Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Tuesday Poem: "Lucozade" by Jackie Kay

Photo credit: www.chrysanthemums.org

My mum is on a high bed next to sad chrysanthemums.
‘Don’t bring flowers, they only wilt and die.’
I am scared my mum is going to die
on the bed next to the sad chrysanthemums.

She nods off and her eyes go back in her head.
Next to her bed is a bottle of Lucozade.
‘Orange nostalgia, that’s what that is,’ she says.
‘Don’t bring Lucozade either,’ then fades.

‘The whole day was a blur, a swarm of eyes.
Those doctors with their white lies.
Did you think you could cheer me up with a Woman’s Own?
Don’t bring magazines, too much about size.’

My mum wakes up, groggy and low.
‘What I want to know,’ she says,’ is this:
where’s the big brandy, the generous gin, the Bloody Mary,
the biscuit tin, the chocolate gingers, the dirty big meringue?’

I am sixteen; I’ve never tasted a Bloody Mary.
‘Tell your father to bring a luxury,’ says she.
‘Grapes have no imagination, they’re just green.
Tell him: stop the neighbours coming.’

I clear her cupboard in Ward 10B, Stobhill Hospital.
I leave, bags full, Lucozade, grapes, oranges,
sad chrysanthemums under my arms,
weighted down. I turn round, wave with her flowers.

My mother, on her high hospital bed, waves back.
Her face is light and radiant, dandelion hours.
Her sheets billow and whirl. She is beautiful.
Next to her the empty table is divine.

I carry the orange nostalgia home singing an old song.

by Jackie Kay
Photo Credit: © Mary McCartney
For more information about poet, Jackie Kay, see:


Friday, August 26, 2016

National Poetry Day: "How Poetry Got Her Hooks In Me" by Andrew M. Bell

It is an ancient Poet
and he stoppeth me.
“Beware of poetry, my son,
She’s a gold digger.
She’ll chew you up and spit you out,
leave you penniless and lying in a gutter,
drunk on absinthe,
while the rich novelists and scriptwriters
step over you, laughing.”

“Hold off! unhand me, greybeard loon!”
Unheeding, I slunk off to my garret
to compose a villanelle,
heavily derivative of Dylan Thomas.

I only wanted to get girls,
but before I knew it
I was roaming with the Romantics,
bopping with the Beats
and cruising with the Classicists.
Popping some Pope, shooting some Stevie Smith
or hitting up Heaney,
I was hopelessly addicted.
And I never did get the girl.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Tuesday Poem: "Agog" by Andrew M. Bell

Mural in New Brighton: Artist Unknown

As I dreamt the voices sang
of war no longer waged.
The pitted scars had disappeared,
the global face had aged.
Poverty expired
in a ghetto in LA.
The morning found no corpses
on the footpaths of Bombay.
The wilderness revived
from the chimney’s stranglehold.
Harpoons sang no funeral songs
for those cetacean souls.
One’s sex no more a prison
and race a burden shed,
a man could not be tortured
for something he had said.
The nuclear threat was history,
our lungs were free of smog.
I woke in trembling disbelief,
speechless and agog.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Tuesday Poem: "Following Your Heart" by Andrew M. Bell

Amazing Mural in New Brighton: Artist Unknown

When the wind changes direction,
do your friends say that she is fickle?

Wheeling and soaring, the hawk searches
the sky's silent patterns for
whirlpools and eddies in the liquid blue,
following only the pulse of knowing that rises
in her breast and eye,
reading the ochre outcrops, the granite crags,
the shale shards and basalt buttresses,
the myriad forms of the thrusting, restless earth
that catch and shape the wind and sun,
melding invisible columns of power for the taking.
Fierce, steady eyes
scrutinise that patchwork of pIay,
tapping its effortless buoyancy
when the powerful sinew tires.
Like the hawk, you follow
the knowing,
wed to heart and bone
by the seamless lineage of trust and instinct.
That is the true voice
you hear
when you glide and ride
the pillar of easeful power:
the true voice

for the voices of your friends
can no longer be heard up here.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Tuesday Poem: "The Gift (for Thomas and Ryan)" by Andrew M. Bell

When we are cosmic dust
blowing through the universe
and memories of us fade
like colours in a Polaroid
you can pick up your guitar and know
your parents gave you a gift
no one could take away

NOTE: The poet would like to acknowledge The Press in whose pages this poem first appeared.