Thursday, 30 January 2014

Crap Thinking (rondeau)

Crap thinking, always prevalent,
Immune to reasoned argument,
The power of human vanity
So strong that our capacity
To question, be intelligent,
Seek only real enlightenment,
Is put aside, development
Stopped. Familiarity -
Crap thinking-
(Reciting) taking precedence
We are our own establishment
And thus, preferring certainty,
We're reduced by this inanity,
This cult of what is relevant,
Crap thinking.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Beautiful Face

Today I saw a beautiful face,
Driving a car.
I looked down on it from the embankment,
And saw into its soul,
Through pre Raphaelite eyes,
Which gazed up at the clouds,
I noticed every detail in that tiny moment:
The two large yellow-green pools,
Expressing hope, longing, sorrow?
Which should have been reflecting
Back, reeds and lilies, dripping
At the water's edge
The width of the face across the cheekbones,
The flare of the chiselled nostril,
The beautiful, long, drooping, curved slur
Of the mouth,
And yet the hair was cut sensibly,
Where it should have been long and flowing
In chestnut waves,
And the skin was lined, though not really old,
And I wondered what was the purpose of so much beauty
In real life, middle age, driving an ugly Fiat.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Donald Macleod and Donald Maclean.

This afternoon I said Donald Macleod,
When I really meant Donald Maclean,
And thereafter couldn't refrain,
From sighing aloud,
At the thought of the beautiful face,
Fair hair,
Blue eyes, high cheek
Of Rupert Penry Jones,
As I imagined him,
Presenting 'Composer of the Week',
Stuffed full of musical knowledge
And wishing to impart it to me,
In person, without the restrictions
Of time and place.
Ah! To dream of a beautiful geek,
And to dare
To imagine how I would show my disdain,
When he spoke of Philip Glass,
And alas,
How I would have to keep him at arms length,
Which would require all the strength
Of my musical convictions.

BBC Radio 3 - Composer of the week

Fifty Shades of Grey (rondeau redouble)

Copyright Paul Houston flood Airmyn

Fifty shades of grey in winter weather,
Not all eliciting resistless sorrow,
Most beautiful of all the pigeon feather,
It's iridescence giving hope - tomorrow
Will be bright, cheerful in greater measure
Than this day's dreary hue;  look slant, see heather
Violet, peacock blue; no pigment, it must borrow
Fifty shades of grey in winter weather,
And make them modulate in incidental light, in turn together
Amplify, attenuate and thus produce a rainbow;
Fifty shades, within a single treasure,
Not all eliciting resistless sorrow,
And yet, having to find hope within the shadow
Feeling one must search to find one's pleasure,
The colour in the endless chiaroscuro,
Most beautiful of all the pigeon feather,
Feels sometimes like a chore, and altogether
One wishes that the pallette were less narrow
And one wonders at such beauty, whether,
It's iridescence giving hope - tomorrow
Will be brighter, is false; might it wither?
Is this optimism,like the feather's shaft, quite hollow,
As there's beauty of a sort when storm clouds gather,
And who knows what's to follow -
Fifty shades of grey?

Monday, 20 January 2014

Being 'More Dog' (rondeau redouble)

Being 'more dog', when I am alone,
Because I am normally cat,
Is a skill that I thought that I'd never hone,
But each morning I put on my 'more dog' hat,
And when I see others I wait and chat,
And then walk for miles and don't stop to moan,
At the rain and the frost and things like that.
Being 'more dog', when I am alone,
Means I try to treat friends like things that I own,
And enthuse and encourage and knock them down flat,
With my joy at their very existence.  It's unknown,
Because I am normally cat,
For me to give praise and be glad, but at
The height of my 'more dog' mood, I disown
My English reticence.  Being kind with eclat
Is a skill that I thought that I'd never hone,
But to compensate now I just bark at the phone,
And this is a valid response; dogs also like combat.
At my 'dog' bonhomie I guess friends sometimes groan,
But each morning I put on my 'more dog' hat
And continue to think about fun, but I own
That it gets rather tiring and sometimes the cat
Claws come out, else the dog is a bitch, has a bone,
And needs must bare its teeth, is that
Being 'more dog'?

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Darjeeling First Thing

There were sometimes mice
In the upstairs kitchen,
And on occasion it was  difficult
To make the distinction,
Between the evidence they left,
Declaring their existence;
Which was invariably their habit
On visiting,
And the large black leaves,
Scattering the surface
Of the contemporary, Formica
Teak effect  cabinet.

