These poems have all been composed, written and published since 2019. More poems can be found on the Military Conflict Stories page.

We make every endeavour to reproduce the style and layout requested by the poet, sometimes a particular layout is difficult to achieve on the website. Please contact this site if you want an alteration to a layout.



by Vivienne Player

I wish your complicit smile,
I wish your gladness
each time we met, the light in your eyes;
I wish the confidential whisper of
a shared thought; I wish your hand on mine;
I wish the dreams you conjured;
I wish times past;
I wish the moon and the stars;
I wish you back.

Once I remember drifting
Through the blue-sky zones of contentment,
careless of time and fate;
Once I believed in fairy-tale endings:
my love, it’s now late

in our story. I remember
things best that I now forget.
Everything passes, breaks, comes to an end,
and the past retreats,
the future a new country,
different and unmapped.

© Vivienne Player, 2022

published 6 December 2022



by Vivienne Player

I watched her disappear
First the lines of her face, the salient features
Her mouth dissolved, her eyes, then her bright hair
Became a dark veil. Her body shimmered
Like a twilit mirage, then blurred into shadow.
Monochrome, amorphous, a moth, a ghost.
Grey into darkness, like a blown-out flame.
Some essence of her lingered, but so briefly,
I cannot say for certain if I dreamed.

© Vivienne Player, 2022

published 6 December 2022


At the end of the day

by Vivienne Player

“War is peace/ Freedom is slavery/ Ignorance is strength” – George Orwell

The creed that stands for love endorses torture;
The regime crying freedom will enslave;
The state proclaiming peace beats drums of battle;
The brutal flaunt the medals of the brave.

Love, liberty, and peace are noble concepts –
We kill, oppress, seek conflict, in their name;
Prepare to fight for what you most believe in
And make all other factions take the blame.

Destroy the infidel: he is “the other”;
His truth is not our truth – we must despise
All those who speak an alien language,
And see this fractured world with different eyes.

Those people aren’t my people: I don’t know them;
Their lives don’t matter half as much as ours;
They have ignoble ways, bereft of honour,
And when our needs compete, compassion sours.

Destroy them in the name of upright values;
Bring out your weaponry; show you are strong;
Create a better world by spreading mayhem;
Enact your loving hate, your righteous wrong.

A war that ends all wars, that is our target;
We’ll demonstrate to all our fearful might –
Scorched earth behind us, though this planet’s dying,
For Peace, or Love, or Freedom, let us fight!

© Vivienne Player, 2022

published 6 December 2022



by Geoffrey Dobbs

Based upon a short story by Melissa Manning

You are a stranger to me now
perhaps you will always be
even if I find you.

You, the silent voice
in this counterpoint of
gene against gene:
yours and hers, disparate,
yet married in me.

I remember, if I remember,
only a shadow
looming over railings then,

I’ve heard of you
though not by name;
she’s forgotten that,
or says she has.
She will not give me your face
nor your eyes
nor your hair;
I don’t know if you are short or tall
or what timbre your voice.
You are erased from our life,
from our minds.

Except for the genes,
your DNA that sometimes
flares within me,
lights up a glance or a turn of the head,
a twist of the body.
Then she breathes in with a sharp hiss
and looks away
not wanting to see you.

I shall leave her soon.
She’ll snort with contempt,
draw her ragged dress over
bare jagged knees,
scuff her sandals,
and light another joint
There’ll be no blessing.

But I’m coming after you
wherever you may be,
and when we meet
our genes will cry out to each other.

© Geoffrey Dobbs, 2022

published 24 November 2022


Charlie’s Corner

by Geoffrey Dobbs

Stand on the rough verge:
your feet scrunch dry grass, leaves, bark,
crane your neck,
you’ll see white rails, an open gate,
a welcome awaiting.

He’s stopped in Mildura,
returning from Adelaide and the wool sales,
stopped and bought oranges,
a big hessian bagful,
a treat for the kids.
He sees them stripping the peel,
white teeth slicing through pith
into heavy, bursting fruit,
juice trickling down their chins.

His heart full now,
a scent of oranges fills the roaring car
as it swallows up the straight black road,
the crisp cheque in the pocket of his jacket,
thrown over the back seat.
A beer at the pub – why not?
after all, almost home.

