Friday, 26 June 2015

Summer Day

Today is all Vaughan Williams and Butterworth
Green and pleasant and buttercups,
As stirring of patriotic sentiments
As Parry's setting of Jerusalem,
Except in the garden which is Grainger.
Beyond the village are brown cows
And gypsophila clouds of Queen Anne's lace,
And even the hideous regiments
Of wind turbine,
Designed to spoil country walks,
Seem symbols of the divine.
Today is Purcell's 'Fairest Isle',
Sung by Alfred Deller, and the danger
Of 'Islamic State' and other news
Pales into insignificance beside
Imagined music for a while
And sweeping views,
Punctuated here and there by architectural hog weed,
Each creamy plate or face
Above straight, hairy stalks,
Which would have Hockney in raptures
In these East Yorkshire pastures,
Hoping to capture
Something of their strength on his iPad.
Today is all 'I Was Glad',
And swallows and swifts at high speed,
And blackbirds and thrushes
And warblers on rushes
And Britten's Serenade For Tenor Horn and Strings
But no strange stirrings,
Just refrains and Quatrains,
And 'queen and huntress chaste and fair',
Though it started with Bartok, sans underwear.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Equality is Good

Let no half measures mark our years of rule,
And yet, let balance always be our guide.
Let us govern evenly and make legality
The first and foremost thought in every mind.
Let no man think of freedom, let him school
Himself in doing what is right. We tried
To step away, but the fragility
Of any large, diverse community
Means someone has to be in charge: the state
Must take control and legislate.
We speak of matters like austerity,
Which sound as if we care about accountancy
And yet, I think that really what you'll find
Is that our only interest's the totality
Of jurisdiction; we don't discriminate.
We enter into everything, and on each kind
Of thought or action we adjudicate.
We subdivide the nation, each locality
Has sets of petty rules of its own,
Which can cause some confusion, it's a shame.
But overall I think you'll like our aim,
And our absolute infallibility.
Although we always need equivocate
When speaking, at least we're seeking
To demonstrate in reality
An equality of illiberality,
Which surely you condone?

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Mistress Masham's

Last night I dreamt I went to that old place again.
It's rooms are vast and never ending and outside
The fields of rolling, golden crops are rippling. When
I stand beside a sagging sash in some high attic looking out, I know the not so deep, mysterious thing, implied
By all these empty rooms and dust. Yet brooking
Every argument my brain in sleep can make and then
Inspired to further avarice I lust by day and search the country wide,
For run down manor houses in their sad decay.
Because I really do not want to know, the truth my mind
Seeks sideways on to show, I only wish to look and find
And then to go, to this recurring paradise. I'll ride
Through endless, shabby eighteenth century rooms
On rollerskates, waking each one from its long repose
And see the tangled gardens down below,
And feel the hot wind of high summer blow
And smell the ripening wheat and climbing rose,
As through the grey-green corridors I glide.

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, 18 June 2015

Scientific Evidence That Tim Hunt Is Wrong


Women and men fall in love in the lab. Which is a distraction.
Women cry when men are critical.


Study of science beyond A level and the ability to be objective and analytical
Withers the sexual organs, and all usual mental processes associated with sexual attraction.
Exposure to scientific equipment and ideas disables and causes drought within the lachrymal glands, so the stereotypical
Behaviour of females does not apply to scientists whose only reaction
To anything emotional is to evaluate the data and come to a conclusion which is rational.


Scientists are incapable of falling in love, which is a silly notion,
The only sentiment they have is total devotion
To their work.  This applies equally across the board,
To those studying cells or space
Exploration: love cannot be a distraction in the work place.
It seems Tim Hunt set out to lie;
Female scientists physically can't shed tears therefore they can't cry.
Professor Hunt should be ignored.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Traumerei On The Day That Philip Larkin Is Given A Memorial Stone At Poets Corner

In this dream that dogs me I am part
Of a silent crowd walking over a floor,
Leaving a service, perhaps, in a cathedral,
All moving the same way.  After a while
Something closes in on me, right
Above, pressing me tighter.  I feel shut in
Yet I can lift my head, I see the walls
Rise, soar above me, but there is sunlight
Dancing. Now a giant whitewashed P
Appears right up among the vaults
But not too high for them to recognise.
I await the O, watch it approach and pass.
By now the people have ceased walking
And I waft freely through air, upwards despite
The weight of the stone. Under the E
I crook my arm to shield my face, for I
Must pass beneath the huge decapitated cross
Of the T, white on the wall and I cannot halt,
I simply float and mingle with music,
It is bright day. I have woken again and the word is spelt.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Boob Job (Boyes is a chain of shops in East Yorkshire, it sells everything from underwear to paint and cooking utensils)

From Boyes, appropriately,
Reduced, inappropriately.
Loads bigger than mine,
And yet, just my size.
Not Platex,
But a bra for the way you are not,
Only £2.99.
And when you recline
They stay looking fine,
The whole lot
Just stays put,
Two big, too big baps, on the spot,
Standing on parade.
Combined with latex
I feel I want to shout,
“I’m no longer a pear,
But something divine.”
Only, would a divine thing embody lies,
Or want to look like a barmaid?
There’s a metaphysical question,
Just as a suggestion,
To try and persuade
You I’m not scraping the barrel
For something to write about.

'Every Child Matters'

To say that every child matters is
Not to claim simultaneously
Its antithesis, viz.
Every parent's extraneously
Inconvenient and not worth consideration.
Yet it's easier to solve the equation
Without a valid solution for x and y
Because it is known, has been shown
In countless studies that it's pointless to try.
These lumpen layabouts are beyond redemption:
Druggies, smokers, drinkers, itinerants, likely to drift.
Their efforts will always be below par,
Ours, that is.  Don't worry, we know who they are,
You are safe, for a time, until the goal posts shift.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

A Recipe From Howard Fergusons Cookery Book

First catch a brilliant mind,
Fill it with knowledge
So that its wisdom is perfect but tender,
Set it aside and leave it to rest
So that the flavours of all it has absorbed can mingle
Freely.  Then see if you can find
A supply of originality;
Apply liberally though always acknowledge
Something of tradition. Gradually work in a slender
Hope, enlarging it by adding vitality.
Always choose the best
Ingredients, don't be satisfied with a single
Idea, have several.  Allow each to develop and test
Them in various ways through improvisation,
So that the dish when complete
Is a succulent blend
Of intellect and emotion, perfectly combined.

Mrs Houston in the Ascendant.

Today the sun's gone in again,
And I've gone Michael Finnegan,
Pretending tabula rasa's
My favourite state of slate.
I have wiped away
Every trace of yesterday,
In order to begin again.
To order and eliminate,
To bully and to subjugate
Ali, who's always silly.

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.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015


Bruce, please don't reduce Bruce
To basic biology,
Your sort can't  shake loose
The thought of the noose
With useless psychology.
Let 's call a truce,
Don't call it abuse
You need to feel free,
Understand liberty.
Girls don't have to look spruce,
Or try and seduce,
We have agency.
The choice you have made is
One you couldn't evade, viz.
It was meant, heaven sent
Determined for you.
No, there's nothing abstruse,
And this is the truth,
You CHOOSE your 'fate'
So celebrate!
Don't let the obtuse,
Try and confuse, Bruce
With some weird mistake
He was not a fake whose
Original mould you just had to break,
That's not your news.
As you made yourself lovely
And glamorous and thin,
So you chose to become this transgender, Caitlin.