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Thursday 30 September 2010

Night Woods - and Haiku #275

Another of my "mixed media" efforts.

Germany pays up
this Saturday - it clears its debt
for the first World War.

Wednesday 29 September 2010

Haiku #274

Forget about legs,
legs that go on for ever,
it's arms boys look at.

Tuesday 28 September 2010

Haiky #273

Among "most often left"
Cable's book on the recession -
in Travelodge Hotels

Monday 27 September 2010

Haiku #272

An old English sheep dog
says Ann Widdecombe of the Pope --
no Rottweiller he.

Sunday 26 September 2010

The Wolf on Red Riding Hood - and Her Gran : Plus Haiku #271 (As overheard on the Poetry Bus)

Ably driven this week by Rachel Fox to whom much thanks.

It definitely was the red,
I know what did it. Girls in red?
I've no defence, I'm finished. Done.
(My mum would tell me to "watch out
for girls dressed all in red - they're out
for only one thing, them." Thanks mum,
I'd think, I'll sure remember that!)
And then there were her kinky boots...
(Not mum's, of course. Red Riding Hood's.)
They're guaranteed to work me up,
no sweat. So all in all, she looked
the sort who'd heat up for a bloke
who'd put the frighteners on her.
(Just a touch, that is. Nothing too --
what shall I say? - extreme. Know what
I mean?) So there's me faking it,
like reality's gone out of
fashion while our backs were turned,
not telling her, not letting on --
first this, then that, about her gran.
Warming her up nicely, thanks, and
wondering if I should tell her --
if that would be to shoot one line
too many -- what a goer her
old Gran turned out to be, and how...
when in roars this mad hatchet man
like, well, he's just cleared out Hell's crypt...
So then, I'm out of there, and tout
de suit
an' all! And very sweet
it could have been. Still, must stay a
touch positive. Some new chat-
lines came from it: like those big eyes,
big ears and stuff. They should all prove
more grist to my voracious mill.
Roll on the next dame dressed in red!

They're on the war path.
Spanish Grandparents might strike --
and bring Spain to a stop.

Saturday 25 September 2010

Haiku #270

They're burning energy
relaxing and chilling out --
exhausting for the brain

Friday 24 September 2010

Haiku #269

five, six languages
to learn for the Olympics -
London cab drivers.

Wednesday 22 September 2010

The Beauty of the Old Technologies - and Haiku #268

In my recent whimsical post on our five day break to Clevedon (here) I included a threat to return to the subject in more serious vein. Ah, you thought you'd escaped? Not so, this is it.

I had not visited that part of the country -- the English side of the Severn above Weston-super-Mare -- before, and knew practically nothing about it. I am not a great fan of piers, but my first reaction on seeing the pier at Clevedon was one of admiration for its elegance. (My title is not intended to take anything from the new technologies, incidentally.) Later, much later, I would discover that I was in good company, for Sir John Betjeman had said of it that in his opinion it was the most beautiful pier in England. I, however, am sticking to my accolade of elegant. That seems to be to be the most fitting adjective. I was also told that it is the oldest, but have not been able to confirm that. However, all the piers (there are still over 70 in England) were built within a very short space of time and so none are appreciably older or younger than any other. It is, though, England's only fully intact Grade 1 listed pier.

Naturally, Bill -- one of the two friends accompanying us -- and I decided to explore the pier. We paid our dues at the toll house/gift shop and walked out onto the boards. These, we immediately noticed were inset with small brass plaques at regular intervals bearing names and detail. Obviously sponsors of some sort. To one side were information boards, one of which gave details of the pier's construction, and, it seemed to me, partly explained its elegance. (I say partly, because much credit must also be given to the designer for the proportions of the spans.) They

and much of the supporting structure were constructed from second hand railway lines purchased from Isambard Kingdom Brunel. For the spans, the rails, which were U-shaped, were used in pairs and welded together on their open sides as shown in my sketch. Where they were used for fixing they were welded at the base of the U. There are eight of these spans making the pier is nearly 750 feet long.
I didn't discover the full story behind the brass plaques until after we had returned home. In October 1970 the insurance company insisted that the spans be subjected to stress testing, during which spans 7 and 8 collapsed and the pier fell into disuse. The local authority decided that they wanted to demolish it, but a vigorous campaign was launched to save it, supported by Sir John Betjemen and culminating in the sponsored planks referred to above. There are 10,000 of these.

