Wednesday 30 March 2022


by Nick Gisburne

His earthy laughter barrels round the room,
Colliding with the souls his hatred hurts,
A bloody-minded swipe to slur the groom,
Rejoicing in the pleasure he perverts.
A mother bravely stands to silence him,
But finds herself reminded of her sins.
Ferocious, filled with malice, to the brim,
He turns, at last, towards the bride, and grins.
He spits a shameful story, quick to tell,
A tale to torture every happy heart.
As if by some extraordinary spell,
The couple fight, forever torn apart.
    Their parents see a romance out of reach,
    But thank the preacher for a splendid speech.

As previously mentioned, this was a short return to write 25 more sonnets, so as to complete the fifth book in my Story Sonnets series. 10 days, 25 sonnets, but now I need to edit, illustrate, and edit some more, to get to the point where it can be printed. No doubt I will return... eventually!

Alternatively Built

by Nick Gisburne

QC presents her witness to the court,
A legal gambit none have seen before.
Refusing every option to abort,
She scans the jury’s mood, and takes the floor.
“You were, in public, naked, were you not?”
Politely, he accepts the truth of it.
“But not because you foolishly forgot?”
No, never, he is ready to admit.
“The law is quite uncompromising, yes?”
He nods, a clear admission of his guilt.
“Then why would you defy it, and undress?
Perhaps you are... alternatively built?”
    Defendant A removes his human skin.
    “My client claims immunity.” They win.

Forever’s Edge

by Nick Gisburne

With shadows, cryptic subtleties he stole,
The shaman shapes the space through which we swim.
Our vessels, poised to penetrate the hole,
Disturb the tangled ripples of its rim.
The flesh, imperfect, weak, will not survive
A passage open only to the mind.
The worms of revelation scrape and skive
Our souls, but we are bloody, never blind.
There is no pain, no price, too harsh, too high
To reach the plane of paradise beyond.
Petitioning the dream we know is nigh,
We sense the spiral, opening, respond.
    But only evil, truth no tongue could teach,
    Infects forever’s edge, beyond the breach.

Tuesday 29 March 2022

A Thousand Pieces

by Nick Gisburne

A final, swift, unnecessary stab.
For minutes, more, his body has not moved.
Abandoning the knife, she bends to grab
The dirty, dreary drunkard death improved.
She drags him, leaves him, leaning. How absurd
That even now she coddles worthless men.
He vomits no abuse, no spiteful word.
No part of him will ever rise again.
She kneels, without the fear she felt before.
The power of possession here is hers.
Not now, not ever, not his private whore.
The guilt is gone; the blame already blurs.
    She stares, at nothing, everything, the end,
    A thousand pieces murder did not mend.

Mannegishi Gangs

by Nick Gisburne

The smoke of scraping brakes and grinding wheels.
Colossal clouds of wild, escaping steam.
The Manitoba Special’s engine reels,
And every voice, as one, becomes a scream.
The little people, Mannegishi gangs,
Use traps and tricks to murder modern men.
No mercy. Every snatched survivor hangs.
Today they trash a train, to kill, again.
Each crippled carriage, stripped of life, is burned,
No man or woman, youth or younger, spared.
Until these lakes, these lands, are all returned,
The peace, in pieces, cannot be repaired.
    They know they wage a war they may not win,
    But fight to free the birthright of their kin.

The Poison of the Plan

by Nick Gisburne

No life is ever precious. Rich men bleed
The wishes of the weakest, long and late.
In secret, some are critical of greed,
Yet whisper nothing more than hollow hate.
If you could steal the energy, the thrill,
Of all the ruthless avarice of man,
And with it build a city, on a hill,
Your sight would sense the poison of the plan.
This world was never destined to be free.
The promise of tomorrow is a lie.
You cannot change the face of what you see.
Submit. Surrender. Never wonder why.
    Corruption sends no solace, only spite.
    Expect no peace, no profit, if you fight.

Monday 28 March 2022

A New Testament

by Nick Gisburne

How wise of you to devastate my world.
It was a quite disgusting little place.
Your new design, impressively unfurled,
Has really brightened up this part of space.
I wonder, will you need a helping hand,
To populate the continents and seas?
The former God, I truly understand
The intricate design of birds and bees.
Robotics? No, I’m not a massive fan,
And let me stop you: cybernetic what?
You seem to have no people in your plan.
Is this a home for humankind, or not?
    At least we both agree on what is clear:
    A testament of tyranny and fear.

