A rule in Kampuchea
(where white skin fingers tan):
the shapelier the girl,
the more misshaped the man.
14 March 2004
What can it be about a brain
that's makes a human bean refrain
from doing what the Lord ordained?
I've said it once, I'll say again -
to fast is utterly insane.
26 November 2003
8 September 2003
18 November 2003
They kick their dogs; their pigs are strapped
in squealing threesomes, upside down;
they pack their hens in plastic bags
and cart them, squawking, into town.
In droves of thirty, squacking ducks
are tied together, wings asplat;
their larks are munched, their horses whipped,
but God forbid you touch a cat.
It's not just seven years you'll get
of grief, bad luck and dissonance;
until your dying day you'll cop
a load of plague and pestilence.
And even when your cat is stuffed
with fever, tremors, nasty lumps,
there's not a vet who'll put it down -
you send it off to live with monks
who, when they've feasted well on pork
and larks and ducks and chicken tuck,
will feed your moggie to the end.
God's Will Be Done; who gives a f***?
10 November 2003
Though we'd like your fortune,
we'll only take your dime.
We do not need your quarter
nor hours of your time.
We ask one thing of you inside
behind the glass, well wined:
ponder as you stare outside
that you, not we, are blind.
2 November 2003
Do not consider dating
(it makes you both forlorn)
at a restaurant you first ate in
the year that she was born.
1 September 2003
You slam the door to keep
a dozen devils out
before you dare to peep
at hundreds still about.
25 August 2003
So if you had to beg for alms
you'd think that life could not get worse
(unless your face was shattered too
and squinted through one eye, not two).
Oh no, friends, life could get much worse
(if while, half blind, you begged and begged
possessing neither arms nor legs).
10 August 2003
When the soft light
flicks off in the morning
and the hard light
floods in with the dawning,
a club is not a pretty sight
and somehow skin
is not so tight.
17 August 2003
His home outside my house
is slung between two posts,
his roof two plastic sheets.
His hack cuts through the night -
yet how I envy him.
He sleeps, at least he sleeps.
15 September 2003
I bought four fish, two gold, two black,
and put them in a giant urn
and filled the urn with lovely things,
white pebbles and a coral reef.
My fishes had a lily plant
and salt to keep their water sharp;
a pump to give them oxygen
and purple pellets twice a day.
But I was sure my fishy friends
were lonely circling round and round.
So yesterday I bought a shoal
of multi-coloured tiddlers.
I poured the rainbow in the urn;
it darted round the lily plant
and then between my lonely four,
the sun reflected from its fins.
This morning when I went to feed
those purple pellets to my fish,
the shoal had gone and four fat friends
were circling slowly round and round.
28 July 2003
How to explain
your sudden tears
at her warblng song
of mother Phnom
and father Angkor
are joyful pain:
that your core
is shaken and unfurled
across a thousand years
and half a world.
13 July 2003
A key is such a little thing,
a little chunk of fashioned steel:
with one youre a pearly king;
without - youve got a rotten deal.
8 July 2003
soiling buy me
21 July 2003
When the cauldrons upside down,
the paper bags turned inside out,
when every smile might mask a frown,
you'd better learn to thrash about.
27 June 2003
The lioness pads; the panther glides;
the lovely leopards lithe on feet.
But this zoos bars are never closed
and they give you nice things to eat.
Dont turn your back for, if you do,
theyll pounce and make a meal of you.
4 July 2003
Explain the yawning gap between
a thinking man and his machine;
then, when you leave the job undone,
admit, perhaps, there isnt one.
14 June 2003
What's fifty years?
Nothing for a stone.
For all one's peers,
time enough to moan.
2 June 2003
change the ocean
change your tide
change the country
change your stride
change the people
change your hide
you'll never change
31 May 2003
From chaos comes order ...
(if you can afford her)
9 June 2003
When every pebble is a gem
and every gem's a priceless jewel
and every street is filled with them
you wonder who's the bigger fool:
you for thinking pebbles poor or
you for wanting even more.
6 June 2003
If you, like me, have ever been suspended
between the new and the familiar,
about to be reprogrammed and upended,
youll know real fear (or something similar).
How will we cope? With great aplomb. (We hope.)
27 May 2003
Its not the saying of it thats so hard
goodbye: more, resisting of the backward
glance, curbing of the urge to turn around,
to shout Stop there! Not one step more! Were bound!
Bound through our friendship, now bound through our pain,
well both resist no point in kissing yet again.
24 May 2003
He who dares -
look in the glass
Is he with airs
he who stares?
19 May 2003
The London tubes a dismal place:
you feel like slapping someones face
just picked at random from the crowd
to make him shout his thoughts aloud
in order to relieve the gloom,
the silence and the sense of doom.
Yet when a busker climbs aboard
I wish the train was open-doored
so I could pitch him overboard.
