Wednesday, 21 May 2014

First Hot Day of the Year

Pastel dress over
Mountains of flesh,
Peach, pink, blotched,
Rashed. See through -
Knicker showing.
Bingo wings,
Billowing pillows,
Rippling, flowing
Folds of lard,
All squashed
Into a yard
Of cotton jersey,
Pale blue.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Speak Simply on the Internet

Speak simply on the internet
and do not curb your views.
all round with caveats.  Forget
your audience and speak your mind. Refuse
to edit and to hedge because we know you use
complicated phrases to conceal the truth and yet
we see it still. Complexity and truth you never must confuse.
Speak simply on the internet
because you may as well. We do not vet
your script because to do so would abuse
your right to be yourself. So don't be wet
and do not curb your views.
Speak about ideas as you would tell your news.
Forget the thought police, their threat
makes them reality. One who plainly speaks never strews
all round with caveats. Forget
whom you address, it's mostly just yourself, to set
your mind. Nothing's gained by being diffuse
it can't be helped if you upset
your audience, don't think of them unless you're trying to amuse.
If all our words are going to live forever we owe a debt
to history of honesty. Circumlocution is no use
to the future. So don't sweat:
speak simply.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Now Is The Glorious Summer of Miss Jean Brodie

We'll bully them: each impressionable child
when young, so they'll be ours for life.  We say
make them conform, in youth and let no wild
spirit, no independent thought betray
the catechism, the instruction. Play
upon the unformed mind with fear, but styled
as wisdom; be doctrinaire and they won't stray.
We'll bully them: each impressionable child,
for each is father of the man.  Defiled
in youth the spirit withers away.
Yes, take an eager, susceptible child
when young and they'll be ours for life.  We say
teach them to ask questions everyday,
but only those that are allowed.  Beguiled
by our immediate knowledge, they'll go our way.
Make them conform in youth and let no wild
new, ideas of freedom influence.  Praise the mild
obedient ones, who mirror and obey.
and never offer hope to the exiled
spirit.  No independent thought betray,
which might be seized upon by eager children. Weigh
every word.  Those who object must be reviled;
teach names with which we might insult them; who are they
to question this great plan we have compiled?
We'll bully them!

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

An Argument In Favour of Tolerance, Liberty and Reasoned Argument. (Sestina)

When Tolerance meets Liberty she bows
in recognition of an equal force
and steps aside, gives way, because she knows
the enemy they fight is the same one.
Though Tolerance might seem weaker she's not less
powerful. She is acceptance
without question; that takes strength. Acceptance
of all that Liberty allows weighs heavy; Tolerance bows
and sometimes needs must set aside the less
lovely aspects of her burden. For this, the force
of Reasoned Judgement she must call upon, none
but she can say what Tolerance can't bear.  She knows
that Liberty tests Tolerance beyond her strength, knows
tolerance needs the help of Courage. Acceptance
without discrimination squashes Tolerance. Alone
Tolerance is just a fragile thing. She bows,
turns the other cheek.  Forgiveness is the counter force
to Reasoned Judgement, Forgiveness nonetheless
walks in Reasoned Judgement's wake, less
certain of herself. Without the help of Courage she knows
that Tolerance might turn to dust.  No force
but Liberty walks alone, Tolerance has an entourage: Acceptance,
Courage, Reasoned Judgement, Forgiveness. She bows
to Liberty as to an equal force but no stone
that Liberty places on her shoulders can she bear alone.
And this is why Reasoned Judgement must not be valued less
than Tolerance. Liberty passes - Reasoned Judgement, bows
in recognition of an equal force.  Liberty knows
that she only walks at all because Acceptance
and Reasoned Judgement support the force
of Tolerance.  Perforce
Reasoned Judgement can be taken for one
who discriminates too harshly, Acceptance
Without question and Forgiveness nonetheless
help Tolerance when she bows
too low - forgetful of the enemy she knows.
Tolerance walks less alone than Liberty
But Liberty knows Acceptance and before Reasoned Judgement bows.

