cover size 210 x 148 mm (A5)



The Bearer of Chairs                                       Yusuf Idris
Written in Great Happiness                            Isabel Baker
Declaration                                                      Frances Moore
The Place where Suitcases Happen to Explode        Paul Lester
Freeway Flier                                                  A Darlington
O My Brothers                                                           Bill Eburn
Building Site                                                   K Lloyd Jones
Salt of the Earth                                                         John Salway
Listen to Me                                                    Alan Arnison
Time has no Beginning                                               Crispin
The Chapel                                                      Vivien Leslie
The Journey                                                     AM Horne
Love Poem                                                       Tony Harcup
Mixture as Before                                           Bill Eburn
Xmas Day                                                        Peter Relph
Love Song                                                        K Lloyd Jones
Exile                                                                D Hughes
Suspense                                                          Frances Moore
Waiting for the Train                                      J MacFarlane
Try on a Hypothesis                                        V Leslie
Fairy Tale Charter                                           Pat Sentinella
R.N.A.D.Beith                                                            A Jamieson
Thunder                                                                       Ian Reed
Song of Soho                                                   David Kessell
The Left were always Right                            Bill Eburn
Man                                                                  Ian E Reed
End of the Line                                                           Ken Fuller
Captain Ned                                                     Michael Ferns
Mutual Aid                                                      Bill Eburn
Pace t'Egg                                                        Jon O Broonlea
A Week in the Life of Ivan Ivanovitch                       Michael Balchin
Warning to the Poet                                        Pat Sentinella
Thrush at Long Kesh                                       PJ Monaghan
Lost Leader                                                      VP Richardson
Thoughts on Death and Dying                                    Isabel Baker
Birdsong                                                          CJ MacVeigh
America                                                                       David Tatford
Agitproletpoem                                                           Bob Dixon
Approach to Work                                           Frances Moore
Subsistance Level                                            VP Richardson
On Seeing a Film of Stalingrad                                  Isabel Baker


I recently reviewed "Crisis and Criticism" by Alick West (Lawrence and Wishart £4) for the "Labour Monthly". The Introduction, by Elizabeth West, quotes him as rejecting the slogan "Culture is a weapon in the fight for socialism", and quotes from his autobiography as follows:"I said that culture, as Caudwell had written of poetry in "Illusion and Reality" heightens our consciousness of the world we want to win and our energy to win it. In this sense it was true that culture is a weapon in the fight for socialism. But the truth depended on recognition of the greater truth that socialism is a weapon in the fight for culture. For our final aim was not the establishment of a political and economic structure, but the heightening of human life. Without this recognition, the slogan became a perversion of the truth, since it degraded culture into a means to a political end." "Voices takes this stand. Of course, culture is a weapon in the fight for socialism: but of course Socialism takes its justification from the necessity of creating the social conditions in which men can live free from want, free to live life more fully.

From this issue "Voices" will be quarterly, and its format will be stabilised in the shape and size of Voices 6 and 7. When we prepared the issue of Voices 7 we had material sufficient to have produced three or four such issues. We can never have too many contributors. The more people who write for us, the wider our range, the greater our appeal. We try to deal sympathetically with all contributors, but haven't the resources to do so as fully as circumstances demand. One 'thing we want to arrange as a regular feature, the meeting of writers and readers of "Voices" where writers will read their material and dialogue about it can follow.

With this issue we will be continuing our approach to Trade Unions and Labour Party Organizations, to student bodies and English staffs at Training Colleges. For the first time, we are beginning an experimental approach to a limited number of Left bookshops.

Finally the flow of generous donations continues, and we have every confidence that a growing number of friends will fight to keep "Voices" singing, arguing, shouting, whispering, in various ways adding their sounds to the fight for a better world.

Ben Ainley




(translated by C. Cobham) 

You may believe me or not believe me, but forgive me if I say that what you think about it is of no interest to me at all. It is enough for me that I have seen him and talked to him, standing face to face with him, and that I have seen the chair, and thought that I was witnessing a miracle. But what was more miraculous, and so awful, was that neither the man nor the chair nor the story made anyone stop, not one of the people passing in Opera Square at the time, nor anyone in the crowds going to and fro in Republic Street or anywhere in Cairo, perhaps not even one person in the whole world.

It was an extraordinary chair which looked as if it had descended from another world or been built for a festival, so huge that it was like a whole establishment in itself. Its broad seat, softly furnished with leopard skin and silk cushions, would have evoked in you, had you seen it, an overwhelming desire to sit down on it, even if only for a moment. It was a moving chair, which went forward slowly at the pace of a religious procession and seemed to move of its own volition: it would have aroused fear and wonder in you, and you might have prostrated yourself before it, and offered sacrifices to it, as if it had been an idol. But at the last minute I noticed, between the four massive legs with feet shaped like gold hooves, a fifth leg. This leg was small and thin, a strange sight in the midst of that monstrous luxury, and then I saw that it was no leg, but a slightly-built man upon whose body the sweat had formed ditches and canals and made the hair grow. into woods and forests. You must believe me for I swear by all that's holy that I'm not lying, not exaggerating, but just telling you what I saw, because I can't help it. I wondered how such a thin, fragile creature could carry a chair that weighed at least a ton and probably much more. It seemed like a conjuring trick, but prolonged scrutiny at close quarters revealed that no trickery was involved, and that the man was really carrying the chair, and moving along with it.

The thing that I found so amazing and so strange, and that really frightened me, was that not one of the passers-by in Opera Square or in Republic Street, or possibly anywhere in Cairo, showed the least surprise, or treated it as if it were anything out an ordinary event that they had ceased to question, as if the chair were as light and mobile as a butterfly carried by a young boy, who passed by them and was gone. I watched the people and the chair and the man, expecting to catch sight of a raised eyebrow or lips drawn in in wonder, or to hear someone uttering a cry of astonishment, but there was absolutely nothing.

Just when I had begun to feel that the whole situation was too incredible and complicated to think about any longer, the man with his burden came within a few inches of me, and for the first time I could see that he had a good face in spite of its many wrinkles, although it was impossible to tell his age. I noticed a much more striking fact about him: he was naked except for a girdle tied firmly round his waist, from which hung a piece of canvas covering him in front and behind. It was enough to make you pause and realise, as your mind gave back echoes like an empty room, that in these clothes the man was alien not only to Cairo but to the whole age, and that you had seen drawings of men like him in History books or among archaeological remains. So I was surprised when he gave a submissive smile, like the smiles beggars give, and then spoke:

"God have mercy on your father, my son. Have you seen the good Batah Ra?

(Batah Ra - an ancient Egyptian king, supposed to possess divine power.)

Was he speaking hieroglyphics in Arabic, or Arabic in hieroglyphics? Could the man be an ancient Egyptian? I turned upon him.

"Just a minute. You're not going to say that you' re an ancient Egyptian?"

"There's no such thing as ancient Egyptians and modern Egyptians. I'm just an Egyptian."

"And what's that chair?"

"It's my load. But why do you think I'm going around looking for Batah Ra? So that he can give me the order to put it down, as he gave me the order to carry it about. I'm exhausted."

"Would you say you've been carrying it for long?"

"For a long, long time. I don't know how long."

"For a year?"

"What do you mean a year, my son? Tell anyone who asks you, a year plus a few thousand."

"A few thousand what?"


"Since the time of the pyramids, you mean?"

"Before, since the time of the Nile."

"What do you mean, the time of the Nile?"

"From the days when they didn't call it the Nile, and they moved the capital from the mountain to the river bank. The good Batah Ra came to me and said:

'Carrier, carry.' I carried. And since then I have gone all over the place looking for him, so that he could say to me, 'Put it down', but from that day to this I have never found him."

All power and indeed all inclination to 'feel astonishment had quite left me. If he had been able to carry a chair of such great size and weight all that time, he could go on carrying it for thousands of years, without provoking astonishment or opposition, but only a question:

"Suppose you can't find the good Batah Ra, will you go on carrying it?"

"What else can I do? I'm a carrier, and I've been entrusted with it. I had an order to carry it, so how can I put it down without another order?" Perhaps out of anger.

"Put it down. Aren't you fed up? Aren't you tired? Throw it down. Break it. Burn it. Chairs are made to carry people not people to carry chairs."

"I can't. I've got used to carrying it. I carry it to earn my living."

"So what? Instead of wearing yourself out and breaking your back, why don't you throw it down. You should have done it a long time ago."

"That's what you think, because you're on the outside. You're not a carrier and it doesn't matter to you. I'm a carrier and I've been put in charge of it, so it's my responsibility."

when, for God's sake?"

"Until the command comes from Batah Ra."

"He's as dead as a doornail."

"From his successor or his deputy, from his great grandchildren, from anyone with a sign from him"

"All right. I'm ordering you to put it down."

"Your order will be obeyed. I'm much obliged to you. But have you seen him?"

"I haven't."

"Then I beg your pardon."

But I cried out to stop him, for he had begun to move away. I had noticed something like an announcement or a message fastened to the front of the chair. To be precise, it was a piece of gazelle hide with ancient writing on it, that looked like the early script of the Holy Books. With some difficulty I read:

            O bearer of chairs

            You have borne enough

            And the time has come for the chair to bear you

            This mighty chair 

            Like which there is no other

            Is yours alone

            Carry it

            Take it to your house

            Put it in the centre of the house

            Sit upon it all your life

            And when you die

            It will belong to your sons.


