Thursday, 18 December 2014

Brain Celeb Surgery

A couple of poems on a similar theme. The first is one I wrote about a year ago and have recently rediscovered. It was untitled at the time, and was written as an example of a "huitain".

The second is brand new, and the poetic form is an example of "hymnal measure".

Brain Celeb Surgery

I have a wish - it's not too much.
If I should seem to care who's gay,
If I should buy "Hello!" or such,
If I should start to follow, say
Big Brother, Chelsea, Kyle, André,
Keith Lemon, TOWIE, Dear, what's on?
If I should watch such TV, pray
Commit me, please! My brain has gone.

Afternoon Viewing
Remember how it used to be,
those days of years gone by,
when TV before half-past-three
was something for the eye.

No sitcoms shown incessantly,
(less channels anyway)
before unreal “reality”
when good taste still held sway.

No Kyle or Springer to be seen
an audience that mocks
so what was on the TV screen?
The test-card on the box.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014


This poem was in response to a request to write something in the "Pleiades" form. For this, it doesn't have to rhyme, and the syllable count isn't restrictive. The only rules are:
  • It should have seven lines.
  • Each line starts with the same letter.
You may have gathered from my previous posts that I like my poetry to rhyme and have some semblance of rhythm. So...


There are some days you wonder what
the right course is and what is not;
that feeling that you have to prove
the things that you hold true: whilst you've
the facts to hand, you're pressed to move.
Then all at once you know they've got
the brains of slugs - so sod the lot.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Another Day, Another Year

Here is a canzonetta I began in a recent Creative Writing class. The image is something I quickly cobbled together in Xara Photo & Graphic Designer.

Another Day, Another Year

The rising sun, the light of dawn
illuminating wisps of vapour trails.
It wasn’t long since they were born,
now grown into misshapen veils.
They won’t last long, they soon will die
but months pass by and more appear:
new generations cross the sky.
Another day, another year.

The soil and pebbles of the earth
are thrust aside by little stems
with small green leaves, and then the birth
of compact buds like tiny gems.
At Nature’s whim their colours fade;
the plants they wither, disappear,
but more will follow, newly made.
Another day, another year.

Relentless, minutes hurry past,
Our mem’ries clinging on like burrs,
We try our best to make them last,
Our lives recording what occurs.
Some fall away and germinate,
Remain when we’re no longer here,
To influence and educate.
Another day, another year.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Telly Crime

Telly Crime is a poem I wrote in response to an exercise in my Creative Writing class where we were encouraged to write something using the "Ruba;i" form.

The inspiration for the subject was probably the "Crime Thriller Club" TV show which recently finished its run on ITV3.

The number of police, private investigator, criminal and legal shows that have been televised over the years is considerable. Not that I'm complaining. 

Telly Crime

The number of crime shows – on my TV –
Seems to be growing exponentially
It’s not just old Dixon with “Evening, all”,
All eve’ning from six on, at least two or three.

With repeats of Heartbeat, Blue Murder and more
It’s difficult sometimes to tally a score.
There’s Scott and there’s Bailey up here in the north,
That one in the Sixties that stars Martin Shaw.

There’s Cracker and Rebus and 'Wexford and Morse
And Poirot and Marple and Lewis, of course,
With Juliet Bravo, The Gentle Touch too
The Sweeney and Bill representing the "Force".

Dalziel and Pascoe and DCI Banks,
Wycliffe and Vera all chasing the cranks,
Broadchurch and Sherlock, Law & Order UK
and I’ve not even mentioned the shows from the "Yanks".

Two or three spin-offs came from C.S.I.,
Plus N.C.I.S., Law & Order – oh, my.
There’s Person of Int’rest and Castle and Bones
And Body of Proof and that weird Dexter guy.

Their older shows crop up again and again
Like Magnum and Rockford and Kojak and then
There’s Cagney and Lacey and Barnaby Jones
And Starsky (that’s Dave) and Hutch (that is Ken).

So what is the reason for shows of this sort?
The action? And hoping that villains get caught?
Maybe it’s simply that conflict makes drama,
And hey, what the hell, it’s sure better than sport.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Limericks for Halloween

Here we have five independent limericks on a theme of Halloween. They don't have individual titles (does anyone title limericks?) so... Well that's it, really.

 Limericks for Halloween

When that knock makes you open the door,
You’ll see witches and ghosties galore.
With the end of October
You’ll doubt that you’re sober
As Hallowe’en’s come round once more.

It’s late and the graveyard is still.
Do the backs of your arms feel that chill?
Now the witching hour’s near
There’s that frisson of fear:
Makes you think of that phrase – Time to kill…

Bolt your doors as the werewolves run free.
Shade your windows so vampires can’t see.
Do not heed “Trick or Treat”
As they crave human meat
And, besides, it leaves more food for me…

The zombies are walking tonight.
Slack-jawed, they are out for a bite.
In dozens they number,
In dozens they lumber,
Fast food is beyond them. All right?

A vampire with teeth made of wood
Wondered how it was, his dentist could
Choose to make them from balsa
Which made them look falser –
Continually* stained from the blood.

(* N.B. read Continually as four syllables – i.e. con-tin-yull-y)

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Light: When You Beam

This is the third in the trilogy of poems I wrote on the theme of "Light".

For this one, I had a go at a love poem. Again I went for double meanings and a degree of "artiness", but unlike the "Holding a Torch" poem, I decided on a simpler rhyme scheme - couplets. It works better for me. And yes, I know it's a bit soppy. Why not? I may be writing about something horrific next time. After all, Halloween is approaching - bra ha ha ha...

When You Beam

When you beam at me your smile illuminates my heart
so doubts that lurked in shadows there, they hurry to depart.
The swirling of uncertainties evaporates away;
No need to brood: the darkest mood refuses now to stay.
The worries scurry from the light, afraid to be exposed:
The option for them to return is well and truly closed.

When you smile at me the beam refracts, so sep’rate hues
affect me in so many ways: the goosebumps from the blues,
the secrets of the indigo, the passion of the red,
the violet bringing promises that will remain unsaid.
The yellow brings unbridled joy, and yet I feel serene:
the burnished warmth of orange and the calmness of the green.

