One Last Gift



Your voice was soft spoken,


But each word carried a token,


All looked to you for wisdom and guidance,


But when I looked up to you,


I only saw the world and knew in an instance,


That I would always be by your side, and so I would stay quiet and listen,


With curious eyes and an open heart,


For all you had to show and impart,


I would see that special light of yours,


Watch it reach out and touch all those who stood around you,


Watch those rays make them stand tall, grow and blossom,


Make those people smile,


And as I would run and play carefree and young, little did I know you were shaping me


Into the man I would now become,


One day you died; I was eight years old,


Despite all my prayers and pleas


I remember standing by the bedside, by your still body, once so full of light and now so empty of




Something changed inside me that day, knowing that this time you would not come back home…


However, I did not cry, I could not cry,


I am a man; they say I need to be strong,


But even as I stood empty and alone, you left me one last gift,


And I still cherish it now, till this day, I still hold it within,


You had given me your light,


It forever shines out of me, through my eyes and onto the world, reaching every horizon


And even when heavy clouds threaten the sky and darkness covers my path,


Your light always guides my way,


Even as the days grow cold,


Your light keeps me warm inside,


Even when I am alone and in a world full of shadows,


Your light keeps me smiling


Even when I have nothing, I have your light,


Your kindness


Thank you


-Saidul Alam, Dedicated to my grandmother Jeferah Bibi


Summer Is Snoozing

Balding trees are bullied by burley gusts,

And are hurled around like drained sailors on a brutal seaway.

Cowering leaves adhere to the orders of the gale,

Full-throated and menacing!

Spooked starlings have abandoned their hang-outs,

Desperately flapping in search of somewhere secure.

Heaps of leaves lie crumpled,

Spoiling beneath a morbid sky.

Grumbling clouds loom overhead,

Roaming coolly on riotous air.

Icy paws sink deep in snug pockets,

A sightly carpet of auburn and gold surrounds me…

Summer is snoozing.


-Jonathan Comish

The Forest of Forgiveness

I beseech you, let me sleep within

To gain that peace of mind so craved

I’m told that I am ill behaved

So please cleanse my dreadful sin


I may not be so well deserved

Of all the magic permeating

Among those branches, speculating

Upon my mind, a wish unearned


May I hear the wind that flows

Through the boughs and leaves of trees?

The wind grows wise as gentle breeze

Reaches ears of those you chose


An answer came, but of sensations

An impulse in my mind was heard

Spoke without a single word

Wisdom passed through generations


“How can you ask for that forgiveness

When you alone cannot forgive

Yourself? So don’t be so naïve

Now leave, I must attend to business”


Who knew that forests were so busy

And that they had a sense of rhyme

Oh my goodness, look at the time

I should leave it’s getting chilly.


-Daniel Wardak

“writing a poem with a prompt for a contest, the prompts were forest and forgiveness. Nothing that personal in this one.”


I raise my voice,

So you raise yours,

We scream together

But no-one truly hears!


Words fire like bullets,

hearts bleed,

tears fall,

but no-one ever dies!


Plates get smashed,

Muscles tense,

The cracks are visible,

But no-one gets fixed!


The line is crossed,

Fists fly,

Bruises disappear

But no-one ever speaks!


One day it’s too late,

I bleed,

They Pray,

But no-one can help!


Today they wear black,

I’m gone,

They mourn,

Now everyone has lost!


-Charlotte Hawksworth

“I saw an article about domestic violence and it reminded me of the documentary ‘murdered by my boyfriend’ I watched which I based this poem on”

Ghazal for the Battery Girls

No gilded life, still she tries to fly. Turn gold;

the sun is setting. Spark in her eye – turn gold.


Dusk is settling, her sisters: a feathered mass.

Hens compose a discordant cry.  Turn gold.


The liberators – silent shadows in black plumage –

snip razorwire in half-light, no one will die. Turn gold


when freedom is complete.  Battery barn empty of promises.

Re-homed as sunrise paints the sky, return gold.


