Compiled by : chris bilton











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Compiled  by : chris bilton










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Soon comes round, doesn’t seem like a year since they were advertising booze and stuffed Carol Vordermans. We see an blob of clotted cream from a Christmas pudding upstage and completely outclass Ant and Dec. Of course we temporarily forget political correctness as people of small stature earn a fortune and thank god for Christmas.   

I was an elf once; I thought it’d be fun to wear makeup, pointy ears and hang out in a grotto. It was Christmas by the way, not some weird club or anything.

The showroom I worked in had a regular Santa. Everyone knew him, an ex-employee, white beard, big belly (hadn’t drunk himself the death yet, unlike like the last one) and was good with kids, ideal! But the elf population was low so I was volunteered. The gaffer said the last lot of elves were idiots and were worse than the kids. “All good elves have to ‘interact’ with the kids,” He said, “You’ve been a kid, start interacting!”

They didn’t make pixie outfits for gangly 25 year olds so I improvised. I got some plastic Mr Spock ears, a bit of rouge on the cheeks, cut a head-size hole in some green cloth for a poncho, a red neck tie tied round the middle and et voilà  ‘Chris the Elf’. The actual grotto was pathetic, a real grotty grotto, but when you’re little and queuing for a present in a scrum of other kids its good enough. Then my work colleague and fellow sprite turned up, all he had on was a laminated badge that said ‘Elf’.

“Where’s your pointy ears” I said,

“The department had run out of em,” said he lamely, “but I got these”, and pulled out a couple of water pistols in the shape of pump action rifles.

“Holy crap!” said I, “what yer goin’ to do? Blast the buggers to kingdom come if they don’t form an orderly queue”.

Needless to say that particular queue outside Santa’s grotto was very well behaved. He’d point the gun at my head and growl at the kids stuff like:

Okay keep inline or the pixie get’s it.’

The parents were amused, the kids bemused the boss effused us with praise and I left the following summer, he wanted me to wear an asparagus costume and I didn’t want to vegetate.

Season’s greetings and see you next year.

Chris Bilton

Positivity Poem

You thought you’d skanked my happiness
Stole the good things in my life
Left me distraught
Tangled up my happy mind

In barbs of pain
Watched my soul
Go down the drain.
We took sweet counsel together
I did not hide myself
I thought you were my friend
With words as smooth as butter
You flattered me
But your words were as drawn swords
And you stabbed me in the back.
So how come now you see me smile
But not at you
As look I right through you
Like you don’t exist?
I smile because
There are billions of
Good people in the world
Who are everything to me.
Why on Earth would I focus on
You are nothing
Or everything.
Which is it to be?
And I smile because
I am an artist; the creator of my life
I chose all the beauty
And the all colours I want to see.
What I do not observe does not exist
As I paint my life’s canvas
With positivity.

  © Cyndy Art 2013

So This Is Christmas

I'll fetch the sack,

Santa said as Rudolph

yawned and shook his head

at 5am we have to fly so up

we go to meet the sky children

waiting, can they sleep I

hear them turning in their

sheets a mince pie proudly sits,

the coal fire's on and the

sherry's sweet oh so sweet

But out in the street the snow

is falling Mrs Clause is calling

Donna and Blitzen and brawling

the elves are playing

"Who's hat's that"

just a game they play

they're such playful jokers

I can see the street corner

smokers the hotties,

the notties, the toddlers on potties,

Grandad's with holey socks, cute girls

in frocks shepherds and flock

we'll all watch the clock all

watching snow, all getting cold

The rasta rolls a spliff, the pretty

boy parts his quiff the lovers

put an end to their tiff after all

it's a time to forgive, a time to

be thankful, a time to remember,

and a time to get blind drunk

so throw away all this mental junk,

light the blue touch paper,

throw away the very part

of you that makes you hate

yourself place it inside a big

balloon and let that balloon

fly away there it will stay not

long now till we're sat at the

table turkey and carrots and

sprouts if we're able God I

hate sprouts!

