More Poems

I conjure you all that have had the evill luck to read this inck-wasting toy of mine, even in the name of the nine Muses, no more to scorne the sacred misteries of Poesie. Sir Phillip Sidney: The Defence of Poesie



Here we are my friend

Picking our way

Through the ruins of our future

And carefully avoiding

The little chunks of litter

That keep falling out of the past 

As if to bar the way,

Or perhaps

To point out what might have been 


But always it is in vain

For that is the nature of things

Life as the moments fade

Painstakingly dismantles all that we are

Dismembering our dreams

As if they didn’t exist

Ending our schemes

With a force we cannot resist

So that eventually

Bits and pieces of us

Fall away

Leaving only the faintest memory

Of what has been

Until we exist nowhere

But in the minds of others


Those minds in the end

Might be the only things that matter


God In Disguise
God In Disguise

Be warned all you pious people

Who frequent the well-worn paths

Of respectability

We have just discovered that God

Has decided to revisit the Earth

Be further advised

That with the foresight

He alone can manage

He has chosen to prevent commotion

By sightseeing in disguise

We hold here His media release

An agenda found on the window sill 

Of a bankrupt press agency

By their last civic roundsman

Somewhere it tells us

He will masquerade as

A lonely desperate man

Pleading for support

So take care if you pass by 

He will be watching what you do.

On another occasion

He will be that runaway child

In a twilight street with no name

Verging on the prostitute’s game

So take care if you pass by 

He will be watching what you do

Another gig of His

Will be difficult to trace

As He will be a black man

Looking for his place

So take care if you pass by 

He will be watching what you do

There’s another place you may see Him

So the message here says

At work in a vast stock market

Where deals are bought and sold

So take care if you pass by 

He will be watching what you do

Finally in the twinkling of an afterthought

He may suddenly appear

In your Parliament of Fools

Where iniquity is bought

So if voting there beware

He will be watching what you do

Dearly beloved citizens

We cannot vouch for the authenticity

Of this uncovered information

In fact it may not be true

Even so fair friends take care  

He will still be watching what you do


Have You Noticed? 

Have you noticed 

How warlike folk cook up 

A recipe for their own self-righteousness? 

They take a measure of enemies 

Add a portion of land and earthly possessions 

A generous quantity of patriotism 

Assiduously mixed with racism and false rumour 

Blended in a sauce of greed with a pinch of fear 

And bring this to the boil 

Stirring constantly until firm and consistent 

Then they garnish it with hatred and serve it 

In man-size quantities on lavish platters 

Upon a snow-white cloth adorned 

With glasses of gloom-altering wine 

To credulous novices in soldiers’ clothing 

Say grace with a serious but benevolent smile 

And then in a final act of elation 

They cry, “God bless our nation!” 



Once I saw a broken man 

Lying in the street 

Abandoned in defeat 

But I did nothing 

For I was prosperous and free 

Once I saw a foreigner 

Punished for the crime 

Of birth in another clime 

But I did nothing 

For I was a patriot and free 

Once I saw a malefactor 

Under fierce attack 

For the sin of being black 

But I did nothing 

For I was  fair-skinned and free 

Once I saw a woman 

Become a weeping wraith 

For the garments of her faith 

But I did nothing 

For I was conformist and free 

Once I saw an activist 

Held without a trial 

Because of a government file 

But I did nothing 

For I was lawful and free 

Now I see an assassin

Of overwhelming might

Pounding on my door without respite 

But I can do nothing

For there is no one to answer for me


Sixty-five Roses

(For The Children With Cystic Fibrosis} 

Intangible things morphemes 

Like imprudent dreams 

Or furtive fears 

Or flimsy formulae of faith in uncertain ideas. 

When you are a child 

Crossing over 

The towering mountains of experience, 

You try to find a pathway to understanding 

By whatever means you can. 

You reach out for things to say 

And even though your words are but feathers 

Floating in the wind, 

You hope that they will help you fly 

To find the place where words are not unknown codes 

But holy meaningful things  

Not clumsy tools that fall and hurt your toes 

But noble powerful friends . . . 

Once in a whimsy 

A child of Fate’s morning 


Sought to say what he did not understand. 

The eyes of his soul 

Saw the beauty of flowers in a garden of despair . . . 

Instead of cystic fibrosis . . . he said, ‘Sixty-five roses.’ 

Then the smiling wind 

As it has been known to do in the past, 

Caught up his idea 

Swirled it around with heavenly pity 

And charged it with such power

That it put a girdle round the earth in milliseconds. 

It was amazing to observe 

That wind of that new morning 


Whisk the words here there and anywhere 

Until by chance 

What was blowing in the wind 

Fell upon the ears of one or two surprised 

But accomplished ad-folk spinners of speech.

Suddenly the light of understanding 

Led these men and women of the world 

Laughingly beyond the place 

Where half truths and controlled innuendoes live 

To where days are pre-occupied with understanding. 

