Owen Gallagher

Owen Gallagher

Seeds from a Sycamore: Tolpuddle Martyrs' Festival 2022:
Saturday, 16 July 2022 18:44

Seeds from a Sycamore: Tolpuddle Martyrs' Festival 2022:

Published in Poetry

Seeds from a Sycamore
(The Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Tree)

by Owen Gallagher

We can’t let that Socialist plant herself
outside our factory gate.

She is taking root. Each day her ideas
tunnel into our footings.

Whatever the weather she is out there
brandishing her newspaper.

Workers are mouthing about a trade union.
Cracks are beginning to appear.

She’ll eventually topple us.
We must act. Fetch me an axe.

Tolpuddle Martyrs' Festival, 15-17 July 2022: There has been an annual gathering to mark the story of the Tolpuddle Martyrs since 1930s. It began as a Sunday afternoon event with wreaths laid on the grave of James Hammett, followed by a procession of banners and speeches. Today, the annual event sees thousands of trade unionists from around the UK and the world descends on the small village of Tolpuddle in Dorset to celebrate the memory of the Tolpuddle Martyrs and the legacy they left behind.

The Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival reflects the spirit of those prepared to stand up and be counted, and for those just learning about its history. It is a joyful celebration of solidarity.

And while we’re talking about work: two poems from Owen Gallagher
Tuesday, 03 May 2022 09:32

And while we’re talking about work: two poems from Owen Gallagher

Published in Poetry

And while we’re talking about work

by Owen Gallagher

You can’t sling Capitalism
into the washing machine,
set it at the highest temperature
and expect it to come out
bleached white and smelling of lavender.

It can’t be drycleaned,
the fabric’s too stubborn.
It’s showing signs of wear and tear
and was never a good fit.

Don’t think you can shrink
this one-size-only corset.
Of course, it can be altered,
rebranded and remarketed,
to flatter your shape for a while.

Poking their Spokes

by Owen Gallagher

They’d rather replace us with machines,
maintenance-free, efficient as a bicycle

They’d rather do this than retain
the likes of us
who stop to talk about conditions
and gawk at the clock
or the sky through a window.

Until machinery is installed,
they’ll keep us
barely inflated with wages.

When our parts are worn out,
our frames buckled,
they’ll replace us with younger models,
quieter, more pedal power, easy to propel.

depression

Two poems about this callous government, from Owen Gallagher
Thursday, 17 February 2022 11:05

Two poems about this callous government, from Owen Gallagher

Published in Poetry

Children are shrinking before us

by Owen Gallagher

And when they cut budgets again, for families and schools,
we on the opposition benches said: ‘Surely
they can’t cut them anymore?’
And they did.

Children’s clothes began to hang on them
as if they were passed down too soon.
We stood by and watched
their future shrink.

Home didn’t fit.
School didn’t fit.
The curriculum didn’t fit.
We spoke out but that didn’t fit.

We lobbied members of the government.
And said, again:
‘Surely they can’t ...’
But they did.

When the waiter in the Commons restaurant
brought the menu
we forgot about the children
and tucked in.

 

Your Country Needs You!

by Owen Gallagher

We answered the Government’s call to keep
the profit flag flying,
the currency stable.

Tut-tutted at having to Zoom from our laptops
and mask up
to queue for a latte.

We created more offshore companies
to redistribute wealth
to ourselves, resisted

daubing a sign on the door of the infected.
A mass culling
took place.

We made millions during the pandemic.
We thanked our Head Boys,
now Government Ministers, for that.

Christmas in Belfast, 1991
Friday, 28 January 2022 10:15

Christmas in Belfast, 1991

Published in Poetry

Christmas In Belfast, 1991

by Owen Gallagher

 Before mass, the milk runs, the paper rounds,
she hauled her son in through the door.
The soldiers returned to barracks for a full belly.

Taking off her Sunday best, laying him out
on the table to rest, she scrubbed him clean,
sewed him up, where he peeped through.

And when she was done, his tie and suit pressed,
Pioneer Pin closing his breast, didn’t she pour
paraffin over him, set him alight. So, no one could

see what they had done to her wee boy. And didn’t
she go out into the street, kitchen knife under
her apron, and take three soldiers with her.

A book for Christmas: The Sikh Snowman
Saturday, 11 December 2021 09:59

A book for Christmas: The Sikh Snowman

Published in Fiction

Some snowmen had topknots. Some wore football scarves and skull caps. Some had veils over their faces. One had fairy wings. They all began to sing......

Snowfall, friendship and feelings combine in this heartfelt and celebratory story about coming together. There's a relatable and joyous sense of wonder as the snow starts and as the friends pull together to build their snowman. Filled with heart, hope and humanity, it is easy to imagine The Sikh Snowman becoming a firm favourite. - Jake Hope, Youth Libraries Group

The Sikh Snowman, by Owen Gallagher with artwork by Fiona Stewart, ISBN 978-1-912710-29-4. Price: £9 plus £3 p. and p.

Peephole
Friday, 24 January 2020 10:57

Peephole

Published in Poetry

Peephole

by Owen Gallagher, with image by Jon Addison

When a Conservative candidate calls
Ruth wears a blue rosette.

When a Labour candidate knocks
she reaches for red.

If there’s a rapid rap she freezes
at the thought

of her grandparents rising as smoke
from a chimney.