Friday, 29 December 2017

BBC Schedule

This autumn, we shall show you:  torture, gore,
A Hanging, maybe many, a racking,
A demonstration of the verb to draw, 
As it relates to guts, nothing lacking
Which might show the English at their cruel worst.
We’ll employ a writer whose compassion
Is for violent terrorists and whose first
Thought, every day, is of revenge.  Fashion,
Though, tells us rather sternly we must drop
A Christmassy whodunnit, rather dull,
Because an actor in it is accused
Of sexual assault.  And we don’t stop
To ponder innocence, we’re much too full
Of faux affront, our right-on thoughts confused.

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.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

We Cannot Pick Cherries

We cannot ‘cherry pick’, or so we’re told,
Certainly not during our ‘transition’.
We must content ourselves with plain sponge.
The cherries, such as they might be, 
Will be rare,
Dotted here and there,
If they are dotted at all, which they cannot guarantee,
And appreciable only in juxtaposition.

And we must remain mute,
Must not raise our voice,
But meekly surrender, 
take what crumbs fall from the table, expunge
All notion of choice 
And be satisfied with charity.

In future, it seems, there’ll be no innovation,
No experimentation,
No clever machinery, no invention,
All Englishmen shall mope,
Unable to conceive
Of ways which allow them to reach the heights,
To pick the fruit, 
Sun kissed, tender,
On which they’ve set their sights.

And though in days of old,
Our orchards bore quite other berries:
Wool, cotton, coal, steel,
There shall be no new definition,
Cherries are cherries are cherries,
That which is cherry today,
Shall be cherry alway,
Or so our ‘representatives’ feel.
For lacking in imagination
They believe,
A clean slate,
Useless state,
Is one they can and should achieve
Through ‘trade negotiation’.

So we shall stroll no more,
On summer mornings, late June,
Stopping beneath each prunus tree,
Plucking and tasting and remembering where
The best bred branches bear their load,
Bowed down, as if in prayer,
Near the sharp bend in the road.
And soon,
Or so they hope, 
We shall come to forget 
Those things that our ancestors knew,
Those men, hard working, dedicated, wise,
Who, not content with what they were given,
Had striven,
For something new,
Selected, cross bred, endlessly, for sweetness, flavour, size.


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,
Storing up. From fact, 
Wisdom materialised
And by sharing and repeating,
Though the medium was transient,
'Airwaves' imparted something lasting.

Thursday, 26 October 2017


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?

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.

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.

Friday, 16 June 2017

The Road To Hell On Earth (Grenfell Tower Disaster)

The road to Hell on earth was paved with good intentions
The pavers were a cladding made from plastic
One of many, silly, ill thought out inventions,
Scientific, engineered, 'green', fantastic.
And Hell was just as dreadful as described,
Yet those who suffered were not those who'd sinned,
Those whose sins led to this vile ending, 
Those who had prescribed the cure
For the disease they said existed,
Just carried on pretending
Insisted, continued whistling in the wind,
And went on calling it 'improving' and 'upgrading' 
And 'a way to tackle climate change'.

And those who put their faith and trust in science,
Because science being reason did not require faith, 
Never thought it strange.
They believed, yet couldn't understand it,
And relied on others to explain it, 
In ways that were dogmatic, not persuasive.
The new priests spoke in complicated language,
And preached the gospels of computer models,
They drew up and then they solved their own equations,
They'd  pontificate, insist and wax bombastic,
And no alarm bells rang in people's minds.

And the BBC pumped out the same excuses,
They said science can be scrutinised 
It never blinds, 
There may be misconceptions, 
Not abuses, 
For fact is fact and rigid, not elastic.

So: the pavers on the road to Hell on earth were plastic,
They blazed with all the zeal of good intentions,
And the poor came still in hordes and they were numbered
In their millions and so we felt encumbered,
And we couldn't really love them as our neighbour,
But felt we ought to signal our virtue,
In lieu of what was right, which might be drastic,
And cause further 'damage to the earth.'
And we crammed them in and piled them high
And sold them cheap.
Although we knew their treatment was degrading,
And still we didn't really care.
We let them labour under small misapprehensions,
Such as that we were one people, not divided,
And we turned a blind eye to rising tensions,
And when challenged, stalled, became evasive
If basic need was met, we had decided
That was all that really mattered,
Once the ash and dust were scattered
We must forget the ones who'd burned
For remembrance can give birth to questions
And having raised them we might well then take the leap
To unwanted and yet obvious conclusions:
And we mustn't ever shatter our illusions:
Lessons must never be learned.

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.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

The Loved One

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.

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


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.