Saturday, 31 January 2015

Though Not Some Android

Though not some Android, still it seems to be,
The early version of yourself ran well;
Performed its functions smoothly; seemed to see
That lacking in fresh spirit that might sell
To those who sought the new for newness' sake,
Still replication of the very best
Of all that man had praised before would take
You some part of the way. And you could rest
On giants' shoulders gaining from their past,
Acquiring ways and means of being you.
But something intervened and to be fast,
Or its equivalent in man, meant new
Untested things were installed where
Improvement was not needed, without care.

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.

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, 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 metamorphosised 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

Before the Fire’s Lit.

The room is comfortless, reproving and austere
The piles of things in random heaps of uselessness,
And the smell of greasiness, 
Remove the vestiges, the thin veneer
Of civilized domestication.
Shining silver, Cuban mahogany,
Lack all they signify, when warmth and cheer
Replace the dreariness and dignify chaotic existence
With that quality, let's call it homeliness,
for which there is no explanation.
Human messiness and mental weariness =
January afternoon without a fire.

This is Nicole, 22 from Bournemouth

"When as I view your comely grace",
Nicole, 22, from Bournemouth, it's your
Pale, blonde hair, "your angels face,"
That make me want to look some more,
"Your silver teeth, your crystal eyes",
Nicole, 22 from Bournemouth,
Then down below the great surprise,
Your lovely boobs of lovely size
Complete the transport of delight,
And the whole world doth
Seem to sing, for here on earth, no lovelier sight
Was ever seen: I think I am in Paradise.
Nicole, 22, from Bournemouth, just
The thought of you is cheering,
Perhaps the subject of my lust,
My gaze is one of celebration,
One of happiness, not leering.
Objectification, when it's sexual,
Is a matter, most contextual, bust
And winking laughing face
Bring only ardent admiration.
For Nicole, 22, from Bournemouth
Pictured in this page 3 space
Is a Goddess for glorification.

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.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

The modern approach, forget about 'Having Learnt What That Is' and concentrate instead on:

"... Become such as you are", I, the focus.
Be you, yourself, your ego, all your years.
One needs to find oneself, find the locus
Of great satisfaction in the mind. Fears
Of all things difficult need not be faced,
One finds that concentration on one's heart
Brings greatest ease. And sadness can be traced
Always to others. And do not take part
In that which you suspect you won't enjoy,
For there's nothing to be learnt from those tasks
Which don't bring instant happiness.  Employ
A kind of mental bodyguard who asks
" What's in this for me?" let all that's done
 Be beneficial first to number one!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Facebook: Talking to Imaginary Friends

I do it every day and so do you,
From this most subdued place, dull loneliness,
Where we pretend we're in some peopled space
And talking to some interested friend,
Some person who might share our point of view,
And fill the hours of boring emptiness
With warmth: sweet human interaction.

They do exist, are real, in flesh and blood,
And yet they're figments as we are quite blind
To whom they really are, they're our 'friends'
Have names and faces, personalities,
And knowing this gives comfort, satisfaction:
The human animal is truly social.

There is a contract, something understood,
Acknowledgement of exposed frailties
So sympathy is sought in conversation.
'Hope springs eternal' as the human mind
Seeks always for some glimmer of reflection.

Yet what does this exchange beget?  In truth
Investing here in trivial discussion,
In response to other's needs is charity,
Seeking to fulfill its selfish ends
Born of longing for reciprocation.

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.

In the Cathedral at Chatres, in my Mind, on Christmas Eve 2014.

Crepuscular gloom is pierced by light
And our perception is profoundly changed.
And colour floods the space as brilliant white
Dissolves into constituent parts.  Arranged
To ornament , delineate, the shades
Of heaven bathe our eyes and darkness fades.
Crepuscular gloom is pierced and night
Retreats leaving exuberant joy and all is bright,
As lapis lazuli and ochre, green, red, gold
Describe a miracle, and we see paradise unfold.

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.

Imagining Remembering

Down the end of some long lane,
Where old horse chestnuts
Or green beeches overhanging,
Make a pleasant shade;
I’ll find you sitting
In a deckchair, reading,
Passing happy hours again.

You won’t get up, but wave in welcome,
Much absorbed, and yet your greeting
Won’t be distant, just what’s fitting
From a mother to a child.