When you beam at me I find that I reflect your smile.
The radiance* that envelops me, the way that you beguile, 
the way you brighten up my life: I feel that I could shine,
that nothing is impossible – should your heart feel like mine.
Despite all this, I have no proof confirming I am right,
for when you beam at me my eyes are blinded by delight.

* Read this word as two syllables.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Light: Candle Light

This poem is the second of the three poems that I wrote to the theme of "Light". 

I thought of a single flame, shivering arrythmically from an intermittent draught, and had the idea that, at a stretch, it could be compared to someone who was not very good at dancing. Having given the candle sentience, I wondered about the perceptions of that candle. How the shadows would follow this movement and how the object casting the shadow would always be obstructing the view of the flame.

Candle Light

I dance to silent music, irregular in beat.
Already set off-balance by the burning of my heart,
encouraged by the wafts of air who wish to play their part,
I feel the silent rhythm, irregular in beat.

I dodge to see the darkest places but they dart away,
to hide like they can read my mind and echo how I’ll move.
They treat me like an evil twin of whom they disapprove.
I long to see the darkest places but they dart away.

I hope to brighten up the world as far as I can reach.
Short-sighted as I am, I see how golden life can be.
Whilst not as clear a vision as that of an L.E.D.
it’s in my nature to bring warmth as far as I can reach.

I live to bring a sense of space to those who wish to see.
To take them from the blinding dark to share what I can give,
illuminating minds so that they find somewhere to live,
where they may find that sense of space; those ones who wish to see.

I only have the smallest time before my life expires 
but I’ll remain light-hearted and as bright as time permits.
Although the wax is waning I will never call it quits;
I’ll cherish my remaining time before my life expires.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Light: Holding a Torch

This poem is the first of three poems I wrote on a theme of "Light".

For this one I thought I'd go the "double-meaning" route and go a bit "arty" with a more established poetical form. Not totally satisfactory from my point of view, as the rhymes, although there, don't stand out sufficiently. Still, it may appeal to someone.

Holding a Torch

  A glimmer, though I could be wrong, I guess;
My mind is playing tricks on me these days
You’ll never be revealed to me unless
I charge my batteries; but I confess
It may be far too late to change my ways.
The slightest shake might help me reappraise,
but surely not enough to bring success?
  And yet, my hope is kindled once again
as there, the smallest flaxen glow begins,
increasing, flickering; giving respite,
allowing shapes to gather form and then,
I find my bearings as the darkness thins
revealing the path; my heart is alight.

Friday, 5 September 2014

One Day?

Sadly, "A Poetry Show" will no longer be broadcast by the internet radio station Fylde Coast Community Radio. 

The weekly themes were a good motivation to write, and the theme that would have applied for the next show was"Feminism". Not the easiest subject, but I had a go anyway. I'd already made a start on the poem when I heard the news about the show, so I completed the poem purely for this blog.

One Day?

Each morning when the breaking dawn
illuminates the eastern skies,
they raise their weary heads, forlorn
and greet the day with stoic eyes.
Whilst milked each day for all they’re worth,
not one will think to change her fate;
no thought “Had they been male at birth,
they’d play the field and procreate”.

But women aren’t the same as cows
although some may believe such bull;
It’s sad that history allows
such attitudes – nonsensical.
Oh why should culture for one sex
be diff’rent for their counterpart?
The reasons can’t be that complex;
A truth that we can take to heart.

We’re not the same, us girls and boys:
Genetics are a fact, and so
eliminate the petty noise;
give rhetoric the old heave-ho.
Without the trivialities
it should be easier to see
if there are inequalities
where women lose consistently.

It shouldn’t happen but it does;
our slowly moving attitudes –
they move along like tortoises
and in our shell-likes, naught intrudes.
At least it seems that way, but no:
We’ll get there, sometime, not sure when.
The times are changing, though it’s slow.
Then it won’t matter: women, men.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

The Guest House on the Rim

This poem is written to a theme of Guest Houses. There's enough of them in Blackpool, but living here, I've never had reason to go to one. I didn't want to rely purely on stereotypes, so I needed a different approach. 

On last week's broadcast "Poetry Show" there was a light-hearted suggestion of a theme of nuclear fusion, which undoubtedly accounts for the direction my writing took. 

Upon reading the poem you may gather that I watch some science fiction on TV. Sorry there are no Firefly or Stargate references.

The Guest House on the Rim

Beyond our sight where stars grow dim,
where nine dimensions are in tune,
you’ll find, on the galactic rim,
a guest-house on a silver moon.
How long it’s been there, no one knows
as time stands still outside its gates
so whilst their lives outside are frozen,
guests inside postpone their fates.

Though built upon a rift in space
the décor would belie that fact
as Betty Reed (who owns the place) –
her fashion tastes are quite exact.
A nineteen-sixties style, bijou,
with Gingham oilcloth table-tops,
Welsh dressers with some plates on view,
some Escher; bowls of acid drops.

Irrelevant to all the guests:
It’s comfy, clean and boasts good food,
with top-notch service that attests
to Betty’s can-do attitude.
She finds out details large and small
of guests, their wants and every need.
The staff are trained to follow all
the guidelines set by Mrs Reed:

 “When Doctor Who books in again
with Peri, Leela, Captain Jack,
or Ace or Rose or Sarah-Jane
he’ll park his TARDIS round the back.
Don’t worry if his face has changed:
put jelly-babies on his bed,
make sure the seating is arranged
so he’s not near the Dalek bred.”

“Keep Cylons from Galacticans,
Centauri from the Narn Regime,
Peacekeepers from the Scarrans and
the Borg out of the SodaStream.
For Star Fleet guests, you’ll need to show
there’s en-suite bathrooms on each floor
as no-one else will boldly go
where Captain Kirk has gone before.”

“We want all guests to feel at ease
so weapons must be left behind:
the phasers and the PPGs,
put telepaths out of your mind,
disarm the Daleks, they’ll not care.
Yes, even they stop being grim
as they know what we bring to bear
within our guest house on the rim.”

Saturday, 16 August 2014

The Birthday Boy

This week's theme is "birthdays".

I started one poem but after two stanzas I couldn't decide how I wanted it to continue. What I had written was reasonable, but it had no real direction.

Eventually I decided to kick that one into touch and start another poem using a different approach: that of birthdays and how people are perceived at different ages.