There . . . as a gift transcending even love 

These skilful contemporary bards 

Turned the thoughts of roses into charity cards 

And with the words of a fragile child 

Suddenly converted you and me 

Into a chorus line dancing with compassion

To the enchanted music of innocence

And the twinkling sounds of cash registers opening and closing 


Daddy Longlegs

Look at you

Dancing around my awareness

On your prancing legs of steel

Like a ballerina preoccupied with everything but applause

Why do you make me feel so insignificant?

Me with my old bones aching

Even though

I could crush you in an instant between my fingers

Or worse still wither you with ease

By simply pushing the button on a can

To kill both the innocent and the guilty with its spray

There you stand however

Climbing my insurmountable wall 

Just because it is there

Welcome little friend 

You diminish me so

Even though I can barely make you out amidst my clutter

Climb on valiantly

And leave me here below forever trapped in my own fragility


Work in Progress 

Doctus doce 

Having been taught 

I go forth and teach 

I do not define 

The infinity in which I work 

Or impose upon it 

The constriction of words 

But in the magic 

Of each teaching day 

As I fly on high with my fledglings 

Through the strident storms of ignorance 

And beyond the down draughts of despair 

I feel on my face 

The winds 

That will buffet the dwellers in tomorrow 

And I land on the steps 

Of their houses 

Which I cannot enter 

Except in my dreams 

And through my teaching 


Vive l’école 

A school is not a lifeless thing … 

I found this out today 

When I visited a place 

Where in my yesterdays 

I used to teach 

‘Hello Sir,’ came the voices 

And their looks of recognition 

Seemed to tap me 

On the shoulder 

As I walked across that playground 

At recess time 

And then into the hollow hallways 

Where I heard again the footsteps 

Of the past 

While in its briefly empty classrooms 

I met the echoes of my bygone lessons

And the reflected sounds of yesterday’s pupils 

With their sighs of learning struggle 

Their misdemeanours 

And their Ahas! of the once in a while 

When insight set in 

It was a weird experience this 

A haunted house without ghosts 

Not spooks 

But thoughts and words 

And struggles and despair and hope 

And growth and disobedience 

And little triumphs over learning curves 

And breakthroughs to understanding 

And punishment and distraction 

And anger and hatred and inspiration 

And penalty and injustice and impossible tasks 

And when the last bell rings

Memories of transformations that never end … 

A school is not a lifeless thing   



Here I am,

Limping through what was once tomorrow,

Struggling, sighing, crying, prying,

Lying in the clutches of the quicksand known as status. 

Why is this so?  If you should wish to know

The reason for my life’s hiatus,

Visit my classroom of a dozen years ago,

The bleak place where I shall forever be

Confined, entwined, maligned, defined as E

For all the world to see.

Not people in that place

But ordered lists of merit and disgrace,

Probing and molesting after tests ad infinitum,

Whose validity moves only fools to cite ’em.

So from that space in my stark inferiority,

Degraded by implied superiority,

I’ve wandered aimlessly beyond my sanity,

Longing to meet unclassified humanity.

O why am I cursed, reviled and frowned upon

Because I am not an alpha but an epsilon?


Super Woman 

Oh my 

What a special person! 

A priceless spirit

That woman in the supermarket crush

Who gave her place 

In the the check-out rush 

To me. 

Me with no right of passage, no space, no refuge a red hot sale 30% extra free compare our prices time to buy get it while stocks last fresh food folk make your dreams come true monster sale buy two get one free save save save with omega 3 fresh squeezed daily only six weeks to Christmas manager’s special don’t miss our best warehouse clearance win a trip to Hawaii save even more spring specials it’s new free gifts fuel discount offer out they go a free CD with every box guaranteed lowest prices nobody beats us one huge clearance bargain priced meat strong and bitey guaranteed no msg no preservatives from the garden to you end of year deals all are reduced now for quick sale please make all bags available for staff checking thank you. 

I kissed that dear lady 

For her gift of courtesy 

Giving way to me in the depths of my old age 

There should be more of her ilk 

And the only things I needed 

Were bread and butter and milk


The Right Honourable Mephistopheles

Mister Speaker 

This is an emergency

It’s a time of stress

We must balance the budget

For the good of the nation

In terms of our mandate

And to counter privation 

With our current program

No unnecessary hindrance

To implement best practice policies

Devised by several recognised experts

With the best possible intentions

As determined over and over again

Even in times of war

Or still more potently in peace time

As our nation’s history will clearly show

Unless of course the records are incomplete

Which even so will not deter us

Because we have the voice of experience

That echoes down the hallways of history

And in other places

Dedicated to the wellbeing of us all

Or even those who are not yet eligible to vote

Children or immigrants

Excluding of course the mentally ill

Who will in due course recover partially

Or fully, according to programs we have set in train

Fully funded

With the most noble intentions

For the good of us all

Give or take one or two exceptions

In the best of all possible worlds

So we must act

Mr Speaker 

Today all pensions

Will be cut by two percent



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