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

Caged Bird, Song Bird

Caged bird

Maya knows why
the caged bird sings
Its wings are boxed in
but its voice is free
    You see

The perch its stage
the cage contains
restrains, inspires
the cries and trills
The wrongs and ills
write songs that long to fly
    That’s why

Songs in keys
of freedom
of hope, of rage
unlock the cage
open skies
    and rise

Life and Death and Politics

no politics

This is no time for politics
for critics or for lobbing bricks
for calling names or stones and sticks
for challenging, for landing kicks

The time's not right for your point-scoring,
rival party leaders' warring
Disagreement's jolly boring,
disrespecting people mourning

Hancock's Half Hour

Tony Hancock

Broadcast at five o'clock
to millions of eager viewers

Our hapless hero
tackles the latest crisis

Trying to sound authoritative
but never quite in control

His spivvy mate
usually gets the better of him

It's not Railway Cuttings
it's Downing Street

It's a situation
but it's not comedy

 

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Not Lost

candles

Ten thousand people have not lost their lives.
They did not leave them behind

or forget where they put them
They did not misplace them.

Their lives were taken.

P.P.E.

Test PPE

personal protective equipment
proves particularly effective
preventing pandemic excretion
polluting public environments

profit pursuers expect
priority, private enterprise
prevails: purchasing essentials
proves prohibitively expensive

production postponed, exhausted
public protectors endangered
political patent expired
pay packets empty

Night Tube (Covid-19 remix)

Night Tube Covid

It's just like any other Saturday night
but without the vomit and with no-one to fight

It's just like Night Tube but nobody's pissed and
the two people here are socially distant

It's just like every other morning after
but without the bleary eyes and laughter

There's no-one to beg from, no tickets to tout
because staying at home is the new going out

Clap for Carers

Clap

Claps at windows
Claps at doors
Claps with power and verve
Wave on wave
of loud applause
our care workers deserve

Applause spread fast
round our estate
Applause saw us unite
Applause lets us
appreciate
the ones who lead this fight

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