Wednesday, 29 November 2017

On Listening to Neil Mac Gregor on Living With The Gods, Radio 4



Your voice, perhaps a little cold,
Yet certain, clear,
Reaches through the ear to the brain,
Where new ideas take hold.
And I feel peace, 'flow',
That joy in comprehension
As you explain
And also, nostalgia for this kind of radio,
This 'public service broadcasting'
Built on the assumption
There was a public who wished to know.
Not a thousand publics, compartmentalised,
But one whole, who, year by year,
Gained knowledge, by listening,
Contrasting,
Storing up. From fact, 
Wisdom materialised
And by sharing and repeating,
Though the medium was transient,
'Airwaves' imparted something lasting.


Monday, 28 August 2017

Today I Was Merely An Imprint


Today I was merely an imprint
A faint copy, somewhere near the surface of my mind.
So that on waking, everything was in place,
No need to burrow up from the depths towards the light.
Today I was merely a faint idea, sketchy,
Just sufficient to function.
Nothing challenged me, so there was no disgrace,
No failure to perform and no evidence, no trace
Of absent mindedness because I left nothing behind,
Except a first, thin coat of blue grey paint.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

HRH The Duke Of Edinburgh On "The Excellence Of Being Cold".



I am most excellently cold,
My breath hangs all around me in a mist,
I'm ninety seven years old,
But warm inside, because I'm pissed.
Our jollies in Balmoral are
The freest times we have, by far,
We sit and freeze, hour after hour,
Beside the old electric fire,
And if I'm good, do all I'm told,
Then Liz lets me switch on one bar.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

A Time And A Place For Everything


(on actors, conductors, performers,  who give political lectures to audiences.)

There is one, which implies
That it is also true
That some things, said, at certain times,
In certain places,
Are bound to take us by surprise,
Which is not always a pleasant thrill.

And you have no brief
To impose your restricted
Point of view,
In the sadly mistaken belief,
You're voicing a universal truth
A sweeping panorama.

If we came to hear a concert,
Or came to watch a drama,
Then how ever much you may wish 
To do something different and new,
And know yourself not in the first flush of youth
And think yourself, therefore, wise,
Still we came to admire your professional skill
And this kind of admiration differs
From an admiration of you.



Monday, 12 June 2017

How It Really Is. (Sonnet)



To 'love one's neighbour as oneself', requires
One first to love oneself, so one might know
What sort of thing love is, yet it transpires
One is not lovable. One cannot show
One's neighbour love therefore, and so instead
One settles for a paltry substitute -
One stops just short of wishing he were dead.
Since, if he were, one could not institute
One's little squabbles over trivia
And breathe them into fiery campaigns 
And elevate them to quadrivia -
Important subjects, which he then disdains,
Refuses to address, but out of spite,
Pretends that at some future time he might.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

2 am



The cat has no conception
Of the crime 'cultural appropriation',
He's howling and shouting as if he's Siamese.
Stalking the long corridor,
In my direction,
Testing acoustics he has tested before,
Caring nothing for my disapprobation,
His worms need feeding and he can't cope with his fleas.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

The Best Things In Life



The best things in life aren't free,
They are just much less expensive than they 'should be'.
You might profess to believe in markets and free trade
But when you're justifying purchases the best thing to do
Is tell yourself there is another market, where prices are much higher,
Praise your knowledge, expertise and discernment as a buyer.


Items might arrive, 
Or you might collect them, on some God given, spring day,
When the leaves are green, the blossom's out, the sky is blue.
You might be feeling glad to be alive,
But mostly you'll be glad because you knew,
That the bit of old tat you bought on eBay,
Was worth a few more hundred quid than you paid.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

The Loved One



http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/05/01/rise-live-stream-funeral-half-venues-can-now-broadcast-services/

Nearly 50% of Funeral Venues have the capacity to live stream ceremonies via the internet:

"Mr Joyboy has fixed up the camera in the corner,
Your loved one looks, so beautiful,
We've given him the beatific smile,
I'm sure every mourner,
Here, and those who can't attend, but dutiful
To the idea of "paying their last respects",
Watching online, will agree.

