Wednesday 31 May 2017


She has no-one, no kith or kin,
just these four walls that close her in,
in this little space she once called home.

She is all alone waiting for the ring of silent phone
knowing there is no-one at all to call her.  
She pours out a drink and sips at it,
smoke rolled and lit she draws at it, thinks:
These are the only comforts that I have.

She relives the past of times before in letters read,
old photographs and memento's’ tucked in secret draws. 
This is her each and every day. 

She longs for warmth of company,
of laughs and love and idle chat,
of all things that used to be, before emptiness befell her.

She had the pub of course and once night drew near
she would wander there, buy half-a-pint, pull up a chair
and sit amongst the lost and lonely people gathered there. 
And in that noisy smoke-filled air she would become alive again
and belong and share, fill the emptiness of her days.

But now the pub is long demised,
its door long closed to all that once had gathered there,
its smoke-free air as silent as this life of hers. 
She (demonised) had tried of course to smoke outside,
her frail body shivering in the frigid cold. 
But she to old to brave this storm began to stay at home
and all alone she gradually wilted there.

She pours out a drink and sips at it,
smoke rolled and lit she draws at it, thinks:
These are the only comforts that I have.

Anna :o]

Susan at Toads challenges us to write a new poem in which we address our experience (or thoughts) about smoking tobacco.

I had my first cigarette about the age of thirteen.  In reality it was not a cigarette at all, rather my friend Carole and I tightly rolled up strips of newspaper, lit them on a coal fire, inhaled and coughed our guts out.

I am not entirely sure when I had my first real cigarette, I was either sixteen or early seventeen and I do recall it made me dizzy.  However it was considered cool to smoke and I persevered and a smoker I became.  Apart from ceasing when pregnant, I have smoked ever since, some forty-seven to forty-eight years.

Although smokers are now demonised, I am not a demon.  I consider myself a good person and hopefully I am.

I tend to think smoking was banned on public transport several years before the smoking ban in workplaces & public indoor areas in 2007, but this bothered me not, I had no problem with it.

After 2007 I had no problem not smoking in my workplace or restaurants, and if hospitalised could go without smoking for weeks.  Even before then, if a visitor in someone’s house and they were non-smokers; I would excuse myself and go outside to smoke.  I considered and continue to consider other people.

Where I do miss smoking is on a rare visit to a pub.  I admit it; I am not a social animal rather a happy introvert.  But on the rare occasions I meet chums and we go pubbing, which is a social thing, I do object to being demonised and having to go outside for a welcome puff.  I don’t know what it is, but smokers like to smoke when they drink.  I don’t understand why there cannot be smokers’ rooms in pubs or indeed smokers’ pubs.  But of course this cannot be allowed as smokers’ are horrible people and denied basic rights.

What I do remember of these early days, probably 2007-8, (some) non-smokers felt empowered to abuse those of us who did, and to be tut-tutted or verbally abused by those who passed by was not uncommon as we puffed outside pub doors.  Luckily that is long gone.

Pubs, clubs and other (indoor) places of social gathering have suffered since the smoking ban, thousands of these places (especially pubs) have closed their doors, resulting in the loss of jobs of those who worked there and loss of livelihood of those who owned and ran  them. This has had a knock on effect on those for whom pubs were their only social outlet.

An extract from Freedom2choose (pdf);

On the other hand, smokers have complained bitterly about the so-called ‘smoking shelters’ allowed, as they have to be 50% open to the elements. This of course means that, being basically useless as shelters, the elderly and the infirm (smokers) cannot visit the pubs/clubs in colder times. 
The smoking ban has led to a dramatic increase in drinking in the home. Obviously it is impossible to arrive at a definite figure but looking at the decline in customer pub usage against the rapidly rising beer sales at supermarkets it would seem that pre-ban concerns were well placed. One northern police force has indicated that this has resulted in a rapid increase in domestic violence cases – yet another unintended consequence of an overly zealous ban.
Whole communities are now denied a focal point for meeting and socialising as village pub after village pub closes down through lack of custom. Many council estate pubs have closed for similar reasons. Thousands of elderly and infirm members of our society have been isolated throughout the winter months due to the ban. In short, the ban has divided communities nationwide.”

