Brexit in Pursuit of a Bear

Please look out for this bear. Thank you.
He’s been getting ideas above his station.
If found, hand him in to the Home Office,
Section: UK Visas and Immigration.

He is wearing a blue duffle coat,
red wellies and a wide-brimmed hat
in an attempt to look like one of us.
But do not be fooled by that.

He’s one of those funny foreign types
who try to come here nowadays,
to take our homes and steal our jobs
and eat Our Great Nation’s Marmalade.

It is thought he has terrorist connections
and may be planning to do us harm.
So please beware of his hard stare,
not to mention his right to bear arms.

Also reported in this area:
illegal economic migrant,
Great Uncle Bulgaria.

As I Grow Old

As I grow old
may I not shuffle
to the beat
of self-interest
and make that slow retreat
​​​to the right.

May I be a septuagenarian espouser of noble causes,
and march with the kids
and sing ‘La Marseillaise’,
brandish made-at-home placards,

May I be an octogenarian obstructionist,
and build barricades
out of bottles of flat lemonade,
electric blankets and chicken wire,
to keep prejudice at bay.

May I be a nonagenarian nonconformist,
armed with a ballpoint pen
fighting bureaucratic baloney,
filling in boxes intended
for Office Use Only.

May I be a centenarian centurion
and stage sit-ins
with fellow citizens of the world.
My mobility scooter and I would move
for no-one.

And may I be scattered ashes
attaching themselves
to lashes,
blinding the eyes of bigots
and fascists.

Artist’s Impression

Channel-flicking on the television,
a sudden flicker of recognition,

and there you are, lighting up the screen.
You’ve not changed much, it seems.

The selfsame eyes of grey flint,
those touchpaper lips,

that shocking blaze
of hair. It’s as if the days

lit by time’s slow-burnt passage
are reduced to ashes.

An old flame, charcoaled
back to life by the controlled

hand of a police sketch artist.
I see you’re still up to your old tricks,

wanted, as you are, for questioning
in connection with

a spate of arson attacks
in the vicinity of Matlock Bath.

A Poem Written When I Should Have Been Doing Other Things

My in-box bulges.
It swells like the clothes
in my laundry basket. It grows
like the mould on the pans in my sink;
so I had better get on with this poem, I think.

It may look effortless,
this dilatoriness,
but you should know
I have a professional qualification
in procrastination.

This level of consummate dawdling,
my exemplary shoulder-shrugging
at all forms of industry,
has taken years of struggling
against doing things straight away.

Work is not easily shirked;
one must learn how to delay.

Fridays, for instance,
are best spent spent dilly-dallying.
Saturdays are more suited
to some sharp shilly-shallying.
Sundays I loiter, Mondays I linger,
Tuesdays I fester, Wednesdays I fritter.
Thursdays should be left
for chewing one’s jaw
(although it’s acceptable to just hem and haw).

Props help: a chaise longue,
a fine pipe to smoke,
a phone, of course,
and a cat to stroke.

But even then,
not everyone can procrastinate
with such application like me.
I have a vocation
for vacillation, you see.

Anyway, I shall finish this poem later.
I need to re-check the light
in the refrigerator.

Brian Bilston’s Poems – all gathered up into some kind of book thing

I’m pleased to say that my poetry collection You Took the Last Bus Home has now published and is available through bookshops and online stores in both print and ebook formats.

If you’re interested in buying a copy, do seek out your local bookshop – or Hive is an excellent online alternative, as it allows independent bookshops to benefit, thus enabling the book industry as a whole to continue to thrive.–The-Poems-of-Brian-Bilston/19417281

It will publish in the US in January.

If you’d like to read more about how I went from posting poems in tweets and blog postings to publishing a book, you can read about it here in a piece I’ve recently written for The Irish Times.

Brian Bilston


are extraordinary

They teach us
about topographical features,
and the causes of the First World War.

They teach us
about working safely with Bunsen Burners
and what a protractor is for.

They teach us
about apostrophe’s
and where not to put them.

They teach us
when to open our mouths
and when best to shut them.

make us dream-chasers,

Yes, teachers
are extraordinary

Except for Mr Jenkins,
‘cos he put me in detention that time
when I done a Chinese burn on Craig Hutchings.