Congratulations to Hallmark of Harmony, a premier men’s barbershop, a cappella chorus in Britain, for achievement in Chorus of Champions Competition

c Hallmark of Harmony, 2019

“We are back up in Sheffield now after one of the best weekends in this chorus’ history. We’ve been absolutely overwhelmed with the messages of love and support that we have received over the last couple of days. The British barbershop community is a truly wonderful thing and we are so proud to be part of it. There are far too many groups and individuals to thank but to everyone that has helped us on our journey, to everyone who stopped one of our members at convention to say congratulations and to everyone that has taken the time to send us a message since the weekend; we are eternally grateful and hugely humbled.” Hallmark of Harmony

We’re proud of and absolutely delighted for our friend and member of The BeZine core team, John Anstie (My Poetry Library and 42), and his friends and colleagues in Sheffield’s Hallmark of Harmony (HH) , a premier men’s barbershop, a cappella chorus in Britain.

Hallmark of Harmony logo (posted under Fair Use)

As part of a British Association of of Barbershop Singers 2019 Chorus of Champions Competition, HH just achieved best score of 83.2% under the musical direction of Tim Briggs.

John Anstie

Here is a sampling of HH in action. If you are viewing this from an email subscription, you’ll probably need to link through to the site to view the entire post. John is the gentleman on your left, second row, with hand over heart. The Hallmark of Harmony website is HERE.


Recent in digital publications: 
* Four poems in “I Am Not a Silent Poet”
* Three poems in Levure littéraire
Upcoming in digital publications:
“Remembering Mom,” HerStry
“Over His Morning Coffee,” Front Porch Review

A homebound writer, poet, and former columnist and associate editor of a regional employment newspaper, my work has been featured widely in print and digital publications including: Ramingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander Cove, I Am Not a Silent Poet, The Compass Rose and California Woman. I run The Poet by Day, an info hub for poets and writers and am the founding/managing editor of The BeZine.

“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton


Pine Cone, a poem by John Anstie for his granddaughter and to honor 100,000 Poets (and Friends) for Change

“Grandchildren restore our zest for life and our faith in humanity.” Anon

In the midst of turmoil,
our Mother Earth besieged
by bloody conflict,
in a world beleaguered
by well healed negligence,
humanity is laced
with latent evil …
its one great flaw.

Children are dying
We are dying with you.
I am crying for you.

Yet, whilst this goes on,
you walk the woods,
harvesting your pine cones
and put them in your wishing well,
your unconscious prayer
for a better world,
for love, for life,
that sow the seeds
of perfect purity
in heart and mind,
that will not fade with time.
This is the magnificence,
the magic of your spirit
that is untouched
by a tainted world.

Then, in one gesture,
one single act of generosity,
of utterly moving faith,
you beckoned me
come close to you.
You looked me in the eyes;
and I was hypnotised.
Then, you gave it to me,
one single piece of magic,
a piece of nature’s bounty,
and bade me keep its secret
as covert as a spy.

Each time I hold your gift,
when we are far apart,
I’ll think of you and
remember this moment,
by which you have renewed
my faith in all our futures.

You could melt the heart,
like chocolate on a Summer’s day.
You could soften steel
in hardened minds.
You and your magic
are our future.

© 2018, poem and words below, John Anstie, All rights reserved; photo illustration, male Cedar of Lebanon, courtesy of Rosser1954 and generously released into the public domain.

“Five years ago, my then 4-year old granddaughter gave me a pine cone. She had found it as we walked in the woods and called me to her, very secretively, and put it in my hand, confiding in me that it was magic secret and that I should tell no one. She bade me keep the secret, which I have done for five full years. Today, 29th September, is the annual celebration of the campaign that calls itself “100,000 Poets for Change” (100TPC), one of whose initiatives for 2018 is to read a poem to a child … finally I feel today is the day that I should share that magic moment with the world for the sake of the mission of Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion, who established the 100TPC and its mission of peace and sustainability; and for the BeZine and its founder and Chief Editor, Jamie Dedes, whose mission is to promote peace, sustainability and social justice. Let us appreciate, value and respect our more …

… thank you Jessica.”


COME OUT AND STAND FOR PEACE, SUSTAINABILITY and SOCIAL JUSTICE: This is just one sample of the work being shared by poets and writers for 100,000 Poets (and Friends) for Change (100TPC) Global 2018.  Join us at The BeZine Virtual 100TPC to read and to share. Support this extraordinary Global push for peace, sustainability and social justice.

John Anstie

JOHN ANSTIE (My Poetry Library and 42) ~ is a British writer, poet and musician –  a multi-talented gentleman self-described as a “Family man, Grandfather, Occasional Musician, Singer, Amateur photographer and Film-maker, Apple-MAC user, Implementation Manager, and Engineer”. He has participated in d’Verse Poet’s Pub and is a player in New World Creative Union as well as a being a ‘spoken-voice’ participant in Roger Allen Baut’s excellent ‘Blue Sky Highway‘ radio broadcasts. He’s been blogging since the beginning of 2011. He is also a member of The Poetry Society (UK).

Recent publications are anthologies resulting from online collaborations among two international groups of amateur and professional poets. One of these is The Grass Roots Poetry Group (Petrichor* Rising. The other group is d’Verse Poet Pub, in which John’s poetry also appears The d’Verse Anthology: Voices of Contemporary World Poetry, produced and edited by Frank Watson.

Petrichor – from the Greek pɛtrɨkər, the scent of rain on the dry earth.


As a part of his commitment to 100TPC John Anstie was at Grimm & reading poems to children and young people at lunchtime.

