Clerihew for Dr Alice Roberts. by Oonah V Joslin

Dr Alice Roberts
as the new Frankinstein, flirts
with ideas: swan lungs, bird legs, frog skin, mobile ears, octopus eyes, marsupial pouch, ape spine.
Chilling improvements to human design.

After Ruskin, by Oonah V Joslin

 Found Poem: from Pg 35 “Unto this Last” – John Ruskin
impetuous decisions
our respect
subjects to experiment upon
give poison in the mask of
After Ruskin
We are not citizens.
We are subjects to experiment upon.
And this is not science.
It’s politics.
It gives poison in the mask of government.
No justice let alone mercy
as if existence is the most people deserve.
Imperious and impetuous decisions wrapped in lies.
They do not need or solicit our respect
who keep themselves in power by birth or bribes.

Emoticons, by Oonah V Joslin

Such emo-sentiments are hollow, I find,
boast, public outcries of the Face book kind.
I feel it’s like some bargain with the devil
a thing so vain it rivals our survival.
Sign the petition. Share. Follow the daily mail.
Powerlessness assuaged, you can sleep well.
The sting is Armageddon if you fail.
This ship of fools is already under sail.
The latest fad, the latest fire, the latest trouble.
Shut the computer down. Make mine a double.

Whatever Happened to the Secret Ballot? by Oonah V Joslin

You have your ballot card with you I see.
Maybe you killed someone to get that though.
Do you have proof of your identity?
A valid drivers licence? Expired… I see.
Passport? You never go on holiday?
Can’t afford to. Ah. Pity.
Birth certificate? You should apply for a copy.
Are you in full employment? Retired…
Did you leave of your own will or were you fired?
Made redundant? Can’t have been tip top.
Post code…the scruffy houses by the railway stop.
You don’t look like you’d vote the way we’d like.
Don’t think I’ll let you vote… Now, on yer bike!

Two clerihews by Oonah V Joslin

Theresa May-be/May-be not
changed my mind cos I got caught
‘s moral superiority
suddenly found a money tree!

Queen Elizabeth dispassionately examining her crown,
flicked at a huge, dulling pearl, with a frown.
Pearls should be worn. They need keeping warm, she said.
I’m afraid, she hung her head, this poor pearl is dead.
clerihew /ˈklɛrɪhjuː/) is a whimsical, four-line biographical poem invented by Edmund Clerihew Bentley. The first line is the name of the poem’s subject, usually a famous person put in an absurd light, or revealing something unknown or spurious about them. The rhyme scheme is AABB, and the rhymes are often forced. The line length and metre are irregular.

Bomb-shelling Austerity by Oonah V Joslin

Where are you getting the dosh theresa?
Did you find the magic money trees eh?
Rooted there in the hall of distortions
nurtured in your fake austerity,
transmitting lies and international contortions
that spread the toxins of your dynasty.
Where are you getting the cash theresa?
Did you find some hidden stash theresa;
one you’ve kept back for war and bribery?
Not from taxing the posh theresa,
not from those pockets deep in wealth
but from the mouths of the poor and cutting health.
Where are you getting it from theresa?
The money you couldn’t find for nurses?
Not from the corporates who don’t pay taxes.
Certainly not from royal purses.
From false apprenticeships and pension funds,
from taxing those who can afford it least,
from cutting services, then offering crumbs
while subsidised in Westminster, you feast.
By threats of loony left and Russian stealth,
by social cleansing, favouring the rich,
by grinning at the prospect of more death,
you’ll appear strong if it kills all of us!

To those who say, Now he is free, by Oonah V Joslin

(For Stephen Hawking)
crippled by fear
tied to grief
stuck in rut
angry at the world
needy for fame but indolent
rich enough but not content
hungry for power
insatiable in appetite
preoccupied by trivialities
wrapped in self and selfies
can never be free.
There was no pity about his life.
He lived inside his mind.
He was never bound.

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