Disco – By Michael Healy

I was fourteen years of age
(Some 57 years ago)
And was learning to play the guitar.
My father and mother had bought me this present,
To help me attain my ambitions,
To sound like the Shadows, Cliff Richard or Buddy Holly. Continue reading


‘I Remember’ by Pete Brammer

I remember what they said,
At the outbreak of the war,
‘It will be all over come Christmas’
Yet I can recall with such horror,
How our lads were slaughtered,
Thousands and thousands, en mass.

I remember signing on, with workmates,
All eager to do our bit.
“Your country needs you.” old Kitchener said.
I remember we proudly marched through town,
People cheered, waving Union flags,
For they could not envisage, most would end up dead.

I remember the years in sludgy trenches,
As we struggled, to keep our sanity,
Suffering trench foot, fleas and mites,
Waiting for the shout, “Over the top.”
With the accompanying shrilled whistles,
Instantly obeying, we set off to fight.

I remember too, mustard gas clouds,
Drifting across ‘No Man’s Land’
Donning the life saving gas masks,
As shells whistled over our heads,
All wondering where they would land,
To be followed, by deafening blasts.

I remember the mud, changing colour,
As it clung to out boots and putties,
A nerve tingling scarlet red,
Skin and bone flying everywhere,
With life blood from innocent lads,
Some wounded, but most of them dead.

I remember thinking, about my wife,
Upset, to be missing my child,
You see, I had walked away from the conflict,
Now I stand before the firing squad,
Their rifles, pointing at my heart,

Please God, forgive me…

‘Blue Chair’ by Angela O’Connor

The unloved armchair still rests on the verge.
Discarded. Left at a rusty farmyard gate.

Mock velvet once a proud cornflower blue
faded to a dulled unfashionable hue.

Torn back exposes wooden bones and polyester muscle.
Unsullied yet worn human rubble.

Who now sits disengaged gazing east?
Ghosts of your former self watching Morecambe n’ Wise
or London Palladium with its revolving stage?

A raven perches on the arm. Blue black feathers
complementing forsaken charm.

Vices and Virtues by Michael Healy

Vices and Virtues by Michael Healy

I was eight years old sixty one years ago.
And one of my pleasures, I really did know,
Was to work with my Grandfather, on his DIY.
He really knew how to make life fun,
Despite being injured in World War One.
He had a pleasant, large garden,
And I would help him mow the lawn
He also resprayed his pre-war car, a Morris Eight
Using a home vacuum cleaner, for power.
He was a skilled Carpenter with a magnificent box of tools.
One day he was working away in his garage,
Building a multi-bulb light, to hang in their lounge.
I helped him fasten the wood in a vice,
A magnificent wood and brass tool it was, worth a huge price.
He smiled at me and said ‘thanks’.

He went on, ‘one day all these tools will be yours’,
Seeing the vice, I thought ‘how nice’.
As life went on I drifted away,
Through the pull of School, and then University.
Though I still called round whenever I could.
Invariably he would be working with his wood.
He and my Grandmother had had four daughters,
Including my Mum, who was their eldest.
Their youngest daughter did not marry until he was old
And on his 90th birthday he sadly passed away.
The family gathered round to see what would be done,
At my age it all seemed rather sad and yet fun.
But in the will no mention there was of those tools and their box!
And so they all went to the youngest daughters new husband,
I was miffed, but knew nothing could be done.
As time went by I came to see,
The recipient was not at all like me.
He had the time to make full use of those fine old tools,
So they would continue their busy working life.
With me their use would have been a trifle,
Knowing this, that vice became a virtue.


Poignant peace from Pete (sic)


Muriel Wilson, played with her granddaughter Rosie on the back lawn of her Nottinghamshire bungalow. The little girl pretended to be a teacher, with her rag doll, Barbie doll, cuddly dog, ginger cat and tatty teddy bear as pupils.

The scene was so lovely, that her grandma couldn’t resist taking a photograph; a chance not to be missed.

Later that afternoon, after Rosie’s mum had collected her, Muriel printed the picture off, on her computer. Smiling at the image, she suddenly looked quite shocked; for there in one of the bedroom windows stood, a uniformed figure looking out. For a few minutes, she just stood starring at the picture, totally transfixed. “Oh! My goodness gracious! Who can that be!?” she thought. “There was nobody in the house. It can’t be a ghost? Can it?”

