Month: December 2016

Have Yourself a Brexit Little Christmas

Have yourself a Brexit little Christmas
and fill your days with fun,
because we know our troubles will have just begun.

Have yourself a Brexit little Christmas
and drink your days away.
From now on, our troubles will be here to stay.

Here we are as in olden days,
so-called golden days of yore.
Failing those who are near to us
for they are dear to us no more.

So just say auf wiedersehen to Europe,
au revoir and ciao,
then hang a tattered flag upon a lonely bough,
and have yourself a Brexit little Christmas now.


Christmas is the Thing with Feathers

Crow: look at that, look, would you.
There he is again. Adonis, adored, adorning,
season’s greeting, tweeting, oi, stop it.

O my bleedin’ heart. Bleedin’ erithacus rubecula,
syphiliticus rubik’s cube, rub him out,
ooh rubbish. Sticking the ol’ chest out. Cor!

Bless him and his red breast. Ah. Stick him
on your cards. All wintry, ain’t he? All Christmassy.
All snowy and chirpy and chipper. Git.

Don’t put crow on your cards. No, not crow.
Crow with his blackness. Crow and his filth.
Not unfestive, festering Crow, oi, stop it.

But I seen him, erithacus rubecula.
Arithmeticulous dracula. I seen him with worms.
All writhing and wriggling and squirming

and rotting away in his oh so pretty beak
above his oh so pretty blood red breast,
mayhem, murder. Robbing ’em of life.

Stick that on a card and send it to yer nan.

Hygge if true

These are the hyggelige days we live for,
dark afternoons brightened by simple things;
pumpkin soup bubbling on the hob,
logs crackl – sorry, my phone just pinged.

Today we crochet socks.
We swap knitting patterns and tales
of meandering pine forest walks
and the frail beauty of a nightingale’s

song, as the scent of fresh rosemary clings –
I think the wi-fi has just gone down –
to our fingers. We shall bathe ourselves
in hygge’s warmth; it cosies, it surrounds,

and wraps our friendships like a blanket.
The soup is ready upon the aga.
I hope to heaven they will all leave soon.
I hear the call of Candy Crush Saga.

In Search Of Lost Tomes

I had forgotten that —
for a long time — I went to bed early,
seduced by Proust,
who so often had le mot juste
about affairs of the heart
and the nature of art,
and all that stuff.

But life and things passed,
gave way to armchaired collapse
in front of a screen,
scrolling through memes,
watching videos of cats.

Until one evening,
when retrieving the remote,
I found you again, on the shelf,
as if stumbling upon a swan’s nest
amongst the reeds, hidden,
your pages like fresh linen.

Written to commemorate the death of Marcel Proust, 18th November 1922.

Christmas Commercial Break

These days
I head for the mountains,
safely out of reach
of the avalanche of campaigns
for new perfumes and TV tie-ins
or someone’s latest book.

Up here a stillness surrounds me.
And, in the solitude,
there hangs a kind of poetry,
which, incidentally,
can also be found
in the book mentioned above.

At peace now,
I watch as the winter sun
melts the mountain snow,
in much the same way
as a collection of poems (£12.99 – available in all good bookshops)
can unfreeze a heart,

and I think about the rock beneath us,
and the wonder of us,
our singularity,
each of us unique
like a book with its own individual identifier,
(e.g. 9781783523054)

and Christmas
becomes magical once more.

An example of the kind of book you might find featured in the first stanza of this poem.

They’re Renovating Buckingham Palace

They’re renovating Buckingham Palace —
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
Went past cash-strapped hospitals and schools,
“The Sevres Porcelain sounds really cool,”
Says Alice.

They’re renovating Buckingham Palace —
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
The queues they found were as long as food banks,
“They have Vermeers and Van Dycks and Rembrandts,”
Says Alice.

They’re renovating Buckingham Palace —
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
Outside, the homeless were all moved along.
“The Grand Staircase, I’ve heard, is cast from bronze,”
Says Alice.

They’re renovating Buckingham Palace —
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
“You know so much ’bout the palace and grounds.”
“I got a book before the library closed down,”
Says Alice.

The Ice is Slowly Melting

And if you gaze long into Abbey Road,
Abbey Road also gazes into you.’

They cross but come back once more,
in the early August morning light,
walking out, not quite in step,
painting colour on black and white.

A photographer perches on his ladder,
sandals lie abandoned on the floor,
a man – with hands on hips – gazes, counts:
one and one and one and one is four.

It would have been easier to let things be,
declare they were already past their prime,
but they want to – they want to so bad –
come together, right now, one last time.

Because the amps are there, they turn them on
and – for a moment – arguments disappear;
there’s something in the way they play,
it seems like years since they’ve been here.

Ringo counts them in, of course,
as the lights and recriminations fade –
one and one and one and one is four –
in this Maida Vale hideaway in the shade.

Some bits are stitched together​
with sun-honeyed harmonies
and fenestrated fragments
of musical mastery –

miserly, mustardy –
under the custody
of polythene dreams,​​
a golden-slumbered tapestry

of rich, interwoven melodies,
snatches, echoes, refrains,
and it carries the weight
(it’s so heavy!)

of where they’ve come from
and where they will go
in the end.

Back outside, we glimpse them through the lens;
four is one and one and one and one.
They walk across the road once more
and then they’re gone.

The Abbess is a pretty nice girl
But she doesn’t have a lot to say.
The Abbess is a pretty nice girl
But all she seems to do is pray.
I want to tell her that I love her a lot
But I gotta drink a bottle of Blue Nun,
The Abbess is a pretty nice girl
One day we’re going to have some fun, oh yeah,
One day we’re going to have some fun.

John Travoltaire

“If John Travoltaire did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.”

Well, you can tell by the way I break the rules,
I’m a reason man: no time for fools.
Progress checked, our freedom scorned,
We’ve been kicked around since we were born.
But it will be alright, it’s not too late
For separation of Church and State.
We can try to understand
With science to lend a helping hand.

Dictionaries and dancing, poems, plays and prancing,
I’m spreadin’ the light, spreadin’ the light.
Despots are a-quakin’ and institutions shakin’,
And I’m spreadin’ the light, spreadin’ the light.
Ah, ha, ha, ha, spreadin’ the light, spreadin’ the light.
Ah, ha, ha, ha, spreadin’ the light.

Their lies ain’t goin’ nowhere. Somebody help me.
Somebody help me, yeah.
Their lies ain’t goin’ nowhere. Somebody help me, yeah.
In spreadin’ the light.

Written to commemorate the birth of Voltaire, 21st November 1694.

Empire of the Sunlounger

a poem written to commemorate J.G. Ballard’s birthday

his dreams take slip roads
past the airports and malls
and the perimeter fencing
that goes on for miles

until he finds himself back
amongst the pebbledash
and patios of the badlands
of Shepperton

and, in this drowned world
of hosepipe ban saboteurs
and sunlounged suburbanity,
his imagination conjures

a future of high-rise privet,
ornately-carved foxes and chickens,
a clipped hedge of darkness,
a sinister dystopiary vision