Saturday, 12 December 2015

Celia and Trevor in Brief Encounter.


Her teeth were false and yet were true,
Fulfilled their role as she filled hers.
Her vowels it's said were like cut glass
And so she sounded like a snob,
A member of the upper class,
Her plastic teeth helped do the job.
Her eyes were big and soppy, sad.


He looked quite nice, but he was mad,
(Although his teeth were all his own)
He was quite barking and was prone
To mess things up and make a fuss,
Because he didn't understand
The plot and only wished to act
The part as he would act in life:
To take the woman by the hand,
Not caring she was some man's wife,
Not caring she was cold and posh,
And kiss her lips and suck her teeth
And feel those firm breasts underneath
Her stylish, winter macintosh,
And do such things as man might do,
Alone with woman and Rach. two.

(An article in the Daily Mail explained that Celia Johnson had broken her front teeth in her teens, when she fell on a stoney beach, and that Trevor Howard was a psychopath with very little understanding of the plot of Brief Encounter.  He couldn't understand why they didn't just get stuck in, once they were alone.)


Friday, 4 December 2015

Our 'Safe Space'

You mustn't hurt our feelings, we are weak,
and you cause great offence, when e'er you speak
as if we're capable of hearing.  When you seek
to challenge us we block our ears and hum. 
Our bleak and fatalistic view of life 
prescribed by God or chromosomes
must not be contradicted, we are meek,
subservient, pre-programmed, not unique.
Our safe spaces, like our homes
protect.  Any reference, veiled, oblique,
couched in terms implying that our clique
is less than perfect will be met with cries
of "We are victims", "You tell lies."
And you know to hurt our feelings is unwise,
for the armies of the feeble and offended
shall inherit the earth; no compromise.
We're not interested in reason and debate
you've had your chance and now it is too late.
Your generation elevated victimhood,
you drew the rules, worked out the reference frame;
it isn't our fault we understood,
and decided how we best might play the game.
So don't bother to ask us whether
we might change our minds and take time to consider
from any perspective that might differ from our own.
Though we're feeble, frail and sensitive we're not alone:
we victims of the feather flock together.



Friday, 27 November 2015

On The Joy Of Dog

I did not understand that there was joy
In long wet miles and freezing icy air,
In endless throwing of some half chewed toy,
Or combing seeds and burrs from matted hair.
I could not know in all my life before,
The joy of morning greeting, the renewal.
That poem of deep, unspoken love which more
Than any mere aubade can fuel
Such fire as keeps a love alight,
Sans jealousy or meanness or suspicion.
A flame that burns not with desire;
Nor yearning for a meeting of two minds,
Is never satisfied but by imagination,
But simply re-establishes, confirms
In gentle nuzzling, or in wild excess
Of bouncing, heart-felt, crazy tenderness,
A bond of love that binds without condition.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

To A New Recruit

Do you really think that God
requires an imbecile like you
to prove that He is "greater?"
Can't you recognise the Devil
and his message of corruption
when he whispers in your heart
and tells you what to do?
Do you really think that God
would trust a coward and a traitor?
Don't you recognise the devil?
Shall I make an introduction?
Mr Iblis, meet a moron,
up till now he's been a fan,
just a passive spectator
but today he has decided 
that he really loves destruction
and his tiny brain cannot contain
such basic information
as the rather simple notion
that we instill in our children:
good's superior to evil.
So he's ripe for your seduction.
He has come to join Isil
your most recent, vile invention
and he won't put off till later
what he wants to do today.
For his cretinous affection
for your habits, is his affliction,
and he's pious in his action
and his manner of devotion
though he knows not who you are,
believing you are God,
The Divine and the Creator,
yet believes himself to be
the great adjudicator
quite capable of choosing
who should live and who should die.
And he wishes to impress you
with his ignorant intention
as he blows the world apart
shouting Allahu Akbar.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

On The Day After Islamic Terrorists Slaughter Civilians In Paris

On this day of making cider in the kitchen,
Of crushing apples in the hired press;
On this day of standing chopping, bashing, squashing;
This day of pulverising flesh;
This day of my transforming
What the passing of three seasons
Had created, whole and perfect, 
Into something broken, smashed, where stress
And weight and force and pressure
Were applied, and where corruption
Will be encouraged: this day of turning more to less;
On this day of life revolving
Round this simple, homely task -
Let me remember 
Those souls who now are passing
From this life into the next,
On this fourteenth of November,
And let me ask:
Why should we weep and sing the Hostias
For fellow men, who yesterday, perhaps,
Were standing, laughing, joking in the kitchen;
Why tolerate this dereliction
This insanity that passes for religion,
This turning what is lovely, whole and perfect
Created through the passing of each season,
Our life and liberty and reason,
Into a pint of piss?



