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Wednesday, 31 October 2012


On this day in 1926,
Harry Houdini died,
the man who escaped from water tanks
and the various ways he was tied.

He scoffed at chains and ropes and cuffs,
as audiences watched agape
but he could not avoid the inevitable.......
..........from the Reaper there is no escape.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012


The Poems of Robert Browning - Wordsworth Poetry Library

Wordsworth Poetry Library Wordsworth Editions
The poet, the poetry reader, the teacher, the student of language and literature, and lovers of wonderful words generally and classical works specifically, have an opportunity with Wordsworth Editions to invest as little as £3.99 in books that have stood and will continue to stand the test of time.  Visit the Wordsworth Editions website to see the full range of books available. 

I was listening to music on my iPod recently, having set the little machine to “shuffle”, a kind of random lottery approach to music selection.  I struck a seam of rather noisy rock songs when what I really wanted was something gentler and calming.  Suddenly, it was there. Clifford T. Ward, late, lamented English singer-songwriter, performing “Home Thoughts From Abroad”, his composition that references the poem of the same name written by Robert Browning. Ward’s song is not Browning’s poem set to music, but it is one of the saddest and most emotional records ever made, in my soppy opinion.

It prompted me to revisit Robert Browning’s work and I started, as nudged, with “Home Thoughts” – “Oh, to be in England, now that April’s here…..” – a wonderful, sincere, relatively simple but wholly effective poem about homesickness and a craving for normal, ordinary things.  But, good though it is, this poem does not really define Browning who was a complex individual with a passion for drama and character creation.  He explored moods and was moody.  He revelled in detailed descriptions and in experimentation with words and phrases.  He wrote as an intellectual but also as a romantic.

This Wordsworth Edition – well over 1,000 pages at £3.99 – captures all of his major works and browsing through it, I was struck by the power of his heavyweight poetry and, occasionally, surprised by his lighter touch.  As a published poet, he had a rollercoaster career, enjoying successes and enduring failures along the way.

I enjoyed “Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister”, the musings of a grumpy monk.

I was more than a little disturbed by “Porphyria’s Lover”, a poem of passion that ends in tragedy: “All her hair/in one long yellow string I wound/three times her little throat around/and strangled her. No pain felt she/I am quite sure she felt no pain.”

“Fra Lippo Lippi” introduced another monk, this time one occupied with analysing the whys and wherefores of art: ”If you get simple beauty and naught else/you get about the best thing God invents.”

I shivered at the sinister nature of the Duke, in “My Last Duchess”, who more than a little irked by his flirting wife: “She had a heart – how shall I say? – too soon made glad/too easily impressed; she liked whate’er/she looked on, and her looks went everywhere.”

There are many poems to thrill, to surprise, to shock, to amuse and to challenge the reader here.

But, I found joy in the poems that Browning wrote for and about his wife Elizabeth Barrett. From the sequence “Men and Women”, the poem “One Word More” is the poet’s dedication of the volume to his wife:

“God be thanked, the meanest of his creatures/boasts two soul-sides, one to face the world with/one to show a woman when he loves her!”

Robert Browning – intellectual, provocative, passionate, playful, romantic – one of poetry’s giants.

Monday, 29 October 2012


Circling high 
with beady eyes,

ready to swoop,
attack, surprise,
emblem of the blame culture,

the voracious, persistent
media vulture.

Saturday, 20 October 2012


Retail Confidential

Coming soon - Joe Cushnan's Book Shop

Retail Confidential - already available

3 new books out before the end of the year

Wednesday, 17 October 2012


I am still concerned about some odd looking viewing figures on some of the posts here, but I thought I'd drop in with news of a few poetry projects in the pipeline.

Over the years, and certainly via this blog, I have accumulated quite a lot of poems on a variety of subjects. 3 all at once seems like a mini-avalanche but, as I say, this material was already written.

As the material is finished and available, I have selected and edited 3 volumes that will be available to order online as paperbacks at very good prices.  More details on that as and when......

So look out for news on these books:

Hamish Sheaney: The Nearly-Man of Irish Literature - partly a spoof on a certain Irish poet and partly an excuse to throw in some of the more general funnier stuff I've written.

Geek! Because of the Music - an "epic" poem about collecting CDs and a variety of haikus, verse and thoughts on music generally.

A Belfast Kid - Selected poems about my upbringing, some personal and some observations about Belfast.

Coming soon!

Saturday, 13 October 2012


Dropped The Moon blog has been getting some very weird, highly-inflated viewing figures in the last day or so.

Think we're being screwed up by a gremlin.

Closing down for a while.

Might see you soon.

Might not.


I feel like a cat
eighth life gone, just one life left - 
cling by a whisker

Friday, 12 October 2012


COMING SOON - NEW BOOKS BY JOE CUSHNAN: Stephen Boyd: From Belfast To Hollywood - Story of a Film Star & Hamish Sheaney: The Nearly-Man of Irish Literature - Funny Poems & Other Stuff

Working on two more - one on leadership/bosses and another on music-related poetry

More details to come........

Thursday, 11 October 2012


No parking
I park there

Keep off the grass
I walk on it

No entry
I enter there

Keep clear
I block it

No speeding
I accelerate

No smoking
I light up

Quiet please
I shout loud

No overtaking
I crash head on

No angels
I burn in hell

Wednesday, 10 October 2012


There he was,
a lonely, depressed pizza base,
the last base in the place,
not chosen for eat-in or takeaway,
the last base at the end of a busy day,
unnecessary, unwanted, unloved,
his only option, he sighed and sagged,
as he lay all alone on the kitchen shelf,
was to end it all and top himself.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012


The man who was fed up with the world,
the man who was fed up with living,
the man who was fed up with people,
in a life of more taking than giving.

The man who was tired of it all,
the man who finally cracked,
the man who stood right on the edge,
deciding to step forward or back.

Is that the best you can do?
Are these the only colours you know?
Each time it appeared, he'd rant at the sky
and berate the complacency of the rainbow.

Sunday, 7 October 2012


The all-time top 10 viewed on this site has changed a bit in recent days for some reason.  Here is the latest - just click to read!

  • It was the highlight of the year, apart from toys on Christmas day, to see the outdoor crib where the baby Jesus lay. Memory and matur...
  • This poem comes from a collection of spoof verse called "The Life & Poetry of Hamish Sheaney". Some of the work has featured on BBC...
  • The Hillsborough disaster occurred when 96 Liverpool fans died after they were crushed within Sheffield Wednesday's stadium during the 1989 ...
  • ZEAL By Andrew Bailey Enitharmon £9.99 For another review project, I have been...
  • The old potter told us that Mick Jagger's chateau was not far away, so we drove towards Poce sur Cisse in the hope that we would find...
  • He looked at the painting on the wall, then stared far out into his own past, to a distance that only he could travel, to a memory of wor...
  • Privacy's a precious thing, but can be ruined in a flash,  stolen by photographers who want a load of cash. Listen all celebrities, ...
  • From 9 July 2012: Based loosely on the format of the song The Scottish Soldier........... There was a player, a Scottish player wh...
  • Here are the most viewed poetry posts in the past seven days - just click to read: CLINT FOR MITT WILLIAM WORDSWORTH - THE COLL ...
  • Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy is to be awarded the 2012 Pen Pinter Prize.  The annual prize, in memory of the platwright Harold Pinter, is...