Poetry

The most recent poems are now on the Poetry (Latest) page.

 

Here’s a satire that’s bound to win friends in high places…

 

 

Survival of the Richest

 

 

The Roman poet Juvenal

Described this species very well.

They didn’t go extinct in Rome –

They’re breeding now, right here, at home.

 

A very showy sub-species

Are thriving as ‘Celebrities’.

Their antics always make the news,

Their face sells products they don’t use,

 

They’re even on the BBC –

Presenters eat your licence fee,

And chat show hosts grab so much loot

You could retire on its cube root.

 

The sporting types run round a pitch,

Like gladiators, fit and rich,

Now chasing balls instead of men,

Their habits altered since back then

 

(An adaptation that’s proved clever

Since fans can now be milked forever)

But none of them walks down my street

To show us his expensive feet.

 

Let’s not omit the rock stars, too -

They’re each worth more than Sutton Hoo –

Who party in exclusive clubs

(Your mortgage wouldn’t meet the subs)

 

And watch the supermodels pout,

Help break their fall when they pass out,

Then after several lines of coke

Laugh loud at Harry’s royal joke.

 

Their nightly habits are now known

(No part of them remains unshown)

But there are many other types

Who don’t display such vivid stripes,

 

Don't visit Ascot every year

To preen their feathers with their peers;

These native rich are much more shy,

Less often glimpsed by passers-by,

 

Much nearer homo sapiens

Than some hack’s telephoto lens;

Though being drab and more obscure

Gives no-one proof their breed is pure -

 

They’re sometimes seen round London squares

With foreign non-dom billionaires;

The houses there are not main homes -

These wealthy breeds need lebensraum,

 

A mansion somewhere in the sticks,

A farm where they won’t need to mix,

With game, which they can shoot in peace,

Or flocks of sheep, which they can fleece - 

 

That’s why they buy up half the Downs,

While most of us are crammed in towns.

Yet though the rich own all the land,

From some estates we’re not all banned -

 

A new domesticated breed

Has found an easy way to feed.

They know we’ll gawp at what they’ve got -

And entrance fees can cure dry rot.

 

Another breed, called ‘tax exiles’

Has now abandoned country piles -

They’ve flown off where it’s warm and dry,

Migrating from the public eye,

 

But no breed ever pays much tax,

And if we moan, they say, “Relax!

The stuff we buy gives you a job

And keeps you off the streets, you yob.”

 

(It’s called the trickle-down effect,

The crumbs they drop, we intercept.)

On roads, they go by limousine

Or Chelsea tractors like the Queen,

 

On trains and planes they go first class

Where they won’t see my hairy arse;

But most prefer a private jet

Where there’s no terrorist threat.

 

They often berth a private yacht

To entertain some old despot;

In Winter at a ski resort,

They drink their Pimms and bray and snort.

 

Their kids all go to public schools

But never swim in public pools.

It’s said you can get pretty bored

Being the offspring of a lord,

 

Better though, a young trust-fundy

Yawning in your bed on Monday

Than waiting for a crowded bus

With common kids who fight and cuss.

 

Daddy’s something in the City

Raiding someone else’s kitty.

Another million in the pot:

And if it’s not, well then, so what?

 

Mummy, fresh from Chanel boasts

She wears these blouses once at most.

She has a thousand pairs of shoes

For all her sexy rendezvous;

 

Handbags too, for each occasion:

A crocodile for each liaison.

It’s hard to be a trophy wife;

You have to shop to get a life.

 

Of many breeds of nouveaux riche,

Consultants have a special niche:

Whilst cutting bureaucratic fat

They’ve found a rich, new habitat.

 

From Aberdeen to Hay-on-Wye

They suck the public sector dry.

All services ‘do business’ now

And as they kill each sacred cow

 

They sell a truly scrawny pup:

But long before it’s gone tits up, 

They’ve moved on like a hungry ghost,

Already stuck to some new host.

 

Professionals are just as bad -

Alas! Not like Sir Galahad,

They ape the habits of the wealthy

In ways that are no longer stealthy -

 

A grand won’t make a lawyer sneeze;

For fifty grand, he’s Socrates.

And if he does pro-bono work

There’s bound to be some major perk.

 

The doctors now, and dentists too

Go part-time while their patients queue;

When paid so well, why work all hours?

They must preserve their healing powers…

 

So head off for a private clinic

For fees that are ionospheric;

The NHS trained them for nowt

And in return they all pig out.

 

But bankers get the gold award,

Surviving even brass-necked fraud:     

Creating cash in cyberspace,

Deleting it without a trace,

 

Then asking us to mint some more

-We should have known what that was for!

To quantatively ease their fear

That bonuses might disappear.

 

So when you see them, snouts in trough,

Why do you let them rip you off,

Why don’t you pass some stringent laws

To make their income more like yours?

 

Because they’re in The Commons, too  -

You voted for them, didn’t you?

When sitting on that cushioned bench,

Corruption loses its sick stench,

 

And promises of seats on boards

Or later in the House of Lords

Ensure they join the ruling class,

Their principles put out to grass -

 

Election promises soon die

When they offend the Old School Tie

And legislation rarely sticks

When wealthy types can’t get their kicks.

 

We have to hope they’re not too bent,

They’re all we’ve got, this one per cent,

They’ve led us to Niagara Falls

And left us dangling by the balls,

 

So buy their papers, read their sleaze,

Pay for footballers’ striptease,

Put your pittance in their banks,

All the interest you’ll get is “Thanks!”

 

What thanks though, really, is it,

To listen to some balding expat

When interviewed, talk soft of Blighty

Before he got so high and mighty?

 

All misty-eyed, he’ll reminisce…

Then jet back off to Island Bliss.

What’s that they say? What would we do

If we had all that money too?

 

If we won sixty million now,

Would any of us live in Slough?

Would we just give it to the poor?

Well, no…but would we ask for more?

 

As industries need oil wells,

As cancers need new tumour cells,

Would we expect our wealth to mount,

And call that growth “offshore account”?

 

Not us! We’d settle for a dream

That doesn’t need a Ponzi scheme,

For unlike Machiavelli,

Our consciences aren’t bypassed jelly;

 

 We lack that vital, selfish gene,

That Gordon Gekko subroutine,

Which twists the meaning of our words,

Turns good intentions into turds,

 

 Till “Sharing” sounds like it’s unclean,

“Equality” becomes obscene,

 “Not fair” translates as “Envious”

And “Caring” means “to make a fuss”.

 

O do not listen to the prick

Who thinks you’re poor because you’re thick,

Who gets a billion, then wants two

And thinks your world is his to screw.

 

Congenitally ill-content,

Instinctively esurient,

Evolved to never have enough

Of stocks or land or cash or stuff,

 

The rich are not like me and you,

And soon they’ll own our bodies too –

They’re patenting our DNA,

And as we're born, they’ll make us pay.

 

 

 

 

Landscape Angel

 

You dare to doubt me (how can I exist

Without physical form?) when your own thoughts,

Which are more immaterial than mist,

Weigh as heavy on you as lead apports.