Sensitive Behinds

by Nick Gisburne

By teaching tiny children how to fly,
The pixies, in their mischief, seek to snatch
The fury from an evil ogre’s eye,
And with it force a dragon’s egg to hatch.
With wails and whoops, the infants soar and spin,
In mad, amazing, aerobatic tricks,
But on the night their mission must begin,
A problem proves impossible to fix.
They will not put on armour as they’re told.
It chafes their squishy, sensitive behinds.
Without it, they will perish in the cold,
But nothing now persuades their tiny minds.
    Instead, they snuggle, suck their thumbs, and sleep,
    While pixies plot to make them earn their keep.



by Nick Gisburne

Of seven sisters, Aoife is the last.
Her soul survives the killing of her kind.
A twisted witch, her powers, unsurpassed,
Exquisitely intoxicate the mind.
She steals a secret measure of the moon,
A primitive, unfathomable thing.
With this, with every dark, corrupted rune,
She whispers in the nightmares of the king.
His tortures took the seven, all but her,
And every piece of passion in her heart
Directs his dreams, a silent saboteur,
To rip his tainted dynasty apart.
    His vision is no haunting of the head.
    He wakes to find the son he strangled, dead.

Sunday 27 March 2022

Never Nothing

by Nick Gisburne

Nothing in those vacant, empty eyes
Signals more than senses simply numb.
What she was, perhaps, is no surprise.
Colder is the curse she will become.
Even as her perfect powers wake,
Something is impossible to see.
Miracles, too beautiful to break,
Hide the face of what should never be.
Bitter, boiling ice and burning rain.
Seamless, blazing blackness, darkest light.
She is every particle of pain
Filling every nightmare, every night.
    Soon she will discover what is true.
    She was never nothing. That was you.

Warm and Wild

by Nick Gisburne

Her secrets spawn the deadly drug she craves,
With rhymes and roots found only after dark.
She ploughs a field of cold, forgotten graves,
And plants new life, each seed beside a spark.
Contorted creepers fight their sister selves.
The strongest, stripped, are ground to poison paste.
Her poultice, steeped in blood from slaughtered elves,
Is pure beyond the touch of human taste.
At last, her bottles, filled with sweet disease,
Are hurled to catch the morning’s murder tide.
Bewitched, they may, she hopes, somehow appease
The selkies, from whose anger she must hide.
    Seduced, they sip her potions, warm and wild,
    But still do not release her stolen child.

Government Guidelines: Wounded Veterans

by Nick Gisburne

Momentous tidings, battle-damaged friends!
Commercial calculations are complete.
A cull of wounded veterans will cleanse
Combatants now considered obsolete.
This ruling, without bias, tilt, or taste,
Rejects your medication, and its price.
All passive, unproductive, worthless waste
Is tagged for termination: quick, precise.
Accept these executions with good grace.
The furnace will administer your fate.
Destruction serves to cleanse the human race,
A system we will soon accelerate.
    Your bodies are inconsequential dross.
    Disposal simply lessens any loss.

Saturday 26 March 2022

Doubtful Sausages

by Nick Gisburne

I always felt my folks were foodies. Wrong!
My father’s Sunday supper showed me that.
Dissected dolphin droppings don’t belong
Inside the pickled colon of a cat.
I saw him search through grandma’s baking bones,
The pointy ones, for children she would choke.
Ground up with force-fed camels’ kidney stones,
His penguin pâté stank of sour smoke.
I’m doubtful those were sausages at all.
Their tiny eyes kept winking in the pan.
And someone, soon, will miss that buttered ball,
Presumably a most unhappy man.
    But let me state his most infernal fault:
    The glazed gorilla, shameful without salt.

Heaven? That Ain’t This

by Nick Gisburne

You’re gonna wanna reattach your head.
Get over it. You’re circuit boards and steel.
The bullet? Yeah, you bought the big one. Dead.
But heaven? That ain’t this, boy. This is real.
My place, my rules. This ain’t no public pound.
You’re jacked in, hard - illegal cyber grid,
The sweetest new-life body shop around.
You’re back. The rest is grits and gravy, kid.
The cherry on the cake? Oh, that’ll come.
You’re up for auction - Friday market, noon.
So pick that fuckin’ head up. Don’t be dumb.
You’ll be a wealthy woman’s plaything, soon.
    It ain’t so bad. Sure, take a moment. Chill.
    Now touch your toes, and whistle when I drill.