Mates’ faces, split with toothy grins,
glance up at him through the smoke:
strong hands grasp his in welcome.
Tanned, muscled arms thrown around his shoulders,
‘Good on yer, mate, well done.’
It’s his shout of course,
then the next and the next
until he leaves, his belly full,
aslosh with beer, heavy, cold.

Almost home now.
He sinks into the warm seat,
holds the wheel lightly,
as though the car might find its own way.
But ahead of him the road wavers,
uncoils weirdly,
into sudden pools of shadow,
sharp blinding slivers of sun.

And then, the corner.

It was the oranges they saw first,
not the car
wrecked on the ironbark,
or the torso, marbled with blood, hanging
out of a ripped door.

flooding the road, rolling rich and full
through a red sunset.
Almost home.

© Geoffrey Dobbs, 2022

published 24 November, 2022



by Geoffrey Dobbs

based upon a short story by Melissa Manning

The stonemason’s hands
drive home the hammering chisel,
taming the wild stone
until it fits his will
and its harsh heft
slides into place.

So block by shaped block
he encloses a void:
space, air, imprisoned;
wind, rain and sun shut out.
Only human love can warm these walls,
only tears can dampen them,
only whispered words echo in their crevices.

Within earth’s stony carapace too,
beneath the rippled roofs of caves,
there lurk imprisoned voids
unstirred by living breath.
Yet even there
unseen, unheard,
stalactite embraces stalagmite
in silent fusion.

So too in each of us, maybe,
a deep and empty cavern lies;
this, in time’s mercy, may yet become
a place where love abides.

© Geoffrey Dobbs, 2022

published 24 November 2022



by Margaret Boyes- Pringle

Named by the Norse word for island
our village lies low, before the marsh and the sea.

Standing on the brow of the hill on old Peddars Way,
Ringstead woods and the chalk pit at my back,
I look down and see the tower of St Mary’s church
ensconced amidst roofs and trees.
All’s at peace there.
Nearby, the Bronze Age henge still sleeps silently
beneath the waves.

Romans have walked this linear path with me,
Patrolled the earth, dropped a ring with a glass
jewel deeper than our sea’s blue.
Iceni sprinkled coins and blood,
Husbanding Saxons left fish traps on the beach.
Domesday recorded us…

The medium of the mind’s eye spans the years
and the body registers their loss.
Across sixty years, across the world,
I see that resting place of generations
who worked the soil, went to war, returned…

The sanctuary of the past, the Burton graves.

I’m strolling down our hill now; the wind is soft and
the light? A mauve close-of-day benediction.

© Margaret Boyes-Pringle, 2000

First published in the Bayside U3A Newsletter, Special Edition, Number 11, August 2000

published 24 November 2022



by Margaret Boyes-Pringle

We waited until the end of day.
Drove in silence, turned into
the car park by Mordy pier.
Bird droppings smeared the tarmac
in ugly, meaningless tattoo.
Scavenging seagulls cracked the air.
Ammonia and salt stench
walked with us.

On Beach Road
homing commuters,
like Victorian funeral mutes,
snaked the Bay in double lines
their gargoyle faces lit
in white. Or red.

Walking the earth there is only
David and me.

A softness of petals brush
my cheek like a benediction.
Four cream roses –
their incense comforts.
I turn my jacket collar up
against the wind,
button the frail stems inside.

We tread the pier
arms linked,
breath shared.
Tableaux of fishermen,
misericord carvings,
watch and pray.

At pier end
four steps down,
from wooden boards
to confessional grill,
the sea sucks and swirls.
An arm arcs and a flower flies and falls,
again, again, again,
four frail flowers dying
on a vast eternal sea.

Awakened, perhaps amused
by silent prayer, the goddess surfaces.
She draws her gown of state around her,
its rolling, visceral waves of purple
caught up from the flooded veil of the Bay.
Summoning her attendants, patient
perhaps smiling, She pauses as
the votive petals are borne aloft
and woven into the garlands adorning
the tumbling tresses of her hair.
Turning towards the headland
She moves towards deeper waters
receiving, in her passing,
the strings of lights along the shore
as pearls to wear. And falling stars,
mere diamond chips, bedeck
the golden netting of her train.