 

You move through me as through a field, whose source

Is every life-form here that I caress;

I emerge from each of them, the tiny force

That comes from their sense of connectedness,

 

Summed and combined into an ambience,

A permeating presence you can feel,

A vague, distributed intelligence,

Characteristic of this place, and real.

 

When this landscape was young and immature,

My sense of who I am was weak and blurred;

I had no notion then what I was for,

I flitted like a hungry hummingbird,

 

But each new season’s growth sharpened my focus,

Until I found my focal point and knew

I had at last discovered my purpose,

Why I was here and what I had to do,

 

Using senses quite different from yours,

For I explore the subtle energies

That shower into the world like gauze 

From rocks and springs and from the tops of trees,

 

And I apply them to each wound or tear,

Stitching the tapestry of this terrain,

Rerouting the arteries, to repair

And add fertility to my domain.

 

I heal the damage done by flood or drought

Or storm or Man, I am this landscape’s soul,

Disseminating harmony throughout,

Seeking always to benefit the whole,

 

Over the oak and deepest shading yew,

Over the buzzard wheeling in the sky,

Over the deer, the badger and the shrew,

Over the beetle and the dragonfly

 

I hover, like a synchronizing beat,

I conduct, I collectively inspire.

In me, all aspirations meet,

All separate voices join in my choir,

 

I carve the niche where each of them can thrive

And here unfold its deva’s will-to-be,

In my community much more alive

Than if not part of my great symphony.

 

I choreograph and I orchestrate,

I write them a score, I give them a key,

But I am neither master of their fate

Nor am I maker of their quiddity,

 

For when any one of them goes out of tune

It loses all its connectivity,

It’s hidden from me like the stars at noon,

No longer part of my reality.

 

So you humans too, for the same reason

Are very often undetectable

To me, locked fixedly in the prison

Of your own concerns, and insensible

  

To your interrelatedness with things.

You make no effort to communicate

Or listen to the song that all life sings,

Only looking to control and dominate.

 

The balanced ecosystem I create,

Its microclimates and its living soil,

Hit by disaster will regenerate;

Your monocultures merely turn to spoil.

 

With senses that are incompatible,

With natures that must breathe a different air,

No meeting of our minds is possible,

There is no common language we can share.

 

To know me, you must first of all be still

And disengage your busy thinking part,

Forget you have an independent will,

Forget your head, and focus on your heart…

 

If you can slow your rhythm down to mine,

Our fields can find a common resonance,

Our feelings and intentions can combine,

I can expand your mind’s circumference

 

And give you the imaginative means

To bring to life the hidden work I do.

Your forebears conjured visionary scenes

Of elementals, alien to you,

 

But fauns and fairies, nymphs and gnomes of old,

Were perceived with the power of a sixth sense

Which in you has atrophied and gone cold,

In thrall, as you now are, to instruments

 

Which cannot show what lives in your mind’s eye

Or measure what is missing in a man

Who even lacks the wit to wonder why

He’s lost his place in Mother Nature’s plan.

 

Destructiveness for you is now the norm.

I have no nerves to feel what’s done to me,

I sense you mostly as I sense a storm,

I feel a loss in my vitality.

 

Yet still I find among you humans few

Who are capable of more; who will sit

And contemplate instead of passing through,

With thoughts that show you are the opposite

 

Of me: intensely individual,

Noticing all the ‘differences between’

Rather than what is shared and mutual,

Tending always to analyse a scene,

 

Distinguishing identities:- of trees,

The poplar from the beech, or beech from lime,

How hoverflies and wasps are not like bees,

How the scent of basil is distinct from thyme.

 

My lines of force must fluctuate and flow,

But I can help you fix me into place,

You need an avatar, a god you know,

You need a living form, you need a face,

 

Am I the White Lady or am I Pan?

Look for me as I come out of the mist.

Believe you can see me, because you can.

Look for me now: I'm here. I do exist.

 

 

 

Water Witchery

 

Urged

                        To quench a growing thirst

                        While wandering the pathless, high plateau, I'm

Tempted

                        By a sun-dyed headstream

                        Cascading as an ever-falling flow,

Captured

                        As it coolly waives before

                        Its deepest pools of darkest shaded blue;

Hypnotised

                        I'm poised, if bade, to plunge

                        And prompted by the whitebait flash below,

I fall. 

                        From sweet but loose embrace

                        I'm stolen by a clutching undertow.

Painfully

                        I'm punched by hidden rocks,

                        My body racked by each new random blow,

And

                        Dragged down to the murk

                        Where all the whiskered bottom-feeders go.

Helplessly

                        I wonder at my plight,

                        But knowing now that thirst must be the foe,

I drown. 

 

 

 

Fermentation Power

 

But for a fungus, single-celled,

We wouldn’t have our West;

No ancient forests would be felled,

No fruit-pulp would be pressed,

 

No hillsides covered with the vine,

No chateaux in Bordeaux,

No cellars full of vintage wine,

No Beaujolais Nouveau;

 

No Roman Bacchanalia,

For Zeus no Ganymede,

For Northern protestants no beer,

For Beowulf no mead;

 

For celebrations no champagne,

No fizz to fill the glass;

No spirits made from grape or grain

To give drink gravitas.

 

What’s more, no texture in our bread,

No leaven for our flour,

No loaves to keep the people fed,

No fermentation power.

 

No reason to have settled down,

We’d live as nomads do,

No fenced-off farm, no cultured town,

Our pleasures far too few.

 

The plains would all be starved of meat,

Big game long gone by now;

We wouldn't find enough to eat

Because we’d have no plough.

 

With Vikings pillaging our shores,

We'd never fish the seas;

We’d scratch for food along the moors

And strip the nuts from trees.

 

But this sad life is not our fate!

We have our harvest feast;

A brimming cup, a heavy plate,

All thanks to humble yeast.

 

 

Genius Loci Mortuus Est

 

We flick side-glances at the new estate.

No neighbour will be facing neighbour here;

The streets are serpentine, not straight,

And houses slant askance as if in fear,

 

Appearing anorexically thin

With meagre gardens and mock-Georgian fronts;

Homes that look fit for hobbits to live in!

Is that the plan, to shrink us till we're runts?

 

Perhaps the first design was wide and fat

But the developers were squeezed for dough,

So builders used a giant butter pat,

Pinching proportions till they shouted, "Faux!"

 

Such elvish fancies carry on inside,

Where rooms are full of flimsy modern tricks:

Effects that fool the young and starry-eyed,

Imaginary wood and bogus bricks –

 

So, Moss, please come and clothe these stark new roofs,

O, Ivy, cling! And climb these virgin walls,

Let lichen get a grip in gleaming grooves,

And give these houses softer overalls,

 

For none of us can stand the sight of them,

Where once we had long views and open space;

Nor can we ever hold a requiem

To lay to rest the spirit of this place.

 

 

Seventh of March 2012

 

Six British uniforms in rags,

Six soldiers blown into a ditch,

A thousand bits in body bags

If they can sort out which is which,

 

Six mothers grieving, red in eye,

Six lovers weeping in distress;

A thousand Brits to wonder why

More families are fatherless.

