Monday, 12 June 2017

How It Really Is.

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 b*st*rds 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 cr*p,
Why did we scorn, and not prize what we had?
Why did we embrace and cherish 
Weak, back of the f*g 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 this 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.

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."


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.




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.






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.


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.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Think Of The Summer



I sit at the piano
And think of the summer
And strum out a song 
That is based on one phrase,
Which winds its self loosely
Around one idea
But stutters like raindrops
Spilling from gutters
Too full for rhythm,
Not well maintained.
The pedal repeats
Like the slight irritation
In Chopin's sad prelude
One notion sustained.
I think of the summer,
Sweet rocket in flower
And rosa rugosa
And life unrestrained.
But out of the window
The bare trees are dripping,
The grey sky negating
My thoughts as I gaze.

Friday, 13 January 2017

English Country House Dog



The dog knows that I know
That she fell off the bed last night,
Sleepily scratching imagined fleas
So now she takes her repose
In the middle,
Curled up tight,
On top of my tired legs
And when I try to make her move
She begs not to be disturbed and sighs
And her lovely eyes reprove,
And she refuses to budge
Embodying insistence
Even as I nudge with my creaking knees.
She just slumps down firmly on my fat thighs.
You see she blames me
And it's happened before
And like the school mistress she was in her previous existence,
She's not prepared to ignore my bad manners anymore.
Something about the way she harumphs
Suggests that she thinks
That the only way for us to ensure we both get a good sleep,
Is for me to kip on the floor.




Wednesday, 11 January 2017

The Garden Forager



"How lovely to see you, mwah, mwah,
Come in, come in - blah blah blah,
I've made a little lunch, I'm a forager,
No, no, I've abandoned the pottager,
Sooooo last year, I've fried us some ceps,
They're rather retro, and a puff ball.
Do you know I haven't been to Waitrose for a week?
Of course I'm lucky,
Having such a large place in which to seek,
I barely need to shop at all,
I just open the door, take a few steps,
And there, by the wall,
Is this marvelous protein,
Did you know Amaranth's the new Quinoa?"

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!