Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Ill dog 2

The dog is sick and lies beside me
He doesn't leap to walk but gently
Staggers to his feet, and stumbles; the heat
Of fever makes him slow and shaky.
His eyes look dull, his fur is scruffy,
He trips in the long grass and tiredly
Sits down, he is beat, and accepts defeat;
With animal grace, suffers calmly.
We make our way but he is weary,
And so we move yet very slowly,
We reach the high street and the gardens, neat,
Seem insignificant and petty
In contrast to the grass path, barely
Visible among tall cow parsley,
And the river, fleet at high tide. 

Making Spoons

My body pressed against your back,
Making spoons for hot water bottle warmth,
My aching ovaries against your kidneys,
My nose deep in your fur; I seem to lose track
Of the passage of time. A wealth
Of images flood my mind and I start the journey
Back to sleep, breathing in your personal smell,
River water, mud,
Something slightly eggy, and a petrochemical taint
From the flea drops, comforting, though unwell
Scent.  And your heart beats thump your pulsing blood
Against my stomach, and the faint
Egginess becomes more sulphuric,
And you begin your insatiable licking,
First the velvet bedspread, short rhythmic
Strokes, then my hand and forearm, seeking
Saltiness.  And I doze and seem to lack
The will to pull away.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

The Consolations of Wikipedia

Today I've read de Beauvoir,
Hegel, Stirner, Spencer,
and decided on so many ways
of looking at the individual,
and said au revoir
to things greater and immenser,
like God and the state whose days
have always been numbered, but whose residual
traces until now remained as possibilities
inside my poor confused mind.
And now I feel that against all probabilities,
I have become what I always was,
the best version of my self.  The third state I find
is me, myself, my ego, but because
I am self effacing I had not hitherto
understood what I was, though in contradiction
I thought my ideas original, but there,
I am just a Spencerian,
radical feminist, egoist, but save your tears,
tomorrow I will read something more convincing,
or look again at Rousseau and read him without wincing.

Monday, 28 April 2014

A Welsh Form (can't remember which one)

The geese upon the further bank wake
And rise in noisy honking, to take
Off into morning sky, blue and flake
White. Leaving the clay to dry and bake.
A loud mallard drake, joins them in their flight.
And the lovely sight makes the dog quake.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Perception and Reason

Two hundred and forty thousand miles high,
The moon, above the cerebral cortex, floats.
And yet is a pale disc close in the sky -
Within easy grasp. Were we to cast our votes,
Decide, in favour of the truth, the motes,
The deception of perception in each eye
Beholding the beams of the moon as it floats
Two hundred and forty thousand miles high,
Would be nought to us; we believe what we see, and try
To justify it, 'common sense' connotes
Reason yet is often its adversary.
The moon above the cerebral cortex floats;
The sense of certainty that sight promotes
Undermines authority of reason, ask why -
Listen to your sight: miles away the moon floats
And yet is a pale disc close in the sky.
And this is the great dilemma, seek evidence of the eye
And risk negating truth; one who devotes
Himself to learning must look beyond what might lie
Within easy grasp. Were we to cast our votes
Without reasoning, listen to quotes
And snippets, watch bodies speaking the sly
Words of good looks, we'd get our just deserts, vision bloats
Everything out of proportion.  Hold your cerebral reasoning

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Madrigals in Leeds Library

Arranged in parts we stand upon the stairs,
Whose stones and tiles bounce back each singing voice,
So madrigals resound and all the cares
Of those who hear us disappear. The choice
Of music, which befits this April day,
(Four hundred years and then five decades more
Since Shakespeare's birth) not taken from a play,
Nor yet a setting of his verse, will cure
The listener and the singer both with ease
Of any miserable mood. Excess
Of music - there is no such thing, to please
Is music's purpose; we succeed no less
In this respect because the songs we sing
Are madrigals on love, and death and spring.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

An Observation of a Crowd of Women - a Hen Night - Saturday Evening York

Vertiginous is the word most used
in reference to heels,
raising up the wearer
to Amazonian height.
These women, barer
than I would ever dare to be
on a hot August night,
on this chilly April evening, 6.15
working class, local, un-dressed in white,
not yet absolutely drunk, not staggering, confused,
still managing to teeter
along the narrow streets
weaving in between the bars,
colossal boobs in balconette bras,
trussed up, so as to elicit sighs.
Marvelous creatures from a seaside postcard,
buxom, confident, tarty and hard.
Haunches clad in Lycra, marbled, each splash
of colour appearing slapped on arses
curved and shapely; buns of steel,
with artistic and sculpturely appeal.
So many hens,
on the pull and on the lash.
Fake tan replacing tights, streaked on thighs,
whose muscularity,
visible all along the extra length,
weirdly reminiscent of masculinity,
emphasises squeezing, crushing strength.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

The Purpose of Jackdaws

What is it about rooks that makes us feel serene?
Their noise permeates the stillness,
The coarse vulgarity of it obscene,
Harsh. Were it human, a mental illness
Would be supposed, that shouting aggressive
And jeering voice would be considered rude,
And yet their presence rubber stamps the peace,
Determines tranquility.  Is it just
Juxtaposition?  Their loud offensive
Outbursts highlighting the near silence
In between?  Or at some basic level
Do we understand each crude
And angry phrase which they articulate?
Their conversation seems to question,
And to seek a logical reply.
Their great facility for argument,
Although their discourse sounds unintelligent,
Their Socratean determination
When one of them has suddenly asked 'why?'
To shout an answer and prolong debate,
Are these the qualities which we admire
Above serenity,  so that calmness
Is put in its place: something worth seeking
In order to refresh one's mind for thinking,
And because listening encourages speaking?

