‘Thoughts from a Small Town Bar’ by Barrie Purnell

Sitting in a bar the other day
I was asked what I had to say
About state of the railway station
And what was wrong with United Nations.
I said problem with station is trains are late,
And the UN angered the United States.
Anyhow it’s no good asking me
I’m just about as dumb as you can be,
Ask a professor under a dreaming spire
Of that university in Oxfordshire.
I am sure that he will be able
To furnish you with graphs and tables,
To explain any problem big or small
Without using any facts at all.
As for me my limited education
Provided very little information
Useful for answering general questions
About world affairs or railway stations.

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‘The Plague’ by Barrie Purnell

How Futile is the fight with ignorance on both sides.

The enemy was invisible our defenses outsmarted
Behind anonymous masks fights had already started,
They recruited from the orphanage and prison as well
And from girls that mean business in the seedy hotel,
Those who never knew innocence those with no name
All headed up to the front just to keep in the game.

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Prompt for the week

We can’t get away from them these days, so this week’s prompt is:


Now, apart from the obvious current use to keep infection at bay, there seems to be a vast array of masks as well as reasons to wear them. There is, of course, masked balls (never been to one, have you?), those fancy Venetian masks, gas masks, the masks bank robbers wear, or disguises, masks of famous people… well, I could go on, but I’m sure you’ll be able to think of other examples for yourselves. Don’t forget, you can write in any format: fiction; poetry; creative non-fiction; or even a script (haven’t seen any of those for a while.. give it a go!). Have fun with it! We look forward to reading your work.

‘Solitude of Longing’ by Barrie Purnell

Long lost photographs
Exhumed from dusty albums
Form a fistful of lost faces
Which stare out accusingly
Against their long isolation.
I let the memories slip in
Through the gateway of my eyes,
A small stream of the remembered
Flowing across a wilderness
Of the forgotten. Among them
I see her unforgotten face,
My brain turning ventriloquist
To remind me of her voice.

Oh the solitude of longing
And the solitude of loss,
The loss of our belonging
The longing for those lost.

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‘After’ by Kevin Murphy

For the trigger ‘after’:
An extract from my work in progress: After I left the monastery.
40 years later, fellow novice Brother Fidelis – Liam Murachu – wonders about the departure of Brother Bernard – Sean ‘Tack’ McIntire.

Tack didn’t wait for an answer, turned and headed into his room.

Cell, thought Liam, glancing at his closed door. He looked down at his heavy plaid shirt and brown cords, noticed the matching cardigan in the floor, dreamily draped it over his arm, stretched and yawned.

Tack’s Treasure card peeped out of a pocket. His back cracked as he bent to pick it out. Why bother? The flop onto the bed, was more of a pour. He seeped into the mattress.

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‘Finders Keepers’ by Pete Brammer

Pete has come up with another of his stories incorporating song titles – a great writing challenge for any fan – of books, songs … whatever – GB Stamps?
He had underlined the titles, but we’re going to have more fun: Cliff Richard is the only act to have had a number one single in the UK in five consecutive decades, so even some young ones will know quite a few. (Did you see what I did there?) It’s not an exhaustive list – but how many of the 34 contained, can you find?


In the early 80’s I was in my early 30’s and feeling like a bachelor boy after splitting with my wife Samenita.

For my summer holiday, I decided to take in the sights of Rio de Janeiro and visit the famous Copacabana Beach, a place I had always dreamed of, after hearing the song by Barry Manilow.

My second day there was the day I met Marie. To me, she was the most beautiful girl in the world.
We happened to meet on the beach , where she was dancing very provocatively. It was her wonderful tanned skin and slim body that attracted me to her, and I couldn’t blame it on the Bossa Nova. I felt good vibrations, and as a lump came into my throat, I nervously told her. “I think I’m going to fall in love with you.” It felt like a schoolboy crush all over again.

Her little hand tightened its grip on mine. “Yes, I could easily fall in love as well.”

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The Rainbow’s End by Kara Wilkinson

It came so quick from so far and wide,
Our hectic world just taking a dive.

We have all had to take it all in our stride,
The commute to work just being set aside.

This little virus that we can’t even see,
Has changed our world and where we will be.

Our schools have closed and kids are bored,
But it’s given us time to sort all that we hoard.

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‘No More After Me’ by Barrie Purnell

I am the last of the line
There will be no more after me,
I have no sons or brothers to carry my name
When I die we will just cease to be.

I am the last of the line
When young I never gave it a thought,
Now I am older I think it’s a loss to the world
Then again ……. maybe it’s not.

I am the last of the line
As a result of inadequate conception,
I produced no progeny of either sex
But extinction was not my intention.

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