21 April 2003
A peacock might think twice to raise his tail;
he might not strut about like sex on wheels
lest his intended hen should peek behind
and spot his scrawny little legs and heels.
12 May 2003
When I was four I went to bed
all of a summers day
the library in the vicarage
my sick room where I lay.
Out on the lawn, in summers heat
I heard a piano play
and rustle of some dancing feet
and laughter far away.
But through the dark, the lowered blinds
that kept the sun at bay
flowed so beautiful a sound
remembered to this day.
A turtledove up on the roof
so gently had its say
coo-cooing to attract a mate
all of a summers day.
Now let me hear a turtle dove
in June, July or May
and Im straight back to '48
the library where I lay.
9 May 2003
Hello! Its Tight T-shirt Time again;
each spring, theyre tighter (and firmer).
I think Ill go inside until they go away
- my thoughts that is. Goodbye!
18 April 2003
Pleasure and seduction:
of our own destruction?
2 May 2003
Granted power of repair,
this would be my vow:
I'd hang all falling blossom
back on the browning bough.
14 April 2003
Gaze deep into a pair of eyes
you haven't seen for years.
Ask what affords the big surprise -
the wrinkles or the tears?
4 April 2003
It's a shock
we're just slime
on a rock
14 March 2003
Let's suppose God offered us
the chance to swap our sex
for just one hour (of our choice)
to help us act less vexed.
Would you rush to don a dress,
pop on a pair of pants?
Or would you turn to God and say,
Thank you but no thanks?
5 May 2003
I sometimes think we all forgot
those skills of which we should be proud,
acquired unnoticed from the cot
thus rarely praised or sung aloud.
This morning I tried on some shoes
I hadnt worn for many years;
not slip-ons but with laces (what!)
and so outmoded (so one hears).
In two seconds, with a flash
of finger muscle, thumbs and flair,
a neat and perfect bow appeared
upon the left shoe of the pair.
Impressed, I thought Id give myself
an even harder task to face.
I tightly shut my eyes and, lo,
a perfect right-shoe bow of lace.
I strode to work upright and proud,
my shoes tied up with perfect bows:
what better way to start my day -
that struggle through those highs and lows.
28 April 2003
A flag aflutter in a breeze
changes constantly yet stays the same.
Are we not fluttering flags in all but name?
25 April 2003
The army proudly rolls down Earls Court Road
with people cheering soldiers back to town.
Are you a saint, though, not to laugh aloud
at the chaos when a tank breaks down?
16 May 2003
If I had a body double
(like Saddam Hussein),
I'd make sure it copped my trouble,
copped my stress and strain.
I'm make sure I copped its pleasure
while it copped my pain.
(Yes, I think I've got the measure
of Saddam Hussein).
7 April 2003
Heres a tip untold hereto
for a life thats worry-free:
do not calculate (like me)
remaining hours left to you
(assuming your allotted span
is that of Average Englishman).
Though rounded up (plus all the rest)
the answer leaves you most depressed.
24 March 2003
If dreams were a jigsaw
Id guzzle the puzzle.
31 March 2003
Lot of missile
Not much gristle
21 March 2003
Boils should be lanced -
not given time to fester.
Sorry if that spoils
your afternoon siesta.
17 March 2003
Beware an English copse in spring
for it will take your breath away.
Not so Vermont in Fall, the Alps
in June, the Pyramids at dusk,
savannahs, mighty waterfalls,
grand palaces and Arctic bergs.
A copse in spring, alight from shafts
of chilly morning sun, the mist
between the mossy trunks, pale shoots
and purple crocuses, will take
your breath and, with it, blow a spell
to root you to the spot then turn
you into foliage. Beware!
28 March 2003
Let us not forget the true heroes
now the defeated flag droops -
those brave lads who hanged the old lady
who blew the first kiss to our troops.
11 April 2003
Leader or lover
Salesman or brother
Baby or mother
Bigger the smile
Bigger the wile
10 March 2003
try to hide
from monsters that reside
outside (and inside
7 March 2003
We can live with lies told to each other,
with all our deceptions and stealth.
It's more of a bother (we rarely recover)
to live with truth told to oneself.
28 February 2003
A little thinking
is good for the whole.
A lot of thinking
is bad for the soul.
9 February 2003
Drip dry shirt
Drip dry life
Clean, crisp, curt
Dont need wife
24 February 2003
Soft in the head
Rather be dead
17 February 2003
To the woods
with her until
youve had your fill
and feel like stopping -
its a bit
Youve got the goods;
now pay the bill.
21 February 2003
The question is not
to be or not to be but
How to undo what
you have done?
Answer that and -
you wont be a man,
14 February 2003
My money plant, never a looker,
with thick green tongues
plastered on a dull trunk,
has repaid twenty-three years
a delicate sprig
of the purest white flowers
you could imagine.
I am rich beyond
my wildest dreams.
7 February 2003
Don't stop running up that hill -
gravity's a bitter pill.