-Jennifer Bailey

The Sky Brightens

I stand in a lush green field where dreams and hopes are ripe and almost ready to harvest,

As the sun beats, gentle oxen toil and nurture the land,

Carefree calves play and chase the dust,

Warm mares smile and draw the water,


A dark raven plots and threatens; to darken the waters a deep red and the sky a deep grey.

I stand and look up to the clear blue sky,

a sight most beautiful catches my eye,

A bird, bathed in light arcs across the horizon, its wings hold fire and its sight is set true,


The sky brightens, All stand and look to the heavens,

for we all see, a mighty raven fast approaching,

its brilliant light hiding its true colours,

little too late do we see its outstretched claws.


It hits the earth like the wrath of God;

an impact so strong all hope and life are blown away,

no air remains,

Devastation, flames and smoke fill the void,


Blood, blood, blood everywhere,

Oxen stretched across the land, all in pieces, their dead eyes look on,

Shrieking, screaming mares cry and weep without a sound,

as they hold their calves in their protective arms,

Once full of life, yet now so still,


The raven is nowhere to be seen,

The fields are empty, only raging fire,

Yet a seed is given life,


I stand and bear witness to the afterthought,

my heart is empty but my mind screams one thing,

Revenge Revenge Revenge

The waters run a thick red and the skies are a hollow grey.


-Saidul Alam

For as Long as The Tides of Time Shall Flow


For as Long as the tides of time shall flow

You’ll live in my heart, you’ll learn to see

It’s my love for you that makes all winds blow.

When the night’s black as coal, I’ll still see snow,

If doors remained locked, I’ll hunt down our key,

For as Long as the tides of time shall flow.

If clouds meant stars in all skies could not show,

My boat would find you; your light would guide me;

It’s my love for you that makes all winds blow.

The day that the sun feels too dull to glow

It will see you and I, then blaze with glee,

For as Long as the tides of time shall flow.


If the seeds from your fruits all cease to grow,

My breath will take them where they need to be;

It’s my love for you that makes all winds blow.

We’ll be the one force which conquers all woe;

As all sea needs air, all air needs the sea;

For as Long as the tides of time shall flow

It’s my love, for you – that makes all winds blow.


-Benjamin Cassidy

“I was inspired to pen this poem to my girlfriend, after attempting to master the art of the villanelle, which I had not long discovered as a ‘form’ (although not always fixed, some poems are written a certain way, in a fixed meter (or ‘beat’) and have specific rules regarding the rhyme scheme and

‘shape; of the poem.  As well as the words, I wanted to write it to show her I was dedicated enough to her spend the time it takes to write to a strict, or ‘fixed form’. 

 French in origin, the word villanelle roughly translates to mean ‘round song’, in English, which is why it has a song like feel to it, perhaps owing to the alternating refrain, which appears at the start of the poem, then in alternate stanzas (verses) at the ends of them. At the end of the poem, the two alternating refrains (rhymes at the end of a verse which are designed to give a chorus effect) come full circle and ‘meet’, one another again, now becoming the final couplet of the villanelle. 

 I chose the form of villanelle as I liked how the two refrains appear apart at the beginning of the poem, spend the rest of the poem being one verse away from one another, thenfinally meeting as the very last part of the poem. I felt this reflected our life, as we both had a separate existence before we met, yet unknowingly were on the path to meeting each other and joining as one. 

 The most famously known poem of this type, is Dylan Thomas’ seminal, and much celebrated masterpiece, Do Not Go Gently into That Goodnight, which sections of have appeared (unsurprisingly, owing to its inspirational qualities) in many epigraphs, speeches and most recently in the blockbuster hit film, Interstellar, where it is read by Michael Caine. 

 The form itself is used less now than it once was, and to me the use of it evokes feelings of nostalgia of a ‘time gone by’, that people tend to ascribe to being far more romantic than the time we live in now. I hope that I can inspire people to discover more about the form and its history, as well as the many great examples of it out there; perhaps people might even attempt to write their own villanelle! “