This is Batah Ra's order, Bearer of Chairs. An order given clearly at the same time as he ordered you to carry the chair, and sealed with his signature in his writing."

All this I said with great joy, excessive joy so that I felt almost strangled with emotion. Since I had set eyes on the chair and learned its story, I had felt as if I were carrying it, and had carried it down thousands of years, and as if it were I whose back was being broken, and now it was as if the delight which had seized me was for the release which had finally come.

With bowed head the man listened. Not a tremor passed through him. He just waited, still bowed, for me to finish, and as soon as I had done so he raised his head. I had been waiting for some demonstration of joy, even an explosion of delight, but none came.

"This order' s written above your head there and it must have been written ages ago."

"But I can't read."

"Haven't I just read it for you?"

"I'll only believe it if you give me a sign. Did you bring a sign?"

And when I didn't answer, he muttered angrily as he turned to go, "You've just been wasting my time. All that for nothing. And the day's short enough as it is."

I stood watching him. The chair had begun to go forward at its steady, dignified pace, as if it were moving by itself, and the man had become once more the thin fifth leg, strong enough to move it alone.

I stood watching him as he went away from me, panting and grunting, his sweat running freely. I stood bewildered, asking myself if I should follow him and kill him, to give vent to my frustration, if I should rush forward and push the chair off his shoulders forcing him to rest in spite of himself, or if I should content myself with feelings of annoyance and irritation towards him or calm down and merely bewail his condition?

Or perhaps, indeed, I should pour blame upon myself because I do not know the sign?

Usuf Idris

(Translated by Catherine Cobham from a collection of short stories by Usuf Idris called House of Flesh, published in Cairo in 1971. This story was first published individually in a Cairo magazine at the end of 1968).




Years starved of beauty, cheated by drabness, skies blocked by buildings;
And now almost too much splendour day after day. 
My heart will burst, it cannot contain the
beauty, the riches of the scene
Colours, shapes, light, which fill the mind.
This is too good a life, too soft;
Cradled in the lap of greenness,
Tall trees, and ever changing sky,
The world's problems a myth;
War an unimaginable science fiction!
Never before such a spring
Every sense aware; colour, shape, light, shade, sound;
Above all the greening; the all embracing greening.
Behind this, humanity; the throb of the human race;
Some places atune, each growing, striving 
For the good of all; in others the screaming discord
Of greed, sadism, lust,
Makes a mockery of the natural world.
And why this year has spring been so superb? 
Because there will be only four more for me.
Isabel Baker


Nightingale in a warm valley by the sea 
and blackbird singing on a city steeple 
you are to me;
no less that birds do not always sing 
and there are winters when one despairs if ever spring will be 
to bring the frivolous cocks and hens displaying 
on every ledge and tree.
And you are Bach and Shakespeare and John Donne
and Picasso and clean woodcuts 
of wild horses; none 
easy or soft or compromising life;
you are high places and bleak seas where keen 
winds hustle the incapable and screen
the sturdy and the obstinate and strong; 
you are the fireside when the day is gone, 
the hour of rest when, her assignment done, 
this worker lounges to recover 
energy for another.
You are the man
to my unconformable and restless woman. 
We cannot sit, 
until not only our own place is fit, 
but must be fidgetting till all in common 
have peace and prospect and enough to eat.
Come home, 
smarting and savage from the daily rough
struggle with heart breaking labour, 
bitter and gruff, 
till being together gentles our irritation to that quiet
which is our inner therapy against the riot 
of market place and shop floor, school and street, 
where today's pressures of class interest meet.
So be old age when strength ebbs and we take 
time off in the last days of our December 
maintained through separation and heartbreak 
our love our banner to its final ember.
Frances Moore


If truth is what you want 
the news is bad.
From this place where 
suitcases happen to explode 
where the last legal bomb waits 
ready to retaliate in your defence.
And the last bad luck 
enemy or friend 
who waited for a letter 
that now no-one will send 
from the place where 
suitcases happen to explode 
screams through broken teeth.
Certain assurances 
made in private 
haven't been confirmed.
Certain witnesses 
questioned in public 
have remained evasive.
All the stained bedclothes 
All the dirty linen 
cannot be washed whiter.
Here comes our political correspondent
Here comes our economics correspondent
Here comes blurb and blab
Here comes your bleeping news.
If truth is what you want
The news is bad.
Here comes our parliamentary expert
Here comes our religious expert
Here comes gab and grab
Here comes your news views blues.
Legality is a knackers yard 
where social systems tear apart 
the maker from the thing he makes.
He that makes and that which mutilates, 
in the marketplace where 
suitcases happen to explode, 
where dreams casually rip apart 
and the last legal bomb 
maintains the 'national interest'.
If truth is what you want
watch the bubbles bursting in the beer 
and hear something ticking through the ring of the till.
Yes, the news is bad
in this land of the last legal bomb, 
in the sad case of the place where 
suitcases happen to explode.
Paul Lester


Freeway Flier
leaping forward to attack, 
then standing back 
to laugh at the blood. 
Cheek-bones gleam chrome l
like motor-way direction signs
without direction. 
Freeway Flier, 
eyes like black holes 
without soul, 
sucking in light, 
sucking in concrete and glass, 
sucking in chrome and vinyl, 
reflecting them all 
in perfect mirror image, 
like an autowrecker 
regurgitating crippled steel. 
Freeway Flier rapes to love 
as he rapes to live, and keeps score. Freeway Flier read a poem once, 
on the wall of an abandoned tenement. 
Read a book once, but 
he keeps that to himself. 
Watches the sunset over 
the flyover and pylons 
like some crazy belisha beacon, 
plays pinball with girls whose 
names he remembers occasionally, 
where midnight jukeboxes spin records at 49 r.p.m. 
when the night is p.v.c. 
subdivided by cones 
of symmetrical light. 
Watches the sun rise over the railway bridge through the condensation 
of his own breath framed by 
arches of mildewed brick-work. 
Freeway Flier feels pain, 
but even feeling pain 
is better than feeling nothing 
at all. 
A. Darlington


Every movement 
must have its martyrs, 
though high the price 
they pay.
The Shrewsbury Two, 
put away
for something 
they didn't do, 
as a lesson 
to the others.
O my brothers, 
pity any comrade 
taken alone, 
but pity more 
the movement 
that fails to 
cherish its own.
Bill Eburn


Hurled up, stranded out, smoothed, shaped out and blazed;
the timbers rack-out livings, whip places 
up. Brick, width, and span, flipped up, make buildings.
This hard way creates the places used, gazed 
at that we Know, our ends, our traces, 
shacked dreams and bedded nightmares, silly lights
and hopes. Plants upwrenched rootless, in bandings 
taping-up existence, bulge with nails. Razed 
earth provides the living shaking places, 
the steps and seats and standpoints, life's bursting
seams of wood and rust. On the heaved up heights 
of man able we scuttle and slither and 
slap down the hard slates. Come evenings and nights
the wood is cold, sprized out. The structures stand.
Keith Lloyd Jones


We are the people
Scrabble in river beds when
Sweep away our farms
We know them well

-They come like snakes

From the pit over the horizon
To swallow our world
They button their sleek coats 
With our Eyes
But we see them
Marching with night
Between their shoulders
As they plunge
To gouge gold
From our land
They run like wolves
When the cloud above us bursts
And we glow
In the ashes of our scorched dead
Every day is a new start
Our women scream
And spill our children
On the hungry earth
We listen as our ploughshares
Uproot our past
Which is cast in sand and clay
And written in the path of 
Every star
In every twig is twisted 
A death
Every flower trumpets freedom
In every blade of corn
Is the sudden power to
Cut through these bonds
Which fell on us which
Scar our soil
We have been waiting for centuries 
We waste nothing
In every pebble a dream
We build the fires
From the mouths
Of our starving children
And the flames flying high
They singe the wings
Of the vulture
which dices with our lives
In his throat
We have luck
And our rice shines on the terrace
We turn the devils out
From our villages
They spit on us
As they burst from Hell
To spill our blood through the vineyards
But we build our fires higher 
And sing from the flames
Their faces shake with sweat 
As we burn from their bones
Their claws shiver
As we wrench
The sun
From their stomachs.
John Salway


Listen to me
The grains of the desert are in my hair, 
on my damp forehead, 
weighing down my eyelids.
The green moisture of the oasis is on my knees and elbows.
Disillusionment stares at you from the blood and grit in my fingernails.
I am weary from digging too long.
Listen to me for with this match I give you as my last gift
you may burn concrete:
You may mimic the lark with your mind
But you will never sing,
You will see the death of mountains and the birth of icebergs
But no eyes can ever follow the line of your pointing finger;
I have travelled long to tell you this
I have come from the land you wish to see
Come from the eyes of all who went before
Descending like a melancholy October mist upon the shores of your expectancy
I have come to give you ashes
Come from the heart of anger
Come from the throat of perception
Come from the lips of bitterness
I am the voice of desolation
Listen to me and understand now
Or forever be haunted by my receding echo.
Alan Arnison


Time has no beginning,
Time has no end.
A word with meaning and measure.
To Youth it stretches into eternity,
Golden with unfilled days, month, years.
To Age it echoes into the past,
Mirrored years, months, days, rushing by.
Time, given in work,
Time, lost in sleep,
Time spent in leisure,
Time, pass through, past, present and future, 
Has no beginning, has no end.
Today I saw the cottage of my youth,
Dingy, broken, derelict and deserted.
Yesterday, I recall the cottage of boyhood days,
Cosy, solid, curtained, and warmly lighted.
One is real, the other was.
Who created the real? What killed the other?
Time, then moved slow.
Now,it races by in furious haste.
Time, then with so much to do.
Time, now, with all too little done.