I’ll fling myself upon the lawn
And mention sundry bits of news,
And bits of gossip worth repeating,
Just to hear your different views,
And acquire some understanding
Separate from the self-absorbed perspective
Of a teenage life.  I’ll hear my own voice,
Sometimes bleating,
Sometimes cross and quite demanding.
Then your response,
With wisdom peppered
Almost randomly as if by choice
You'd rather make some contribution
Much less obvious.

Wisdom, flitting, fleeting,
Stiffens, laces yet
Leaves mere traces:
Essence of conversation.
Imagination with invented re-creation
The needy memory strews.

Friday, 16 January 2015


The day begins before the dawn,
In blackness, never velvet, soft,
But thin in contrast to the warm
Of fluffy cloud-like eiderdown.
With a stretch and stifled yawn
And John and Jim who pour forth scorn,
I dip a toe into the day
But lack the strength to face it down;
So snuggle back and moan and groan,
And watch the first wash, pale grey
That pushes navy blue away,
And crescent moon grows pale and wan.
My thinking seems to go astray
The 'bat black night' has not yet flown,
Dark shadows round the walls are strewn
But as they fade I tense and tune
The strings and fibres of my being, strain
Towards the need to form
Myself as me again.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Song Occurring While Burning Rotten Planks on the Bonfire (to the tune of ‘Morning has Broken’)

Burning crustaceans,
What strange sensations,
Must they be feeling?
While they lie where
Flames lick around them
Brightly revealing,
There's no chance of healing,
And I don’t care.

Burning crustaceans,
Our strained relations,
Never were this bad,
But then before,
I’d chance to remove them;
The birdies were quite glad,
I must have been mad,
I’m not any more!

Life Without Hope of Death

To live ‘as if each day might be the last’,
Fridge magnet cliché of the happy past,
Now I am 95 and living still,
In aimlessness and half arsed lack of will.
Complacent certainty of life is dull,
Nascent fear of immortality catalyst
To seeking what is best.  Now I am old
I’m speaking with what should be wisdom’s weight:
Gladly shouldered burden of experience. But
Sadly I repeat acquired ideas
I picked up cheaply, tawdry, second hand. 
For certainty of death’s not mine. I stand
As strongly now as I did in my youth,
And see no end in sight to guide.  The truth
Is self-indulgence leads to mediocrity,
The dreadful curse of guaranteed longevity

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.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Bass Recorder

Transported  through the curving bocal,
Compressed breath ducted to the  fipple,
Turned air to tunes as fingers supple
Covered holes and music, vocal
In its sweetness seemed to ripple
On the air which cold and local
Had just lately, in the chapel,
Frozen so my poor left nipple.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Nothing to do with Religion

There are so many things are not,
But those that are, aren't hard to spot.
As culture changes men distort
The truth for their own ends; exhort
The stupid, weak and feeble lot
Whose faith is strong, but who cannot
Think for themselves to wipe or blot
All human reason out.  Each report,
(There are so many
Which try to influence)  each plot
Explained to us, unties the knot
Within the mind of him who thought
To shout he killed for God: for nought
Must e'er offend an idiot -
There are so many.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Fine Word Butter no Parsnips

Liberty is dead; long live Liberty
She lies among the corpses of the brave
Who would not let her suffer any harm;
She will, we hope, remain without the grave,
And light beam from the torch in her right arm;
Yet fine words butter no parsnips, friends.
Her wound may still prove fatal yet.
We must rally to her side, for she depends
On us.  Her light grows dim, but we must not forget,
Its strength of brightness lies within our power;
We are behooven to speak freely now.
But truth must be our aim and not the sour,
Curdling lies which arm those who seek to show
That freedom should be kept in check.  Repent
All stifling ways: end this sad endarkenment.

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.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Just For Men

My hair has turned quite dark with age;
Responding to the application of a dye
That's all the rage, among the old men of the nation.
Who, tricked like me, into believing that the substance
Had an eye, could make a differentiation
Between the silver threads and brown,
Which lately seem to multiply (the silver strands)
And don't lie down, have lost their reason.
Of course insistence
On appearing youthful over forty five
Demands such silliness.  I must have
Known that to contrive a colourant
Which knows somehow, the markers of the season,
(Wisps of grey which curl into the early autumn, now
Making a wreath of summer's end, a silver crown)
And shading them, ALONE, to look like spring,
Was really quite impossible.  I am a silly cow.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Winter Crystals

