It’s Art by Oonah V Joslin

The Angel of the North shall stand
one hundred years on the high land
between Gateshead and Durham where
its wings, stretched open to the air
like an aeroplane, no feathers bright,
its rust reflects a duller, lesser light.
Above the motorway it towers.
Gormlessly this giant glowers
down as the cars and lorries pass.
It’s art, they say. It’s art my ass!


Strong Leadership by Oonah V Joslin

Our great leader promises
(May she go on and on)
a brighter future.
Not for turning
our towering leader will continue
showing compassion
for everyone
who’s rich and Tory
that’s the story.
Poor people in the aftermath
brightly burn, brightly burn
lighting her private ambitious path.

Behind the Chimes by Oonah V Joslin

Our government is in hiding
behind a big faced clock of shit.
It works like clockwork, doesn’t it,
chimes with the views of the few,
the nit-picking springs and cogs,
that set up little gods to look up to,
to listen to, to march time to,
time and motion, time and motion,
work’s the key to get us out of poverty.
We are not them. They rule
but are not governed by rules. They
hide behind the machinations of nations,
behind a falsified national pride, riding
the coat tails of of the fascistic mob,
setting worker against worker
for the same no contract job. Their
job is to make wealth by any means
and they have the means. We are deafened
by their loud chimes, too afeared by
their nursery rhymes. They hold the trumps.
Instead of a living tower, you would have
a working clock? You mock us Mrs May.
What have you traded for our livelihood?
We’ve had enough of your tricking.
Your time is ticking. Ticking.

They do not serve who rule by Oonah V Joslin

They may try to scatter
the ashes of despair
elsewhere, pull down
the opposition that towers
over this disaster,
send the poor survivors north
where it’s cooler,
where their voices,
whipped away by the wind
might find a home,
but no cohesion.
Out of sight,
out of mind.

It has always been done this way,
no matter what people say,
since we first had kings
since we had tyrants.

Only Words by Oonah V Joslin

Sprinkler systems
are expensive to install,
so I am informed on TV.
Children died. I’m appalled.
Cladding is cosmetic.
Cosmetic’s what we do.
Outsourced of course.
And with delayed reviews.
Can’t afford firefighters.
Can’t afford the NHS.
Can’t afford education.
This country’s in a mess!
It will take a long, long time
for that tower block to cool
where people died, while politics
rests by a swimming pool.
But death is not a recess.
Words won’t cover this loss.
The lives of people should come first
regardless of the cost.

It ain’t over and I’m the fat lady by Oonah V Joslin

We’re all strung up on election wire.
It grates, cuts, shreds and twangs
with every changing wind that aspires.
Westminster long since lost it’s chimes
with the people. In these divisive times.
like spider webs, discord spreads,
echoes across chaos, dividing friends,
in the name of god or money. Lies
dressed up as truth: as if the truth is some
thing simple or certain or can be
untangled from the past. Wires,
wires, wires, wires and no communication.
We are divided. Divided. A nation of have-nots
being hung out to dry. But we have
a voice. We can sing together one final, long, loud note.
We can decide which orchestra plays.
Don’t waste your right to VOTE.

Tipping – After Aberfan by Oonah V Joslin

They’d been making a joke of it see,

was the worst. If you keep tipping

there boy, you’ll end up

in the Co-op! If you keep tipping

there boy, you’ll end up

in the Con Club. If you keep tipping

there boy, you’ll end up 

in Merthyr! If you keep tipping


But of course they kept tipping because

it was for coal, see. Because

it was for work, see. Because

people need coal and work

and people need money

and money makes the world go round



The natural spring that had been

for years welling up inside

shifted and the massive slick of dirt and slag

slid down its own flanks

malevolent as some black October trick.

No natural autumn leaves,

such a stain, such affliction


wrought by the National Coal Board

upon the innocent dead

being dug out to be buried.

Truth is that people need to survive to man and womanhood;

that we need to heed warning on past lips.

The joke’s on us

If we keep tipping