National Poetry Day – Poems from The Manna

Today (Thursday 4th October) is National Poetry Day. Poets established and aspiring are sharing their verse across the country. And we are lucky to have some very local poems to share today. 

People who are part of the creative writing workshop at The Manna have kindly shared their poems. These range from optimistic song-like structures to more introspective free verse. All are a demonstration of the welcoming approach of The Manna, which runs at St. Stephen’s Canonbury.

The people who volunteer and work at the Manna believe that no one should be left to struggle on their own. The space is open to all adults, and has become a home to people who are marginalised or vulnerable, including many who face poverty, addiction, homelessness, or poor health.

Paul Andrew Walsh – Three Poems

Stone the Roses

Goodbye To Day Hello To Night

Stay Up To Dawn Everything’s Turned Out Right

Hungover We May Be, Battered And Bruised

Fraught The World And His Wife

Drunk Away All Those Blues

The Feeling Was So Good Wonder How Long It Could Last

Out Of Our Heads Rolling All Over The Grass

Was Standing One Minute Next Thing On Ground

But There’s Always Someone Near To Give You A Hand

Lark In The Park, Party On Way After Dark

Don’t Know How To End, Don’t Know When To Start.

© Paul Andrew Walsh


Take The Time To Sit Down And Stare

At The Flowers That Grow

Around Your Feet Breathe In The Air

Ponder As Much As You Like

On The Wonders Of This World

Answers To Everything That’s Asked

Why The Warm Heart When Your Hands Are Cold

If God Is Great So Should Be The Queen

That’s Something So Deep

But Yet To Be Seen

Could Take Many Lifetimes

But I Guess We Will Never Ever Know

You Can Never Beat The System

Just Go With The Flow

© Paul Andrew Walsh

Untitled: Top of my Head 

On this paper I find it hard to write

How I feel without your touch tonight

It’s not the first time I’ve been this way

It’s the emotions that I have inside today

So much guilt since the moment you been gone

Everything I do is never right it’s always wrong

Time is a healer, or so they say

Do I have the time, the chance to pray ?

Forgiven of the heart, change for the better

Forever lasting love for my sister & my brother.

Sins of the mothers and fathers

We all do bad, but we must learn to love

                                each other.

© Paul Andrew Walsh

Lawrence Blake 

Star-Burning Bright

Starlight – twinkling bright.

Embedded in your black-velvet sky.

Fiery-furnace deep in the void

Casting white heat into the icy bleakness.

I pause to wonder – as I gaze yonder.

Are you still burning so bright ?

The Diamond – sparkle – and glow.

On your journey of light.

Many aeons to get here. I gaze, amazed !

Could you be a burned-out husk ?

Punctuating your shed, outer brilliance.

Like a glowing coat of liquid, molten fury.

Your stardust a cradle for new star-life

Like we all here on this earth one day die –

So the suns of our cosmos one by one now go

A final sun-burst, grand-finale death-glow

Constellations of white dots in our milky-way

No longer visible at the dawn of day –

When our very own star rises.

Our giver of light and life.

Warming the air with your joyous rags.

Putting smiles on our faces.

Putting back winter’s last traces.

© Lawrence Blake

“Living To Die – Dying To Live” (Omega – Alpha)

– A life as yet unknown – unknowable ∙ (Omega∙)

   A life real yet unreal. – unlived.

   Death of all living matter, real, but denied.

Silent mirrors reflect decay, staring out.

Beckoning me to pass through the veil.

Separated from this after-life by heartbeats.

Stranded within empty, cruel, decaying years.

Until these beats cease, and I am gone.

Just my husk left inert to return to nothingness.

As all our eternal life to death “tugs-of-war” go on –

For now I must resist death’s lure and entice.

Patient reaper stalking my short days. –

To take me to a never-to-dawn night. Or 

A never to dusk summer afternoon golden glow.

In a wink of a tired eye – all will be revealed to me.

But not today – today is not my time to leave.

I take my empty life into the dimension of time passing

And a world of living-death, as days erode me.

Never to know joy or peace – consumed by fear.

Sounds, vision, erased in my inner-space universe.

Just a prolonged silent dialogue of shadow forms.

Inside, a confused infant, outside, a frail decrepitude.

Life in front of me, now receding into past’s vortex.

It was my beginning of nothing – now a prelude of an end.

Afterglow – then gone into whatever waits behind time.

So for all life comes the end of its journey, its destination.

Mirrors reflect my hopeless decline, my bitter harvest.

As I stare up from the depths of my bottomless despair.

The long, haunted dreams sink ever down, drowned.

What I am – who I was – where I am now, meaningless. –

My universe of melancholy shrinks, and contracts.

To consume itself but still be ravenous for more sorrows.

In the outside ongoing façade of your living dead society.

My grief and pain will envelop and saturate all it finds.

It captures, pulls-in, and drains all hope, dreams, life –

Crushed, devoured and cowed, we live under darkness. –

Devastated, I see all is nothing – nothing is all – nothing life.

Counting skies passing my window, shadows cast on me.

Day into night invisible within the ruins of my life. –

Petrified by unknown, unrevealed destiny into insanity. –

Only a meaningless demise, alone, forgotten my uncertainty. –

Inner turmoil released to dissolve and dissipate beyond life.

We who never chose this fate await release from a mortal prison.

Escape into my new found dream – leaving behind just a shell.

From the unreal, to the hyper-real ∙ (Alpha). 