And so it is that communities have suffered from this ban and will continue to do so…  But as said, it impacts on me little, and I will continue to smoke as I like it.

My (across the road) neighbour, although a nice man, is not nice when it comes to smoking, he vehemently opposed to it.  Yet he is quite happy (and conscience free) as he drives his diesel car, fully knowing its exhaust is a Group 1 carcinogen…

Further reading (if you are interested):

Image:  Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Author:  Keith Edkins

Monday 29 May 2017

When We Are Broken

I see our differences in the colour of our skin, our dress and our separation of cultures.  I hear our differences as you speak in your tongue and I feel excluded in my own land, failing to see it is your land too.  We both set ourselves apart, cling to our differences, afraid of each other.  Blind we are to our commonalities, our humanness. 

Yet in times of trial we set a common bond, we bleed into each others hearts until we mend.  Yet soon we will be as before and we will travel our different paths and close our doors behind us.  But until then I trust you.

If I close my eyes
will you trust me enough
to give me a hug?

Anna :o]

Grace at dVerse asks us to write of finding beauty in broken pieces or imperfection and/or the process of mending broken pieces, followed by a nature-themed “haiku”.

My words are a tribute to the good folk of Manchester who like most folk show their best when things are at their worst.  Hearts have been opened and communities rally together, a commonality is found.

Sadly, as time passes, things will return to what they were, that is, the divisions born of diversity.  Those who have lost loved ones or have been injured or have family who have been injured will suffer their grief their hurt for a long long time, and (eventually) they will be forgotten by the rest of us…

Political correctness will once again rear its ugly head, provide the fertile ground for the seeds of hate and distrust to be sown as the ‘ordinary man’ will be gagged in its name.

We must be allowed to express our fears our grievances for until that happens we will not be able to mend society.  We must have the freedom to talk to each other about each other, and in doing so, realise our paths might be different but our ultimate goals are the same, that is, to live life to the full, experience the beauty of it and share it with others.

I salute you Manchester and indeed every other community that has suffered the atrocities’ of that that is the evil of Daesh, and this includes those oft forgotten in the Middle East.

NB:  I do realise my haiku doesn’t fit the nature-theme, that is unless we consider the nature of man, and is also one syllable short (middle line), but I felt I needed to abandon the constraints of same…

Video:  Courtesy of Manchester Evening News      

Sunday 21 May 2017

No News...

I don’ read books or anyfin,
ol’ fashion people do,
an’ I’m young y’know
an’ I’ve ‘air to crimp  an’ knees t’show – Har Har! 
Is this dress too short or not short enough?

The lads love me cos we talk of fins
that are importunt like, like what (?),
well fins in the neighbour’ud,  who’s screwing who,
an’ wevver fat ol’ Missis Smiff will kick Jonny
up ‘is arse‘n’kick ‘im owt like she said she would
when she found ‘im kissin Mike (yuk yuk),
y’know Mike ooze got’is brain arf missin.’ 
Har Har!

Prime Min’ster?  T’resa May innit? 
Tell trufe I don’ give a shit ‘bout anyfin in pollytics.   
They never do nowt for me, she’s Tory innit? 
Watch news on telly?  Nah, its borin’ innit? 
Wars?  Don’ care.  Famine?  What’s that?  Oh ‘unger.
Don’ care, only care what’s in my belly! (LOL)!

Newspapers?  Already said don’ read books or anyfin, 
I’m not ol’ fashion y’know, but I text’n’fins
so know evryfin that’s wurf anyfin I need t’know.

Anna :o]

Brendan at Toads writes brilliantly of how ‘The News’ is fed to us in this world of ours, where we are constantly bombarded with ‘News’ here there and everywhere. 

