Monday, 30 December 2013

Silent Worship 2013

Written 2013
Did you not see my lady?
I've been stalking her on Facebook,
surely you've seen her picture
you really ought to have a look,

I've fancied her for her an age,
she's in my class at school,
she makes my hormones rage,
she thinks I'm a spotty fool.
Though I would never look at her,
and though she would never look at me,
I've found a way of observing her,
that's exciting, but not guilt free.

There's a virus on her Android,
which means that she really can't avoid,
letting me see her close up,
when she is of clothes, devoid.

Oh surely you've seen my lady,
upon her bedroom chair?
Rivaling all the porn stars,
with her absence of pubic hair.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

High Tide

The tide is lapping brownly round the trees,
the water smelling salty and exciting
and in the dark, the gentle swilling seas
as they rise up, are quietly inviting.
The still, cold night, does not seem charged with fear,
the street lights burning greenly white and clear
accentuate the old domestic scene,
in contrast to the wildness in its midst
the tension now, just as it's always been.

The footpath by the grey-brown brine is kissed;
the licking, sucking, gentle, splashing sound,
is just the moon, taking its loving parting,
absenting, for a while, but not forsaking,
this piece of muddy, saturated ground.

An Enunciation at Bursea Chapel.

Two miles south west of 'Land of Nod,'
a little chapel sits,
of even orange, rustic brick;
to the tasteful glory of God,
designed by William Butterfield,
I think that's why it fits.

It glows in cheerful morning light
and welcomes its old friends,
to take communion in the warm
and strongly recommends itself
simplicity feels right.

The hymns, Ancient and Modern,
are quietly intoned
and o' er the prayer book's paths well trodden
the congregation bends,
and mumbles its responses,
with feeling, most well honed.

And you should hear the minister
who oversees proceedings
in Yorkshire-Oxford accent clear,
which voice repels the sinister,
and confirms joy and drives out fear,
what blessings are his readings!

And all upon this Sunday morn
within this chapel place
upon this warp land fertile fen,
because of God, His grace,
we heard the words of Betjeman,
spoken lugubriously,
each one sounding alone, forlorn,
like Alan Bennet being Eeyore,
so the congregation, me,
or anyone without the door,
might know what all this fuss is for,
might hear good news in accent clear
as we do this time of year,
and as we will continue to;
Alan Bennet being Eeyore:
"And is it true, And is it true?"

(I don' know where the centre of 'Land of Nod' is, it is sign posted from Tollingham and there is a bridal path to it off Skiff Lane)

Saturday, 28 December 2013

An Inside Frost (rondeau) or In Praise of Storm Windows

An inside frost, a common sight;
until this year, in bed at night,
I 'd feel the rime coating like mould
the sashes in the freezing cold,
and wake to find, in morning light,
interior glass with ferns bedight,
Despite the heating and despite
the wooden shutters, sagging, old,
an inside frost.
But this year cold has taken fright
and even when the moon shines bright,
the air behind the shutters' fold
upon the glass does not make bold
and curious imprints which delight -
an inside frost.

Friday, 27 December 2013

The Elements of Eloquence (The Pantomime Version)

Computers, tablets, mobile apparatuses,
news, lies and facebook statuses,
wit, punch lines and feeble ends,
friends, acquaintances and facebook friends,
address them with a TRICOLON,
and they'll all wonder what you're on,
that gives your news such strength and clarity,
at least they might if they're not lacking charity.

The ISOCOLON'S much more subtle,
not like to lead to a rebuttal,
join two statements both together;
"Share a status, boost an ego."
your friends might wonder whether
you've borrowed it from some amigo
"He takes a selfie on waking, a selfie when walking."
"And in the mirror, a selfie of taking a selfie of talking."

My favourite sort of sentence
 is the great SYLLEPSIS,
not likely to cause grammatical sepsis
make the first verb do for everything,
and then show no repentance;
"I put on the computer, a status on facebook, and a smile on your face."
And then, without a trace of irony;
"I took a hat, a coat, the dog for a walk, and an awesome selfie."
OK so it's not exactly Byron-y!

The POLYPTOTON gives rise to humour,
be careful not to start a rumour,
use a word with different parts of speech,
to touch those depths of silliness other sentences can't reach.
"Present me no presents,
for the only treat I ask is that you should treat me well,
and please use the swell
and please me when I hear you at the organ,
although I'll hear your pleas,
I'll never let you please me, here,
with  your organ's swell!"