Thursday, 27 August 2015

A New Kitchen Devil



The slightest pressure downwards
Of the index finger stretched
Along the top side of the blade.
The slightest movement of the hand:
Forwards, backwards and it falls, cleanly.
No time for bowing skills.
No time for sight in the mind's eye
Of my mother's capable arms,
Strong hands, wide-ended thumb,
Gripping, cutting finely
The stoneground, wholemeal, homemade, 
Hard-as-brick, brown, crusty loaf.
No time to recall the clean, firm sweep 
Of the butter knife scraping the primrose surface
In the 'right way', whose tiny serrations
Left cat-tongue corrugations,
So that one was only ever sure that is not what they were
By the purposefulness of their horizontal direction.
No time to think of the bow saw
And the saw horse, the wheelbarrow
Full of picked up wood, and the lessons 
In preserving strength, by using the whole length
Of the blade, letting it do the work.
Just, Hey Presto! a slab of soft,
Thickly buttered poppyseed filled
Machine baked, honey daubed,
Instant gratification of greed.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Bread Maker

We had one once; she had blue eyes with flecks
of hazel and dark limbal rings. Her hands
were capable and strong, and marked with specks
like wheat germ.  Sometimes pale, soft, grey-white strands
of hair would fall across her face as she
began to mix and knead the dough. Her dress
was one she'd made herself, silk jersey. We
loved her, in that way that is a mess
of fierce instincts barely spelled in thought,
combined within a pancheon perhaps
within our hearts and leavened with a sort
of carelessness so there was no collapse.
And we ate her bread with treacle every day,
appreciatively in that savage, childish way.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Raspberry Picking

A thick, glass bowl held firmly in my hand
I stoop and lift the drooping, bent, brown cane,
And summer sun beats down upon my back
And goose grass clutches, scratches, where I stand.
And heat evaporates the sharp, strange scent
Residing in the soft and hairy leaves
Of flowering dead nettle, as I crane
To reach the red ones near the fence. My sleeves
All floaty chiffon catch and snag; a strand
Of climbing rose attacks my arm;
And yet I persevere, possessed by greed,
In competition with imagined mice.
I cannot leave a single soft, red fruit;
I seem impelled to pick and spread the seed
By some force stronger than my will.
I drop the odd one into long, dry grass,
But cannot leave it be and needs must root,
Determined it shall not be there to feed
Some other hungry creature who might pass.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Artist in Residence

The artist in residence
At the department for chronic diseases
Was considering her inspiration.
Should it be Alzheimer's, a composition
Full of repetition, and uncertainty?
Or Parkinson's, a study in vibration,
In which the sounds or frequencies
Mirrored those of the condition?
There were possibilities with hypertension,
Where stringed instruments tuned high and tight
Could be made to produce strained
And high pitched palpitation,
Causing the sudden collapse of their bridges,
Each a percussive explosion,
And brass could have its tubes narrowed,
Causing different sounds through clogged restriction.
Post vasectomy chronic pain
Proved too difficult a translation
There could be no real healing harmonisation,
And therefore nothing to gain.
A musical representation
Of chronic kidney disease,
Could depict in sound the imperfection
Of the break down of filtration,
So that discord began to build up.


But then , the Artist in Residence at the Department for Chronic Diseases
let rip with imagination
And plumped instead for a combination
Of possible cures, and sampled effective medication,
Composing randomly in response 
And deciding the role was a great affectation,
She was freed from the need to proceed
According to anyone's expectation,
So producing a wonderful, new creation.

