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TheFED writing Challenge

for December 2009 is




Suggested by
The Vale House Project Workshop

at TheFED 2009 London MiniFest


Writing can be in any form or style,

poetry or prose. 

Please encourage the rest of your group to participate, especially those who do not have access to the Internet. 

Please say which writing group (if any)
you are a member of.


All submissions will be included in



You can send your writing through


Clicking on the 'Reply' button

which can be found

at the top and bottom of this message box.

TheFED Guestbook

Jan Hedger

A Red Kite


‘Look my son!  Look

There’s a kite flying high’

‘Where Daddy, where?

Let me see!

But it has no string,

No tail of red ribbons                                                    

It has no one controlling its flight’

‘Ah, no my son, it needs no string

No tail of red ribbons

No hand controlling its flight

For it’s a kite of the air

A kite that is free’

Jan Hedger


Jan Hedger



I want to be

as tall as a mountain

as alive as the sea

as high as the sky,

I want to be free


Free to run

through fields of green

to bask in the sun

to dance in the rain,

Free to have fun


To sleep when I tire

in a bed soft and warm

in front of a fire

safe and secure,

Free from the wire


I want to be fed

know hunger no more

a stroke on the head

love, and a home,

not a cage in a shed


I lie here forlorn

cold and alone

waiting for dawn

for someone to come

       Oh, why was I born?


     A forgotten puppy is what I am

     Brought for Christmas, name of Sam

      Jan Hedger



Jan Hedger


Just a Pebble


I am just a pebble

upon the rocky shore

A pebble amongst pebbles

lost and insecure

No home have I

no one to love

Just a pebble amongst pebbles

upon the rocky shore.

The sea it washes over me

cools me from the sun

my only chance of freedom

I have no legs to run

to catch it as it leaves me

just a pebble amongst pebbles

upon the rocky shore.

Jan Hedger



Jan Hedger





My fingers are torn and bleeding

My skin has shrunk to my bones

I have no strength, such is my hunger

Starvation is cruel and unyielding

And the cold, always the cold

Their is no heat here in Ho8

‘The tunnels below the earth’.

I swing my pick axe, and a

Small piece of rock falls at my feet

It is not enough; they are angry

The blows from their sticks

Fall upon my shoulders

I tell myself I am immune!

But I am not, and it hurts

I feel unbearable pain

Would my mama recognise me now?

The once proud son she bore?

I think not; I cry out for her

Mama, mama! And they beat me once more.

Close by an explosion echoes

Showering us in red sandstone dust

Now we are not so different

Brothers; eyes locked in fear

For they have a mama too.

The heavy sound of footsteps

Cuts into the moment; they are panicking

I am hauled to my feet

And forced to join the slow moving ranks

Of the lost souls of men

Slaves of the German Third Reich

Leaving their dead behind.

The passage is long and the way unstable

An old man slips and falls

Amongst the polished boots

Desperately his fingers clasp my ankle

He calls to me ‘Comrade, I beg of you’

I ignore him and shake him free

In my single-mindedness to reach the light.

Oh! Such bitter sweet relief

To taste the sweet, sweet air

I close my eyes and am lost in its freedom

My mind elsewhere; I see papa!

Working the land of my birth

But no; it is the old man that is there!

Oh my papa! My papa! Forgive me!

I couldn’t help him! Dear God, I couldn’t help him!

And as the evening sky descends upon me

I fall to my knees in repentance

My darkness is absolute.



Footnote; This poem is for all those who suffered, and for those who lost their lives in the construction of the ‘Hohlsgangsanlagen’ - What we know today as The Jersey War Tunnels/Underground Hospital - During the German occupation of the Channel Islands.

Jan Hedger


Jan Hedger

A Flower of the Mountain


I would grow beside the cool crystal water

To bear witness to the birth of its being

With its orchestration of musical sound

Pure and sweet in its joy of living

Tumbling and twisting and rushing to be

A winding river that leads to the sea


I would unfurl mine eye to meet the sun

And there in its light an eagle is soaring

With powerful ease and beauty sublime

Bronzed and golden wings far- reaching

Rising and falling and proud to be

Untamed, unfettered and wild like me


For the flower I’d be, is the person I am

A seasoned survivor through adversity

With delicate strength of gentian blue

Uncomplicated in my simplicity

Alone, but oh; never lonely am I

In such beauty, at one with the sky

Jan Hedger


this poem was first published in a book by the Basement writers "Joined up writing" 1990

The Seeds are Sown - The Berlin Wall


"Freedom" the cry goes up

the gate is open

the exodus has been completed

and Germany is once more a nation.


I feel the tears sting my eyes

a fear perhaps from the past

hatred built on past events,

I remember another people

who cried for freedom

as gates fenced them in

on all sides.

Memories from my childhood.


My people herded like cattle

exterminated like lice

perhaps even worse

experimented on like guinea pigs,

children pulled from their mothers' arms

ears were deaf to their cries;

Germany has much to answer for.