3 March 2003
result of ratiocination:
mastery of machination
3 February 2003
5 February 2003
Beware of what you ask for -
you might get it
said the Greeks.
What a load of miserable
6 February 2003
To view faces
wear a pair
of rose-coloured glasses.
8 February 2003
Three thousand years ago, Phoenicians sailed
from Lebanon to round the Cape
in barges blighted by their faulty shape.
These craft, designed to hug the friendly coast
not face Atlantic swells and slews,
capsized and drowned their pioneering crews.
Undaunted by the risks, they redesigned
their keels, new boats in which to roam;
meanwhile the crews kept drowning - far from home.
It took three hundred years before they reached
the Cape and then, with flags unfurled,
Phoenicians spread across the waiting world.
4 February 2003
A leopard cannot change its spots
- or so they say (with cause);
more to the point, I would have thought,
it cannot change its claws.
1 February 2003
for a minute.
There's no limit
2 February 2003
Fresh vegetables and milk (half-skimmed),
ingredients for lean-meat stew,
diced pineapple and nothing tinned:
my basket full, I joined the queue.
His trolley bulged with chocolate bars
biscuits, bacon, nightmare food,
cakes and gunk in cans and jars:
obesity plus death (once chewed).
He caught me glancing at his spread.
I coughed then asked him (carelessly):
Kiddies party? No, he beamed,
I live alone. Its all for me.
31 January 2003
Theres not a day I dont regret
the many things Ive still to solve.
I blame my busy life and yet
is time the problem or resolve?
30 January 2003
In every cranny, cupboard, drawer,
in every nook, behind each door
is stuff from which we can't detach.
Oh to junk and start from scratch.
26 January 2003
28 January 2003
I wish I had a little switch
so when I had a little itch
I could disengage my brain
(it'd save a lot of pain).
25 January 2003
Twinkling jet, seven four seven,
closer to earth than heaven.
Yet - more miracle by far
than its twin, a static star.
24 January 2003
You know that life will leave you in the lurch
when friends of yours start dropping off the perch.
29 January 2003
Though evenings are lightening,
midsummer's speed is frightening.
27 January 2003
wave after wave
I want to bathe
to play a game
in every one
when all's said and done
apart from size
they're just the same
23 January 2003
Necessity (we all agree)
is Mother of Invention.
But there's an inconsistency
(hardly worth a mention).
If it's true (what has been said) -
could anything be droller? -
it follows that a loaf of bread
gave birth to a steamroller.
22 January 2003
Is our thirst
to be first,
beat the rest,
us at best
or at worst?
21 January 2003
Behind her bedside medicines
when we'd first met:
of how she'd been
when thoughts were of
an upward path.
What happened in between?
20 January 2003
Not yet ...
17 January 2003
Seven of them lie in wait
to bite us on the shins:
seven faults we must avoid -
Seven Deadly Sins.
Pride, Lust, Anger, Envy, Greed,
Sloth and Gluttony:
why should humans take this flak -
doing what comes naturally?
18 January 2003
I watched him slide a mask across his face
and shuddered as he acted to engage.
Then suddenly I saw, to my disgrace,
I too was acting on his chosen stage.
19 January 2003
We often spread blame in a number of ways:
our childhood, their ruses, bad luck.
In chess our poor game is not hard to appraise:
despite our excuses - we suck.
15 January 2003
If you were no longer here
what would you leave behind:
clothes hung up like paper bags
or flurries of your mind?
A flurry's just a puff of wind.
A bag is full of air.
What would either leave behind
were you no longer there?
16 January 2003
Though it's only a machine
(I say that with finality),
my laptop flaunts (or do I dream?)
a human personality.
13 January 2003
must...find time...to savour...
its del...icious flavour...
too much of a hurry
14 January 2003
When I was young I did not fear
a leaden gloomy sky.
Now I'm older all I crave
is weather like July.
12 January 2003
However many treats one eats,
however rich one's wine or flan,
one's savouries or fancy sweets,
there's simply nothing better than
cheese stuffed in a wholemeal bap,
a gulp of water from the tap.
10 January 2003
Okay, okay! I take it back.
I've mastered something new.
While swimming here I've learned to float!
But please don't think it strange I gloat
at doing what most children do -
I never learned the knack.
No longer do I disappear
beneath the waves. I'm like
an outstretched angel of the sea,
and from tonight, from midnight's strike,
I'll float across the year.
31 December 2002
I've never been tempted
to buy an umbrella.
So how come there's five of them
down in my cellar?
11 January 2003
If you speak harshly as a youth
you'll learn this truth when it's too late:
that friendships come and go in life
but enemies accumulate.
6 January 2003
The problem with disaster?
We put on sticking plaster.
9 January 2003
I passed his statue every day,
every day last year.
And every day I swear he looked
a little more severe -
- until this week when I got back
from times of festive cheer.