The SYNECDOCHE requires one to become a body part,
if you can't it shows how dull thou art.
" What hand did this dreadful typo make?"
"Which finger touched the screen, which then auto-corwronged,
and lead my eyes to read this sad mistake?"

THE TRANSFERRED EPITHET requires you to apply
an adjective to the wrong noun, or at least to try,
"She typed the freezing text message in the church,
then dumped him creaking at the lychgate, and left him in the lurch."

If pointless negatives are your thing,
then the LITOTES's sure to bring
some comfort to your verse and prose.
"It would not be untrue to say I'm not tremendously pleased with my new profile pic."
It wouldn't be wrong to say that I never forgive bad speling. {sic.}

A sentence that is wrong but somehow right,
such that it does not induce emesis,
is that rather strange thing, the CATACHRESIS.
"I will speak mincepies but bake none"
said Nigella, which might have had her undone,
had she uttered it, without at first, having buttered it.

A sentence form much less calamitous,
is the really great CHIASMUS
"Type no blame and blame no typo."
is an example of how one might go,
"Ask not whether your friends have liked your status,
but if you have liked the statuses of your friends."
What you're doing here is making pompous statements,
then taking them, reversing them, and gluing them at the ends.
to form a whole that sounds uplifting,
it isn't, but it sure pretends!

The MERISM breaks things into its parts,
if you wish to sound legalistic and ignore people's hearts,
the BLAZON lists a lover's features,
as distinct from those of other creatures.

SYNASTHESIA smells the sights
of melodies, rumbling and bright.

If you put words in an order that's odd,
you run the risk of offending God,
this oddness is called HYPERBATON,
and nobody wants that on
their conscience, so think,
write before you drink:
opinion, size, age, shape, colour, origin, material, purpose, noun.
A lovely, small, old, round, red, Bulgarian, polyester, toy clown.

ANADIPLOSIS repeats the last word of a sentence
as the first word of the next,
"Sinners must seek repentance.
repentance leads to forgiveness.
Forgiveness leads to love.
Love leads to ...
APOSIOPESIS is three dots
which lead the imagination
to lots and lots and lots
of wrong conclusions
and unhealthy, sad delusions,
"I like you..."
Does that mean the opposite is true?
HYPOTAXIS is just long windedness;
it has no place on Facebook,
but if you want to have a look
read a Classical English novel,
and then proceed to grovel
at the brilliance
of the great sub clause,
which has stood the test of time
with such resilience.

And that is the end of eloquence,
explained in rhyme,

My December 27th, silly pantomime.

Watching The Gradual Appearance of Dawn as Described by the Shadows.

The dark destructive forces of the night,
have fled before the pink and creamy dawn,
and only jagged, crumpled, torn
remnants, formed as shadows in morning light
are hanging on the painted plaster wall.
All that remains is this greyness
which marks the shapes of objects, all
dappled and marbled with paleness
in patches of brilliant strangeness
whose edges are quite undefined.

The end of the blackness is clear
but, like an obvious metaphor for a state of mind,
as the shades of light's absence disappear
they fade seamlessly in their gradations,
and merge without seeming to blend.
and the old hand blown glass undulations,
which cause this display as they bend
the light, through the south eastern window,
are unconscious of their effect,
as the sun gains in strength, though it's low
in the sky, but one still can't detect
the moment of change...
then it's past.

The gramophone' s trumpet' s repeated,
there' s a fold where a shadow is pleated
as it echoes the curtain, and last
in the shades parade is the clock
with its swan neck pediment doubled
and its endless, soothing, tick and tock,
its quiet noise, untroubled
by this ancient rite,
which marks, without delineation
the ending of the night.


Those who can, drink,
those who can't, preach,
those who can, clean
those who can't bleach.
Those who can drink bleach
cannot thereafter think or preach
the virtues of cleanliness of thought,
nor can they confess
the drunkenness
which caused this mess.
The moral of this story isn't clear,
except you cannot clean your mind
with bleach, but have no fear,
though there is much that
is reduced by copious drinking,
including man's capacity for thinking,
his thoughts wouldn't often be so impaired such that
he might believe he was made of asbestos
and able to withstand a pint of Domestos.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Blazing Fire

