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1 4 5 6 3 2 WORD PIT 6


Welcome to the Word Pit Volume 7.   

Chris Bilton our Editor has pulled together yet another fantastic selection of  work from local poets.  

RAS (Rotherham Art Support) is, I’m sorry to say no more.   A majority of the Board felt that it had lost direction and moved away from the ethos of offering opportunities to everyone, especially those who might be described as grass-roots artists.

But back under the Rotherham Art Events / Acoustic Rotherham banner we hope to maintain and develop our work within the grass-roots of Rotherham Arts.  

We need your continued support to thrive and we most certainly need your continued donations to keep us live on the ether.   So please help where you can.

Thank you.

building from the roots… PAINTING BY CHRIS MATTHEWS

Chopper Outrage.

My garden looks great under the light of a helicopter searchlight at night, all pale yellows and off whites.

A local drug dealer had run roughshod over my weeds and used the outside toilet building as resting place. Yes, I still have the outside loo, sans bog and fittings but great for storing plant pots and broken lawnmowers. Pause for moment to reflect on using outside conveniences come rain, snow and the neighbours when theirs froze over – dad kept a paraffin heater lit in ours ... I can smell it now ... the paraffin, I mean.

Anyway I digress; the chopper came over flashing this incredibly bright light, it was like the aliens were about to land and I could be probed at any time (always the optimist). I looked through the wedding veil of light and observed a lone figure scramble up the drainpipe and onto the flat extension roof of a neighbours kitchen. At that moment I wish I had had the presence of mind to film it on my camera, unfortunately I’m not that quick when it comes to recording dramatic events. If the subjects not directly in front of me, either reciting a poem or playing with a cat – or preferably both - I’m lost. The roof bit of this event would have made a great film sequence. The figure stood against the darkness for a moment then disappeared into the night.  

I often judge a film by the amount of roof scenes there are. Enemy of the State has a good roof sequence, the Matrix, Die Hard, (although that’s more of ventilation duct and lift shaft affair, but it’s near enough). Robin Hood, Peter Pan, On the Water Front, Topkapi, Godfather II Fiddler on the Roof (for that bit at the beginning) and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (sorry, getting desperate)

All the best storytellers knew the romance of a roof. Dickens was big on roofs (adopts Dick Van Dyke Cockney accent and... “Chim chim-in-ey, chim chim-in-ey. Chim chim cher-ee!” ) Victor Hugo liked his roofs, also Conan Doyle, Ernest William Hornung the Raffles bloke and there are loads of roofs in Agatha Christy. Dostoevsky, he was more of an attic man, Charlotte Bronte was an attic woman, but you get my drift. Talking of drift – Mines - welcome to the latest WORD PIT and may your outside toilet only overflow with plant pots, memories of squares of newspaper and, if you were lucky, shiny Izal toilet paper.   

Lindum. Maltravers. WORD PIT Chopper Correspondent  


When the prison

is your own head

the screws show

no mercy.

Solitary confinement

is a non-escape

from a life spent

behind the stone

walls inside yourself.

©  Tony Goodwin

The Language of June.

that day

when the waitress

asked us

had we decided yet,

and you blurted out 

a teested toecake 

and we laughed so hard, 

even the thin-lipped waitress

let her pinny down

as we tie-dyed

the pink serve you rights

with our tears.

And at that wedding 

even without the champagne

we were shushed, 

as we said 

we'd always be friends 

and your as far as the flow cries

brought us to our knees

for the wrong reasons

in the pews. 

And now

we are in hysterics

in the garden centre

you've asked

if they sell libidos

to sit under in the garden.

© Kath Whitehead

the birds are 

on the roof again

hobnobbing with the eaves

dropping all 

manner of things 

in the guttering,

from my bed 

I hear their fumbled 

attempt at Irish dancing

the twanging aerial 

is their personal abacus

to tally losses 

at the end of the day -

but this morning 

they double as asymmetric bars;

with floured feet

the pigeons squat on

then swinging 

grasp and re-grasp

fake a front flyaway

and dismount

to the applause 

and chatter 

of next door’s cat.

