Poem for the Ending of the Year

Poem for the Ending of the Year
What do I say to you, you who know me
and know what I am capable of ? I can give you
nothing I have not already offered but the desire
to keep on offering it, not asking for return.
It is not a petty bargain that we make, not a totting up
of meaningless figures, more a delight in the giving,
the hope of acceptance. My hand is open to you.

The years move along, crawling and running,
matching our work and rest, our sluggishness,
boredom, our moments of laughter and our silences.
The end of the century begins its slow approach.
Neither wants to be in this position when it comes
yet know we will look back to say, we were happy then,
we were young, we knew what desire was.

Angela Topping

First published in The Fiddle (Stride 1999)




Too Much Blue

During my career in social housing, the work I loved best was helping the homeless.  Sadly, domestic violence was all too often the cause.  And Christmas was a bad time to be on the street with nowhere to go…



Paul Beech


Her unborn kicks as weary she rests on a frozen bench in a bleak northern town.

Seven hours have passed since she fled his fists with naught but the babe in her womb, the clothes on her back and a small knotted bundle.  Seven hours of bus after bus, caring not where she went, only to pile up the miles behind her.  He mustn’t find her.  Must never find her.

The darkening clouds have a purple tinge, a sure sign of snow.  Strangers hurry by; crows croak in a foreign tongue.  Across the road, outside the Town Hall, garishly lit with coloured lights, stands a Christmas tree.

A headscarf bobs before her.  A withered hand points to a door.  A modest side-door with a department sign outside.   Her unborn kicks.  Then stiffly she rises, bundle in hand.

Too much blue, she thinks, crossing.  Too much blue.

O for a splash of gold…




Copyright © Paul Beech 2013

[Previously posted on Linkedin and the author’s own blog, Grandy’s Landing.]