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.

Janine's poems have been published in numerous poetry and other journals and websites, including Algebra of Owls, South Bank Poetry, the Daily Mirror, PUSH, Hour of Writes, Proletarian Poetry, Confluence Medway, Screaming Violets, Poetry24, Solidarity, Stand Up and Spit, Hastings Independent, Freedom, Women’s Fightback, the Morning Star, Rising and TenFootCity; and in anthologies Spies4Life, Poems for Jeremy Corbyn, Justice: Poems for Grenfell Tower.and Ashes to Activists

Opinionated

gagged face

You expressed your opinion.

In response, I expressed my opinion,
which was different from your opinion

In response to me expressing an opinion
different from your opinion

You shouted
I'M ENTITLED TO EXPRESS MY OPINION!

as though by expressing an opinion
at variance with your opinion

I had been denying your right to express your opinion
which, of course, I hadn't.

Self-Isolation in a Single Hostel Room

single room

Day 1 confined to room - no going out

Day 2 do push-ups, Netflix, clean the floor

Day 3 phone friends and scrub the tiling grout

Day 4 a breakfast bag outside the door

Day 5 phone friends and tell them how I'm feeling

Day 6 lean out the window for some air

Day 7 sit-ups, Netflix, clean the ceiling

Day 8 phone friends to tell them I still care

Triolet: Just a Dusting

Dogs in garden with light snow cover

Just a dusting's not enough

There's barely ample white to fight

It's floating free like frozen fluff

Just a dusting's not enough

No handful for a snowball - tough!

This winter's snowfall's far too light

Just a dusting not enough

There's barely ample white to fight

The Prime Minister Speaks on the Occasion of One Hundred Thousand U.K. Covid Deaths

Boris is sorry - deeply sorry -
for every life that's been lost

Johnson is worried - deeply worried -
about the political cost

He takes responsibility - full responsibility -
for all of the government's actions

Johnson is possibly - in all probability -
counting financial transactions

Silent Night

clap

It's Thursday evening, eight o'clock, no sound
No passing cars or footsteps on the ground
No pots or pans or cheering to be found
As nobody is clapping this time round

When this began, we clapped them off to war
Then came reports that we could not ignore
Low pay, long hours, no P.P.E. in store
Now no-one claps for carers any more

Free Zhang Zhan!

gagged

China jails citizen journalist for Wuhan reports

Four years in jail for citizen reporter
Who spread the news from virus-struck Wuhan
Her mother cries in court to lose her daughter
She showed the world the sickness, did Zhang Zhan
So ominous the charges that they brought her
For breaking China’s free expression ban
Their stricken morals under smoking rubble,
‘Picking quarrels and provoking trouble’

Throwing Stones in 2020

throwing stone

After A Stone’s Throw Away by Paul Weller

News just in
of last year’s protests starting again in Chile
And hundreds of thousands massing in
the city streets for women’s rights in Poland
Burned-out squatters turning out in Johannesburg

Not In School Today

Youth climate strike poster

After Earth Beat by Paul Weller

Her banner has a planet on, she’s
carrying resistance and insisting that the
government takes action for a new
start for a cleaner, greener future from today.

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