© Kath Whitehead

Pick yourself up lass!
I'm getting down again!
Slowly, been brought down again,
what did I do so wrong? ,
we seemed to get along,
but here I am, sinking slowly down again,
let it go, let it be, my inner voice tells me,
it's not worth it,  is it really,
it's not worth it, try to see things clearly,
you didn't lose so much,
the odd times you enjoyed the odd touch,
there are many more fish in the sea,
and better fish my love, wait and see,
just be thankful it was only half a year,
and not a full one, or more my dear,
okay my best friend, my mentor, myself ! ,
thank f!!! I have you beside me on the shelf,
I will dust off the sands of time,
I know I committed no crime,
never allow my heart to become sore,
you made a mistake, so you've made them before!
 © C. M. Turner.      

If I came on Wednesday, would I bring you flowers?,
I used to bring you roses in the past,
How often I've relived those precious hours,
Wanting, almost willing them to last,
Would you smile with teary eyes, stretch out your hand,
As I hold you close, never wanting to let go,
How hard it was for you to understand,
Now alas to my shame, you'll never know,
Can we learn by our mistakes, once we commit them,
What good becomes of harbouring remorse,
Will they vanish in the ether, should we permit them,
Allowing time that's left to run its course,
If I could travel back in time, again I'd hold you,
Ask you to forgive me if you could,
To feel you, love you and behold you,
You're the one who gave me life, you're in my blood,
If I came on Wednesday, would I bring you flowers,
Not that it matters now which day I come,
I would bring them through wind, heat, and showers,
But  you're no longer here, I'll always love you Mum!

© C. M. Turner.


The world is severely lacking in clarity

Our hands were forever entwined in solidarity

And we will in time restore peace and parity

When they lay their guns down

When my son's and daughter's smile

through their graduation I'll tilt my hat

and wave them goodbye at the station

When blood has been spilled and limbs torn away

When bones have been burned and broken

Speeches spoken A battle cry for the common man

Collectively we stand What is it that I hold in my tired trembling hand

They don't teach this in school

And who's the fool? Is it we who are marching on?

Or those that lead us on through the dirt where we bleed

And what of the unseen enemy, hunger?

The men are getting younger, the numbers fewer

And the war ever more hopeless

You become restless awaiting my return

And the promise of peace in our lifetime

is far too great a pull Though

I read your heartfelt letters, and I keep them close

And I will write you back as soon as I can

And Ma and Pa and Gran

When I have summoned up the courage

For it is an unspeakably cruel fate to which I

 go And it saddens my heart

Am I bad for the atrocious acts in which I partake?

When I fight with bayonet, up close and personal,

I can feel your breath I can feel you breathing

as the light in your eye dims

Clutching at a crumpled photo of a loved one,

I assume is your wife

And they call it duty

Do I let beauty guide me

Mine washes clothing and dishes

 in a house I barely remember

Can I once again be me?

And will she be glad of this tale of supposed heroism?

Will she find me well and in high spirits?

Or am I in a cell, without a key?

© Greg J Muscroft

Days Gone By

When I stop and think of days gone by
I picture you first
The only place from which I can start
And you were the longest and most enjoyable journey I took
But now it has come to a screeching halt
And I'm the car wreck you pass on your way to work
I am the very definition of dehydration
I became so dependant on your love
With an unquenchable thirst

I wish I could dilute these feelings
Water them down, ease them in some way
But no,
Right now I'm the joyless Jagermeister
A double rum and coke
And hold the ice
I'm drinking you from memory
Just a few tiny drops

But no amount of alcohol can dissolve the pain
And no amount of begging and pleading and hoping and praying
Will help you and I resolve
So I cry
I'm the perpetual barfly
Just a few more drops
You see the more I drink the more my head forgets
And the wall I put up increases in proportion to my hurt
And the image I had slowly fades
Until all I can see is an outline where your face is supposed to be
An outline where you once stood

I was a shadow of my former self
Surrendering my soul to the darkness
I never really lived, just existed
But now I'm starting to understand it's never too late to make your peace with God
To appease the demon within
And come back fighting
There's a light at the end of every tunnel
And what's meant to be will be
So I will put my faith and my life in your hands my lord
Let you guide me with your knowledge and words of love
And when I need to cry, I will cry
But not at the expense of laughter
Someday soon I will rise again
Happy ever after

© Greg J Muscroft

I would like to reach the summit
I came prepared with all the necessary tools
I struggled up
Gravitated to the clouds
You touched my heart and my soul
And I want to stretch out now and touch your hand
The hand that made the world
And I want to say thankyou for giving me the gift of life
So often it goes unappreciated
We take for granted the smallest things
And it's those that become the bigger things
I didn't always see the bigger picture