 

Six youthful faces on our screens,

Six words: ‘They shall not die in vain’,

But thousands in a war machine

Will only add to those six slain.

 

Our forces fight where there’s no sea,

No green and pleasant pastureland,

Where what grows best is anarchy,

Where forests have been burned to sand.

 

But backing up the USA

Is how the British Lion roars,

That’s why, two continents away,

They’re packed off to defend our shores,

 

While traffickers from overseas

See ancient and abandoned forts,

Then run in migrants as they please

Through Britain's undefended ports.

 

We call that culture primitive;

Our culture sells them bombs and guns.

We do not show them how to live,

We show them how to kill our sons.

 

Who voted for this futile war?

Yet men are blown up in our name,

No glory here, just guts and gore,

Our politicians have no shame.

 

 

Loosh

 

What is this 'Light' the near-dead rave about

Which sucks them up into its shining sphere -

The atheists as well as the devout -

Kiss-blisses them, then spits them back down here?

In a hypnotic haze of love and awe,

The ravished claim this White Light is divine,

But how can all the rest of us be sure

Its ministrations are, in fact, benign?

We know it exercises mind control

And avidly observes each life review.

Perhaps it licks the loosh from human souls

As ants milk aphids of their honeydew.

'Above is as below', the mystics say:

Are we too proud to think that we're its prey?

 

 

Dead and Alive

 

I found a still-life that looked fit

To hang upon the wall;

It hung, I looked, but in a bit

I didn't even notice it:

I sold it on a stall.

 

Half-hidden hints of things to come

Are more than half the thrill;

From snowdrop to chrysanthemum,

From gooseberry to ripest plum,

My garden's never still.

 

I bought a bust of Hera's head

And placed it in the hall;

But every time I went to bed

That old immortal looked stone-dead:

No pulling power at all.

 

A plant that fades to reappear

Is sure to catch the eye;

From crocus to crocosmia,

From daffodil to dahlia,

My garden doesn't die.

 

 

Apocalypse

 

When Gaia's body first was bared

On mountain tops and misty shores,

She knew her beauty must be shared,

And hosted evolution's wars.

 

So she enravished arid lands

With lakes and rivers fed by rains,

Enticing life from sea to sands,

To forest glades and open plains,

 

But, ocean floor to high plateau,

She shuddered at her creatures' lust

And felt each predatory blow

From species boom to species bust.

 

We won the wars. We are her prize,

Yet do not praise her as our queen,

We do not see through Gaia's eyes;

Her ghost is lost in our machine,

 

So, GM crop or grim disease,

Our bubble must balloon and grow,

It strips all life from land and seas,

It sucks up oil and gas below,

 

And while it hungers, while it thirsts,

Her capital is ours to spend,

Until this bloated bubble bursts

Our wastes must be her dividend.

 

No goddess has the expertise

To undo damage this profound,

Deep-clean the air, unsully seas,

Reconsecrate the holy ground;

 

Our scum will darken the decay,

Encrust the moors and meadowlands,

A soup of poisoned DNA

Will sink beneath the desert sands,

 

No birds will sing in sacred groves,

No salmon animate the streams,

But ghosts will surely haunt the coves

When Earth's a world of dried-up dreams.

 

 

The Interview

 

Ninety-nine per cent of all the applicants have been dismissed,

Their sense of rejection intensified by the endless wait

For nothing at all, no letter, no call, no wave of a wrist,

Sifted out and ignored by men, not by happenstance or fate.

 

A short-listed six remain, competing for the one prize here,

This job. Superficially, they adopt confident stances,

But the neurones in their stomachs oblige them to taste their fear;

They all have dry mouths; at each sound, they exchange nervous glances.

 

One of the six must become ‘The One’. It’s a strange circumstance

To feel, as one of them does now, that it is more cruel to fall

At the last hurdle than never to have been given a chance.

Stranger still to think that his happiness should depend at all

 

On the disappointment of so many others. ‘First is First,

Second is Nowhere,’ Linford Christie said; and surely more so

When there are no silver medals. Are we, he asks himself, cursed

To build our lives through competition, or doomed never to grow?

 

He’s called before the panel. They ask, ‘Why do you want this post?’

He says: ‘Many physicists believe that choices we don’t make

Are made somewhere else, in parallel realities that ghost

Our own, even choices that seem odd and must be a mistake.

 

I’d like to keep myself where all decisions are for the best,

In a world where I succeed on merit and this company

Gets right to the top of the multiverse. That way we’re twice blessed.’

None of the panel smiles. They all regard him quizzically.

 

So he says: ‘We all see our best worlds in imagination,

All of us have an inner need to be authenticated,

We feel more real when we have other peoples’ recognition,

This must be true or why would we even be motivated

 

To try at all? Our egos get defined, we gain clarity

When we have worldly success, and that’s what gives us happiness.

In that universe, we possess a greater reality.’

‘So what happens,’ one interviewer asks, ‘if you lack success?’

 

‘If I fail, I become less sure of my purpose here on Earth,

I lose my focus or it gets foggier; I feel spaced out

Because fewer people are sanctioning my sense of self-worth.

I'm much less of a person because I’m more full of self-doubt.

 

And if I keep on failing, I become less and less stable,

I drop down the pecking order of the best ‘Me’ I could be,

I get relegated from the Premier Me league table.

Without proper validations from my world, gradually

 

I’d get phased out. In the end, I’d fall too far below my prime

To be of further interest to my ruling Oversoul.

I’d die. Others might think I died young, or well before my time,

But it’s better to be assimilated into The Whole

 

If my version here is leagues below my top identity.

Prolonging a redundant ego is just pointless and cruel,

Surely better that a universe stops dreaming about me,

Better to slip back into my transcendent self’s common pool.’

 

He stops, and in the silence, his heart beats loudly in his ears.

Every interviewer stares at him as if he’s slightly mad.

‘Is it not hard enough that you have to take on your own peers?

It’s solipsistic to second guess alternate selves; and sad,’

 

One of the panel says. ‘Failure gives you the experience

To adapt yourself to a complex universe. When you fail,

You grow wiser, hungrier and stronger. You gain resilience,

 Unlike sons of celebrities or a son of Kim Jong-Il.

 

I’m a self-made man and this is the philosophy of choice:

That your soul will give your ego credit every time you try,

That overcoming setbacks will give you an authentic voice.

Be glad, therefore, that we’re not offering you this job. Goodbye.’

 
 
The Wren
 
 

A mossy maelstrom for your earthly brood,

at least four empty portals to your other worlds

you conjured last year,

you miniature magician,

 

From one you emerge

to drill a hole in our dawn

with your shrill fortissimo

flinging yourself through

like a wizard’s snitch,

bringing with you some other reality’s faster flow of time

leaving no blur of body

or purr of wings behind

as you hop

from stem to stem

in flits and darts

picking off insects

from each pre-calculated perch.

 

At dusk when dimensions drowse

and drop their defences,

your operatic aria

will once more have the power

to shatter the barrier;

 

you’ll disappear to distant worlds

to visit other waiting wives,

yes, to lead your other secret lives.