Some of Mr Joyboy's special effects:
Eg. the "scream" as the coffin enters the furnace, you'll see
Go down particularly well,
With our more youthful clientele.
While older mourners, the ones who still insist
On being an "in person attendee"  
Find it a bit upsetting,  who can resist
The temptation to turn a funeral into a scene
From a horror movie,
Especially when it's going to be seen, on screen?

For an extra fee
Mr Joyboy can arrange knocking
To come from the coffin, 
And one of the undertakers to rush up with a key
To try unlocking it
And letting your loved one free,
Only to be defeated,
As the coffin rushes towards the fire.
The inevitable end, can be filmed in slow motion
Then repeated,
To drive home the memory.


Of course we all aspire
To show our devotion 
To our loved one in ways that are dignified,
We don't want our relatives and friends to be mortified,
But movies are best with some kind of action.
Take advice from Mr Joyboy,
An expert in both film and funeral direction."


Monday, 1 May 2017

A Little Ditty For Mr Farron (to the well known hymn tune)



Jesus shall reign, where the sun don't shine,
For acts of buggery are quite divine,
If you want votes, forget your soul,
Declare you'd put your Roger into any old hole.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Some Form Of Umbrage




Some form of umbrage can always be taken,
And the small, perceived slight will always awaken
The mind to another small grudge, stored away,
Wrapped up with care, 
For a special occasion.
And the slighted are right, they are never mistaken,
And poke at their wounds all day
And dig in their heels and will not be shaken,
Enjoying the sense of grieved frustration,
Believing themselves alone and forsaken
By friends who might dare
To suggest that they are 
Victims of their own, 
Petty, imagination.




Monday, 3 April 2017

"The Road To Somewhere".



They shut the road through the woods
Thirty years ago
And didn't try to explain, 
why we wouldn't need it again,
Looking from afar, you would never know
It was there, the road through the woods.
Now the woods seem only trees.
The road's beneath the coppice and heath
And the thin anemones.
There is no keeper who sees
That there's aught worth keeping at all
He dismisses the place with ease,
"There was once a road through the woods."
Yet, if you enter the woods,
You will find it teeming with life
And people, walking, who say, 
That they see the road clear as day
A metalled surface on well trodden ground. 
There's a young man and his wife
And their children grouped around.
There are friendly neighbourhoods
Where people will welcome you, 
If you respect their way.
You might hear the beat of a horse's feet,
Or the swishing of skirts in the dew,
Steadily cantering through
As over the road to somewhere they go,
These people who perfectly know,
As you once perfectly knew,
The old lost road through the woods.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Rapid Cycling



The sky was streaked with pink,
At six twenty five,
Which made me think
There was joy in being alive.
And I was full of happy ambition.
But by six twenty seven
the sky was dull and pale grey
And my glimpse of Heaven
Had become a premonition
Of a pointless, crappy day.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Spring



Today I have been mostly
Painting the coal stains on the carpet, chrome yellow.
Using Dylon fabric paint, 
But it may as well have been emulsion.

And yet this strange compulsion,
Which is part of spring cleaning and lent,
Restoration, resurrection
Is not really a sign of insanity,
It is quite artistic and intelligent
And the sort of thing Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell
Might have done, and not even needed to justify their actions
With historic argument
In favour of Chinese yellow in an 18th century, English drawing room.
And it is cheerful and looks forward to daffodils 
And sprigs of forsythia in the blue and white vases on the chimneypiece
And banishes winter gloom.

I know other people's reactions 
Might be less appreciative, and that they may think old cocoa spills
More suitable additions to the colour scheme
Than my efforts to capture something of the garishness of the carpet's pre coaly days.
And though the original shade was more subtle,
Less gorse or skip or number-plate,
Still, there is a certain authenticity
A certain realistic flavour,
A dash of visual monosodium glutamate
About this one and there's nothing wrong with a little eccentricity
If it is an act of preservation.
And besides, I have been wearing grey tweed all winter.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

End of Feb.



