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'It was unusual to see...'
October 2009
08 May 2012


The Hanalooloo Cat of Barcelona

It was unusual to see what before made me boil,
like the boundaries of my birth- sweet American soil.
Dispatched from my cradle that couldn't quite rock,
assigned to Europe where the Catalans talk .

In the caverns of side streets I used to dwell,
by the spray- painted garages to dead to tell.

It was unusual to see the homeless woman with
her honalooloo cat,
who sat with her faithfully on a cardboard mat.
Together, they frequented the tourist area trap.

The cat wore a flower necklace hoping to attract cash.
Yet nothing was thrown to them but cigarettes and trash.

It was unusual to see these suppressed thoughts.
Once daily visions, are now like past moths.

The unusual memories-you'll always know.
Those things you see-thanks Barcelona!

(c) Nicole Marie Killian

(POW member from Pottsville, PA, USA.)

It was unusual to see...

It began with a wobble

When we sat on the loo

We thought all we needed

Was to tighten the screw

We peeled back the lino

And discovered a leak

The floorboards quite rotten

I let out a squeak

The toilet was balanced

on nought but thin air

We were in great danger

Each time we sat there

I rang the repair line

We reported the leak

And the hole in the floor

To be told "wait one week"

How I pleaded in vain

With the voice on the phone

To make it more urgent

But her heart was of stone

We waited a week

For repairers to come

But alas when they came

The job couldn't be done

They had not the tools

Or the bits that they needed

"But it is so dangerous"

I once again pleaded.

I showed them a damp patch

That had just appeared

Under the bath pipes

"That's nothing," they sneered

Then they departed

Saying we should 'take care'

And 'hover above it'

Each time we were there.

Then late that same night

Came a terrible crash

All the power went off

With one final flash

We stumbled around

Looking for matches

To light up the candles

And help find the torches

We anxiously peered

Round the bathroom door

Expecting to find

The loo through the floor

To our great surprise

The bathroom looked fine

The toilet still there

Of damage no sign

So downstairs we tiptoed

With candles held high

To see what had happened

Beth gave a great cry

"Look in the kitchen, Mum

Everything's wet

And the ceiling is down

Oh what a mess!"

I called once again

An electrician came over

Checked out the wiring

Restored all the power

I called one last time

And threatened to sue

After three long weeks

It was all I could do...

Then came the Surveyor

A jolly wee chap

Dressed in a grey suit

and jaunty peaked cap

I hear you're in trouble

he boomed through the door

Now let's have a look

At this hole in your floor

I led him upstairs

And opened the door

To show him the places

Where boards were no more

I showed him the leak

Still trickling down

"This should have been done"

He said, with a frown

I showed him the kitchen

"Oh Heaven's" he said,

"If you'd been stood here

you'd surely be dead!

This is most urgent

They must come right now

We will put this right

I give you my vow!"

And that's where he left us

A fortnight ago

Still waiting for fixers

To put in a show

(c) Ashley Jordan



It was unusual to see...

It was unusual to see Rory stumped -

this I think amazing as I am in a recovery

process with a young man with the same

name as my youngest son.

This name I have not come across as

often as the Johns, Toms, or Peters

of this world, but I love it. It originated from

Ireland although that is not the reason we chose it.

My son has matured into a strong

moralistic individual,

this has especially

shone through during recent times of

great adversity, where he was concerned

about his wife and little girl above all.

I feel that this is one of my greatest


to give him independence to

walk his own path.

I know for today, as I keep it in the

day, he is proud of a sober mother. Even

though we do not live in each others pockets as

he lives with his family abroad.

(c) Maureen


It was unusual to see...

