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Friday, 31 August 2012

As Sure as Eggs is Eggs!

(Samuel Peralta in Form for All at dVerse Poets sets us the task of writing a tritina. Do follow the link to see what it is all about.)
We found it near the nursing home
a fungus like the yolk of egg -
and quite close by, a broken shell.

The idea came first from the shell:
we took it and the fungus home
and left them out to look like egg.

Oh, no! My carpet! Ruined! Egg!
They'd done their jobs, fungus and shell,
as mother's cries wailed through our home.

(We flash-cleaned home of egg and shell!)

Thursday, 30 August 2012

You wouldn't believe...

Mid-morning coffee.
Mesmerised, we watch
the upper spikes of next door's buddleia
cavorting in a kind of war dance
high above our six foot fence.

Stems and spikes
swing wildly through the sky or curtsy,
genuflect, are wrenched from sight
with genuine aggression and surprise -
only to spring back again,
to go on waving as before,
to tell the world they're still okay.

What, we wonder, is disturbing them?
Something far too heavy for the stems...
something unsupportable...
A cat perhaps... a skittish cat... a cat
with thoughts of ambush
hiding from the birds.
Hiding from the birds? it's driving them
away! A weasel someone says...
Surreal - and weasels do not climb.
A rat? My wife sees what she thinks
might be a curly tail - the tip, no more...
A squirrel then? Why would a squirrel
do its best to ravage, flatten and lay waste
my neighbour's buddleia?

And then we see
the stems are fewer than before. They do not
spring back now the way they did.
Beavers! I joke, but no one laughs.
We can't let this go on...
I bravely leave
my coffee to its fate
and walk down to the garden gate
and open it...
Good morning! says a guy with loppers
stuffing chopped-up buddleia stems
into a plastic bag.
I've never seen the chap before:
my neighbour (new) is not - or might 
not be - a single mother after all...

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Orpheus and Eurydice

For the full story of Orpheus and Eurydice see here.
The image is from The British Museum via Wikipedia.
Carried - but by what,
if not by dream? - until
I looked beyond the borders of
our time and space, beyond
the end of our continuum
where is the entrance
into Hades,
a lower quantum world
than earth - but made of earthly stock.

My Eurydice, long fallen
to the quick but agonising 
death of serpant bite (though I,
would sure have sucked the wound
of all its poison gladly - yeah,
until the body rotted -
but they pulled me from her,
using, in the pulling, all their
brute strength) and 
being now in sleep and
in that sleep transported hence,

I used the sweetness in my voice,
to move those Nether Gods,
seduce them if you like,
yeah, beg them
to restore my Eurydice
to health, to me and to our world,
deliver her
again into the flesh,
into that time and space,
the serpent stole
who bit my gentle love.

I sang to them
those Nether Gods
of birds in trees,
of trees beneath the stars,
of stars that sew the night together,
of night as balm for day's mistakes,
day harsh of light
and unforgiving,
forgiveness for us all.

So sweet my voice,
beguiling was my lyre,
the Nether Gods relented -
but said this: I was to lead
my Eurydice
across the void between our worlds
and not look back...
and I, fool that I am,
agreed. For understand
the dangers that we faced were legion:
dragons were there, landslips
and broken force fields,
the Goodrons to be crossed
where gravity can rip
a person's limbs away.

To verify that she, my gentle love,
was safe and well, I did look back
and saw that in the cataclysmic
rending of the sky, my Eurydice
was gone and gone for good.
My world sailed on;
my love, alas, was overboard.

And now these women,
Maenads all, have fallen on me.
These I met a mile or two from home. 
Smug bitches who
were first discourteous to me,
still in my hour of mourning, then,
when I retaliated, gouged out an eye,
began to tear me limb from limb
and will not stop, will not be satisfied
until the last of me is torn to shreds.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Life was

Light and shadows pick out planes,
layers of existence:
some we've left behind
in frock coats, crinolines
and courtly manners; some have found
eternal spring.

