Saturday, 20 March 2021

Freedom Passports

Some of us, it seems, are voyeuristic,

And others long for some replacement of the Lord,

Some force more present, concrete, angry and sadistic,

To keep a constant eye, they do not wish to be ignored. 

To loss of liberty they’re quite inured,

No argument for freedom can’t be trumped by a statistic

And reference to Damocles his sword. 

Some of us, it seems, are voyeuristic,

While others seeking some improvement on the nihilistic,

Emptiness of modern life look straight toward

Some clear rule for life, some safe heuristic,

And others long for some replacement of the Lord.

Some overweening, petty, bureaucratic, mindless, flawed

System, that keeps a watchful eye, and is simplistic,

Desiring only our obedience and one accord.

Some force more present, concrete, angry and sadistic,

Than God who gave us our free will. Not idealistic

Caring naught for principles, they’re bored

By philosophic argument, give them a state Fascistic,

To keep a constant eye, they do not wish to be ignored,

Above all things, they cannot bear that, let the state record,

Track, monitor, their every move, they’re atheistic,

Yet seek to be completely known. Let the state hoard

Their information, and thus acknowledge them, we’re egotistic, 

Some of us, it seems 

Wednesday, 17 March 2021

Tom and Ted (Thoughts After Watching Manhunt:Unabomber)

 Tom and Ted

Did poor old Ted

Have dear Mr Lehrer

For lectures?

Or tutorials perhaps, 

Which helped to make things clearer?

Had poor old Ted,

Made friends with Tom,


Of Mr Murray,

Would he have been in such a hurry,

To send his first mail bomb?

Both entered Harvard in their teens,

And both read mathematics,

Both had great mental agility,

Yet both were not fanatics,

Reading math

Does not by any means

Make one a psychopath.

If Ted had had Tom’s musical ability

And his facility

For expressing political views

In rhyme,

Making fun of the news,

Would he have spent so much time

Perfecting his dissertation

And sending explosives through the post?

Or would he have sat at the piano,

Venting his frustration, 

For twenty minutes at most,

Pointing out all that is wrong

With industrial society, 

(without causing much anxiety)

By turning it into song?

(Here’s an example of just such a song, as Tom might have said.)

If you visit American city,

You will find it pretty shitty,

The people there are fast asleep,

Living lives like mindless sheep.

So go to the country

Build a cabin there in the wood,

And post lots of bombs

Back to your old neighbourhood. 

Explosions, explosions,

Yet somehow I don’t feel good,

For all I desire is to be understood. 

Sunday, 14 March 2021

Bread and Sussexes

Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions — everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses.” Juvenal

No more bread and circuses

We now have bread and Sussexes

Panis, pap and pabulum

We chew them up and swallow them

Spit them out or follow them

Their tales of woe and racism,

Worship them and hallow them

Or find them empty, hollow, dumb.

While they eat cake, like bitter gall.

A circus they have now become,

Detesting duty and tradition.

Full of self regard, ambition.

Yet pay attention and recall

The signs of man’s decline and fall.

If we can hope to slow our fate,

While fools become imperious,

We must ourselves be serious

And our collective noses thumb

At those whose minds are petty, small.

And pabulum we must reject

And look to those whom we elect

To do what they’re obliged to do

To stop the rot from breaking through,

While knowing that its monarchy

That fills the only chessboard space

Cannot be filled by politician,

Full of self regard, ambition,

Who would see himself replace

The steadfast, loyal head of state.

( thanks to Peter Hitchens for his mail on Sunday column-

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Vocab. Storage


Though migraine grips the verbal heart,

The language classifying part,

That stores up libraries or larders,

One strives to lean the word-hunt ladders

Up against the bulging shelving

Harvesting thesaurus entries,

Rummaging for synonyms

Listed in its catalogues

In basic alphabetic order.

Yet the monologue

That chatters, like mad jazz 

That pitter patters, 

Seems to keep some semblance

Of linguistic rhyme and reason,

Round the edges, at the border

Some sense of something more worth noting,

Useful when one’s anecdoting.

Through its swollen vein revealing,

Showing sideways on, imparting,

Some strange aspect, which when spoken

By the twisted lips, tongue stumbling,

From the mangled mind, half broken,

Seems some oddly chained connection,

Interlinked but not by Latin,

Not by root, and not by thinking,

Not by truth or deeper meaning,

Pulled out from the sagging shelf,

Though the steps are weak and rotten,

Tripping, lisping, tumbling, mumbling,

Comprehended on reflection,

Sadly, only by oneself,

Through the aura, pre-pain season, 

Only briefly, then forgotten. 

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

Mid Wit

I did not comprehend, in youth,

That your sort could not be my friend,

I found you wise, in search of truth,

But as it happened, in the end,

The bright ideas which you sought,

Were just things other people thought.

