What went wrong? (a prose poem)


What went wrong?

Every window


A crater that kills the road

     23 bodies blown

                                                          To bits and

15 bodies than could have been


           Put back together –

If the Hospital hadn’t


Been targeted

                                                 Men, women, children, and one

Foetus dead – in the womb




What went wrong?

Practising another religion

From a far-away land

With a different colour skin

With a different culture

With a different language

With a different set of values

Can those demonstrative mothers really be said to Grieve

Like a British Mother or an American Mother?


What went wrong?

Bribes are the oil that lubricates trade

Trade is a wheel that supports the Government


What went wrong?

This item in our catalogue has a high rate of successful detonation

It did what it was meant to do

“One of our most popular items”


What went wrong?

Looking with the Company’s eyes

Thinking with the Company’s brain




(A prose poem)


The angry Giant can roar very loud! Aaarggh!

Yet he is lonely, for no one loves him.

Sometimes a stranger will see him in the town centre,

He will smile and go to shake the Giant’s hand.

As the Giant jumps on their head he bellows,

“Why do you not love me?”


He doesn’t like gays, or women, or scientists, or those of a different religion.

He has his own religion, “Giantism”

Sometimes, he lies awake at night thinking of new people to hate.



On his garden wall he has a tiny sign written in his childlike writing,

“Please come and play with me”

But the wall is one mile high. It has no ladders or gates.


When he goes to town,

Everyone runs away

And at first he cries. For he is lonely

Then he bellows at everyone

He has a limited vocabulary

But he knows words of hate

Words of dislike

And words of anger


The angry Giant can roar very loud! Aaarggh!




When people disagree, we communicate

We can use words

Or we can use weapons

Adjectives and nouns

Or missiles and bullets

How do you communicate?


Words can be happy, sad, nasty, nice, or neutral

They can be said in anger or in love

But weapons are always bad

How do you communicate?


When I wear a white poppy

I communicate,




[This poem was inspired by the nice people who attended the Peace Pledge Union Alternative Remembrance Day event in London in 2016.]



The Gael


Thanks to Annie Rutherford of Far Off Places magazine for using this poem in the first issue.


I am a Selchie walking from the sea

Dry land in sight, but it doesn’t much appeal to me

Taking off my Selchie skin,

Talking in a stranger’s tongue,

Trying to be “at home”,

In someone else’s world


I curse the moon, as it cursed me

I need the sea – cold, and deep, and salty-

To cover me


If I ever find my skin again…

Under the broken clouds,

I will lie upon the hard, sharp rocks,

Then dive into the

Crashing waves,

And be alive again


To be amongst my own kind,

In a world I know,

And love



And yes, afterwards

Perhaps there shall be what the humans once called, “Weeds”

Yet pretty in the ruins

Green urgent shoots, they do not know they were once called, “Ugly”

There may one day be trees

All over the World, surviving

Covering the scars. Giving out oxygen for what remains.

So much lives on through the radiation

Yet still, many species have been cruelly mutated

But lichens? Yes, beautiful lichens will survive,



The United States of America, Lecanora, The United Kingdom, Lepraria, Israel, Xanthoria, Russia, Parmelia, France, Physcia, China, Hypogymnia


The unquestioning masses are silent now for ever. No longer worried by doubts.

The believers are in their heaven – if it exists

And the Politicians have fought their war to the best of their abilities

But, the cost