Perspectives can confuse:
where life and non-existence meet,
where dust motes that have been around
for aeons poke
the slumbering absences
into a semblance of new life.

For this is where our forbears spoke
of faith and all that lay before
what now are empty seams.
They saw the beauty in the snow,
tasted all the fruits of earth
and would not let the future go.

The prompt was supplied by The Mag. The image is by Andrew Wyeth.

Monday, 27 August 2012

To the Manor Born

Herewith my much delayed report on where I was for a week in early August. Doreen and I, along with two friends, took ourselves off to a place called Cricket St. Thomas near Chard in Somerset. There is a hotel there - The Cricket St Thomas Hotel, surprise, surprise! In fact the hotel is pretty much all there is there. Some of you may have seen the 1970's T.V. series To The Manor Born. The Manor House used for that series (now known as Cricket House) constitutes a third of the hotel, which is actually a series of three buildings spread along a valley and connected by corridors. Cricket House has historic connections, mainly to Lord Nelson. It belonged in turn to the Rodney family (as in Admiral, Lord Rodney), Alexander Hood (second-in-command of the Channel Fleet during the Napoleonic Wars), and his heir Samuel Hood who married Lord Nelson's niece Charlotte. For me, though, the glory of the house was the extensive grounds, which include a series of lakes, a walled garden and a twelfth century church. The gardens are Grade ll-listed (I had thought only buildings could be so classified), mainly in recognition of some wonderful old cedars, maples and yews. Below are a few snaps of trees that caught my eye.

And here examples from a series of sculptures scattered throughout the grounds - mostly of children at play.


Sunday, 26 August 2012

Two Parts of the Road

The slow lane, chock-a-block with elephant,
is grinding to a halt.
He knew the road to take, unrolled it
from his memory and lumbered willingly along.
Alas, in broad daylight, the road as he
remembered it, was sunk in darkest night.
He feels with his proboscis for a way to cross
the little one-lane motorway -
an unexpected obstacle,
something unforseen, a new
addition to the scene. The herd
parks up meanwhile. The M-way's crammed. Log-jammed
from end to end (south-bound and north-)
with hairy wood ants sounding horns
and sweeping all before them with
their headlamps on main beam.

Beside him smokes and snorts a steel-ribbed giant,
an asphalt-laying monster spreading tar
across a wide expanse of rare birds' nests.
One stands indignantly, it's flight path lost
in the confusion. Is it a Unitarian? Can
a world like ours subscribe
to such a doctrine? Or must it, like the road
forever be two parts of what seems like a whole?
A penguin in a great auk mask?
He's traumatised, has flown a dozen sorties 
up and down the motorway, 
but cannot find his lost co-ordinates - 
and creed.
Claudia this week introduces us to Borg de Nobel, a Dutch painter whose work you will find at her website here. I have used her image Two Parts of the Road as a Whole (above, one of several provided for this week's Poetics at dVerse Poets), as my prompt.

Saturday, 25 August 2012


All promises are pie crusts,
nothing more, my Granmama would say -
than things intended to be broken... but meanwhile,
she would add,
 they serve a useful purpose.

To me, they're not so glib,
not pies you said you'd bake,
then failed to keep your word,
unable to deliver.

Think logical
and operator
bits of a computer language:
IF... Then... Else...
So for example:
If man fails to tackle Global Warming
Then the planet will reject him.
Will reject all life.

This is the promise mankind cannot break.

So promises are prophesies.
My Gran and I agreed
in thinking them conditional.
Written for Brian Miller's Theme Thursday prompt.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Mrs Gurney

Arriving early before school -
an hour or so sometimes
to dodge the barricade
and its related ambush -
my heart would sink... the sight
of the familiar buggy - slight-
ly grubby - blocking my way in.
Mrs Gurney come to say
why she is/is not
sleeping with her husband
at this time. And either way
it will be down to Pip. His fault -
and ergo, my responsibility 
to put the matter right!
Occasionally though,
she's there with a complaint.