© Lawrence Blake

Damian Konior

The Kiss

After the impact

I’m spinning, humming !

I’m reverberating –

Insensible metal

Shivered like a bell !

As to what it means

I’m utterly lost !

I’m simply babbling –

Like a baby babbling !

I must be falling –

In a hole through time

Tumbling & falling !

Wiped out yesterday –

Wiped out tomorrow –

My self from life estranged

I know only this :

The world can be changed

By a single kiss.

© Damian Konior (written in Polish and translated)

Ernest Taylor


How is friendship ?

Friendship means a lot to me

Friends bring good dreams

Friendship means friends for life

Long or short  good times &

            best of friends.

As a dad friendship with 

            mother and children

Should be long lasting.

As a mother friendship with

    children is the best.

Good days and good health

Is long time friendship in

            the family.

Friendship & friends will

            come & go

The truth is to love and to

    last a long time.

Friendship should last

            for ever. 

© Ernest Taylor

Roadwork Band Song

Roadworks band music

Roadworks band song

The boys are singing today

The girls are singing today

Roadworks band today

Roadworks band forever

Chorus :

Roadworks band music

Roadworks song today

The man is singing for the future

The woman is singing for the future

People are singing songs today

Everyone is singing songs

Sing songs forever !

Roadworks band music

Roadworks song today

© Ernest Taylor

Ernest’s Diaries

Ernest has woken up this morning

And has washed himself.

Today is the day

The first thing is a cup of coffee

The other thing is to prepare for the morning.

The morning begins

With a bus-ride or walk to the market

We get the things we need for the day’s cooking

All things are done on this day.

The day brings good food & good memories

Tomorrow is another day & another diary

What will happen tomorrow will be good news.

And all the bad news will disappear

Tomorrow comes & today finishes.

© Ernest Taylor


Today’s the day of sunshine

Tomorrow is the day of the rain

Every day the weather changes, changes to

                        something else

Time comes in different ages (the time

            of the light & the time of the


Time is a ruler, time rules the world

Wake up early in the morning & go to

                        bed in darkness

What you want is what you get !

© Ernest Taylor

On The Day

Today’s the 10th of October

That means today’s World Mental Health Day

If you suffer in mind and depression

Mood swing, today’s the day to celebrate

In mental illness

There is no operation tonight

You only take tablets and injections

Tablets please cure me

To knife or not to knife

We don’t knife in mental illness,

In depression, mood swing and anxiety

To cure or not to cure

Please cure me !

© Ernest Taylor

Distance World

People of all ages

                are different

But they are all people.

They belong to one family

Whatever continents they

            come from

They are one people.

Brothers & sisters &

Their mums & dads are

Nuclear in the same family

Boys & girls grow up to be

            mothers & fathers

Some others are extended family

But in the world everyone

                  is one. 

Countries sing different songs

People of all races are one

The world today is goodwill

                  for all people

The wars are ending & the

       future will bloom.

Prospects in the world today

The human race is learning

          about commitment

& to improve race & family.

Good community brings good 

Prospects for black & white

            & for every race.

© Ernest Taylor


In Prayer

I may not appear to be doing anything

but invariably I’m in prayer 

this practice is demanded of me,

as life is so difficult and challenging,

and also so difficult and challenging

is trying to get to where I want to go,

that I have to draw upon all my

will and energy and strength 

and ultimately prayer 

to try to achieve those things

that I want to achieve.

Anonymous (© The Manna Workshops)

Substance Abuser

Don’t place too much faith 

in people who participate in substance abuse

their only loyalty is to themselves

and their poison of choice

don’t take them at their word 

when they agree to something

they will invariably let you down 

when you try to accommodate them

with your time and energy

the substance abuser will invariably 

only have one god

and they will pursue that god voraciously

usually at the cost of all others.

Anonymous (© The Manna Workshops)

Water Off a Duck’s Back

I was quite a sensitive soul, back then

Now comments don’t seem to

Bother me in the least 

Like water off a duck’s back !

I suppose it comes with age and experience

Not letting unimportant things

Get you down !

Always seeing the bigger picture. 

If I have to take a few knocks

Along the way, so be it !

Anonymous (© The Manna Workshops)

Music is Like Oxygen

Music is like oxygen

There are some of us who feed off of it

We are moved by the tenderness thereof

We allow ourselves to be

Seduced by its emotion

Its excitement

And exhilaration

For a time we are in an elevated world

A richer place

And all the better for it

Anonymous (© The Manna Workshops)

A Bygone Age

Clouds move in front of the sun

And the day becomes overcast.

And I am transported back to an earlier time

A hundred and fifty years before.

Where the same trees you imagine would

Rustle in the wind

And the houses the same, stand here still.

The street lamps do not look out of place

Nor the tree-lined road, save for

The replaced cobbles.

I can hear the silence being broken

By the sound of horse hooves

On stone cobbles

Earlier modes of transport supplant

Vehicles of our time.

But the feeling remains & pervades

The surrounding area.

The sun moves from behind the clouds to

Break the spell and we are here again

In the twenty first century.

Anonymous (© The Manna Workshops)

Reunion (Meeting Up Again)

Who are you most

looking forward to seeing :

people who are familiar

and known friends,

playing it safe & keeping

to your own comfort zone.

Or a person you’ve known

in a past life but dared not

say hello to back then ?

Anonymous (© The Manna Workshops)