this hat makes me look l

ike a prat and we haven't even

opened the crackers yet

©Greg J Muscroft Poet November 2012



Slow Down My Beating Heart

Slow down my beating heart slow down

these words are off the page slow down

my beating heart no more rage, no more rage

My eyes they will see what they see

what they need as my hands try to grasp it and slow down

My feet they must walk all these miles

for a glimpse of your smile and my heart

must slow down slow down

This body that was found in the ground

'cause his heart beat too fast

and at last he can now slow down slow down

This funeral where they cry and ask why

and are left with only his words as his heart

slows down slows down

A hospital bed when he's sick will the doctor

come quick an injection but what he really needs

is love and affection to slow down slow down

when they're snug on the rug and there's time

for a hug will my heart slow down

but I miss how we kiss and we hold and

it's like pure gold and my heart slows down slows down

©Greg J Muscroft Poet

November 2013

You're as white as the great shark

that bites off your leg

You're green with envy,

for all the things I've seen

and everything I've been

and still could be You're

brown from the application

of way too much spray on tan

You're red and that spells danger

You're blue, like the ocean waves

You're grey, like an the overcast

sky that rarely dissipates even

for just a brief splattering of colour,

against the world canvas

You're pink for a charitable cause

You're a rainbow a little bit of

everything a wing and a prayer

a hold your head up high the sun

will burst through the sky one day

You're gold 'cause you glitter and

glow and you know this to be true

You're blue without me and I'm blue

Without you

©Greg J Muscroft Poet 2013

"I Wish"

I wish I hadn't been born with a silver spoon in my mouth

I wish I'd grown up in the North and not in the South

I wish I hadn't hit my best mate in anger

I wish I'd not rented Cliffhanger,

it seemed like a good idea at the time

I wish I'd not committed that crime or got caught

I wish I'd played sport, but the other kids were bigger than me

I wish I'd made tea it's cold outside, I wish I'd not lied

I wish I had blue eyes I wish I had curls

I wish I'd been to bed with more girls

I wish I'd had the foresight to duck,

when that cricket ball came over the wall

I wish it hadn't left a bruise

I wish I had expensive shoes

maybe then these bloody laces

would not have snapped

I wish I'd not clapped and felt

like a fool 'cause no-one else did

I wish I'd not hid, I'm always hiding

I wish I'd tried riding but this pony's

got a mind of it's own

I wish I'd not grown 'cause now

my favourite sweater doesn't fit

I wish I could knit

I wish I could sit but I've got this really

big spot on my bum

I wish I'd not cum but you got me all excited

I wish I'd been delighted by the food that's on my plate

I wish I'd dated Suzy and not Kate

I wish I'd got an A in my final exam

I wish I had a wife that knew how to push a pram and I

wish my alarm would fail just one morning

I wish I could stop yawning

but it's been a long night and all these thoughts

are in my head I should have gone to bed

That would halt this thinking

I wish I had the number of that girl

that's always winking

I wish I'd learnt to swim but I'm far too

scared of sinking

I wish I had a penny for all the thoughts I've ever had

I wish!!!

©Greg J Muscroft Poet

January 2013

Christmas Moan

Here it is the season to pretend

Going out and drinking yourself sick

Thinking your on the way to click

Eating dry Turkey and fart inducing sprouts

Watching celebrity wannabies trying to pout

Spending all year paying for Christmas day

Knowing you don’t have enough in your pay

You have eaten so much you really need two arses

Another year of capitalist induced farces

Merry Christmas

Here come the parasites

Smarts suits, posh voices,

and fancy lies with profit on their mind

Putting the case to sell away our children’s

future for their Kind So let’s sell our souls

to the greed of the few, at least it’s a job

Let’s forget the struggles of the past;

at least it’s a job Let’s give away

all the gains of the past at, least it’s a job

Let’s grovel and stab each other in the back,

at least it’s a job Off they go more and more profit,

evading tax, at least it’s a job

Off to re locate for more profit

here’s your p45, now your jobs gone,

Made me richer now fuck off to the jobcentre

Ah were after that too Shoulder to Shoulder

Was a cold morning on November 11th

But the pride of having your son stand with you on picket line.