The art class yesterday...
She's stressed about the patterns
Pip took home - based, he said,
on Chinese characters.
I sends 'im 'ere fer you 
ter teach 'im English, not Chinese!
she fumes - and tears a sheet in two.

Pip soaked in the big storm,
arriving home the water
running from 'is legs! -
he having played for half an hour
at handstans in the puddles.
My job to see he gets home dry -
not just to get him home!

Then when the news got round
that come September I would take
an A-stream class, she baked a cake
to celebrate what she called
my promotion. Iced, and with the words:
With love from Pip and Mrs Gurney

Written for Victoria Slotto's Meeting the Bar : Writing Characters at dVerse Poets

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Class of '51

There! Him - the one not quite in line... I do
remember him - even if his name escapes...
Something of a ragamuffin, never was in line.
Always late. Never properly prepared 
for lessons. Always in disgrace. Rode 

his bike like a madman. Killed
by a Post Office van. Stunning eulogy
the head gave. Declared he was
the finest scholar and the finest
human being he had known.

See there, sat next to him. Red hair,
that sporty type. Ribboned coat -
cricket and rugby football blues -
Head Boy's cap. (Not his, not then. Borrowed!
His would come) Abused by our

new Language chap. His mother found
the letter in his pocket suggesting ...an 
experiment. The dear boy could be  tied
down to the master's bed, wearing
only some new shorts I've bought for you.

Extreme right. Second row Grant Fawley,
cross-country hero. Ran them all feet bound
in bandages. Never ran in shoes.
Years later, though, he turned to sprinting.
Olympic champion, the last I heard.

And next to him, his closest rival,
Jack Shepherdson. The two were overheard
the day before the Inter Schools Athletics match,
sharing out the honours: planning which
events they each would let the other win.

Dead center of the third row, Brian Jane.
He suffered for that name. A boy soprano,
which also didn't help - except it made him
Headmaster's blue eyed boy who took the lead
in Iolanthe and a good few other operas.

Gilbert and Sullivan was dished up
every year at The Baths Hall. The big event,
the highlight of the year and Brian Jane
became as much a star as any one 
turned out by Hollywood. Fireproof was Jane.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

On Coming Comfortably in the Middle.

                                   I've spoken of this earlier.
 Earlier in my life, perhaps.
                How often more is seen
                when eyes are shuttered tight against the light
                than when they're open wide. 

Victor Pasmore put me on to this. *      

                Today I bike raced watching the Olympians.

An amalgamation that, of many from the past.   

                I go to paint the strange experience.

(Not a subject with much promise,
that I know of old.)                   
                                   So close my eyes
                                   and let the lids reflect
                                   what's going on within.

I've not relaxed from earlier.

                                   Still on the bike
                                   the road still spooling out
                                   its endless ribbon.

                And still beneath the hiss
                of tyres, wet tarmac sizzles in the sun.
                Shadows of myself not in my colours
                far off recede or swell nearby.

Nearer than they are.
Further off than in reality.

                                   The closed eyes glaze as if
                                   they're open to the world.

It's lack of concentration, that -
in either mode. Downhill.

                The long descent is undulating.
                This must be close to what a bird feels flying 
                in a flock.

Not something you could paint.
(Do birds crash to the ground if they should touch, the way we bikers do?)

Let's say the race starts here.
                                  So here the poem  starts...
and the experiment begins...
with sunlight - laser-like - beams spinning off the wet road.

I have the image that I came for:
                                  Two cyclists.
                                  Front and rear wheel overlap.
                                  Shadows at right angles.
                                  A geometric patterning.

                The constant circling of the feet is comforting -
but can't paint that.
                                  The road becomes hypnotic.
                                  draws me on.

                                  Team mates pray for victory.
Why do not I?
                The stakes too high, perhaps.