November 3, 2018


John is also a bass singer with Hallmark of Harmony. Mark your calendars for what promises to be a most enjoyable event.

Click on the posters to see all the details.


Poet and writer, I was once columnist and associate editor of a regional employment publication. Currently I run this site, The Poet by Day, an information hub for poets and writers. I am the managing editor of The BeZine published by The Bardo Group Beguines (originally The Bardo Group), a virtual arts collective I founded.  I am a weekly contributor to Beguine Again, a site showcasing spiritual writers.

My work is featured in a variety of publications and on sites, including: Levure littéraure, Ramingo’s PorchVita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation PressThe Bar None GroupSalamander CoveSecond LightI Am Not a Silent PoetMeta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman.

Thoughts and Guidelines on the Call for Submissions to the October Issue of “The BeZine” themed Music

John Anstie

” Musick has charms to soothe a savage breast “
~ Playwright and Poet, William Congreve (1670-1729), in his 1697 play, ‘The Mourning Bride’.

A letter from John:

In asking for submissions of writing, poetry, art and even music itself for the Music themed October issue of The BeZine, I am conscious that the very subject of music leaves us with a huge scope. But if I am to offer any guidelines as to what you could think about in submitting work, it might be as follows.

My personal perspective on the value of poetry has some relevance here. It is a belief that poetry should always be one step removed from the obvious, the logical and rational, in order for it to awaken the right brain, the creative side of our amazing abilities as humans; to stimulate the visceral (as opposed to the purely intellectual, rational, ‘logical’) response. In turn, this has the potential to stimulate a fresh approach to solving the challenges, be they personal or global. This hits on the core mission of The BeZine in a big way.

But if poetry has this potential power to stimulate a new way of thinking outside the framework imposed by a culture of consumerism, greed and material comfort, as opposed to our social well-being, then music does so with a vengeance. It is truly visceral without the constraints of language. Of course, when the poetry of lyrics is introduced to create song, then there is the opportunity to create something that is greater than the sum of its parts; synergy. It can provide something that dwells in the conscious and even subconscious for a lifetime – whoever forgets the words and melody of a song that they heard at a very poignant moment in their lives, which continues to inhabit a special place in memory, resonate and invoke the most emotional response every time it is heard. Some might argue this is ‘just an over-emotional response’, but I would say that it could be, nay is a key to how we may bring humanity together.

So that may be the most long-winded, not to say ‘visceral’ guideline to what I’m thinking for this issue. But I hope if nothing else it helps to focus your thoughts, as if they needed to be focused in the first place!

As ever, there are no imposed constraints, if you can provide anything with a musical theme, be it an explanation in prose or poetry of why you love a particular piece or genre of music, or even and especially a link to your favourite song or symphony, aria or opera, concerto or cantata, please let us have it. It could also be a reason why, in some instances music, song, an anthem can be used against our interests, in shoring up a malevolent dictatorship, for example, or promoting anti-social behaviours. It could equally be a short history of folk music, which often tends to tell the stories of the downtrodden masses, or of unrequited love, or … your own story. All is relevant to the October’s theme.

There are, in my book of music, no boundaries to its variety and opportunity for new arrangements and collaborations that stand to provide us and future generations with food for love and peace and social justice and to sustain us all in that future. ”

Peace and love

THE BeZINE submissions for the October 2017 issue – themed Music – are open and the deadline is October 10thSend submissions to me [Jamie] at Publication is October 15th. Poetry, essays, fiction and creative nonfiction, art and photography, music (videos or essays), and whatever lends itself to online presentation is welcome for consideration. No demographic restrictions and submissions of work relative to our country and its history and culture are welcome. The more diverse the representation, the better. English only or accompanied by translation into English. Please check out a few issues first and the Intro/Mission Statement and Submission Guidelines. We do not publish anything that promotes hate or violence.  The lead for the October issue is Sheffield poet and musician, John Anstie (My Poetry Library and 42).

  • CALLING ALL POETS, WRITERS, ARTISTS AND MUSICIANS: We need your most passionate work on September 30 for The BeZine 100,000 Poets (and other artists and friends) for Change live online event.
  • Heads-up on the November zine: The theme is Hunger, Poverty and Working-class Slavery. Deadline: November 10. 

JOHN ANSTIE (My Poetry Library and 42) ~ is a British writer, poet and musician –  a multi-talented gentleman self-described as a “Family man, Grandfather, Occasional Musician, Singer, Amateur photographer and Film-maker, Apple-MAC user, Implementation Manager, and Engineer”. He has participated in d’Verse Poet’s Pub and is a player in New World Creative Union as well as a being a ‘spoken-voice’ participant in Roger Allen Baut’s excellent ‘Blue Sky Highway‘ radio broadcasts. He’s been blogging since the beginning of 2011. He is also a member of The Poetry Society (UK) and is one of the stellar team that comprises The Bardo Group Begines, publishers of The BeZine.

  • Sheffield in Harmony hosted by Hallmark of Harmony (Poet John Anstie’s group), October 7, 2017, Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Firth Court. Firth Hall. Sheffield University. “Hallmark of Harmony’s annual production will showcase the considerable barbershop singing talent of our great city. We are proud to share the stage with Sheffield Harmony, who are among the leading female barbershop choruses in the UK. Moreover, this stellar lineup will be complemented by no less than UK champions and World Silver Medallist Mixed quartet, Hannah and the Hurricanes! This is going to be a phenomenal show.” Tickets HERE.

Here is an interview of John. I [Jamie] invite you to get to know him better:  Petrichor Rising and how the Twitterverse birthed friendships that in turn birthed a poetry collection