The Birthday Boy

So here is the birthday boy. How old are you?
Don’t you know? Don’t be shy. What is that? Oh, you’re four.
And what has your mummy and daddy bought you?
Some crayons, an Etch-a-Sketch – oh, is there more?
I see you’ve got Lego. So what can you make?
Oh you’re off. Where’ve you gone? Oh I see. Birthday cake.

So there is the birthday boy. Fourteen you say?
How he’s grown since last year. Is he taller than you?
I bought him a token. I hope that’s okay.
No he didn’t say thanks, but at that age few do.
He’s turned off his music. Yes. Nice when it ends.
Oh he’s off. Where’s he gone? Oh I see. To his friends.

So here is the birthday boy. How do you feel?
Well they say life begins at the age you are now.
I must say the buffet and bar are ideal,
But how many jars will your missus allow?
Your eyes are already quite red ‘neath those lids.
Oh you’re off. Karaoke. Embarrass the kids.

So here is the birthday boy, and you’ve left work!
You will soon wonder how you found time to go there.
With jobs round the house you’ll have no time to shirk.
Your hobbies? Well sometimes – if there’s time to spare.
You don’t look too happy at those times ahead.
Oh you’re off. Where’ve you gone? Oh I see. To the shed.

So there is the birthday boy. How has he been?
Someone said that he’d needed an angiogram.
He looks better than last month; so pink and so clean.
Is he eating okay? Will he know who I am?
I’ve brought him a card ‘cause I’ll soon have to go.
Oh he’s off. Fast asleep. Never mind. He won’t know.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Maurice Nurple's Trousers

Last week's poetic theme of "Cages" was slightly unusual but this week's theme takes the biscuit.


That's right, Trousers. Lateral thinking wasn't much of a help, so it was simply a case of 'jump in and see where things go.

As such, "Maurice Nurple's Trousers" is one of those poems that just evolved from a few random phrases. The first line popped out of the blue, then the  name of "Nurple" suggested purple as an obvious rhyme. 

After that, a bit of alliteration in the first verse moved things on.

Maurice Nurple's Trousers

Maurice Nurple loved his trews:
A pair he’d bought ten years ago,
the shot silk showing different hues,
should he shashay to make them show.
He’d bought them in a little shop
He’d found by chance one day in May.
Yes, “Terry’s Trousers” made him stop
Whilst walking down an alleyway.

He stopped and then he went inside
amongst the jeans and pants and slacks.
At first he thought the choice too wide
but then he saw them on the racks.
The trousers captured his regard
with yellow/purple warp and weft,
so taking out his credit card,
young Maurice Nurple bought and left.

Initially the fit was snug
and could offend the multitudes
but wearing them was like a drug
so he cut down on fatty foods.
Once trim, he went out on the town
to socialise, to club, to dance,
to strut his stuff and boogie down,
thus showing off his silken pants.

As years went by the wear and tear
began, of course, to take its toll.
But Maurice had a certain flair
to darn and hide each little hole.
Where they had worn between the thighs
he’d patched them from the oddment bin
but soon he came to realise
that now the end was closing in.

Deciding, though he almost balked,
retracing steps from ten years past,
he felt a traitor as he walked
to find the shop, but was steadfast.
But “Terry’s Trousers” was not there,
Pulled down and there, where once it stood
a shop was selling fetish wear.
The clothes from there? As if he could.

Now Maurice still goes out at night;
His wardrobe’s still a thing to see.
His trousers now, not quite as tight,
are black and shiny PVC.
He does not miss his silken trews,
So soft against his derriere,
As they’re recycled; he’s still using 
yellow/purple underwear.

Saturday, 26 July 2014


This week's theme is "Cages".

I wondered where to go with this one, then decided that the cages don't have to be physical objects. After all, Pink Floyd managed okay with the wall metaphor, didn't they?

So I wondered, what tends to restrict people these days - how have things changed over the years? And that was my starting point.


Conventions of society,
the edicts of propriety,
The manners taught us through our lives to mould the way we act;
a conscience forged from common sense,
to understand the consequence
of words and deeds before they’re said and done; the use of tact.

With chalk lines drawn inside the mind,
we did not really feel confined
as tolerance and empathy were something we were taught.
We understood the lines were there
to guide us and we were aware
that we should only cross them if our reasons were well thought.

Some years ago, society
was told that this “propriety”
was something in the way when loads of money could be made.
It didn’t really count as greed
to profit from those folk in need.
Self-help evolved to selfishness as ethics were mislaid.

Self-centredness soon took its toll:
With such a lack of self-control
we all became a victim when we chose to sacrifice
our own responsibility
to those in our community;
The lines of chalk within our minds would simply not suffice.

With grumblings from the populace
The nanny state could do no less
than bring in laws enforcing what we used to self-impose.
But these laws were intractable
(though lawyers were contactable)
And now the list of petty laws, it grows and grows and grows.

Political correctness, and
the pressure to expect less, and
Curtailing rights with “Human Rights”, the irony’s not lost.
Imposing “Health and Safety” aims
to reduce compensation claims,
defining all the penalties, that boundaries aren’t crossed.

With all this mad protective zeal
our minds construct these bars of steel
preventing us from venturing where once we’d risk to tread.
The lines of chalk that once were there
are scuffed away to our despair,
and in our mind we’ll find that there are cages there instead.

Thursday, 17 July 2014


Murder! Well, that's the "A Poetry Show" theme this week. So let's have a multiple homicide to make things interesting.

Let's put it from the murderer's point of view, and make it so he doesn't feel he's really done anything wrong.

So we'll set it in a prison cell where he's awaiting arrest, whilst the police are out there seeking the damning evidence against him.

And that is the point where he'll start thinking about his current situation.

Yeah, that sounds alright.


I’m sitting in a holding cell
that has a disinfectant smell
and wond’ring how I came to be
suspected of a killing spree.
They came to get me yesterday;
They have their reasons – so they say.
They hold their cards close to their chest,
thereby delaying my arrest.
Now surely they must be aware
I don’t do drugs, I drive with care,
I pay my bills ahead of time,
So why imply there’s been a crime?