How could I possibly afford
to disprove God?
Eyes open and refuting Him would have been bad enough...
                                  but with eyes closed fast...
ah, that could never be!


Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Three Ways to Go...

He's new you know, a few days only. Still thinking, him!
Not sure of his own mind yet. He's hardly settled out - 
and you can tell. The neat and tidy gear, the short goat's 
growth upon his chin - and turning up each evening 
early for the soup - sometimes an hour or more 
before the kitchen's due. Dead give-away to us, that is!

He'll learn the knack, of course, how to appear
as if by magic from the gloom along with all of us
the very moment that the tureens start to steam.
Just doing what he's doing, looking in the water
hours on end... that aint no good for no one that!
I wonder what he sees in them there murky depths...

My guess is he sees the Monet paintings of the Thames.
He was an art buff not so long ago - well, so he says.
P'raps he sees the beauty of a mist, the glorious
lack  of detail that it gives. You don't want detail
when you're living on the streets! Lots of educated men 
out here. One called Opera reckons that if all the Bibles
in the world were lost tonight, that he could set-to
and redraft the whole of it from memory. Another was
the M.D. of a large firm making motor parts. Most all
have been here months - some years - no chance for them
to find the homeward road one day! Them's moulded to
the ways of our cold world... but him... just days. 
There's still a chance... if only he could snap out  
of his water  dreaming. Not healthy, that. He needs
to take advice from them as knows - and gawd,
there's plenty of them here to give it out! Once
the kitchen comes. that is! You has to listen to
their preaching... price you pays for having soup 
and bread. Some trot the book out, chapter, verse
and every word.But some talk sense. It's knowing which.

Two months ago he had it made. Semi- in the country,
lovely wife and two great kids. Big noise in the city.
Three cars in the garage - the other sort of murk, 
I shouldn't wonder! Stands out a mile he does, him
with all his mooning underneath that bridge. The worry
is he's thinking suicide. That's why this place became
so popular with us and all the likes of us. Trains and 
water, see? Two ways to go. The third one is to freeze,
but who wants that? Give me the water any day.
People think us walking miles and miles. We don't.
We're never far away. You just don't see us, that's the fact.
Written for the image prompt at The Mag

Monday, 20 August 2012

Actaeon and Diana

as a drawn bow
is Actaeon
acting on instinct
leaving the hunt
bowing out
from his man-eating hounds.

Behind him the kill
the blood spill the thrill 
of the chase.
Forsaking them all
and all for the sake
of a soft
warmer shape
a quite different scent
an incense
a worshipful sense
which he finds
more alluring.

But none of this yet
is a physical kick
not an earthly bouquet
not an essence of flesh
and wild flowers.

The senses are making no sense.
An ether has entered his head
a virtual tease
something to please 
an old god.
So Actaeon stumbles along
lost in the forest
and lost in mind.

Soon in his head
the odour is joined
by a sound.
Water is  falling
somewhere around:
water like laughter
and laughter like water -
there's water and laughter
falling together,
their volumes and sounds 
buried deep in each other.

Think of him now 
as a stem 
in the dark underbelly 
of earth.
Think of him blind,
in the sway of a force 
that controls half the mind,
leads him on
to a light that
as yet he can't see. 

But now he's the force
as he forces a way
through the thick undergrowth
with the strength of a man
out of touch.

Such a force, he breaks through
as he hacks at thick vines
to be blinded again
in a quite different way
by a light that engulfs,
near swamps, his brain.

Vision and sight and light ever-
lasting at last!
A switch has been thrown. 
The change is from inner
to earthly encounter.

The laughter 
like water
spills from plump nymphs
attending their goddess,
Diana the virgin,
the huntress who bathes
in water like laughter.

Cascades all around
replenish the pool
with its rocks like a throne
on which she reclines
as naked as any rock
he's ever known.

The nymphs 
crowd their queen,
attempting to screen from 
his gaze what must not be seen.

