The fat lady sang at midnight. The narrative now is organisation and admin.
Because I have little confidence in my management of folders and files, I’m going to ask you to check that your name is on the list that follows. If you sent me a poem and your name isn’t here, mea maxima culpa and so on. But just resend the poem, making sure that the email address is all in lower case. I know that autocorrect has a habit of capitalising the ‘J’, and sometimes your mail won’t be delivered. To be definitive. The email address is
Here’s the list as it appears in my records:
Andy Blackford, Val Bowen, Carole Bromley, Jane Burn, Stephanie Bowgett, Bob Beagrie, Robbie Burton, Ama Bolton
Mark Connors, Bernie Cullen, Anne Caldwell, Lou Crosby
Paul Dyson, Sarah Dixon, Tracy Dawson, Rachel Davies
Mike Farren, Alicia Fernandez, Helen Freeman,, Lisa Falshaw, Jack Faricy, Tim Fellows
Linda Goulden, Anthea Fraser Gupta, Moira Garland, Niamh Griffin-Shaw
Bob Horne, Gaia Holmes
Sue Jarvis, Mick Jenkinson
Nigel King, Wendy Klein, Lydia Kennaway
Jill Munro, Julie Mellor, Mary Matusz, Sarah Miles, Jan Michna, Lydia Macpherson, Maggie Mackay, Char March
Christopher North, Steve Nash
Matthew Paul, Laura Potts, Wendy Pratt, Ian Parks
Su Ryder, Sue Riley, Maggie Reed, Hilary Robinson
Emma Storr, Claire Shaw, Richard Stephenson, Di Slaney, Copland Smith, Adrian Salmon, Jean Sheridan, Lydia Streit Machell
Pam Thompson, Grainne Tobin, Maria Taylor
Ruth Valentine, Liz Veitch
Zoe Walkington, Paul Waring, David White, Stella Wulf, Regina Weinert, Anthony Wilson
If you’ve been missed off, then tell me. It’s inadvertent, truly.
Let’s finish with a sort of May Day poem, dedicated to Jim Connell, who wrote The Red Flag, and to Alicia Fernandez and her grandfather.
Morning: Pla de Petracos; white, dry;
airless, bakehouse hot; a cave
high under a limestone overhang
scoured out by an unthinkable river.
Cave paintings in pale scoops of rock.
Shapes like mantises, creatures with arms
like double-handed saws, and things
that might be eyes. Undecipherable.
The vanished ones meant something by it.
Alicia Fernandez Gallego, today
I thought of you, I remembered I owe you
a story; remembering your grandfather
who, in the middle of a battle, swopped sides,
legged it, ditched his pack, joined Franco.
Maybe he hoped for better boots, or bread,
oe maybe he’d had his fill of Anarchists
who hated Socialists, or Communists
who hated both. Just up to here with dialectic.
Early afternoon: Ca Pinet. We are pilgrims,
ardent atheists, here to eat paella
under the gaze – benign, stern, disapproving –
of Allende, Che Guevara, La Passionaria;
under the bloody banners of the Red Brigades,
the Republic’s blood and gold and purple.
¡Solidaridad con el Partido
Obrero de Unificacion Marxista!
¡NO PASERAN! They meant something by it.
The P.A. plays the Internationale.
The olives in the salad are peppery and sharp.
We’re offered wine from a greasy porron.
Someone who’s read Hemingway says:
it tastes of herbs. Another says: of goat, of resin.
Someone says: the paella’s on the dry side.
The Internationale unites the human race.
Rosa Luxembourg looks as though she means it.
A Russian folk song starts up. The day gets hotter.
When it comes to pay the bill, no one’s sure
what to do about a tip. We’ve read our Orwell.
No one complains about the food burned dry.
We leave a tip. Not obviously. We leave.
Alicia Fernandez Gallego, I’m thinking of you,
of your grandfather, and also of Jim Connell,
the Belfast boy in Donovan’s who wrote
The Red Flag. 1898. Who sang it
in the pubs of the Shankhill and the Falls.
Jim Connell, who tried to teach the Taigs
and Prods there was just the People’s flag.
Forget the Union Jack, the tricolour.
Ach, he united them alright. Papes and Proddies
as one man gave Jim a kicking , kicked him
out of Ulster. One side kicked him for the Pope,
the other for King Billy and the Queen –
the wee gobshite, godless Bolshevik.
No Surrender. Nothing changes. No Paseran.