Wednesday, 23 December 2015

The Role of Woman within a Farting Club, Early 18th Century.

The Farting Club, which met at ten,
Comprised exclusively of men,
Except one dame,
Who came alone
From somewhere north of Harwich.
Inspecting breeches and shirt tails
She checked that odoriferous smells,
(Like sulphur from the deepest wells,
Brought up from mother earth, her bowels
In wooden and in leaden pails)
Were caused by gasses on their own
And not the Brewers' miscarriage.

Monday, 14 December 2015


There is no dog but dog
Its essence is the same
Whichever form it takes.
And yet each dog that we adore
We know is just itself.
And so we love the subtlety
Of difference and we frame
Our references to show we know
That X or Y is yet more tame,
Or faster, gentler, more awake,
More loving, than the one before.

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.)

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Left Hand Only

Desolation in the minor -
Chopin chords bring satisfaction
To the mind that craves 
A finer kind of blue.
Sad perfection, iteration,
Makes a soothing grey distraction,
Melancholic repetition,
Reinforcing recognition 
Of a wintry hue,
That lurks below the hard facade,
But yet is never out of view.
Resonant within the chamber
Of the soul, no great diviner
Is required to tell the meaning.
What's sequential is prophetic:
Know the end from the beginning,
Sound itself provides prediction,
Chopin chords bring satisfaction
To the mind that craves what's true.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Two Long Cold Services

He isn't in the cold air or the old stones,
He isn't in the vicar or the words,
Isn't hiding in the rhythm or the meter.
He isn't in the altar or a candle
Although He might be somewhere in the Handel.
He isn't in the creed or in the pews,
He isn't in the prayers, but in my bones
I know He's somewhere nearby
And if I close my eyes and try
I can find Him in the warmth right by heater.

A Cautionary Tale

When lycra content in thine underwear
Is high, intended to control thy flab,
In order for thy saggy image to repair
In profile, before the mirror, in drab
Winter, morning light.  Do not haste to dress,
But dress with care, for the elastic strength
Of clothes designed to undertake the stress
Of holding back the bulge acquired through length
Of years is great. And so it doth resist
Thine hauling up, resulting in great harm
To ligaments and muscles. Then desist!
Pull gently, slowly with thy cautious arm.
Or else protect the muscles of thy back
And wear such pants as cut thy self some slack.

Musing on a Game Pie

Not much united by fine herbs or wine
And pastry's only function's to restrain.
No chopping can disguise or redefine:
The nature of each element is plain.
For venison will never taste like hare,
And rabbit like a pheasant cannot be,
As each thing is itself and we're aware
Of how each creature formally was free.
And how it's former freedom made its taste,
Gave it its character which is unique.
And yet had we the chance would we make haste,
Had we some spell would we restore each beak,
Each hoof, back to its owner, new life grant?
And reason that it had the right to live
As it saw fit, or would we fail, give scant
Consideration to the choice, forgive
Ourselves for thinking of the present?

Friday, 4 December 2015

A Sonnet for Alfie And Emily. (From the Channel Four documentary on the "secret lives of five year olds.")

Two children, not quite fully finished, yet
Some instinct in them seems to recognise
Its kindred spirit, knows that it has met
Its match: intellect joins hands with what is wise
In joyous silliness that shares a sense
That life lived in imagination's best.
This time is short and yet it's not intense
This love might not endure, it stands no test,
Yet reinforces certainties we hold
As true, almost in opposition to
Experience of adult life. The old
Are cynics, tempered by life's trials, but who
Can say our souls, like atoms cannot bond,
That if we are ourselves, no other can respond?

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.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Mr and Mrs Nuance

Mr and Mrs Nuance understand
The opposites which lie upon each hand,
And weigh them up in every conversation,
And live a life of permanent frustration.

Yet still, despite despising rules of thumb,
They're sure that this approach is right.
Although they know its crass
To draw conclusions. They react with fright
When one is drawn from their debate. Alas!

For Mr and Mrs Nuance are getting old,
Have children of their own who must be told
About the dreadful evils in the world.
But Mr and Mrs Nuance wouldn't dare
To draw a moral line, they do not care
For old judgemental, black and white, and balk
At the idea of anything so crude,
Preferring pastel shades and smudgy chalk;
Delighting in the smugness they exude,
And love that soft, warm, peachy coloured glow 
That comes from real balance.

And their children really like their dad and mum
Because they see from every point of view,
Like cubists.

Yet it's true
That where a void is, where there's only silence;
Where to argue
And to defend ideas informed by centuries of thought
Is thought abhorrent;
Where to put both points is always better 
Than to tell a truth;
Where opinion firmly stated on one side 
Is always inferior to guidance,
And guidance is inferior to trust in instincts
Since it still requires a guide,
and nobody insists,
And morals can't be taught,
And we always must be worshippers of youth:
Then from the mists
Emerge the milk sops 
Who will sell us to the Devil
And condemn us all to Hell.