Auschwitz 1.

Arbeit macht frei” (work set’s you free)

Beneath a winters sun a biting wind blew,

Where nobody saw and nobody knew.

With tears in the eyes of our guide

Shock on our faces no-where to hide.

I couldn’t remove her words from my ear

The ones no decent human wants to hear.

Watching through a fog knowing the reality

It slid beneath flesh and warped earth’s polarity.

Ramming evil home, planting it deep

like marrow into the bone.

Escape was not made for here,

corrections happened and slaughter… its clear.

They walked towards death one by one,

Without the fear of what was to come.

When water became gas, to help them cope,

they sang the Hatikvah, their song of hope.

I see piles of hair when I try to sleep,

the discarded shoes torn from innocents feet.

I see their faces before me as I softly weep,

Brush crematoria soot from a tear stained cheek.

This place bore witness to pure evil that time,

it can not be erased from the depths of my mind.

At the shooting wall I picture them standing that day,

Singing hopeful prayers they refused to face away.

The Nazi machine, its power so strong,

kept the furnaces burning all night long.

Hundreds were cremated day after day,

Not fast enough to clear the piles of decay.

First their status then their pride

Ripped them apart nowhere to hide.

For all the souls that gather there,

Their fortitude, their pain and despair.

I beseech you all, to stand and see

the shooting wall… just like me.

The rose was placed on one of the beds that held six bodies in the barracks of Auschwitz one. Poignantly positioned, by someone paying respects on March the second 2017.

In light of new trials of two Nazi guards (one male one female) beginning imminently and national poetry day I repost this poem.

A piece of me shifted that day, my eyes clouded and my heart cried. I thought long and hard before posting this and though I hope you leave me a comment I will understand if you don’t.

The Mystery Of The Night Bus

Stella had stopped on the corner of a crossroads, her phone pressed into her cheek. “I can find my own way, no, I don’t need help, I just wanted someone else to know where I was, you know, precautions and all. Honest, just covering my back, being responsible, a cautious daughter. I will, I will, yes, I’ll send a text once I get back. Yeah, love you too, bye Mum.”

She felt her mascara run as the light rain made her eyes water. > It’s good that it’s too dark for anyone to see me. What a state I must look, < She thought as she rubbed at her eyes with a screwed up piece of used tissue found in the pocket of her pale pink faux fur jacket. A half-laugh left her as she stuffed her phone in her silver clutch bag and click-clacked her way to a bus shelter she could see illuminated by one flickering bulb in the distance. At least she would be dry. Even she knew, standing on a street corner dressed in pink fluff and sequins at way past midnight was not the most sensible thing to be doing.

Sella had a smashing night, dancing at the club. It was great just her and her bestie, gyrating and giggling like when they were kids at the school disco. Until her fellah came. Jenny twitched and became shy, almost childlike. “Stell, this is my Gavin.” Stella frowned, stuttered, then had to shout to be heard over the music. “Jen, I thought it was just us. I am crashing with you in your bedsit. At least that was the plan?” Stella loved planning and needed to know what she would be doing next. When and how was the minimum, the basic stuff. “Gav missed me.” She said, lifting her arms as if doing some sun salutation or worshipping a sky-bound deity. Jen was promptly gathered up for a session of face sucking, right there on the dance floor. Stella was mad. A studio pad was not a place she wanted to be. Not if the demonstration in front of her was a prelude to the main event. So Stella left the club. That was how she ended up on a wet night in town, in the early hours of the morning, alone. … Dressed like a Christmas tree.

Stella tried to read the timetable, it was not helped by the flickering light. It seemed there was a bus. The night bus, but it gave no destination or times. She shivered as she tugged off her jacket and shook some of the rain from the fur, then pulled it back on. Fastening it firmly around her against the wind. A taxi passed with its light off > probably finished for the night she thought < All she could do is sit and wait for the night bus and take it from there.

A rowdy bunch, of mostly blokes, poured out of a building. They were staggering, jeering, pushing and shoving each other. Some stumbled into the road and were getting closer. “Ello darling on yer lonesome then.” A wolf whistle and shouts got louder the closer they came. “cor, I could, yeah, c’mon shows us what you’re selling.” shouted another. Stella pretended to call the police and spoke loudly down the mouthpiece. “Yes, a bunch of louts officer come right away!” A bloke at the back of the group shoved them along. He nervously checked behind as they passed. Soon they were out of sight, but she could still hear them in the distance. Usually, Stella was confident and strong. That night, she was decidedly uncomfortable and felt vulnerable. Tugging her skirt down, Stella pressed her bum into the rickety wooden bench. She twitched at each sound. The passing street cat startled her everything felt like a threat. The hiss of air from the buses brakes made her jump only then did she realise the night bus had arrived.