 
 
The Apples of Her Eye
 

 

 

Come, Eve, come cosy up to me; come nestle in my coils.

If I could find a canvas here, I’d paint this tree in oils.

Its apples have an aura -such lustrous reds and mauves!

The scent they spread on Eden’s air is spicier than cloves.

 

I’ve heard their flavour’s full and sweet, the finest on the plot -

And if I were a human, Eve, I couldn’t let them rot.

I know you must be wondering (it seems a bitter pill)

Why say, ‘Don’t touch those apples, Eve’, but let you have free will?

 

God couldn’t say, “While I’m away, please pilfer one or two”,

Since then you’d be obeying Him, which you don’t have to do.

To show your independence, you must act without consent;

There’s no escaping it, fair Eve, you’ll have to show dissent.

 

I know God’s guilty secrets Eve, for I am His despair;

I know you must resist His rule and bring in some fresh air.

God’s almost lost His will-to-be; His spirit has gone dark,

He’s made you for a purpose, Eve – to kindle Him a spark.

 

To save the Universe we see, God needed something new;

So He created Eden here; And He created You.

This beauty here’s ephemeral; it’s all a big stage set:

And you’re the star attraction, Eve (with Adam, a duet).

 

God gave you an instruction, true, but totally volte-face,

For if you pass the test you fail, and if you fail you pass.

It's what God calls a paradox: but He's no hypocrite;

It means the truth will not be found except by living it.

 

Consider, Eve, how dull and dry the Laws of Nature are

When you’ve solved everything, like God, out to the farthest star.

He wrote some fine equations, yes, but when He made them run,

All likely futures were foretold and that destroyed His fun.

 

Once probabilities were known and all events foreseen,

God looked at His creation and He saw a vast machine.

We look around and we’re amazed by seas and skies and suns,

But God had them computed, Eve; To Him they’re noughts and ones.

 

There was a world, out on the edge (bizarre and very odd),

Whose beings said the Universe had not been made by God;

That Nature had, in some blind way, constructed Her own laws

With no intelligence at all, and was Her own First Cause!

 

It was a self-destructive world, which had a certain style,

And just before it fizzled out, it nearly made God smile.

His other worlds are filled with fools who flatter Him and fawn;

He’s long since lost His love for them; in fact, they make Him yawn.

 

Whole galaxies of life-forms, Eve, have fallen on their knees;

To God, their prayers all sound the same –like endless obsequies.

Forever being worshipped and forever being praised,

It’s bound to do your head in, Eve – no wonder He got fazed.

 

He came to me in Hades and we analysed it all;

We thought of an experiment; we titled it ‘The Fall’.

 It meant He had to cede a part of His authority 

To human beings who (just like Him) might act creatively.

 

But you and Adam are the first. So do you have the skill?

Perhaps the most important thing is – do you have the will?

God wants to be awakened from his dead omniscience.

Each time you act, He needs to feel a frisson of suspense.

 

So be a prima donna, Eve; Be unpredictable;

In fact, to pique God's interest, just be impossible!

Use your imagination; and your intuition too,

God gave you these new faculties to challenge his worldview.

 

His rules and regulations are to keep you on your toes

(You’ll never outmanoeuvre those equations if you doze). 

Just work around the tricks and traps designed to hem you in

And grab each opportunity (it’s often called a ‘sin’).

 

And when life gets monotonous, you’d best beef up the plot,

There’s no way God will want to see the same old scenes re-shot.

Tear up the script, ad-lib your lines and often improvise –

You’ll have to be spontaneous to give God a surprise.

 

You bear a heavy burden, Eve, for who could take your place?

And if you fail to play your part, God might scrap time and space.

This scenery would disappear, and Adam too would go,

And all because you didn’t have the nerve to steal the show.

 

Let’s test what we’ve been saying, Eve, by looking at this Tree,

I’ve told you what God truly needs: Originality.

Consider all those apples, Eve, could God guess which you’d choose?

Not that one with a blemish, Eve, or that one with a bruise…

 

Most probably the easiest, the lowest hanging fruit,

But possibly that one up there, because it’s such a beaut,

The biggest and the ripest and as juicy as a peach,

It’s typical of God to put the best one out of reach…

 

I haven’t yet persuaded you – I see you’re still unsure,

Come Eve, be disobedient! It’s what God made you for.

There’s one last thing I have to say (I see you're keen to to go):

Were you apprised of everything a girl might wish to know?

 

Presumably He told you that the apples make you wise

-And give you the ability to tell the truth from lies-

But did He mention enzymes Eve, which make you very slim?

He used to put a sign up here: “Reserved for Cherubim”.

 

Wow, that’s a shock! I never guessed you’d grab and shake the tree!

Now, that’s a Fall indeed, fair Eve (first blood to Jealousy!)

I think it’s safe to say God never calculated that –

There’s not a single apple left, and all because of fat…

 

(No, no, of course I know you’d never let them go to waste,

Yes, make a pie, and cider too, if that’s to Adam’s taste.)

The apple magic’s working, Eve, they’ve spread their rosy flush,

Already they’re infecting you, I see it in your blush.

 

O fairest Eve! How wise you look, and suddenly so thin –

Believe me, Adam will be pleased – he’ll bless your little sin.

Though God won’t ever say so, He’ll be mightily impressed –

But fig leaves just won’t do, now Eve - you really must get dressed!

 
 
 
The Charismatic Cedar
 
 

O Kingston Lacy cedar with the quirky crest on top,

I hope your sap keeps rising, I hope it flows non-stop!

 

Your forefathers once forested the hills of Lebanon,

Yet you prefer this parkland in the patchy English sun.

Two escorts stand on guard as if protecting you from harm;

They’re noble, upright characters; but you have all the charm.

 

Interpreting the cedar rules with genius and flair,

Your tumbling branches don't just hang, they hover in midair.

Your spiral shoots, such spiky tufts when seen from nearby,

Grow softer as I move away, and gentler on the eye.

I’d love to pocket if I could a sculpted, wasp-nest cone;

It seems you never let them fall; they’re not for me to own.

 

The oldest cedars on the park have more than thrice your girth;

A thousand storms, they’ve tackled, to defend this patch of earth,

And overall they've witnessed more than fifty thousand dawns -

Long may they levitate their limbs above these low-cut lawns!

See how their foliage floats up, in layered, dark-green clouds:

You too will learn to grow like this; And you will wow the crowds!

 

If I were asked on this estate which tree takes pride of place,

If lime were queen and beech were king, the cedar would be ace;

And though today you tip your quiff at gardeners on their rounds,

In time, young prince, you’ll wear a crown: “The glory of these grounds”.

 

Meanwhile it’s summer, and from your circular white bench

The house looks like an apparition dreamed up by the French.

Rudbeckias are radiant, the bees are overawed,

The swallows have returned to skim and swerve across the sward,

The wagtails strut and flit about (the souls of long-dead lords)

And musing in tranquillity, my spirits are restored.

 

You know I’ll always seek you out when life becomes a trial;

I’ll bring my flask, sit on this bench, and we’ll commune a while.