Friday, 2 May 2014


Never perfect until death we understand
a little more of who we are each day,
not really metacognitive. Unplanned
we grope our way
towards the being who we call ourselves; play
at being finished in each moment. The sand
of time still trickles through but does not run away.
Never perfect until death we understand
but very little of who we might become, and
yet can look back at those golden grains and say
that part of myself was also me. Thus we command
a little more of who we are each day
but only what is past.  We cannot stray
from any beaten path, we beat our own, demand
acceptance of our present state and thus portray,
(not really metacognitive - unplanned)
a version of ourselves which others can identify. And
the truth of who we are is on display
seen passing in the movement of the second hand.
We grope our way
in opposition to our former self, this might cause dismay
to those who knew us once, in seeing us again, the stand
we take at any given time is made to weigh
as part of us, but we're both finifugal and unplanned, 
never perfect until death.

The Chemicals of Self Doubt and Certainty (sestina)

A fear which is in essence chemical,
between the ending of my dream and wakefulness,
comes flooding in among the crevices
of matter,  white and grey, within my head.
And so I rise to consciousness in panic
and feel I must un-say all that I've said.
I don't know why it's all that I have said,
which is the focus of this chemical
attack, but in the early morning in this panic,
I must expunge myself; in wakefulness,
or something like it, some sense within my head
wants to take back evidence,  from crevices
and places less well hidden. Crevices
are figments; the internet has none. I've said
I want to take things back, but in my head
there is no reason, just some chemical
which causes me to act, in wakefulness,
according to an incoherent  panic.

And yet when I review my thoughts, not panic,
but a sense that I was right floods crevices,
so self doubt starts to ebb in wakefulness
and, as what I have thought is what I've said,
in reading back I reinforce my views, another chemical?
A Certainty Etching Acid in my head?
And is this why I do it? Does my head
present me with this sense of awful panic
to make me question? Is the chemical
of fear really benignant, are crevices
flushed out  to be re- filled?  Who said
we were more sane in wakefulness
than sleep? I feel, in wakefulness
a need to reassure myself. My head,
requires encouragement because I've said
things years ago I disagree with. I panic,
lest I'm wrong now as I then was, crevices
in matter grey and white, contain the chemical
of doubt. In wakefulness, I  panic,
my head, no doubt, in crevices,
contains all I have said, and bathes it in this polarising chemical.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

A pigeon in the Middle of the Road

The road has been a 'no through' one for weeks,
on Sunday, 6 am, it's not a road,
merely a silence of pale grey tarmac,
stretching round the bend.
A pigeon
sits camouflaged, in the middle,
keeping his colours to himself,
un-engrossed in discussion
with a neighbour,
not rising to the hooted incredulities,
just fixing his beady eye
and crooning non-committals, low in his chest;
soothing prevarications,
endless equivocations,
gently cooed tergiversation,
decent, quiet, unprincipled.

I Think of You in Sudden moments(sestina)

I think of you in sudden moments but you're here
in unexpected glimpses: in the light
at certain times of year, and in the scent
of yeast, and paraffin and when the air
is icy, in damp twigs and things I own
because they're yours.  I see you always now
as you were in middle age; I know
I'll see you suddenly but never where,
and when I try you don't appear; you're blown
straight in upon some sudden breeze, or slight
and barely noticeable change of air
and also when there's nothing reminiscent
to call you into mind. Evanescent
but always welcome sight, melting like snow
before you're truly seen, and leaving not despair,
but deeper understanding and somewhere
a better sense of who I am.  Your flight
into my world is meaningfully flown,
you come to show and leave me when you've shown,
if only you enlarge some nascent
thought, it will develop better in the light
which you have shed.  I wonder if by now
you're really you or my unconscious sphere
which needs must manifest itself in hair
and eyes, and smile, and clothes, and voice of fair
and reasoned argument in your form, my own
being too easily dismissed. I hear
you when I will not hear myself, you're sent
from myself unto me, that I might know
some deeper truth, not God's light,
perhaps eternal and maternal light
is what you are.  I breathe you in as air
and can as easily exhale, but now,
unlike the time you lived, I don't. I've known
my own intransigence was yours, dissent
part of who we are. But I adhere
to you, you're part of me: the light I own,
my air of certainty. I'm glad you're sent
I like to see you now, in sudden moments, here.

Ill Dog

He sits within his roomy cage
and looks much older than his age
some look expressed through tired eyes
conveys his sadness, no disguise
is worn, no mask, he'll not engage
in a pretence, he's not on stage.
He growls, does not suppress his rage
and it seems good he still defies.
He sits
quite still, it's hard to gauge
his suffering. I cannot wage
that he'll be well, his mood implies
dull pain, I call and he replies
in grunts. I write upon this page;
he sits.