They think that I have killed my wife –
The woman who has changed my life
so I don’t waste it watching sport
when I could give her full support
in all she does, in all she says:
Of course I love her little ways.
The structure she brings with her rules;
I know she calls my friends all fools.
Whilst that may sound unkind, agreed,
there simply isn’t any need
to worry ‘bout my missing wife –
And missing rug – and kitchen knife.

And now they’re looking for her dad,
as they are thinking something bad
has happened to him, though it seems
to me they’re going to extremes
with mind games hoping I will crack;
To guide me down a cul-de-sac.
It beats me why they think that I
Know what has happened to that guy.
I will say this, though, knowing him,
intrusive at the slightest whim,
he may have drowned and lost his life –
The same way as his lady wife.

Her mother: they’ve not mentioned yet,
Nor brother, but they will, I bet.
Though I’m surprised they have the time
To spend on me, you’d think that I’m
The only case they have to work,
At least by that detective’s smirk.
But I suspect that things will change
as, soon, they’ll have to rearrange
resources in the station when
the night shift starts at half past ten,
‘cause then they’ll have to substitute   
for corpses in that squad car boot.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

New Homes

This week's theme "New Homes" brings to mind the experiences of moving house.

Whilst the end result may be enjoyable, the process does not always seem that way. And yet some people do it almost as often as they change their socks. Perhaps it's the adrenaline, perhaps its the masochism, perhaps... oh, I don't know.

New Homes

It must be in the chromosomes:
Why some folk get off changing homes.
You must have met those people who,
No sooner have they been right through
the house to decorate each room
to leave their stamp, so I assume,
they have to leave the place behind;
I’m simply not that way inclined.

There’s other reasons people move.
Their circumstances may improve
and families may grow in size;
Their job might make them mobilise,
They may have gained a brand new spouse
and want to leave their parents’ house,
Or maybe they cannot keep pace
with all the costs at their old place.

All valid reasons for a change,
But then they have to re-arrange
their lives to find the extra time
to fit in with the paradigm
that states the steps they need to take:
To meet with people on the make,
Each wanting just that bit more cash
And once they’ve got it, off they’ll dash.

I’m not just talking real estate:
The agents who can navigate
the English language with such skill
convincing you how this house will
fulfil your needs in ev’ry way –
But you must sign without delay
as someone else is sniffing round
this perfect place that they have found.

The government want their cut, too –
That’s nothing new, they always do –
Solicitors don’t work for free
And bankers rub their hands with glee.
Int’rest rates, foreclosure too,
Some ways they can grab cash from you.
And I’ve not touched the admin side,
Ensuring all are notified.

But if you can traverse this path
and find a peaceful aftermath,
No motorway or aerodrome
to spoil the peace of your new home,
With luck your neighbours will be nice
and then you can, despite the price,
Relax so you can contemplate
which room you first will decorate.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

The Trug Thief

I wasn't very happy last Tuesday when I discovered that someone had been in my garden and stolen the trugs I use when I'm weeding and pruning. Why, I don't know; they are not worth selling on, and the plastic is ripped on a couple. 

One of my friends suggested I write a poem, probably in jest. I thought the challenge was worth a limerick.

The Trug Thief

There once was a tea-leaf in Marton
Who nicked all the trugs from my garden
I hope that their fingers
Go green and it lingers
Until they sprout leaves and then harden.

Monday, 30 June 2014

Essex and Clubs and Roxanne's Role

Where do you go when presented with a poetry theme of "Essex Girls"? Not having watched TOWIE or any of the other supposed reality dramas (or whatever they are supposed to be), you have to rely on the stereotypes as portrayed in the press. So any miffed young women from the county can lay the blame there...

That said, I must admit the short time I spent researching on YouTube was an eye opener! 

The resultant poem is below - with an Ian Dury inspired title. 

Essex and Clubs and Roxanne's Role

I’m Roxanne and I’m Essex born and bred.
I’m ready to go clubbing with my friends.
“I’ll meet you there at ten,” – that’s what I said,
So can I speak to you? Well, that depends.

Like, are you goin’ta try to pick me up?
Don’t worry – I’m not goin’ta rule it out.
You only want an interview? Shut up!
So watcha want to talk to me about?

The Essex look? You need the proper clothes
And jewellery in just the proper place.
My new stilettos: worth the squashed-up toes.
My hair extensions: just to frame my face.

Yeah, looking good’s important to my crowd:
I like the streaks of blonde; they look so good.
Fake tan? Well yes, because I always vowed
I’d never look like I was drained of blood.

So yes, my make-ups got to be just right:
You gotta make an effort with the slap
‘Cause when you’re going clubbing every night,
Your photo might be taken by a pap.

Besides, the other girls make up as well.
We all expect it though the rule’s unsaid,
And – stands to reason – I would be well jel
If all the lads paired up with them instead.

We have a laugh, we put the world to rights.
Like who to vote for when we’ve had enough.
Evictions and the conflicts and the fights.
Iraq? Do you mean silicon and stuff?

A boob job? Maybe somewhere down the line,
And botox? Well, you gotta look your best,
‘Cause basic’ly the guys don’t want to dine
With girls who don’t – they’re simply not impressed.

Hey, Essex rhymes with “yes sex”. That’s so reem.
That surely proves that God exists, I say.
What makes you think I’m trying to blaspheme?
Whatevah. That’s so clever. Anyway.

We’re meeting at a bar – “the Zodiac”.
It’s sociable to drink cocktails and wine.
Did someone say the clocks are going back?
Does that mean that I should be there by nine?

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

The Cat's Breakfast

What do cats like? Whatever they want to. But the odds are that 'food' is fairly high up the list.

So when I was writing a poem actually on the theme of Cats (rather than using cats to illustrate another theme), food was the inspiration. But [Newsflash] cats can also be fussy...

The Cat's Breakfast

Now that I've stretched
It's time you fetched
Another meal
For me, I feel.

The sky was light,
No longer night,
This morning, when
At Oh-Four-Ten,
I came to you
(I always do)
But still you slept
Although I kept
Reminding you
With the odd "mew"
I need to eat
My breakfast meat.

For goodness sake
Why don't you wake?
Don't be a slob.
Come -- do your job.

But still you dozed
With your eyes closed.
As time went by
I thought that I
Would jump upon
Your duvet, gone
This holding back,
Instead "attack"
Thus, this achieved
My aim, so peeved
You left your bed
To see me fed.