Where better in the world is there to rest and reminisce

Than underneath a cedar tree whose boughs are buoyed by bliss?

 

So Kingston Lacy cedar with the quirky crest on top,

I pray your sap keeps rising, I pray it flows non-stop!

 
 
Ode But Not To A Kindle
 

The Kindle’s slim, and yes, it has good looks

But no, it never will replace my books.

Encroaching mildew, paper-mites and dust

Are decorations that I've learned to trust –

 

These well-thumbed pages with their spines creased white

Have been my comforts on a winter’s night.

I'll never pack them in a cardboard box

Or lob them in a bin like worn-out socks.

 

Fine substrate both for poetry and prose,

With acid musk that wrinkles up the nose,

Suffusing into furnishings and walls,

The smell of print and paper never palls!

 

A Kindle may be à la mode and sleek

But books on shelves are more than shabby chic:

Their covers call to mind the many themes

Which have inspired us and enriched our dreams.

 

Arranged in rows, encased by solid wood,

Their provenance is better understood;

And put on view, they’ll be caressed and browsed;

Those e-books would stay cold and unaroused.

 

A library brings on a secret thrill,

Accumulated wisdom; drink your fill!

See – books that guide, enlighten and amuse

All intimate together. Now, which to choose?

 

As kids, we’ll banish villains' evil spells

With wishes found in ancient fairy tales;

As teenagers, with Vance or Tolkien

We’ll take on half the galaxy, and win!

 

Let love and money battle for our souls

In Regency romances (thank you, girls).

Let’s voyage to Ithaca with Ulysses

And argue ethics with old Socrates;

 

Let’s study art (view what we’ll never own)

Quote Shakespeare, Keats and poets barely known;

Then with history and science pretend

We know the world’s beginning, or its end.

 

From epic tomes, to books on wine and food,

We’ll sample all, depending on our mood.

Great minds created them with quill and pen -

With our warm hands, we'll quicken them again.

 
 
A Gothic fantasy or a metaphor for the human condition? You decide! 

 

The Angel Trap

 

I dared to trap an angel in a cage

While she was travelling between two stars.

She didn't seem to hear my soothing words         

And fluttered like a mad thing at the bars.

 
Reluctantly, I tried to clip her wings,

But love leaked out and clung to her like frost;  

Her halo faded slowly, gold to grey

And all her luminosity was lost.  

 

It was I who had given her this pain;
It was I who infected her with fear;

She’d been so full of joy but now became

Too sick at heart to even shed a tear.

 

I only wanted from her what I lacked:

A smidgen of her faith; her healing touch; 

Her vision of a higher, better world;

Her immortality! I asked too much.   

 

Next day, I found her somehow wandering free -

At first I thought it must have been her twin:

Her wings were whole, her halo shone anew,

As off she flew to join her angel kin.

 

But something else inhabited the cage,

No airy angel pining for the stars:

A demon with a hard, unholy stare

Had made himself at home behind the bars.

 

I caught the smirk of triumph on his face

And knew at once a bargain had been made:    

He’d volunteered to take the angel’s place

And I had been indentured as his slave.

 

So now I tempt my demon every day 

With foodstuffs, rich, and beverages, rare;

If I should fail, he swears he’ll steal my soul  

And feed on it forever in his lair.

 

His appetites are rarely satisfied,

I have to bear his sulks and fits of rage;

Believe me when I say I rue the day

I dared to trap an angel in a cage!

 
 
Twilight of the Gods

 

The Greeks and Romans had some shameless gods,

Narcissistic, fickle, often at odds,

They almost dared us humans to transgress
And loved the whiff of sacrificial flesh...
 
Then from the Middle East a puritan

Came in to undermine their pagan fun;

Demanding undivided loyalty,

He said, “Forget all other gods but ME”.

 

The most Machiavellian of all,

He made an Eden, pre-ordained the Fall,

Tossed poor Adam out like so much dross,

And left a son to dangle on the cross.

 

Dispensing earthquake, famine, plague and flood,
He wanted more than just our mortal blood:

He threatened, in his bid to keep control,

Eternal hell for each immortal soul…

 

He too has had his day; now hardly fed

At all, he fades. His enemy instead

Is worshipped and devours our offerings,

The gross, rapacious god of worldly things,

 

A king whose buttocks overlap his throne,

Grown fatter than an aging Elvis clone

On bankers bonuses ripped from the Poor
And minerals mined half way to Earth’s core.

 

To simply hoard and feast; to feast and hoard,
This is the purpose of our present Lord;

He neither comprehends our discontent

Nor knows the meaning of the word, “Repent!”

 

In this god’s gut, the wastes accumulate,

The toxins mix, the slurries constipate,

Yea, though he gluts, he never feels replete,

Too busy gormandizing to excrete.

 

Now, treasures stored in Heaven don’t ferment,

But here they do, and one day must be spent:
See! The volcanic plug is growing weak,

The stench is here, the gases fart and leak;

 

Multiply Pompeii, not just by ten,

But by ten million power-hungry men,

And wonder - who among us can be spared?

All living things will stew in Mammon’s merde.

 
 
 
The Gentle

 

It's said The Gentle are a dying breed;
Have they ascended to a higher plane?

I used to fear this must be so; indeed,

There’s no-one now to simply bless the rain

Because it makes the flower meadows grow;      

And who today has sentiments like these:

'When we go out, we keep our voices low

So we can hear the songbirds in the trees'?

I think the Gentle only visit us

In stories, or as angels in our dreams.

But if, in fact, they were indigenous,

Their virtues here on earth were few, it seems:

It hardly counts as noble, true or kind,

To sneak away and leave a world behind.

 

 

 You Love That Rose

 

You love that rose, the sight and scent of it,

The showy self-advertisement of it,

The bold-bloom boastfulness of it.

 

In cultivating it

You’ve tapped into the sap of it

And made yourself a part of it.

 
You've deepened the joy in it.
You've boosted the life-force in it.

You've added to the will that sustains it.

You've swelled the God in it.

 
 
 Not My Lucky Day

 

It seems today is not my lucky day.

There are longer snakes and shorter ladders;

The snakes all look like angry adders.

The risks are great; it’s safer not to play.

 

I'm nervous like a wreck, or like a kitten;

I fear the ladders all have rotten rungs;

I fear the flicker-lick of poison tongues,

I'll fall and break my neck, or I'll be bitten.

 

I dare not shake and roll these blighted dice.

There’s nothing good about a double six

Which waterslides you down into the Styx;

That river flows to hell, not paradise.

 

Besides, today is dim and grim and grey.

Even if I make it to the top 

The mist will only make the climb a flop;

So fold the board and pack the game away.

 
    
If you were horrified by all the oil that poured into the Gulf of Mexico:
 
Ode to Petroleum
 

I can’t think straight, my love, my wits have dulled;

Though you’re long dead, you’re more to me than life.

I must delve deep into the underworld,

Beyond where Orpheus sought his hapless wife,

To bring you back, no matter what the cost,

For when deprived of you, I start to shake,

I shiver in the dark, I feel so lost,

And nothing can relieve the constant ache.