Friday, 3 July 2015

The Tragedy of Pickled Gherkins

Curled a little, khaki, warty,
Appendages of boys, whose naughty
Ways have angered evil step mama.
She's put them in a pickle jar,
With fronds of leafy pubic hair
And made them look amphibian,
Nestling sans underwear
In brackish, vinegar or briney
Water, green, un-sparkly
Which turns the glass obsidian.
They'll never grow to know of love
And never feel their human pleasure
Their fate, always to be viewed darkly,
Then consumed with cheese, at leisure.

Friday, 19 June 2015

A Composition.

"I wrote this piece for rebec and Sasanian glass.
I wanted to evoke the idea of Persian orange groves,
So the vessel is full of gin, rather than water,
Flavoured with Seville orange peel.
This is a representation in liquid of the imperfection
Of the clarity or transparency in the sillica-soda-lime,
From which the Sasanian examples differ in class,
Containing more plant ash, at different periods of time.
(The Seville orange which we associate with marmalade
Was introduced from Persia.) It behoves
A composer to try out his ideas, and I ought to,
But I thought it would be fun to hear the piece played
For the first time in the concert hall, perhaps it is crass
To assume the audience, who, after all, have paid
A good deal to hear this work will go along with the spirit
(Pun intended) of the thing, but I hope they will.
And if the glass is too dense to reverberate and produce
A note, then it won't really matter.  I have tried to distil
(Pun intended) the essence of ancient Persia
Into the sounds I have written for rebec, which will induce
A wonderful effect; the instrument has been sprayed
With a fine mist of rose oil.  I can reveal
That I got over my composers block, my inertia,
By allowing the notation to take its direction
From the pattern of a Tabriz carpet. So each note
Is genuinely Persian, but you hear it as an oblique
Reference, which allows you to devote
The time you spend, sharing this musical space, to heal
Yourself, and float away on a magic carpet in your mind.
This interpretation,
This transformation of a visual art form into sound,
Has been around for a while,
But there is something about the style
Of my composition which I think you will find,
Is unique."

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Naturism and Music

Bartok wrote Bluebeard's Castle, in the nude,
Except for a pair of sunglasses, which presumably he wore
As symbols of the last door,
To try and keep things dark.
The whole opera is different because he wrote it stark
Naked, as a naturist in a camp;
In bright sunlight,
Not in the night,
Not by a lamp.
But one must not make crude
Assumptions about the choice
Of instrumentation, the orchestration.
It is the human voice,
And the words, on which one must concentrate,
The idea of repressed violence and fear.
One doesn't think of Bela as being wild
Or even wildish,
So one must always hesitate
Before being childish,
And writing silly verse.
This sort of behaviour - hanging around,
Exposing while composing,
We attribute more often to his contemporary Percy Grainger,
Who was no stranger
To nudity and self flagellation and worse.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Imperialism is Dead: Long Live Imperialism!

Our aging population has a need;
through immigration then we must expand.
Because we cannot satiate our greed
we must employ more people on the land.
We know that none born here will bear a hand
in picking produce or in planting seed.
Yet really you should try to understand:
our aging population has a need.
And so too does our youthful one, indeed
its needs are greater still, so they demand
support, their sort can't bend to pick a weed;
through immigration then we must expand.
We have to grow and so we must command
our former slaves to come and work again, succeed
in building our economy. Our visions must be grand,
because we cannot satiate our greed.
We cannot stop to think but only plead
our case in terms of kindness and make sure to reprimand
those ignoramuses who pay no heed.
We must employ more people on the land
and in our factories and hospitals and take a stand
of righteousness, yet not profess we're willing to proceed
in stealing from the poor in every war torn land
the very source of their own future wealth, in order to feed
our aging population.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Squashed Frog Rondeau Redouble

I hopped along the stoney road at night.
This was my whole raison d'etre, all I'd planned.
The time had come and everything seemed right.
I saw my love hold out his tiny hand
He swore his love,"I'm yours dear to command."
"Then climb aboard, I love you at first sight."
I crouched down low and rested on my feet, outfanned.
I hopped along the stoney road at night.
For spring, and love were here for my delight
And underneath my toes was mud and sand.
I felt no fear beneath the silvery light.
This was my whole raison d'etre, all I'd planned.
I knew my duty though I did not understand
How urgent was the need to act: inspite
Of all my instincts, time slowed down and nature's scheme was grand.
The time had come and everything seemed right.
Then on an instant all my skin felt tight
The weight upon my back was more than I could stand
And then I burst. This was my final sight:
I saw my love hold out his tiny hand,
I saw the look of terror which I could not stand,
I saw a car retreat into the night,
And then no more and time seemed to expand,
And then my soul took flight
I hopped along.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Squashed Frog Villanelle


I hopped along the stoney road at night
And waited for my little froggie man.
The time had come to spawn. The moon was bright.