Miaow miaow.
I don't know how
You can be so
Humanly slow.

Oh how I wish
You'd get my dish
And take that tin
With my food in
And open it
And take a bit
Or maybe more
Just to be sure
And spoon it out;
No need to shout --
I'm by your side

I do not beg,
Just tup your leg
To let you know
That you are slow.

Oh why do you
Take so long? Few
Would wait like me
So patiently
As you delay
This way each day.
I don't think that
Another cat
Would tolerate
This lengthy wait
Here in my home:
Their mouths would foam.

Oh have you done?
Is not required:
You are rehired.

There in your hand
My dish, as planned.
My last miaow:
I'm purring now.
Can't wait to eat
That juicy meat
Approaching me:
I soon will be
Devouring it --
A meal to fit
The royalty:
Of course, that's me.

And at long last
There! My repast:
Dish on the floor
Who could want more?

But wait: a sniff,
My back goes stiff.
The smell reveals
This rotten meal's
I won't eat that
As I'm a cat
Who knows his mind;
Views well defined.
That food's been in
The wrong sized tin.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Tales of Wales

The latest poetic theme is "Wales", presumably because Dylan Thomas will be the featured poet on the forthcoming "A Poetry Show" broadcast. Now, anyone knowing me might think I'd write a poem about whales, but even that is a bit too obvious for me. I had a number of thoughts in different areas, but they didn't always relate to each other that well. Accordingly, I decided upon three "tales of Wales" with a connecting rhyming narrative. So here it is.

Tales of Wales

The trio of tales I intend to present
are some aspects of Wales with a varied intent.
I’ll mention some names that you may recognise,
And later a tale with some overseas ties,
But first I will start with a short overview:
I doubt that from this you’ll learn anything new.

The Union flag on which Wales does not feature,
They’ve got the dragon, a mythical creature,
They’ve got the daffodil, they’ve got the leek,
They’ve got a language that few of them speak.
They’ve got a thing about singing in choirs
And rugby’s a sport that they love, it transpires.
They’ve got that town with a very long name
I won’t list it here, despite its acclaim.
They’ve got four sheep to each man in the land
I’m just talking numbers here, you understand.
Snowdon and mountains and Anglesey too.
Finally, it’s where they film Doctor Who.

As promised, here’s a second tale
That lists some Welsh celebrities, they’ll
Not be ones who practice sport
As in these poems, space is short;
And there’s enough of sport elsewhere,
So “arty”/“singy” types I’ll share.

The land of song and arts we see
The “Men of Harlech”, S4C.
They proved not to be Elvis clones:
Shakin’ Stevens and Tom Jones.
Charlotte Church and Shirley Bassey:
Famous ladies. Let’s be classy:
Tenors always have appeal:
Burrows, Terfel and O’Neill.
Kath’rine Jenkins has a style a
Diff’rent one to Bonnie Tyler.
Moving to the stage and screen
Burton, Hopkins may be seen
But there’s a rumour we should squelch:
Not from the valleys – Raquel Welch.

The next tale is a sideways view.
Before you ask, the Wales’ not blue;
I would not offer that cliché
Although I think it fair to say
This introduction might just tease:
The killer Wales from overseas…

Renegade soldiers on his farm,
Bluecoats there intending harm,
Killed his wife and killed his child:
No surprise that he went wild.
Vowed revenge though no-one heard;
Out he went and kept his word.
As an outlaw of renown
He was sought out and hunted down.
Misfits followed, tagged along,
With this man they could belong.
Lied to riders on their tails,
“He’s dead, the one called Josey Wales”

Right. That’s your lot: my Tales are done.
I’ve finished typing, had my fun.
I know there’s more to Wales … oh fine.
Creators of the “equals sign”.
It’s time for tea, I’ll have to go.
I think I’ll have Welsh rarebit, though.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Top Cat

Another poem on the theme of "Victory", but also on the theme of "cats". I do like cats - intriguing creatures - unless of course, they leave me presents on the lawn, I'm much more careful with the lawnmower these days. But I digress. This poem's called...

Top Cat

The fur widespread in tufts of white
Like stacks upon a farmer’s field
Left from the skirmish in the night:
My skill in battle thus revealed.

There will be peace the next few days;
A time for reappraisal then
I’ll watch as my opponent weighs
me up and thinks “I’ll try again.”

All gone the feigned indifference;
Forgotten all past minor wars.
He’ll drop the days spent in pretence,
He’ll come at me with unsheathed claws.

He will not win – he never does.
He always thinks he’ll come out best.
But soon, again, he will be puz-
-zl-ing why he’s the one who’s been outguessed.

I don’t know why there’s this bad blood:
To settle some imagined score?
No matter, ‘cause I’m feline good
And victory is mine once more.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014


Theme: Victory. That's about it, really.
Not an angry rabbit
after an accident


Beethoven’s Fifth with its da-da-da dah,
Churchill’s two fingers without the cigar,
Admiral Nelson: his ship was named this.
So were the lozenges – Ah, liquorice.
Funny how words can bring thoughts to one’s mind:
So many uses, if one is inclined.
This one can signify things large and small:
A nuclear blast, the kick of a ball.

Victory, victory, battle success.
Winning a war, winning at chess,
Winning at football, winning the vote,
Winning the lottery, winning the tote,
Winning a dial-in, beating the rest,
Winning a race this week being the best,
Winning the X-factor when you can’t sing,
Winning, in fact, almost ev-er-y-thing.

Sometimes in victory, people repress:
Blinkers from over-elation, I guess.
Spare a thought sometimes about those who failed:
Evidence left from the points we’ve detailed.
Not so much scratch cards thrown down on the floor,
Programmes abandoned because of the score.
Think of the conflicts, of all the widespread
chunks of Rubble, the injured, and ALL of the dead.

Friday, 6 June 2014

The Invitation

Okay. A theme of "pretentiousness". No one enjoys this attribute in other people, except when thinking of Frasier Crane, and we laugh with him, don't we? Right. With this in mind, my poem is from the viewpoint of someone who is invited to attend a soiree (!) with their brother-in-law and his condescending wife. Read on.