The chapel is set back from the road
As if shy of passing traffic
Its doors are quietly open
Offering a bowl of roses in invitation
In the patchwork of a mining village
It alone is white painted
The Father strolls past the Club
The men have strayed there after Mass
He waves to self-conscious grins
And pats the heads of milling children
His Irish heart is glad of the fine morning
He had spoken fine words this morning
They had been stirred, he knew it
The chapel walls had echoed his lesson
God-granted stereo preaching for the needy
The children had sung so sweetly
Life is good where salvation may be had
For the price of a Hail Mary
Vivien Leslie


He spat the raw November morning out
A small part of him abandoned among the dog shit.
His overalls firmly gripped by his stocking tops
Rides off to sell the rest at the shipyard
The load no lighter or the journey shorter for the parting
A deposite until tomorrow,
When the next payment will be met.
A.M. Horne


My love 's a river flowing relentlessly
It narrows and it widens nervously
It trickles and it surges,
Goes forward and diverges;
My love.
My love is a lake, 
with a stream running into a river. 
The river reaches the sea, 
And with changing tides we both take; 
we're both the giver.
But love is more than a metaphor;
it's a sledgehammer to break down doors.
It's an axe to free the chained.
Free each other, work for each other, love each other,
Enough to feel each other's pain.
Tony Harcup, of the Basement Writers


Society is sick, sick, sick,
Send for the Doctor quick, quick, quick.
The Doctor arrives with a box of pills
Guaranteed to cure all ills.
And prescribes, with some severity,
A generous dose of austerity.
Take it from me" says he, 
That hard work and less to eat 
Will soon put us on our feet."Now this is very odd you see 
For it was this same remedy .
That put us on our back, 
And got us all the bleeding sack.
Bill Eburn


I walked out on Xmas Day, stale and glutted,
From the warm womb of the family,
From meaningless chatter,
From manufactured music,
From television culture,
From plastic tree
And met two tramps striding ahead of me.
One was silent with many coats, the other chattered
About the I.R.A.
About the police
About the world
And I walked quietly close and listened
Catching pieces, fragments of philosophical
Later we walked together through the Xmas forest
Amongst the peaceful trees.
His words were wisdom
His talk idealistic music
His cherished hope - a workers' state
And I shook his hand and returned to my comfortable mediocrity.
Peter Relph


I'm red in a time of black, hot in bliss, 
unharmonized wholes; in front of me slurred 
persons glide. Life's burned at the dogs, retches 
and binds, catches and grinds, things jolt and press.
But thou are time's bliss, colours' echoes heard 
when points shade to one, sounds hang wingless, free.
Thou'art the X and apex, grip and latches 
of my swinging soul freed, singing time's mass 
and evensong. You are the Autumn's bird, 
the colour of blood, the sweet in snatches 
of time and living, all I wish to be
to sew or scan, with the song from my lip, 
the red from my hands. With myself I thee 
adore, with my body I thee worship.
Keith Lloyd Jones




Ten years of exile had made him distrustful. He started work at six in the morning and for a month after they had met he refused to give her his keys.

She had to get up with him - she only started at nine and from six till nine she had to wait in a bistro drinking one coffee after the other. Curiously enough she did not mind. Only one thing worried her: at this time of the day she was the only one to drink coffee. A few customers were also drinking coffee but, it was always accompanied by a little glass of wine. From eight o'clock , though, she was not the only one to drink coffee.

And everything seemed normal…

They used to take the first metro. And from the way they were looked at people must have thought that there was something strange about them.

Maybe because they used two languages in their conversation. He used to speak Spanish to her and she answered in her language. sometimes when she was not tired she answered in Spanish. And when he wanted her to understand something that she had not understood in Spanish, he used her language.

When she met him he was paid 900 F a month as a cleaner and he paid 400 F for his sordid little room. Paris is full of such places. In his country he was not a cleaner but it is known that cleaners in France are preferably among the Arabs, Portuguese or Spaniards.

He was working ten hours a day ... after the real life started ... he had political commitments.

She arrived almost always before him. A 'charitable neighbour', used to stick her head out of her door as soon as she heard her steps, to tell her "He is out."

Every night she was there to tell her that "he was out". She then used to slam her door behind her with a contented smile on her face.

Between 8 and 11 she used to buy all the Spanish papers that she could find. He spent all his money on Spanish papers. She used to cut a few articles for him, or translate others.

He used to arrive at eleven and in the meantime the neighbour's husband had come back, and through the thin walls of the room they could hear the same arguments every night, over everything and nothing, money probably ... And it was the only entertainment they could afford. Usually it ended with a plate falling in pieces somewhere or they stopped suddenly without reason.

He never told her much about the time he had had spent in the Carabancel prison.

"You and I we are the future" he answered to her numerous questions.

One day he received a sunny postcard from his country which made him angry. It was only from a well intentioned friend but he kept repeating, "He does not understand, he does not understand or he would not have sent this stupid card "His friend was not Spanish and this is what he could not stand. The roles were reversed.

Sometimes a few Spanish friends visited him and then his exile ended for a while. They opened a bottle of wine and he was happy. She had noticed that he laughed only when he could speak his language. He was never pessimistic or cynical about the future when he could speak Spanish. It was only when people did not know his language that he was sad or even arrogant.

This truce never lasted for long. One of them usually announced that such and such had been arrested. Another one had received a letter from Madrid ... It was the end of the illusion, the silence, again in the room.

The glasses remained on the table, half empty; After a year he had lost a lot of weight ...

One morning he received a letter from the French Police.

They wanted to see him. He did not feel like seeing them. Lately he had been talking more and more about going back to his country.

She never answered anything. What could she say?

One night she came back and waited for him all night. She had the key now.

She came back the next day. The neighbour was at her post.

"He is out", she said, "He is out ..." Out.

A few weeks later there was a wave of arrests in the town where he had come from. She wondered if he was one of them.

Dominique Hughes





Always when he goes out I am afraid. 
Is not one's love always disaster's target?
The bricks that fall, the fool behind, his wheel, 
bacteria of horrible diseases
-they lie in wait, they gang up on my love.
One learns to use a habit of stoicism

-such as we had to fadge up in the war

and never to admit one is afraid.
Surely', say Common Sense and Cynicism, 
fashionably contemptuous of such folly, 
Sure after all these years you cannot still 
so freshly tremble!
Cannot I indeed?
(And let's rejoice that after all these years 
I am so vulnerable - a sign of grace, 
the green leaves of the living rose, 
its very thorns symptom that it grows.
Frances Moore


Puce of face, dark of suit, tongue in cheeked, 
Bowler hatted, umbrella shod syncronised marionettes;
Look left
Look right
Straight ahead!
Glassy glances, awkward stances, 
Ramrod stiff, bottomless, belly paunched, 
Oiled, groomed, fed;
But dead
Or frozen
Or waiting for the train;
Thin girl on a platform seat
Underweight, undersized, underfed,
She moves, she sees and smiles;
Part of her is still asleep,
Not dead.
From her bag she takes a coin,
Insert here," says green machine,
As from its bowels
A groan pours out;
Followed by a plate
Of smash;
Two pink capsules,
A knife, a fork, a slip of paper,
Marked thanks customer
The smash is grey,
The fork is red,
The knife is cracked;
Two ruby lips entice
Capsulated meat
On smash enveloped
How strange;
An egg drops;
Silent waiting trains
See it fall and break:
See its yolk dribble
On the line;
Yet dare not move to hide it
From the public eye; 
It's go-slow day, 
Not one train shall move today;
A bomb explodes;
Where has the station gone?
Where to, the trains?
Where the automated men?
Are they
That row of bats in bowler hats?
Hanging from a telegraph wire
Open brollies upside down;
Quite dead.
Thin girl, white, still, flat,
Not dead;
Ill from her undigested pill.
J. McFarlane
(to the Women's Liberation Movement)
A blanket is too simple, too final, 
We must be able to know what we see
I do not wish to die of asbestosis at thirty nine
I do not want the wages and hours of a farm worker
Being a teacher and barmaid to make ends meet
Is no ideal to wave angry placards for
Scurrying around with slack breasts and hysteria
I do want to buy my own Tampax
I want to write a novel
And my children sometimes irritate me
I am not disabled with pneumoconiosis
Nor have I been crushed on a building site
I do not want equality of opportunity
To be unemployed, exploited or poor
Cancers before pimples is what I say
Vivien Leslie




Once I slept for a hundred years. That was alright. It was waking again in the chill dawn - being woken, they said, by a kiss. That, certainly, was disenchanting. Now I go on happily ever after, which is almost sleepless and certainly endless and not at all of my own choice; and I'm not the only one. There's Cinderella, Snow-White, Rapunzel and other assorted beauties, princesses, goose-girls and kitchen maids who share this dilemma. We are left happily ever after with men who claim their privileges solely on account of elevated rank, who, having fitted on a shoe or cut down a few briars, do nothing ever after, and about whose conduct the history books are misleading - that story about the princess being bruised because she slept on a pea, for instance; so now we've started to organise and demand the following basic rights: The right to complain, be angry, be depressed. The right of divorce, spinsterhood or sexual deviation.

