Category Archives: New Poetry

Advice for Lovers in an Age of Screens – Nick Barth

When in doubt of love in some long black night,
when her voice cracks, threatening to distort,
her expression obscured by lens flare light,
the subwoofer’s thunderous retort
signals your pleasure dome’s demise;
when the sparkling dialogue becomes lacklustre,
a weak romcom plays out before your eyes
where once there was high action blockbuster;
when you’re this close to storming off the set, stop.
Lay down those phones, turn off your screens.
There’s no way your epic tale should be a flop;
a little empathy will fix this sorry scene,
to put you back up there as idols without equal
with love like this you’re sure to get a sequel.

©Nick Barth 2018

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Bath ꟷ Barth – by Nick Barth

On Friday night, North of this line, after tea
before going out, people take a bath, short ‘a’,
maybe with bubbles, perhaps a rubber duck,
some popular tunes on the transistor radio
to soak themselves into the mood for a shimmy.

South of this line, from the West to the East,
before an evening in a Cornish quayside pub
or a clapboard Suffolk Inn, the people baahth,
long ‘a’, as spoken by a lazy sheep, giving directions
to a Roman Spa Town on a warm summer evening.

Time was, that was the only way to ablute, apart
from an enclave within sound of the Bow Bells
where the folk revelled in a bahf, to rhyme with laugh.
The word spread, before long all roads and railways led
out of London and Cockney became ubiquitous Estuary.

The received bahth, received throughout the South
grew itself a bridgehead, dividing West from East,
a corridor formed by M’s One and Forty, reaching up
into the belly of Birmingham, gateway to the North,
perhaps to eventually overcome the rural baahth.

My inheritance is the German Barth, hard ‘t’,
Saxon Thorn long lost to the invasive Franks,
maybe named for a spa town in Mecklenburg
or an ancient line of romantic troubadours
who prefer to shower before leaving the house.

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Restructuring – Nick Barth

There used to be bumbling bees.
Wasps wading in jam, paddling in beer,
moths dashing themselves on lightbulbs,
daddy-long-legs dancing in and out of shadows.

They used to be inscrutable.
An angry insect’s hard to read, tangled up in hair,
caught up in a sleeve, in hot pursuit of a picnic,
preserved as a juicy splat across a windscreen.

They used to be so beautiful.
Picking and choosing from colours and shapes
glosses and finishes, wings and appendages
other creatures were too abashed to wear.

There seemed to be so many of them.
The midges that materialised at sunset,
columns of ants constructing communities,
branches draped with buntings of butterflies.

They seemed utterly indispensable.
Fussing over flowers, visiting every stamen,
enabling reproduction, disposing of the dung,
endlessly producing everlasting honey.

But they were guilty of heinous crimes
against humanity, descending on our crops,
making holes in our valuable vegetables,
taking up residence in pristine fruit.

So, we bravely chose to do without them,
took a generous slice out of the food chain,
massively downsized the planet’s workforce, hopeful
that nature will find a way to take up the slack.

©Nick Barth 2018

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Visiting Ancestors – John Hurley

Rusty gate resists but then creaks open
Its peaceful here ,no traffic den
I’m puzzled by the tall stone walls
Surely, no one will break in

Angel wings spread across the skyline
Saviours outstretched hands,with rusty nails
Guard the masses, all here are equal
Whether from manor house or jails

My old neighbours,are all around me
Awaiting for the judgement day
Their times on earth all clearly printed
In my head, they never went away

Why do some have larger headstones?
While others lay neath a simple cross
Is it a show of their importance?
Or to denote a bigger loss?

Time now,to visit my ancestors
They are near the gate , close to the wall
All their lives they were time conscious
They are now convenient for Gabrials call

There is lichen growth,their names have faded
Wood pigeons coo,as sadness grips
My eyes sting,the tears flow freely
Turning to salt on my trembling lips

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Rabbit – Peter Francis

My mother would skin a rabbit
But gut them she would not.
(That fell to our lodger, Ken
Who later hanged himself from a tree).
The country women brought them in
Laying them out on the market trestle
Like bodies dragged from rubble,
Unidentified
Brown eyes  still open.

A slit in the fur opened them up  for inspection.

My mother would look for signs of shot,
Black pellets spotting the flesh not good
She wanted her meat snared or ferretted

In Fishy Lowe’s they hung from hooks
small buckets attached to their heads
alongside hares – too upper class for us.

Or skinned they lay on the marble slab
Headless  like Saturn’s children
But they made good stews and cheap
That saw us through the dark days.

After chitterlings, tripe, brawn. faggots, pig’s trotters,
rabbits were luxury.

Finding the heart was prize.
Like finding sixpence in the Christmas pudding
You’d chase it floating on the gravy
through a wrecked cathedral arch of ribs.

But rabbits do not have wishbones.
And as for feet
They were dismembered.

 

 

 

 

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Defenceless – Michael Harris

It served for a time
but not any more –
it thwarts me now.

It muddled thought
but not any more –
I see clearly now.

It dampened emotion
but not any more –
I feel my feelings.

It dulled sensation
but not any more –
I’ve come to my senses.

It doubted intuition
but not any more –
I trust my gut now.

It offered protection
but not any more –
it endangers me now.

It served for a time
but not any more –
life serves me now.

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Sheltered – Pat Francis

‘You won’t want to go to the funeral’
my mother told me, and turned away.
I spent the day with neighbours.

I didn’t see the black cars come,
my pink-loving mother in black silk,
straight-backed, silent. I didn’t see

his comrades from two wars,
straight-backed, black-banded,
form a shocked guard of honour.

I went back to school, carrying
a black ball of grief I had not
been shown how to handle.

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