The Invitation

What’s that you’ve got there in the post?
No – don’t pretend to be engrossed.
It seems addressed to you and me:
An invitation? Let me see.
R.S.V.P.? So who’s it from?
Oh no, Melissa and your Tom
Or “Thomas” as he now prefers –
Unless the choice of name is hers.

All right. Your brother. Yes, I know,
But do we really have to go?
Snobbishness to such excess,
Continual pretentiousness.
When they explain, they condescend:
Advocating each new trend.
And so obscure: that’s so they may
reject all others as “passé.”

I really cannot comprehend
Why anyone would want to spend
Five minutes, let alone a full
five hours list’ning to such bull.
I mean, come on – you must admit
The way they carry on’s a bit
too much with all the names they drop.
Their bedroom’s like a knocking shop.

I see you laughing. You agreed.
They only follow what’s decreed
by Philip, their décor guru.
Abandoned taste, but then, what’s new?
The cloakroom with Egyptian tiles
Looks like a loo for paedophiles.
I don’t think Tom quite understood
my point of view – as if he would.

And have you seen Melissa when
She’s be-ing an air kisser, then
To “mwah” and “mwah” we all succumb;
Her lips: just like a baboon’s bum.
And that reminds me: they have been
to Africa, to sights unseen
by any on the planet earth…
That’s what they’ll say. For what it’s worth.

Have you forgotten New Year’s Eve?
(I thought that we would never leave)
Melissa’s latest weirdo views:
She made us all remove our shoes
And all because she said the ch’i
Would be affected adversely
if we did not, and so I said
“A panda? Watch out where you tread.”

The blindfolds that we wore last time
to watch their operatic mime,
The abstract art from chimpanzees,
The endless new philosophies.
The caterers providing food:
Some looked like it had been pre-chewed.
Cricket’s not a sport I like,
But on the plate? Get on your bike.

Alright, alright. I know that face.
We’re going. Yes, I know my place.
Don’t spare another thought for me
and send off that R.S.V.P.
The final word; I get the gist –
Urinal jokes are off the list.
I’ll try my best; I won’t be rude –
Unless they’re serving insect food.

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Ladies and Gentlemen

A theme of sexism this week, so I cobbled this poem together earlier today.

Discrimination in all its forms is abhorrent, but sometimes I get the feeling that some people try and pervert the justified efforts of others towards their own means. Probably a human thing. 

Enough philosophising. Here's the poem.

Ladies and Gentlemen

Sexism checks is a male or a female a
Choice that is fair when all else is deemed square.
It’s clear when it’s not,
But what else have we got
When there’s nothing to go on except facial hair?

How does one choose if there aren’t any clues
To mark she above he or vice versa?
For some people fume
And they often assume
That lobbying might just coerce ya.

What, then is sexist-a-bout Miss or Mister
If terms such as these are not used to divide?
For your information
It’s discrimination
That should be denied. Don’t let common sense slide.

Refuse to excuse those who widen the term
As a means to force us on their own hobby-horse.
Many just hold a
Big chip on their shoulder
So let’s all calm down. Let them scream ‘til they’re hoarse.

All this hypocracy, so-called democracy:
Certainly I am more equal than them.”
Let’s wish for an age
When we all reach the stage
When we look beyond genders and do not condemn.

Yearning for parity, looking for clarity,
Maybe we’re trying too hard to excel:
Ladies and gentlemen:
Equally mental an’
Equally prone to be sexist as well.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Our Time Together

I finished this poem in the early hours of this morning (24 May 2014) and it is on the theme of clocks. The first clock reference is to the same trusty LED clock I mentioned in my poem Associations. Credit where it's due...

Our Time Together

Silent and red-eyed I watch whilst he’s sleeping.
Blinking, I wait while the hours* bleed away.
Sometimes he reaches towards me, so keeping
Me quiet; no sound at the start of the day.

Do we have time to do this?” he will ask
And I will provide him the answers he needs:
Turning my hands to so many a task;
So many jobs -  and this he concedes.

Home entertainment is one such concern,
Checking his favourite* TV’s taped on cue.
Mealtimes I’m watching his food does not burn.
Checking appointments and when they are due.

Leaving the house, as on most days he’s prone,
I’m left by myself and I’m not even missed.
But I can take comfort that he’s not alone:
My cousin is there with a grip on his wrist.

Here in this house I have so many faces;
I’m there in the hall when his key’s in the lock.
I know he gains comfort here in this oasis;
I welcome him home: hear my tick, hear my tock.

* The word 'hours' should be read as one syllable, and 'favourite' as two, i.e. pronounced "fave-ret".

Sunday, 18 May 2014

A Belittled Oratory

The theme - Charles Dickens. I wrote this on 3 December 2013 and thought I'd try a different approach, incorporating book titles (or alluding to them) within the text.

Belittled - Oratory

Last Christmas, Carol had a leak.   
A pipe had burst, the prospect bleak,
House getting wetter, time was late:
Her expectations were not great,   

Not knowing any Galahads
She picked quick from the paper’s ads.
How curious it is to shop  
When rushed.     Came Edwin on the hop.

“It’s costly – this job is – to sort.
It’s hell the sluice it is,     to thwart”
So Carol, the options thus laid
Upon her, begrudgingly paid.

How dumb. Behind some work – slapdash –
He stemmed the mains, left with the cash.
How can he sleep, that little rat,
Or live a twisted life like that?

He wouldn’t take a nicker less;
Nick’ll be where he confess-
-es how he tried this latest con.
In these hard times it is not on.

For Carol and her mate are cops;
Their mutual friends pulled out the stops.
So Edwin rued that soggy day
A copper feeled his collar. Hey!

For completeness, the books are Christmas Carol, Bleak House, Great Expectations (switched, sorry), Pickwick [Papers], [The Old] Curiosity Shop, A Tale of Two Cities (at a stretch), Barnaby Rudge, Dombey and Son, Oliver Twist, Nicolas Nickleby, Hard Times, [Our] Mutual Friend, [The Mystery of] Edwin Drood, [David] Copperfield.

The Introspective Veggie

A short poem on the theme of vegetables. Written quickly on 9 November 2013 whilst the Dead Good Poets Radio Show was on the air, so I could submit it to the show.

