Collected poems, p.1
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       Collected Poems, p.1

          James Bickle / History & Fiction
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Collected Poems

Part One

The Ego

The Manager

Those Who Win

Seven Billion

Why Does God Allow Suffering

Local Countryside

New Year

Part Two



You’re Not Allowed

Social Housing

Christmas Day

The Entrepreneur

Part Three

A Week In The Life

The Conversation

Fairground Day


World War 2 Pilot

Resident Patient

Part Four

The Garden

Winter Walk


Inner Conflict



Part One

The Ego


You can’t see it

Neither can you touch it

Some claim it doesn’t exist

Let’s admit it though

Its power is hard to resist

It wants to be your master

Let it and stack up disaster

It likes to be in charge

To shoulder barge

It wants to save face

So you give in and compose lies

They're so hard to disguise

Lies, which are bold

Because you refuse to be told

Chiefly it seeks fame

Secretly, it wants the rest to be lame

It listens to tales of others success

And goes quiet


It likes to disagree

And it’s easily offended

But hard to get mended

Egos take great skill to manage


To unravel - be aware

Of your ego, how it ticks

Don’t let it play its dirty tricks

Make the ego work for good

As ultimately, it should

The Manager

Making up a statement

For workers we just don’t rate

Colluding with the others

But don’t tell my mother

Everything runs by the book today

Until the seniors go back away

You wheeled out the charm

To hide the certain harm

Cutting back the staff

Whilst having a little laugh

Trimming the pay packets

Don’t tell me, I know it’s a racket

I won’t ever get caught

In my world everyone can be bought

Workers off with stress

We will have to make do with less

Area says the books are looking great

So how dare you all berate

What I’m doing can’t be fraud

Because business is fantastic

Those who win


How do people win?

In the world around us

The winners do what’s right

And run away from wrong

They do well and get rich

Yet are generous with it

Keeping on top of pride

They subdue and master anger

And refuse to give in to fear

Unjust guilt doesn't hurt them

Jealousy is forbidden to taunt

They don’t laze through time

Nor gorge beyond being full

Or want no end and more

Those in pursuit of victory 

Are reaching for all of this

They're productive people

Making sure they rest too

What they build is worthwhile

They’re gaining great things

And they've grasped this life

The mixture of good and bad

They didn't choose what's easy

But they chose what’s true

They forgive their enemies

Yet justice is dear to them

Their lives are blessed now

And going to be even better 

Seven Billion

Out there is a sea of faceless people

Swelled up to seven billion they say 

Do I especially want to or need to 

Affect and impact a difference?

Seven million poets just on one site

That’s just part of the Web’s might

People gathering and huddling for reviews

Quietly desperate not to lose

Spilling into the doctors surgery

Doubtless seventy seven people a day

The doctors gab curt and tired

Wishing your three minutes away

Seven tree surgeons in your town

You love the job but the competition

So insipid, it forces you down

No alternative, it’s what you know

So you keep to the mission

This face dazzles in the crowd

He’s a genius, I just can’t keep up

Is it even worth attempting?

You search here and there

For scraps of comfort and morale

Your life and work has so much value

Whether you have one talent or ten

We’re all so worthwhile, be you 

The first or the seventh billionth

Why does God allow suffering


Why does God allow suffering?

Principally is what people ask

What kind of god, would sit back

And allow these bombs to blast

My family got unfairly robbed

The innocent get horribly mobbed

It’s just not at all damn right

That God just seems to sit tight

There’s no absolute answer

We will have to wait and see

Why God set things up in a way

That we don’t always agree

Why do people become ill? 

Isn’t life supposed to be amazing?

Why is this so destabilising?

What can you or I really advise

Except to note some positive things

Are forged from suffering 

Great discipline and compassion

Strength and sincere character

Knowledge and opened minds

Natural disasters, the earthquakes?

Is it death Gods trying to make?

Earthly systems briefly work in mortal motion

As the animals, fragile human flesh ebbs and flows

But unique to the human is an eternal soul

Gods perspective, our souls the priceless goal

It’s worth suggesting some thoughts

Instead of closing our minds

And refusing to even consider 

That our God could be kind

Humans were given absolute choice

They can help or hurt with their voice

Choice whether to rescue the poor

Or barricade behind your door

If God intervened to stop every sin

Project humanity would lose its value

Created machines would have been fake

Rather He reasons let the good and the evil 

Briefly decide which choices they make

But rest assured the flesh life is short

And the eternal life is long

And hasn’t God made us promises

That He will mend all that’s broken

So maybe it's just conceivable 

God does not allow suffering at all

Local Countryside

Out there almost every single day

We were kids playing in the hay

Someone set light to the stubble

Man, we were so in big trouble

All summer cricket in Pondside rec

So seriously we took it for young ones

Special stumps came from the wood lathe

The cricket square mown and painted

Picked and your total best you gave

Camping out was so simple back then

Nothing about permission or planning

Cider we’d gained and trying a cigarette

Fire, sausages and blackened bread

Then the stars and nature's glory

Conversations of goodness knows what

Oxygen and air and feeling so well

Back then little trouble to tell

New Year

Excused and removed

From what's real

You fly - Oh my

1000 feet in the sky

Freak out and cop out

At pops serving of fun

Leveled and peaceful

Cozy and numb

Jump up and barrier up

Next year? No fear!