To my surprise this upright man
looked somewhat less severe.
Around Archdeacon Buckley's neck
hung some festive gear -
a gold and silver paper chain,
holly on one ear.
It did not seem so out of place -
his look much less severe.
Nor did his whisper from on high:
"Now get me down from here."
8 January 2003
Don't ask a salesman how he is -
he might stand up and sell you.
Don't ask a bore the selfsame thing -
he might sit down and tell you.
7 January 2003
I wouldn't swap those lazy days,
that breaking foam,
that bright blue sea,
that sense of timelessness, that haze,
for what's at home -
real English tea.
5 January 2003
If waiting at table were an art form
one waiter here would be a genius.
It is as if watching a god perform,
gliding, ethereal and courteous,
between the tables, weaving us a spell:
genius with talent too ephemeral.
1 January 2003
"Relax! Enjoy the flight!"
is a giant con
- eight hours shoe-horned tight
in a giant can
3 January 2003
They may look like men,
loping along the beach
with their females
in three cloth triangles
(and sometimes one).
But take it from me -
they are not.
They are gorillas.
28 December 2002
I love the Bajan Advocate;
I read it every day.
Today's big story was a man
who led a cow astray.
"The beast was sick. I took it home,"
he claimed before the courts.
"It was my friend, It ain't my thing
to eat a cow with warts."
29 December 2002
The bookless Gladys soon transmogrified
into a mantis with all day to bide
her time. She seized a spot to suit her eye
so no event, however small, passed by
without the wither of her baleful glance -
avoided solely by one's variance
of route from beach to bar, or pool to room.
Her lone demeanour heralded the gloom
of being trapped in any conversation,
deadening and dour; preservation
of one's equanimity the only plea
excusing me the burden of the lonely.
2 January 2003
I got us talking at the bar
the widow, dentist, me.
He's been divorced two times so far
with pending number three.
She lost her Frank eight years ago.
They came here every year.
She's still to square this bitter blow,
to find another gear.
We nodded at each others' pain.
We bid ourselves good-day.
Last night we dined alone again;
we'd nothing left to say.
27 December 2002
Here's a story for this Christmas morn
(hand-on-heart I swear it is the truth):
at breakfast Gladys looked somewhat forlorn
and when she waved I saw she'd lost a tooth.
25 December 2002
If you can't bear to face the night
as it falls into the sea,
keep swimming towards that ball of fire;
swimming for eternity.
30 December 2002
Imagine my suspense at lunch
when I saw Gladys at the bar
with dentist Gary plus rum punch
in hand. "The dog!" I thought. "Too far,
too soon!" Why can't the widow see
his plan? Champagne-&-caviar
tonight - who knows what she'll agree?
By dinner they'd returned to munch
alone on Tables 5 and 3.
24 December 2002
Gary (his dental practice based in Pinner)
is huge and hairless (think of Yul Brynner).
He may or may not be an avid swimmer -
he clearly isn't getting any trimmer.
He lounges in his shades from nine till dinner
in trunks so small you scarcely get a glimmer.
He's so well-oiled his pectoral muscles shimmer
with tan so dun he's bound to be a winner.
(A missing tooth's a perfect line to spin her.)
26 December 2002
This Christmas in indulgent mood
we rode the walkway to our plane
and passed the people just disgorged
for Christmas here, their mood the same.
Why don't, I thought when halfway there,
we all stay home and all make do?
We'd save ourselves a load of fuss
and save our groaning planet too.
22 December 2002
Gladys eats at Table 5.
Gary eats at Table 3.
She's a moneyed greying widow.
He's a dentist, divorcee.
Maybe they should get together...
Maybe they should have some fun...
Maybe I should keep my counsel
eating here at Table 1.
23 December 2002
Thinking of my sadnesses
(like love that passed me by)
mostly leaves me unperturbed
- I will not pipe my eye.
But let me hear a melody
(a far-off ghostly tune)
associated with that love,
I'll sob like mad - then swoon.
21 December 2002
The mouth is quite a useful tool:
we eat, drink, speak, shout, taste, sing, drool;
we smoke, smile, cry, lick, cough, pout, yawn;
we laugh, spit, bite and blow the horn;
we chew, suck, whisper, gag, gurn, kiss
(now that's a pleasure I'd not miss).
The mouth plays such a useful role
- not bad for basically a hole.
19 December 2002
My granny said one should not eat
one's food while walking down the street.
She'd no concern for one's digestion:
"manners" was the point in question.
If Granny were alive today
and went to buy a book, let's say,
she'd die of shock en route (with cause):
our streets are stuffed with chomping jaws.
20 December 2002
When, in middle age, you feel the need
to master something you've not done before
like skiing, chess or breaking in a steed,
here's a tip. Look back - though it's a bore -
and try the things you used to do, then dropped
(less painful than when new stuff also flops).
17 December 2002
How much joy should one go on to pluck
from a world where most are out of luck?
