Thursday, 21 November 2019

On One of The Blessings of Occasional Double Vision

An autumn morning,
Brilliant after rain,
The long grey skies
Restored to blue again,
A flock of geese appearing from the left
Flies in Prussian style formation.
But in retreat,
Across the fields of mud and mire
And blurred fields of vision as I tire,
And in the pastel air and rising higher,
Become a stunning, crowd, a congregation:
Diplopia, migraine made
Turns little flock,
To mystical, synchronized murmuration.

On Reading Reports of the Recent Floods

I did not know that you were my true love,
Until I glimpsed you, unexpectedly,
And felt my heart beat speeding, as my breath
Was put on pause and I compared
The printed image of your pastel sky,
With that beyond, around, above. 
I saw your light, which changes imperceptibly,
Held captive on the page and as I stared
Recalled the decades of its loveliness gone by
Which bound me to you, likely unto death.
And yet you only featured here, in your beauty
Because you’d acted badly by my fellows,
Had acted in accordance with your nature,
In wild abandon of your regulated duty
And filled yourself with calm and glassy water,
To make a mirror for your pale washed heaven,
To place it on your surfaces in patches,
Reflecting autumn’s buffs and golden yellows.

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Heavenly Blue

I long for paraffin, coloured blue

I hold it up in imagination
Comparing Mary’s gown,
The sky, the cut-up velvet curtain,
Finding them all wanting
In my obsessive concentration
On the shade, of which I’m certain.

I don’t need the heat from the stove,
Or the rival shades of the flame,
Too much like Calor gas,
Though pale,
The row of triangular teeth 
Dancing, not guttering, 
On the wick underneath.
Do I need the fumes too,
Some strong scent to inhale?
Or is it just the look I should remember, 
Of loveliness in a five gallon can
Off white, translucent plastic?
Just something about the liquid hue
Against yellow chestnut leaves and larch
And piles of orange-copper beech
That feels like Heaven,
Childhood essence of November.

Saturday, 28 September 2019

A Plea

Please don’t nail my testicles to the table,
It’s’s a valuable table and I prize it.
It’s rosewood, 1820 , deep red brown with grain of sable,
And it’s English too, so please do not despise it.
Of course the Regent did admire the Napoleonic style,
So it has a graceful French look about it,
And of course you know, I too, am a mad keen Francophile,
It’s not my balls I care about, don’t doubt it. 

Inspired by this section of an article in The Spectator by Rory Sutherland:

Remainers have almost exclusively made their case on economic grounds, yet in a manner far more fanatical than the businesses they claim to defend. One of the strangest aspects of the Brexit debate is how readily people on the left adopt neo-liberal beliefs about free trade when it supports their emotional predisposition. This may explain why such people have won so few converts; after all, it doesn’t sound convincing to hear leftists suddenly profess passionate concern for global supply-chains. Theirs is an emotional fear disguised as an economic argument; a bit like saying: ‘Please don’t nail my testicles to the table, it’s a very valuable table.’
You can’t help but think: ‘That isn’t your real reason, is it? 

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

“The Haste of the Fool is the Slowest Thing in the World. “

The slowest thing in the world is the haste of the fool,
Who seeks to undermine that which over years
Has been held fast, because it is a good.
He rushes through his Bills and seeks to rule
A people whom he holds in deep contempt,
And cannot bear the fact he shares their race,
Dispensing with their wishes in distaste
He makes them criminal by passing acts.

Because he is a fool he moves in haste
And sees the nation through his weak, myopic lenses
A poor, distorted, wishy washy place
Where principle and moral have no force,
Revealing he has nothing understood
And ultimately cannot stay the course.

And other fools, whipped up into like frenzies,
Craving power in their ignorant greed,
Champion his folly as they school
Their minds in shallow, thin and meaningless ideas,
Believing they are radical, in contradiction
To the definition of the word, for who needs facts?

That which Orwell had predicted but thought fiction
Has come about through this crazèd, foolish speed
This ‘rational’, ‘liberal’ shallow intervention
Has sought to lay a once great nation waste. 