Stella hadn’t heard or seen it coming. Cautiously she approached the doors they unfolded with a whoosh. “Hello, can you tell me where you’re going, where you stop, please?” She put one sparkly foot inside the bus. looked up and down the aisle. “This is my last stop tonight, but as you can see, she’s empty. Where are you wanting to go?” Tom, was written on his name badge, had friendly eyes and a soft voice. “I um, … Stapleton, about six miles from here.” She flinched as her teeth nipped the inside of her lip. “No problem, I know it well, Stapleton it is. Make yourself comfortable I will have you home in no time.” She fumbled in her bag for her season ticket, swiped it on the pad and took a seat.

Now, if you were to meet Stella today, she would tell you, there seemed all but a minute between the whooshing of air as the doors closed to leave that bus stop and the hissing of brakes as he stopped and called, ” last stop, please disembark.” His bus pulled up right outside her door. Though she never told him where she lived. Stella would say that when she inquired, the council told her, the night bus was a pilot project supposedly run by volunteers in the 1970s. After only a month, it folded. The scheme was never funded and didn’t catch on. She would tell you that in the library archives, after investigating, she found that the bus shelter had long been taken down and replaced with a bus stop sign more than a decade past.

The above vignette is in response to Esme’s monthly picture prompt #3, the link to join in or read other responses is in the link under the picture of the bus. I hope you enjoy reading them. Have you ever travelled alone and been scared or uncomfortable please let me know, leave a comment in the box I love to chat?”

Put Out To Grass.

The crop snapped his flank,

the pop spurred him on,

His acclaimed turn-of-foot

would deliver his swansong.

A snort a twitch

The winning post Past

At the final stroke

This race would be his last.

Put out to grass

Racing finished

Time to shine gone

No friends to race

Or bowls of mash

No roar of the crowd or

heads to clash.

In this meadow

Grinding grass all day,

does he swat memories like flies away.

does he miss the cheers

Strings of horses nose to tail

Or is he happy to watch the red Kite sail.

This was for Charli Mills 99 word flash fiction prompt press https://carrotranch.com/2021/09/17/september-16-flash-fiction-challenge-2/ to join in or simply read all the responses.

Baking Her Way To Fame

By pixels

After watching The Great British Bake-Off, Sarah decides to self-tape her efforts to launch a cooking show. The next Nigella, she mused Mary Berry of East Anglia. She planned and tried recipes for days hoping to perfect a bake that would stun and make her go viral on Instagram or Tick-tock. Eventually, Sarah settled on simplicity after all, just how hard can a limoncello cream stuffed choux balls wedding cake, a Croquembouche be.

A new apron couldn’t disguise the abject failure of her bake. She now is a star on tick-tock as ‘The Comedy Baker.”

This was written for Charlie’s 99 word prompt press the 》Link here 《 to join in or read.

Cigarette Smoke and Bad Memories

To join in or just read -> Prompt here

On the anniversary, she hung her dress at the window. From her mattress, she watched the morning sun catch the turquoise fabric making it shimmer. She studied it through a haze of thick Cigarette Smoke.

The dress was the cleanest thing in there. The dress still bore the stain of his urine. Time had turned the intricate chiffon bodice a dirty shade of chartreuse.

Such a glorious name ruined as she had been ruined. It wasn’t only the prom he spoiled, but herself, her innocence and the only connection to family that she had left, her Grandmother’s beautiful dress.

September 2, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story to the theme, “not everyone fits a prom dress.” You can take inspiration from Ellis Delaney’s song, the photo, or any spark of imagination. Who doesn’t fit and why? What is the tone? You can set the genre. Go where the prompt leads!

Led more by the picture I hope it sufficed to fit the requirements. Leave a comment please I just love to talk. x

Respond by September 7, 2021

The Day Tommy learns to fish

Tom grabbed his Mothers hand his eyes as big as saucers. Over his shoulder was a keep net and his three legged seat was planted close to Dad’s big rod where he concentrated on baiting a hook with wriggling maggots. “Mummy,” Tom whispered, “if we catch this one can I just have one fish finger for tea please.”

Gone Fishing

This is the last photo on my roll, taken at the #RedRoosterfestival and in response to Esme’s prompt #2 To take the last pic on the camera roll and write a short story or rhyme go where the prompt takes you. PressThis to join in or read.

Did you have a funny Story when you were small, leave me something in the comments and I will get right back

The Remnants of what was.

