Mr Verity by Andrew Bell

Mr Verity

A friendly stranger has taken over
the top floor in my head.

A man of culture and refinement,
he wears smart shoes,
with polish well rubbed in;
keeps his best thoughts
in his wardrobe on the shelf
above his suits and ties
and his aspirations,
in other fine pieces,
some suitably distressed.

You will never hear him grumble
about errant thoughts leaking
through distressed tap washers,
embarrassing moments, or missed opportunities.
But, I suspect he has come to teach me,
hold a mirror to my foibles
or, because he never seems to rest,
reset my synapses as I sleep.

More often though, I will find him
playfully disrupting my self-absorption,
like when he sings melodious refrains
through the floorboards above my bed.

At weekends, I may accompany him
in duets,
and sometimes, when I miss a beat,
I can see by his look,
that I’m somewhere else,
reliving those Sunday afternoons,
with the lady I met in the flat below,
the one who keeps my dreams
with her rings in a box.

And when the world is having fits
about this or that,
or when I get caught up
with the problems of mortality
or the properties of dark matter, or eternity,
or I’m wondering whether writing a poem
is a symptom of insecurity,
he answers my questions
with thoughtfulness and grace.

Then my attic voice
begins to change its tone.
I’ll feed on benign spaces
between the words,
put the issues back in their chest,
slip quietly into those silent attic spaces,
and make a cup of tea.


Silver and gold by Joe Lyons

Silver and gold by Joe Lyons

Are all granddads full of fun?

Always with kind words?

Do all Nans say, when granddad smiles

that they could charm the birds?

When granddad laughs his tummy shakes

it really is the best

It wobbles like jelly,

when we kids bounce on his chest

At night we have a story before we go to sleep

Tales of wonder and heroes just about to leap

Always into danger to rescue a maiden fair

She awaits with a smiling face and long golden hair

Fighting dragons and fierce creatures we’d travel near and far

Our mission to save good people although we’d never go by car

With his golden teeth and silver hair glinting in the sun

I’d fall asleep after each adventure safe, content we’d had good fun

We could never come to any harm with granddad always there

Sleep always coming easy, in our life without a care

Granddads bedtime stories entertain us while they’re here

Except when he falls asleep after he’s had a glass of beer

Granddads and Nans are worth their weight in gold

Even though at times I know they say they’re getting old

We hope they will always be here, and always stay with us

To be around them means everything and fills us up with love

I REMEMBER by Charles Baker


I remember the seaside trips on train

I wish I could capture that feeling again

I played on the sand and paddled in the sea

I rode on the donkeys and laughed with glee

I drank cool fizzy pop and had chips for a snack

On the train home I slept ail the way back

TIME PASSES…                      

I remember those endless long sunny days

All my friends tussled in a general melee

We all played soldiers inside a nearby wood

Some played the bad guys the others played the good

We made wooden rifles all painted in black

All of these memories are now flooding back

TIME PASSES…                     

I remember the bike rides in the clean country air

Mile after mile our destination anywhere

Around every corner was a place we could play

Cycling along till the end of the day

Then the weary ride home if s time for returning

For those short years of childhood I find myself yearning

TIME PASSES…                     

I remember camping at night, near a bridge and a ford

Looking up to a dark starry night our fitting reward

We invented a villain filled with evil intent

Ours was the axeman who crept into your tent

Eating cold beans straight from the can

Soon we would pass from childhood to man

Charles Baker