The Groaning Trencher

from a listing on AliExpress

The Groaning Trencher

Sometimes, Burns Night falls on the second New Moon,
And that marks a brand New Year –
So the neeps and the cock-a-leekie share the serving spoon
As the beansprouts and riceballs appear.
From the docks of Kowloon to the mists of Brigadoon,
It all goes in the haggis, and the bamboo pipes the tune –
As we all sup together, from Scotland Yard to Scone,
In a typhoon of tartan cheer.
Now me, I am just a Sassenach poltroon
From the billabongs of Perth to the snows of Saskatoon –
But a shortbread in my green tea on a global afternoon,
And the paddy-fields of glens are very near.

Can I just say what a wonderfully weird experience it is to hear someone read Address to the Haggis in an unapologetically RP accent ?

Thousand-Year Stare

Photo by cottonbro studio on Pexels.com

Thousand-Year Stare

They sculpted each immortal bust
As patient as the coming rust –
And when our steel has turned to dust,
They’ll still be standing here.
They’re made from prehistoric shells,
Once crushed in subterranic Hells,
Then thrust back up on mantel swells,
For millions of years.
Their flinty eyes have seen it all,
Our might kingdoms rise and fall,
From city states to urban sprawl,
For long as time allows.
These statues gaze their stoic stares,
Untroubled by our fleeting cares,
Just waiting for erosion’s airs
To smooth their stony brows.

Brass Neck

An amended image from the original computer modelling by Darren Naish & Donald Henderson.

Brass Neck

All mammals can swim,
Or least, can float,
Just paddle each limb
And be the boat.
It may be slow,
And lacking grace,
But it lets them row
To a dryer place.

Even the elephant,
Hedgehog, or bat,
Even the fattest
Or scardiest cat,
Even the kangaroo,
Aardvaark, or aye-aye –
You know why it’s true ?
Cos they’re mammals, that’s why !

All, that is, except for one –
The landlubber giraffe.
Once evolution had its fun,
They’re not safe in the bath.
It’s strange the way that they capsize,
You’d think they’d learn to cope
When possessed of long and mighty thighs,
And a built-in periscope.

But on the land
They look such gentry,
Tall and grand
When standing sentry.
They are the backlash
To the trout,
Who make a splash
By standing out.

I Leave It Up To You

Photo by Frank Cone on Pexels.com

I Leave It Up To You

My end was written into my very beginning,
Into my terminal genes –
My past and future are always inferred,
Before I was born, my death was assured.
With fate or biology, there is no winning,
We’re entropy machines –
But the road we take is mine and yours,
To pass the time between the wars.

Roundabout Roundel

Photo by Volker Thimm on Pexels.com

Roundabout Roundel

Ev’ryone clockwise, round and about –
By habit we orbit, by gravity bound,
As we veer to the left and we slowly drift out –
Ev’ryone clockwise round.

Flow with the currents and circle the mound –
Which is home to whatever can reach it and sprout,
With its jetsoms of hubcaps, since long run aground.
The rest – in the tarmac they’ve drowned.

These rivers of traffic are never in drought,
All whirled to the edge till an exit is found,
Where others flow-in and forever, no doubt –
Ev’ryone clockwise round.

My attempt at a roundel – but I felt there was a line missing in the second verse so I revolutionised it.

The High Road from Envy to Candour

Green with Envy & Anger by KimiCookie Williams

The High Road from Envy to Candour

The flourishing show-off their fruits,
As they always do,
From star to plutocrat.
And I want to hate their loot –
But then I hear you
Saying I’m better than that.
Not better than them, no,
They clearly are winning,
And I couldn’t compete if I tried.
But I mustn’t get low
If I want to keep grinning –
I mustn’t give in to my cynical side.

The skilful exploit the thing they do,
Create a buzz,
With even better times to come.
Now the world’s not fair, it’s true,
It never was,
But is success then zero-sum ?
You always told me, don’t despise,
Don’t bitch and sleight –
To be myself, and not some copycat.
But dammit, it’s so hard to rise
Above the spite,
It’s so hard to be better than that.

Don’t snub them, don’t hate them,
Don’t read the bad press,
Don’t seek out their scandal, don’t kiss them and tell.
But call them, and honestly congratulate them
For their great success
Which they handle so well.
I can hear your voice admonishing me
For unworthy bile
And poisonous chat.
I hate that you’re right, but we must let it be –
So paste on a smile
And be better than that.

