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

How to Run a Daily Briefing

Hancock at Briefing

If you can, find figures that
make Britain look better
than other countries.

If you can't, then explain that
foreigners count differently
from us Brits.

If asked questions
about health and care workers,
say that they are heroes.

If pressed about their PPE, tests,
working conditions or isolation pay,
say again that they are heroes.

Unmute Yourself

Prince Buster

Here's one for those among you who are fans of Prince Buster, The Specials or anyone else who has recorded 'Enjoy Yourself':

Unmute yourself, ’cos it’s your turn to speak
Unmute yourself, your words will be unique
The meeting is in progress, and you don’t look very sleek
Unmute yourself, Unmute yourself, ’cos it’s your turn to speak

Hello, I’m Janine, and I’m going to unmute myself first

All in the Same Boat

Willy Stower's Titanic

They were all in it together,
all in the same boat,
From upper decks to lower,
they'd sink as one or float

But some folk were in first class
and they got out alive,
While most folk were in steerage
and most did not survive

The ship had too few lifeboats,
and the lookout on the prow
Saw the iceberg didn't discriminate,
as the virus doesn't now

R<1

letter R
R is the Reproduction Ratio of a virus,
the average number that each infected person infects.
R is the Rate at which viruses spread
When R's above one, expect more and more dead
R is the Ratio of of patients to beds
R is the hospital wards overrun -
We have to keep R below one.
 

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

 

.

.

.

 

 

 

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

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - My Poems