Author Archives: Louis Kasatkin

About Louis Kasatkin

Unadulterated commentary and analyses on all aspects of contemporary literary arts news and topics, can be viewed on twitter under the cunning guise of @louiskasatkin also at my blogs,"fahrenheit451"on and "And So It Goes"@ My facebook page etc.etc, ad infinitum...

Locomotive Breath

The rumble of passing trains,

going where they’ve always gone

at times we knew

and could set our watches by,

their metronomic clatter,

their iron rail rhythm

remorselessly bending nature

to their will;

Pressing on through the seasons

the rumble of passing trains;

Unfolding the countryside at

which passengers are staring,

watching and waiting

for their destinations to arrive,

as if by magic,

outside of their carriage windows,

Oblivious to the locomotive’s

kinetic brutality beating down

the miles as houses roll past

like a tracking shot in a film,

where the footage repeats in loops

and in time-less labyrinths

of their own purpose and making

and unmaking and remaking,

till the metal leviathan

heaves its last breath

and sighs contentedly,

at ease,

on time,

at the platform,

where no-one disembarks.

People on earth ( by Doug High )

People on earth.

People on earth will never agree,
that which God rules our heavens
and who’s in charge of hell
who will let the stork in
and who will ring the bell.

People on earth should remember,
life on earth started so long ago
mother nature ruled as Queen
but many don’t agree with this
and she’s running out of steam.

People on earth get together,
we can change it if we try harder
but it will take decades of time
and paradise awaits us
when we make our world divine.

People on earth must try harder
We didn’t help out at the beginning
it was handed to us on a plate
are we really going to end all life
is this what will be our fate.

People on earth come together.

Doug High.

( Doug is a member of Writers Assemble based at The Junction Pub,Carlton Street, Castleford and we’ll be meeting again once normality has been restored)

Thank god I had ten kids ( by Doug High )

Thank god I had ten kids

It started out, just the two of us
not knowing what the future would be,
our first was born
nine months later,
he was the first branch, on our tree.

The second came, way too soon
a girl with the cutest of grins,
a third came one year after,
ten months later
it was twins.

Ten years had, passed us by,
by now I bet you’ve guessed
our home was full
to bursting point
with joy, ten of the best.

Life wasn’t always easy,
there was always something new,
we had washing,
coming out of our ears,
always someone on the loo.

But I wouldn’t change it for the world
it was always party time,
and music
makes the world go round,
but mother nature left a sign.

A sign of what, was to come
the world was not forewarned
a virus,
we had no defence,
would bring a whole new dawn.

And now that I’m at,
the crossroads of my life,
I’ve been so blessed
with our offsprings,
and the one I call my wife.

I’m lucky, when I look outside
at people passing by
old ladies
and gentlemen
on their own, it makes me cry.

For we have a lovely doctor
and a caring nurse,
one that has a grocery shop,
a banker to save our purse,
we also have a Baker
makes us tasty pies,
and a good optician
caring for our eyes,
we also have a vet
giving good advice,
how to keep the fleas at bay
and the dreaded lice,
then there is a butcher
keeps us both well fed,
and a time served joiner
who mended our broken bed.

But don’t think it’s us
that broke that bed
no chance,
it was our youngest still at home
too enthusiastic with her dance.

Doug High.

A Blank Sheet of Paper

There is a blank sheet of paper,

a sheet of paper with nothing written on it;

but interpretations vary;

Nothing is written there

but people have read different things into it;

Is this the original blank sheet of paper

or a copy?

One has to be sure,

there are so many forgeries about

that even look like the real thing;

Disputes invariably arise as to the intentions

of whoever it was left that

blank sheet of paper to be found;

Some go so far as to question

whether it wasn’t simply discarded

and the discovery of it

merely chance.

Photograph Lockdown ( by Doug High )

Photograph lock down.

27 March 2020


Where shall we go my darling
now that we’re locked down
we can’t go to the cinema
or take a walk down town.

I’ve just had a great idea
to go travelling once again
I’ll get our photos albums out
and we’ll go to sunny spain.