The Introspective Veggie

I am not a beetroot, although I blush at times
I am not a runner, bean caught for selfish crimes
I am not an iceberg – I melt at soppy songs
I am not a little gem – handle me with tongs
I am not a chunky Swede – not Scandinavian Bjorn
Although I like an artichoke, I don’t like too much corn
I am not a petit-pois, don’t want to pea myself
I just sit and vegetate, sitting on the shelf.

An American (Bad) Dream

The Theme of this poem was "Snog Marry Avoid". I wrote it on 22 November 2013. For the anti-penultimate (!) line to rhyme, you should really read the poem with a suitable accent.

Snog Marry Avoid - An American Bad Dream

It was so long ago in New York State
That I first saw the face that changed my life.
An instant that would redirect my fate:
I had no plans to make that girl my wife.
Jumping up and down at CBGBs
That’s where we were - the room exuding heat.
The drink would lead us to heebie-jeebies
But that was after we’d danced off our feet.
A smile, a look, we danced and moved nearer
Perspiring like a Central Park jogger.
Her aim, like mine, could not be much clearer
So close, we knew that soon I would snog her.

And there it started, attraction that’s so
Indicative: the exuberance of youth;
When hormones fire, when lips engage, you know  
The brain is not in charge, and that’s the truth.
The next few months together, how they sped;
And then, one night as I thought “Time to go”,
She turned to me, as we lay in our bed
 “I’m late,” she said, and tears started to flow.
She blubbed, “I’ll bloat and you’ll leave me for good
And I’ll look like an aircraft carrier!”
I felt protective, knowing that I would
Stay by her side, that I would marry her.

There was no child, it was a false alarm
(That’s something I did not know at the time)
So down the aisle we walked, our arms in arm.
A sentence began, but what was my crime?
Her mom, her dad, her drugged up brother, too
Moved in our home with us – not my idea.
My bride took their side, never mine. It’s true.
A marriage of convenience I fear.
Her gambling dad, incessant derision,
The brother arrested, charged with “moider.”
My wife? No life. I made a decision.
I left them all. And now I avoid her.

A Plea, From Me

Now, this poem is on the political side. Biased? Probably, but as it's my poem it can be. It was written on 29 November 2013, setting myself an exercise to write a poem in iambic monometer - i.e. two syllables per line with the emphasis on the second. The first couple of lines came so naturally and  before I had decided on a subject, but having these lines in my head I simply had to continue the anti-government theme.

So, to continue the British habit of complaining about the current government (of whatever party), here is

A Plea, From Me

Bog off
You toff.
Your crew
Can too.
I'm sick
Of Nick,
I'm through
With you.

We've toiled,
You've spoiled.
In vain.
Don't care.
Our pain,
Your gain.

So Dave,
Please save
Your lies;
We guys
Have heard
Each word.
Truth dies.

Don't need
Your creed
Up there.
Our prayer?
You greet

That's why,
Dave, I
Once more
Bog off
You toff.
Head for
The door.

Hidden Agendas

I don't recall the theme for this one, possibly politics. Written 2 November 2013, it helps if you are familiar with the British TV progammes mentioned - in particular, the character Cameron in the soap "Emmerdale" was a serial killer that remained anonymous and on the loose for some time.

Hidden Agendas

Art reflects life - isn't that what they say?
Well, I was reflecting on this, yesterday -
How sometimes, the shows that I watch on TV
Hide shades of the future - politically.
Not Glenda rejecting the Hollywood scene
Nor Widdecombe dancing - that's not what I mean.

Recall that celebrity? Picture his grin
Light on his feet, a master of spin.
You must remember Lionel Blair?
I think it was Mondays, his show was on air
Whereupon mass distraction had us in grips
"Give us a Clue" - not a word passed his lips.

Comedy, too. Foggy, Compo and Clegg?
No vision, blame culture. He's pulling my leg.
And then, if you would, take a look at the Soaps:
How life seems to be good, then they're dashing our hopes.
One man's action in "Emmerdale" tore lives apart,
But now Cameron's gone. Let's hope life reflects art

Origami - All I Know

A theme of Origami, and written on 16 November 2013

Origami - All I Know

Some years ago on ITV
When TV channels numbered three
Robert Harbin had a show
An Origami “how to go.”

I only had a mild int’rest
But someone thought that they’d invest
Their money in his spin-off book.
They gave it me to have a look.

Finding Napkins just collapse
I cut some squares from paper scraps.
First I made a paper hat
It didn’t fit, so that was that.

Bigger sheets are best (I heard).
I’d try and make a flapping bird.
The national dailies! Just the thing –
But sadly most were too right wing.

Last, I learned, with much aplomb
How to make a water bomb
A paper cube to fill and throw.
Origami – all I know.

Impressions of Dorian Gray

A theme of Dorian Gray had me stumped for a while, then I thought, why not write about being stumped about Dorian Gray and finding something out about the book? Written 11 December 2013.

Impressions of Dorian Gray

When I heard the theme of this Dead Poets’ show
I thought “Here’s a subject I don’t really know.”
My knowledge of lit’rature’s lit’rally scant –
Perhaps I could give it a different slant.

There’s always the fall-back: TV that I’ve seen.
I seemed to remember a Dorian Green –
Promiscuous cougar who lived Chigwell way?
But try as I might: couldn’t picture her grey.

Not “Birds of a Feather”, then. Where should I look?
I thought, “In the loft. We just might own the book.”
I found it and started to read, reconciled.
You don’t need an Oscar to know that it’s Wilde.

An artist who’s smitten, Sir Henry – a friend
Who spouts without doubting, who talks without end,
Who thinks that his views should be taken as fact.
Yet some, though not all, we may care to extract.

Consider Sir Henry’s ideas set today:
How Z-List celebrities preen as they say,
“Don’t think paparazzi are much of a curse –
Not being talked about’s something that’s worse.”

And then there is Dorian – bit of a wimp –
(Not much of a book if he looked like a chimp)
Who jealously envies his portrait in oils
Predicting a time when he ages and spoils.

My gran had a saying – I’ll paraphrase here –
“What they want is someone to wee in their ear!”
Wake up. Do not fixate on trivial things
As many do now; much worse waits in the wings.