The terrace flags are strewn with frost, salt, sand,
Such crystals as make winter sparkle bright,
But coal is king when winter grips the land.
The frozen ground such caution can command
From those who must traverse it, when, at night,
The terrace flags are strewn with frost, salt, sand.
The patterned beauty of the winter fanned
On window glass makes dull-opaque the light;
But coal is king when winter grips the land
Providing heat to melt the ferns; each strand
Of seaweed turns quite clear where it was white.
The terrace flags are strewn with frost, salt, sand,
The ice has not yet melted and unplanned
Excursions out of doors may still excite;
But coal is king when winter grips the land
Desired in contrast fire shows frost is bland
For heat is love but cold is merely spite.
The terrace flags are strewn with frost, salt, sand,
But coal is king, when winter grips the land.


Though disinhibition never lasts,
It vanishes and I’m left stranded,
In this place where icy blasts
Direct from cold self- loathing, leave me small and reprimanded.
No harsher critic ever handed
Down such punishments.  These contrasts
Of extremes of mood, seen in cross section seem close banded:
Though disinhibition never lasts
Neither does depression.  It casts
Its shadow for a while, but not so long that I am branded
Permanently wretched.    I don’t take pills or herbal extracts,
It vanishes and I am stranded
In the doldrums, boring, calm, and I’m commanded
To perform some useful tasks; no fasts
Or feasts just dull old peace, here where I’ve landed
In this place where icy blasts are never far away.  Of forecasts
There are none of use, still, to be candid
I am glad, although these gusts and great lambastes,
Direct from cold self-loathing leave me small and reprimanded,
Never knowingly even-handed,
Still, all three of me are harsh iconoclasts.
Some moods last days, time seems expanded,

Though disinhibition never lasts. 

Monday, 5 January 2015

Moon Photo

Such beauty, radiant, brilliant as takes the breath away;
When seen behind a line of poplars in the darkening sky;
Such beauty beaming from a wide, bright, pale face,
As makes one stare, and lifts the spirits from the grey;
Such beauty brings the camera out because one ought to try,
And capture it for ever. As if this place
Will never look as well again, for on another day,
Some detail might be altered.  And it seems we must comply,
Despite experience, that tells us that this space,
The wide, blue, lit-up heaven, we can't truly portray.
Such beauty, radiant, brilliant as takes the breath away;
When seen upon a small, glass screen,
Leaves one wondering why,
A thing as fair as Phoebe looks insignificant and mean.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

The Last of The Oxford Marmalade

Congealed and dark, the marmalade
Within the jar, has not been paid
Attention to for weeks.   Marmite,
That other English 'marm', of night
Black, salty, treacle darkness made,
Has been in the ascendant; strayed
Into morning's territory, preyed
Upon my slimmer's mind, with spite
Congealed and dark.
And now I feel I have betrayed
Frank Cooper's," Oxford" Vintage, played
Fast and loose, neglected coarse, bright,
Bitter, sweet, thick, Seville delight.
And now it's dry, the marmalade -
Congealed and dark.

The Isle of Gaviscon

Of heavy, pink, and chalky soil,
Which forms a crust above the boil
Of hot, volcanic tumult
Known to spoil
The peace with loud eruptions.
Where acid-lashing red hot fire
Is mostly quelled, but sometimes oil
Dripped from above can permeate
The pleasant limestone layer.
And then the burning fountains flare
And Brimstone's foul reek fills the air
And those who pass by must be loyal
Remembering such happy days
As once were spent without disruptions
Of sulphuric gas explosions.

Ah, peaceful Isle of Gaviscon,
I yearn for you and lie upon
My bed and my heart burns.
In tossing and in sudden turns
I'm hoping, wishing, longing for
The comfort of your chalky shore,
Where I'll find happiness once more,
Oh peaceful Isle of Gaviscon!

Friday, 2 January 2015


It ran out in a moment, unobserved,
Mitosis, as was its wont,
Carried out in warm, dark blackness.
It had served the organism well,
But in this infinitesimal fraction of time
It had erred. 

It ran out with the toss of a coin,
In a fragment of knowledge left unpreserved
In the process of replication,
And would leave the organism all at sea,
Searching for information,
Searching for new ideas.

It ran out and she felt the sensation
Of something uncertain within
Which became the great burden of knowing,
And wondering, was it deserved.

It ran out and left guilt in its wake,
And the fixing on something to blame
And this was encouraged, for this is the game
We must shoulder the fault for others' sake,
Subduing, encouraging fears,
By hiding the role of fate.

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.