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Fire and Steam

Grinding metal
Hissing steam
Stained black faces
Bodies lean
Wheels that ran on
Rusting dreams
Through an age
When money preened
Look inside the flame
Of progress
Heat of revolution
Noticed
Coated with a sheen
Of labour
Coal thrown through
Then all is vapour
Vanishing era that shrank
By Beeching
Consigned to history
Assigned for teaching
Out of the gloom
She snorted once more;
Into a vortex we assume:
Fireball finds the trapdoor.
By Stephen Holloway
9th competition

Donkey Rides

On donkey’s back in heat of sun

With childlike trust he journeys on

Our waves, our cheers, bring knowing smile;

The cut’s gates less than a mile.

We urged him on with waving palms.

He knew the end, and yet was calm.

He rode along, ‘ Neath father’s gaze,

His view was clear, no dusty haze.

He knew full well the tide would turn

His kingly stance, the crowd would spurn.

But he could see a prize to  win,

Man’s cancelled  debt. An end to sin.

Remember now, at Easter-tide,

To look again at donkey rides.

To see beyond the palms and fun,

To truth, not fantasy, to god’s own son.

Remember well that ride to death ,

God died for you, whom he gave breath.

So kneel and pray, and ask,

And he will show the way that’s truly free.

Dave R West

Foot Patrol

In a swift second of acknowledgment
His eyes soared
vertically chasing
Fizzing metal,
Viewing a sky that
slowly rolled
Over him
And a sun that
shone for Satan
In a wilderness of
spite.
Heat and air
merged to
Sulphurous
proportions, infused
With alloys of war
and hate that
Boiled by
waterless caverns of
Crimson
sadness,
Of lemon
daydreams.
Above a lone cloud
slid,
Soaring to
excess:
To grasp and hold
it,
To cradle a
hope;
He blinked
Motionless;
Eyes silently
still.
He fell where he
stood;
Head in his
footprint,
As a man,
As a grain of
sand,
As an important
insignificance.
Restless Khyber
wind circled
With a belligerent
edge that
Cracked and spat
and blew,
Drifting dunes of
khaki
Westwards;
As hostile sand
disguised
A sign of
being,
His mark of
living,
Our print of
shame,
This empire of
dust.
By Stephen Hollaway
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