The right to revert to our original state or to write our own endings and to repeal sentences on various wicked step and godmothers who were merely protecting us from a worse fate.

Footnote: Rumplestiltskin deserves compensation. Please note: I have patented the spinning wheel with the lethal needle. Insomniacs may contact me Once Upon a Time. Proceeds to our campaign - the goose that lays the golden eggs isn't ours.

Sleeping Beauty, Organiser

Pat Sentinella



To the honest folk surrounding Beith, 
Our dying system did bequeath 
Factory, bereft of wheel or lathe,
the Admiralty,
where waste and non-creation both exist in parity.
A branch of that great Woolwich store, 
Where guns and shells are placed galore, 
The whims to please, of yon hard core,
among politicians
Impetuous sponsors shout, 'Encore!'
in secret sessions.
With conscience clear they justify, 
This great deterrent without which we'd die, 
From some onslaught right out the sky,
like some doomsday.
Myself, I think it's all a lie,
I'm glad to say.
No grass will grow if this death rains, 
No towns or cities that life sustains. 
No people left to wash their brains,
so where's the reason?
Will the foe like cannibals, eat remains? that's out of season.
Our masses here with theirs compare. 
Against them should we war prepare? 
When the enemy we in common share,
within our prism.
This paper tiger in its lair,
Our foes alleged I will concede
Are well endowed with arms they need.
So, if in the arms race, they speed
with undue haste
Not for profit, or for personal greed are they abased.
Can all our Arms-kings claim likewise? 
As all their victims drop like flies 
With every sample the Government buys,
up goes their profit,
Whilst humanity suffering, unheard cries, 'Will they come off it!'
Their counterparts in the Feudal age, 
For similar gaining, war did stage, 
But frequently, whilst battles rage,
did often lead.
Today's men count their grizzly wage, whilst others bleed.
They claim in unison (but acquiesce), 
To keep the peace and war suppress. 
If profits suffered, they couldn't care
less if mortals breathe,
Forgive, ere I too long digress,
and so to Beith.
The ground this depot did deface, 
To better use the cows did place, 
A benefit to the human race,
a cause worthwhile,
Not shells explode in human face, mankind defile.
Some say, 'Employment we've enjoyed, 
In place of economic void, 
Where hundreds would be unemployed,
with no prospects,'
What's left? When myth has been destroyed the bureau's annexe.
No credit to mankind is known, 
Our labours to the winds are blown, 
As thoughtlessly the seeds we've sown,
of self destruction.
Posterity will blame when shown
our non-production.
Is this to be our valley's lot's' 
Man's proud creative urge to rot, 
To blame (whilst Keeping cold war hot)
the Iron Curtain.
For better things we were begot.
Of that, I'm certain.
Oh! would not these men happier be? 
If fruits of labour they could see, 
Blossoming forth, on life's great tree
of man's endeavour,
The tales to offspring tell with glee a joy forever.
There's time left yet to make amend, 
This paradise of fools to end. 
Great men of calibre we must send
down to Westminster,
All thoughts of self, they must transcend. like William Gallacher.
They will when there, I'm certain sure, 
The ills of this society cure. 
And henceforth, we'll have memories fewer
of men like Heath,
And for nobler things, like Furniture, remember Beith.
Alexander Jamieson


Where is it? That thrashing force, 
that rage, when heaven opens up its jaws 
to devour the Earth. When the 
black clouds pile moodily across 
the gun metal grey of the sky, as if 
to drop some load across the howling 
countryside. Where is the terror of 
the sea, churning and tearing 
at the shores of this black Earth.
Where is it? That anger of the 
might ridden deep of the abyss 
of the sky. That ploughing wayward 
gale, that carves at the trembling heavens, 
tearing it into shreds, ripping and 
pounding at the shuddering buildings of 
this town, this city. That carving 
relentless inferno of sheer power. 
The released force of heaven's temper.
Where is it? Where the power and 
the wrath, let it fall, like a prophecy, 
let it blaze its sermon across the sky. 
Let it rip up the sea
into fearful emotion, until it quakes 
and trembles and howls, and pleads 
to be released from its prison. 
Tears at the bars of the shore 
in sheer frustration and rage.
Enough of this tranquillity, 
enough of this complacent peace, this 
listless aimless meandering of those 
insignificant specks of lazy white. 
I look out of my window at 
this scene of frozen peace, this 
emotionless garbage heap of this too 
early spring. Surely the Winter, 
surely the Earth has more to say than this.
Ian E. Reed


Adam in me, in you 
Eve grieves to tread a world not moulded to the heart's desire.
'Edgell Rickword 'Poet to Punk'
Do the songs of Soho sell good food and sex, 
The easy habits men like when their thoughts race away into chaos?
Is this the Playland where we touch but cannot trust magic thrills?
Are these the sound made when an emptied head bangs on a hollow world?
And is it also the sparrow, whose song may be sung within?
Step inside gentlemen, leave your guilty minds;
Sit in the warm and worldly lap of your genesis.
The hounded brain obeys and kills the rhythm in the blood.
The photo doesn't show what tarted-up the shy Sicilian girl.
Green as young oranges when her family came awkwardly
To these streets, strange as her customs are narrow to us.
Something devious about the roses here made an earthquake
In the quiet childhood garden where she'd heard spring birds,
And when alone she sang her sad and fragrant songs
We threw her stares like hard flashing pennies;
Our suggestions, like neon, scarred the meaning of her tears.
Then she learnt the bitterness in our easy laughter; fancy
Flower that has forgotten home's provincial evergreen.
O what made it seem that she was not assaulted? 
Perhaps she mistook the colour of ripeness for the sweet tang of life? 
She is singing now in empty shaded groves, her mind 
Out of the terrible sun of her solicitous night.
Step inside gentlemen, dull your guilty minds;
Sit in the warm and worldly lap of your genesis.
The hounded brain obeys and kills the rhythm in the blood.
What makes George believe that be can only sing in her secret holy passage
when his song is for us all in a frank and generous sky?
After his hurried act he left the pain of the world unmoved,
Lingering in bright alleys with the well-respected fuck.
Does he mistake its vigour for his freedom? Is he too unsure
To chance it behind her eyes? Unsung. Love
The chains of freedom, jeered-at
By the winking eye of a cynical world. Trapped
The dirty-old-man is murdered by the sterile lust in these streets.
Step inside gentlemen, forget your guilty minds;
Sit in the warm and worldly lap of your genesis.
The hounded brain obeys and kills the rhythm in the blood.
Along exotic pavements a youth tramples his confused soul.
Can the music he finds there be welcoming the chaos of change?
To move but not to change, to sing but not to alter
The image of himself is his cool and desperate hope.
When he finds himself different, in a new light,
He gives this stranger a ticket to an anonymous side-show,
So that no-one will see him with strange love, and forgets
Where he has come from. Fearfully he pockets his soul. 
By the slot-machines of the Crystal Room his leaping notes ring bells
And impressively turn lights on within reflecting walls.
Kept inside glass his songs are surrounded by the night;
His sun shut-in burns a hole in his heart.
Now he never stops trying to bed his genesis, being so holy with his dreams.
Desperately he fucks the world-green sweetness out of himself.
O but he was born also from the midst of growing and ravaged forests,
The cold winds, rains and stones of rough-diamond Nature.
Will I and my world-joining hope of Communism be drowned in this lusting ocean?
Never more the pained soul's angry leap to the loving edge
Of an inchoate and curiously generous world?
Between the difficult need and the easy solace there can be no Communion.
I must fight against my lust, to yield a song of sweet struggle
In the arms of the universe I'll find the liberty of my becoming.*
Pierce-loving bells of Saint Martin's are tolling
Against the difficult cause of Man-bound History.
Perhaps if we could ring-out from within the frail
Unspoken substance of that to-be-died-for meaning
In our hearts, our songs would carry us to heaven.
I dearly hope when dead to spend eternity in Hell,
For when with comrades in these streets we do not sing the Internationale
Our painful thoughts disturb the arguments of brotherhood therein.
Out of weeping shadows that the lurid lights have left the persistent
Drumming of bitter strangers from the downtrodden Orient mocks the greyness
Through bloodless streets we hurry home, to bury our heads
Before the rosy raucous dawn of neglected brothers.
A rasping melody of charlady morning challenges our conscience.
One day her arid rain will scour Soho
And the man see himself out-up in its razor light.
Now that the hellish throbbings stopped
A drunk's daydreams break across unfamiliar streets,
And a songthrush wake his mournful love for Ireland.
Why can't he take his daily threnody with milk?
He observing the gentile flowers of Soho square through a haze of insult,
Fallen with conforming hours, would find them stunningly funny,
But that their blooms are not worth bleeding for by their thorns.
This evil animated by his grin simplifies the stubborn world.
O once when the city's smirking stars are out he'll dig up this garden
And plant the soft wild Irish flowers that bloom on tears.
Now Candy is waking choked with our consuming narrow passion
And he must numb the throbbing void with Whisky.
Here we all become outcast; English with Chinese and Italian.
If we could form a choir, our one and many voices 
Would pluck the heartstrings of London.
The suffering Cockney must make, with his tunes and whistles,
Tough worldly songs of bitterness and irony and hope.
*see the essays of Christopher Caudwell "Studies in a Dying Culture"
David Kessel