But a fool’s haste is the slowest thing there is
And a country knows its stories and its fate
And writes its history in terms of people,
And fools, by definition, learn too late
Their folly, viz:
Movements borne of popular dissent
Are never crushed by those who legislate. 

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Detected as Spam

This comment has been detected as Pek,
Your previous comment was detected as Fray Bentos corned beef,
Because it attempted to start a bit of an Argie bargie.
Here at the Spectator, every time we see one of your comments,
We think ooh ‘eck, this woman’s ideas are beyond the pale,
But we don’t want anyone giving her grief,
We believe in free speech, yet this woman’s feeble minded, frail,
And highly offensive, like cheap ham.
So we’ll detect her remarks as spam,
All arseholes and eyeballs, and beyond belief.

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Lady Chapel, Ely Cathedral.

There’s no purifying fire, though it’s source, the sun
blazes, somewhere, out of sight,
just purifying light.
The blue above The Fens, Prussian, lapis lazuli, azure,
scattered in the atmosphere, 
contrasting with the grey-gold-white
of limestone lamella, hymenophore,
pours through plain panes, making things clear.

The stone crowd, once gathered in niches, is no more.
There’s only Modern Mary, plump in pleated  gown,
as if months have passed since she conceived,
arms raised to Heaven, eyes down.
And only a few living souls stand, stunned,
gazing in awe,
struck, not by stained, chromatic decoration,
but by destruction, desecration, 
which yet seems cure,
a counterintuitive restoration,
not just of faith in God,
but in the superior skills and determination, 
of men who believed,
though so much of what they achieved
is no longer there.
Now there is only clarity
what is left, laid bare,
peace, calm
flooding through each warped, transparent plane,
creating here and there a lens,
Magnificat Dominum
pouring through
this ‘Ship of the Fens’
this miracle of the warpland plain,
this place, whose space was ever pure,
so that we’re bathed by balm 
the grace that spills across each embrasure.

Sunday, 4 August 2019

After Reading an Article in the Middle of the Night About Dr Seuss, and how to Pronounce His Name.

It is too late, it is no use,
I keep on saying Dr Seuss,
I read your words and hear my voice
And find I simply have no choice,
However much I wish to say
His name the proper German way,
My silly brain will not refrain
From mispronouncing it again. 
It is too late
I have no choice
I simply can’t say Dr Seuss. 

Saturday, 3 August 2019

Paving Over the Cow Paths

Meandering at random in pursuit
Of more of what was sought before and loved,
Does not seem a bad way to make a route.
But fixing these in stone is plainly mad
And a pointless contradiction in terms.
And yet I don’t rejoice, I don’t feel glad,
When cogitating the alternative,
Because I know that those who’d 'pave the way'
And lead their followers to  pastures new,
Are prone to lead the gullible astray.
And worse than a tarred cow path is a road
Paved with good intentions, ill thought through.

Monday, 1 July 2019

Bells on Sunday

The ringing isle, that Handel named
still rings, despite the lack of faith,
of those who dwell within the bounds
of steeple and sky piercing spires.  
They hear,
above the daily grind, 
despite white headphones in each ear,
and dreary ‘music’ banging.

And when the peals are rightly famed
for purity of dinging sounds
and clarity of singing chimes, 
they feel, quite rightly, that they own
this tintinnabulation tone,
this lovely clinging clanging.

Bonging, tenor rhymes
re echo
from marvellous medieval towers
on and on and on they go,
inside the mind
and give the sense this noise is ours.

And how much greater pride we feel,
when ‘our’ bells’ seem to appeal
to those who choose which shall appear
on Sunday morning radio.

Friday, 14 June 2019

People Who Seemed Like Good Blokes Are Actually Just Tossers. (Tory Leadership Contest)

People who seemed like really good chaps
are actually just arseholes,
disappointing in so many ways.
Those who seemed really decent
have morphed into utter twats, in recent days,
they have cast themselves in a new light,
some are actually deranged.
I’m not sure why, self serving prats
ever gave me the impression they were good souls,
when they were just tossers.  Perhaps
I have been blessed with new vision,
clarity of thought, insight,
but on the whole, I don’t think it’s me who’s changed

Monday, 10 June 2019


Like Gustav Holst, you’re Swedish by descent
and yet, so English that the ‘Q’ word’s used,
you’ve come to symbolise a deep content,
you’re warm and homely, yet we are confused,
since running you requires such quantities
of cash, our love can lead us to resent
your needs.  

