Thursday 11 April 2024

The fall

Like a blushing timebomb it parachutes
when its time is up. It is dying already.

Its brittle skin and ice hardened arteries
map a spiral of luminous decay.

This show of futile gallows defiance
should be a warning to all of us

and yet we praise the dissolute beauty
the sang-froid of its gaudy silk waistcoat.

This hostage to gravity has lost its grip.
After the fall, its final ignominy

is to end up as sullen pavement slush
an inconvenience, a broken hip

Wednesday 20 March 2024



Happiness is fading as the nearly sun
throws its half-light across the garden.
Invisible pressures form our horizon
like the bars of an open prison.
This seeping greyness will persist for days.
The sun came out briefly. It’s raining now.
We have a word for it – semi-shade.
Many words. it is our Eskimos’ snow.
Our only certainty is ambiguity.
How do we feel? ‘Oh, not bad’, ‘you know’.
Shipping forecasts map our moods –
‘New low moving across Southern Faroes’.
Summer is a friend who promises to visit
so fleeting that we might miss it.

Tuesday 12 September 2023

No net

for JJ


In the shadows before caffeine and light

Strange creatures assemble in black coats

On the wrong side of the city, at night


Bending the darkness with their sweet notes

They astonish with their lines and chords

They lend us poetry without words


They are the rule-breakers, almost foolhardy

See them skip recklessly across the wire

Throw shapes with their shadow puppetry


Or pass their bare skin through the fire

We admire the illusion. Is it trickery?

Fortune favours those who are brave


They know, with mathematical certainty

When to push, when to hold back with their art

Their artistry has no boundaries


We’re not like them. We could not scale the height

Of these sky dancers. See them gamble with eternity

In deep cellars, where candles are burned


They are the poets of the cold, thin air
They fill the darkness with their luminous sound
They need no net. They know that one is there.



Thursday 27 July 2023



Tomorrow sharp showers will break like pencils
A popstar will die. The rivers will flow.
Light will break. Two friends will argue.
Trees will burn – they are plotting against us.

The weather map will turn pink.
A shamed film star will be cleared.
Rivers will ask us questions.
A lying person will be truthful.

The flames reared up. We cut down trees with chainsaws.
The mountain exploded. The soil blew away.
We sealed the borders. The airports were closed.
A country starved. Some deaths will not be mourned

Saturday 25 March 2023

Bojo Maximus


Write a column, buy a pup
Sign a treaty, rip it up

Look serious in A and E
Like you're making history

All that's decent you can shreddit
Shift the blame and take the credit

Increase deniability
By lying with sincerity

Play the joker have a laugh
Posing for a photograph

There was no party, wasn't me
I was in the lavatory!

For a country based on greed
Eton boys are what you need

Tug you forelock, bend your knee
When you give your vote, you see

Getting rich is the first rule
Not for you,for me you fool

Friday 17 March 2023

A poem of two halves

That summer I upped my skills, big time
My similes were giving me grief
So I hunted down fresh imagery
Like a spear hunter on a coral reef

Each morning, in the dark, was a victory
knocking new poems out of the park
My rhyming couplets were legendary

See, I had an awareness of the wider game
Allegory, allusion, alliteration
Litotes – he plays for Leicester City

I was flying, bruv. No one could catch me
One day, a scout knocks on the door
And asks to see my mum and dad
He says he’s heard about this lad

Who is subverting poetry, could he have look?
Maybe there was a place for me in a new book
It was a really exciting anthology

I still have to practice my keepy-uppy
To get to this level, you don’t go gently
Now I am driving a brand new Bentley



Tuesday 14 March 2023

Bread and circuses


What would it be like without Lineker

The gladiator turned commentator?

The stifled cries of caged animals

Gave the restless crowd no answer.

The blue lid of the roofless arena

Was an empyrean. A vulture circled

Lazily. The bird was in no hurry.

Scavengers do not honour the dead.

A painted sign intrigued those who were there

‘Enjoy Walkers crisps’, it said.

The ball was pleasingly spherical –

Certainly an improvement on last year.

Eleven players a side, all human

Covered the field of play effectively.

Their movements were graceful.

A small, wiry man, more agile than the rest

Weaved like a shuttle, in intricate patterns.

He was the best. The crowd groaned

As a javelin pierced his chest.

Time was stretched. The crowd held its breath.

A sabre flashed. His severed head

Dropped neatly to the floor.

The astonished crowd breathed out.

Its sigh curdled into a blood roar.

Grace had been shown in death.

Honour had been satisfied.

As the bronzed Linker would have said

If he had been there.

Only blue and red of the arena

Would satiate them today.

The vulture, an eye’s blink away

Caught the rising scent of fresh gore.