One Child

“One child is enough for you, the rest you will discard.
It’s in our nation’s interest; this choice is not so hard.”
A parent’s pure delight is turned into a source of woe,
As they decide which child to keep and which they should let go.

Millions are torn to pieces while still in the womb,
Their tiny bodies adding to another smoky plume.
Many more are left to freeze upon a winter’s day,
Abandoned in the street as if they all can make their way.

Shafts of light come filtered through the roadside’s fragrant trees,
The smells of woks and pans at work, all carried by the breeze,
Piano music interrupted by a teacher’s scold,
None of this brings comfort to a little girl that’s cold.

She’d love someone to scold her for an errant finger placed,
Since then they’d think their time’s investment in her not a waste.
She pines for Grandma’s village hut, with its floor of earth,
Nought but worms to play with, but folk grateful for her birth.

She makes it all the way back ‘home’, but then is left once more,
Each time the police bring her back to that unloving door.
Until at last that father is imprisoned for his crimes,
The girl sent to an orphanage to see more pleasant times.

Those places, though, are more like prisons; she soon runs away,
But there is no long-term escape, the world is bleak and grey.
All these troubles teach her that all parents are a fraud,
That Mother State and Party are her only loving lord.

The chairman of a boarding school then contradicts this thought,
He takes her and her cellmates in and treats them as he ought,
As children, pupils, precious lives of worth and purity;
He sacrifices plenty to restore their dignity.

(For this and other kindnesses, he’s later thrown in jail,
Performing better than the state, that’s far beyond the pale!)
The school’s house mother lavishes her love on all of them,
Soothing all the fears and pain from which her anger stemmed.

As years go by, a loving family seems a distant dream,
No-one will adopt a girl who’s now into her teens;
She must now start to think of when she’ll be a full adult,
On her own, responsible for each choice and result;

Then comes the news of a kind couple from a distant land,
Who long to take her in and hold her with their loving hands.
They’ve sons and want a daughter; they’ve come thousands of miles
To love someone this state discards, to treasure her sweet smile.

Inside her, softly, safe despair gives way to deadly hope
That tempts her from her lonely ledge to grasp this rescue rope.
Her broken self will have to die to birth a new creation,
As she is flown to her new life in that wild, distant nation.

In that odd land, one child is precious—missed when they are gone;
For those strange folk, one child is valued—each and every one.

Greetings From Draishire Castle!

As some of you may know, today is my 40th birthday, and to celebrate, I have placed Nobility Among Us on a Kindle countdown deal, so the kindle e-book version is now available for only 99 cents at  until the end of the month. Before this deal runs out, Selected Verse: Faith and Family will also go on sale for 99 cents from the 28th of November to the 4th of December.


Unbeknownst to me, my awesome wife planned a surprise romantic long weekend away to Draishire Castle (in this timeline known as Chateau Hluboka), so I am appropriately writing this post from the shadow of the beautiful castle itself.


More pictures from our trip to the castle can be found here

Knights in Coloured Overalls

Knights in coloured overalls
Wave to their great devotees—
Two boys by a garden gate,
Who watch them ride their metal beast.

Dismounting, each with practiced grace,
They wheel great black sarcophagi
To their awesome monster’s maw;
It lifts, empties, then slowly bites.

Youth in wide-eyed wonder gasps
As evil pestilence is crushed,
Sequestered from the world most fair,
And banished to the realm of dust.

Their mission well met one more time,
They mount their fearsome steed and glide
To next-door’s vault of heinous waste
With puffed-out chests so full of pride.

Stock Image Promo Deal at Dreamstime!

Attention all my fellow self-pubbing authors!

I have no idea whether this is still running, but by chance I came across and took advantage of a special promo deal over at dreamstime today, through which I obtained the standard rights (including book cover art rights for up to 500,000 copies) for 5 high-resolution images of my choice from their very extensive paid royalty-free image library for 1.29 Czech crowns (approximately 5 US cents). Two of the images I chose are basically ready to use as covers immediately (e.g. see below), just needing to add the text, two more will require a little framing, and the last one (one I had my eye on for a good six to twelve months) will require a little more work, (probably combining with some other elements), so I’m 80% done with the covers for four of my next five projects, have a good foundation for the fifth, and am very happy.

Simply register an account there (which is free), immediately upon logging in it should offer you a special promo deal (at least it did after I recovered my old password and logged in), if not choose to buy a monthly subscription for 5 images per month, this week they are offering an almost 100% discount, choose your images from their library, download and back up, then go to your account and select ‘no’ to automatically renewing your monthly subscription.

If this promo deal is now over, my apologies for not getting the word out soon enough. I am in no way affiliated with dreamstime or getting any commission for this, I just thought I’d share my good fortune in coming across this deal at just the right time, for all of you who do your own covers.

Below is a low-res version of one of the images I grabbed, which I’ll be using for the cover of a fantasy short story I’m working on:Strangers in the Forest_small