Vivien Foulkes-James – Three Poems

Vivien Foulkes-James lives by the coast in North Lancashire. She writes mainly poetry and some short fiction. She is a founder member of Bare Writers, a local writing group.

Vivien has successfully published in poetry magazines including Reach Poetry, Dawntreader and Sarasvati, and several anthologies.


The catastrophe is always elsewhere,
natural or man-made,
famine, drought, war, they’re
images on the screen,
reports on the radio.
They vanish with a flick of a switch.

Elsewhere millions are fleeing war,
packing up their lives
into what they can carry.
Images on the screen;
their children, their animals, their trauma.
We sit and watch in horror, until
they vanish with a flick of a switch.

We turn away, resume our lives,
think positive thoughts and yes
the catastrophe is always elsewhere –
until it isn’t.

Spectacle in Waiting

“My Lord’s, pray please be seated.”
he intones amidst the red and gold.
On his left, his wife hides under a wide-brimmed hat.
To his right and with pained expression,
his son stares into the middle distance.
Adjacent, perched on a red cushion the crown,
symbolising the absent Queen.
Episodic mobility issues have arisen preventing
the Monarch from carrying out her duties.
And so a Queen’s speech, without a Queen.

If you or I were unable to carry out our duties,
it would mean dismissal.
The idea of sending a son or daughter
in our place, would be absurd.
Sanctions may be imposed,
the incapacity would have to be proved.
Questions would be asked;
regarding your most personal everyday tasks
and how you manage them,
whether or not you could pick up
a can of beans from a supermarket shelf,
whether or not you could
retrieve a carton of milk from your fridge.

The shopping list continues,
“Her Majesty’s Government will …”
on and on he drones.
Distaste that he has to associate with
the shambolic, corrupt regime is apparent.

Already into his twilight years,
a forlorn figure now,
he casts a fleeting glance
at the waiting crown –
will it ever be his?

Only In Dreams

in dreams
you return
love transcends our worlds
but only deep within my dreams
but only deep within my dreams
love transcends our worlds
you return
in dreams

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