Paul Francis

Paul Francis

Paul Francis is a busy West Midlands poet with a sonnet addiction. He's
recently published "Sonnets with notes" (Liberty Books).

The Hurdle Race
Thursday, 17 June 2021 08:14

The Hurdle Race

Published in Poetry

The Hurdle Race

by Paul Francis

The Guru says that every kid
should run the same race that he did.
He wants lanes narrow, hurdles tall.
A course where most contestants fall
may not be sensitive or just;
what matters is that it’s robust.
So many ways to be assessed -
the Guru knows that his is best.

One lesson’s clear, in viral gloom:
think food, devices, gardens, room.
The Covid axe has split apart
those deep divisions at our heart.
“Just like before” ’s not good enough.
Time to acknowledge other stuff –
the poor decisions, lack of thought,
the failure to provide support.

 Now, maybe, is the time and place
to rethink. Organise the race
by asking those with expertise
in training kids. Such heresies
are rife abroad, where rebels try
to work outside the box, defy
the timetable, set brainwaves free
with teamwork, creativity.

 It’s tough for kids in any case
but with new pressures that they face
they need the chance to draw a breath.
They’ve had the daily news of death;
they’ve felt frustration, boredom, pain
and need to feel free again,
to get their networks up to speed
build the resilience that they need.

 The Guru’s gang say all it takes
is longer sessions, shorter breaks.
They’ve put the hurdles back in place.
Rehearsals start tomorrow. Race!
But kids aren’t ready, good to go.
They may be young, but they still know
their future’s not this narrow track,
these ancient hurdles. Don’t look back.

VE Day
Thursday, 07 May 2020 11:24

VE Day

Published in Poetry

VE Day

by Paul Francis, with image by Laura Moore

After it’s over, time to pause for breath.
It takes some working out, the “what comes next?”
The grim familiarity with death
can not be cancelled with some pious text
and we don’t want to end up like before.

Yes, it was give and take, but too much give
from us, and too much take from them; the war
exposed that gap, and we don’t want to live
as nodding donkeys, doing as we’re told.

We’ve done our bit, and now we want our say
in sorting out the future. When we’re old
we want our children to create a better day,
using a fairer portion of our wealth
to build foundations for the nation’s health.