I saw the path I wanted to tread
But failed in the walking
I offer little excuse for the moments wasted
But I'm different now, things are different and I have more resolve
The equation that was equally as baffling has a solution
Noise pollution clogged the air
While busy folk rushed and pushed and crushed each other
Liken you to a stampede
Stop, slow down
All good things come to those who wait

Take the blows
Endure the pain and sadness, but never give in
Time is fleeting, it is momentary
Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die
Has a certain ring
Wing it occasionally, if you must
But trust in the father, he who created all things equal
We have 1 chance to live and love and simply embrace life
I'm about to dive deep, into an ocean of opportunity
I haven't packed my life jacket
I have no one but you to guide me
And I'm no longer afraid

Greg J Muscroft

The Prize

I'm waiting to wake
To take your hand
To evolve
Resolve our differences
I'm waiting for a war of words
To kiss and make up
I'm waiting for that burst of summer
I'm waiting for the sun to shine
To dine with my fine collection of friends
I'm waiting till it ends

I've started something I know I can't finish
I started hoping
That change would occur
I stir the hornet’s nest
I wound up the unwindable
I stopped thinking of you as a person
I stopped asking
I stopped to question my wants and desires
I found courage and solace
In unexpected places

I was a back marker in life's daily races
I cut my finger and the blood ran free
I survived the threat of amputation
Going out on a limb
I resigned myself to your neuroses
I`m waiting for the prognosis
With a deep sense of foreboding

I`m waiting to weed out the unwanted
To remove your demon seed
To plead for more life
To beg, borrow and steal
To feel I exist among this uncertainty

I`m contemplating the very nature of my being
I`m willing to tell them lies
If the prize, is love

© Greg J Muscroft

Sometimes it feels like you're a million miles away
And the direction is unclear
Sometimes our path is met with countless obstacles
It is fraught with danger at
every turn
But should I burn all bridges?
Rome wasn't built in a day
The Sistine Chapel was a labour of love
All good things take time

Imagine Michaelangelo`s face upon completion
Imagine wine being fermented and enjoyed
In celebration of such a masterpiece
If I inquire about the existence of your once beautiful heart
What will your answer be?
If I bring you pearls, will you let me speak?
I know all good things take time

If I bring you a needle and some thread, will you patch up the void
Left after your departing?
If I bring you candy, would you taste as sweet?
If I bring you water by the glass or that morning coffee
Will you rise for me, and me only?

Will you feel lonesome, the very moment I close the door
But deny it`s existence?
Will you fit into my future?
Will you be that missing piece?
Will you be that kiss in the rain?

I exercise my right to love you
Every bone and lock of hair
I dare not miss this opportunity
I dare not blink or close my eyes

© Greg J Muscroft

Apple Tree

Grizzled for winter, the tree veranda
branches twist and turn, like fingers
of B Dancing girl’s, this stanza
growth will not be hindered.

Doubting leaves, each unaware,
bradawl a grip on branches, to no avail,
arsenic wind cuts a scything stare,
and they fall to earth in shameful hail.

Pulsing bird song brings the idea in March,
to show buds of life, the thought is honed,
the time approaches life’s start,
while roots push through soil and stone.

Fungi makes a guest appearance
and ballets around her girth,
while narcissistic green back
beetles drill for all their worth.

So gripping life with solid strength
a seed inside starts to bleed,
its need to burst and grow is dense,
life calls now, nature has agreed.

© Tracy Zaxone (Miss)

Closer  to You

With you I can play the cosmic clown

As we lay in the bed of my thistledown

You wearing a tunic of autumn leaves.

the sunlight weaves in your green hair

Fine browns and blues with instant gold

Contented minds are made so bold.

I craft your shoes from acorn shells

So we may walk in parks light dells

So bright the day and play the nights.

© Anastasia Buchanan

And the Women Danced

Clustered about the village gates the women danced,

Saris and skin ablaze, spiritual threads sparking

fuchsia vibrant before a saffron sky.

Ankle bells ching in tune with the pulse of alfresco

gold dust blowing against copper pots.

The women rest for tea and talk under the Bo Tree.

In vibrant air borrowed from the evening mist Shiva

Appeared with begging bowl and dressed in ragged robes,

The lord of fiery celestial rhythm danced for them.

A multi-faceted diamond dance, burning with

The learning of a universe as the women

danced around the village gates.

© Brigg Mandrill.


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 !

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:
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More info:

For more information on local writing and writers have a look at the Yorkshire Writers' Newsletter August 2014