Friday, 29 December 2017

We Cannot Pick Cherries (Rondeau Redouble)

We cannot ‘cherry pick’, or so we’re told
For this is a trade negotiation.
In future, unlike those days of old,
We shall only appreciate cherries in juxtaposition
To acres of plain sponge, and the dull relation
Shall be tolerated, dross among the gold.
This fantasizing about choice, is just the work of imagination:
We cannot ‘cherry pick’, or so we’re told.
And these particular cherries, can’t decay, grow mould
What is cherry today, will be cherry always. This fixation
With success must end.  Our losses must be manifold,
For this is a trade negotiation,
We can’t benefit from being free, the temptation
For others to follow would be great, we must let go our hold
Of that which is good and forget innovation:
In future, unlike days of old,
We shall be ignorant, passive, unable to be bold,
So no cross breeding, for flavour, sweetness, size. The definition
Of cherry will be fixed, in perpetuity, financial services, not goods, sold.
We shall only appreciate cherries in juxtaposition
To an endless tide of humanity, a set of rules designed for suffocation,
Our loss, our poverty, our misery, a joy to behold
To our ‘friends’ and ‘neighbours’, to whom we shall return, in supplication,
Or so we’re told.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Still Water, Winter Day




A line of green and buff and dun,
Above it, the azure, cobalt, almost turquoise, slap dash sky
Dappled in little clouds, pale, pretty, fair,
And here and there a patch of grey or almost night.
And below, the smooth, polished cylinder glass of the river, where:
Dark horses graze the surface, from below,
Their feet moving gracefully, treading on tension,
Four legged water boatmen,
Their necks stretching to reach reflected shoots, which do not show.

And to the left, as I pass by,
Each turbine blade, on turning, casts on itself a shadow,
A wedge of storm, slate blue,
Almost a match for certain streaks and patches in the sky
Not quite as purple as the flags of light on sand,
Clay, and hard brown mud exposed at ebb tide’s half fullness
Which glow
With quiet dullness.

And as I walk away,
Branches of silver birch, bare, fully shed of autumn’s butter yellow
Shimmer, shiver in more obvious delight 
At the touch of the sun.






Thursday, 14 December 2017

A Meaningful Vote



The demos, back in June, 2016,
Had voted in their millions for control,
But politicians thought this was obscene,
That governing a country was a role
For people better, higher, greater than
Themselves.  For foreign chaps have so much style,
Sophistication wafts about each man,
Who, schooled in obfuscation and in wile,
Has all the charms belonging to The Prince.

An Anglo Saxon attitude’s no use:
Plain speaking, wisdom, trying to convince,
Is just a game for mugs and the obtuse,
Those idiots who wished to bring it back.
The modern world requires a foreign touch,
The skill to rule that white will now be black,
Without first having a debate.  For much
Of what’s required today, is just excuse,
For poor decisions politicians made
Last week, last month, last year, and why confuse
The plebs, by offering some subtle shade?

So, in December 2017,
Our politicians had their honest say,
They voted for the chance which they had seen
To stop the demos getting their own way.

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, so that from fact, 
Wisdom materialised, 
And, who demonstrated, by sharing and repeating,
That though the medium was transient
'Airwaves' imparted something lasting.


Thursday, 26 October 2017

Scented

Who saw blood and thought of the lily flower,
Not of The Fall, but of some heavenly bower?
Who thought a sweet perfume,
Pervading all the room,
Drawing everyone's attention
To the fact of one's menstruation,
A desirable state of affairs?
And who decided the smell should linger,
Long beyond the bleeding days,
So that opening ones knicker draw
Searching for something lacy, racy,
In celebration of ovulation,
Full of the joys of being alive,
Forgetting one's cares,
One should be hit, once more,
By that manufactured aroma
Absorbed into interstitial space between atoms,
As thoroughly as the old, brown-black blood had been drawn
Into the fragrant sanitary towel?
Who decided that we wished to be reminded
Of that gross combination- 
One's body's rejection
Of an old egg, almost as old as one's own conception,
Shed, with bits of endometrium, in a state of putrefaction;
And some poor imitation 
Channel Number 5?


Wednesday, 18 October 2017

The Greatest Pleasure

What other pleasure, sweet and rare,
Can an Englishman honestly compare
To the sight of a fellow of 'liberal' facade,
In arrogance, hoist by his own petard.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Parson's Green

Parson's Green

There is nothing left to say, we are inured.
An I.E.D has partly done its thing,
Created mayhem, fear,
Caused stampede, crush, herd panicking.
We know the suspect, almost feel bored
By speculation as to his intent,
Spend more time pondering the fraud
That is the station's name, as we lament
The pastoral England which it represents,
A piece of it, still here, a token thing,
Beloved because a token of the past,
Is still acceptable, so long as no one mentions it,
So long as all nostalgia is stamped out,
Subsumed, encased in grey cement,
And now trampled by the terrified horde.
The horde who,  oft as not, cheered on the new,
Rejecting history, and all we knew,
In favour of a fresh trajectory,
Not realising the hypocrisy
Involved in seeking to impose their modern world view:
Pretending to equalise and to reject
Judgementalism and the moral code,
Has just the opposite effect,
It sets alight
A twisted will to power, of the bitter few.


