Bordeaux Bay

Bordeaux Bay
Bordeaux Bay by Guernsey-based artist Tony Taylor

Sunday, 29 November 2020


Bullying is a distinctive pattern of repeatedly and deliberately harming and humiliating others, specifically those who are smaller, weaker, younger or in any way more vulnerable than the bully.

Psychology Today


You must be? She said my surname. Her voice, low and sweet. I answered, Yes, and thought … she looks just like him.
Jimmy Mackey was my brother, she told me. You know that he died? I know, I heard, I mumbled. So sorry for your loss.
He thought the world of you, she told me with a smile. This damn school brought him so much grief but you saved him from the worst of it. He really was in awe of you: his truest friend ... her words tailed off.
I pictured him: the crooked specs and wounded stare, the pallid, vulnerable skin, already marked for victimhood. Fourteen years old with four more years of hell stretching out before him. Wee Mackey. A kid with Hurt Me printed on his puny chest.
I bullied him. We all did that. I was less harsh than most and once even intervened to save him from the worst of it, but I was never friend to him: lads like that were soft as shite and no one ever chose them as a friend.
We stood together in the old Assembly Hall, his sister and I. Waiters flickered to and fro, like white bats, navigating among the crowd of Old Boys and their families by means of high, inaudible squeaks.
I bet you two had some great times? She said and looked at me expectantly. I almost answered, but held my tongue instead.


Friday, 20 November 2020


The 35th President of the United States, John F Kennedy, was assassinated on 22nd November 1963 in Dallas, Texas, by Lee Harvey Oswald.

Oswald, lying in wait in a high building, fired on the presidential motorcade as it was passing through Dealey Plaza.

Kennedy, fatally wounded, was rushed to nearby Parkland Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead about 30 minutes after the shooting.

The assassination has proved to be one of those pivotal moments in contemporary history, like the Twin Towers attack, that will remain fixed in the minds of those who were alive at the time. 

Shortly after his arrest, and whilst in custody, Oswald was himself assassinated, giving rise to a multitude of conspiracy theories.


The motorcade moves steadily,

as time does, towards history.

Three limousines, sedate and slow,           

glide through the Dallas noonday glow.

A white Ford leads, while, at the back,

sleek as a shark, a Cadillac

and in between, smooth chrome and mirrors,  

a Lincoln Continental purrs.

Outriders, vigilant and keen,

tough cops, cool, muscular and lean,

on Harley-Davidsons, survey 

a festive, jubilant display.

The President, young, debonair,

beneath a boyish mop of hair,

shares with the world his winning smile,

his charismatic sense of style.

His modish wife, serene and proud,

waves to the rapt, adoring crowd

of smiling faces, black and white,

expressions optimistic, bright,

that sways excitedly to cheer 

as, steadfastly, the drivers steer

to Dealey Plaza up ahead,

a routine job, no cause for dread,

nothing to hint that, from today,

bright screens will constantly replay 

the coming moments, frame by frame,

as devotees call out his name,

JFK, Kennedy ... a hymn.

The noonday light appears to swim

as, past the captivated throng,                

three cars cruise steadily along,

one hard-top car, two open-top,

into the moment time will stop,

into to the space that fate dictates                              

where Oswald, the assassin, waits.


Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Sunday, 15 November 2020


The parish church of St. Sampson is the oldest of Guernsey's parish churches, standing on the coast where St Sampson de Bretagne landed in the sixth century, intending to convert the islanders to Christianity. 



When young I’d prowl among headstones,

examine weathered dates and names,

admire old plinths with skulls and bones

or crosses or engraver’s claims.

Death had allure and, thrillingly, 

its strange, exotic pageantry,

was then unreal, remote to me.

Not now, when age afflicts these bones,

uneven ground portends a trip

and bending down to study stones

can make these damn bifocals slip.

It all seems far too real for me: 

death’s bloody grim finality,

its awful anonymity.


Wednesday, 11 November 2020


Today, the 11th November, we commemorate Armistice Day, the end of the four years of carnage known as World War 1.
The Battle of the Somme, and particularly the bloody first day with its appalling loss of nearly 60,000 British troops, stands out as one of the most infamous of that bloody conflict.
The 36th (Ulster) Division alone lost more than 2,000 men that day and commemoration of their blood sacrifice has been an intrinsic part of Ulster loyalist tradition ever since. 
The Division's insignia was the Red Hand of Ulster. 


July 1, 1916.

What mad, fierce courage, what death-knell
drew them, against all common sense,
into the Pit of No Man’s Land,
the bloody butcher-shop of Hell,
into the waiting German guns?
What chinless imbecile’s command
led them to mount a flawed offense
on the entrenched, awaiting Huns?  

We can but hope adrenaline,
an end to fearful waiting and
the shouts of comrades by their side,    
benumbed them when their frail, pale skin       
was shredded by machine-gun flak
as blood-companions fell and died.    
What chinless imbecile’s command
launched them but could not bring them back?

They fell, those gallant men, that day
in thousands and in thousands, died.
The streets and farms of Ulster wept,
a generation passed away,
and only names engraved in stone
remind us that a pledge was kept.
In war, the lowly must provide
a sacrifice in blood and bone. 

A century has passed, the fields
of northern France are lush and green. 
Life hurries on. The past is past
yet every year the tilled earth yields
war artifacts and, in a sense,     
awareness of the unsurpassed  
insanity of that obscene  
misjudgment and its consequence. 

Friday, 6 November 2020


This being November, it seems appropriate to feature this archive poem with a birthday theme.

I wrote it back in 2017 but it still seems relevant today. It’s clear that little has really changed in this mad world of ours. 


A bad-news day, so typical

of what we, daily, learn to call


Another war, a bomb outrage,

an earthquake,

a hurricane,

a virus rampant, uncontrolled,

another routine genocide,

the usual starving dispossessed

with hands outstretched

in supplication. 

Another day. So swiftly now

discarded hours, like autumn leaves,

accumulate. So we grow old.

Another birthday. 

Earnestly, I tell myself, 

be unafraid;

believe that, daily, hope sustains, 

that, by some grace, tranquility

will fill the earth like sudden flowers;

that, somehow, love will be enough.