© Margaret Boyes-Pringle, 2022

published 24 November 2022


Nimue’s Tree

by Margaret Boyes-Pringle

Straddling the fork in my trunk
like a scarecrow from the Dark Ages,
Merlin haunts my veins.
The cold makes him
cringe from the exposure
of my top-most branches
and seek warmth from the earth ;
he digs his old toes into
my healthy roots, breaking
joints and elongating flesh
in his craving.

He lived so long amongst men
he suffers as they do.
To bleak winter’s chill breath
I groan his muttered lament ;
as each leaf is torn from me,
memories are prised from
his ancient cells and, as they fall,
he lives them fleetingly …

Watching. So do I.

Watch his attempted seduction of Nimue,
watch her abasement at his betrayal,
see the shining mettle of her
as she rose to pass judgement.
Feel that swift, fierce cleaving
as she delivered him in punishment,
my fate manacled to his, each
twist and coil and writhe
birthing the template of time
in my grain.

First published in the Bayside U3A Newsletter, July 2021

© Margaret Boyes-Pringle, 2021

published 24 November 2022


The Writers’ Group

by Sandra Stirling

We meet on a regular basis,
With notebooks tucked under our arms
Or iPads charged at the ready
For the Writers Group many charms.

For some, there could be a focus
On topics that follow a theme,
Like “Birthday,” “Garage” or “Delicious,”
While for others, it’s pure academe.

We listen to stories or poems
That engage, delight and enthrall –
The talent here is prodigious,
A talent demonstrated by all.

And mention must be made of the playwrights,
A particular skill here involved
As they’re written for radio only,
Special problems have to be solved.

We applaud, encourage, make comments
As work is read out aloud,
And if the author’s work is accepted,
They’ve a perfect right to feel proud.

I’m so glad I joined this Writers Group,
To be part of the ebb and flow
Of the talents and joy of this friendly class,
And the people I’ve come to know.

©Sandra Stirling, 2020

published 22 June 2020



by Peter Lucas

I’ll wait a little longer

For your eyes to close

when night becomes still

and streets are awake in yellow.

Ill wait a little longer

 for your hair to be brushed

your hand to be held

the smile to fade.

I’ll wait  for hot tea

and  memories

the girl you were 

the mother you became.

I’ll wait in this room

of faded photographs

and dried arrangements

with the smells of glycerine and rose.

I’ll wait sleeping in the chair

For your whisper

Telling me to go

‘It’s alright’, I say’ just a little longer

I curl deeper in the chair 

wait for the quiet even breathing

comforted by its motion

and the knowledge your still here.

©Peter Lucas, 2020

published 25 June 2020


Free Range

by Joy Meekings

There once was a chicken named Thelma her life was not going so well
For she was a battery hen and confined to a living hell
She thought she would never be rescued and be out in the sun all day long
She’d imagine blue sky, gentle breezes, pecking the earth, feeling strong
Her dream was to be a Free Ranger for that was the best she could be
Ooh to be out in the open, maybe sitting under a tree?
The ‘monsters’ running this ‘prison’ were convicted and now doing time
Confined to a very small cell, but does their punishment fit the crime?
Most of Thelma’s companions were unlucky, so mistreated they had to die
Thelma survived and is thriving, I thought you’d like to know why
Adopted by a good family she’s so much more than Free Range
Has all she could ever dream of, after thinking her life would not change
Her feathers have grown back completely, she looks and feels so well
Rarely thinks of her former life, for it does no good to dwell
Everyone please take notice, for we can bring about change
Let’s either keep chickens of our own or always buy Free Range!

©Joy Meekings © 2020

published 25 June 2020



by Gwen McCallum

Masked up and running
shoe laces tight as two old friends,
past scree weeds and stones
discarded plastic wrapping and graffiti
on red brick walls.

All the while in your head
planning a day a week a life,
waiting for answers-who wouldn’t,
everybody knows the questions.

Imagine a time, a place apart
when we sit down and touch,
fleeting or firm, a warmth, like
a swift injection into eager veins.

This is a ballad where notes are off
the tempo wrong.
Someone forgot the rules, 
a sharp reminder, because 
the conductor always calls the tune.


© Gwen McCallum 2020

published 27 June 2020