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, 27 July 2017

Justine Greening's Favourite Teacher. (Rondeau Redouble)



"Give me a child for seven years
And I shall give you the man"
Give me a boy to fill with ideas
And I will give you a woman.
For the child is the father of the man,
But I shall reduce him, each day, to tears
And teach him to be the mother instead, as far as I possibly can.
Give me a child for seven years
And I'll fill up his mind with irrational fears
Discredit his instincts, and laugh and jeer at every masculine plan.
Give me a girl, let her live among queers,
And I shall give you the man.
She'll be butch, she'll be hard, and her learning will span
The sphere of the self, for other spheres
Might bring her in contact with old fashioned views, as one finds in the Bible or in the Quran.
Give me a boy to fill with ideas
And I'll teach him how we must never allow others to see us
As others see us, but control the narrative, always scan
The subtext for 'hate', in each conversation with his peers.
And I will give you the 'woman'
Who deals with flames with a fan
Who burns with a fury, resents the careers
Of those who mature as men. Give me Peter Pan
I'll give you Wendy, and s/he'll never follow the course that nature steers:
Give me a child.

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.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

June

June is the woodworm month
When the bastards hatch and fly,
Having taken their fill of the sapwood
They crawl out as adults to mate and die.

They eat nothing at all in this season,
Having taken their fill in their youth,
Though they seem to need wetness to thrive,
In such liberal doses we wonder why
We provided such conditions,
Nurtured, kept them alive,
Turned a blind eye to the truth,
And when challenged, disavowed.

Were we devoid of all reason
That we kindly hosted them
Allowed them to live among us,
Turn inherited beauty to dust?

Why did we not protect ourselves,
From the damp and the mould and the must?
Too late to call the Rentokill man
Too late to keep safe and dry,
Yet too late, simply to trust.
We just watch in tears, 
Crumble, perish.
And fear of killing our silly dreams
Keeps the poison in the can.

Why did we love what was modern, 
The untried and worthless crap,
Why did we scorn, and not prize what we had?
Why did we embrace and cherish 
Weak, back of the fag pack ideas?
And why did we keep our best things hidden,
Questioning the existence 
Of innate good or bad?
Why did we really not care,
As the maggots grew strong on our sap?





Tuesday, 30 May 2017

The Time Before And The Time Afterwards



In the time before, there was May, in bloom,
Parts of April, parts of June, 
As if a wand had been waved over a canvas, 
Seventeenth century, Flemish, 
Turning burnt umber background to lapis lazuli sky,
Tulips, lilacs, roses in suburban gardens,
Lawns with daisies strewn.
In the time before there was love and irritation,
There was 'do your homework, tidy your room'.
There were your clothes folded neatly,
Which you would wear again,
Little worries about your education.
There were photographs that did not make me cry,
Of you, in blue checked romper suit,
Golden curls, apple cheeks, laughing eyes, not camera shy.
In the time afterwards there is May,
Whose beauty I will never love again.
There will be June and the thought of your not seeing it,
Other people's children pouring out of school,
And your not being amongst them,
And the great tight pain in my chest as I try
And fail
To stop this sob becoming
One great primeval wail.



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.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Not The Mail Online Sleb Sidebar



Middle aged woman leaves everything to the imagination
In frumpy tweed skirt, old cardigan and blouse,
As she admits being too tired to frolic on the beach
And will go instead for a quick dog walk between the wind turbine and electricity pylon.
But says she finds a certain kind of consolation
In accepting that she looks much better naked,
In someone else's minds eye, than she does in reality,
And that it's much more comfortable to wear clothes which could comfortably house
One or two illegal stow aways if she so chose
Than a tini wini bikini.  And if you ignore the moth holes and bleach
Spills, and screw your eyes up and squint a bit,
Her outfit has a certain je ne sais quoi.  And anyway, this infatuation
With youth and beauty is a bit old hat.
Old hats worn by old biddys are more interesting than firm young flesh,
And big breasts, because they spend their time squashed on to wise heads,
Not wobbling up and down barely contained in bits of brightly coloured nylon.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Some Kind Of Bower Bird Some Kind Of Silverback

Some Kind Of Bower Bird Some Kind Of Silverback

Behold my wonderful display
Of bright ideas and things to say 
I fill my bower, every day,
With all the latest takes on things
Arrange them in a pleasing way,
And show them off and spread my wings,
I know what's fact, what hearsay,
And all the complex games men play,
When to react or to delay,
I make my own moves carefully.