16 December 2002
When I woke up this morning,
I counted all my toes.
My hair still crowned my glory;
my teeth still gleamed in rows.
My fateful challenge yesterday
proves superstition's null.
So now I'm left to contemplate
that life's a little dull.
14 December 2002
Today is Friday; it's the thirteenth too.
I don't believe this tosh - and yet I pause.
So here's a challenge, my friend Fate, to you:
Do your worst today; I'll even give you cause.
But mark my words, you superstitious sort,
I'll be around to post tomorrow's Thought.
13 December 2002
If preachers are so godly
and doctors are so well
and teachers are so clever,
let's all abolish hell.
18 December 2002
If you were a man from Mars
and had to chose between
learning English or Chinese,
which way would you lean?
In English, you'd be driven mad
learning trough and through
not to mention tough, though, thought
and thorough. Got a clue?
In Chinese, learning characters
can be fraught with danger.
Example: Testing one's new sword
on a passing stranger.
15 December 2002
10 December 2002
You can't take cash to heaven.
(Have you got much to take?)
So spend it now but first check out
how long before you flake.
12 December 2002
Katy loved her brand-new dress.
She wouldn't wear her coat.
She twirled along the icy road.
(She couldn't mean to gloat.)
Her cousin Frances twirled as well;
her dress was pretty too.
The only difference I knew of -
it wasn't quite as new.
As we approached the theatre door,
the crowd all of a swirl,
I spotted Katy's pretty dress
worn by another girl.
And so did Frances, all of five,
who said to Katy, four,
She's got your dress! Oh, what a shame!
... tears by the theatre door.
9 December 2002
no rules fools
no rules: fools
No rules fools.
No rules, fools.
No rules. Fools!
11 December 2002
It wouldn't load, the prog-packed CD-rom
despite my state-of-art and RAM-filled com.
It whirred and grunged and made a frightful sound
and on the eighteenth track it hung around
whirring, grunging, going nowhere fast -
- till I cooked up a cunning plan at last
(but maybe "plan" is too refined a word).
I sharply thumped the 'puter where it whirred
and, though a most old-fashioned remedy,
the grunging disc uploaded perfectly.
8 December 2002
The Grand Duke of Wellington famously said:
I never complain and I never explain.
But he never did stuff like the Grand Duke of York
who with ten thousand men (and supposedly sane)
marched his poor troops to the top of the hill
and marched them (all swearing) straight down it again.
25 November 2002
I've an itch
To be rich
Damn the law
Keeps me poor
6 December 2002
Of everyone I'll speak, said he,
all the good I can.
No wonder Benjamin Franklyn
was such a great Great Man.
I'll also speak no ill, said he
with admirable restraint.
It makes me think that great Great Man
was, in fact, a saint.
21 November 2002
I'm often told my face reflects my thoughts,
that I should smile more when I walk around,
when shopping, riding on the underground:
If you don't smile, they'll think you're out of sorts.
I tried it for a week: a beaming smile,
in streets, on trains, commuters will attest;
as will the police (with powers of arrest)
- they banned it so that folk don't run a mile.
2 December 2002
In good King Charles' golden days ...
- drinking song enjoyed by many.
Hmm. Eulogies of Bygone praise
should be tagged with There weren't any ...
4 December 2002
Oh, to have my head
(to know what I know now)
transplanted on my body
lean and fit somehow.
5 December 2002
In chaos, keep your head - and be a man
when blame is put on your mistakes not theirs.
But did R. Kipling tell his growing son
this is the standard state of our affairs?
1 December 2002
Half my trees are still in leaf
and its December (ok, just)
but Ive no joy. So why such grief?
I cant believe the world is bust.
(So far Ive refused to pander
to that greenish propaganda.)
3 December 2002
Slung up between two trees a rope
on which a man performed an act
of balance while he played, in hope,
a violin - and that's a fact.
The combination served to mask
his lack of skill at either task.
But hope paid off and cash rolled in
from passers-by entranced to see
him wobble with his violin
while murdering Bach's Air in G.
From this a dunce can quickly learn:
combine your lack of skills - and earn.
26 November 2002
If you've never seen a stone
change colour, travel to my home.
For here, in early morning light,
the stones change shade from blue to white
and every single hue between:
from grey to violet, pink to green,
beside which any palette pales.
Yes, travel to my home in Wales
where, as the dawn breaks ink-black sky
until the sun has settled high,
from my bedroom window look
at my cathedral in the nook.
Yes, see how man, not God, designed
this miracle by stones defined.
27 November 2002
When all is said-&-done, my friend,
We'll all be dead-&-gone, the end.
29 November 2002
With accidents and Acts-of-God,
disease and aging, death,
you'd think than man had quite enough
to cope with from first breath.
But, oh dear me, the joker who
designed our earthly plan
had one more trick to play on us -
man's attitude to man.