I waited in the eerie, silver light
I knew he’d come, for this was nature’s plan:
I hopped along the stoney road at night.

He climbed up on my back, I felt no fright,
He was so thin with such a tiny span:
The time had come to spawn.  The moon was bright.

Some other girls close by started to fight,
I wasted no more time, I almost ran;
I hopped along the stony road at night

And then it seemed that something wasn’t right;
My love had gone:  the shit had hit the fan.
The time had come to spawn.  The moon was bright.

He laid squashed flat beneath a bike, his plight
The same as many fellow men.  Oh damn!
I hopped along the stoney road at night.

The time had come to spawn.  The moon was bright.

Squashed Frog Sonnet

I hopped along the stoney road, the dark
Black night was silent and I knew that soon
I 'd see my love beneath the crescent moon.
I sang a little (something dull by Bach)
And listened to the other frogs remark
Upon the season's weather as my tune
Chugged on and grew quite riveting, 'no lark
More blithe than me.'  No lark more deaf and blind.
I thought it was my love at first, but no
What touched me was not his amphib'ous hand
He did not speak nor climb up from behind.
It was a car that mounted me and so
I lay, squashed flat and ground into the sand.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Libertarian Cat

My first life was nasty,
I didn’t live long.
My second was brutish,
I did much that was wrong.
My third life was short,
But not sweet, like a song.
My fourth life was better,
I was fed and grew strong.
My fifth life was hasty,
The sixth was quite Pooterish,
As I grew self-important,
Eating all that was tasty,
And came to ‘belong’
To some well-meaning people,
Who still couldn’t prolong
My existence, and so,
I was squashed by a moped,
Or something else scooterish.
My seventh passed by in a blur in Hong Kong,
Where the people themselves were not really free,
And seemed rather jealous of pussies like me,
My eighth was no blessing, as I lived among
People who had their ideas all wrong.
But the ninth is a wonder,
The best of all worlds,
I have shelter, protection and food and small birds,
And yet I can roam, far away from my home,
Pleasing myself like a Dong,
Without a luminous nose.
And although I suppose
That this life is the last,
I have learned a great deal from the ones that have passed.





Saturday, 7 March 2015

On Anger

Is anger really worse than the cold drip
of constant criticism from a calm
voice seemingly with patience filled? Words trip
away to thin air, all of them. Is harm
that is a greater harm, caused when, they're sent
upon their way with blasts of heat, or when
they're baseless, cold, and carping and incessant?
Does gentle rain in its relentlessness then
not erode in time the hardest stone?
Does ice not gouge out valleys where it crushes,
its temperature not bring pain into the bone
of those exposed to it?  Fire where it rushes,
though it scorches as it passes, soon blows out:
better then, than carping, is to shout.


Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Don’t Let Reason Win In Every Case

To reason is our highest human gift,
to let our lesser qualities have reign,
and to promote our intuition, lift
and elevate our instincts, is to stain
our characters by giving vent to thought
that is not thought at all.  And yet we’re made
with instincts for a reason, they’re not taught;
they’re reflexes, to keep us safe, displayed
to us in crises when the mind is weak
and reason takes too long.  So when they shout
inside your head, do not delay, don’t speak
to them with patience; act and hear them out.
And panic when you see the swirling vortex,
ignore the rational cerebral cortex.


Sunday, 22 February 2015

To The Reverend Giles Fraser

Since each man individually is free to fly or fall
then why seek to prevent him doing so?
If we write the stories of our lives at all,
why, towards our fellow men do we wish to show
some idea that we, of his, at arms length have control?
We might not wish ourselves to intervene,
but having some idea, from fiction drawn
of the natures of such types of men as we have seen,
why must we hope their fate, though they are born
as free as us, should be manipulated by the state?
We couch such thoughts in terms of moral good,
and yet, in truth, we wish to abdicate,
our interest being in our selves, that's understood.
To love our neighbours should be our direct concern,
we can't evade our duty by paying tax on what we earn.



Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Night Time Wakefulness





The morning light is not yet in the east;
no shade of paler darkness turns the night
into the hour when wakefulness can be excused.
And all the velvet indigo I see,
blends into darkness where it touches me,
unwanted consciousness is here, and sleep has ceased.
And yet this time is meant to be; when sleep has ceased
the body still at rest allows the mind a feast
of thoughtfulness.  Ideas seem born in me
in contemplative stillness in this night,
this private piece of it. I see
solutions manifest perhaps in dreams, excused
of their absurdity, distilled to clarity.  Excused
from any obligation, I have ceased
to function as I do by day, and see
with bright and blackness, though the least
new thought becomes a whole new train at night
speeding through the brain and seemingly on time.
I feel my head aflame, and lying still can't be excused,
despite the selfishness of getting up at night.
But action means that contemplation's ceased,
the morning light is not yet in the east
perhaps what seems like brilliance now, I'll come to see
as dross, when other information from the sea
of long term memory presents itself to me,
in proper, morning wakefulness.  For thought, like yeast,
ferments when left to brew in darkness, excused
from real rationality which has ceased
to function, being not a creature of the night.
So why persist in thinking in the night
if thought is not what it at first appears? If to see
clearly in darkness is but fancy, why when it has ceased
and the second sleep sweeps thought away does some
satisfaction settle in the mind? Excused
from reason, whence mental peace, with sunlight in the east?
Dark night lends partial clarity. In time we'll see
our dreams excused and hope deceased. At least we tried.


Sunday, 15 February 2015

On Tolerance

How do I tolerate thee? Let me count each way:
With just the barest effort that's required;
Not with height or depth or breadth, and not inspired
By love, but merely in obedience to the day,
That says my mind is not my own.  I say
What is thought right, for judgment has expired.
I tolerate, acknowledging the tired
Arguments of those who don't, but play
Upon our insecurities. So my
Freely chosen wish to more than tolerate
Has been, like chalk cliffs, washed away, and when
Morality might serve me well, then I
Look to authority, and abdicate -
Responsibility's for other men.


Friday, 13 February 2015

A Sonnet for Friday the 13th Before Valentine’s Day

If it were true, as is rumoured, that today
is unlucky, and fate has something bad
in store, could you, in your final hour say
I made the best of all the love I had?
I did not squander love, given to me,
nor that which I was free to give did I
harbour, frugally, believing it to be
too precious to bestow.  And did I try
to empathise, or did I judge?  To know
that you have truly loved and love received,
accepted it and understood how it would show
in every action, having been conceived
inside the mind, but only in small part,
acknowledges the purpose of the heart.


Tuesday, 10 February 2015

In Utero

A knowledge born of sickness every day;
one's body from oneself shields something rare;
genetic data not combined this way before
to make this unknown, loved, and wanted thing
this cancerous, monstrous one potential child,
with half itself a stranger to your blood.
This pact with nature that ensures a future of a sort,
but ties it in with someone else's: motherhood.
This stranger growing in the womb has brought
so much discomfort, happiness, despair,
clouds and darkness sunshine and bright day,
and this is how it shall be from now on. To bring
this half unknown mysterious thing, whom we'll adore
but still suspect, into the world, knowing, though we bore
him, he's not wholly ours, does not need reasoned thought,
merely acceptance. Creation can't be understood,
knowledge born of sickness every day,
is just absorbed and is disturbing;
with half itself a stranger to your blood.
This pact with nature that ensures a future of a sort;
one's body from oneself shields something rare;
uncertainty grows with it, dims again but never goes away.
This cancerous, monstrous one potential child,
will be.  One must take care
To make this unknown, loved and wanted thing:
Genetic data not combined this way before


Sunday, 8 February 2015

Prudence in the Jaguar

I wish that I could show you how she sits,
Straight up, eyes wide and ears pricked.
She looks so sweet although she thinks her fate
Is sudden, violent death by by XK8.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Exhaustion



The rib cage and the muscles which attempt
to hold the body upright, lack the strength.
The stomach bulges almost in contempt
at freedom unrestrained.  The whole length
of body's weak and slow and each breath short.
The eyes are heavy and ideas strange.
There is no sleep although it's craved and thought
is funny chains, non sequiturs which range
from ancient memory to present fears.
The chest expands but air serves little use.
The thought of work seems fabulous, ideas
concerning future days bizarre. Obtuse
and muddled, shuffling, stumbling and listless
the need for peace, unending, quite resistless.