Blazing fire
makes sleepy noises,
something like a dry sheet flapping,
as the logs and sticks are snapping,
and the orange flames are licking
up the chimney's black wool throat,
throwing out its heat and sapping
all one's will to stay awake.
Soporific warmth and hissing
sap in ash wood spitting,
sending me to dreamland sitting
by its side, head nodding,
dozing off to sleep while writing,
trying to describe it, fighting
its effect; a spontaneous reaction,
trying to reflect the sense of exultation,
at one's own creation
and something of the great attraction,
of a contained conflagration.
Blazing fire
makes sleepy noises,
something like the water lapping,
bits of gassy coal are cracking,
and the orange flames are licking
round the dry well seasoned timber,
falling like a metaphor
for how I'm drifting into slumber.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013


A mist above the water swirls  around;
the air is still, the sky dull grey; the sound
is tiny, lapping ripples, lullabies,
the water's surface taught and mill pond calm.
Then suddenly from  silence an alarm
a cry of shock, or terror or surprise,
as there, from out the muddy bank, arise
a pair of giant kelpies galvanised,
reflecting back the colour of the sky,
at this, the eerie breaking of the day,
and lesser, earthly creatures shrink away,
before the sight of each majestic beast,
the one who lifts her head and loudly cries,
the other who looks down, demure and sweet.
They vanish in the mist, but in the east,
A pair of nymphs, into the dawn, retreat.

BBC News - The Kelpies horse sculpture completed

Friday, 22 November 2013

November Sunset Over Drax

A cloud from Drax is grey now,
where moments ago it was white,
the sky is streaked with peach glow
where moments ago it was light
and a glorious beryl blue,
contrasting the leaves of the beech tree
in tones of an amber hue,
the last in this late autumn,
which now look  dull and few.
And as I watch, the cloud
turns a tint which has no rhyme,
accuracy can't help now,
we are running out of time
as the colours start to fade,
lilac into lavender, back to pigeon grey
and finally a shade of slate
as the last light leaves the day.

Friday, 15 November 2013

On the Joy of Argument.

You should not feel that argument is wrong,
but welcome it with open arms.
For what is better than to act
with impulse on your instinct and to pitch
your mind against your fellows'?  So go
from here into this world and start a row

with anyone. Demonstrate to them how they could grow,
if only their own thinking were not wrong.
Show them how, not all that long ago,
you thought like them, but loud alarms
kept sounding in your mind, and their shrill pitch
drove you to see the error of your ways. Act

as if upon a mission to persuade.  Question every 'fact'
and champion the cause of change.  Row
against the tide, certainty the pitch
that keeps the vessel of your argument afloat. It's wrong
to keep storms raging all the day, let them go
when you have said all you can say.  For this disarms

and opens up opponents' minds for change, pre-warms
the oven of their heads, to ideas you've put forth.  Have tact
and if, later, they quote your words, which, not so long ago
they had dismissed, relax, for this is how we grow.
Concentrate on finding other ways in which they're wrong
and challenge them on these, for what is better than to pitch

your wits against one you know can change.  Tell them black as pitch
is white as snow; see how far this argument can go. Take up arms
and thrust and tilt at windmills, making out they're wrong.
Demonstrate there's little that is fact.
Ideas which most others hold as good, will not go
easily away, so javelin like,  you must throw

your complex thoughts which undermine.  Show no sorrow,
for rugs are meant for pulling from under feet, to pitch
those standing on them where they choose not to go.
And there is little one can say that really harms
for very long, but the impact
of the fall might smart a while, as your fellows must adjust to being wrong.

Pitch a battle, question fact,
take up arms, don't let go,
start tomorrow, everyone else is wrong.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

University Surfing Club Guidance for Organ Scholars

Well there are no medals
for knowing the board doesn't have pedals,
there are no manuals and you should try and avoid stops,
pistons, let's not go there, especially in wet suits,
there are no trumpets, no flutes,
16 ft is not a suitable wave for a beginner,
you can play the organ after dinner,
but don't go surfing until you feel thinner.
But the swell,
that is something you have in common,
though you can't exactly control it with your feet,
you have to try, so,
remember it doesn't come in a box.
You might, on the swell, feel a little tremulant, at first,
but what's the worst
that could happen? You could drown,
but don't bother with your vox humana
you might just as well not,
you won't be heard over the roar
of the sea,
(much louder than tutti)
so just pipe down
acoustics aren't important.  But of course the great attraction
is  - it's all about action,
coupling, surely the point of all student activity
though an organist might find her fellow surfers proclivity
to speak of nothing else rather dull, and they make a lot of noise.
Wind of course is necessary to both,
and 'caught inside' means trapped by a wave,
nothing to do with hanky panky in the organ loft with choir boys,
or in the nave.