There is very little on the pier. No entertainments. Just a cafe at the far end and one level up. Seats down either side - the backs of which form the only barrier, and so there are notices to adults in charge of children that it would be dangerous to allow them to climb on the seats - as if that is not obvious! It is popular with anglers (of course) and from the very end it is possible to see the new and new old Severn Bridges. On the day we were there the newest (and nearest) showed up dark against the background whilst the further - and older - bridge was catching the sun and appeared through the suspension in somewhat ghostly fashion.

It might have happened
that crossing of The Red Sea
the computers say

Tuesday 21 September 2010

Tanka Time Again

Tentacles and all,
he'll baptize any alien.
Beings all have souls,
says the Pope's astronomer-
But first they must request it.

Monday 20 September 2010

Tanka Time

To pledge undying love
hearts and names carved on your tree
are thought too passe now.
Instead, fix padlocks to your bridge
then throw away the key.

Sunday 19 September 2010

Haiku #267

Italy - zero
at the Venice Film Festival -
will choose next year's judges

Saturday 18 September 2010

Last Orders on The Poetry Bus - as was!

Totalfeckineejit emergency relief driver for this week, has asked us along for a ride through the last of the summer's wine. Glad to join the merry throng. At least, that is what I thought I'd read on his blog, but nw I'm reading something v ery different on Delusions of Adequacy. Seems there's been another change of driver. Too late, friends, the die be cast. Here, for better or for worst, my contribution.

Last Orders

Summer's called Last Orders
and lined them up for us:
three of her finest rose-
heads blown off by the wind.

She laid them on the earth
we carried them indoors
to drinking tables, there
to set them in a bowl,
floating on clear water -
our tributes to a life
that's passed or passing on.
They're on the house we hear,
and to remember me.

The bushes still have buds
and flowers still bright red -
more bottles on the shelf.
Maybe tomorrow we...
For now we'll drink ours down
for soon she's calling Time!

Haiku #266

After all, they'll not
scrap hospital parking fees -
for your sake, they'll stay

Friday 17 September 2010

Haiku #265

Owls in sharp decline?
Songbirds changing their habits?
Blame the light pollution.

Thursday 16 September 2010

Watercolour : Wisley Gardens

A bit of an experiment, this one. A view of the Royal Horticultural Society Gardens at Wisley. Watercolour.

Haiku #264

Out of action again folks - cataract operation. Best I can do for now!

They affect your brain
as if you were watching porn --
money-off offers.

Wednesday 15 September 2010

Haiku #263

Hot chilli peppers --
harmless-looking chocolate sweets
approach with great care

Tuesday 14 September 2010

Haiku #262

The words in your thoughts --
they're learning to decode them
using brain scans.

Monday 13 September 2010

Haiku #261

Tony Blair was warned --
not news perhaps for some of us --
Iraq illegal

Sunday 12 September 2010

The Poetry Bus -- and Haiku #260

(Not sure about this - only just gotten around to it. Dragonfly asked for a poem on a colour.)


Most likely colour to disappoint
when decorating a room
but get it right, it will lift your heart --
the colour of sun and moon.

Most likely colour to disappear
in some of its manifestations.
Some hues will fade as flowers in spring
but amber outlasts our adorations.

A colour to savour, a colour that smiles,
a pigment to mix with the brightest and best --
as autumn does, as oranges do.
A beauty of nature, made manifest.

There are yellows more luscious than purples on popes
when adorning the female form
and blessed is the soul that wakes to its light
when it bathes the whole world at the dawn.

There are flowers like the jonquil --
a powerhouse, you'll find --
so blushingly bright...
even seen by the blind.