I want to scream, and curse my fate,
And spit their names –
But dammit, I can’t give in now –
It hurts to be considerate,
But paranoid games
Are indulgences that I cannot allow.
Don’t suck-up and don’t condemn,
Let it go,
Don’t measure myself with where they’re at.
I’ll never be better than them,
I know,
But at least I can be better than that.

Same Old New Year

Same Old New Year

Despite the chimes and fireworks,
Despite the cheers and resolutions,
New Years start off slow –
As continuity, not revolution.
The banks begin on holiday,
The schools are easing into term –
There aren’t too many early birds,
But then, there aren’t that many worms.
The world is in need of a lie-in,
Before the problems start to press.
Even I am barely trying,
Slurring rhymes with extra esses.

Third Ellipse Out

Photo by Sandy Torchon on Pexels.com

Third Ellipse Out

Happy birthday, Earth !
Our favourite solar satellite !
Barely gained an inch of girth,
Despite the pounding meteorites.

The Moon has slowed your spin a tad,
Two microseconds, more-or-less –
So all-in-all, that’s not too bad –
You’re feeling middle aged, I guess

But not you’re year – you’re orbiting
As quickly as you ever did –
Forget the spin you’re forfeiting,
You’re still at heart a racer, kid !

I know, I know, old Neptune here
Is not so old compared to you,
At least, when counting local years –
And yet he plodded while you flew !

And Mercury, now there’s a geriatric !
Burning through his score
Just living life on automatic
Getting dizzy, cracked, and sore.

You’re one year older, one year wiser –
Deep in your fifth billenium –
The inner-solar-system Kaiser,
Star of the planetarium.

1 AD

Photo by Barnabas Davoti on Pexels.com

1 AD

Hush, my little Yeshua,
So newly born, you are.
Hush, and I shall tell you
What is happening afar.

The Romans, under General Tiberius,
Strike North,
Campaigning through Germania,
In endless back-and-forth.

The Cartigena theatre has opened,
Hosting plays –
Full of tragedy and farce,
To while away the days.

They sculpt the finest statues,
And they write down history,
And measure circles and the Earth
To learn philosophy.

And out beyond their furthest outposts,
Other kingdoms rise,
From India to Polynesia,
Far beyond our eyes –

In China, a new emperor is crowned,
Just eight years old.
The Mayans build their pyramids,
The Incans mine their gold.

A thousand gods are worshipped,
From the Arctic to the Cape,
Where coelacanth and kangaroo
Rub shoulders with the ape.

I tell you this, sweet Yeshua,
Incase you cannot go.
There’s so much human life out there
Of which you’ll never know.

A more accurate but less pithy title would be 10001 HE..

The First of Logos

Photo by Barry Plott on Pexels.com

The First of Logos

My folks were full of the fear of God,
And full of His holy gravity.
Music, and dancing, were frivolous wastes
And bywords for depravity.
And birthdays passed with nary a mention
So’s not to lead our thoughts astray –
But I was still the lucky one,
For I was born on Christmas Day.

I was born in the dark of Winter,
In the midst of an Almighty freeze
Too far North for much of sunlight,
Too bleak for that many trees.
But ev’ry year, the town would string up lights
As if to lead my way,
And hope that it might snow for me –
For I was born on Christmas Day.

Ev’rybody wore a smile,
And nobody wore grey –
Ev’rything was done with style,
Right through to Hogmanay !
And my fav’rite animal, the deer,
Were ev’rywhere, with a sleigh !
How much I loved this time of year,
To be born on Christmas Day !

I was born in ignorance,
And thought all this must be for me –
The whole of the town would celebrate
That time I changed from two to three,
They cheered some more when I turned four,
At five and six, they cried hooray –
My parents couldn’t stop it all,
For I was born on Christmas Day.

They may not have given me presents,
But they gave me the greatest gift on Earth –
I used to think how lucky Jesus was
To coincide with my birth.
And piously, I’d thank the Lord
For far more joy than words can say.
And so I grew up loving life –
For I was born on Christmas Day

The choirs would sing,
The bands would play,
The bells would ring,
The shops display,
And all the world felt good and near,
In one long cabaret –
How much I love this time of year,
To be born on Christmas Day !