Too late!
His eyes have locked on
with a gaze that
she feels like an arrow.
The arrow she fires in return
is a missile that robs him of speech.
How else to protect
the secrets he's seen,
the mysteres locked
in her nakedness?
He's condemned 
to a life without speech
a silence profound
and beyond that endured
by many a monk
or anchorite.

Now Actaeon plays along well,
believes he can 
yet beat the curse,
plays it dumb - 'til the sound
of the hunting horn reaches his ears
and impulse wins out.
He responds with his call -
then bites his tongue.
Too late, yet again:
the sad deed is done.
For Actaeon now 
all action 
flows out of remorse.
He runs through the forest
to melt in the trees
and rejoin the hunt.
Diana's ill humour
has followed him there.

Thirsty, he stoops 
to drink from a brook
sees in the water,
reflected from him,
half- human, half-finished
a stag's head with antlers
with streaks here and there
of the way that one day
humanity might be washed out. 
He watches 
more changes take place.

Startled at first,
he composes himself,
then stands 
like a stag on four feet
as the hounds fall 
upon him,
drawing blood by the pint.
They have not seen 
in the half-and-half beast
their old lord and leader. 
They tear at his flesh.
His heart, lungs and gut,
eyes, face and tongue,
are shredded
or strewn on the ground.

Sunday, 19 August 2012


Season of high colour
born  of the golden sun
afloat  on azure seas,
veiled times by white tulle shreds
lest heat become too great.

All summer long we praise
the season that can tease
tints in bright abundance
from boring dark brown earth:
red roses waving, flags

of glorious blue, the
yellow honeysuckle -
and out to play, insects
in party dress, while birds
scrawl patterns in the sky.

How have we taken you
for granted? Not this year!
This year you've shown your sull-
en face: incessant rain
has beaten down the flags

and decimated bees.
Cold winds have bade blooms
stay 'neath the parapets.
My favourite birds
all caught the early flight.
Written to the prompt "Summer" by ManicDDaily in Poetics at dVerse Poets

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Saddleworth Moor

Hi all, and good to be back, even though a day or two later than intended. Thanks for all your good wishes. I had intended for this morning a short post about my recent break, but over breakfast I was struck by what seemed to me an eerie photograph of two soft toys on a wire fence on Saddleworth Moor. This, of course, in connection with the renewed hope of finding the body of Keith Bennett, the only one of the four child victims not to have been found. All four were tortured, abused, murdered and buried there forty eight years ago. I was so struck by this that over breakfast I sketched out the following poem.
Two Soft Toys

Looking lost
not elegaic,
hung on a wire fence
like victims themselves,
their forms are limp
heads bowed towards earth
as if they know
from bitter experience
how cruel the moors can be.

And was it the moor, perhaps
did this to them? Did
they start out like any
child tribute, expressing
the virtues we give to our young:
innocence, hope and a sense of fun -
not to mention our incomprehension
at the death of but one?

Or are they heads down
searching the ground
in the hope of finding Keith's grave?
Don't judge by appearance.
However they're looking - neglected
maltreated, lost, lonely, afraid
or weird and uncanny -
they're two of the angels,
they symbolise light.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Two Poems

Sometimes the idea of a thing
is better than the thing itself.

Truth is a case in point.

Sometimes the thing itself
is better than our thought of it.

Truth is a case in point.

From truth, the ultimate commodity,
the challenge is,
not knowing it for what it is,
but knowing what to do with it.


and the sea kicks up.
believes it Autumn.
My mind, excited,
rares to go,
one with the waves
where I cannot follow.
Wishing the ocean
swelling beneath me,
driftwood the thoughts
tumbled and spun,
waves barrelling in.


I am now intending to take a few days off, to clear the mind of blogs and blogging for a bit. Not sure when I will return - probably late next week. Happy times to you all meanwhile - and thanks for your continued, and much valued, support.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Dead to the World

The always-locked gate swinging wide.
And, unattended for a while,
small Eleanor is drawn towards
the path beyond, the song of birds,
the scent of flowers beckoning.
A whole new world to toddle in.