I’ve only read some, but I will persevere.
The prose is descriptive; the characters “queer”.
Forget daytime telly, there’s plenty to do:
My cache in the attic has other books, too.


Written on the 19 December 2013. The theme for the poem was "numbers", and was not inspired until I woke one morning to see the red LED digits on my old-fashioned digital clock.


I woke in darkness, turned my head,
Saw Five Eighteen emblazoned red
And as I snuggled down, a thought
Inveigled there: my sleep cut short.
I paid that much for “David Live”;
Such longing – for it to arrive.
I’d never paid that much before
For Bowie at a record store.

That waking thought: It’s odd, I find,
How numbers linger in your mind,
Associate with things of note,
A trigger for an anecdote.
Yes. Numbers, prices of all sorts
Bring special albums to my thoughts
Two Seven Nine. An analogue:
Collecting Mott’s back catalogue.

Now “digital”, we’re all aware,
Means noughts and ones are everywhere.
The CDs, DVDs, TVs
The Internet and MP3s
The smartphones, tablets that we use,
The eBooks, laptops that we choose;
They all have numbers at their source –
The software. Makes them run, of course.

I wonder if one day I’ll see
An Eighty Nine and think with glee
That’s what I paid, recall what I’ve
Downloaded, saved on my hard drive.
Associations. Not the same.
Anticipation’s lost the game.
A victim of that God, “Progress”;
A minor thing – but I digress.

Yes, numbers trigger memories;
A calendar, its legacies.
The Twenty-Fifth: it’s Christmas Day.
The Twenty-Third: St George’s Day.
The Fifth: A bonfire lights the sky.
The Thirty-First: the year’s goodbye.
Specific birthdays: twenty-one,
Each passing year, each decade gone.

The date you wed that precious spouse.
The date you parted from that louse!
A loved-one dies: all’s Pre and Post
That date, that year – the least, the most.
These digits, they define our lives.
They’re abstract, yet their ‘fluence drives
Us from that babies’ feeding cup
And will, until our number’s up.

The Fuchsia

Written on 30 December 2013, the theme was "the future", but I decided to vary it slightly...

The Fuchsia

Two pairs of petals, broad and short
Four slender sepals, slender, wrought
In shapes both long and pendulous.
I wonder, would they endure less
Should they not show in blooms so bright:
Red, purple, pink, magenta, white.

See how they strive to keep their blooms
As autumn dies and winter looms;
They brighten up the dullest plot –
Some evergreen, though some are not,
Their leaves in whorls of three to five,
They’re predisposed to stay alive.

Unchallenged, they would never stop
Their hardy growth, and so we chop
Them back to size: they do not care,
Re-growing as if unaware,
Ignoring such minutia.
And so repeats the fuchsia.

The Future

Written on 31 December 2013 on the theme of "the future".

The Future

It’s easy to be negative.
The future’s when the present ends,
Beyond the time in which we live:
We can’t know what next week portends.
So much on which it all depends,
A fatalist would drift along,
The time-stream’s something that transcends:
What’s right is right, what’s wrong is wrong.

He may be right, how can we know?
But don’t be swayed – uncertainties
Should not detract us, we should grow,
To plan for possibilities,
Assess the probabilities,
To make the best of what can be,
Avoiding life’s absurdities,
The future’s there for you and me.

The World Goes On

I wrote this poem towards the end of December 2013, It originally had three stanzas (1,2,4), but I decided to put it to music and added the third stanza in April 2014. I needed two stanzas for a single verse in the music. The extra text at the end are the words I used for a chorus, although you really need the tune for the relevant rhythm.

The World Goes On

Five hundred and eighty-five million miles:
A long way to go in a year,
But planet earth goes its elliptical way,
Retracing its course as it does ev’ry day,
The passengers carried inside – so blasé,
Ignoring the great atmosphere.

Two thousand and fourteen years now on the clock:
A service is long overdue,
Yet planet earth’s journey’s just goes on and on,
It just goes straight round (that’s an oxymoron) –
Well, it doesn’t care when the fossil fuel’s gone,
It’s never too tired, right on cue.

Remember that others were here long ago
Before we as primates evolved,
But fossils are all that there is we can see
Of life from that time long before you and me:
The dinosaurs wiped out irrelevantly
Whilst planet earth simply revolved.

So here we are now – it’s another new year:
The calendar that we have made.
The world is oblivious to our own flaws,
The starving, intolerance, greed causing wars,  
Our choice how we handle these things, mine and yours;
The world just goes on, unallayed.

Extra words for chorus

The world goes on, and on and on
It will continue ev’ry year. To make it clear,
It will go on, after we’re gone.
It will not care that we were here.

The Record

This one was written in October 2013, shortly after I first joined a Creative Writing class. There was an exercise to write a Rhyme Royal to incorporate descriptive writing. Whereas I'd written the odd 'alternative lyric' to songs prior to this, this is really the first poem of note I wrote. (Note I wrote? Get my coat) Cheers, Ashley.

The Record

The touch, the feel of laminated sleeves.
A varied range of artwork comes and goes.
From this, a puff of air each movement leaves
A plastic smell of ink inside my nose.
But then, at last, I see the one that shows
A cursive logo I have sought for years…
The stylus drops; such music to my ears.

Why is it that the feedback feeds my soul?
Why does that bass warm the base of my spine?
No need to be at the Hollywood Bowl –
My eyes are closed but I can see just fine.
And as the singer sings the final line
The music fades – I hear the vinyl hiss –
My thoughts become clear and I reminisce.

The night was cool and the atmosphere hot.
The drizzle raised scent from her golden hair.
Did the weather bother us? Not a jot –
We were so ecstatic just to be there.
We watched as crisp lasers sliced through the air
And the band walked onto the stage once more,
Strapped on their guitars – the final encore.

A Les Paul axe struck the opening chord.
The crowd cheered and clapped in recognition.
The tickets were more than we could afford;
We’d scrimped and we’d saved to gain admission
So as not to miss this fine rendition.
‘Twas then we shared a smile through lashes’ drips
And tasted the jewelled drops on our lips.

Eyes open again, I pick up the sleeve
“Limited pressing”, it says on the top.
Soon, when she gets home, she will not believe
I found the disc in that charity shop
A piece of our past I just could not drop
Recording the time that finally let
Us share our first kiss – our future was set.