The old order lingers, 
though changed in ways 
undreamt of save by 
those who could foresee 
the young moon 
in the old moon's arms, 
the sun in splendour 
set in a sullen sky.
Bill Eburn


Man; most noble being, 
you, who with your hands 
have re-shaped the Earth 
you walk upon.
You who faced the mightiest 
with bold heart
and overcame fear, 
unravelling infinities secrets. 
You who made known
the unknown, 
the desert, a fertile plain. 
You who have changed 
the course of river and sea. 
You, who when beaten, 
killed, feared yet fearing 
faced the mightiest of 
destructions and by 
struggle overcame them. 
You stay eternal.
Man; You singer 
of joyful songs, 
you lover of the sunset 
and the storm.
You, who have faced an 
angry mob, bearing in your hand 
the truth.
You; who have been 
poisoned, persecuted and 
massacred by tyranny 
for glimpsing the future, 
remain unbeaten. 
You; who have built 
and unbuilt legends, 
along countless honest
crowded corridors, 
bringing time, 
to your heel. 
What could defeat you?
Man; you thinker, 
shedding your light 
of understanding over fear. 
You, whose eyes, ours 
and other worlds 
unfold before, 
bringing science and beauty. 
You seeker of truth, 
a flame throughout 
the universe you carry, 
aloft and proud. 
You, who have worked together, 
loved together, 
laughed together 
and died together 
yet grow stronger with each death.
You are unkillable.
Man; you lover, 
you fighter of evil 
you teacher 
with your life. 
You, bringer of music, 
opener of hearts.
You; who carry humanities flame 
beneath work worn sighs, 
tired, confused and pining, 
yet still trying.
You, brave soldier 
of life, who carve 
the way of the future 
and reshape whole destinies 
with one sweep of your hand 
and with each step 
unbloom another petal. 
You are immortal.
Ian E. Reed



Englefield sat at his favourite table in the deserted club, a whisky bottle and a smeared glass, both empty, before him. His mouth felt burned out by too many cigarettes, his head thick and heavy from all the alcohol he had put away within the past four days. Four days. Four days in which he had beaten a disorderly retreat from his responsibilities, finding his haven in whisky. Who'd have thought that I would have turned to whisky? Back in England, he had never touched it. When things got rough he had reminded himself that one day he would be going to South Africa and that life would be easier, and that had sustained him. But here, in the Republic, life was still damned hard, hence the whisky. Here in the Republic. The Republic Bar. Christ, I'm going daft.

He was in his early thirties, a heavy man, although his body had nothing about it which even suggested power; it was just heavy. His back was arched in defeat and his thick, hairy arms, as white as ever despite his year at the Cape, lay flat on the table, clumsy and awkward. Time no longer had any meaning, he had lost all track of it just sitting in this one position, afraid to move almost, as if he feared that something terrible would accompany even the slightest movement. His life was in crisis. I can't understand what's happening to me. If only I could understand, it wouldn't be quite so bad. I'm sure of it. All his life he had stumbled from one crisis to the next and now he was vaguely aware that all the time he had been on railway lines, that each crisis had been but one station on the way to this, the big one. But I don't know what it is!

Slowly, he lifted his head and gazed about the club, his club. Wonder what it would look like with proper lighting. Better not to know, maybe. Place stinks. The afternoon heat fell through the doorway, penetrating the walls, seeking out every mysterious odour. The smell reminded him of building jobs he had had in England, for it was like the smell of building sites, of the sand used to make cement. Urine. I'm sure those bastard seamen piss themselves down here.


Someone was at his side. The odour of cheap perfume somehow broke through the building-site smell. Moving his head slightly to the right, he saw that it was Franky. My star fairy. He shuddered and for some reason hoped that Franky didn't notice.

"Leave me alone."

'You're nearly out of cola. You'll need some more for tonight." Franky's voice was light and sibilant, deliberately so. Englefield sighed heavily and looked up.

"Okay, I'll ... look, could you 'phone for some more?" He was repelled and yet fascinated by Franky's face. He continued to look up at him. Franky smiled, showing a line of teeth which were yellow but goods The heavy coating of makeup seemed about to crack into tiny earthquakes whenever he smiled.

"You want me to telephone?" He paused, considering the treatment he had received in the past few days. "You'll have me cooking for you next." He resumed his indignant silence for several seconds and then sighed, relenting. "Very well. Have you got any money? - They'll want cash after the trouble you've given them."

Englefield's haggard face went through the motions of wincing. Just like a wom... Bloody hell! 'There's enough in the box under the bar.

"Here," he took the key from his shirt pocket and threw it carelessly - "And if that lazy coon's about, tell him I want a steak. I've Lot to straighten out, beef up a bit." The key had missed Franky. and dropped to the floor. Franky retrieved it and straightened up, eyeing Englefield contemptuously.

"Trusting me with money at last," he sniped. Englefield tore his eyes away.

"Yea , and that's all I trust you with, you queer bastard." He watched out of the corner of his eye as Franky walked away. There had been a time when he would have had to laugh at the sight of a man in high heels, but now he groaned inwardly and placed his face in his hands. Franky represented just one insane piece in the surrealistic jig-saw puzzle of his life. According to the rules, his troubles should have ended as soon as his feet touched South African soil.

He had lost his job. The union had promised this and that, but what was the use of bringing more trouble down upon his head? Then Marion had started her damned nagging. What am I going to do for next week? What's the kid going to wear to school? .I don't even know that he's mine., he'd said, the messy little bast... She'd slapped him across the face right in front of the kid, saying that he might be able to jeopardise their security and get away with it, but he wasn't doing to use language like that in front of Bobby I jeopardised her security alright. After that slap it was down to the Shipping Federation the next morning and off to Southampton to join the ship a couple of days later.

He had jumped ship in Cape Town, gone to Johannesburg, where he had held indifferent jobs in two factories and then drifted back to the Cape. There, he had met up with a Rhodesian, a former mercenary in the Congo, and they had placed their meagre savings together to open the club. Looking back, Schuyler must have thought me a fool, all the things I told him. Sex things. He had told the Rhodesian of the highly masculine fantasies he had woven around his future in South Africa while on his way from Southampton, even back in England. Yes, I first thought of those things a long time ago. Without actually saying so, he had let Schuyler know that he was disappointed by the reality thus far - a few middle-aged women who went around the clubs and who did just the usual things were as far as he'd got. Not that I paid for them, of course. But no coon women. I bet you've had your share, he'd said to Schuyler, and Schuyler had laughed confidently, saying nothing. Hope he gets it shot off, wherever he is.

The two men had quarrelled the first week the club was open. After the first few nights, Englefield had noticed that some of the women in the place weren't women at all and, enraged, he had confronted his partner. Schuyler had looked at him in amazement and then shrugged. "Of course," he had said. "It's the same in most clubs like ours. But don't worry about it - it's good for business. A fairy gets hold of a seaman and encourages him to spend. Besides, they're always grateful of a place to drag up - do anything for you." It was good business, but Englefield was made uneasy by them, although he was quick to realise that he was able to wield a certain amount of power over them. When he barked an order, they obeyed. Some of them, for their part, suspected that he was afraid of them, but they also sensed that he might lash out at them at any moment, and so they handled him carefully. Except Franky.

Then, last week, Schuyler had nipped of f somewhere with the takings and since then things had been chaotic. But the majority of the bills were paid with Franky's help - he put off creditors and demanded something from all his friends who used the club - and now things were just beginning to quieten down again. Englefield realised that for the past four days he had been hiding behind the whisky while Franky and Daniel, the Cape Coloured who worked behind the bar and in the kitchen, had run the place. He vaguely remembered having warned Franky to keep away from the money. Christ, what a mess. I need a woman to put me straight.

Franky came out of the kitchen and crossed the floor to the toilets. Now Englefield almost smiled in spite of himself. Bloody fairy.

"Is that steak coming?' he called. Franky halted, an eyebrow raised irritably.

"Yes, the 'lazy coon' who's been helping me to save this place is getting it now." He turned and walked off.

Englefield was considering Franky's motives in helping him when Daniel arrived at his side and placed a well-filled tray before him. He looked down at the table and cleared his throat.

"Tell me something, Daniel," he began nervously.

"Yes, Mister Englefield?" Daniel was puzzled by the man's manner. He was almost courteous.

"If a white man wanted a woman, where would he go?" His short, thick fingers played restlessly about his face. Daniel smiled inwardly, his incomprehension dispelled.

"Do you mean a coloured woman, Mister Englefield?" He was twisting the knife. Oh god.

"Yes." Englefield's voice was quiet.

"I wouldn't know, Mister Englefield. I'm an old man." He was no more than forty.