Improve and disprove

The despicable and diabolical

Critics of thy truth 

Driven back, vanquished

They stumble and struggle

Coz they're empty oh 

Yes and bounded to fail

Hangovers and insincere regrets

Sobered and forced to step into

The survival of mine and your new year






Part Two



It’s near the top of the pile

Words on labels help

Similar cloth, can be easier

Reserved, but just won't do


Forbidden works of art

It won’t let people even start 

Smoke will make you happy

Is one of its illusions

It borrows and buys cars

Loans that are hard to mend

And doesn't it feel great

When its briefly gained


Instantly refusing a good job

Cos it baulked and retched

Dedication to this golden calf

Which picks and chooses paths


This malady can sabotage

People's calm and charm

Is it worth paying these prices?

To ensure I look cool


37 times I played that social media clip

It blotted and blocked the nagging drip 

In truth the list of tasks within grasp

But its trepidation, waiting and fear

That drives to fit on that comedic mask

The one for all easy fix in a bottle

With its fleeting, empty guarantees

It recruits new cannon fodder daily

Been tricked and it spits out half lives

Of course it was fake escape

And more because ‘it’s the way I work’ 

Justifying and enabling pain creating wrongs

Others sickened agreement makes it easier 

Rudimentary escapist philosophy then

That if bought into damages so long

Never saying here to kill the joy

By all means some wine and song

But if you recognise real and hear

Shake off the escapism with a courageous roar

So then honestly and genuinely fixed

Then escapisms preposterous gnaw, no more

You're not allowed


You’re not allowed to be too negative

Even if the facts warrant such as

Neither should you be too excited 

Or jump up overly delighted

You can’t claim welfare, so what if

There’s no work or land access

Never mind if you’re old or sick

Yes, no experts here thanks

It’s expressly forbidden to talk about yourself

Even if, it’s life and you’re just saying

I demand you adopt a plastic persona

Supposed to be popular see


Others frown at you 

Yet break their own unwritten social rules

Flee from ‘you’re not allowed’ as

It’s folly that will hurt and restrict you

Determine the daft but learn from the wise

And strike out in the world unafraid

Carving out your success

And never being put off by those

Screaming at you, to achieve failure

Social housing


Pregnant women smoking

Single dads joking

Claimants preferring working

Signed off sick hurting


Walking by the communal

But keeping the smiles frugal

Status gained any which way

Dogs keeping the pain away

You might get run over by a bus tomorrow

So stop preserving yourself in sorrow

Tattoos and baccy

Booze and feeling happy


Poor diet

But so what because life’s a riot

You’ve got brains

But pride is pulling your reins


Some of us playing it straight

Boy did they make us wait

Private housing can’t be reached

Should someone be impeached?

Christmas Day

Bubbling up with elation

Bounding in for the reunion

Comforted for the duration

The pain of the separation

Swept away for the moment


Quarrels and shouting

Old scores uncorked

The same battles re fought

Slumped back, was over keen

Green, bloated and mean


Money found any which way

Presents simply must be bought

A surge of effort for a special time

The best goods gathered up

Feast of feasts for King of Kings


Young creeping down the stairs

Toys fantastic and expectations met

Gorging orange and chocolate

Amongst the glitz and gild

Troubles on holiday, happy moods


Wise were called by starlight

Bringing gifts to Bethlehem

The first Christmas, Christ was born

Heralding rescue and peace

And He is like refiners fire

The Entrepreneur


Dormant ambition stirred

Easy payouts are deferred

Hope and courage adopted

Up the ladder of knowledge

Lost rungs negotiated


It’s time and you’re ready

You consider some heavy loans

But inside your sensibleness groans

People scoff, wince and grimace

Just who do you think you are?


Others are thoughtful and positive

Catching the vision and intent

You hold the course resolute

An independent business release

Low budget but live and real


Walking and then running

You harvest some coin

Job satisfaction set to maximum

Factory room 101 in distant past

Conventions smashed and gone

You did it!






Part Three

A week in the life


Five pm forecast predicts a frost

So blanket on Fords windscreen

Arrived at work the usual 11 mins early

Free coffee and conservatory chit chat

I always heads down at 3 minutes to

A months frozen bread and milk

Defrosted at exacting and right moments

The homemade beers 78% cheaper

Every second Sunday, lunch guests

Rehearsed jokes and visitors book


Laminated camping list, same pitch

We’ve got friends there you see

Oh and how the oak tree shades you

Always books the same two weeks

If my other half can get em too


Bleach and clean Mondays

Mother on rotating Wednesdays

So we tend to stay in Thursdays

Radio Times with big circles

Columbo, Poirot and Jim Bergerac


Can call this boring or maybe smart?

Don’t let me laugh or poke fun

Cos these things I often do

Now I too, have the efficiency

Of the middle aged

The Conversation


The Angel:

“May the Lord arrest you

Hark, halt, evil’s damage”


The Demon:

“Hiss and spit, you really think I care?

I will squash and suffocate

Not relinquish, but relish in hate”


The Angel:

“Instructions He has given me

Violate my people at your peril

Says Him endless of days”


The Demon:

“I shall continue to bear false witness

You tell that to His Highness

I will keep destroying His people

Cheating and robbing the vulnerable

Opportunistic on the naive”


The Angel:

“Those are your words unholy one

Yet His pure paradise shall return”


The Demon:

“Paradise indeed

I will stop his people being freed”

The Angel:

“He can and will overpower you

Those decreed, shall indeed be free

Ultimately, the infernal will be burnt

So roam loosed for an age

Fallen servant of Yahweh

But punishment will befall you”


The Demon:

“Mention not my inevitable fate

For I dread that hellish date”

Fairground Day


A rumour going round school

The fairs due in town

A high counsel of children
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