Having a thought, she headed to the next door neighbour’s, knowing he was a scientist and owned a magnifying machine. This would afford her a clearer image.

Inviting her in, the Sherman’s quickly set the machine up on thekitchen table, each of them unable to hide their excitement.

Mr. Sherman slid the photograph under the lens; the imageappearing on the screen, into which they all peered.

“Come on Bruce, can’t you get a better resolution than that?” askedhis wife.

“Just have a little patience my dear.” “But we want to see who it is.” “Yes; and so do I, Doris, so do I”

As the image became crystal clear, Muriel frowned. “I’m sure I’ve seen that face before. I think it’s in one of our old family albums.” Once back home, she immediately headed for the attic, trying to think whereabouts they would be. Eventually she located them at the bottom of a dusty trunk, beside the chimney breast. She carried them down to the bedroom where the suspected ghost had been seen. Carefully she thumbed through each well worn out and threadbare album, page by page, until eventually, there he was, a uniformed soldier staring back at her.

Removing the picture very carefully, she hurried back round to the Sherman’s, in the knowledge of knowing exact(y^e was. Handing the picture to Mr. Sherman she smiled. “It’s my great, great, Uncle Thomas Wilson.”

“What do you know about him?” asked Mrs. Sherman.

“Not a lot really, in fact nothing at all.”

Mrs. Sherman looked a little surprised. “Nothing at all?”

Muriel shook her head. “It was a taboo subject. The family nevertalked about him.”

“Why was that?”

“That, I just don’t know.”

Returning home to replace the snapshot, she was stopped in her tacks. Standing in the doorway, she could see the empty space in the album, now had a folded note on it. Slowly she picked it up. It read:



“Why did they have to shoot me. I couldn’t help it!”

IN LIFE’S WINTER by Barrie Purnell


When your life enters a winter spell it can be difficult to face,
You feel alone and isolated in a bleak and hostile place.
A place where only pain and hurt are available on demand,
Where the people all around you don’t appear to understand.
The bitter winds send withered leaves whirling around your feet,
No moon lights your way down the endless barren street.
Jack Frost sets an ambush for you in the icy cobbled yard,
You are just one more reluctant actor in life’s cruel charade.

The clouds are weeping tears for your summertime’s demise,
The leafless trees forlorn and downcast in their winter guise.
An avalanche of your sorrows flows from winter’s cruel mouth,
The spectral grey sky decorated by the last geese flying south.
The condensation on the window panes does its best to hide,
The white crests of the breakers on the wind whipped sea outside.
The sound of surf is masked by the moaning of the wind,
It’s as if the gods are punishing us, it’s as if they know we’ve sinned.
You know the bitterness of winter is just the price you have to pay,
For the fresh taste of summer berries and the roses sweet bouquet.
Desolate days stretch out before you, you must wait for them to end,
Until then you’ll survive on memories of summer days with friends.
Life’s winters remind us that we cannot pick and choose our season,
There is no point in us mere mortals trying to fathom out the reason
Despite your disbelief, that any deity has control of your affairs,
You kneel before a Buddha and tease some other god with prayers.

Mortality is all we’ve got, that’s why I’m hanging on hard to you.
You say dreams are your reality. pain the only thing that’s true.
You think you’ve lost control of everything, but you still own the way you feel,
You let morphine steal your hurt but not the love we own that’s real.
I tell you I know how you’re feeling, but your pain cuts through my bluff,
I am trying hard to love you better but know it’s still not good enough.
I long to ambush your agony and cure you with one kiss or tender touch,
Please don’t make me feel a stranger, just because I’m loving you too much.

When we can walk again through dew wrapped grass under a crystal sky,
And the birds are singing love songs, which seem to invite you to reply,
Look to the sun, each day it wins its’ battle with the suffocating night,
You’re not asking me for pity, just freedom from pains relentless bite.
You see the spring sunshine reflecting off the languorous morning tide,
And know that, however hard your winter, you and beauty have survived.
So don’t despair, believe, there is still time, your race is not yet run,
Fix your eyes on the eastern horizon you’ll be the first see the sun.
Your heart will beat away the pain, your spirit will win the final war,
We’ll have time to walk again as lovers, between the ocean and the shore.