You longed for what was commonplace,

Mere fashion which left no more trace

Upon the slower, longer mind,

Than St Anne’s lace, mowed down in June,

Left not a withered stalk behind,

Upon the blazing afternoon,

Or clouded, hazy, summer day,

When it had been ubiquitous 

In soft cream clouds through all of May.

And things you felt iniquitous,

Were not the really dreadful wrongs,

But mere petty differences

Which sounded cool, in protest songs.

Or childish general grievances

Preventing any focus on 

Reality, more close at hand.

But now, too late, I understand,

That your sort seek and always find,

Cheap reasoning in good supply

Such concepts which are made to bind

Communities, ideas meant to act as glue,

Whipped out, slapped down in quick reply,

Not shaped by time and proven true, 

Not logical, or mythical,

But bright and fresh and new.


Afternoon Nap

I closed my eyes and went to sleep,

Some time around, say half past three,

And slept so peacefully and deep,

I did not know that I was me.

And when I woke

I found twas true,

Ah, how my head was filled with gloom,

And you did not know you were you,

And by my pillow lay, I knew,

Some other older, white haired bloke,

And I did recognise him not,

For in my ancient sleep forgot,

That I was me and he, him whom

I once had wed when we were new.

And then my pillow I did soak

With tears of sorrow, thinking how

We’d got so furrowed in the brow,

So haggard, wizened, long in tooth,

Such that we could not hide the truth

Of what we had in time become,

Lopsided, stiffened, shrunk of gum,

Speckled, dappled, slow of mind,

With bags of bone for a behind,

Our flesh too soft our skin too thin,

And both of us with bearded chin.

And then I watched as you came in,

With good,hot tea upon a tray,

And knew that I had been away

And that as yet was middle aged.

And all my dream had just presaged

Was of a distant time ahead,

The future found us still in bed,

Together, old, but not yet dead,

So I suggested we make hay,

While still was only afternoon,

And winter nights were coming soon,

And so we passed the time away.


Monday, 1 March 2021

Bio: Other Parts of Speech

Bio: Other Parts of Speech

Pronouns (She/Her) are so last week,

What about the other parts of speech,

The real identifiers simple pronouns cannot reach?

I’m thinking of ‘my verbs’, the ones ‘I speak’

To explain ‘who’ ‘I am’, and ‘what’ ‘I do’,

The verbs which make ‘me’ ‘me’, make ‘me’ unique

So different to the verbs which make ‘you’ ‘you’. 

First ‘to feel’, ‘to write’, ‘to preach’.

‘Enunciate’,  ‘pontificate’ and ‘teach’

Or ‘educate’. Then ‘to share’ and ‘care’

And next ‘protest’ and ‘riot’, ‘fight’, ‘despair’,

At how the world is full of sin, I can’t ‘explain’,

Because there is no God in my world view,

And yet I ‘know’ some things ‘cause’ pain,

And these are not ideas ‘I approve’,

And so ‘I gloss’ over contradictions, which ‘I find’

Is easy if ‘I don’t engage’ my mind,

It’s simple ‘to ignore’ discrepancies, 

If one ‘avoids’ all reason,

If one is woke alone to what’s on trend this season. 

Which brings me to my adverbs, for ‘you see’ 

There’s more than mere verbs and pronouns about ‘me’.

First there’s ‘deeply’, describing how ‘I feel’

About the latest fashionable cause.

Then ‘loudly’ describing how ‘I shout’ and ‘squeal’,

When ‘faced’ with old ideas ‘proposed’ by bores,

Then ‘aggressively’ describing how ‘I fight’,

On Twitter against fascist twats and the Far Right.


Those Who Claim To Know

In public life, two sorts of man exist,

The man who claims to know the way that others are,

And those who claim to know how man should be. 

The rest of us must choose who does least harm.

In public life, two sorts of man enlist

The expertise of those whose star

Is brilliant in ascendancy.  

Who with authority and intellectual calm,

Proclaim they know, as great psychologists,

How to bring their fellows home when they stray far

Into such territories as politicians see

Allow them too much agency, where oily charm

And brainwashing have no effect.

Else they recruit great scientists,

Who claim to deal in fact and fact alone,

Such statisticians, mathematicians, physicists,

Who theorise and claim they can detect

Such patterns in the ways their fellow men will act,

That they are easily predictable, each one a drone,

Or worker bee.

And the politician, always hoping to manipulate,

Seeks out such academics who care naught

For how complexity reduced to the absurd

Might be applied by those with power to legislate,

See not how with great danger fraught

Their theories, no longer just in written word,

But tested out on others’ lives will not substantiate

As they predict, for politicians always must select

And cherry pick. 

And on the other hand there is the expert,

Who wants to mould man, and being strong,

Uninterested in ‘scientific truth’, cares

Only for the one idea, ‘ought’.

And encourages the politician to exert

Such force as is required, to subdue the man who dares

To question ideology, or flick

Two fingers at authority, and hurt,

Destroy, abuse, put down, eliminate,

Those pesky beings who must prove his theory wrong.