We’ll take a walk along the beach
dip our toes into the brine
then off to our favourite eating place
steak and chips and the local wine.


Then off we’ll go to Italy
lake como I recall
a trip across on the ferry
we liked the best of all.


Why don’t we go to butlins
we’ll arrive just after noon
three kids in the back seat
to start our honeymoon.


Flying off to tenerife
that island looked so small
gentle smoke from that volcano
gave wonder to us all.


Let’s go a cruising
first port of call sicily
a trip up that lovely mountain
the godfather wedding to see.


Then sail off to uncovered pompeii
the ruins make you think
life is so very precious
all humans have a common link


Home again to England
what fun we had all week
looking at our photographs
the world didn’t look so bleak.


What shall we do on Monday
it’s driving me insane
maybe get the photo albums out
and do it all again.

Doug High.

Only Time Will Tell

“This is the Watch

that was broken for you”..

Who forgot to partake of

the sacraments of Time

and found themselves

short of days?

“This is the Time

that was spent for you”..

Days they will never see again,

nor gather unto themselves

those ephemeral moments

spiralling beyond their grasp;

“This is the Watch

that was broken for you”..

And the body of the hours

now broken for them on a platter

so that they might never

have to break the hours again;

“This is the Time

that was spent for you”.

The Ban on Straw

Reports have come to light

that Camels’ backs

have been broken

by Straw;

So, from tomorrow the government,

following expert scientific advice,

is urging all manufacturers

of straw to cease production

and all consumers of straw

to use alternative materials;

The ban on straw usage will

extend to the tubular pipes

used for drinking and all products

that might include actual straw itself;

The mortality rate amongst

herds of Camels exposed to straw

has reached pandemic proportions

and needs to be reduced;

until then:

members of the public are advised to

stay away from straw of any kind

and keep well away

from anyone using straw

or a straw.

Stay safe.

ROOM 42 ( by Susan McCartney )


The fog crept on kitten-cat paws

A comforting grey blanket

Holding a hint Of frost and coal dust

‘Bye Mam. See you later.’

Maggie, 17, might have called

Closing the door

heading for her last shift

at National Filling Factory No 1

Tuesday, 5th December, 1916

The fog, tiger-like

padded around Barnbow

A yellow miasma

engorged with TNT and cordite,

Staining skin entering lungs and livers

tapping sulphurous claws

on doors, windows

Widows Of Filling Factory No 1 watching

Waiting For the inevitable

Then,,10.27 pm

With a monster roar

It came

Earth and ear shattering

with screams

Scattered limbs,

hisses of scalding water running scarlet

Plumes of toxic fumes

and the smell of blood

The fog sucked it in

that scene designed by Dante.

Then satisfied with its carnage,

It turned yellow eyes

towards the city

whilst those remaining

picked up the pieces

Of Room 42

By Susan McCartney

Foot Note: The explosion, in Room 42 of the munitions factory at Barnbow, took the lives of 35 girls and women. Many more died later of shock, their injuries, and TNT poisoning. Some unidentified. They were nicknamed the ‘Canaries’ because of their yellow skin – chemicals having entered their livers. It was a foggy night. A veil of secrecy was drawn over the dreadful event. The full facts remain shrouded. Even now. Maggie Barker, 17, from Kippax. A victim.

(This is original work presented at Writers Assemble who meet fortnightly at The Junction Pub,Castleford,West Yorkshire.The group is a community development project of Destiny Poets)

End of Empire

Magnolia-scented archipelago morning,
camouflaged gun-carriages
slinking along
taut cobblestoned arteries
to the grand Palace de Ville;
half-awake kepi’d corporals
tune battered transistor radios
catching the tresses of
fleeting Francoise Hardy chansons,
their spiritual melange of
love,hope and understanding
struck down by the
bayonet sharp rays of the sun
glinting on pristine marble statues,
quiescent cherubs of moments
dawning and dying,
holding thoughts in thrall
evoking a lassitude that will never
see its own likeness again
in all the mirrors
that blank and fade,
as the first of the artillery
heralds the crucifixion
of Coup d’etat.