"Couldn't you fix him up?" Englefield became more embarrassed as the humiliating ordeal progressed. "He might make it worth your while." Daniel's face was a mask, unreadable.

"He would get into trouble, Mister Englefield. It's against the law. Besides I'm an old man, I don't know any women."

Englefield realised that he would get no further, that Daniel was laughing at him behind the mask and that his embarrassment had been for nothing.

"Alright, get back to the kitchen," he snapped, reasserting his authority.

It was four in the morning before the last group of customers left. Englefield listened as they made their way out, the excited jabber of the young Japanese who flirted regularly with the fairies mingling with the drunken laughter of the seamen. Franky was with them, his arm around one of the Japanese. As they reached the door, he glanced over his shoulder at Englefield, his face full of mockery and defiance. He pulled the Japanese to him, kissing him on the lips. Englefield groaned in disgust and walked to the bar. He sat for a moment, feeling the sudden stillness settle about him before he called for Daniel. The coloured man put an apprehensive head around the kitchen, door.

"Bring me the whisky and a few beers from the 'fridge'".

When the drinks arrived, he poured himself a whisky, downed it and followed, it swiftly with a mouthful of beer, straight from the bottle. He had slept for six hours and now he felt almost normal again. He poured another whisky and sipped it slowly, each sip followed by a large swallow of beer. His mind floated back to sex. I need a woman so bloody badly. Look at me, teeth clenched. What a state to get in. He considered asking Daniel again but dismissed the idea immediately. It would be like begging, and anyone who'd beg from a coon shouldn't be in this country. After his third whisky, he left the bar and walked slowly to the open door. His limbs were like lead. As he mounted the three steps leading up to the street, he almost fell and he realised that the three whiskies had acted as a fuse, igniting the alcohol still in his system. He was drunk again.

The chill breeze off the sea touched his chest and he fumbled unsuccessfully with the buttons of his open shirt. He cursed and let his hand fall limply to his side. The streets were silent except for the occasional sound of a taxi as it sped its drunken cargo to the docks or. to one of the more respectable sections of the city. Then he heard someone walking close by. As he caught sight of her, his heart began to pound. This was it. He forced his voice to work.

"Hey, coon. Want to know how a white man does it?" The words were barely coherent through his grating teeth. The girl worked in a club nearby and was out walking in defiance of the regulations. She was slim, no more than twenty and attractive. With a glance up the street, she slid into the doorway, inches from him. She placed a hand on his arm, feeling him shake. She tossed back her head and looked into his face.

"I know how a white man does it. It'll cost you ten Rand."

"Pay for a coon!" Englefield spat the words out involuntarily. The girl's very calmness seemed insulting. Something told him that she should have been cowering before him, yet here she stood, loose-limbed and insouciant, her face turned up to his, unflinching. She's beautiful. No, dammit, how could she be! Coons Coon! Coon! Ugly, stupid bitch! He became angry, for he felt like a simpleton before her, confused and slow- witted, like the seamen when the fairies began playing around with them, making fools of them. He grasped the neck of her dress and pulled her to him, thrusting his mouth to hers. It went all wrong. She was biting his bottom lip and the next thing he knew he was doubled over as she brought her knee up into his groin. Tearing her teeth free, she let out a piercing scream which chilled and horrified him. It was the last thing he had expected. A coloured night-watchman lumbered down the street, his heavy club swinging. Seeing the white man, he stopped in his tracks, frozen by the sight.

"What do you want me to do?" he hissed urgently to the girl. "Do you want a beating from the police, woman"

"Get them! Get the police!" the girl shouted, combating Englefield's frantic efforts to subdue her. A slight smile flickered across the watchman's face as he understood, then he shot Englefield a glance loaded with contempt and was gone, loping off the way he had come, shouting and waving his club in the air.

"I'll pay you! I'll do anything!" Englefield pleaded. It was too late, He pushed the girl from him and staggered down the street, his mind a confused blur. He had no idea where he was heading. For one insane moment it occurred to him that he might hide away on a ship, but where could he go now? Nowhere left to go. When it had become hard to breathe and his lungs felt as' if they were on fire, there was the sound of a car pulling up, of the tyres brushing the kerb, of several pairs of feet hitting the ground and running, this last sound echoing and resounding in his brain. Then he was in a dream state, pursued by a horde of people; by the foreman back in England; by Marion and Bobby; by the police; by Daniel; by everyone he had ever known. And it seemed, just before he felt the blow on his shoulder and dropped to the pavement, that Franky's face was there before him, blocking his way forward.

They released him at midday, his body bruised and racked with pain. How could men do these things to each other? White men, that is. Doing those things to me for messing with a little coon. He remembered having awoken to a sound which had seemed familiar and he had mistaken it for the flat sound of the policemen's feet on the pavement, but it had been the sound of his face being slapped. He shuddered as he walked onto the street, whimpering, afraid that the blows would begin to fall again.

He was let out onto a side street and the first person he saw was the girl. She was being helped along by an elderly man who might have been her father, and it was clear from the way she moved that her pain was much greater than his. Yet she smiled as she caught sight of him. She looked drained, exhausted, as if they had pumped the energy out of her, and yet she was victorious. He realised that it would be over for her as soon as the pain stopped. It will never be over for me. He stole a second glance at her, to try to gauge what she felt for him, whether she truly wished him dead, but there was none of this in her face. She doesn't wish me dead because I am dead. They killed everything in me, even my hate for her.

Franky was sitting alone in the club when he arrived back. Englefield could not look at him. He stumbled to his usual table and buried his face in his arms. A chair scraped as Franky got up and walked to his side. There was a long silence.

"I heard what happened." Franky said at last, sympathetically. "It's nothing to worry about, you know. You're not the first and you won't be the last." Englefield tried to hold his tears back, to hang onto something, however small.

"If you want this place, you can have it," he said through his folded arms. "I can't stay here now - in South Africa, I mean. It's what you wanted, isn't it?" Franky was slightly taken aback. Then he smiled.

"No, I never wanted that. I thought you knew." His voice softened. "Look at me."

Englefield looked up, into the face which had so often caused him to shudder. It was a nightmare face now, the hair stiff with lacquer over the heavily shadowed eyes, the powder as thick as ever. Yet he had always been fascinated by it. Franky placed a hand on his shoulder.

"You know I never wanted that. Besides, where would you go? You've nowhere to go now, have you?"

He remembered now how he had seen Franky's face the previous night. He let Franky kiss him gently, feeling his neck and hair being caressed. He broke off with a sob and crushed his face to Franky's chest.

"I need you," he said. "I need you, Franky."

Daniel peered around the door and grimaced. He crept silently back into the kitchen and, with an adroitness which spoke of much practice, spat through the door into the yard.

 Ken Fuller



I know a bloke called Captain Ned
Who spends his days lying in bed
Dreaming of his stocks and shares
For which he, like a lover, cares,
And holding forth with animation
About the causes of inflation.
Upon his face a look of pain
As he sips a fine champagne.
The fault lies with the common masses,
Militants, the lay abouts, the working classes.
Who always seem to be on strike,
And this is something I don't like.
Get the Army ... make them work,
And never let the blighters shirt.
Tell them of our island glory -
And make the bastards all vote Tory".
Michael Ferns


Whilst others are at their prayers 
I to my counting house go, 
to learn from the day's reckoning 
whether to praise HIM, or no.And should it appear 
that my deserts are small, 
I'll have to make it clear 
that he'll get bugger all.
Bill Eburn


Nooan t'th'ard-biled sooart ut's med bi us, 
scallion-stained, eawr comrade gi'e us,
a pace-t'-egg fotcht o'er fro' Praha, 
deft brush-wortcht i' shades of ochre, 
warm yerthy yeller, rust an' breawn, 
wi leavs an' blobs an' scrows a' reawnd:
a beauty neaw beawt no inklin' 
o' t'th'addle-egg it wunet 'ad bin, 
whited sepulcher of a thing, 
fair shaped wi'eawt, feaw shit wi'in -till, 
prickt an' blow'd an' swilkt an' tem'd 
o' t peawsey clennin's, th'ur an end, 
that spring, t'it innard hell:
Pravda vitezi" - truth mun tell! 
This bonny brindl't britchel shell 
neaw wur whul all of itsel', 
be-ribbin'd throo, hung uppo t' wa' 
i' pride o' place, a joy t'us a'. 
While t' mornin' when we feawnd 
t' red ribbin theer beawt nowt areawnd 
bu' shameo' sumb'dy's clompin' clot-yed blame. 
t' Pace-t-egg lay all i' bits alow, 
wi t' white o' t' backs o' t' shards on show, 
scruncht an' smasht to smithereyns. 
Ther'd bin nobody in bu' frien's.
Jone o' .Broonlea
pace-t-egg ('paste'-egg/pace-egg), boiled and stained Easter egg; 
scallion, onion; 
wortcht, worked; 
scrows, scrolls; 
feaw, foul; 
swilkt, shaken (of liquids); 
tem' d, poured/emptied out; 
peawsey, rotton (cap. of eatables); 
clennin's,stuff cleaned out (in husbandry, afterbirth); 
britchel, fragile; 
whul, whole; 
while, until; 
clompin',heavyfooted, clumsy; 
clot-yed, 'thick-skulled'; 
alow, below; 
shards, fragments.





