Roadside Rodent

Roadside Rodent

Ship rat, far from sea,
Beached upon the pavement.
You do not twitch, you do not flee,
So why do you sit still for me ?
You’re not too fat, you’re not too thin,
You’re not held in enslavement –
And yet you crouch beside the bin,
And gently tremble in your skin.

Brown rat, are you asleep ?
You chose an awkward bed, friend.
Have you nowhere else to creep
Than on the tarmac in a heap ?
Fox or cat will find you prone,
And that will surely be your end.
Perhaps you’re dying, all alone,
Just waiting for your final groan.

The Sky is Full of Idols

The very un-Moorish Libyan Sibyl by Michelangelo

The Sky is Full of Idols

The Renaissance artist loved two things:
Classical Greece, and boobs –
Yet Michelangelo must fit
His curves in the Sistine’s cubes.
The Old Testament’s full of beards,
And none of them are Zeus’s –
He needs to paint some younger flesh
To work-up papal juices.
He can’t rely on prudish Mary,
She won’t give much boost –
So thoroughly pagan, thoroughly female sibyls
Are introduced.
Said to prophesies Jesus,
Though we know the real reason –
They’re soft and pale, and keep just shy
Of heresy and treason.
There’s plenty of other supporting cast,
Presumbly cherubs and such –
There’s plenty of flesh to be bared up there,
All brushed with the master’s touch.
Yet these are merely window-dressing,
A choir of hangers-on –
But the sibyls command their panels with pride,
Content to be gazed upon.

Really, treason ? Well, surely in any theocracy like the Papal States, all heresy is treason…

But anyway, as everyone knows Michelangelo lay on his back for four years to paint the roof – but that didn’t stop him occassionally arsing around…

Turn the Other Cheek

God created the Sun on the ceiling,
To light up the Pope’s saloon.
And then he turned his back, revealing
How he created the Moon.

detail from The Creation of the Sun, Moon, & Planets by Michelangelo

The Fermi Neighbourhood

Photo by Francesco Ungaro on

The Fermi Neighbourhood

Do I believe in aliens ?
Statistic’ly, I should.
There’s far too many worlds out there,
There’s galaxy enough to share.
There surely must be aliens
To make the Drake come good,
But when we look to get a sight
We’re blinded by the speed of light.

The sky is full of aliens,
Because the sky’s immense –
And yet, for all we seek those boys,
We lose their voices in the noise.
No, not a shred of aliens
To make our odds make sense –
We chase their ghost, we haunt their wraith,
Yet all we have is maths and faith.

Poetry No Thanks

BBC Microphone by Matt Brown

Poetry No Thanks

Once you had the finest actors
Reading the finest verse.
These days, all you have are poets –
Humourless, or ever worse…-
Picking po-faced prosy poems
With not a single rhyme,
So self-important now,
And yet won’t stand the test of time.

What happened to the punk sensibility
Of doing-it-yourself, and damn the rules ?
Now it’s a lit-fest for middle-class luvvies
With their tortured trochees taught in schools.
Your audience is tiny and shrinking,
With afternoon Sundays such a bore –
But you tick the boxes and fill the quotas,
And isn’t that what poetry’s for ?

Once you had the finest actors
Reading the finest verse,
But now your budget is slashed,
And your ambition must fit your purse.
They read them out in lilting whinges,
Full of I Me Mine –
Come on, Roger, cheer us up,
With a quick and witty line !

Ivory Garrets

Photo by Nguyen Nguyen on

Ivory Garrets

Is anyone more self-obsessed than a poet ?
Raging and swooning and preaching out loud –
These lilting doom-mongers and told-you-so know-it-alls,
Playing their ev’ry stray thought to the crowd.

Smugger than columnists, vainer than vloggers,
Oblivious pedants and bleeding-heart pseuds –
Even the Northerns are middle-class floggers
Who castigate readers for wrong attitudes.

With relevance dwindled and audience bored,
With their meanings obscured and their verbiage enlarged,
They choose to ignore how the world has ignored them –
They’re people like me, infact – guilty as charged.

Queen Bee

Photo by Skyler Ewing on

Queen Bee

Deep in the palace, centre of her nest,
The bloated Queen holds court.
She pops out underlings, spreading her essence
As scuttle-out backwards from her regal presence.
Safely cocooned from the drones and the rest,
And only meeting with the better sort –
And she fills-up her hive with honeypots of gold,
While expendible subjects shiver in the cold.

