Poem of the day

Wars and Rumours

by Toluwalope Ogunlesi


love has folded His sheets of music,

time assembles to distune our talking drums,

songs seal themselves in bunkers of silence,

daylight rushes her still-wet laundry in.



scarecrows beat fear-full wings in the sky's vast


birds freeze into poles of torment, riotously hued,

it's going to rain; it's going to pour,

the clouds whisper it, through kola-blackened teeth



in years to come time will

tell it; unfold bunkers of teeth -

grinning teeth, chipped teeth, set in

a silent, still convoy of skinned skulls



a canvas citizened by victims,

a canvas mounted on poles of silence

a canvas painted in pencils of (heated) lead

- did the Painter Realise his Vision?



bunkers of silence drum to empty sheets of music

birds rain, lifeless, like kola-blackened teeth

grinning teeth, once hued, smile wet-laundry smiles

songs assemble, file into vast tombs with skinned



13 August

In This Country

by Kei Miller

12 August

A made-up / true story

by Sam Winston

11 August

The Wood Road

by Seamus Heaney

Resurfaced, never widened.

The verges grassy as when

Bill Pickering lay with his gun

Under the summer hedge

Nightwatching, in uniform –


Special militiaman.


Moonlight on rifle barrels,

On the windscreen of a van

Roadblocking the road,

The rest of his patrol

Sentry-still, in profile,


Guarding Mulhollandstown.


Or me in broad daylight

On top of a cartload

Of turf hand-built and squat

As a drystone beehive hut,

Looked up to, looking down,


Allowed the reins like an adult –


In the picture at last,

The one on the whitewashed wall

Of a horse and cart and turfman

Embroidered on calico

In what they called ‘the long ago’,


Framed in passe-par-tout.


Or that August day I walked it

To the hunger striker’s wake,

Across a silent yard,

In past a watching crowd

To where the guarded corpse


And a guard of honour stared.


Film it in sepia,

Drip-paint it in blood,

This was/is the Wood Road.

Resurfaced, never widened,

The milk-can deck and the sign


For the bus-stop overgrown.

10 August


by Sally Festing

The walls are very thin up here, sky, birds -

I'd grab if I could their Norfolk idiom

stuff it in my pocket to trickle out

and listen in. The sun floods rectangles

into the room and I’m imagining

you now at the RA, your face raised

to Anish Kapor's hovering wall-full.

Think of a big yellow belly button!


I woke and heard your feet pad from Whitehall

to Picadilly. Remember? we'd glut

our eyes, then head for coffee. You'll like the blood

slugged at white space, the great rope of it circling

far into the future. Oh my darling

these birds tear heart and soul out of thin air.