A Timeless Nightmare

by Nick Gisburne

The shape is swift, but soundless, as it creeps
To cross beyond the last forbidden gate.
The madness in its mind no longer sleeps,
Awakened by infinity, by fate.
Unspeakable, its name is not a word.
No tongue could ever herald its advance.
It slithers, shifting, smooth, like smoke, unheard,
To breach the wall, to split the dark expanse.
Malevolent, it surges, sliding through,
Towards the light, towards the world it seeks,
And as its evil ripples into view,
The entity, the dream, the darkness, speaks.
    No mystery is borne upon its breath.
    It whispers of a timeless nightmare: death.

Friday 25 March 2022

The Secret

by Nick Gisburne

A thousand years of pride are battered, burned;
The North, reduced to cinders, ash, and dust.
The cities of our ancestors, returned
To rubble, by an empire’s brutal thrust.
The tyrant’s grim inventions did not rest
Until his armies stained their steel with gore,
Machines designed by criminals, obsessed
With breaking what was beautiful before.
But we, the few, the secret, still prevail.
Unbowed, we send assassins to the South.
Their wickedness will falter; all men fail
When treachery and poison fills the mouth.
    Our cities smashed, we children, sly, survive,
    To cut, to kill, while hate is left alive.

The Sea’s Embrace

by Nick Gisburne

We weave our way within the sea’s embrace.
Through swirls of surf, in wonderment, we snatch
The spray, the salt, the turning tides, to chase
Emotions too ephemeral to catch.
We find our self, our story, in the sea.
In this our souls, our subtleties, align.
Romantics, we were never meant to be
Restricted by a wall’s, a world’s, design.
We dive, to seek the shift away from war,
From struggles, from the surface, from the storm.
Beneath, the oceans, ever as before,
Are slow, serene, majestic in their form.
    We swim, to share the peace of such a place,
    The silence of a secret, sacred space.

The Sinister Sabbat

by Nick Gisburne

Unburdened by a meek, submissive mind -
The poison of her parents saw to that -
No prophecy could ever have defined
Her vision for the Sinister Sabbat.
From cinders, shaped at midnight into beasts,
Her coven sends a pestilence, a blight,
To kidnap squealing infants for its feasts,
To bleed, in filthy rituals, at night.
Compelled to add more bodies to the pile,
The witches bring creation to its knees,
Exchanging souls for silver, to defile
The world, in waves of darkness and disease.
    She spits a final evil on this earth.
    Her child, a king, a god, is blessed with birth.

Thursday 24 March 2022

So Deviant

by Nick Gisburne

I wonder, dear demonic Mum and Dad,
Why every time you scribble me a note
The vellum smells of something Satan had
To wipe the sweat of sinners from his scrote?
I know I seem so deviant to you,
The office job, the absence of a tail,
But maiming martyrs isn’t what I do.
I’m just a modern, mediocre male.
In other news, I’ve started up a cult.
Is fifty thousand followers enough?
Tomorrow, every gullible adult
Will drink a poison potion. Lethal stuff.
    I thought I’d better say, before I die,
    I’ll see you soon, and that’s the reason why.

The Bastard

by Nick Gisburne

His carriage, heavy with forbidden musk,
Arouses old excesses, fresh delight.
A kiss will crush his victim’s lips at dusk.
Insatiable, he rides to meet the night.
No pleading can prevent what he must do.
The poison of his pleasure will not wait.
At sunset, if his shadow yearns for you,
Surrender, for the warning comes too late.
Despised by every nation, every flag,
The bastard never wearies of his crimes.
A predator, his fingers, daggers, drag
The sacrifice, the soul, as midnight chimes.
    A spiteful dawn reveals the bride he bled:
    A pet, a plaything, drained, discarded, dead.

Wednesday 23 March 2022

Seven Stolen Songs

by Nick Gisburne

The ticket says, ‘No entry after 10’.
I take no chances, take my seat at nine.
I’ve waited twenty years to meet the men
Who tricked me into wasting what was mine.
You’d think a rogue, a rebel soul like me,
Would recognise the doubletalk, the con,
But only when you’re blinded can you see
That what you took for truth and trust is gone.
So many years this moment has been planned.
I focus where my bitterness belongs:
The same two brothers, same old bogus band,
Their fortunes made from seven stolen songs.
    They sing them, well, but never leave the stage.
    A night of bloodshed pays for every page.