Frenchmen admitting
themselves a shade below par --
that's in the bedroom

Saturday 11 September 2010

Clevedon Break and Haiku #259

Normal service has not lasted for long, I fear. This week is much taken care of with hospital trips, a cataract operation, a 70th birthday celebration and other affairs of state and family.

Here for now, three photographs taken on our recent break with friends. We stayed in a hotel in Clevedon and had rooms looking across the nine miles or so of the Seven estuary to the south coast of Wales. Unbelievably, we had good weather. I have chosen - for speed as much as anything - three notices which caught my eye. Please do click to enlarge if you cannot read the notices! The last image - which chronologically should have been first - worried and amused me. It was about twenty feet, I should guess, below our bedroom windows. The lower photograph is of the Abbot's Fish Pond at Glastonbury Abbey. I just wondered what sort of fish he kept there.

(Oh, and if you hadn't guessed, the guy on the rocks is yours truly - he fell getting off. Went quite a smacker!)

Those owing most tax
will get the least time to pay --
Tax democracy

Friday 10 September 2010

Haiku #258

Rebuilding the wall
Potsdam property owners
keep out the riff-raff

Thursday 9 September 2010

Haiku #257

This one's really me. Normal service has been resumed.

Cleavages don't help
in ninety seconds they decide -
bosses at interview

Wednesday 8 September 2010


Nothing succeeds for ever
there must come an end
and the end must be a success
and for ever
for beyond the success of the end
or its failure
lies - in both senses
lies - the unthinkable
a tear in the fabric
where a new theory of gravity
may be played on a violin.

It is a failure of the universe
to become universal
a giant who stands in the way
an ogre
from whom there is no escape
for the mind.

It swallows the mind
all passions
successes and failures
and spits them out as they ever were
and for ever.

If ever so much as a mouse
should escape the colossus
the grand implausibility
and scuttle on by it
all logic and art
religion and science
all fear and distress
and all earthly balms
even heaven itself
would collapse
and for ever.

My hope
and yours the hope
of mankind
is pinned to that mouse
if only because
it has not read the script.

Normal service should resume tomorrow

Haiku #256

Moles are burying
destabilising gravestones -
Mansfield cemetery

Tuesday 7 September 2010

Haiku #255

Google's warning us
our data's at risk on the web -
we're screen-fixated

Monday 6 September 2010

Haiku #254

they've zapped the genome -
so healthier, crunchier
juicier apples... yeah?

Sunday 5 September 2010

You may not think this funny

I saw it in the Mail a few day ago. By Emma Messenger.

Many women find themselves virtual widows thanks to their husbands all-consuming hobby. But pity the wife in Japan whose engineer husband devotes his spare time to calculating the value of PI and has just broken the world record by by working it out to five trillion places. The previous record was 2.7 trillion. For the rest of us, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter is 3.14. Shigeru Kondo achieved this feat on a home computer he built for a cost of £11,550. It took the machine 90 days to complete the arithmetic, though there were some tense moments - including (and here comes the unfunny bit!) the Kondos's daughter fusing the electrics with a hairdryer.

Boo hoo, alas, alack and shame, I and my (not so) trusty computer are to be parted for a few days. I have left stuff scheduled and will try to read any comments left, but replying will be problematic. Normal Service to be resumed as soon as possible.

Saturday 4 September 2010

Haiku #253

grain thieves said Mao
then pardoned the tree sparrow
for eating all the pests.

Friday 3 September 2010

Haiku #252

Don't call them Honey,
Sweetheart, Darling, love or Pet --
women hate them all

Thursday 2 September 2010

Waterfall in Barcelona - and Haiku #251

Painted a couple of years ago from sketches made in a park in Barcelona. It is watercolour strengthened with some body colour.

Haiku  #251
No snaps of mum and dad
no more albums in the attic
now they've gone digital

Wednesday 1 September 2010

Wry Smile - and Haiku #250

Two articles together in my newspaper this morning: one reporting that if you don't sleep well you're for an early death - especially men; the other with the information that drinking one cup of coffee every day will see you through a long and healthy life. I could not help but wonder what if you sleep badly and drink a coffee every day... what then?

Their plan: a wrapper
to stop your choc' bar melting --
even in the sun.