Eleanor loves red hot pokers,
the adults said when they returned -
and made for them, to start the search.
By the beds. Along the borders.
Among the trees and in the pond.
Not one discovered trace of her.

Back to the house to summon help,
and there, beside the open gate,
Eleanor stretched out, her hands and
face mud-covered, scratched; her white dress
faintly smeared with blood; both feet bare,
and she, dead to the world - asleep.
I went to Imaginary Garden with Real Toads to post a poem to their Open Link Monday. Instead, their image of an open gate with a garden beyond suggested the above poem.

Monday, 6 August 2012

What to write?

What to write
when I've no idea
what to write?

What to write
when the words I write
do not see eye to eye?

Who can I ask
what I should write,
and who might know?

Good souls abound
with great ideas
for written words.

But the words themselves
might have some thoughts.
Old hands at this,

they've been around,
know where they fit
and how they sound,

how apt they are
in any milieu
for any theme.

Choose a word
or choose a theme
and they'll fall in

one by one
or in twos or threes
choosing themselves -

and watch for the nudge
or the friendly wink
conscripting a friend -

who'll say what you think,
and all with the roles
of troops we'll send

to alien lands
with foreign tongues,
giving little thought

and only a few
standing orders,
rules of engagement

and a rule of thumb,
but never a word
on how to survive.

We lose their trust
with unfeeling ways
and wonder why

they've deserted us
and where they've gone
from our lonely pens.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Hands on History

"Left foot up and on the peg,
both eyes looking straight ahead!"
"The right foot is your forward thrust."
"Gather speed then up you fly
and sail into the saddle."

Such advice, coming in from all quarters,
is often contradictory,
but not in this case - though perhaps
it lacked a little all-inclusiveness.

Seemed simple to a boy like me
whose great delight was boarding moving buses.
Tough to spot the difference, I thought -
apart from a few cusses.
Unknown to me back then, the phrase
"at breakneck speed" had first been coined
by penny farthing riders.

A member of our local touring club,
passionate collector of old bikes,
one Sunday in each year invited us
to share and ride his treasures.

So now, I'd followed all the good advice,
but still it didn't feel like flying
as I made it to the saddle -
nor sailing come to that!
And once ensconced the thought occurred:
no one had mentioned balance. Why was that?
Instinct told me what I knew -
steer into the wobble.
Then instinct played it dumb,
forgot to add: don't lean. I leant.

My good friends rescued me,
and for a bit I was content
with "left foot up and on the peg"
to scoot the thing along.
I guess I would have stuck to that,
but didn't see the slope ahead,
and couldn't scoot that fast.

Next time I had the beating of the beast.
I steered into the wobble, didn't lean -
and waited for the big machine
to come up straight again.

Imagine someone used to riding
Derby winners, thrown up on an elephant.
It seemed an age we lumbered on
before it knew I'd turned the bars.

Another piece of missing info'
concerned the getting off!
To slow, I knew to pedal backwards,hard
and braking all the time.
But after that, what then
for someone in the stratosphere
without a parachute?

I made it to a lamp-post and shinned down.
Written for Brian Miller's Poetics - His'tory, Her Story and Time Machines at dVerse ~ Poets' Pub
The image is from Wikepedia

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Emma : A Picture Poem

The drawings given below are not Emma's original, but copies from it by me. They are as faithful as I could make them.

First Emma drew her mother.

Then Emma drew her father.

Then Emma drew her younger brother.

After which Emma drew Emma.

After much thought Emma scribbled Emma out.
To that point in time it was
and for a long time afterwards remained
her most eloquent statement.

Amendment to note above: while I am basically happy that the drawings are faithful to Emma's original, that does not apply to the scribble. I was no match for Emma as a scribbler. Nobody was!