7 December 2002
If I were a twenty-pound turkey
I'd lie down and think what's the point.
I'm big, fat, and ugly and can't even fly
and taste really bland as a joint.
28 November 2002
Do you know of a solution
for a wayward constitution
too advanced for restitution
(thus avoiding destitution)?
22 November 2002
These days folk are so defensive.
Time to ban the word "offensive"?
24 November 2002
What can it be about a chip
or "fry" (a UK-US tip)
that makes it irresistible,
to one impatient in a queue
or "line" (a UK-US clue)
to pay for dinner on her plate
who finds she simply cannot wait
to slip a chip inside her mouth -
a habit I find so uncouth?
(Mind you, I did it in my youth.)
23 November 2002
Our bodies are like reservoirs
with conduits in and out.
Within them water levels
must stay constant (thereabout).
But our outpourings seem far less
than drinks we put away.
No wonder all our vests, pants, socks
need washing every day.
30 November 2002
A wise man said, Praise thee thy health
second to thy conscience.
Apart from all those thees and thys,
that's a load of nonsense.
A good night's sleep is what to praise -
for life's a bitch without one.
(So, after all, the man is right:
he knew why thee can't get one.)
20 November 2002
Perhaps it was the meteorites last night
which made my clock, controlled by satellite,
lose its precision. With alarming pace
the minute hand swept onwards round its face,
hours vanishing in time distortion.
Will I now keep seconds in proportion?
19 November 2002
There'll come a time, I thought last night
packed tightly in the heaving bar
(alas, my mind had strayed afar),
when all these drinkers, prinkers, talkers,
leaners, preeners, shouters, squawkers,
pop-eyed swayers, pouters, brayers
will be silent, still somehow.
But not just in the morning's light -
perhaps some sixty years from now.
10 November 2002
You see! I'm right about our nanny state.
Yesterday's front page screamed of a venture
by those Gov-backed quacks. You! Not too late
they said: Swig red wine to stop dementia.
Then, damn it, on an inside page today
they're back again. Won't they give it a rest?
Don't drink red wine, they say, or you will pay
for such indulgence - cancer of the breast.
Teetotal? Drink! Drinker? Be teetotal!
Makes you want to smash - or hit - the bottle.
17 November 2002
They put their feet on carriage seats
while shoed. They gobble food in streets
while also dropping sticky treats
for me to tread in. And they shout.
People! What would I do without?
(I'd have nothing to write about.)
13 November 2002
I refuse to be defeatist.
I'll jump up and be elitist
shouting from my breakfast table
Music's meant to keep us stable!
But this gunk you're pumping at us
drives us all mad as hatters.
It's enough to make a Bachist
buy a gun and be anarchist.
12 November 2002
I'd say it's useless (on the whole)
to chase that damned elusive goal -
extensions of our earthly pleasure,
moments that we truly treasure.
Moments of ecstatic bliss:
first baby's smile; first lover's kiss;
a fugue by Bach; a vintage wine.
Extensions? Just a waste of time!
The only moment that extends
(ironic that it never ends,
that it occasions utter dread)
is when we find we're truly dead.
15 November 2002
I think about this quite a lot:
a fortune waits for she or he
who labours to invent a pot
which neither leaks nor dribbles tea.
16 November 2002
6 weeks to go.
If I had a hit list
top would be Christmas.
14 November 2002
It's raining hard today.
(Oh what a bore!)
No fun. I could
have done so much today.
I can't go for
my run. (Oh good!)
18 Novmber 2002
I often wonder as I view
the crowd in all its fervour
if God created three, not two -
man, woman and observer.
11 November 2002
An apple a day
keeps the doctor away -
so said my old rosy-cheeked granny.
But now it turns out
that's a load of old trout.
An apple's more deadly
than drugs in a medley -
so says our new government nanny.
What was once common sense
is now labelled as dense
by our ever-so-vigilant nanny.
Don't drink milk, don't eat eggs,
keep the sun off your legs -
there's nothing been said
they won't turn on its head.
I think I'll rely on my granny.
8 November 2002
I saw them coming down the road.
She led, his arm tucked into hers,
his white stick in a-tapping mode,
her hand held out, a gypsy purse.
They looked so lost against the crowd,
two cast-offs from humanity;
no roots to grow, no hope allowed -
their sole relief my charity.
It felt so good to pass across
a crisply-folded ten pound note.
I did not suffer any loss
to see them running off to gloat.
9 November 2002
A rabbit cannot laugh out loud
nor sing along, dissolve in tears
at architecture, sunsets, God;
nor wait in line, nor help a friend.
But, though a rabbit's often cowed,
it has no fear of passing years;
and, if it could, would think most odd
our knowledge of our certain end.
3 November 2002
When will woman understand
that man is born to stray?
Tomcat on the prowl, my love,
his instinct is to spray.
Do not sit at home, my love,
a-dishing out the blame.
You scratched for your equality;
go out and do the same.