Just made that winter freeze seep away.

The look of guilt on the scabs face when

they saw a child who knew better than them.

My little fella reminded them deep inside,

Of the past they betray and the future they collude to sell away

So I say to all our sons and daughters, and brothers and sisters

Shoulder to Shoulder and embrace the love of all in Solidarity.

© Martin Hickman

You’ve Never Had it So Good    
(To the tune of Roll Out The Barrel)

Let’s sing a carol

You’ve never had it so good

Christmas apparel

Pull on your old Santa hood

So called recessions    

Who’s bothered much anyway?

We’re not here to make concessions  

But to make it pay

Don’t call it chaos

You’ve never had it so good

Strikes won’t dismay us

Let’s not be misunderstood

This coalition

Suits us beyond all I can say

Suddenly we’ve got permission (Thank you!)

And we’re making hay

Let’s have a chorus

You’ve never had it so good

Bankers adore us

We always knew that they would

Fill up your pockets

Only the silly call it greed

But don’t forget to shake your bucket

For the children in need

Thanks to the City

You’ve never had it so good

We’re sitting pretty

Labour is chewing the cud

No opposition

Not very much anyway

Money-making is our mission

And we’re here to stay

Sing and be merry

You’ve never had it so good

Pour us a sherry

Don’t be a stick in the mud

Pay no attention

When they say we are to blame

Even when your little pension

Isn’t worth its name

So let’s sing a carol

You’ve never had it so good

Christmas apparel

Pull on your old Santa hood

So called recessions    

Who’s bothered much anyway?

We’re not here to make good impressions  

But to make it pay

© Ray Hearne

Christmas Orphanage

Pasty faces looking out

pressed against greasy panes

windows out of their world

darkened sad sunken eyes

glimpsing a world denied.

Falls of snow bring the cold

shivering from this frigidity

that lingers in the coldness

of their desperate unloved lives

spirits broken by the coldness of others.

Orphaned, deprived of real love

a spark of a smile curls on broken lips

as they see children of freedom

wrapped in warm clothes

sledging and playing

in the fresh fallen snow.

Christmas Day brings a wishful flicker

the children’s hopes of a special meal

provided and served by their fat benefactors

dressed in warm colourful garments

such a contrast to their greyed existence.

A meal, a little better than usual

gratefully received with a present of fruit

an orange, slightly fresher than the odours

of a dining room of starved children

whose bellies were fuller than normal

on the day that happens once a year.

© Carol Robson 2012

Fuck Being Austere

To The Tune; So This Is Christmas

I know this is Christmas

But I don’t understand

This feeling inside me

Of things being planned

Scrooges of Christmas future

Old Cameron and his clan

They sadden me deeply

With their devious plan

They bring Christmas greetings

Of joy and goodwill

But not for the working class

Forced to swallow a bitter pill

A time of year for children

Pressies from the Santa man

Family festivities and your parties

Make the most of it while you can

ConDem scrooges are hard at work

Cutting Jobs and Pensions too

Hurting Old people and the vulnerable

They’re just trying to screw you

And so Merry Christmas

and a Happy New Year

Look out for each other

And fuck being austere

© Carol Robson 2011

A non-velveteen bear with a commitment.

The tree was forever the same,

twisted plastic branches forced into shape,

which realistically lost it’s needles each year.

I would, each year, trudge through the snow

after school on a Sunday, in that impatient

childhood limbo between Thanksgiving and

Christmas day. My feet wrapped in plastic

bread bags, inside winter boots, the

bags guarded against cramps that were

magnified growing pains which Ben-Gay ignored.

Stomping down the alley turning the corner

by the garage there it was, veiled in linen

shears in the window that hung like poorly

ancient magician’s curtains hiding some flaky trick.

But through them, lights, older than the plastic tree,

which begged for a little magic.

Each light through the shears had a halo...

