Sunday, 29 June 2014

An Ode to Worcestershire and her People

This land of ours once dreamt a place,
And called to our forebears to base
New settlements upon the Severn’s banks;
And here, we give those pioneers our thanks.
It’s Worcestershire you seeded;
This place which England needed.
For who can live without a heart?
Right now, we’re proud to state our part:
If Worcestershire’s the heart, then we’re the beat
You’ll hear in all her towns, on every street.

This land is an enigma, though,
To those whose radars may not show
Provincial towns or cricket grounds; of course,
They think that Worcestershire is just a sauce!
We mention Worcester pears?
They give us vacant stares!
But even they know Hope and Glory,
Whose notes sing out our county’s story.
The truth revealed for all to see unfurled:
The place which put her stamp upon the world.

This land of ours we hold so dear
Within our hearts – this Worcestershire –
Is where we found the loves which built our lives:
Our friends, our homes, our husbands and our wives.
This land breathes the profound:
Those hills, that vale, this ground
We stand upon throughout life’s day.
We are as one when we all say,
“In Worcestershire, we’ll live for all our years!”
Proclaiming it so everybody hears.

Sunday, 22 June 2014


For Jon and Liz
Not famed throughout the Kingdom for my spatial
awareness, when you asked, “How many bottles
d’you think could fit inside this tank of wine?”
I made great play of estimating length
and height of tank, and even asked if I
could climb atop said tank to carry out
some calculations (spurious, of course)
before I plucked, quite randomly, the figure
of twenty-thousand bottles. Sorry that
I didn’t give you cause to laugh at my
numerical ineptitude, but how
was I to know my guess would be spot on?

Domaine Sainte Croix, Summer 2013

Saturday, 21 June 2014


Like an art instillation by Tracey Emin, I don’t inspire neutrality,
As I navigate my way through the tepid waters of vacuous banality,
Demolishing the profound to a rubble of triviality,
Confusing unintelligibility with individuality,
Thinking that enervation is synonymous with vitality,
While the audience pray for an at-the-mic fatality,
Or, at the very least, a change of bloody rhyme scheme.


The half-moon lit the figure of a cat,
but when I looked again the shadows moved
revealing nothing quite so feline as
a pot-plant. Once again I found myself
duped by the night; reflecting on the need
for proper observation from ‘the poet’.
What chance of that from me? That half-moon wasn’t even
a half-moon; any fool could see that it
was one celestial scoop of lemon sorbet. 


The Prelude opens with a chord,
Whose barbed-wire notes are grimly scored,
And from whose depths a melody is born,
A tune to make both Youth and Old Age mourn.
With bugle, fife and drum,
It tells us what’s to come.
Disharmony and tune compete:
Advance-withdraw; attack-retreat.
No cheerful leitmotifs for those who wait,
But gas attacks and bayonets and hate.

A shrill, forbidding choir joins in,
And sings of shells, and next-of-kin,
And life amid the ruins of despair,
Where shrapnel-shaped crescendos fill the air.
A military beat,
From tired, arrhythmic feet,
Is tapped like Morse code with no scheme,
And warns that things aren’t what they seem.
The Prelude plays the coda’s closing phrase,
And rumour speaks of dark, demonic days.

As Youth prepares to be betrayed,
The Prelude’s final chord is played:
Off-key, off-beat, and fading far too fast,
This Prelude to the War could never last.
Its tense, unquiet calm,
Was simply War’s alarm,
Which woke up Albion, who found
Vast armies with no common ground
Prepare to fight, whilst trying to ignore,
What really happens when we go to war.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Horse Shit on Stilts

I do not mean to conjure up
the image of this thought, but rather
draw your attention to the silly
sibilant stutters of its sound.
Horse Shit on Stilts, though? Made me laugh. 
Perhaps I laugh too easily.


on pavement:
stares at me
twenty yards

fox turns head
becomes calico cat

cat turns head
becomes fox again

what chance pattern of shadows
transforms this cat to fox?

fox becomes cat again
cat becomes fox again

stands on all fours
reveals side profile

wrong shape
wrong size
for cat
that feather duster tail? 
a dead giveaway