The grey days weep
and the waters run where the paths are steep
and the waters seep when they cease to run
and the ways grow deep.
Great winds sweep
and we glimpse the sun
and sense life emerging from winter sleep
as the days grow longer
and seem to bring
a sense, quite false, that we grow stronger,
for we seize and limp
and fail to spring.






Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Hate Crime

I wrote this and the rondeau redouble about Hilary Clinton's women's march in the voice of a hysterical lefty, a sort of modern day Rick from 'TheYoung Ones' .




I hate crime, as a matter of course, I hate all crime,
I hate most of all a Hate Crime. One can't comprehend
the mindset of someone who hates all the time.
I can't stand people like them. They intend
to cause hurt, I am sure: they are vile, low life, pond slime.
They may not say aught to offend,
but one feels they are fascists; I'd like to drown them in quicklime.
I hate crime, as a matter of course, I hate all crime,
but Hate Crime is worst, there's no rhyme
or reason behind it, nobody can defend
thieves who hate their victims, ungrateful tapeworms living on chyme.
I hate most of all a Hate Crime, one can't comprehend
the attitude.  I'd be tempted to send
any found guilty of such to the gallows, I'd like to watch them climb
the steps, then see them drop, legs kicking. Bring back hanging, I'll gladly attend!
The mindset of someone, who dedicates his time
to hating others, because they are different, is alien, does not chime
with my way of thinking, at all. I would never spend
a minute meditating on how much I detested others, unlike these vermin, living in grime.
I can't stand people like them, they intend
to cause maximum suffering what with their insults and looks, but we'll get them in the end.
we beat Adolf, remember, and they're just like him. Imagine the joy, sublime
elation, ecstasy, we'll feel, knowing every hater's to be put on trial. And let's extend, 
redefine, include Tory thinking:  since Tories are scum we should digest them with an enzyme,
as a matter of course.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Soliloquy for boosting my self esteem

I am not now, nor have I ever been
A mad old cow.
Be gone dull care, for you little know me.
Indeed, it is my sanity, my real disposition,
Tells me silly things I say
Are not true, are flippant, not worthy of me.
This most average quantity, my share
Of sense, this brain all working normally
Is empirical proof.
Vanity might desire
That I am different, some other thing than most,
But that does not mean that I am a stupid old loony.
What a calm, quiet life I have led,
Have lived through each season
In sympathy. The quality
Of each and every task that I have undertaken
Has not been always the highest,
But that does not mean that I have failed.
As duty shapes my life
There isn't room for arrogance
And yet, I ask, what is this great hatred, disgust?
Self must never be
The central focus
Though by my writing I seem to say so.


Wednesday, 25 January 2017

A Clinton Supporter Decides To Join the Women's March On The Day After Trump's Inauguration

I feel the need for confrontation,
there are fascists almost everywhere.
I mean to go on a demonstration,
I need to show the world I care
about the earth and refugees, I swear
I’ll not let Trump change this nation,
we choose love, not hate, so there!
I feel the need for confrontation
the fascists need an education,
I’ll wear no clothes, just my lacy underwear
and shout about the benefits of globalisation.
There are fascists almost everywhere
but caring women are really rare.
Those rust belt bitches deserve eternal damnation,
I mean to be seen in the public square
I mean to go on a demonstration
show the world can be a better place, if we use imagination.
Imagine how the world would now be equal and fair
if only Trump had been shot at his inauguration.
I need to show the world I care
I’ll wear a hijab and cover my hair,
I’ll scream  ‘we want lots more immigration’,
I’ll shout the Muslim call to prayer
and demand an end to our country’s isolation;
I feel the need.


Monday, 2 January 2017

Hull, New Year's Eve just before 2017



City of culture, my arse!
City of nothing new,
City of no one here's posh,
Nobody's feeble, southern, nesh!
City where I belong
With my black, net thong 
Featured in the Mail -
Daily, not Hull!
City of Full view
Of giant, fat, pale
Hemispheres of flesh,
City of buttocks of fish wives,
More eloquent in their mooning flash
Their national, tabloid, internet splash
Than any amount of explaining.
City of fuck you!