Friday, 1 November 2013

If Music be the Food of Love

My love, I shall change my pitch to thine,
an octave higher, so our sounds combine,
as in the air our bodies intertwine,
in aerobatic ecstacy divine.
And such sweet music shall we make
as in the wind we deftly procreate,
that human minds shall hear it and mistake
our song for one they hate.
But little will I care, when you are mine,
because we shall achieve the triple pleasure
of making love and music at our leisure,
while simultaneously seeking out such treasure
as human blood is, taken in large measure.
So come my love; let us both whine,

BBC News - Can the buzz of mosquitoes be art?

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Two Songs Juxtaposed

I move the earth from the great pile below,
back up the slope, to where the roses grow;
October sunshine warm upon my back;
the soil friable and currant black.
Then, talk, that's been the gentle background noise,
is broken by a song, a tenor voice,
the limitation of the melody,
proportionately inverse to the joy
the singer feels, this warm October day.
The outburst isn't long, but I would say
sufficient to express a happiness,
which, born from simple pleasure, none the less,
most clearly speaks to something deep in me.

But then I go inside; on radio three
is someone singing with a fiddle, Bach,
the alto aria: Erbarme dich,
I feel an almost sad embarrassment,
that this superior beauty, transcendent,
be juxtaposed against a  paltry thing:
a man rejoicing autumn warm as spring.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

The Room Turns Gold.

The room turns gold, as I sit still,
as sunlight through decanters pours.
I think I'll never drink my fill
of prism rainbows on the walls.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Alex Plays The Accompaniment to Faure's Cantique de Jean Racine

An undulation of triplets floats outside
into this warm September air,
joining the pigeons as they glide
on currents, beneath cirrus,
fine as angels hair.
And even the dog is lulled to sleep
basking on the flags, drying his fur.
And I swing in the hammock wide and deep,
keeping time 'til all becomes a blur.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

August Morning Walk

On the sloping bank of the river,
a thousand purple thistles all a quiver,
their furry faces turned towards the sun
and a peacock butterfly on everyone.

Thursday, 25 July 2013


I’ve just been pointlessly browsing the antiques on eBay again, which reminded me of this poem I wrote last year.  After buying a little table I discovered was cobbled together from a square piano.

In answer to a question no-one’s asked me,
namely 'What’s that table doing under there?'
Then here’s the answer, truly stated,
that I know it’s odd, but I don’t care!
Though only cellarettes go under sideboards,
on occasion one just has to break the rules,
the space beneath is really too inviting,
just made for log baskets and little stools
and the fluting goes so well with the gadrooning,
and it fits so very nicely underneath,
and the rosewood frieze contrasts with the brass beading,
and the sunswirl paterae (or are they floral?)
both such archetypal regency motifs.
And I know deep in my heart that it’s immoral,
spending money I myself have never earned,
on a thing I must confess was once a piano,
and I wouldn’t really want to start a quarrel,
but that concave drawer, so typical of Gillows,
the eb’ny knobs, concentric rings so nicely turned,
they just called to me through cyberspace on eBay,
one day when my resistance was quite low
and though I turned and hid my face within the pillows,
I just wanted it I could not let it go!

So here it sits, so prettily ‘neath the sideboard,
a mahogany pedestal to either side.
Serving as reminder lest I need it,
things aren’t always what they seem when first espied.

But the fluting goes so well with the gadrooning
and the brass bead lends a military air
and one shouldn’t miss the chance to rhyme dragooning,
when it’s handed to one fair and square.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

On the Day After The Birth of The Prince Of Cambridge.

Today, the plain,
at Ging gang Goolia parva
looked beautiful in the rain:
the turbines
in lines,
each cooling towers',
great girth,
dwarfed by the closer flowers,
brighter after showers.
Everything still
no cacophony of bells,
just peculiar smells,
emanating from long dry soil
newly wet.
And yet,
it was different,
each furrow and ridge,
of chocolate plough,
where there had been peas,
was slaking its thirst.
And at the wheat field's margins,
were seas
of borage, looking purple at first,
only blue on closer inspection.
And the reeds
at the edges
of the irrigation dykes,
were verdant,
a perfect foil,
for the willow herb spikes.
And each reflection,
was marred by oil,
which made rainbow distortions,
among the pond weed.
And the giant proportions,
of man's creations,
in this flat landscape,
were slightly reduced by the haze,
so that hogweed,
brown, and gone to seed,
was tall as the glass works at Glews Hollow
and close where phacelia merged
with the last of the oil seed rape,
(a very modern colour scheme)
one's gaze,
might follow,
a path from the tower of St John's in town,
back down,
along the weedy, track of dirt,
to rest on his curative, bright yellow wort.