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Driving to Nottingham in an Old Car After Reading Gerard Manley Hopkins

Loud sound, throats roar, across the gear shifts grate,
Light dazzling, flitting brightness tiring eyes:
Expanse of grey  in front;  three tracks straight
Spinning  beneath black blurred and gripping tyres.
Swishing, silver, screeching, mile chewing
Machine whose fuel combusting business is
My means of movement while sitting viewing:
Hawthorne hedgerows  green-downed, sloe blossom's whizz
White patches, snatches, glimpsed against the sky
Swirled whorls of flake white, lead white, wisps of cloud,
Conglomerating here and there to try
And blanket out the blue and yet this crowd
Shan't triumph as the sun shines so well
And the sulphur rapeseed shouts back its own yell,
Yellowly blazing, brazening it out,
Brash, harsh, course, beyond glaring garishness;
English April glowing neon all about,
Cumulus conspiracy - churlishness.
Hummock hills where pigs' arks curve, steel roofed
Corrugations  among undulations;
Pigs in flabby, pale pink skin, weather proofed,
Rootling, snuffling, snouting congregations
And frolicksome, joyful, jubilantly
Jumping, lamb like, gambolling, piglet gangs
Glad-heartedly, unruminatingly,
Delight in playing; where the willow hangs.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

In Memory of John Shirley Quirk 'Shallow Brown'

I wrote a sonnet about 'Shallow Brown',
Inspired by your singing; threw it out,
It's title was too long and I was down,
And feeling full of loathing and self doubt,
And yet, what could be more appropriate,
The song's so full of misery, self pity,
And though your voice just seemed to recreate
That sense of man's entitlement, the ditty
Being simple - jealous moaning, yet still
Your lovely voice expressed the old conundrum,
That woman's rather hypocritical,
Drawn to men whose love is not the humdrum
Kind, but passion born of need for possession,
Which we hate, while adoring its confession.

John Shirley Quirk singing Shallow Brown


I found a label in the flower bed,
A bright and gaudy thing  it seemed to be,
I looked beside it and found there instead,
A rather dull perennial.  You see
A plant is not aware,  of its description,
Can't change its nature, and accordingly
Can't lie, it has no interest in deception,
Feels no obligation correspondingly
To act its part, the classification
Which determines species, hybridization
Lacks meaning to the thing itself. Could we
Become like kniphofia, unaware
Of that which"others" think they are?
We don't need labels, why don't we dare?

Sunday, 6 April 2014


Your tired back so bent and aching,
Mohair jumper clad, doubled
Over what you're making;
Slicing homemade bread,
Or onions in vinegar,
Silver rings in brown;
Your eyes intent though rather troubled,
Grey-blue pools looking down
Into a bowl of fish,
Small, red sardines lie dead and waiting
To be mashed with ground black pepper,
There's a lump of cheese for grating.
Your arms which seem too long,
Proportions slightly wrong;
A crumble made with homegrown plums,
The top of oats and oil;
Your hands now weak and liver spotted,
But strong wide ended thumbs.
Tinned peaches swimming
In their syrup, in a pyrex dish,
To be doused with tinned 'Carnation',
Four each, I think, we've been allotted;
Fruit malt loaf, dark and thickly buttered,
The kettle coming to the boil,
And a simmering frustration.

Friday, 4 April 2014

After the Storm

Serenity inside my mind,
despite the traces left behind
of long and bitter argument,
egged on in self encouragement,
is rather odd, although I find
it's apt to last, as I unwind,
become quite dull and quite resigned;
a perfect, bland advertisement:
serenity inside!
Uncertainty, disparagement
of self, the groping, angry, blind
working towards settlement
is at an end. No more excitement;
I'm dull and boring, calm, refined:
serenity inside.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Afternoon April 1 2014

Bird song above the traffic's roar
And the wind turbines' jet-plane -passing-whirr,
And the heat of the sun on this blank white page
And the yellowness of the shrubs once more,
And the daffodils which are hardly astir
In the breeze though it seems to rage
Where it pushes and catches the PVC blades
In its sudden blasts and mad tirades.

A vulgarity of hyacinths, their gaudy shades
Of such peach and pink,
And a purring orange-brown blur
Of butterflies coming to drink,
On their sweetness which one is inclined to think
Must be saccharine.
And the air is thin
And pale blue, but lacking in monotony
As it peters out to a violet hue,
A remembrance of absent flowers,
Primula Denticulata,
Twinned in the Flemish school of my mind
With the bellflower, 'Glomerata'
For purpleness and rhyme
And ball like heads, which I find,
Though they never actually meet in time,
Is a pleasing mental association,
A poetic and colourful classification,
Superior to botany.

A New Breed of Narcissus

A brassy, gaudy trumpet glowing
neon orange for own blowing,
blasting out its self obsession,
tarted up and artificial,
built up body, bred for showing,
camping up its best impression
of a joyful thing of beauty,
on the verges municipal,
hanging round in crowds its duty.

In the parks beside the highway,
symbolic of our age in growing
louder, cruder, more demanding,
always seeking our attention,
ignorant of apprehension,
shyness isn't here,
you won't un-earth it,
self doubt?  No, just egoism,
me, my self, because I'm worth it,
artifice and brash invention,
really, why would people question