Long to Reign o’er Us

Photo by George Becker on

Long to Reign o’er Us

Britons, do your duty !
Prop-up the status quo !
Bow to our pirate booty
We pillaged long ago.
Plebs and oiks and hoi pilloi,
Respect who runs the show –
You won’t get far as a barrow boy,
It’s down to who-you-know.

So choke or bunting,
Drown on gushing,
We know the state’s a travesty,
But one in which we’re very rich –
So gawd bless her majesty,
To whom our fortunes hitch.

For she’s the thread within the stitch-up,
She’s the empire in the kitch-up,
Casts her glamour to bewitch-up,
All across the British Isles.
She’s blue in blood and politics,
Behind-the-scenes to rig the fix –
Then waving for the latest pics,
All innocence and smiles.

Britons, do your duty !
Bail-out our busted banks,
And curtsy to our snooty
From your starved and unwashed ranks.
Jocks and Taffs and chippie Chavs,
And all you bolshy cranks –
Just be content with what you have,
And show some proper thanks.

With boot-licking,
It’s both a farce and tragedy,
A dirty-money Laundromat –
So gawd bless her majesty
The lizard in the hat.

For she’s the face upon the money,
She’s the accent in the plummy,
She’s the knighthood in the chummy,
All across the British Isles.
And after her, we get her son,
And on and on till kingdom come –
You’d better learn, that’s how it’s done,
So tighten-up those smiles.

I freely admit that I was feeling pretty angry when I wrote this. I have taken a calmer take here. And although I’m no fan of flag-hugging, neither do I totally despise it either, as I’ve laid out here and here.

Holly Blossom

The Holly by M.Toma

Holly Blossom

I love to grab a handful of holly-leaves,
Pale and tender in the Spring,
Before they’ve darkened, hardened, sharpened,
Tanned their leather good and bent.
I love to hug a branchful of holly-sheaves,
Ere each shoot has gained its sting –
To shakes its hand with good intent,
To thank it for last Yule well-spent.

The Thick in the Air

Neville Road, West Ham by Malc McDonald is licensed under CC-BY-SA 2.0

The Thick in the Air

In Spring, I can sniff-out the sap as it rises,
And comes overshooting the branches and twigs
Of the cherries and lindens and suburban figs –
A streets full of pollen – my nose recognises
That Spring has returned to the gardens again,
In the asphalted forests of wychelm and plane.
My hay-fevered neighbours are rather less happy,
But I scent the chestnuts, the sweet and the horse,
And the avenues of the acacias, of course !
Municipal headiness leaves me quite sappy –
The syrups of sycamores, weepings of willows,
That’s wafted by birdsong in sugary billows.

Ferris Wheel

Photo by Guilherme Rossi on

Ferris Wheel

We both deserve better,
But we’re never gonna find it –
I know that we’ve settled,
But I kinda just don’t mind it.
I know we’re on the slide,
But we’re sliding not so fast –
It’s been a longish ride,
Neither bumpy nor a blast.
So how it is that we just seem to last ?

I know I oughta leave you,
I feel like I deceive you,
I feel you feel it too.
Yet once we’re at the top, it’s such a view !

I’m terrified to go,
But I’m terrified to stay –
Things are, I don’t know, kinda sorta okay.
I’m never gonna gush,
And I’m never gonna swoon –
So really, what’s the rush ?
I know that I will still be here in June.

Less roller, more coaster,
Less helter, more skelter,
Both tunnel and love,
Both fallout and shelter.

We both deserve better,
But we just don’t hate the norm.
Why be a go-getter
When the water is still warm ?
I feel we oughta shake up,
Into separated lives,
We’re waiting for the break-up
That never quite arrives.
And round and round, our roundabout survives.

You know you oughta leave me,
You think that you aggrieve me,
I think I disagree –
I’d rather stick it out than be set free.

I’m unconcerned to stay,
But I’m nonchalant to go –
Let’s wait another day, then, before the big heave-ho.
And most times aren’t so rough,
And you’re far the best I’ve known –
I don’t love you enough,
But I love you more than living life alone.