Shall I Assist you with your Death?

The pity that we feel for ourselves,
We must disguise, with the imagined thought
That it's for him at whose bedside we kneel,
Pretend, because we are ourselves distraught,
That it is comfort, ease, which we desire,
For him on whom we look and whom we love.
To 'rage against the dying of the light',
Is not, in truth, behaviour we require,
From those whose dying seems to be prolonged.
And so we tell ourselves it's for the best,
To end the misery and cut death short.
We feel we act humanely and admire
Courage in the face of that which we detest.
And yet we recognise the moment when,
A man lets go a life and goes beyond.
We know that time. Know nothing, when it comes,
Can turn it back, but always until then
There's hope, not of a cure or life renewed
But of a human life where hope sustains
And of a man, who, hoping yet, remains.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Walking Further and Further in Solitude.

Don't walk in silence letting your thoughts brood,
believing that new scenes will be a cure.
It helps at first to lift the dull, black mood,
but after time the rhythm and the pure
fresh air which seemed such benefits at first
become the beat of self absorption. And the brain
responds, for here's red blood to quench its thirst,
allowing thinking more and more. But pain
persists. In drinking in the landscape now
you find yourself alone within it, where
there's no distraction, no option but to bow
to misery and contemplate despair.
Instead seek peace in real abstraction,
for mastering what taxes us is satisfaction.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

First Time

Recombination of the gametes ends.
Creation of complexity in one
Small moment of meiosis. And an ear,
An eye, immunity from being ill,
Amygdala and cortex, veins, and eight
Long, bony fingers and a unique scent
Derive from ploidy or God.  A nascent
And sketchy, unknown future man, now sends
His mother scurrying to wretch back what she ate:
Some forced down thing whose pungency alone
Had turned the stomach, so she thought a chill
Had settled there.  And yet some latent fear
Was lurking; some vague knowledge would appear
Unbidden, hinting at invasion, sent
In preparation for that shock which shakes self will
To its foundation, damns and overjoys and lends
The snowdrops in their purity a tone
Of sneering; and the mind the weight
Of knowing no escape.  This unformed tiny freight
Implants, is safe. Mitosis in the clear
Waters of the womb makes flesh and skin and bone
And vomiting and forms the slow descent
Into acceptance of one's fate.  One bends
And yields, it cannot be undone.  And there's a thrill,
Of sorts, in knowing that.  And in the still
Of unexpected peace between each height
And trough of cowardice and joy something sends
A helpful thought : other women bear
This.  Imagination helps, this as yet acaulescent
Flower can be seen in the minds eye. This one
Potential boy and man will be: he's won.
But there are months of feeling sick and ill,
Days where all one sees is reminiscent
Of one's previous life, which free from this weight,
Responsibility, seems sweet.  One tries to wear
A look of joy but one of vanquishment descends.
So one gives in, but this sleight of hand means ill
Feeling taints. One foreswears the adolescent self, childhood ends.


Thursday, 29 January 2015

The Content of His Character

Let no man judge me by the content of my character.
to do so is an insult, I'm not free.
I'm not unique,
I'm prey, you're predator,
that is the only way that it can be.
No, do not dare to judge me individually,
for self determination
is not a force herein.  You see
I am a mere example of my kind,
as such a victim of the way
I choose to say my type's defined.
Let no man judge me by the content of my character.
To do so is to diminish the absurd
degree of misery I feel, the degradation,
when you recognise the limitations of my category,
but define it with an inappropriate word.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

On Listening to a Wax Cylinder of a Male Hungarian Singing a Folk Song Followed by Bartok's Translation of it into Piano Music

An ancient voice which speaks of timelessness,
Almost mooing, cow-like in its tortured sadness,
Hidden in grooves and trapped forever
In what was just a passing, grieving mood
Is pouring forth a primal sorrow
Resonating, designating desolation.
It's undergone the oddest transformation,
Becoming something much more complex,
Retaining although refining, the despair
Which in its crude form, with all its yearning
Required no cerebral translation.
But still, the process by which the singing
Has metamorphosed into sad chords,
Has made a reasoned, new beginning,
A better framework, for understanding,
One step removed from all the raw pain
We sensed was springing
From the sad heart, trapped in wax.