Faith was required,
A strong conviction,
That however odd the taste
That was the intention,
The nature of Assam , Earl Grey
Or Lap sang,
Not the accidental addition
Of mouse excretion
'Here's a cup of tea darlings,
We've run out of Typhoo,
So it's a cup of Darjeeling,
There's no milk, so its Carnation,
And no sugar,
But thankfully necessity 's the mother of invention
So I've sweetened it with treacle.'

So we sat up in bed
And drank the strange concoction,
Pale and weak
Or strong and syrupy,
We daughters of invention,
Grand daughters of necessity,
Partly out of thirst, and partly out of duty
And partly out of a great curiosity,
And partly with a hope that our mother's devotion
Would mean she'd not allow us
To drink brewed mouse poo.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

This Morning For A Moment The Dog Caught A Hare.

A kestrel which swept low over the field,
A red gold brown in  brilliant winter sun,
Alarmed a hare which startled then revealed
Itself, not camouflaged against the dun
And lumpy plough, as it had been before
Among the grasses at the fields edge.
In panic it ran back along the wire,
To where the irrigation drain with sedge
Grown close prevented its escape.

And there the dog, just for a moment, stood,
And pinioned him, and I stood by agape,
Until my sense returned, so that I could
Shout a loud and Sergeant Majorish command,
And watch the hare fly up and over land.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Dozing Off and Remembering Vegetable Stew With Cabbage.

Drifting into fireside armchair dreams
Exhausted from the housework of the day,
I'm standing in the kitchen and I seem
To keep glancing down into a pan, the way
That children do, in charge of cooking,
And the pan's the pressure cooker full of stew,
And what I notice in my anxious looking,
Is savoy, so I know that it was you
Who made it, with pearl barley, and the scent
Drifts up, of vegetable stock.

And then as I begin the slow ascent
To wakefulness, accompanied by the clock,
I feel a great nostalgia and the pain,
Of knowing I'll not eat your stew again.

A Frosty January Morning and Up Early to Drive to a Nine O' Clock Service (Villanelle)

South south east, the sky was streaked dramatically,
St Johns on the horizon piercing it,
I appreciated them, aesthetically.

I drove due east through frost, resignedly,
The sun on the horizon melting it,
And wished to record it, photographically.

The chapel at Bursea snuggled cosily
Beside the manor farm, protecting it;
I appreciated them, aesthetically.

Inside was warm and I sat, hypocritically
Mumbling the service, and rejecting it,
Yet singing hymns enthusiastically.

The old vicar and his voice which beautifully
Spoke the service, enunciating it;
I appreciated them, aesthetically.

The light which shone in, brilliantly;
The words spoken by others, 'meaning it,'
I wished to imitate, poetically,
And appreciated them, aesthetically.


Thursday, 9 January 2014


Silent now, though never still,
Buteo Buteo, beautiful,
Beside the boring bypass bridge
Against the changing sky
Wheeling raptor, prompting rapture,
Out of some instinctive duty,
Above the scrubby bit of wood,
Along the man made ridge
Back above the sandy hollow,
Rough and holey warren meadow,
You fly;
Your wide wings spread
As if you would,
Through sheer force of will,
Above the alder and the willow,
And the Drax clouds pure white billow,
Drive out rabbit, pheasant, hare,
And there above the muddy field,
Chocolatey and lying fallow,
At the sudden point of capture,
Your cruel talons wield.

Monstrous and dark brown shadow,
Ravenous and wheeling raptor,
Rapture at your strength and beauty
Born of some poetic duty
Seems to drive off care.

Friday, 3 January 2014

The Pruning of Apples and Pears by Renewal Methods

I have a first edition somewhere here,
Filed with non-fiction alphabetically,
No dust jacket; a useful book, with clear
Instructions given non poetically.
And yet how much of poetry is pruning,
How truly pruning makes a tree poetic,
A means of striking balance and fine tuning,
To gain a strong and simpler aesthetic,
And yet in cutting out the oldest wood,
Criss crossing branches, timber inward growing,
We gain new growth, both vigorous and good,
Succeed in improving what we had, showing
That when we cut, the branch, fed from the root,
Regenerates to yield much finer fruit.