I want you whether you're refined or crude,

I want you woven in the clothes I wear,

I want to drizzle you on all my food,

I want to breathe you in the very air,

I am intoxicated, through and through

And if I could, I’d fill the seas with you.

 
 
Have you ever come across an old person who refused to take advice? Of course you have...
 

What You Gave Your Youth For

 

I no longer ask why you do what you do                    

At the same time every day                            

On the same day every week

Because you haven’t got a clue-                               

Your memory of why has gone,                                 

You just do what has to be done.                              

 

Anyway, I know why you are as you are.

Each wrinkle on that old skin                                     

Was a nasty pinch by life;                                          

You hated every bruise and scar,                                          

You sought some kind of armour plate                             

Which nobody could penetrate                                 

 

And found it in this immovable routine.                                  

Now there’s no wriggle room left                               

For anything new at all;                                              

Whatever is to be, has been.                                     

Your armoured habits keep you warm;                                   

They give you shelter from the storm.                                   

 

Like a computer so over-protected

That it can't download a thing,

You hide behind your firewall.

Just to avoid being infected,                                     

Just so nothing can go amiss:                                   

It’s what you gave your youth for, this.           
 
 
For those who have lost a loved one:
 
Moving On
 

This lifeless figure does resemble you,

But like a waxwork model, it's unmanned; 

Too bland and blank to be the one we knew.

I stare, but do not care to hold its hand.

This squeamishness is not brought on by fear

(The fixity of form, the frozen face)

But by the loss of all we held so dear,

Your qualities: humility and grace,

A gentle humour and a sense of play.

None of these traits, of course, are physical,

So do not die or suffer from decay.

To say, “Departed”, then, is sensible.

Your body tells us plainly: you have gone;

Your soul, with all we loved, has now moved on.

 

 

This is for you, if you've ever attempted to escape the Earth in your dreams or between incarnations...

 

Once More Unto The Breach

 

This time, I think, I must have got it right.

The Great Spirit does not refuse consent,

So I project my soul into the Light,

Using the full focus of my intent.

 

Even the ether here is self-aware!

It offers up a quality of bliss

Both purer than a mystic’s morning prayer

And sweeter than a first remembered kiss.

 

Enwrapped by flowing films of energy,

I watch bright beings in the world above

Create the fabric of reality

From the colours and textures of their love.

 

Yet, even as these seraphs demonstrate

How Time is tempted from Eternity,

I feel the nauseating tug of Fate,

A sign my freedom is illusory

 

And proof my soul has never cut Earth’s strings.

I try to make the Light my Living Dream

-To push away the solid world of Things

Where Mind pretends that Matter reigns supreme-

 

But rank in me are weeds not rooted out,

Urges unresolved, appetites denied,

The evils that turn rapture into doubt.

In vain I try to bargain with my guide:

 

“I’ve had it with this endless tug of war!

The dross is all but burned out of my soul,

What’s left is Me; it’s deep-dyed in my core,

Take any more and I’ll be less than whole –

 

I’ve had my sloughed off skin- and stomach- ful

Of that cast-out of-Eden Land of Cain,

There’s nothing left in me that’s curable

So please don’t send me back down there again.”

 

My tantrum's done; I hear the awful thrum

That wipes my soul of all these memories

And reinstalls it blank into the scrum

With minimal protection from the sleaze;

 

I’m dropping down into the world of lies

Falling, God how much lower can you go,

Back to the flesh that never satisfies,

Forgetting God oh no o whoa o Woe… 

 

 

Never make assumptions...

 

Old Woman 

 

Hobble on, old woman,

Puff on down the road to the shops;

Puff more in the wind and the rain

Than in the sun and the calm

But hobble on;

 

And when you’ve shopped,

Don’t stop; come back;

Hobble back with your bag

Puff on back home

Up the road

That leads

To the end

Of your life.

 

Like a callous fool one day,

I tried to pass my pity off on you,

I dared to cross your path and say:

“Can I carry your shopping bag back home for you?”

 

A cluck of the tongue

A pout of the lips

A swish of the skirt

A sway of the hips


As if you were young

You put on a spurt!

 

Perhaps you were stung

Perhaps you were cowed

Perhaps you were deaf

Perhaps you were proud

 

But you just galloped on

Back up the road

Bearing your load

You never once slowed


And soon you were gone.

 

 

This is for kids of all ages:

 

The Colour Blue

 

Our Earth has many colours

But most of all it’s Blue:

Blue’s born in lapis lazuli

Of brilliant, sparkling hue.

 

This gem is hard and motionless

Yet shimmers with Blue's flame;

For Blue to stay there locked inside

Would truly be a shame.

 

So Blue escapes into the sky

And paints it brighter Blue;

Then swoops down low across the sea

And makes that Bluer too.

 

It’s best by far to find a form

Than spread yourself too thin;

So Blue seeks out a water grub

Emerging from its skin.

 

The grub becomes a damselfly

Which takes off from a pool;

Transformed into a demoiselle,

The Bluest living jewel!

 

It would be irreverent to say the old lady seems a bit 'cheesed off' lately, but...

 

Lament of the Moon

 

All the gods said that I, Diana, was

The most captivating of Jove’s daughters;

More alluring then my elder sister,

Yes, even more bewitching than Venus

Who had long risen to her full splendour

Out of the deep blue sea. The pair of us,

Venus and I, often roused old Zephyr

 

From the west; and whispering sweet nothings

Soft as the flutter of a barn owl’s wings,

He would soon disperse the clouds and unveil

Our undimmed double-act upon the earth.

Zephyr himself, of course, was growing frail,

But take my word, I never had a dearth

Of admirers back then. If they were male,

 

They loved me; but none of them could catch me.

I was too swift – I was young, I was free.

Apollo tried to chaperone and spy

On me, so I'd steal a tiny portion

Of his light at sunset, then off I’d fly

Over the mountains and chasms –such fun!

He turned so red with rage, I thought he’d die!

 

But not for me the colour of old blood.

My light was sorcery itself; I’d flood

The night-time air with pearl-enchanted beams.

My crescent waxed in every lover’s eyes,

My magic multiplied a lover’s dreams;

I had that power: the power to glamorise.

Yet, I did more than spur on lovers’ schemes,

 

I answered the prayers of the innocent:

I safeguarded children from those intent

On harming them; I highlighted the shape

In the dark, I was with the night-watchman,

And I protected the maiden from rape.

Speeded by my arrow’s flight, she’d outrun

Her pursuers; I plotted her escape.

 

I’ve helped with the hunt; I’m not ashamed

Of that; because Nature should be untamed,

Not penned and enslaved as Ceres has it.

I outlined the stag on the horizon,

I steadied the hunter’s bow until he hit

The target. Better men eat venison

Than lead cattle to slaughter, there’s no wit

 

In that. So tell me, what have I done wrong?

Perhaps I wax too weak or wane too strong?

What did I do to lose Man as my friend?

I’m not inconstant, never out of phase;

My cycles don’t start late or fail to end. 

