
Would be under their tree, and not silly socks!
Maybe an i-Pad, or mobile phone,
Some books or some films, maybe even a drone!

Anything but socks would bring them a smile,
…Or Gran’s knitted jumpers, in her own special style!
So the children slept on, and their parents did too
(Mum dreamt a long list of jobs she must do…)

Then out in the garden, a hullabaloo,
Awoke one small child, who took in the view:
Santa and crew had been riding too fast
Racing the Space Station as it flew past!

They’d landed too hard; a crash and a bump:
Santa collided with reindeer rump!
His big belly wobbled. He laughed and he said,
“Time for mince pies. Time we were fed!”

Santa – with help – filled a sack up with toys
Whispering softly to keep down the noise.
The boy in his bedroom was straining to hear,
But didn’t want Santa to know he was near.

He peeked around curtains, moved barely a muscle
As Santa continued his sack-filling bustle.
Then stroking and feeding each one of the team
Using the light from Rudolph’s nose-beam!

Santa greeted each reindeer, from Dancer
To daredevil Dasher, and Cupid, and Prancer.
To red-nosed Rudolph, Donner and Blitzen
To cranky old Comet, and tricksy young Vixen.

The boy held his breath. He dared be no louder!
As Santa got out the pink magic powder,
Sprinkled a little to enter the house…
The dust made him shrink to size of a mouse.

(Santa liked chimneys, despite soot and ash,
But moved with the times as quick as a flash.)
He popped up in the house, next to the tree,
With his sack on his shoulder to spread Christmas glee.

He placed the presents for every good child
By the sparkly tree; carefully piled.
Helped himself to a mince pie or two,
And picked up some carrots for his reindeer crew.

He drank up the milk, and licking his lips,
Took a quick look around, his hands on his hips.
With a stroke of his beard, he spied by itself,
A cheeky but lonely, elf on the shelf.

He greeted the elf like a long-lost old friend,
And made sure to move him along to the end.
Between Advent chocolate, baubles and lights
Wrapping blue tinsel all ‘round his red tights.

With a rub of his tummy, his work here complete
Santa sprinkled some dust to make his retreat.
Back to the reindeer, waiting outside,
And hopped in his sled to continue this ride!

Santa took the reins, but before taking flight
He turned to the boy, winked in the moonlight,
Beamed him a smile, so happy and bright:
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

 

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Picture credit: flickr.com/photos/pagedooley/3124443099