The onions always made you cry, In ev’ry fry-up, soup, and pie – But that’s what onions do, I guess, They leave all chefs in such a mess. And so you had to drop them out From roasted duck and sauteed trout – You didn’t trust, as master cook, They way they always made you look.
Instead, you turned to garlic, And gazed beyond shallots and springs – Your eyes no longer marked by onion rings. You tossed the cloves in thick, Undaunted by my teasing quips – “Is this to stop me kissing other lips ?” Until, at once, you were gone – You said it was for a breath of fresh air, To peel back the layers of life and see what’s there. And yet, you linger on – It’s been three days and a dozen beers, Yet still I taste your garlic in my tears.
A T-Rex guarded the first hole, As we played a round by the beach – Over the hump and round the bend With a club and a scorecard each. Fibreglass limestone hemmed the links With fossil ammonites – Were coccoliths in the little stream To lay down chalky whites ? Triceratops was present, of course, And deinonychus too – We admired her feathers as we let Another pair play through. The rough was an abandoned nest – The eggs gave a tricky lie. A pterosaur looks unimpressed As my ball refused to fly The sauropod was on the small size, Barely bigger than a car, And the microraptor was suitably dinky, As I came in over par. But the twelfth showed the first sign of trouble, As a chill draught blew through the swamp To shake the early magnolias, As I teed-off with a whomp. The fifteenth had a river of lava Splitting the fairway in half – I was so busy taking my shot, I forgot To take a photograph. The seventeenth was watched by several shrews, To no concern. They looked-on patiently as we played, Content to wait their turn. And then, crowning the final hole, Was a crater upon the green – Only a metre across, but still, Here comes the Paleogene… As we finished our round at the end of the world, It felt like the nick of time – Then back to the seagulls along the Prom, And an ice-age ninety-nine.
Vasily and Stanislav, Though really their names don’t matter to us, And how many others we’ll never hear of – Remember their actions, but don’t make a fuss. No statues raised, and that’s how it should be, They aren’t special, they’re just good men Who held their nerve and held their breath Until it was safe to breathe agen. They did their jobs, and did them well, And gently reinserted the pin. They passed the test and lived to tell, And took their reprimands on the chin.
Cowes, atop the Isle of Wight – East and West, though much the same – Victorian and seaside-y, With boats and seagulls running free. And not a single cow in sight – No running of the bulls – for shame ! No fording droves between the piers, No cowboys showing off their steers. And don’t come here in Cowes Week, right ! It doesn’t live up to its fame ! It’s not the time when bullocks battle, Not a trace of rutting cattle. Why then whet our appetite, To wastes its strange and lively name ? There are no bovine sacrifices, Just cream teas at tourist prices.
I know, I know, despite a spine of rolling chalk downs through the Island, Cowes itself sits atop clay…
Women have answered to ‘Jenny’ far longer than ‘Jennifer’, Whether they’re maidens or maids – A pet form of Janet, Joanna, or even Siobhan, She’s really a jack-of-all-trades. Old English had a few Jinifers, sure, But those weren’t Guiniveres, those were Junipers – Then, from nowhere, Jennifer came – From Cornwall, and from a parallel universe.
As the Twentieth Century progressed, The Jennies were pressed into service And switched their allegiance to Jennifer only, And rode her success to over-abundance – Then into the downward curve of redundancy, No longer heroines, neighbours, or queens – But surely we’ll always remember the Jennies, As wrens, or as donkeys, or spinning machines.
The English tongue is a toolkit To unlock those very English sounds In a well-oiled perfect fit. The Scots and Welsh have tongues that sit At a slightly diff’rent angle each So’s not to mangle all those subtle bits of brogue That abound within their speech. Americans are yet more rogue, Dismissing our metric metre For their own iambic feet and inches – They prefer their rhotic burr to ring, With a tongue that sounds the sweeter And a throat that swells and pinches Fine enough to let it sing. But none of we Anglophones are great At sounding French, or Japanese – We haven’t the tools we need for these. And that’s okay – we still can try, And even if we’re second-rate, There’s no need to be shy. The thing is, no two individual tongues Are contoured quite the same They vary how they’re ribbed and strung, And where they set their aim. So if we were to slur your foreign name next time we call, It’s just because our tongues are curled the other way, that’s all.
The Impressionists, they started it – The deliberate eschewing of the details of the waterlilies, Slapping on the sunflowers, slacking and half-arsing it, The barmaid blurred by beer-goggles, shorn of intimates and frillies. The Modernists just loved the concept, Loved the new permissiveness to never bother with the hard parts, Far too busy writing manifestos, or just overslept, To ever stoop to spend the years to learn the graft behind the arts. Ah, I guess they have their fans, these Abstract-ists of vapour – And not just money-launderers or the Commie-fighting CIA – Some might look alright in advertising, or as wallpaper, When tossed-off in an afternoon of dribbles, nudes and squelching clay. But then, the public never get to choose who shall be fruitful, For we must take whichever trends the critics shall annoint. It’s just…I want my art as something rare and something beautiful, And not a random find, or shocking ugly, just to make a point.
The square, so rigidly unnatural, Yet so simple and un-tangled, So well-disciplined and fractal, So right-thinking, so right-angled. Mondrian painted ’em, Architects plotted ’em, Tiled mosiacs are full of the things ! And once you get square eyes, You’ll never stop spotting ’em – Vinyl in albums and boxing in rings. Hexagons are limestone pavements, Benzene rings and honeycombs – But perfect squares are wholly vacant In our planet’s chromosomes. Salt crystals, maybe – But they’re cubic, see, They’re not 2-D. The cool kids may call us old-fashioned, un-hip, Compared to their curvier looseness-of-grip, But it never bothered me. Sure, I’ll be a square, I’ll tessellate, I’m not afraid – I’ll keep my boarders parallel and straight, And human-made.
Too far North, and barely notice, North, yet swimming in the seas – Where beaches should be icy-cold, There’s ice creams, tans, and mushy peas. There’s little snowfall on the coast As far as even Sixty-North, And days of t-shirt weather stretch For far beyond the Firth of Forth
It’s crazy how the ocean brings The Caribbean to the Clyde, While closer to the Pole than even Fuego is on the other side, And Trondheim firmly basks within Antarctic latitudes, Yet broadleafs line the verdant fjords To show their gratitude.
And not just warmth arrives all year, but rain – And rain it is, not snow – So Western Europe only works because Its crops and people grow. Too far North, and that’s the beauty, Norther than we’ve any right, When Winter Moons are long above And Summer Suns last half the night.
Pop – music for optimistics, Music for singing at two ayem. Vinyl that wears its gist on its sleeve, And makes us believe in them each times we play them. Sure, we may attempt to rebel, Claiming to be serious nerds, But when we hear its tempo swell, We find we still know all the words. Cos pop music is just so poppy, Music for yelling “There’s no-one can stop me !” It’s music for happiness, Music for crying to, Brings out our best when it’s not even trying to.
Pop – music for earworm farmers, Music for dancing the daily commute. It pierces our armour, it captures our cortex, Deep down in the vortex and never be mute. Our parent, they don’t get it, Just as their folks never did, And we likewise just can’t credit What is turning-on our kids. But keep the upbeat up, we’ve learned, For ballads and minor keys have to be earned. Some say it’s artifice, Some say it’s cash – A flash in the pan, they insist – but oh, what a flash !