To Ev’ry Dream I Ever Dreamt

Sleeping Venus by Simon Vouet


To Ev’ry Dream I Ever Dreamt

Oh, what a night we spent together,
That night I spent in your arms !
That night I fell headlong for your charms,
That night we met in the dark.
Though my eyes were closed, I saw it all,
And yet, so little I recall…
And yet…I kind-of sense you’ve left your mark.
Oh, what a night we spent together,
It felt like the night would last forever –
Yet ev’ry night ends with the lark,
The radio’s bark across the hall,
The clanging bells that wrench me from the ball.

Oh, what a night when I slept with you !
For just one night, and never again –
Now ev’ry night I wait in vain,
Until another REM-ling takes your place.
We had a time, though, you and I,
Just wish I could have said goodbye –
But I was snatched from your embrace,
Or when I looked away, you fled –
Our words unsaid with the dawning sky,
One more lost thread, one more forgotten face.
We were, alas, a one-night lie,
And now I wake to an empty bed,





One god, two gods,
Sitting on a cloud,
But we killed them both for dead
When their wrath was disallowed.
Three gods, four gods,
Lurking in the gaps,
But we winkled all them out
When we stole their thunderclaps.
Five gods, six gods,
List·en·ing to prayers,
But we did them out of jobs
When we always dodged the fares.
Dead gods, fled gods,
Nothing left to show;
Five thousand down,
And one more to go.



The Misanthrope’s Love Song

honest john
Honest John by Alan Coulson


The Misanthrope’s Love Song

Ah love, the reddest of congealings
Oozing out of ev’ry pore,
And pouring in from ev’ry spout,
And weeping from each sore –
This slushy syrup’s seeping out:
A haemorrhage of metaphor.
Flooded by this tide of treacle –
(Better, though, than sludge or faecal !)
If love must be this sickly sweet,
I guess I’ll have to grab my spoon and eat.

Ah love: the Romeo of feelings,
Acted out for evermore,
With nothing new worth saying,
And the sayers such a bore –
The role we’re always playing,
Like the millions who came before.
So how are we to find the heart
When offered such a clichéd part ?
But if we cannot be the first,
I guess at least this script is well rehearsed.

Ah love, the feeblest of concealings,
Giggling its guffaws galore –
The grinniest of poker faces,
Blurting out the score.
It favours twos to lonely aces,
Bids on hearts and bets the store.
You know, a sharp or cynic could
Defraud such love of all that’s good –
But maybe I’ll relent today,
And sigh, and shrug, and ante up to play…



Young Love

cupid & psyche
Cupid & Psyche as Children by William Bouguereau


Young Love

I might glimpse you in passing
On the bus or in the park,
Or on your way to mass,
Or at the flicks, or after dark.
You sometimes wear the cutest cap,
And ankle socks and shorts –
As I shift my coat upon my lap
To hide my inner thoughts.
I never did a thing to show,
The thing that you can never know:

I don’t know why I’m made this way, you see,
But so I am:
I can’t deny these thoughts are part of me,
Behind the dam.
And like as not, will always be,
But there they’ll stay, and never free –
For even you can’t turn my key:
My will is strong, my lamb.

Inside, I long to clutch you,
But instead I’ll run a mile –
And I’ll never even touch you,
And I’ll never even smile.
And I’ll hate myself a little,
Or I’ll hate myself a lot,
Cos I know you’re far too brittle
For the loving that I’ve got.
I never did a thing to coax –
But run along, here come your folks.

So sharpen up the pitchforks, tie the noose,
And watch me dance.
I doubt I’ll even run, for what’s the use ?
You’re all a-trance.
Why wouldn’t I commit abuse ?
I broke no law, but what the deuce,
You can’t abide me on the loose !
Why even take the chance ?

I know that feeling that you feel,
That urge you feel you have to act upon.
But take my word, it isn’t real
It’s just an urge that we can heal –
We can resist, for we are steel !
(Although, in truth, it’s never fully gone.)

Don’t vent your hate before your children,
That won’t do.
Don’t let them see and learn your hate –
They’re only young – it’s not too late !
If you hate me for loving children –
Leave me be – because you love them too.


I don’t mean to imply anything about the artist – Victorians certainly fetishised children and childhood, but in a very idealised and utterly non-sexual way.  It’s just strange to look on these types or portrait with our modern eyes.




Talk Like a Pirate

Long John Silver
Long John Silver by Robert Ingpen


Talk Like a Pirate

Curse ye, Robbie Newton !
Curse your lily-lubbered hide !
For thanks to ye, all pirates be
The yokels o’ the crimson sea !
We used to hail from Luton,
Or from Whitby Bay, or Morningside –
But now it’s said we’re born an’ bred
In Lynmouth, Lyme an’ Lizard Head.

From Foway to Zoyland, thar we blow
From Durdle Door to Westward Ho !

Ye scurvy-livered, timber-shivered blaggard, Robert Newton !
Ye turned us to a joke, to the folk that we be lootin’ !
Ye’d have us be a parody o’ peggy-leg an’ lock-o’-dread
Of parrot-shouldered patchy eyes fore’er a-lookin’ ’skance.
We used-a be the buccaneers o’ Buckin’ham an’ Birkenhead,
But now we’re jus’ the poxy-pillaged pirates o’ Penzance.

From Brizzle Dock to Davey Jones,
We curse your skull an’ cross your bones !



Hashtag You’re It

Apples on a Red Slate by Sandra Robinson


Hashtag You’re It

Haikus: the tweets of poetry –
More like droppings, less like stray wit.
Vapid and vain, and mentally farted,
With nothing to say and urgent to say it

Haikus: puffed up vol-au-vents –
Finger food with little flavour.
We swallow them whole and move on to the next,
With nothing to chew and nothing to savour.