5 November 2002
Last night it rained and
in the sodden subway sat
a beggar, ragged man
upon a threadbare mat.
And through a traffic cone
he played Amazing Grace;
he played so tenderly
the tears ran down my face.
I cried not only at
the tune but my surprise
and wonderment at all
our human enterprise.
6 November 2002
There's always something else inside your car
to go wrong, break down, causing you much grief.
But this is nothing as the repertoire
of body ailments (and there's no relief).
4 November 2002
Can anybody blame us
for wanting to be famous?
Yes, it's so hard to tame us
from wanting to be famous.
Now everybody's famous,
the wise see the game is
not to be famous.
(least that's what my claim is).
7 November 2002
I have been given
a glimpse of heaven
by the devil
and I revel
But he that giveth
away will taketh
unless I danceth
to tune evil
21 February 2002
My advice (possibly pedantic):
to put clear blue water
'tween those who claim to be romantic
and your swooning daughter.
27 January 2002
Today I had a little shock -
one of my treasured teeth fell out;
up to this point just like a rock,
just like the rest of me, no doubt.
With teeth, appendix, tonsils, hair
in working order, spick and span,
I glittered, preened without a care -
a paradigm of perfect man.
OK, my girth shows signs of swell
(though fully clothed you'd never guess).
Now this: a missing tooth, ah well -
at least I weigh a little less.
24 July 2001
"Hello!" she shouted at her friend
who hadn't spotted where she stood.
"I'm here. I'm waiting. Are you blind?
You never see the trees for wood!"
They laughed, linked arms and wandered off
through evening crowds, soon out of sight.
My spirits, low of late, soared high
that pleasure hasn't taken flight.
21 September 2001
It's here: the autumn chill upon the air
announcing that the summer's gone elsewhere,
forewarning of the yellow, red and brown,
the darkness - and the snow upon the town.
8 September 2001
It's not first spots, first ale they sup,
first boyfriend, nor first bra.
Ah no: the day the kids grow up
is when they crash your car.
29 May 2001
The bloody train from Wales was late (again),
and Paddington a forlorn place,
as I walked down the platform with bad grace
to face a taxi queue in autumn rain.
Between the engine and the buffer stops
a gang of police, armed to the teeth for crime,
stood looking from the platform to the line.
But what was this? Why were they happy cops?
Why were they pointing, laughing, having fun?
Had some poor miscreant escaped their blows
and thrown himself upon the line? Ah, no!
They'd seen a little fox with Big Mac bun.
26 September 2001
When dealing with the dolt you've hired
don't pussyfoot at first:
just tell the sucker he's been fired
then flatter at your worst.
27 May 2001
from the realms of glory
that their flashing angel came.
Like the shepherds, though, our children
stared in wonder just the same.
Flashing angels may be plastic
(yearly on the Christmas tree).
Makes no difference to our children -
shepherd-like, theyll spellbound be.
What is it about an angel
(from the skies or cardboard box)
that makes children stare in wonder
like those shepherds with their flocks?
16 December 2001
I don't mind people with beliefs
(other than the Here-&-Now)
providing they don't proselytize
to make me change my mind somehow
(my mind which knows the Here-&-Now
is the only thing we've got).
So why was I ablaze last night
converting people to my rot?
1 September 2001
Fagin liked to wipe his face
with 'kerchiefs made of silk
and, though he bathed but once a year,
he bathed in ass's milk.
Oliver picked pockets lace
though never was a snitcher
despite his boss's daily sneer:
"Six pence? None-the-richer!"
2 October 2001
A question to be answered:
across the big wide world
how much sperm per second
is outward being hurled?
It's not mug, a jar or pint,
a gallon or a tray.
It's more than that. How do I know?
I worked it out one day.
Though I shake to think of it,
the answer's seven buckets:
whichever way you look at it -
an awful lot of f*ckets.
17 June 2001
Our bodies are so vulnerable
to passing bugs and germs.
But I'd prefer to suffer them
than f*cking e-mail worms.
18 December 2001
A wily old writer of Bangor,
well known for ineffable languor,
said: one piece of advice
in your life should suffice -
never write letters in anger.
5 July 2001
sing how the
world should be
(though it jar)
how things are
29 August 2001
When strangers smile, their arms unfold
to grasp you in a warm embrace;
when doors are opened, carpets rolled,
the masses seek to share your space;
when off the ground your feet are hoist,
your debts are settled, deference paid;
when at your wisdom eyes grow moist,
remember - smiles can quickly fade.
23 September 2001
"Trust in the Lord," the preacher said
from eyrie high above.
"If we turn the other cheek
we might enjoy His love."
"Trust in my gun," the soldier said,
"note preachers' use of might.
If you want my
youll get out there and fight."
"Im not concerned," the warlord said,
"in whom or what you trust.
Im coming for you anyway -
I know your ass is bust.".