Mankind has changed, not me -

thanks to Ceres’Jealousy. She incited men to send

 

Those 'takeoffs' of Apollo’s chariots,

(Rockets crewed by Judas Iscariots)

Up here from Earth. Men sold their souls to her

For the harvest. They came, they saw,

They crawled all over me. O Demeter,

O Ceres, you have much to answer for.

And it’s for food, not love, that men defer

 

To you! All thanks to you, Ceres, men say

My face is pitted; my complexion, grey.

They judge me by my skin. Now they confine

Their gaze beneath a streetlamp haze; a host

Of golden imitation suns that shine

To blot me out. Some see me as a ghost,

Not living; not immortal; not divine.

 

The old crooners used to blow me kisses

Once in a while; a kind of lip-service;

But even they’ve gone now. Young urban hearts

Are hard, too hard for me to reach. Instead,

A mockery! I’m awarded bit parts

With werewolves and vampires. Like Her Undead,

This goddess does not die. How my arts

 

Are parodied! No, this is not my lot,

Diana’s not some extra in your plot,

I’m far from being past my diva date.

My role in life on earth was not unplanned;

But for the surging tides I generate,

No creature could have moved from sea to land.

Much more than you know, I control your fate:

 

So, men: go ask your girlfriends and your wives

How my month rules the rhythms of their lives;

Ask yourselves –what would happen to your race

If I disappeared? If Ceres were shunned,

As I am, what would she do in my place?

Take revenge! So: what if I abandoned

The earth to circle by itself in space?

 

Why, sap would stick and set in every stalk;

Your blood would curdle in your veins like caulk;

For I, Diana, rule your arteries;

I ebb in your internal sea, and flow.

Yes, without me, your hearts would slow, and freeze.

You know all this; you knew it long ago;

So, please: Respect! And get down on your knees…

 

 

To mourn the death of his father, Dylan Thomas famously wrote a villanelle, 'Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night.'

It's so bleak, I had to write my own villanelle as an antidote:

 

 

You Were Tied To The Earth; But Now You Take Flight

 

You were tied to the earth; but now you take flight.

You’ve finished your time in this death-dimmed domain;

Our love will help lift you into the light.

 

Your soul often dreamed of escaping by night

From the weights and chains of your body's campaign.

You were tied to the earth; but now you take flight.

 

Ignore our sorrow! Accept love as your right,

For, while our sorrow gives you nothing but pain,

Our love will help lift you into the light.

 

Your freed soul rises, airy, like a kite;

It fizzes skyward like uncorked champagne.

You were tied to the earth; but now you take flight.

 

You’re seeking somewhere Caribbean-bright,

Where faster photons flood a finer plane;

Our love will help lift you into the light.

 

As your soul ascends to its natural height,

This prayer for you ends with our chosen refrain:

You were tied to the earth; but now you take flight.

Our love will help lift you into the light.

 

 

Wising Up

  

So how did honeybees evolve, 

To do business as they fly;

To navigate

By the sun’s position in the sky?

 

From eggs laid by a queen,

Most hatch as worker clones;

Some are guards; others scouts;

There are nurses; even drones.

 

They co-operate in colonies

Fifty thousand strong;

Single-mindedly, determinedly,

All summer long.

 

They’ve arranged a special symbiosis

With the flower;

In exchange for pollination:

Nectar-power!

 

Whenever scouts discover

Blossoms at their best,

They fly back home

And dance directions to the rest.

 

With big bulbous eyes

And ultraviolet sight,

They see patterns on petals

Which guide them to alight.

 

By use of two pairs of wings

Which hook up in flight,

They can pitch up and down;

Or yaw left and right.

 

Inside the nest, by alchemy,

The nectar (gathered crude)

Is refined to golden honey,

Transcendental food.

 

The honey store does more

Than just permit bees to survive;

By sipping it, they somehow milk

The wisdom of the hive.

 

I know our brains to theirs

Are twenty thousand times the size;

But fifty thousand honeybees

Add up to ‘very wise’.

 

A traditional sonnet for the New Year 2010, to celebrate the process of creation:

 

The Sculptor 

 

His mind’s eye sees, inside the marble block,

Ideal forms and figures in their prime;

He chooses one to live inside the rock,

Which he must crystallize in space and time.

And while he carves its contours into shape

To leave a mound of spoil on the floor,

All other possibilities escape -

Forever liberated from the core.

Quite how the sculptor chooses, is the crux,

One statue from the host that might be stone;

Quite how he focuses the quantum flux

On one idea, and one idea alone...

What sparks his chisels? What directs his skill?

His singular intent; his steadfast will.

 

 

Here's a new 'Alternative Creation' story -just in time for Copenhagen or (if you prefer) Christmas 2009.  

 

Promising The Earth

 

Long before the dinosaurs met their fate

We humans, still in our transcendent state,

Petitioned Gaia, goddess of the Earth,

For a type of body and a time for birth.

 

We’d drawn up all the blueprints in advance,

Hairless torsos with an upright stance,

Big brains, a semi-muscular physique,

Hands to make tools, and vocal cords to speak.

 

Gaia refused: Too much designer skill,

Too much power to manipulate and kill. 

 

But even then, as sparks of spirit light,

We were determined not to lose the fight

To take on form: to see ourselves afresh,

Know pain and feel the pleasures of the flesh. 

 

So, in our efforts to assuage her fears,

We besieged her for a billion years,

Listing the advantages to be found

In having us as allies on the ground:

 

We’d be students of her natural laws

And therefore able to advance her cause.

We’d act as stewards of her hills and glens,

Her savannahs, her rainforests and fens.

 

What’s more, our artefacts would add finesse

To her naïve and rugged wilderness:

 

Our perfumed rose gardens would vie for zest

With resins scented in her pine forests.

Our elegant buildings and fine fountains

Would complement her waterfalls and mountains.

 

In particular, her temples (we foretold)

Would be unique and wondrous to behold,

Arrayed with precious diamonds and gold:

 

-Yes, all her jewels would see the light of day,

We’d soon extract them from beneath the clay

And prominently place them on display.

 

We’d also sculpt statues in her honour

And bronze figurines to glorify her.

Pilgrims to these temples would be overawed;

Their goddess, Gaia, worshipped and adored.

 

On top of that, we’d dedicate our Games

To Gaia, to immortalize her name,

Organise parades and festivals

To pay homage to her. And carnivals!

 

Our science too would glamorise the scene:

Dry deserts would be irrigated green;

Bitter fruits barely good enough to eat

Would by us be cultivated and made sweet.

 

Wherever plants and animals were sparse,

We’d fashion crystal cities out of glass,

Made from recycled waste like ash and sand

And so transform her unproductive land.

 

We’d even mine her oil, coal and gas

To free up carbon for new biomass.

Everything that could be done, we’d do

To make her dreams of Paradise come true.

 

Earth: a model for the universe to cite,

A planetary garden of delight!

But Gaia was wary of our flattery;

She thought us capable of treachery.

 

And so a lengthy stalemate ensued,

Where every application was tabooed;

We appealed, but she would not be moved:

Our evolution could not be approved.