Sunday, 25 January 2015

Top Trumps



My cause takes precedence because it's mine.
There is no evidence but I define
myself as an oppressed minority,
as such I claim superiority.
I "wear my tribulation like a rose",
Whose sickly fragrance fills the air about me,
so that when you're in my presence
you needs must breathe it in,
bow down before my suffering
and never doubt me.
To question any claim I make to victimhood
is to deny and utterly offend me,
my existence is my terrible affliction;
your sympathy confirms man's brotherhood.
My cause takes precedence because it's mine,
and knowing this you must enshrine
in law my right to more than understanding.
Never ask if what I am demanding
imposes far too much. For the frustration
others feel at my commanding
so much of what they are allowed to do
is very much a price worth paying,
because I am superior to you.


Friday, 23 January 2015

"...Having Learnt What That Is " 2  (advice for children)


"Never perfect until death" becoming
such as we might hope we are, uncertain,
yet guided by some inner star, and thumbing
through the book of rules until the curtain
falls at last; how can we know who we are?
We can't except with hindsight which grows strong
with age and the experience of wandering far,
on lanes which fork and bend and stony roads,
which turn out Cul de Sacs.  For going wrong
is part of coming right.  The heavy loads
we shoulder on the way aren't crosses, though,
just means of gaining insight when disposed
to self examining.  Afterwards we know
our limitations, they can't be pre-diagnosed.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Morning, Back in Bed

The brilliance of the morning light burns 
images of sashes on my closed eyes.
Four radiant rectangles in a sea
of turned-off-television, greyish-brown.
And a robin sings beneath the window 
in still air; ignorant of the cliché 
that his presence is.  The dog sleeps 
in the almost silence of tiny, hushed breaths,
jerking a little, in dreams of flying sticks,
or sexual encounters with muscular labradors.
There is no new news in the online editions,
Just a fanning of flames of recent fears,
And commentary offers no great insight,
No radiance, no brilliance,
In the sea of greyish-brown ideas.

After the Theft of Private Photographs of Celebrities Naked or Engaged in Intimate Acts.

"Darling, will you video us f**king,
And I will save the film and store it on a cloud,
And when my star's no longer in ascendance,
I'll release the footage,
And then I'll shout and loud:
'How dare you be so voyeuristic, looking
At a film star while she's shagging,
Who do you think you are?
And more importantly, was it as exciting,
As watching Ekstase with Hedy Lamarr?
Or is this more explicit stuff passe,
Pornography so commonplace and overdone?
Would a little subtlety be more inviting?
Shall I do it all again a different way?
'Come on everyone!
Don't look at me!'

But for the sake of reputation,
I must protest too much,
And even threaten  Liberty herself,
And then must seek a victim's compensation;
For if one doesn't have a new film in the offing,
Then one must be satisfied with pelf."







Monday, 19 January 2015

Pancakes on the Paraffin Stove

A combination once smelled never forgotten,
Paraffin and scalding lard, spitting.
The thick mixture poured in begins to stiffen
As protein coagulates with blue flame heat.
And the washing, hanging from the beams in the kitchen
Disappears in smog; the edges of the room retreat,
And the focus of the moment, the pure concentration
Is in watching the miracle: batter turning hard.

A sad but true story, with which all my fellow cat lovers might sympathise.

I have of late, but wherefore I know not
vacuumed up some cat pee.
Foregone all custom of exercising caution
when wielding the Dyson.
Indeed it gets so smelly now, against my disposition
I have ceased to vacuum.
This goodly frame, my house
seems to me an unsterile litter tray.
This most excellent canopy the air, look you,
is filled now with this permanent stench.
This majestical house, wetted with golden fire,
why, it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent
congregation of vapours.
What a piece of work is a cat!