Ivan Ivanovitch Candidov was standing in the road outside Heathrow Airport. "It's wonderful to breathe the fresh air of a free country, " he thought, gulping down great lungfuls of diesel fumes. He had been expecting to be met by a reporter from the Daily Gazette but that paper had all hands following a rumour that a member of the royal family was secretly engaged to an ice cream salesman.

Ivan wandered along the road until he came to a few shops; there was a cafe open with a man outside selling newspapers. Ivan consulted his phrase book (a wave of homesickness came over him as he was reminded of Maria Alexandrovna, his English teacher - "but I must forget her," he said to himself, sadly. "She accepted the system."). Then he approached the newspaper man and asked for the most popular paper, thinking that that would help him to attune himself to his new found freedom. It was beginning to rain, and Ivan decided to seek the shelter of the cafe, where he asked for a cup of coffee and sat down to study the News of the World. The first mouthful he took convinced him that his English needed a lot of improvement, for, whatever else it was, the drink certainly wasn't coffee. He found the paper hard-going, too, even with the help of an English-Russian dictionary. There was a man sweeping up the fag ends, toffee papers and empty bags of crispa which carpeted the floor, and he noticed the dictionary and the bewildered look on Ivan's face. Presently, he came over and said, "I wonder if I can help? in perfect Russian.

Ivan was amazed. "In Moscow, the cleaners do not understand English. You must have a wonderful educational system if people in such humble jobs speak foreign languages so well." The man with the broom bridled at this. "At any rate, it's a useful and honest occupation, which is more than you can say for those layabouts", he said, pointing to a photograph in the paper of top-hatted and fashionably dressed racegoers."But the fact is, I teach Russian; I need this job as well to pay for the mortgage."

Ivan was curious to know more, but a group of young men at another table began fighting. The teacher-cum-cleaner hurried over and managed to persuade them to calm down and pursue their arguments more quietly. Ivan, assuming that this was a political or philosophical argument, strained his ears to try to catch what they were saying, but their conversation consisted mainly of four-letter words which Maria Alexandrovna had not taught him. "Too much Shakespeare and Dickens1" thought Ivan, "And not enough of the modern idiom." He had to wait until the teacher/cleaner (whose name was Martin) had finished clearing away the crockery on and around the young men's table, and was able to return to Ivan. "has it a political argument?" "Not exactly," said Martin. "They were arguing as to whether Osgood was offside when he scored the winning goal yesterday."

A group of somewhat older men who had been playing darts began another discussion, and Ivan again tried to catch the drift, but made no more headway with them than with the other group; again the incomprehensible four-letter words came thick and fast. Ivan got up to go - but where? He hadn't much money and, having missed his newspaper contact, he was beginning to feel uneasy; where was he to stay? "I must 'phone the paper," he thought, but wasn't confident that he could cope. Fortunately, when he'd explained the position, Martin came to the rescue and 'phoned the paper himself.

"No go today I'm afraid," he reported to Ivan. "Not only are they pursuing the ice cream salesman, but the word has gone round to play down the anti-Soviet line; the government is negotiating with Moscow to see if there's any chance of getting some oil. But if you're stuck. for somewhere to go, I could put you up for a night." It was, as it happened, a mutually advantageous arrangement, for Martin thought that Ivan would be able to help him understand the current Moscow scene. A much happier Ivan settled down to wait - Martin said he would be free in half an hour.

The darts players were still talking and laughing noisily, and Ivan was still unable to understand what they were talking about. Once more, Ivan, eagerly looking for evidence of the free exchange of ideas in this great western democracy, begged Martin to explain. "They're choosing Miss World," said Martin, "and the criterion is bedworthiness." Ivan returned to his News of the World and sought in its pages for material to satisfy his enthusiasm. The reports of court cases were certainly a change from Pravda editorials, but he still felt that he was missing out on the uplift to his spirit that he'd come to expect.

Martin took Ivan to the nearest bus stop; there was no shelter, and the rain was teeming down. After half an hour, Ivan ventured to ask how frequently the buses ran. "Every ten minutes," said Martin. Ivan was still trying to make this out five minutes later when three buses came along together; two didn't stop, and the third took two people from the queue in front of them. However, fortune smiled upon them immediately after; a car stopped and the driver called out to Martin. "It's Joe and his wife, Mary," Martin explained to Ivan. "She's my wife's sister, and they're lunching with us today." Martin introduced Ivan as a refugee with nowhere to go.

Over lunch, Joe and Mary, who'd been house-hunting, told them the story of their morning. "We thought we'd found it at last," said Mary, "our dream house. There it was. a triumph of the jerry-builder's art, a terraced house sixty years old, opposite the gas works, fifty yards from a motorway, used car lot at the bottom of the garden, broken down fence round a garden of weeds, paint and paper peeling off everywhere ..."

"... and dirt cheap," broke in Joe, "only forty times what it cost when new, though it's impossible to believe that it ever was new. We'd paid our deposit - we were walking on air (there were a lot of floorboards missing) when - Gazump!  - another couple arrived and upped our offer by £500. So that was that."

Ivan was puzzled. "Your paper over there," he said, "has lots of very nice houses for sale." "Yes," said Mary, "and at very nice prices. Only the rich can afford them." Ivan was even more puzzled. "surely the rich have houses already?" he said. "Yes," put in Joan, Martin's wife, "but maybe the wife is tired of the wallpaper, or they're slumming it with only two bathrooms, or they want three houses in the country instead of two."

By the end of the evening, Ivan's head was reeling with the new impressions he'd taken in; Martin had just about pumped him dry of all he knew of new literature in Moscow; it wasn't at all what he'd expected to happen, and his new friends had shattered some of his illusions. "But to-morrow is another day, and maybe I'll…" but he was asleep.


In the morning, Ivan, acutely embarrassed by the hospitality he had received and by the knowledge that he was quite unable to return it, thanked Jean and Martin as well as his English would allow, and set off for Fleet Street. his English money was nearly exhausted, and he had been led to believe that the Daily Gazette would help him to find some kind of employment and a roof over his head.

Oliver Baldich, described by the Daily Gazette as "our fearless reporter, who has uncovered the facts behind a dozen scandals which have been exposed in this paper, and which have made the Gazette the envy of Fleet Street" (most of the exposures were in fact of bosoms and bottoms, which had given the paper a circulation which was indeed the envy of the rest of Fleet Street), was in a foul temper. He had spent most of the previous day pleading unsuccessfully with the Soviet trade delegation for an interview on the oil supply situation; he'd left his name and address in the faint hope that an interview could be arranged on Monday. but he was not hopeful, and had a strong suspicion that he was going to be sent off in search of the ice cream salesman. Known by his contemporaries as O.B. and by the irreverent younger staff as Obi ("old, bald and irritable"), he was living up to his reputation.

His phone rang. "There's a Russian here asking for you, Obi." "Show him up, then, for the love of Pete - don't keep him waiting." When Ivan was shown in, Obi greeted him effusively. "Come in, come in -how nice of you to come - have a glass of sherry -have a cigar - is that chair comfortable - not too stuffy in here, is it?" Ivan beamed at him - here was more wonderful hospitality, and he was gladder than ever that he'd come to England.

"Now then," Obi went on, "this oil business. By the way, what's your speciality?"

"I'm an architect," began Ivan, rather puzzled by the reference to oil.

"Derricks and so forth, I suppose?" said Obi. "What's the prospect of your great country supplying us with a few million barrels?"

"I know nothing about oil," said Ivan, "and, as you know, I'm completely disillusioned with the Soviet Union."

"What did you say your name was?" mumbled Obi, his world collapsing around him, but he didn't need to ask for he had just remembered about Ivan. how the hell could he get rid of him?

"Excuse me a moment," he said, and picked up the phone. "If there's one of those starry-eyed reporters about, send him up here, will you? I've an interesting job for him.

The only young reporter available - the demands of the ice cream salesman story and a 'flu epidemic accounted for the rest - appeared presently in the doorway. "Oh, it's you," said Obi, his usual ill temper now fully restored. Ivan here has just come over to us from the Soviet Union; take him and show him something of London - then let's have a story for Wednesday's paper (though there isn't a snowball's chance in hell of it getting into print, thought Obi). Get some petty cash from old Fred; £100 (no - £150 should do you."

Marilyn Smith was not exactly starry-eyed. At the age of two she had told her mother that she did not believe in Father Christmas or in the Christmas story, and she had never looked back. Now she didn't believe in anything at all, not even that the sun would rise in the east. However, she thought that this sounded a more interesting job than oil or ice cream, and Ivan was a very goodlooking young man. So she took him in tow and went straight to Fred. "£150 Obi said," she reported unblushingly, to the elderly guardian of the petty cash. "There would you like to go, Ivan?" she asked, having managed to attract a taxi - she was an attractive girl, and that helps, even with taxi drivers, especially when they see a large bunch of £5 notes.