Shards of Stone

by Nick Gisburne

Stampeding hordes, escaping, running, free,
Unleash inhuman hatred on their guards,
Until the tallest, stymied by the sea,
Begins to pull a reading from the cards.
The crowds, in hushed anticipation, wait,
For hope, for luck, for fate, to feed their minds.
Behind them lies the broken prison gate.
Before them, freedom, fiercely won, unwinds.
The rock on which they stand is not alone;
Identical, they see a dozen more.
A world of water, flecked with shards of stone,
There is no other place, no farther shore.
    The reader twists his Tarot in despair,
    But knows he seeks for signs no longer there.

Tuesday 22 March 2022

Brass and Bronze and Steel

by Nick Gisburne

They laughed, at thoughts, at visions, plans, too big.
Impossible, they told him. Smoke and air.
A toy, no more, a childish whirligig,
Conceived without charisma, without flair.
But no one sneers at this appalling sight.
As armies of automatons advance,
They drag a beast behind them, from the night,
And oh, the spurned inventor, see him dance!
His creature, too fantastic for these fools,
Was what their sworn adversaries perceived
Could conquer empires, worlds, and with his tools
He gave them more than even he believed.
    A thing of brass and bronze and steel and war,
    Beyond what any madness built before.

Greasy Meat

by Nick Gisburne

The vampire nation. Drop dead smoking hot.
Seductive, steamy, sinful, sexy, right?
But some of us are definitely not.
There is no school of style for those who bite.
Take me. These filthy fingers could not stroke
The passions of a virgin with finesse.
I scratch, I sweat, I’m spotty, and I smoke.
A product of the meals I murder? Yes.
The human race has grown, you surely see.
Your blood, too strong, too sweet, is filled with fat.
You’re bigger than you ever used to be,
And we, in time, have paid a price for that.
    Consuming blood from sacks of greasy meat,
    Our downfall, over dinner, is complete.

Monday 21 March 2022

It Begins

by Nick Gisburne

A thrill, a thought: the blood these young ones yield;
How soothing to extract if from their skins.
A surge of expectation, stark, unsealed,
Precedes the feast. She beckons. It begins.
Accountants mark the ledger’s page of pain,
As five are quickly stricken from the book.
Destroyed by truth, by terror, each, insane,
Submits to evil, frozen by a look.
She wonders if, in weakness, they enjoy
The flow, the flood, as flesh releases life.
No injury, no age, will now destroy
These bodies, stripped and served to Satan’s wife.
    Voracious, still she hungers, as before.
    She bids them build a banquet. Martyrs. More.

The Poet Returns

Sonnet 601 finally arrives, after a 3-month hiatus!

I stopped writing in December 2021, but only to turn my poetry into books. 500 of my previous 600 sonnets been have rigorously edited and formatted into four books, out of a series of five, 125 sonnets in each. That leaves me with 25 more sonnets to write, to complete the fifth: 5 x 125 = 625. This, then, may be a short return - I will need to create the fifth book as soon as I have 25 more poems. Actually, 24, after the one above.

It takes less time than you might imagine to ‘do’ each book. Most of the previous three months were spent designing the layout and the covers, and writing software to create the print-ready PDF files. I quickly realised that as a computer programmer (40+ years, man and boy!) I could be so much more precise with my own code than I could ever be while using Adobe’s publishing tools. I don’t need a complex, cumbersome, general purpose piece of software. I need a small utility to compile my poems into five separate books, all with exactly the same layout. Needed. I have it. I wrote it.

Beyond these five books, I have no firm plans, but the lure of ‘one more book’ to get me to 750 sonnets will probably prove to be too much to resist.

Books 1-4 are entirely complete. I have printed samples (wonderfully crafted) of the first three, and I’m waiting on the fourth, ordered today. My software creates PDF and eBook versions simultaneously, so those are already available, but not to you, not yet. I may upload some samples - covers, most likely - but it’s not a priority for me right now.

I won’t be going back to the poems uploaded on this site to add the changes to every sonnet. As the saying goes, ain’t nobody got time for that! But I will be adding punctuation to the line endings from now on. No, I didn’t think I needed it. Yes, I needed it. Everything in the books is properly punctuated. There are other changes too - some changes to titles, sometimes the odd word which didn’t quite work, and one or two substantial rewrites to poems which I didn’t think were up to my own high standard. Barring any minor tweaks and typos, the book versions are my best work. So far.

Today I return to the writing I have started to miss.

It begins.