Sunday, 18 January 2015

When I Grow Up

When I grow up I am going to work for
'The Institute of Assuming Everyone Else is Some Kind of Cretin'.
I will be able to exercise such power, more
Than anyone else at school.  I will get in
With governments and tell them my ideas are unquestionably right.
I will bamboozle everyone with my dazzling array of qualifications,
Which will have the effect of causing others to  lose sight
Of the fact that I talk bollocks!  The ramifications
Of what I say, will be detrimental to generations
Of healthy people and liberty herself shall bow before me.
I will be in charge, behind the scenes, none shall ignore me.


Saturday, 17 January 2015

Is beauty really misery?

The music this morning on radio three
Revels in heart felt misery,
Expresses in phrases, long and atonal,
Ideas teenage and hormonal,
And tests the ears as it test voices
Ignoring comfort, tessitura,
Preferring arrogant imposed choices,
Designed as lyrical bravura
But making hard work and strange noises.
Modernity and all its followers,
Those modern also-rans, those swallowers
Of the idea that music, just like art,
Must speak of all that's sad, elevate dreariness.
One feels bleak and sore at heart
Agonised in blasts of heat and frost,
And life seems pointless and a weariness
Overcomes; at ten o'clock the day is lost.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

An Ofsted Inspector visits a Catholic School

I am an Ofsted,'Trojan Horse', Inspector here to question you,
To find out if you know that sometimes one and one might not make two.
Do you know the queens and queers of England, and their fights historical?
And know of the offence that’s caused by being categorical?
It’s no good saying that you’re good in subjects mathematical,
For sex is all we care about in theory and as practical.
About bisexual feelings you must be teeming with a lot o’ views,
For no one gives a toss about the square of the hypotenuse!
Are you any good at integrating?  Sod the bloody calculus!
And just make sure your pupils know conception’s not miraculous.
In short in matters gender centred, sexual political,
Your pupils must be most well versed or we’ll be highly critical.

These days RE is just considered silly, mythic history,
We need the kids to understand that girl love’s great, not sistery
And use such terms as genderqueer and see them as quite glamorous.
The Trinity should not be taught, except that it’s analogous,
To the confusion people feel about their heterosexual weirdness,
In this age where everybody’s made to celebrate their queerness.
I’m here to make you understand your pupils know when their cisgendered,
And that if they don’t, at least they know such terms must be defended.
Appearing as we know they did in Babylonic Cuneform,
But disappearing in this age of gender neutral uniform.
In short in matters gender centred, sexual, political,
Your pupils must be most well versed, or we’ll be highly critical.








Friday, 9 January 2015

Burning the Eucalyptus Logs

They do not smell as once they did, in life.
There is no hint of mint or aniseed,
And nothing of their beauty now remains.
How sad the transformation, and the deed
That turned the elegance of blue-grey trees,
To useful timber, smoky firewood.
And yet each flame reminds me of the heat
Of June, and how they stood,
Behind the peonies,
With pink brown snake-like bark which peeled;
And how they graced the garden as they bent
And waved their upward curving limbs
 In warm, remembered southern breeze.
And how the glorious summer flowers revealed
Their brightness rather better,
Because the strong light and cerulean blue, 
Was tempered by their glaucousness:
 A million leather leaves.



Thursday, 1 January 2015

After Tea, New Years Day.

The marzipan is hissing on the coals,
And Taramasalata melts beside it;
The ochre yellow and the sickly pink,
Such clashing shades, some tired mind,
Uncultured in the art of juxtaposing colour, has combined,
In random disregard.  The Stilton rolls
And disappears into the flickering heat,
And cake crumbs follow blackening as they fall.
The tea pot crouches luke-warm on the tray
The chairs pushed back complete the disarray.
The conversation has become a squabble,
And doors are slammed and children storm away,
And peace that briefly reigned within the room,
When buttered bread, perfect and whole lay,
Has vanished.  And worst of all there's talk of Scrabble.
What greater misery could young people find,
To guarantee that Christmas ends with tears
Of rage?  And leave one longing for normality,
Quiet dullness, hallmark of each plain unseasonal day.