Like many Swedes you’re typically blonde,
and like a Viking, often battle scarred,
you’re one of us, and so we’ve grown quite fond
of droning on about your faults, you’re tarred
and grimed with built up carbon, and you’re aged
with freckles, speckled brown.   You don’t respond.

You stay as silent as a got-at spouse,
and do your job as you see fit and persevere.
You are the central figure in the country house,
imperfect, comforting, you draw us near,
and yet you’re not entirely dependable,
and using you requires a certain nous.

Sunday, 19 May 2019

On a Quote from Leibniz 

‘Music is a hidden arithmetic exercise of the soul, which does not know that it is counting.’

Arithmetic might please my soul,
although it seems, that on the whole,
my spirit, cannot calculate.
Instead it seems to concentrate
upon the sweet melodic role,
to keep the beat is not its goal,
I’ve never known it to extoll
Yet melody requires control,
harmonic rhythm fills the hole,
one hears the chords elucidate
so, is the way they resonate


Thursday, 16 May 2019

“These Are My Principles, If You Don't Like Them I Have Others”.

To manufacture meant to make by hand,
but manifesto has a different root.
Now manufacture means to mass produce
and manifesto, so we understand,
is quite redundant so we substitute
a fag packet or postage stamp, reduce
this thing once held in high esteem, rebrand,
pretend that nothing’s fixed, all points are moot.
For principles made public might induce
the earnest demos to demand
we stick to them, we’ll not go down that route.
We’d rather suffer torrents of abuse.
Ideas are mass produced, in think tanks now,
They're cheap as chips and worthless anyhow.


A metamorphosis in spring:
a sudden gust and then a lovely sight
a single petal from the Frühlingsgold
takes flight,
and twists and spins on its one wing
and I,
although I saw from whence it came, behold
above the border, in the azure sky,
a zany, half drunk Brimstone butterfly. 

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

The Last of The Oxford Marmalade

Congealed and dark, the marmalade
within the jar, has not been paid
attention to for weeks.   Marmite,
that other English 'marm', of night-
black, salty, treacle darkness made,
has been in the ascendant; strayed
into morning's territory, preyed
upon my slimmer's mind, with spite
congealed and dark.
And now I feel I have betrayed
Frank Cooper's," Oxford" Vintage, played
fast and loose, neglected coarse, bright,
bitter, sweet, thick, Seville delight.
And now it's dry, the marmalade -
congealed and dark.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

The Babushkas of Chernobyl

Epitomising what we understand
as central to our human flourishing
embodied here upon this poisoned land.
They feed on what is deeply nourishing,
their love of liberty, of God, of home,
where home is not some recent rootless place,
but somewhere throughout which their minds can roam
through decades of sad memory and trace
their footsteps back to suffering and still
find love, because 'love conquers all' and when
it's beaten down it seems to grow, until
the worst the world can do is shown again
to be a catalyst for fighting back.
And nowhere can withstand true love’s attack. 

Friday, 3 May 2019

To Cast

The verb to cast means pointedly to throw,
in youth one casts as one casts nets, quite wide.
Light cast, blocked, will always cause a shadow,
antithesis, a different view or side.
And actions have their opposites, divide
the world by force, too commonplace to show,
though as we trip we curse our hurried stride.
The verb to cast means pointedly to throw,
to hurl our choice and seal our fate, yet know
we rarely set, cannot ourselves be cast, though cast aside,
we’re ever changing, molten, our thoughts flow.
In youth one casts as one casts nets, quite wide,
and catch ideas which dazzle and then slide
back into streams of nonsense where they grow
to be swallowed by other children, swimming against the tide.
Light cast, blocked, will always cause a shadow
and so 
we needs must flatten obstacles, deride
opponents, trample where they sow
antithesis, a different view or side,
because we can’t admit ideas elide.
So sad attempts at clarity make narrow,
and focus means we barely see and yet decide
the fate of others with our vote, our arrow:

the verb to cast means pointedly to throw.