Some Officers Have Coaches And Horses To Order About

detail from Royal Sappers & Miners, Working Dress, 1854 by George Campion

Some Officers Have Coaches And Horses To Order About

Landau, take me down the lane.
Hansom, turn beyond the trees.
Phaeton, take me home again
By fifty-four degrees.
Ride a tangent from the mews
To the sign of the Hypotenuse.

Adjacent to the Octogon,
Opposite the bend in the strand,
For a measurable distance on.
Times by the four-in-hand.
Send a spyder, send a fly,
On a steeplechase by the root of pi.

The 1st Day of Autumn

Photo by Valiphotos on

The 1st Day of Autumn

The third week of September –
Is it really Summer still ?
Does the heat of late July
Belong beside the early chill ?
Can we yet regard it Summer
When the leaves are on the turn ?
When the holidays are over,
When the sun has lost its burn ?
Let’s not cling to Summer
But embrace the golden time of year !
Why wait until the Equinox
When Autumn is already here ?

The Right to Offend

The Right to Offend

Moses is a psycho,
And Jesus is a wimp,
Buddha is a lardarse,
Ganesh is more a gimp,
Mohammed is a pedo,
While Mary is a prude,
Yahweh is a rapist,
And Paul is just unglued.

Onan is an onanist
Who loves to bash the bish,
Zeus a sexual preditor,
Cthulu cold as fish,
Ra just gives us side-eye,
While Odin squints when viewed,
And Allah must remain unseen
Because he’s in the nude.

So sue me, dude.

A Bout with a Spout

Gargoyle by SarahLouiseHathaway

A Bout with a Spout

Tucked up under the eaves of the church
The gargoyles lurk upon their haunches,
Spindly fingers stroking their paunches.
Out the corners of my eye they lurch,
But when I turn, they’re stony still –
A sneer on every maul and bill.
“You can’t fool me by playing statue,
Because, one of these days, I’ll catch you !”

Craning up at the eaves of the church,
I’m staring-out their stones and mortar,
Gagging on their breath of fetid water.
Square is my gaze upon their perch,
Just waiting for their craggy blink
To prove they move as much as they stink.
But I stare in vain, and most unwise,
When one of them gurgles, and spits in my eyes.

To Niccolò

Niccolò Machiavelli by Santi di Tito

To Niccolò

See all of your princes who grasp at our lives
With their handshakes and greased palms and fists wrapped in cotton –
They claw for a kingdom where sleight-of-hand thrives,
But their fingers are crossed and their nails are all rotten.
You keep all your holdings tight under your thumb
As your signet-wrapped digits are stroking your beard –
But grips can be prised as the years render numb,
And the light-fingered upstarts are squeezing you plum,
And there’s no-one to catch you when ’last you succumb –
Your talons are chipped and too weak, in the end, to be feared.

Butyrumusca getii

Butyrumusca getii

I saw a lepidopter’s case,
A peon to the butterfly.
With filigree of carapace
From abdomen to compound eye.
The duffer who possessed these critters
Spoke at loving length of flitters

I wondered how this gent possessed
Their tiny feet and stain-glass wings,
For clearly one who so obsessed
Could never harm so precious things –
Therefore, it must surely follow,
Ev’ry bodyshell was hollow.

These weren’t spent, discarded parts –
For butterflies can never shed –
They never get a dozen starts,
And only gain their wings to spread
Upon their change to adulthood –
They change for once and change for good.

Maybe then they’re not rejected,
Rather they are shiny new –
Here displayed to be selected
By the crawling grubs who queue –
So they choose their new quintessence
As they quit their adolescence.

Some are brighter, some are duller,
Some are nippy, some enlarged –
Pick a model, pick a colour,
Carbon-framed and sugar-charged.
Are you a grounded caterpillar ?
You should check these stats – they’re killer !

Sheep Mayn’t Safely Graze

Photo by Nick Bondarev on

Sheep Mayn’t Safely Graze

We rack them out between bridges and nuts,
And crank till they must reply.
And those low, low throbs that we feel in our guts –
Well, the sheep feel them too, by-and-by.
But it’s never their bleats or their baas that are scored,
It’s never their voices that sing from each chord,
And it’s never their own requiem we applaud.
In life and in death, so their tension will always be high.

How many hundreds of thousands of sheep
Have our symphonies dispatched ?
Every cello has reason to weep,
And scream as its sinews are scratched.
How many flocks must we cull to the muse ?
How many sacrificed lambkins and ewes ?
On the altar of Bach shall their entrails ooze.
They live for this music, but always do strings come attached.

Five Strangers Among Us

Photo by Min An on

Five Strangers Among Us

I counted them myself,
I’d never seen a-one before,
I’m sure of that –
But in my room, I saw them stay.

With all my hostly stealth
I spent with each a turn or more
To smile and chat,
And cautiously explore each stray.

The woman dressed in wealth,
Who lurked awhile too near the door –
She wore her hat,
And managed to ignore the fray.

The kid who coughed his health,
And sprayed hellos to all before.
This spore-filled brat
Has left his greeters sore and grey.

The petite pixie elf
Was charming praise and looks galore.
This purring cat
Was frolicking and luring prey.

The bloke with flashy pelf
Was boasting of his market lore.
We bored him flat,
Cos no-one’s keeping score today.

The geek upon the shelf
Who watches feet upon the floor.
Demure he sat,
Afraid to up and join our play.

I counted them myself,
I tried my best to build rapport,
Yet for all that,
They left my room, went on their way.

The Leaden Sky

Photo by Callum Hilton on

The Leaden Sky

When your nights are all too dark,
And your dawns are all too bright,
And your days are all too stark,
And your thoughts have lost their fight –
When nothing’s worth the heft,
When there’s precious little left
To sparkle in the rust,
And you’re holding on, but only just –
Before all hope is gone,
Hold on.

Lift thou Up thy Rod

salisbury cathedral withstands the wrath of god

Lift thou Up thy Rod

Just as a church is crowned by a spire,
And just as the spire is crowned by a cross,
So the cross is crowned by a stiffened wire
That points heavenwards and reaches higher,
Showing God that science is boss.
From king to serf to country squire,
Nobody’s prayers and nobody’s choir,
To God or Thor or Helios,
Can stop the bolt of electric fire –
Not any pope or priest or friar
Can tame the spark and spare the loss
Like copper can.  And that is why
There’s a spike that jabs the eye of the sky,
With a finger raised to the holy man on high.