Monday, 28 July 2014


The anti-hero is the true hero.

Poets live here; everyone else is just a tourist.

Every one of my msitakes has become something to laugh at; how about yours?

Poets live in citadels of madness from which they release butterflies for incurious tourists.

All clouds believe in reincarnation.

Bellicose politicos engage their industries in arms races; religions engage their followers in beliefs races; meanwhile, poets graffiti obscenities on the walls of public libraries while looking for ideas to steal.

Writing about poetry in an exam is like trying to appreciate the beauty of a butterfly by killing it.

Sometimes I see clouds in people’s faces.

Poets are just tourists; everyone else lives here.

Bad poets are not poets.

Friday, 25 July 2014


packed with boys
this will be
an adventure
though at the time
it was just
another day
that marked
the start
of six years

To Ampleforth

Two people stand outside the train.
They wave goodbye. They wave again.
They wave once more. They call a loud,
“Goodbye!” They walk towards a crowd
of other parents, who (hooray!)
are sending children far away.
Departure brings a separation
from childhood left at King’s Cross Station. 

minor connotations

a minor
music scholarship
not an
A minor
music scholarship
whose relative major
so beloved
of a lazy student
such as I
a minor
a small
an unimportant
an insignificant
an inconsequential
a negligible
a paltry
a slight –
we are delighted
to award –
a piffling
music scholarship
well done
that man

learn this poem

learn this poem
write it out in full
the brook
choose one example of
seaside golf
personification metaphor repetition
home thoughts from abroad
what is the rhyme scheme?
night mail
I haven’t forgotten
death in leamington
the poems I learnt
dulce et decorum est
at school
and ‘some rubbish’ by Ted Hughes
just the words

Talking like a World-Class Swimmer

“He was talking like a world-class swimmer” R5Live summarizer

He was sprinting like a world-class architect.
He was mowing the lawn like a world-class ventriloquist.
He was downing tequilas like a world-class Buddhist.
He was playing the guitar like a world-class dolphin.
He was sky-diving like a world-class poet.

And so on…

The William Blake Rhyming Dictionary for Impressionable Rock Stars

fire noun ooh, baby I’m on fire: the acceptable rhyme is ‘desire’, e.g. “With a red guitar on fire/Desire(U2, Desire),I burn like fire/This burning desire(U2, I Still Haven’t Found the Rhyme I’m Looking For); unacceptable rhymes are ‘deep-fat fryer’ and ‘tumble-dryer’, e.g. “With a red guitar on fire/Deep-fat fryer (sic)”, “I burn like fire/This burning tumble-dryer (sic).” Avoid ‘higher’ as this is a cliché (see all other entries).

[NB While they ring round the same unvary'd chimes,
With sure returns of still expected rhymes.
Where-e'er you find the cooling western breeze,
In the next line, it whispers thro' the trees;
If crystal streams with pleasing murmurs creep,
The reader's threaten'd (not in vain) with sleep

Alexander Pope Essay on Criticism]

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Diego Maradona

Diego Maradona
Played with an attitude lacking in honour.
Unlike his contemporaries’ goals, which were comparatively bland,
Diego’s goals were often unique, especially the only one anybody
   remembers: that one which he scored with his hand.

George Osborne

Apologies for the wrenched rhyme of the second line - 'was born' must be twisted into rhyming with 'Osborne' 

George Osborne,
Looks like he was born
In about nineteen-eighty-six:
The runt of the litter in a Government of all the pricks.

Milliband, Ed

Milliband, Ed,
In the water, dead –
That’s politically speaking,
(Something which Ed can’t do without his mouth leaking).

FC Brazil

FC Brazil,
Were managed by “Big Hubris” Phil,
Who claimed, “We are on step six to World Cup Heaven!”
But the Germans weren’t listening and went and scored seven.

Nick Clegg

Nick Clegg’s
Down with the dregs.
It’s one thing to like flirty women,
Quite another to boast publicly about sleeping with over thirty women.

The Bazilian Team

The Brazilian Team
Soon ran out of steam.
They failed to make the World Cup Final
By playing football less fragrant than a public urinal.

Ed Balls

Ed Balls
Doesn’t speak, he drawls.
Less well-known for his japesome frolics
Than his uncanny ability to talk fiscal bolics.

Monday, 7 July 2014

The Existential Bicycle is In Brazil

The Existential Bicycle is in
Brazil. Completely unaware of all
the football, he is more spectacularly
off-track than ever. Following the crowd,
he finds himself inside a football ground.
The Bicycle dissimulates his lack
of football nous by donning a Brazil shirt.
After a grim game during which Brazil
achieve a victory combining skill,
weird serendipity and a catalogue
of quite implausible decisions from
the Portuguese officials, Bicycle
throws off his shirt to reveal a Biblical
quotation; then he does a giant wheelie
along a crowded boulevard before
collapsing in a heap outside a bar.

Served with Ice-cream

I’ve never been an à la mode
sort of a chap, except for once,
by accident, in ’ninety-one
or ’ninety-two, when looking like
a refugee from dignity
was fleetingly thought de rigeur.

And then, by chance, I learn that à
la mode, in North America,
means served with ice-cream. So, if I ask
whether you’d like your pudding à
la mode, I haven’t lost my mind.
(I hear it’s all the rage in Paris.)

Five New Rules to Save the Glorious World Cup Competition from Certain Ignominy

1 In the ‘knock-out’ phase (it’s anything but), in the event of a draw after extra-time, the result will be decided by a game of rugby.

2 The first person to shake the referee’s hand after the match receives an on-the-spot two-year ban for match-fixing.

3 If a player scores a hat-trick , he’s not allowed to play in the next game.

4 If you get a yellow card you have to do twenty press-ups and run around the pitch three times.

5 Anyone diving has to play the rest of the game in swimming-trunks.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

On Having One's Diction Corrected by a Bumptious and Pedantic Colleague from Newcastle

"Newcastle!!!" comes the strangled squawk of horror.
"It's said: Newcastle!!!" Not where I come from,
I say (the posh-voiced, prosperous southerners
of Royal Tunbridge Wells pronounce the word
according to their RP dialect).
"The word's pronounced Newcastle!!!" Not by me,
I say. "But that is how you're supposed to say it:
Newcastle!!!" Yes, I say, as long as you're
a northerner; were I to say Newcastle
amid my plummy, elongated vowels I'd sound
very pretentious. Furthermore, I don't
insist on you pronouncing Tunbridge Wells
as Tunbridge Wells and not Tunbridge Wells. "Well, in
an ideal world," he says, "you'd say Newcastle."
In an ideal world, I say, my accent wouldn't bother you. 

Wednesday, 2 July 2014


A winter blossom 
grew absent-cold;
his crouching heart
waiting for the spring.

Last glance,
touch, taste, smell;
and then he quite forgot
your appearance.

for one last time,
he looked East 
and wept petals.


Dressed up like schoolgirls in an avant gard
all-male production of a Chekhov play,
they fought like children: fiercely; lacking all
consideration for the feeble foe;
with feathers flying everywhere, as if
a bomb had landed on a chicken coop.
The shrieks of pleasure coming from the men
still young enough to think that pillow fights
were worth the effort. Carpe diem, lads.

'The most exciting thing to befall pilots in the RFC billeted in a girls' school on 6th September (1914) was that they donned the pupils' nightgowns over their uniforms and staged an epic pillow fight.'
                    "Catastrophe" by Max Hastings