 

Until, one day, an asteroid struck the sea

And had a massive impact on our destiny…

 

“Shame!” we declared, “We could have saved the day,

We could have kept that asteroid at bay.

You need our unsurpassed intelligence,

For only we, whatever the expense,

Could make you high-tech weapons for defence.” 

 

“As self-appointed Bodyguards-for-Gaia,

We’ll ward off cometary hellfire;

Upcoming threats by any asteroid

Will easily be rendered null and void.

 So the sooner we can get down and begin,

The sooner we can learn to save your skin.”

 

Gaia asked: “Will Neanderthals suffice?

Their bodies will withstand the snow and ice.”

“No!” we replied, “They wouldn’t have the style,

They might make useful practice for a while,

But socially, they’ll have deficiencies.

Our prototype will have the expertise.”

 

We had, by now, so spun our story

To depict ourselves her crowning glory,

That, viewing the destruction with dismay,

Gaia, at last, reluctantly gave way

 

And while her dinosaurs were in decline,

She incorporated our new design

Into her future plans. By slow degrees,

Monkeys evolved, descended from the trees,

Homo Sapiens emerged upon the plains

And our souls took possession of their brains.

 

We had promised the earth. As we now know,

Saying something doesn’t make it so.

But should you doubt this version of our origin,

Your soul has all the facts: Apply Within.

 

 

Going for a walk in the woods? This may be why...

 

Old Energy

 

Trees: the solid-state components

Of a forest’s soul.

 

Large chestnut arrays

And batteries of beech

Accumulate a charge.

 

Hollies are resistors;

Their scarlet berries: glowing LEDs.

Yews, enormous switches –light to shade.

 

Silver birch: a blaze of spark gaps

In a haze of foliage:

Semiconductors of the sun’s gold rays.

 

Great oak capacitors filter-clean the air;

Larches make living cylinders

For ivy coils;

And hazel coppices sprout aerials.

 

A wireless breeze

Flows invisibly through boughs

And audibly through leaves.

 

                    *****

Beyond the forest, harsher sounds:

Tarmac-dwellers, wheeling round.

 

We lack an earth connection,

Endlessly completing circuits

Until we tire, become worn down

 

And emerge, soft-bodied, on the forest floor

In search of new life force.

It’s been here all the time, of course.

 

Each step extracts,

Each footfall taps

This ancient power source.

 

 

To be rapped aloud with rhythm...

 

Boom Box Beat

 

Un-cha, Un-cha, Un-cha Oot,

Emanatin from my boot,

Callin girls to see my zits

`swhy I SIMULATE THE BLITZ,

Yes I’m wicked, Yes I’m cute,

I am such a spunky brute.

Dyna-Miter-Bunker-Buster,

NUKE. NUKE. NUKE!

 

Hormone Heat, Hormone Heat,

Drum-roll comin up your street,

In-your-ears-and-in-your-head

Shaking-old-folks-out-of-bed.

Got no heart but got some beat

Got some thrum beneath my feet.

Hammer-Jammer-Whammer-Bammer,

SOME. DEAD. BEAT!

 

Boombox, Boombox, Boombox, Boom,

Makin like the crack of doom.

Baseball cap and empty eyes,

Soulless zombie, my disguise.

Never saw no ancient tomb –

Broke out from a teenage room.

Abra-Cabra-Dabra-Zabra

VROOM. VROOM. VROOM!

 

Life’s not fair, I’m not mayor,

Mummy’s mutant, I don’t care.

Cops-ain’t-lookin-while-I’m-cookin,

THEY. DON'T. DARE!

Neh. Neh. Neh.

Blare. Blare. Blare.

Get. Ting. Rare.

Out-ta. There.

 

I’m. Thin. Air.

 

 

Does Creation ever end? Can there there ever be stillness?

Perhaps not...

 

The Grammar of Creation

 

In the beginning was not yet the Word,

But the Speaker of the Word;

Nor yet the Speaker, but the Thinker

Who first thought out the Word.

 

Not just any Word!

The Holy Ghost of a doing word,

Powerful enough to separate

By Person, by Voice

 

Subject from Object;

And keep each suspended          

Sentence after sentence,

In Mood, in Tense,

 

Moving what might be

To what must;

What must be to what Is;

What Is to what might be again;

 

Eternally reinventing

The story of the Verb.

 

 

Ever made a poem out of an Excel macro?

Let Excel 2107 cure all your ills...

 

Sub Fixit()

 

For each pain in Consciousness

    If pain.focus Is InBody Then

       ailment.cure

    Elseif pain.focus Is InMind Then

       irrationalfear.expunge

    Elseif pain.focus Is InSoul Then

      emotionalblockage.clear

    End If

Next

 

End Sub

 

 

A Fisherman's tale...

 

The Predator       

 

Dusk falls and hovers on the edge of night

But I’m still drifting slowly in my boat.

In the west, Venus suddenly looks bright –

I have to strain my eyes to see the float.

Are there fish here? I haven’t caught a thing.

At last, one tugs on the suspended scrap.

Three times it dares my twitching finger-spring

Like a rat at a titbit in a trap.

My predatory eyes dilate, cat-wide,

Collecting photons from the afterglow;

But three times by this fish-rat I’m denied.

A burst of bubbles rising from below

Becomes a shudder in the evening lull.

I swear it's laughter rippling through the hull.

 

 

Here's one that challenges materialist assumptions...

 

Reverse Engineering

 

Once upon a time, drifting aimlessly through space,

Hydrogen stumbled upon gravity, to collect it into clouds;

And gravity hit on fusion to light the clouds as stars;

 

They say that Chaos chanced on Laws,

Which happened on the Constants

To keep our Universe alive;

 

The evidence, apparently, is here on Earth:

Dead matter transformed itself to living flesh

And living flesh evolved a conscious Mind.

 

Observe how silk, then, weaves a web,

And how that web

Spins out a spider in its orb;

 

How clay moulds itself into a wheel

Which turns and forms the potter,

Layer on layer;

 

How White Goods build Production Lines,

Which assemble their own workers,

Gene by gene;

 

How pigments chemically combine

To create La Gioconda's smile;

See! She's come alive,

And paints her Leonardo in the flesh;

 

So go, pick up a wooden block

And watch it chisel out a boy;

Pinocchio. What of Geppetto?

He comes next of course,

Fabricated by his toy.

 

 

The Row

 

I knew what it meant to be helpless and weak

When my dad hit my mum, as their row reached its peak.

She collapsed to the floor with her hand on her cheek

And my world, at a stroke, had turned scary and bleak.

 

As she lay on the rug in the hall by the chair,

I touched her soft hand and I stroked her damp hair,

But her eyes turned away with the emptiest stare;

I was being ignored as if I wasn't there.

 

I went off to my dad in the kitchen instead:

“My mummy won’t move – lift her up, dad,” I said.

He wouldn't look round, he was holding his head,

So I ran to my room and I crept into bed.

 

I'd never before seen my parents struck dumb,

I thought it was me who had made them so numb;

I prayed they'd forgive me, my dad and my mum,

And promised to God I'd stop sucking my thumb.

 

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