And now fifty years on

their children cry and are heard,

The world rejoices

but my heart cannot forget,

The nightmare remains.


sally flood (newham writers)







When I sat upon the bench

behind the rows of machinery

I dreamed of all the things

that I would rather be.


I heard the rumble from above

the traffic on the highway

down in the basement factory girls

like me, were looking for the rainbow.


The rush when day was over

so much there was to do

the childrens' wants were foremost

the days just simply flew.


Retirement made things easy

no looking at the clock

time was mine to squander

then "Freedom" turned to mock.


From here within my wheelchair

my independance gone

for freedom is a nonsense

"Old age" is just a con.



Marie Neumann

Growing old

Two dry leaves are playing
hide and seek on the street.
Grey beads of days
create a necklace.
Peaceful feeling
about not attracting
anybody anymore.
Freedom, more freedom
I ever wished for.
"Today are only few things
which could hurt me."
He sounded good when he said:
"Last Sunday I threw a weapon into the lake."
"Was it frozen?"
"Nobody nowhere " isn't about me.
Why I feel so soft hearted then?
Thomas Ritchie



Thomas Ritchie



          “No?” She asked incredulous.

          He looked up from what he had been doing, pretending to do.

          “No.” He said flatly.

          “What do you mean no? That’s it, just no?”


          He could tell by the look on her face she was going to insist. He felt a flurry of anxiety in his belly wanting to spread. He did not let it.

          “We’re not even going to talk about it?”

          “Talk about what?” He felt a coldness spreading in him. Anxiety turning to a low grade fear. It angered him. He could tell she was anxious too, afraid. It did not make anything better.

          “I want to take a little break. That’s all. I feel so…” She groped. “Stifled I guess.”

          “I heard what you said.”

          “I know damn well you did.” She replied hotly.

          “And I said no.”

          “Why?” She was honestly at a loss. “It wouldn’t be forever. Probably.”

          She was going to force it, at least the talking about it. He did not want to talk about it. He felt suddenly hot, his temper close. He wanted to yell. He wanted to smash things. He did not want to talk about it. He bit down, checked himself.

          “Because.” He said finally.

          “Because.” She said contemptuously.

          His anger flashed. “Yeah. Because. I’m not sitting here waiting for you to make up your mind. Hanging by a thread. You’re in or you’re out.”

          “I just want to do some things on my own. That I don’t get to do.”

          “What don’t you get to do?” He flared and her eyes flared back. They both looked away knowing where that would go.

          “Look. I’m not waiting for you to come back and then run into you somewhere with someone else. Or have Doug or Gerry tell me they saw you with someone else. I am not sitting here like a Goddamn fool. You understand? I won’t do it. You’re in or you’re out. We make it work or we call it quits for good.”

          He looked directly at her, and she at him for a long time. Then she looked away and nothing more was spoken of it.

          That night, in bed, they lay back to back. Each very aware of the other. It was a very long time before either of them slept.

Jan Hedger
As you please by Thomas Ritchie
A great and believable story - well written and composed. A very clever ending!
Wonderful to have the work of POW on this site!
Hands across the water!
Jan Hedger

Bruce Barnes


And three is in the essence of an Irish riddle,
(three being the Trinity, three being one more and     much less than the number you first thought of).
So what are the three freedoms ?:
the 'threedom' to say what you want, even tonguetwisters,
the freedom to want what you say and
for safety sake keep on wanting, 
the freedom from safe keeping 

Bruce-fed friend
Jan Hedger

In a Lazy Meadow

Oh butterfly, butterfly

Flutter by flutter by

When did you wake

From your pupae state

Was it this morning

When the sun was high

In the bright blue sky

Did you spread your wings

In it’s heat to dry

Oh flutter by flutter by

My pretty little butterfly

Parade your wondrous colours

So that all can see

The rich tapestry

Of Mother Natures artistry

Vivid, bold, a delicate hue

Red; yellow and cornflower blue

Paper wings as soft as a whisper

Flitting floating in the gentle breeze

Fluttering by fluttering by

My pretty little butterfly

Can you feel the buzz of the busy bees?

As they go about their work

Collecting nectar from the flowers

Freshly scented by summertime showers

Can you hear the sound of the lark above?

Or the soft coo cooing of the turtle dove

Do you see the beauty all around?

As you flutter by flutter by

My pretty little butterfly

Where do you sleep?

When the day grows cold

And night falls upon the land

Come my innocent friend

Come rest on my hand

To talk awhile, before,

You flutter by flutter by

My pretty little butterfly


Dedicated to my lovely Aunty Ruby, this poem of mine was her favourite.

On speaking at her funeral, I wished her ‘be in a lazy meadow, fly free now’.

Jan Hedger GROW





Jan Hedger
Hi - apologies!

The above poem A Lazy Meadow - has already featured in a previous challenge!
Sorry for the duplication - please do not post on the gallery, for this month's challenge!

Circus - clever and very well composed poem! Well done Ashley!

Regards Jan Hedger


Flight of Two Worlds



Freedom unfurled with,

Flight of outstretched pinions

Trapped in earthly sky

Till only death delivers,

The key to access heaven.

Jan Hedger GROW

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