My Poems

Having written and performed as The Big J in the 1980s, Janine started again in 2014, after a brief interlude of around a quarter of a century.

Froms sonnets to villanelles, limericks to ballads, the occasional rap and plenty of straightforward rants, serious and humorous and sometimes both, here is Janine's verse.

Bodily Fluids Interception Team

As London Underground launches all-night running on two lines at weekends, a special squad of cleaners has a special task ...

​The Tube's come up with a spiffing scheme
The train stays in service and the bosses beam
But it's not as fun as it might seem
For the Bodily Fluids Interception Team

21 October 1966

villanelle about the Aberfan coal mining disaster, in which 144 people, including 116 school children, died when a coal mining waste tip collapsed. There was a lot of anger at the National Coal Board for its neglect of safety, and at the inquest, one father insisted, "I want it recorded – "Buried alive by the National Coal Board." That is what I want to see on the record. That is the feeling of those present. Those are the words we want to go on the certificate."

The miner insisted the coroner record
The Pantglas School building a homicide scene
They were buried alive by the National Coal Board

The Strike Train

... with a nod to W.H.Auden's The Night Train ...

 
This is the rhythm of wheel along steel
It's the soothing and comfort that passengers feel
From the safety of knowing the doors only close
When the guard says it's ready, that's when the train goes

The Eleventh Commandment

I'd rather go to prison or be given a huge fine
Or have cosmetic surgery from Doctor Frankenstein
Sit through a boring lecture on interior design
Yes, I’d rather do most anything than cross a picket line

Change Here

Based on a true incident ...

Paula was tired from a day out protesting
Paula was on her way home, needed resting
She slumped on the train and
She winced against pain and
She thought, "Days like this one are testing"

If You Can't Beat 'Em, Cheat 'Em

We're trying a coup but our tactics were busted
​The more we manoevre, the more they're disgusted
The rules can be broken and figures adjusted
The members?! There's no way those oiks can be trusted.

We need a new leader, more Theresa than May
But the bloody trade unions won't do what we say
We can't have a vote cos they'll vote the wrong way
So we'll write for The Sun and we'll go and make hay

I Will Be With You, Whatever

I'll be with you though peaceful options haven't been exhausted
I will be with you crushing life with military forces
I'm with you, George, through desert, storm and flood
I'm with you to the final drop of someone else's blood

Oh George, be sure I have your back, we'll raze the land together
Dear George, know I will be with you whatever

Soft Skills

Smile. Lock eyes.
Suppress. Disguise.
Presentation.
Conversation.
Attention payer.
Team player.
Holy grail.
Performance fail.
Not ticked but starred.
Soft skills are hard.

Love's Labour's Lost

You sob for love lost from the labouring class
With a heart that's so heavy, so bitter your tears
But the love was not lost in the ten months just past
But was lost in the previous twenty-odd years

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