11 November 2001
If God-In-Heaven truly cares
about each fallen sparrow,
how come He's so indifferent
to man who falls by arrow?
And don't tell me that bows and guns
the pain's the same when lightning strikes.
(Or is that His intention?)
28 May 2001
The blackbird's got a razor beak
and temperament that's none too meek.
Yet one short burst of blackbird's song
will lift my spirits all day long.
19 June 2001
25 September 2001
Try as I might I cannot learn by rote
the meaning of the phrases metrical -
though Trochee isnt difficult to note
and Pyrrhic isnt too theoretical,
a Dactyls import is quite hard to quote
and Anapests so unsymmetrical:
but Amphibrach sticks in my bloomin throat
and Spondees frightfully theatrical.
19 May 2001
If from tonight you live in fear
of your daylight getting shorter, here
is something that you oughta
do: try the southern hemisphere.
21 June 2001
Were we not primed to like the human face,
how much longer would you give the human race?
If eye and mouth were to us hideous -
what better way of getting rid of us?
28 August 2001
At water's edge I broke the bread
where the pond grew shallow -
moorhens, pigeons, ducks and drakes
majestic swans and sparrow.
Though strident their cacophony
they feasted without harrow -
moorhens, pigeons, ducks and drakes
majestic swans and sparrow.
If we were birds at water's edge
would we feast unfearfully -
smallest scarcely off the ground
tallest looming like a tree?
22 June 2001
It is well known that I have always been
more than just a little bit suspicious
of those weirdos who are superstitious.
So how come there's no sign of Thought 13?
20 June 2001
Bleary-eyed from long-haul jet,
a miracle of nuts and bolts,
I doze in front of TV set
whereon a charlatan rids dolts
of lameness, cataracts and hacks.
A thousand years have passed and yet
they still line up in front of quacks -
oh miracle of TV set,
oh miracle of long-haul jet.
22 July 2001
(Filed from somewhere in Africa)
If you want to write some pieces
you'll need lots of inspiration.
Get them down before it ceases
or you'll drown in perspiration.
24 May 2001
With Gucci watch, full wallet, leather case
I nightly pass the youth with sallow face -
a pavement bundle, signed No Food; No Home -
and outstretched hand. I stride past on my phone.
Tonight, though, he got lucky when a man
on crutches, with pathetic limp and wan,
reached deep inside his pocket, trousers torn
and tattered, then, with nod, dropped him a coin.
17 September 2001
If I had to chose between
a willow and an oak,
as which would I be rather seen
- a female or a bloke?
30 May 2001
It's been a year since I was here:
chauffeured daily, air-conditioned
(on a most important mission),
past the utter deprivation
(this is such a squalid nation)
next to ads for beer and Pernod.
Dante in a new Inferno
would have earned a no-star rating,
blamed for hell exaggerating.
One year later, I've a date here
(still a most important mission),
glad to note the folks' condition
changed beyond all recognition -
not that they are any cleaner
(possibly a little leaner).
Now at least, full flown a year,
a mobile phone's on every ear.
25 July 2001
(Filed from somewhere in Africa)
Eucharistical chanting is difficult stuff
Pusillanimous vicars should hesitate long
Euphonious canons are tested enough
Only throaty archbishops should burst into song
22 September 2001
Beware, said Age when faced with Youth's
certainty of callow bloom,
that Time - a foe discreet, uncouth -
will mark your trainers all too soon.
18 June 2001
If life for you holds no surprise
and all you do is compromise
you're either old and very wise
or very young with fish-like eyes.
22 May 2001
If men were fish and fish were men
I wonder what would happen when
fish put men in tiny tank
it to the bottom of the sea ...
26 May 2001
On my way to work this morning
I refused to heed the warning
that my top speed should be thirty
(far too boring at 6.30)
Empty streets, no one around
head abuzz with wrap-round sound
I hit fifty (plus a smidgeon)
self-absorbed and squashed a pigeon
31 August 2001
It's well known: belief in expiation
brings about relief from constipation. .
25 May 2001
I have a way with cats and can
at any time, here or elsewhere,
make any cat roll on its back,
its paws a-scrunching in the air.
When I took my midnight walks
the village cats would wait for me:
from hedgerows, gardens, trees they'd pour
and follow, purring, three-by-three.
I'd turn and do my catty thing -
within a minute off they'd go,
a-rolling over on their backs,
their paws a-scrunching in a row.
I've often asked (but never known)
from where my feline gift has come.
For if I try it with a dog
I end up with a bitten bum.
3 September 2001
When my dentist pokes around,
he grunts and groans and hums.
On Friday he looked really pleased:
"You have Teenager Gums."
"Is this good?" I asked perplexed.
"It's very good," he hummed,
"and you're a very lucky chap
to have such youthful gums."
You'll understand how good I felt.
I did not feel his drill.
With smile far wider than a mile
I settled his huge bill.
2 September 2001