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Poems for Anzac Day

23 April 2017 | Jena Woodhouse and Ian C. Smith

Anzac Day buglerNow, the forces of annihilation once again cohere, as if this were a valve in history's cardiac arrhythmia that faltered and unleashed a haemorrhage of horror, trauma, fear. The damask roses bloom unharvested in devastated fields. Their perfume cannot mask the stench that permeates the air, the atmosphere of dread, of mute despair. But when the juggernaut of war is redeployed elsewhere, the fragrant fields will come into their own, if there are hands to care.


Poems for John Clarke

4 Comments
17 April 2017 | Peter Gebhardt

John ClarkeIt's a bleak sad day, That special voice has been taken away That voice that saw so much, Waged war against the witless and their wrongs, That smothered our lives and hopes And that voice will still sing his songs. Which we are free to hear for ages on.


Learning to love not needing men

9 Comments
10 April 2017 | Isabella Fels

Iron heartIn the sorry past when it came to men I could hardly say amen. I had really been messed up, not blessed, by them. I'm well over 40 now and no man has ever gone down on bended knee. I was always being put to the test. Not just in looks but in the superwoman contest. I tried to be everything to them and more, yet failed miserably as I was shown the door time and time again. Nothing worked no matter how hard I worked. But lately, I have changed my way of thinking.


This intimate proximity

8 Comments
09 April 2017 | Peter Evans and Brian Doyle

Judas IscariotYes, you did follow him into the palace courtyard. You had boldly vowed to follow him to the end. Now you are there. They are torturing him within as you sit with the guards without, outside in that damned courtyard and wait by the dying fire. 'What am I doing here?' you ask yourself, uneasy and lonely in the dark glow. 'But at least I am here.'


Letters from dystopia in these best and worst of times

6 Comments
03 April 2017 | Gillian Bouras

Splinterlands by John FefferSmall wonder there is a particular surge of interest in dystopian novels: many people feel times have never been so troubled or so complicated, although I remember my father pointing out that people felt the same when the longbow and later gunpowder were invented. Amazon recently reported that Orwell and Huxley are selling like hot cakes. This at a time when certain purveyors of doom are lamenting the fact that 26 per cent of Americans, for example, did not read a single book during 2016.


Mme. Blanchard hits the roof

02 April 2017 | Ian C. Smith

Sophie BlanchardRiding her gondola, a skimpy thing like herself, she sees her balloon ablaze, begins her descent, feathered hat lost, a rushed farewell performance. The house roof's pitch steep, her rigging tangled, fire almost out, burned, broken, she can't hang on, she who once remained aloft all night over Rome.


Daniel Berrigan's rebel spirit

1 Comment
26 March 2017 | Juan Garrido-Salgado

Daniel BerriganPain is a cold food like garbage left, no compassion ... Compassion, bread and old wine, waste in a temple to worship money and power. Mankind has lost its root system thirst for happiness. Our bread is autumn leaf tossed into the branches as the bird dies. They make wine from the waters of these rivers suffering bloodied by the blood of Syrian children. Wine is the blood of indifference on the streets of Palestine. The wine is the blood of cruelty in Nauru ... why are you silent?


A life in song for the working class

4 Comments
21 March 2017 | Tony Smith

Danny SpoonerDanny sang of farm labourers, poachers, mariners, union martyrs and miners. He did not simply perform the songs - that would be too much like exploiting them. His aim was to help preserve them. When he introduced a song it was clear that he had great respect for the tradition in which he fitted and that he had done extensive research into the song's provenance. The songs were important because of how they recorded aspects of working class life which mainstream histories might neglect.


Prayer at the scarred tree

6 Comments
19 March 2017 | Martin Flanagan and David Adès

Scarred treeThis hunger that gnaws endlessly in my guts will be the death of me, but is the life of me, because in braving yourself to the emptiness something is born, something happens. Watch and observe, tell the story well, make it an expression of your sanity, which is otherwise at risk from waves generated by the outside world and past regrets.


Vienna bronze

3 Comments
13 March 2017 | Michael Sariban

BronzeWhen she fell, at last, out of this life, I caught him as intended, solid as belief ... eyes raised, palms turned to Mecca, his fixed magnetic pole. A Vienna bronze, perhaps 1920s, most likely a Jewish workshop - a fusion of metals and cultures, before Holocaust, West Bank or Gaza; a figure in robes, on a small carpet, its yellows and reds realistically creased, his sandals ... Aesthetics ranked high in her life - a second, earthly religion - all the style she could afford in the world her parents had fled to.


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