Blue, Orange, Yellow, Green, and my favorite...

ome cross between Pink and Red.

All filling in the gaps where the branches

had gone bare.

I would run to the gate where many

tongues had been stuck by a simple

dare on a frozen afternoon,

throw it open and run to the house.

Boots off, I would walk slowly into

the room where we lived,

which was transforming into a

showroom. Horrible garland hung

here and there, and a tree,

raped of it’s beauty the shear

had offered, stuck in the corner.

But humility always set in,

this was hers, my Mother’s time,

she would allow my brother and I

to dress the whore of a tree with

ornaments, some old and crumpled,

a couple new, then her addition,

the garland, and the time to finish it up, tinsel.

Always wadded on by eager

hands in globs of gaudy silver.

When done it always looked like

a prostitute rocket ready to launch.

The days would pass,

the dog would eat the low hanging

tinsel, which never digested but made

her shit look shiny. Until the morning came.

Presents, bows, and pretending in Santa...

Pong was all the rage, it was wrapped

well and immediately engaged to the television.

The last box with my name on it

was handed to me, I started to tear the paper

off and saw two big black eyes...I continued

and found a stuffed panda, strapped into

the box as though he was ready to

ride the prostitute rocket to the moon.

I took him out and named him, Teddy.

We became best friends, until I was 18.

In moving he disappeared,

until my 25th Birthday. My Mother gave me a

box, and in it a letter was pinned to the chest

of an old friend. It explained how lost he had been,

how his stuffing had been taken out

and replaced with new fluff.

How he had missed me, and how

glad he was to be back home.

He sleeps with me to this day.

Often times at Christmas he sleeps

beneath the tree, he likes the lights,

And I like to find him there in the morning.

I know who the real Santa Claus was,

and her beard never fooled me.

Mom, Teddy and I miss you.

And know what can never be.

© Rob laPray

Poppies laid down


I guess it was the fears which I saw in everyone's eyes,

When the Captain shouted" Over the Top."

No-man’s land seemed to expands with size

"I will kill any of you Fu**ers that Stop!"

It was watching each one of my friends stumble-fall down

Laying Lifeless in the mudded cratered grounds

Bullets that was whizzing just passed my ears

I was shell shocked in blood and tears

No more would they with blasted legs dance

They just laid down in the field with a glazed... glance

No more would they see the girls of their dreams

Bodies flung outwards, ripped apart cartilage seams....

I stood there unable to move Cannonball fired, missiles zoomed

"Run Ya Bastard RUN" I saw that Captain hold up his gun

But no movement..there was no movement I Did try!!

Watching him pull the trigger and the fear..the lost look in his eyes...

For a moment you could say it all Stopped

All had gone dark in a sound in my head of a Pop.........

Then Upwards I flew, looking down at where I lay

No one was near me..Nobody bothered to pray

I had been frightened, tired Looking at the Dead

I was NOT the man, what they said...

Exhausted breathe not to move..move Go Forward

Take pity with my Body sent home...They labelled me


© R.M.Barley

The old soldier sits in his chair

Listening to the gunfire in his ears

The young have forgotten about his war

His friends all gone and seen no more

The gasps and squeals of children’s voices

Only are interpreted as his choices.

The fire crackers that light our skies

Show only fear in his eyes

To us it’s a night of fun. To him,

He's a trench and with a gun

In the distance flashes light up the sky

Frozen he sits in a time gone By.

© R.M. Barley.

"You think more of them hens than you do of me!"

these words on my Facebook someone put,

you see I go over every day and the more i learn

the more I see, I gave a sigh followed by a mighty tut!

what began as a small act of helping a friend has

become almost a ritual and it’s so helped my heart

to mend, those 'gals' are in my charge when i go over

not long after dawn, I’ve sat there in the summer sun,

when I’ve felt saddened and forlorn to watch them

gather around my feet some allowing the touch

of my hand, and when they all come running on

my afternoon visit, I can only describe as ,

"eeh it's grand!",I’ve got to know it’s the female duck

that has the quack,

the drake makes a sort of grating noise,

in his throat at the back, when a hens about to lay,

her comb, the thing on the top of her head,

will not be pale and floppy it will be a nice fleshy red!