I have a truly vast array
Of knowledge, though not too much tact,
I like to balance and to weigh,
It seems impressive, and yet, to act,
When clever words are said and done,
Is what it is to be a man.


And so I often join the fray,
And beat my chest and grunt and shun
The cautious types who must be rogues.
I know that my tribe have a plan,
I can't now deal in shades of grey,
No time for pow-wows, dialogues,
My side do not have feet of clay,
We're strong, we're right and I, for one,
Must speak out strongly and inveigh
Against the other, vile clan.


I fill my bower, every day,
With bright ideas and things to say,
Because I really must convey
My intellectual prowess, 
For it truly helps to mask
The simpler motive for my task
In life, will here confess,
Is to punish, hunt and prey.





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.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

The Cloud


This one's not filled with dreary rain,
This one is not like cotton wool,
This one is clear, invisible
And yet can easily be seen.
It is the great collective pool
Of thinking heads, which is our tool
Of choice, the indivisible
Whole, the merged, the well combined.
It has no centre, and no means
By which to shape its whole structure,
Yet each drop of human knowledge,
Each piece of wisdom from each mind
Furthers, changes, freshens, cleans.
Whole, made from sums of parts,
No rules in this richest college,
Just ideas meeting, blending,
Seamlessly and never ending.
Specialising and refining
Legitimising and defining.
The means by which we grow and aid
The growing of our fellow men,
And yet regarded with disdain,
Contempt:  it lends itself to trade,
The great resourceful, human brain.


On Westminster Bridge 23/3/17



Earth has not anything to show more sad
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by 
A sight so touching in its misery:
This City, oppressed woman, burqa clad
The blackness of our mourning, silent, bare.
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie 
Open wide to violence and the sky; 
All undefended in the smokeless air
Never did sun more sorrowfully steep 
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill; 
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep! 
The river glideth at his own sweet will: 
Dear God! the governments asleep; 
And all its cowards tongues are lying still! 

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 Chinese 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 Chinese 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.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

After Reading A Spectator Review of "Death Of The Poets".

I must consider how I am to die,
If I am to be thought 'one of the greats,'
For though I write with humour, I must try
For fame.  Shall I: end up in dire straits
All riddled with disease that lingers, eats
Away at me from the inside; reach death
By accidental poison which depletes
My haemoglobin so that every breath
Is precious, wonderful; try suicide?
For how else shall my writing be imbued
With deeper meaning, something dark implied
Between the lines? And how shall what is crude
Be e'er transformed so that snort and chortle
Become tears and I become immortal?



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.


Tuesday, 31 January 2017

A Politician Speaks To The Press About His Intention To Monitor 'Fake News'.

I am the arbiter of truth,
I shall not let the coarse, uncouth
Ideas of our age exist.
They won't get past me, so desist,
Toe the line or know my wrath.
No reader needs to be a sleuth,
To question, as he did in youth,
I'll filter all, you'll not resist
The arbiter.
I know it tempts you in your sloth
To write what I say's right.  My tooth
Is sharp, I bite, so do not twist
Your words, but keep a little mist,
Don't probe, write only what will soothe
The arbiter.

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, 23 January 2017

503 Back End Fetch Failed!

This was an error code that came up when I tried to look at the Spectator.  As I couldn't I decided to write a childish, poem instead. (I'm going for. a 503, I may be some time.)

I did try, 
Sat there straining,
But I'd run out of suppositories,
I wanted to cry,
It was like giving birth.
I pushed and pushed
With strength that should have moved Heaven and earth,
There's no point in explaining.
But, on the bright side,
I saw stars, and thought of Elvis,
Gyrating, or was it writhing in agony?
I imagined passing out,
Like he did,
Thought of my life,
Ending like this,
With knickers round my knees,
My face contorted,
Longed for it to pass out,
Thought of calling the midwife,
Or the Fire Brigade,
And beg them "Help! Please!"
But they'd think I was taking the piss,
I might be reported,
For wasting time.
There was pain, in my side and my pelvis,
I think I wailed.
There was nothing for it,
My attempt must be aborted,
I would have to use soap, like they probably did during the war,
Or in Victorian times.
Then I remembered a phrase that I'd heard before,
When something on the internet had stopped working
"503 back end fetch failed"
I hadn't known what it had stood for,
But now it made sense to me:
There was a number one, a number two and number 503.