"The House of Commons," suggested Ivan. "Not till this afternoon," she said. "They're not awake yet nor will be then, for that matter." Ivan then proposed one of the railway termini, as he had been involved in the design of one of the post-war Soviet stations. Marilyn directed the taxi driver to take them to London Bridge ("somebody else can show him Waterloo or Euston," she thought to herself). On arrival, she conducted him through the tunnels, over the footbridges, and through the holes in the walls that do duty there instead of the imposing entrances enjoyed by more favoured termini. On emerging finally from the Brighton side station, Ivan observed an arrow pointing straight up into the air and the legend - "Southwark Cathedral"; looking up he saw a towering building which looked more like a block of offices. "So it is," agreed Marilyn. "Completed about six years ago, and empty ever since. It takes gallons and gallons of oil to heat it; they say it would deteriorate if it weren't kept warm, and of course it wouldn't do for it to fall down before it was ever used. Must have cost about a million pounds to build, and the man who owns it has three or four other empty buildings like it. Six years ago he was reckoned to be worth about £25 million, and now -

"Bankrupt, I suppose, poor man," said Ivan.

"Well, not quite," said Marilyn. "He's worth about £270 million now. There's another block finished more recently, a few yards away."

"And what's going up here?" said Ivan, looking at a building site in front of the station.

"You've guessed it," said Marilyn. "A block of offices. The cathedral's behind the first block if you're interested," but he wasn't.

Michael Balchin

(This is the introductory chapter only. Readers may recognise the parody of a "best-seller" written in the days of Krushchev, forerunner of some of the most slanderous anti-Soviet, anti-Socialist books by a Russian writer).





When you look sad
I know that you are writing a marvellous poem
in your mind.
When I look sad
You comfort me with fingers, lips
And your thoughtful eyes 
Eyes that watch my tears slide onto the page,
My frowns shape to your curved letters
As you catch my pain in a word.
When people talk in corners
You watch and smile absently.
As they talk, you absorb the expression in their eyes
And the lines on their faces become your lines. 
They think you are fascinated, 
Though you never listen to a word.
When I tell you
How very much there is to do
You look troubled.
When I tell you
We have no need of epitaphs
And that the slogans have all been written;
That lines have creased the paper
And my tears blur every phrase
You look away.
Blindly tapping,
You think you have life at your fingertips.
Pat Sentinella


Thrush at Long Kesh,
Perched on cruel barbed wire
Coiled above mesh
Of which we tire;
And heartfully the bird sings,
Greeting each day
with a song bold and gay;
Echoing among posts and tin
Prisoners hear the song -
Pause in their thoughts
And gratefully look at the bird -
The sky its world, the earth its port,
And its nest a fort
For the survival of its kind -
Prisoners strolling dejectedly
Always feel their heart lift,
As each note leaps to the sky -
And thank nature for this gift,
For here there is no humanity,
Every word of nature is opposed -
But they can't deprive this bird of its wings
Its rights cannot be bulldozed -
We are only human beings here,
No wings have we,nor can we sing a cheerful note
So dear thrush, while happiness you bring'
My heart you smote
with thoughts of the freedom you own
And the freedom I lost.
Thrush at Long Kesh,
You are one of the things I'll remember 
When far from here and free -I'll remember ye.
Peter J. Monaghan
Cage 21, Maze Prison, Long Kesh, Lisburn, Co. Antrim, N. Ireland.


We worshipped you once 
but no more.
Sold down rivers 
our bodies carry the scars 
of rapids
our minds the darkness 
of the murky depths 
buffeted on currents 
it was not always so.
We worshipped you once 
but no more.
Our backs 
were your ladder, 
young hearts accepted 
your promises 
visions seized 
our purpose 
our minds; 
lives, limbs 
showered you.
Our feet were 
never cold, 
we understood 
transition, the
inevitability of gradualness 
the tightened belt.
You ratted on us 
whilst our blood 
was hot
our vision 
New Jerusalem 
within grasp.
We meet still 
dwindling numbers 
singing freedom 
looking for signs 
but we're older now 
wiser? well, 
but the scars and 
the nightmares 
frighten us.
We worshipped you once 
but no more. 
After the State 
and the gunned 
after the citation 
when the flowers 
have withered 
on your tomb 
we shall come 
and bring you 
stare and 
Vincent P. Richardson


Despicable deception of life! 
Fifty, sixty years of storing up knowledge, 
Learning wisdom, ability to analyse, connect, and see the way ahead,
Enlarging capacity of appreciation of all forms of beauty.
Then in a flash, a crack - gone all of it; the mind dead - the body just a frame.
That utter waste! What clown's conception this!
There would have been worlds to conquer;
Centuries of untold beauty to absorb.
I would die to the strains of the International, in Red Square, on May Day!
The thunder of marching feet in every city in the world.
Such a May Day it'll be! Such a May Day! With news of world wide victories!
And although it may be my last day, I won't mind:
For it'll be the last fight too for mankind!
Isabel Baker


Fly away bird.
Fly on the wind of the hopeless word
And the meaningless verbal ploy;
Fly on the breath of the fatuous sigh
That crawls from the girl like a cruel white thigh
To jab at the heart of a boy.
Fly away thrush.
Fly to the mouth in the living bush
And the breasts in the chiffon mists;
Fly on your wings to the planet that sings
Of the staleness prolonged captivity brings,
That changes the hands into fists.
Fly away rook.
Fly to the flesh of the lawyer's book
And peck out its printed heart;
Fly and let fall a splash of white sludge
Into the hair of that righteous judge,
And tear his icy limbs apart.
C.James Mac Veigh


A touch of magic in the night wind's eyes?
America dances over the burning graves
America -
Atonement is long overdue.
Land of the brave, and 
(did I hear a word about fortresses floating unassailable 
over the shattered land?) 
Land of the free, 
(who said that about chains of hatred 
locked around the ghettoes?) 
Atonement is long overdue.
We of the world scream -
We are drowning under America.
Point your sewage somewhere else.
David Tatford


For every penny on the pay, 
for every minute off the day, 
for every inch of the way,
we have fought.
Caked in muck we have stood:
we have poured out our blood. 
every crumb of our food
we have bought.
With hammer and with spade, 
with tools of every trade 
look round you now!- all that's made we have wrought.
Bob Dixon


What these people do with it is not my way. 
Mine is nearer to the stove and washtub 
than their desk methods - not a white collar 
but rolled up sleeves and a shabby apron.
Snatched from multifarious 
exacting and ever demanding duties 
food and fire and eternal washing, 
marking of endless exercises, 
agitation and demonstrations, 
the needs of my children and grandchildren, 
of my elderly relations, of neighbours.
Caught from sheer weariness of mind and body.
Composed in Assembly or waiting for buses, 
set down on backs of envelopes, 
paperbags, kitchen paper.
Not neatly, not leisurely, not composedly 
can I await and invite the Muses; 
must be Muse to myself; must be rigorous 
exacting precision of thought and wording, 
insisting on cut, not drapery swirling; 
stripped and athletic in joyous activity 
striding upon the bedrock of reality.


Not for me your trance states or 
phoenix or Muse or doublefaced deity! 
Not for me myths wisdom no more 
takes for truth literally, 
reach me downs millenniums old 
cut down to modern tatterdemalion 
savers of face and fenders from cold 
for poets afraid of naked reality.


Slush there is, filth, phosphoresence 
stinking and rotten and trash underfoot, 
the sewage and unhealthy putrescence 
of a way of life passing away from man's use.
But dreams will not keep you from soiling your boot, 
nor phantoms shift it, nor theories of art 
transform it to blossoms that gladden the heart.
Bull dozers, muck shifters, lorries and shovels 
can transform a desert of rubbish and slush 
to arterial road or blocks of new houses 
with gardens and bushes and roses and such. 
But all their machinery's not up to much 
till the skilled hand comes and lets in the clutch.


Metaphor and simile 
hammer and cold chisel be, 
tools to set the meaning free.
Arabesque and curlique 
take more labour time to do 
wasteful of material too.
Modern taste is for a line 
sparing both of stuff and time 
grain of wood and clean design.
Let my words in every breath
clarion man's war on death.


And to whom am I to speak 
but those I live with, 
labour with, 
the movers of messes, shifters of rubbish, 
makers of machines, movers of mountains, 
wielders of spanners, builders and miners, 
moulders and furnace feeders, tanners and weavers, 
drivers and hauliers, porters and cleaners -
hands indispensable 
to make man comfortable; 
in all this complicated 
intellect created 
froth upon activity;
this parody of creativity 
which mocks true intellect 
and makes all art suspect 
to those in direct contact with reality.


To such men and women I 
try to speak of real life 
as they and I know it. 
Not only the waste and the strife, 
the shoddiness and the lie, 
but somehow to show it 
movable as the muck on the building site;
for when they grasp at last what they can do 
they will set all right.
Frances Moore


The mundane consumes us 
drabness blights our vision 
with cataracts.
Years eaten up with locusts 
spell it
dutiful parent 
kind to grannie and the cat.
We live sifting greys.
Brilliant sunshine avoiding 
the cavity of our commune; 
darkness kept at bay 
by the light engendered 
in our struggle for bread.
Just sifting greys

-we exist

Vincent P.Richardson


No words remain.
Such pain and anguish
Cannot be contained within the human frame.
It should have torn the world in two;
Mountains be burst asunder,
Primeval fire from innermost earth
Spouted through the cracks.
And when all the piled up agony of the years 
That runs through history like a fiery vein, 
Wars after wars, torture and persecution of
the common man Mounts up to heaven, 
The very universe should scream, 
Galaxies dissolve and new stars be born.
Isabel Baker