Always Summer

Always Summer

Because our memories tell us so,
the air is always blue with summer,
yellow gorse explodes as heat
deseeds the grass and skies wobble
in our swimming eyes.
No matter how plain it is to see
snowdrifts piling against the hedge,
voices, pleasant with reassurance,
announce summer, somewhere deep
yet irretrievable,
somewhere we are never lost
and always children, insubstantial,
light with weather, like our songs.

Out on this point of beach
I walked to as a boy, bright days
of breeze and shingle in my toes,
I visit now as pilgrimage
to remonstrate with memory
the way that rain and days of grey
are sublimate to blue and dazzling light.

I have no understanding,
no knowledge of the memory's
transformations, how perhaps
it was winter once or autumn
leaves were trodden underfoot,
ponds were interlocked with ice,
robins frozen on the lawn
or foghorns sounding from the coast;
how summer infiltrates our sense
of what was always once our childhood;
how our children's futures fill
with certainties of light.
Published
Categorized as Poems

Making a Clearing

Making a Clearing

"The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep.."
(Robert Frost)

These woods we stopped by,
pushed in, parting brambles
that hung on our stung hands.
We smelt like a compost
of leaves after hours
of slow tramping until
we lighted on the place.

This was the spot
to start the cutting back,
clear enough space
to see stars by,
build a fire for bracken
burning, pitch a tent.

We circled slowly outwards
clearing the undergrowth.
I cut, you burnt,
for days we breathed woodsmoke,
wept continuous tears.

So was it clearing we did
in the wood that year
or a quest for clarity?
Whatever it was
that space is now regrown.
We slept little,
we promised nothing.
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Categorized as Poems

Overgrowth

Overgrowth

Where fields were
an industrial estate
is seeding
like wild grass,
avaricious as
a speculator,
eating, omnivorously,
both land
and creatures.

Plant replaces plant,
tower cranes
swaying like stamens,
snooping in the
undergrowth
for the sabotage
of badgers,
as hedgehogs
and battalions
of moles form
unlikely alliance
of blind resistance.

The horizon is as flat
as an empty sack,
the earth,fluid
as a river,
isolated trees like
languid giraffes grazing.
The sky is a
blank stare
devoid of light
and, in the distance,
taut as treacle,
the sea.

Factories are things
the neglected soil
failed to think of
fresh as they are
to this slow landscape.
It was only, it seems,
when the momentary
things called men,
lethal as love,
considered manufacture
rising girders
glowed with rain,
roads tarred
assured of new traffic
tailgating through
the overgrowth.
Published
Categorized as Poems

The Old Road Sweeper’s Brush

The Old Road Sweeper’s Brush

Now I'm sixty-eight or so
the skin is wrinkling on my arms,
my feet are numb, my mind is slow,
I'm losing my, what once were, charms.

When I was only seventeen
my eyes were bright, my skin was clear,
psoriasis I'd never seen,
I suffered neither hope nor fear.

As I approach my final stage
I feel I need be more discursive,
(I hear Sterne made it all the rage),
either that, or more subversive.

So in this state of befuddlement,
(increasingly it's got a hold),
elucidating what I meant
by insisting on becoming old,

it's necessary I think, or not,
depending on your point of view,
to indicate now how one got
to the point of being 'you'.

We know that every seven years
your every cell becomes replaced
but the history of your hopes and fears,
once added there, can stilled be traced

and tracked to make you what you seem,
an amalgam of your every act
and thought and every single dream
you've not been able to redact.

So what we are is not the heart,
the brain, the blood, kidneys, skin,
but something else that's held apart
we keep our understanding in.

(Camus, well, he would object to
prioritising the Essential,
argue we should not neglect to
campaign for the Existential).

Then let's imagine a collective vault
where every memory is kept
with no apportionment of fault,
particularly by those adept

at sniffing out a world of sin
held only in their imagination.
(Where, in truth, do I begin
to penetrate their flagellation!)

I think this was researched by Jung,
(a colleague of that Sigmund Freud).
whose formula, when once begun
began to get his mate annoyed.

Not that I know much of this,
snippets only I have read,
but Jung, he seemed to find a bliss
like state by following this thread,

this dive into the deep unconscious,
collectivising every stream
of consciousness, it made him anxious
to so interpret every dream,

discover what it was that made us,
levitate so from our skin,
finding shadows that would shade us
as we fought the shades within.

