Bonfire Of Promises 

On a night when some people celebrate the capture of Guy Fawkes with celebrations and firework displays I take a slightly different look at bonfire night. I do this by  taking an alternative look  at the issues of austerity and the homelessness it can and does to lead to. In this poem I explain why I believe the I’m alright Jack mentality has resulted in a culture of apathy in which people are content for others to suffer so long as the suffering doesn’t reach their door and this allows the more reactionary Conservative forces within the UK establishment to have a bonfire of promises. It is with this in mind I have titled my poem Bonfire Of Promises I hope you enjoy the read. 

Bonfire Of Promises 

As I stand in the cold

watching fireworks explode

 a cavalcade of colours

light up the evening sky

like a rainbow

but with no pots of gold at the end

I am lucky when the evening concludes

I will return to the shelter of my flat

after time spent with friends

enjoying the warmth of their company

as the weather turns colder

I walk past a homeless girl

checking my pockets to see if change can be spared 

on this occasion only goodwill can be shared 

and that won’t fill empty stomachs

or remove hunger pains 

in a world where nobody listens

and politicians feed the public a diet of slogans 

designed to blame others for our problems

scapegoating is the road to ignorance

and acceptance of rules

made by others to tighten their grip 

on us and our circumstances

till we believe change is no longer possible

and as long as we’re alright everything is going to be fine 

all we need to do is shut the door

on the outside world

and pretend it doesn’t exist 

but there is a warning in my words 

if we do take this road it will be the vulnerable who suffer 

as we start to view minorities as others 

and allow governments to make

a bonfire of promises

 © Gayle Smith 2017


Night Train (A Poetic Review Of The Girl On The Wrong Train By Harriet Kemsley )

Hey Readers

It was as I made my way from seeing Alain English in Who Are You William Shakespeare? that I chanced to meet a couple of very enthusiastic young women who were busy handing out flyers for their friend’s show. On spotting me they told me that this was a show I had to see as their friend a comedian by the name of Harriet Kelmsley was really funny and they believed her humour would be right up my street. Being the polite and cultured woman I am I said would give it due consideration and decide nearer the time. 

On going back the Banshee the place I call home and have at every fringe for god knows how long I bought myself a diet coke and dome thinking time before deciding to go and see Harriet (pictured below) to check her out and see if she was as good as I had been told.

This turned out to be a very wise decision as Harriet was not only as good as I had been led to believe she was actually better and I loved her chatty, fast paced style in a show that had something for all who attended. This was I have to one of the most delightful surprises of my fringe and I enjoyed every giggle filled minute.

It is  for this reason I have written a poem as part of this review and have titled it Night Train . I hope you enjoy the read.


Harriet Kelmsley smiles for the camera after her show

Night Train

It was an evening show at the Cowgate caves
from a comedian I’d never heard of
until I was fliered by her friends
she’s really good they said
I told them I’d think about it
then decided I had nothing to lose
and anyway I had always liked
my Friday night comedy
As I took my seat I enjoyed
an hour
of mad majestic women power
as Harriet explored issues
from wedding fairs to best female friendships
with rapid fire quips
coming fast and furious
this was a show for all comers
the clever , the creative the curious
were enthralled by a well developed wit
who fired out one liners
on everything from sex to siblings
it’s a girl thing
It was like listening
to that younger excitable friend
you know the one who can’t shut up
but you still love her in spite of it
her chat was good
and the hour passed quickly
I felt at ease in the company
of this performer whose slick delivery impressed me comedians have to compete
for audience members
and whilst some will have success
in attracting the crowds
for others September won’t come quickly enough
It’s tough work getting laughs
at this festival of fun
I had no expectations
when the show begun
but by the time she took her bow
I knew I had seen an act
I would want to watch again  as she smiled for my camera
I was happy to put money in the bucket
so if anyone says she should chuck it
all she needs to do for validation of her quality
is read these lines
and remember on the Sunday after the show
I fliered for her
and will do so again
you see the girl on the wrong train
took her audience on a  journey to happiness

@ Gayle Smith 2016