As i top up the feed bucket with pellets

you'd think they never got fed, as I sink a garden fork

into the deep, dark mud, I say to a hen as on the

mound she stood, "did the earth move for you love,

was it good?"all she's after are the worms that still

wriggle and squirm, beneath my wellie bobbed feet

where I’d just been stood!

©  Christine May Turner


Wild Flower Dreams

The crystal swings, and the sun

Reflects hues of today's heart

Through prism shades of sea and blood

Washing through a mist of clouds shining white

So it seems.

A woman drawn to the mist finds a force pinning her

Equalling the outpouring from her heart and soul

The sea and blood wash through her

Mixing with the dreams she had today.

They all washed away.

And she stands there stripped

Of mind and feeling and soul

For the wild flower dreams 

Of minutes just past, were

Drawn through the prism of death

Dreams divided by colours of life

And just when it's the darkest

And it seems no one understands

The sun shines golden over a hill of hope

And it is beautiful.

©  Sally Leuenberger

New York

Grand Mediocrity

I was once told by a teacher to write the poem you’re writing not the one you want to write. I suppose we all want to write with inventiveness, but it needs to be, at least, partly familiar to the readers, otherwise they cannot connect with the originality, only the weirdness. I suffer from this, trying to be over original to the point of being marginalised as unreadable. I went through a phase of making up my own words. I thought about putting together an alternative dictionary. I called it a crislexicon. fun but completely useless:

Asphixilation – looking thoughtful, but dead at that particular moment.  

Bessemerate - steel a march on your rivals.

Canibavalable – someone somewhere is ready to eat you.

Pavaraticle – spittle by-product of looming bulk and booming voice.

Zeepock – the sizzle of a defective neon sign connection…and so on, you get the picture.

We need to find a happy medium (Doris Stokes laughing all way to the bank) between that thought and the image we want to illustrate; it’s a fine line between imaginative clutter and airy abstraction. Apparently stanza means ‘room’ so maybe we should furnish our poetry accordingly. I try not to shove too much into my house of prose, but when you seen that fancy settee (phrase) or new kitchen gadget (metaphor) I have to shoe horn it into my verse room.

Of course there’s the old Faithfull’s: alliteration and assonance. I see them as cute little puppies running amok over your verse. I don’t even mind too much if they have a wee in the corner, I can always mop it up with a bottle of editing disinfectant.

Try and imagine filming your  poem as you write it. Start with a long overview and slow track into the detail. Zoom really close to a character, take a still shot, dissolve the image then change scene.

It’s all about making the syntax interesting and not getting bogged down trying to find the right word. How would Alfred Hitchcock direct your poem about visiting the bathroom late at night or what about one of the Boulting brothers dealing with your tummy trouble? Quentin Tarantino and your great Aunty Doris? No let’s not go there.

All this bumf is leading up to a mediocre poem about a chair – yawn‼

The Perfect Chair

What a delightful comfy chair,
with a splash of personality.

I coin a word to describe said furniture item,
the chair has persplashivity.

that random use of my words
it may seem, but the chair has a life
no matter how short, therefore earning
respect, and the occasional sponging down.

It needs sudulating on occasion I admit.

As his apollomocker – an excuse so flimsy
as to seem contemptuous – of a poem
worthy of the loosest

flickernackernatter– locker room banter –

sinks slowly into the mire,

I contemplate the fact that no matter how
camouflaged,  camouflaged trousers are,
they are still trouser shaped trousers.    

©  Chopper Harris (Miss)

No Right

I shared my run away dreams

And was grabbed into your reality.

I hoped my wildest hopes

To be told they were as naive as an infants.

I wished my warm hearted wishes

To be reminded they never come.

And when they don't I have no right

To be disappointed.

In this life I am told I have no right,

No right.

I have no right to dream,

It is time foolishly spent

I am told I have no right to hope,

For what I hope for is never possible.