(I said discursion was my forte,
wandering off and coming back.
It's a kind of prolix foreplay
lubricating every crack.)

Then what is it I'm trying to tell you
in this self-indulgent verse?
(Self-indulgence is my milieu,
other sins are less a curse.)

Can you spot procrastination
when you see it in full view,
putting off this obligation,
finding other things to do?

Enough! What is it to be human,
animal, with a pulse?
Surely very little more than
a cluster of cells and little else?

We're just like every other living
organism on this Earth,
fucking, fighting, grasping, giving
love to those we've given birth.

The question of our cells' replacement
each and every seven years,
just describes our outer casement,
never why we end in tears,

or the reason for our dreaming,
the character of love and hate
or the striving for some meaning
or any other human trait.

Quite so. Now I'm sixty-eight
with wrinkly arms and muted ears
I'd like to try and demonstrate
how we remain all though the years.

For this, the comic metaphor
about the old road sweeper's brush
attacks the question at it's core;
enlightenment comes in a rush!

He loved that broom with all his heart
as he cleaned the street with steady treads.
He used the same one from the start,
with it's seven handles, fourteen heads.




Published
Categorized as Poems

From the Erotic to the Idiotic

From the Erotic to the Idiotic

In starting this I'm feeling somewhat scared.
Ottava Rima is a form that's been
Used to good effect by poets who've fared
Rather better than I have; have been seen
To well succeed by being well prepared,
Writing something comic or obscene
To voice complaints or a criticism
Couched in a caustic witticism.

The master of them all of course was Byron,
Trundling on for sixteen thousand lines,
Mainly, it appears, with a hard-on;
All through Don Juan you can read the signs.
I hear some say though, 'I do beg your pardon,
Where's the evidence he so inclines
To write throughout in a sexual fervour.
He's less like Eros, more of a Minerva,

Goddess of verse, wisdom, strategic warfare.'
I suppose that's true to a large extent
But what, after all then, do we care
About the character of his true intent
in being so satiric, with such flair?
It's very unlikely that he would repent,
Retract his underlying eroticisms,
Replacing them with courtly mannerisms.

So, just as Byron sought to undermine
Hypocrisies inherent in his times,
Should we not then, also sharply shine
A piercing light today on similar crimes
Committed not in your name, nor in mine;
Those negligently, cruel paradigms
Of power, designed for the hegemonic,
The devious, deviant, selfishly moronic?

Johnson, Bezos, Bolsonaro, Trump,
To name but four of the perpetrators,
Head a stinking army, nay a rump,
Of psychopathic, snivelling people haters,
Hoovering up the profits, as the slump
Is hitting labourers, the wealth creators,
Driving millions into destitution,
Smothered by a capitalist pollution.

This Ottava Rima effort is pathetic
Compared to Byron's brilliant Magnum Opus
In which he is poetically athletic,
A swirling cauldron filled with hocus pocus,
Learned, comic, endlessly eclectic,
Never losing pertinence or focus.
Would he were here now with his sharpened claws
To scratch the eyes out of those bloated boors.

But he, of course, was more a Tory than
The politicians and poets he sought to trash.
Raised more a lord than a common man,
His sympathies are, likely, less to clash
With the monsters of our devious plan
Than we who would indict them in a flash.
To use his searing wit, all things Byronic,
Could undermine our aims. Now that's ironic!

But the plot to use a sharp Ottava Rima
To savage all things oligarchical,
Is pregnant in this adolescent scheme, a
Side swipe at the trad monarchical
(Perhaps I'm just a poor deluded dreamer)
State that's verging on the farcical.
As Lenin had it, there's a fine solution:
In Greece, Byron died for Revolution!

Let's take them one by one, these devious infants:
So Johnson first, designated Boris,
Building, despite himself, a stout resistance
In us common folk who've not read Horace
As he has. At least, that's his insistence;
More a classical flower, than a florist,
Vainglorious popinjay we should require
To shuffle off into his own satire.

A blockheaded buffoon, an unctuous creep,
A man who lied his way to head the Tory
Party, while most of us were fast asleep,
Infighting among ourselves, (another story),
Elected to oversee the State's upkeep
But acting like the Womble Tobermory.
Yet underneath his foolish, clown-like antic,
Flows a dark and dangerous semantic.