Sunday, 21 July 2013


Sunday morning in the high church yard,
at Holme on Spalding Moor above the wold:
the organ sounding out, not too impaired,
by sealed in years of damp, decay and mould,
a spreading cedar tree guarding the graves,
its blue-grey-green contrasting with the yews.
The hymns resound in warm contralto waves,
from farmers wives on regimented pews,
and I am here refreshed by summer’s breeze,
moved by ancient forces and impelled,
to stop and wait and listen to the trees,
and know that here all human time is held,
as nothing next to this resistless calm,
immune to hours, elder scented balm.

Thursday, 18 April 2013


Temptation rears its ugly head and I
must raise mine in return and stutter out
a half thought, half baked, half witted reply,
more instinct than intelligent, a shout
from some more reptilian part of mind,
which must act first and doesn't really think
at all.  And yet as far as science can find out,
this is how we work, living on the brink.
For consciousness comes at the end, it seems
we are the last to know what's going on.
As if our waking thoughts occur like dreams
self assembling into sense, but sometimes wrong,
or with bits missing which come to light too late.
And thus to be a troll is my poor fate.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013


Hanging on to ‘Toad Hall':
trying to keep it heated,
ignoring the damp patch on the wall,
hoping one’s not being cheated,
burying one’s head in the sand,
holding fast to that which is grand,
knowing one’s standards are slipping,
closing one’s ears to the gutters, which are dripping,
living in one or two rooms,
breathing in coal smoke and fumes,
hoping one isn’t deluded,
or that others have not so concluded,
keeping appearances up,
turning a blind eye to the half empty cup,
knowing deep down the struggle is worth it,
you have your reason; others mayn't un-earth it.
And always robbing Peter, to pay Paul:
But hanging on to Toad Hall.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Fog in the Vale of York

A misery of teenage proportions,
deceptive and causing strange distortions,
showing the trees but hiding the railings,
shifting the focus onto ones failings,
wrapping the promise of spring in a shroud,
making the internal voice curse out loud,
growing in density, never lifting,
coldly, gloomily swirling and drifting,
an almost too obvious metaphor,
attention seeking and hard to ignore,
mist made emptiness like La Folia,
meteorological melancholia.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

In the Bed Opposite MY Father’s (Surgical Admissions.)

My sister once gave me a walnut shell
and in it was a foetus, ‘Bubbly’ pink.
The purpose of the gift was hard to tell,
a joke, an expression of hope?  No, I think
the intention was to shock; the contrast
of the smooth improbable embryo,
with the wizened, indehiscent case.
The miniature wrought from the soft ‘Fymo
a miracle hidden within the space,
a perfect, flawless detailed description,
the start of human life, down to the last
fingernail on those amphibious hands,
a recipe almost, or prescription,
the sculptors’ response to nature’s commands,
the model of the life giving placenta,
twisted from clay, both pink and magenta,
the tiny worm-like fallopian rope,
carrying imaginary blood and hope,
maternal, arterial, artistic,
venous, formed in a shell, Aphrodite,
Or Venus?  And I thought of it, when I saw,
across the hospital floor,
a Gurnigo Gubbins in hospital nightie,
curled on his bed and moaning quite loudly,
the foetus and walnut rolled into one,
casting nets in a ritualistic,
purposeless pattern, and rather proudly
gazing about him, then sinking back down,
and curling around the catheter hose,
the umbilical, miracle demi-john drainer.
No need for nappies or stinking bed clothes,
no need for any other restrainer,
for the catheter pipe as it racks,
the fine yellow vintage into the bag,
is tugged and yanked by the old wizened claws,
and a cry escapes from the toothless jaws,
and the other old men, flat on their backs,
wince in sympathy as he starts to drag,
and I run for a nurse, but he’s lignified,
callous, calloused, compassion spent. He knows
senility cannot be dignified,
and he casts it aside if his sympathy grows.
Does his atrophied outer shell retain
the embryonic, empathetic grain?