It was unusual to see a snake. No doubt I have told everyone who would listen, but two weekends ago, I saw a snake. I was walking down by the river, looking for a quiet place to sit and reflect when all of a sudden I saw a snake slither past my feet. I have not seen one in this country since I was about five years old. I was gobsmacked. Afterwards, I sat down to meditate then practice some Wing Chun. As I was doing the first part of the form a Kingfisher perched itself on a branch not ten feet from me. Again, I was absolutely amazed. It was fluorescent in its colours. I believe that when animals know you respect them and will not hurt them they allow you to be close to them and their fear diminishes. Just like the time a young fox allowed me to walk within four feet of him. He was not scared. He seemed a little puzzled though. It may sound a little mad but I one hundred per cent believe I communicated with him on a deep level that transcends the species barrier. Like we understood each other. I'm writing as if these things are unusual, but they happen quite a lot to me. A deer walking down my road on a suburban estate. Or a shoal of ten huge carp I spotted in the river recently. I feel blessed to have seen these things. I feel at peace, almost humbled to have these experiences. They are so profound. They are worth more than money. I don't believe in God in a conventional sense but this, to me, is the closest I can get. It's through nature that I feel part of existence. It's what moves me to feel alive. That we are all interconnected.


(c) Rory


It was unusual to see...

It was unusual to see

that people could not see the fear in me.

I would smile and nod and be very nice

maybe say thank you once maybe twice.

But really in my head I was scared as a mouse

sitting alone in this big scary house.

If only you could see what was going on in my mind

all the things I was trying not to find.

Trying to be brave

with things that could easily take me to my grave.

It was unusual that people could not see

the fear in me.

Was it me being me

or them choosing not to see!


(c) Tracey



It was unusual to see the garden next door had suddenly sprouted tall golden sunflowers, for years it had been what you could only describe as a dump, students had rented the house and wrecked it with their parties.

You could hear the footsteps running up and down the stairs, treading on bare floorboards, rubbish had piled up in the street and what had once been a garden.

When we first moved in, a family had lived in the house who took pride in the garden, then another family followed who bred pidgeons, they built a pidgeon shed and slowly the garden gave way to pidgeons and a dog.

You could see the decay and the rot building up under the debris left behind by the birds, then the house was sold once again, and the students moved in to pile more debris in the back, wild buddlea grew through the walls and trees grew like a hedge to hide any sun getting through.

Suddenly, the new students started to lay grass, a barbeque appeared then a table and chairs, the noisy parties still kept on keeping me awake at night, I would protest and they would apologise.
But this morning looking over my wall were golden sunflowers? the tree and the buddlea had gone, I could now see the sun peeping through, I smiled at the students, enquired about the sudden show of flowers.

A packet of seeds from "Sainsbury" they informed me had transformed this dump into a garden, for a short while the sun would shine until the next lot of students moved in.


(c) Sally Flood

Autumn Magic

It was unusual to see
fairies looking at me
as I walked through the woods
to the magic tree.

Conkers and chestnuts
covered the ground
and golden leaves tumbled
a merry-go-round.

The magic tree sang
words of wisdom, deep and true
as all the love
I have for you.

The dogs chased squirrels
the children climbed
catching the wind
and the sun entwined

in being here now
wild and free
as the fairies, I'd thought
unusual to see.


(c) Lucia Birch

Stevenage Survivors


It was unusual to see...


It was unusual to see

the eight legged creature and all its kin

Yellow with purple spots it rushed on by,

chasing forever that elusive fly

Its kin looked on and shook their heads

Tutted loudly and someone said

"he's chased that fly both day and night"

"He's not going to catch it try as he might"

The skates he tried, as fast as they were

They didn't make him fly

A spring to leap with what a brilliant idea

Until he realised that he couldn't steer

So sat him down for night and day

To think the answer to catch his prey

He thought and thought then thought some more

He thought so much that his brains were sore

When upon the minute the answer did come

He pen and inked adding up the sum

He wove a rope from silken thread

And lassoed it round and round his head

Taking aim right up high

He let it go and captured that fly


(c) Sarah Smith (Stevenage Survivors)

1 october 2009



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