Friday, 3 August 2012

Whatever flicks your needle...

Written for Think Tank Thursday #108 Compass at Poets United

"Compass truth, dad!" you'd say, and I
not comprehending what you meant.
You would have picked it up
at Sea Scouts, that's for sure.
"Compass truth"! It had me puzzled, lad.

You wouldn't say. You wouldn't or you couldn't
tell me what was in your mind. This compass truth,
what were the points of it. And then you said:
"It's where the needle points..." Of course it was,
but was it some much finer, more exotic truth?

Well, no, magnetic truth
was never really looked-for truth.
What-you-see-is-all-there-is, the saying goes -
and very often goes, these days. It's all the rage.
The looked-for truth can not be found. We have
the means to get within a few degrees of it.

The needle is our guru. It points
as close as we can get. It is enough.
I understood that far, but never knew
the truth of you. What flicks your needle, dad?"
you asked me once. "What keeps it pointing true?"
I had no better answer than had you.

I thought of this this morning, striking camp
our gear stowed fore and aft around the bags
we have for buoyancy, then those first paddle strokes
and out towards the groaning bergs. Exciting stuff!
And then the mist descending as I heard your voice:
"The needle's going crazy, dad!" you said.

"What flicks your needle?" had new resonance
with something impish - evil even - flicking ours.
Instinct, I thought. It's instinct of a kind. Inborn,
but honed in life by consequence
reiterated time and time again, by
the magnetic pull of those we make our heroes, by
the finer thoughts and deeds of those we meet
at home, in books, in art and in the street.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Cold Calling

It had the makings
of a nothing day.

there being just the two of us,
with nothing much to do
but curl up on the sofa
watching Wiggo grab his gong,*
it had the makings of
a day of passing beauty.

the 'phone would not stop ringing.
Cold callers all
and not one of them a real live person, all
dialling robots, so no point
in yelling
turning the air bright blue
or being rude.

Medical malpractices.
Financial packages mis-sold to us.
Change of gas supplier.
The Government is worried about the likes of me!
(I'm worried about the likes of me -
as anyone like me is bound to be)
Culpable Accidents (sic).
Their records show:
a lorry knocked me off my bike...
True. But that was sixty years ago!

I'd really like to know...
Tell me if you can,
How do you spend
a beautiful day -
just the two of you -
with the likes of them?

*Wiggins win the gold medal in the road cycling time trial.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012


In fetid sewers below the city
the rats were mutating out of their skins.
Something had flicked a genetic switch -
and not, as an onlooker might have supposed,
the button to self-destruct.

Generations flew by
in the blink of an eye.
(The fruit fly was never so quick.)

Folks spoke of body clocks running amok
and totally out of control,
of rats on hind legs built like oaks
standing in serried rows,
of uniformed rats in tunic and trews
in crimson and lemon or turquoise hues.

Where their hair was formerly black or dun
they bristled with regimental pride.

From a casual look, you might not have seen
that the rats were now as blind as bats
with a bat-like capability
to "ping" themselves around.

From pops and pips, from pings and clicks
they'd evolved a grammar of sight.
No visual cortex had ever before
been battered by so much noise.
We could only have dreamt of the pictures they saw
had not an artist among them "seen"
and translated their world into paint.
(So different this one world, for them and for us!)
Another was doing the same to the walls -
graffiti alive and living well,
deep in the bowels of the earth.

A group in the corner was writng a play,
on a word-by-word basis inventing the forms
as symbols for now of their speech -
the lost gift of literature back in the world.

A guy like a colonel was making new tools;
two or three in a corner were planting out seeds
in beer crates containing a great range of muck.
One had a robot powered by heat
pumped straight from a coal fire in the brain.

Our experts said
that what we saw
was Nature lining up
THE NEXT BIG THING to take our place
when finally we've gone -
but that of course, was well before
the great flood drowned them all.

I am linking this to dVerse Poets' OpenLink Night #55