News and its intention to educate has now become a source of entertainment and often is presented thus.  It creates the shallow world of ‘celebrities’’ and then does its best to destroy same, cluttering their world with the sharks that are paparazzi, this especially so of the tabloid gutter press, who frequently find new depths to sink to.  Sadly, this presentation of ‘news’ is popular with its readers… (And this I worry about, worry about how society is being dumbed down.)

What did the (gutter) press do when Dr. David Dao was dragged off the United Airlines plane – they sought to find ‘dirt’ in his history and joined Oscar Munoz in victim-blaming.  Why in heavens name did they do that?   Luckily not all newspapers are the same and the Independent gives a fair opinion on this.

I could rant on forever but won’t.

Oddly enough, when reading Brendan’s post, the first thing that came to mind was that of an ex-colleague, a lovely kind young woman, who had no interest in the world outside her own sphere and had little knowledge of it – and so I wrote of her.   I could never understand why she didn’t want to know.

Image:  Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Author:  Bobbie Johnson

Wednesday 17 May 2017


In the carnage of that that is war,
she touched by icy fingers of impending Death,
he rasps her (unwelcome) welcome as
he sucks in her last dying breath.

He finds a peculiar warmth there,
a tincture of her fear,
a scintilla of her hope there
as she knows that Death is near.

Oh how she fights it, her
heart pounding in chest,
a clock ceasing in relentless time
as he lays her out to rest

Her vision is forever dimmed
by the blackness in her eyes.
She is enveloped by the darkness
as she knowingly slowly dies.

He has won then,
his duty almost done,
she is enveloped by the darkness
as he blocks out rising sun.

She returned to the earth then,
her life is but her death,
relinquishing all her hope then,
she bequeathing her last breath.

She searches for the bright light
as promised by her God
and much to her displeasure
finds there is naught but neath the sod…

Anna :o]

Mish at dVerse has us writing of sensory play, that is, an abstract view of the senses.  I really don’t know if my offering fits the bill as it is not pretty, but nevertheless is what came to mind (from where I do not know!). Maybe an abstract of an abstract..?

Image:  Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Author:  Soumyadipto

Saturday 13 May 2017


He behemoth, obese he is, ridiculous, an affront to us, we who with polite constraint, nibble feasts with dainty fingers, whilst he, fat slothful fool, greedy, gorges gluttonous, fills selfish pleasures of his round repulsive belly.

How low he is, how far beneath us, we who scowl, sated with our smug self-satisfaction.  Deserving he of our derision, failed he is, outside the norm, he an imbecile, an embarrassment, a blight upon us, worthy of nothing but our scorn.

Watch how he moves, fat rippling flesh of fat lumbering fool!  How can we (in our ivory towers) do naught but smile smug self-satisfaction, laugh out loudly, jeer and deride?

Anna :o]

Magaly at Toads has us writing of how we think mythical monsters/imaginary beings might fare in the prejudices and discrimation rife in our present day world.

I don’t think Behemoth would fare very well, we would not tremble at his roar, rather he would tremble at ours…

Also shared with the good folk at Poets United

Image:  Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Author:  E. Plon

Thursday 4 May 2017

Wash Day

Peggy Vierra Link (1923-2004) Wash Day, Oil

She finds a certain intimacy
in the washing of his things,
his soft blue woollen jumper,
his old grey cotton slacks,   these
the clothes he died within. 

She sniffs the jumper first, inhales him,
then gently submerges him in suds,
she is beguiled by wild emotions,
there is wire in her blood.

Her breath caught in deep excitement,
she scrubs away his scent,
from deep within and deep without   he 
the source of malcontent.

Her labour brings with it vivid imagery,
of knife glistening in the sun,
of sharp surprise upon his face
as she with cruel twist of blade
his waywardness undone.

She bears the scars within her heart
of a woman truly sinned,
but cleansed her soul she pegs him out,
leaves him blowing in the wind.

Anna :o]

Margaret at Toads welcomes us with Artistic Interpretations, that is ekphrastic poetry inspired by works of art, of which she has chosen a fine selection (for us).  Cheers Margaret!

Also shared with the good folk at dVerse OLN.  Cheers for hosting Grace.

Image from Real Toads and used with permission.