Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Nutty Slack

Everything seemed to be rationed in Britain during the Second World War and even more so afterwards for the country was nearly bankrupt after the previous six years fighting.

Even coal was too as it was the main heat source for millions of people to warm their homes with open fires in the living rooms whilst at night you sought comfort in bed with a warm hot water bottle.

Coal was needed in many industries and only so much could be allocated for home use except for the variety named “Nutty slack” which was small nuggets of poor quality coal and useless coal dust.

So in our house our open fires were fueled with this very smoky fuel that was a pain to get alight and subject to the vagaries of the weather if an errant breeze over the chimney caused a downdraft and puff a cloud of smoke into the living room caused everyone to cough and choke.

The remedy was to hold a sheet of newspaper in front of the fire to prevent that happening and for the embers to suck air from the room to maintain ignition and encourage the coals to burn.

Often to add to the fun the paper would catch fire too causing my father to drop it quickly and stamp on it to put it out while we hid behind a chair!

Image found at

Laughing in the rain

I quite like this world
The sun's warmth on my face
Laughing in the rain
These are things I can rely on

But there’s much to hate
Children orphaned from wars                              
Seas clogged with debris                          
And politicians who just don’t care                      

I love the Coral Sea                        
Cute Koalas in trees
But hate filthy coalmines
And slaughter of precious species

For we are losing
Our grip on precious Earth
Walking in circles
Putting developers in charge

Do I then accept?
There are those that don’t care
That can’t see ahead
To our final devastation

I am an old man
What heritage is this?
That my grandchildren
Receive a world destroyed by greed

Image found at

Sunday, July 24, 2016

In my granddaddy's garden

I recall it now
In my granddaddy's garden
O so long ago

I had to go round
As he was ill in his bed
To tidy it up

It didn't need it
Yes the weeds had taken over
But was beautiful

The burdock had come
While his peonies had died
Dwindling away

Insects were whirring
Hummingbirds were darting
Sucking the nectar

All making patterns
Hovering over the plants
Just as they wanted

The garden had changed
Nothing could stem the wild growth
Softening the view

No work was needed
As I laid in the tall grass
That would be my loss

“Are you pulling weeds?”
I heard granddaddy call
I nodded and lied

Image found at

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The call of the sea

The call of the sea
The pull of the tide
The scent of the briny water
Long before we reached the shore

We'd voted as one
For a trip to the coast
Four of us packed in the car
Off for a spin this fine day

Who is first to see
Will give a great cheer                                           
Look there it is over there                                      
As we approach the small town                           

The sand in our toes                                              
Arguing seabirds                                                    
As they look for free pickings                               
So then we give them our scraps                        

Then breathe it right in
Salt smell of the sea
With the tide now at its full
Our toes take a tiny dip

We’re under its spell                                              
Race over the sand                                                
There’s no joy is quite like this                             
First to splash in the water                                    

I’m there to explore
To find what I can
Seashells and pebbles
Among branches and driftwood

We’ve scoffed all our food
Drunk all our drink
As the sun sinks sadly down
Dissolving into the sea

So then we pack up
Wend our way back home
Giving the sea one last wave
Of course she gives us one too

Image found at

A sigh of relief

Finally she finished
She breathed a sigh of relief
Painting her toenails

It was an ordeal
After breaking her right arm
A few weeks ago

She was satisfied
And sat back to admire them
Wiggling them around

It was a new color
She had used Orange Blossom
To match her red hair

Image found at

Friday, July 22, 2016

He sat beside her

Her eyes glanced shyly at him
Fingers playing with her hair
As he glanced at her
He'd loved her so much

So quickly she looked away                 
Lest he think she wanted him                  
But that was the truth                                 
Right through her childhood                           

That was their own hidden realm             
Holding hands on the way to school      
That warm loving touch                        
So many years ago                                  

Now that they had met again                    
She didn’t know what to say                     
All these years later                                    
Her heart in her mouth                              
He came over and then spoke                 
“Do you remember me?” he asked             
The train rattled on                                     
He sat beside her                                        

She nodded “Of course I do”
Their hands were almost touching
He felt her fingers
While she closed her eyes

She whispered “I’m married now”
His hand was now holding hers
“Yes I feel the ring”
He turned, their eyes met

She felt so frightened at first
But then it became routine
Commuters chatting 
With their dark secret

Each morning they caught that train
On the way to the city
Just two friends talking
No one noticed them

1. Image found at

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Perhaps tomorrow

I had no idea
How both my parents voted
When I was little
Nor am I aware
As they never discussed it
That they did either

But my wife and I
Knew full well how we would vote
We respected that
Never did we miss
Any election on offer
Why give up that right?

I'm still not happy
For it is one thing to vote
But what's the return?
Our elected member
Should represent all of us
Not gain privilege

Siding with business
And those big corporations
To feather his nest
Thinking they've fooled us
Promising much but failing 
To represent me

A wonderful thing
Is universal suffrage
We suffer a lot
With our only hope
That a great leader will come
...perhaps tomorrow

Image found at www.abcnews.go.gom