Photo by Elina Krima on Pexels.com

He knots his fingers and flexes his hands jerkily, leaves clean stripes on his arm and neck when he rubs hard. My lip twitches with sadness at his grimy hand trembling. Eyes down, glued to his boots, they’re good boots. He startles onlookers with his strange muttering. I’m only a step away or at least a short distance from him. My gaze wanders across his prematurely lined features and the weathered cloth of his twine tied coat. I catch the eye of my passing waitress, who nods knowingly. I wave my fingers, more chewed than she would have seen before, so quickly fist them away, out of sight. She returns with a bag for takeout. I keep watch as I settle the bill. Coffee spilt due to its weight on the wobbly-legged table. Her eyes pool as she apologises while wiping it up. She rips the cover from her note pad expertly folds it then squats to push it under the leg. I think ‘If only it could be that easy to fix everything. Her smile is kind. Blinks away the telltale tears undercover of the table. Nods once looking back towards the road. Her shoulders slump, and with a sigh, she continues to clear tables. My explanation spilt out six months ago when I first found him. Now it sits like secrets between spies ‘A nods as good as a tapped nose.’ Dad used to say when we were kids. We loved telling him it was wrong. “No, it’s a nod is as good as a wink,” We would taunt. He doesn’t joke much anymore; not one of us does.

I wipe my eyes with a paper napkin that I am twisting thoughtlessly in my fists. I hold my breath as I watch. Martin takes too much time manoeuvring unseen enemies and mined traps. I am counting his steps, speaking out loud. I am startled to silence by a mumbled word (Crackpot) coming from a suited man brushing past me. Four minutes it took for him to walk six feet of the busy pavement. The lunchbreak office staff, bankers, business people and shoppers moan and gripe as he blocks their path and swallows a moment of the hour of freedom they have. A pensioner’s rheumy eyes spot him. He nods knowingly, pats his arm and dodders on.

Martin is opposite me, with only one road to cross. But I am hopeful today, whisper > today I will be successful <. He stoops, scans the tarmac, takes an audible breath and runs as if his life depends on it weaving towards me. I stand, my face pulls the biggest of grins I feel my arms start to lift. Then a horn blasts, I see him freeze, a voice shouts obscenities at him. And just like that, he is gone. There is no point in chasing him. I learned the hard way how that goes. No, I will try again tomorrow and all the other tomorrows that no doubt there will be. With sisterly love and a heavy heart, I tip the server, straighten my back and fasten my coat. Before I leave, I pause to pass a raggedy bundle in a shop doorway the bag of food that Martin did not get. For we never know their story, we only see the remnants of what was.

Too many of our ex military, police, medics Firemen and others are left broken by the trauma they see and clear up every day. This flash fiction is a glimpse at that, a speck of what we know is on our streets, in our towns and villages. Broken discarded people #MentalHealth. Please comment leave me your thoughts below.

My Escape to A New Normal.

It’s now August, and I wonder how you are all faring. It seems that my focus during all this has changed. Writing has been the toughest. Just when I thought writing would fill every day. I took many writing and poetry workshops to try and motivate myself, wake the muse, or improve my skill set.
Like many of you, Netflix came in handy, as have audiobooks with Audible, and Marie Kondo delivered full days of sparking joy (or trying to)as I de-cluttered, sorted drawers and cupboards and drove ‘The Husband’ bonkers. We stayed home. I baked over Zoom and subsequently became more rounded. Literally, from eating homemade bread, cookies, cake and fondants. We gained the obligatory covid-19 pounds. We would clap (make noise) on Thursdays for the health workers, which meant putting clothes on, blowing horns banging pans from behind our gate.


Next the lockdown was learning a new skill. I joined a group called act your age and began learning the writing of Monologues, duologues and radio plays. I embraced it and wrote for the theatre over Zoom. I was invited to read my flash fiction and short stories on an open Mike night in America; from the UK on YouTube. Thanks to Charli at the Carrot ranch. I Loved the way my confidence grew each time I performed. The wordy skills have been quite a success, hearing actors bring my tales alive has been the best … but words are my thing, some would say too easy 🤔 but it is not easy learning a new skill.


This Summer, I have been trying my hand, or tablet, at digital drawing. This one task is a challenge as drawing anything, I find, is impossible 🥺 but it’s all in the learning, not in being perfect at it. I am enjoying how to use a drawing app and produce some naive pictures. I know I am not artistically bent. I will never become a great illustrator. Learning a new skill or trying to wake new synapses in your brain can offer some protection against dementia, so trying anything is a no-brainer; pardon the pun.

Under the mask, pandemic fears still linger. I take tiny steps towards freedom, two forward, four back. I am not mask-less yet. Palpitations are a new thing for me when people get too close or group together. My hands tremble, perspiration wells up like tears to an infant. I protest a semblance of sanity as I swear there is a herd of wild horses galloping in my chest. There are days where I stay in my writing uniform (pyjamas) and when being a recluse still feels safe. I am not enjoying the trepidation around me or my lack of confidence in the community. I hope I am not alone in this and that these feelings are how we are to arrive at that place, ‘The New Normal.’ At the end of this pandemic, I want to escape unscathed and just maybe I will have a superpower as a ‘ Survivor of a world Pandemic, stronger, braver and obviously wearing a Cape. I look forward to it all fading into history.

Have you found your way around the new normal? Have you learnt new skills on the way? Let me know in the comments.