Way down South, where looking up Is looking upside down – The Man in the Moon is wrongside-right, And the Plough ain’t even in town. The Dog Star sails above the Pup, Throughout the Summer sky, With Betelgeuse kept low at night And Rigel kicking high. To Northern eyes, where looking up Is looking strange and stark – The Milky Way us far too bright, The pole is far too dark.
Aisha Asher always thinks her name Has too few letters in it – It takes a whole three syllables to say, But not to write. She likes the sound, but oh, that spelling ! How she longs to discipline it – Make those letters toe the line, And keep their phonemes tight. Whenever a teacher or a stranger Tries, and fails, to call her, They’re guaranteed to get it wrong If reading it as penned. Ay-sha, they would call her, like the Geisha from Croatia, It appals her, But…she cannot really blame them in the end. Her A is really said like I, Her I is really said like E, But who would know to see it written down ? She toys with splitting them apart with Y, To keep her diphthongs free, Or adding dots above the E, Despite her mother’s frown. But nobody respects her favoured spellings, anyway – (It doesn’t help that they are apt to change). It looks like she is stuck With a name no-one can say, Eternally surprising in her strange.
There once was a priest Who thought he was a priest, But who wasn’t in the Lord’s own eyes. For, to be a priest You must at very least Have already been fully baptised. And I am that priest, Who thought his path was greased Right into the body of the Church. But my own parish priest Who performed on me the piece Messed up, and left me in the lurch. For old Father East Was a jovial priest Who knew that my parents were stressing – So to put them at their ease, He thought it quite a wheeze To fully loop them into the blessing – “To the Lord God who frees us And in the name of Jesus We all here christen you, our cute little guy.” But God had closed his ears To the heartfelt font-side cheers – For the priest had said that ‘We’ instead of ‘I’. So when the truth was teased, How the Church was less-than-pleased ! For I wasn’t then a priest to begin… Each wedding vow ceased To be valid in the least As the couples fornicated in sin. Ev’ry moral I policed, Ev’ry absolution leased Was a sham in its promise and its hope. Their souls had been fleeced And sold off to the Beast – For this priest has gone on to be Pope.
Somebody I’ve never met has died, And you’ve never met him either – Yet we’re required to shut up and abide, And know our place. We’re in for a long and boring ride, And woe betide the unbeliever – From Kensington to the banks of the Clyde, The nation shuts its face.
Clear the TV schedules, quick, They need to fawn over a nobody – All these tributes, creepy and slick, For fear of facing anarchy ! So after years of giving him stick They’re truth-to-power turns limp and shoddy – But then, these days they’re all in thick, And even the Guardian bends the knee.
The media barons and ermine peers Will lead the mourning, doffed and bowed, And pray for another fifty years In their suffocating drone. As they wring out the mandatory tears And tug their forelocks proud, The Establishment betrays its fears As it buries one of its own.
Has it been so long ? Has it really been so many years Since last we greeted one another ? Since we said goodbye in tears After it had all gone wrong…? Yeah, I guess it has been after all. Are we about to rediscover Why we never tried to call ?
I can’t believe it either… I guess they don’t make years like they used to, Back when we were foolish-young – Of course, I never thought I’d lose you… Never thought I’d win you, neither, Yet, back then, I guess I did, Until experience had stung, Reminding me I’m just a kid.
We had some fun, though, didn’t we…? It’s coming back – the better times, The silly, noisy better times, When life was there for living. We had a good run, you and me, Before the arguments and guilt, Before the milk was spilt, Before each second-guessed misgiving.
Has it been so long ? Has it been a lifetime since we spoke ? It all seemed so important, And so ruined once it broke. I guess we came out strong, We both have landed on all-fours. It’s good to see you, even sporting still That wayward smile of yours.
Must not lie back on the poems I’ve written, Those sonnets and couplets are all in the past – Thoughts from a week ago, month ago, years, Thoughts of their moment, but never my last. Haven’t I changed since, even a little bit ? Diff’rently conscious, evolving, hard-won. Got to keep writing, keep feeling, keep living, For what good’s a poet who thinks their work done ?
Every gentleman fills up his library: Every manor and palace and hall Has a room full of shelving that’s crammed full of bindings, All equally mannered and equally tall. And nowhere is half a row empty, And nowhere are bookstacks for want of a board. Do gentlemen skim for as long as they’ve shelving, Then quit once their volumes are suitably stored ?
First, stick with a calendar That clearly isn’t fit for purpose – Stick with it because, old son, That’s just the way we’ve always done. Tradition is a glut of yesterdays, Where silence runs a surplus – Until the change has grown too great (Yet still two hundred years too late). Then hack eleven days off all at once – A week-and-a-half, just done away – And then a twelfth is added, see, For the non-leaping century. (But next time round – it isn’t, Cos it isn’t, cos that’s what they say.) And that is why our pounds and pence Outweigh our bloody common sense !
Once I was a student, And a dreamy kid who wanted to know more. I went to find out what it meant, To study art and life and metaphor. And though I had a cocky gob, I’m not sure I was quite the nation’s cream. It didn’t lead me to a job – But oh, it surely taught me how to dream.
I was pretty broke back then, But I received a grant to help me through – And when I passed, and stowed my pen, I looked upon the world as somewhere new. I found some work, I found some mates, And neither needed much of what I’d learned – But still it opened up the gates, And gave me confidence that I had earned.
So now I gladly pay my taxes, Pay my way, and never ride for free – So when I hear of fiscal axes, Spare a thought for who we used to be – For loans and debt will only scare The very ones you think superfluous – So tax me more ! It’s only fair, To help out all the dreamy kids like us.