I have no right to find what I wish,

It is self indulgent.

What happens when the dream, hope and wish

Is for a friend?

©  Sally Leuenberger

New York

Love of a Friend

When sunshine falls on our hearts

We will smile together.

When rain begins to pour

We will cry the same tears.

When it seems all is lost

We will hope as one.

When it is cloudy

We will dream each other's dream.

When the sword comes between us

We will unitedly mend.

We don't know what it means to be poor

Because we have the riches of gold in our hearts.

©  Sally Leuenberger

New York


Help for Would-Be Self Published Authors
Self publishing no longer necessarily means ''vanity' publishing and to help budding authors, the
Writers & Artists Yearbook has launched a new section on its website aimed at helping writers become self published and achieving their literary dreams.
Aspiring authors can find all the information they need, there's a range of articles to read on all of the following topics:
Considering self-publishing
Marketing and publicity
Interviews on self-publishing

there's also a comparison engine for researching the following topics:
Design & Formatting

More info:

Friday 6th December 2013

The word Smack Cabaret finally returns to Rotherham with a fine cast of performers ready to entertain your socks off and then iron them and hand them back all toasty and warm. Stan Skinny and Gav Roberts are amongst the line-up.

12th December 2013

Pitmen Poets Open Mic based in the, "The Concertina Band Club, Dolciffe Road, Mexborough. S64 9AZ An open Mic night where the local people of Mexborough or anyone can come along and share a story, a poem or maybe a song or two.

14th December

RAE/ROMP Christmas Party at the Rotherham Trades Club.   


First Friday of the month at the Bridge Inn Rotherham. Largest spoken word event in the area. Starts 7.30 pm, put your name in the hat and have a go !

Scribble Storytelling Night @ The Red Deer, Sheffield
Writers, Poets, Singers, Gossips, we need your stories!  Scribble is a spoken word night for people with a story to tell. Come to share your stories, or just to listen.  Everyone is welcome! We meet in the function room of The Red Deer pub in Sheffield and entry is free.
The next Scribble session will be on October 17th, 2013 (7-9pm).  Future dates: November 21st, December 19th.
More details of meeting dates and times can be found at

South Yorkshire - Young Writers
Aged 14 to 19? Want to write creatively outside of school or college?
Our Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster and Barnsley Young Writers Groups are now recruiting for new members.
You don’t have to think you’re a great writer to join, you just need an interest in writing and a willingness try something new!
Our groups provide opportunities to:
•     Write, share and talk with other young writers [refreshments provided]
•     Explore a range of creative writing including: stories, poems, scripts, spoken word, lyrics, blogging and journalism
•     Meet fortnightly during term time in a central meeting place [usually 5pm to 7pm on Mon, Wed and Thurs evenings [depending on the group]
•     Access further writing opportunities such as: meeting professional writers, attending writing events and Open Mics, and information on competitions and publishing
To look into joining a groups, contact us via:
Access and forward our flyer here:
You can find out about general opportunities for young writers in the Yorkshire region at:


Pennine Platform Poetry - Leeds
Pennine Platform publishes new poetry and reviews twice a year. The magazine is independent, though currently supported by the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society. It is one of the longest surviving little magazines in the UK, having started in 1973.
further information...
Subscriptions are £8.50 for two issues including p&p within the UK, £10 within Europe and £12 for the rest of the world; payable only in Sterling to Pennine Platform. Subscription and submissions are accepted by snail-mail only, with hard-copy to accompany any disks sent.
This web-site provides a taster for the magazine, with three poems each from issues Nos. 53 and 54. Space is provided for readers to comment on and discuss each poem, since we learn from and refine our thinking in discussion with each other.
More info:

Carillon Magazine - Rotherham
Eclectic poetry and prose
84-page paperback, small payments for published items from subscribers. Free copy to non-subscribers.3 issues a year.
Subscriptions UK: £10.00. Editor: Graham Rippon
Web Site:

For more information on writing events see here: Web: www.writingyorkshire.org