It's a strain reflected in that Bezos creature,
An exploiter making depredations on
Each worker picking a book, or other feature
To reinforce his empire, Amazon.
'Do as I command, or I will beat 'yer!'
They just cannot do right for doing wrong
Inside his evil factories of the cursed.
His form of exploitation is the worst.

Designed to manufacture profits, obscene
By any standard of civil or moral code,
The employment contracts he's invoked have been
Introduced to undermine, erode
All human dignity at work. We've seen
A fetid jubilation, a la mode,
Among the tax avoiding oligarchy
Celebrating his malign malarky.

So what of Bolsonaro? What a jerk!
A fascist placeman, product of a coup
Displacing all the socialising work
Done to favour those, like me and you
Who don't own either Jaguar or Merc,
In the favelas. So we ask, just who
Will, one day, bring this criminal to trial,
Wiping off his vile and hideous smile?

Of course, the situation in Brazil
Is mirrored in those South American states,
Where humanising work, used to instil
Just distribution, is overturned. The fate
Of millions of the poor, drowned in the swill
Produced by CIA-backed gangster mates
Of US President (The Gangster) Trump,
That preening, self-regarding Heffalump.

Trump as President, you'd hardly believe it!
Yet perhaps the Yanks really do deserve 'im.
Not those, of course, those that would retrieve it
But all the racists, those that would preserve 'im
to mouth the hatred as they do conceive it.
Most of us, it's true, would rather swerve 'im,
Stoutly chuck him into History's litter.
(At the risk of sounding satisfyingly bitter!)

But I'm justly sad that such could be elected,
Whose message is crude, insanely autocratic.
Instead of tending to those who should be protected,
He'd rather promote the semi-automatic.
Let's hope there'll soon be sense, he's deselected
And we see the last of this phoney aristocratic,
No good piece of putrefying shit.
(I hope I haven't overstated it!)

I'll now conclude this Italian form of verse;
I do not have the stamina of a Byron.
I know it's bad but it could get much worse,
Won't earn me any pension to retire on!
Be fearful, though, you despots, you who curse
Humanity: you will feel the iron
In our depleted souls eventually.
You'll be overthrown and we'll be free.
Published
Categorized as Polemicks

In the Pub

In the Pub

There's nothing like just sitting in the pub
Contemplating frosty winter days,
Supping ale and ordering some grub;
Chips with something is my current craze.

A pub that has a crackling, roaring fire
Exudes an atmosphere that's hard to beat.
There can be nothing else you should require,
Except some company you'd like to meet.

For some, though, drinking is the major task
And who am I to disagree with this,
Especially when all that one can ask
Is sinking several pints into the bliss.

Yes, let's sit here in the pub on winter days
When sunset is at four and darkness falls
All around us in a way that says
'Drink up your beer, another tankard calls!'
Published
Categorized as Poems

Reservation

Reservation

It's Friday in the pub.
There's a notice on the table,
"Reserved: 6.30: Butters".

And amid the hubbub
I hear a comment thus,
"Them? Fucking nutters!"
Published
Categorized as Licks

Imperfectionism

Imperfectionism

Of all the complex interactions
we endure every day,
leading to unsatisfactory
outcomes in this terminal, strange
existence, living someone said,
the occasional light of laughter
with another human being
conquers all. Then we're dead.

We strive to do the best we can.
It is sometimes easy, sometimes not.
It's sometimes more bewildering than
our contemplation of the starlight
or the depths of all the oceans,
the things we know, or have forgot.
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Categorized as Poems

Happiness

Happiness

A morning without rain.
A day I don't have to see
somebody sacked.
An evening without news.
A picket line.
The presence of people I love.
An absence of things.
Published
Categorized as Licks

bright ideas

bright ideas

electric light
powered flight
kryptonite

left and right
being polite
dynamite

unstained glass
catholic mass
Lotte Haas

Wenceslas
being crass
laughing gas

public bars
bumper cars
fallen Shahs

peephole bras
seminars
drugged up Tsars

O/S maps
ginger snaps
afternoon naps

mixer taps
cheese filled baps
God......perhaps
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Categorized as Poems