Wiggle Wiggle



Wiggle Wiggle

Some worms are roundworms and some worms are flat,
Some worms are skinny and some worms are fat,
Some worms are stripy and some worms are brown,
Some dress in velvet and some sport a crown,
Some feed on slurry and some feed on nuts,
Some live in gardens and some live in guts.

Some worms are serpents and some worms are bugs,
Some worms are dragons and some worms are slugs,
Some worms are speedy and some worms are slow,
Some worms are eyeless and some worms can glow.
Some on the surface and some underground,
Some worms are flatworms and some worms are round.



Eleven Degrees



Eleven Degrees

The 49th Parallel marks out the border
That runs between Washington State and BC –
And up on the 60, in similar order,
There’s Yukon above and below it’s BC.
British Columbia, British Columbia,
More of a pigeon and less of a dove.
As woody as Hampshire, as hilly as Cumbria,
It’s very well named, is British Columbia

Across the Atlantic, Britannia’s beached –
There’s Jersey just north of the 49th line,
And up on the 60, the Shetlands are reached –
The latitude fifties, they’re yours and they’re mine.
British Columbia, British Columbia,
Just as far north – indeed, just as far south –
From Caithness to Cornwall, from Cardiff to Cumbria,
Ev’rything fits inside British Columbia.




altered book
Altered Book by Isobelle Ouzman



I read the most wonderous novel last year –
So moving, so thoughtful, so witty and sheer.
I think you’d enjoy it – it’s somewhere round here.
So feel free to borrow, I’ll bring it tomorrow –
It ain’t gloom and sorrow, but will raise a tear.

I don’t mean to hassle or bug or cajole,
But these are the hands that have touched at my soul –
Yet all of their beauty is wholly unknown –
These pages get lonely to wander alone.

I heard the most marvellous album last year –
So rich and inspired, so quirky and queer.
I think you’d enjoy it – the vocals are clear.
I’ll lend you the disk if you’re willing to risk –
The tempo is brisk, but it long haunts the ear.

I don’t mean to pressure or preach or ensnare,
But these are the songs that assuaged my despair –
I long to belong, to be part of the show –
And know there are others who know what I know.

I saw the most glorious movie last year
So moody and epic, so lush and sincere
I think you’d enjoy it – oh, please volunteer !
By all means I’ll lend what I sure recommend,
For what kind of friend would not loan out their gear ?

I don’t mean to labour or pester or dwell,
But these are the visions that saved me from hell.
They may not be normal, they may not be rife –
But maybe, just maybe, they may change your life.

I’m waiting to hear what you thought of my dears,
Waiting for rapture or rancour or sneers,
Waiting for days and for weeks and for years –
Until they come sheepishly unopened back to me –
And still you will miss how remiss this appears.

I don’t mean to censure or grumble or such,
For you are my friends who have given so much –
Yet still you don’t think or else still you don’t care
When you once again leave me with nothing to share.



The Spoils of Verse



The Spoils of Verse

A publisher picked up my poems
And gathered them into a book.
I thought I was made, my future was paid,
My fortune assured in Mercedes and jade –
Alas, so I greatly mistook.

The public all favoured my poems,
And earned me the best-selling book.
But sad to behold, just two hundred sold –
My train hadn’t gravy, my bank hadn’t rolled,
My economics unshook.

My publisher lauded my poems,
Promotions were planned for my book –
His numbers were great, and he just couldn’t wait
For the readings to start which would quickly inflate
The revenue earnings I took.

“The public will listen to poems,
But won’t read them out of a book.
You wanna earn cash ?  You gotta be flash –
Verses on tour is a lib·rar·y smash,
Using your voice as your hook.”

“But I am a writer of poems,
No actor that agents can book.
My thing isn’t talking, my vocals are squawking –
You wouldn’t demand this of Professor Hawking.
This stagefright I just cannot brook.”

A publisher picked up my poems,
But had to remainder my book.
I cannot recite with the passion I write,
So here I am working at Tesco by night –
My words still in search of a look.



Secular Commandments

Neo-Babylonian tablet about Epilepsy at the British Museum, c. 9375 – 9462 HE


Secular Commandments

And Thou Shalt Not Murder, nor needlessly kill –
Thy life is too fleeting to shorten yet still.

And Thou Shalt Not Steal, nor undue extort –
Not objects, nor glories, nor notions bethought.

And Thou Shalt Not Greeding, nor proud eversuch –
As glutton-, or miser-, or tyrant-too-much.

And Thou Shalt Deceive Not, nor mislead by choice –
For whether by action, or absence, or voice.

And Thou Hypocrise Shan’t, nor thyself betray –
Believe not thy pretext, nor look t’other way.

And Thou Shalt Not Hatred, nor baseless decry –
Nor, even the guilty, redemption deny.

And Thou Shalt Respect Due, all those who doth earn –
Then labour thyself for esteem in return.

One Shalt and six Shalt Nots, one life to apply –
So can we achieve them, and can we not try ?



Doorknocker Blues

steel door handle on door
Photo by lalesh aldarwish on Pexels.com


Doorknocker Blues

Don’t you come around here
I’m warning you, don’t you come around here, boy
Cos I won’t be home, d’you hear ?
Cos I won’t be here when you come around here, boy
So don’t you come knocking
     I know that you’re in there
Said don’t you come knocking
     You’re silent as sin there
There’s nobody home, cos I won’t be unlocking
There’s nobody home, so you don’t you come knocking
     Your TV is flickering somewhere within there
You’re neighbours are bickering, winos are liquoring
Street kids are snickering.  What do I care ?
And I can wait days
And I will
I can wait days, and I’m waiting until
You open your door and you find me here still
You open your door, cos I’m knocking
Why you so stubborn ?
     I guess I just am
So stupid and stubborn
     I’ve no sense for damn
You’re shabby and sloven, a slacker and screw
I bet you’re on acid, and reefer, and glue
Your vision is flaccid – your timing is too
     I guess I’m a bit of a shambles, a clam
I guess that I get it from you
Now if you was plumbing to tap me for shaking
You’d better just come in, there’s nothing worth taking
     It really ain’t that way, I’m hitting a wall
I just need to talk yer, was all
You just need to talk, eh ?
     And split a few beers
You just need to talk, after how many years ?
     Thing is, there’s nobody else I could try
Not Ma.  Not the guys.  Not Father MacKay
My girl, see, my girl is – well, she’s gone and got…
Well, me too, I guess, it was my fault alot
But I never got no sense for damn
You mean you done gone and got your girl with kid ?
Jeez, of all the stupid skid you did !
This takes the slam
     I know, I know !  What could I do but scram ?
Oh.  Now I see
You rabbit out and think of me
And hope you find a life so bad
It grits you up to be a dad
But maybe what you find, my lad, is reasons worth to flee
But then one day, some years away, when you ain’t clocking
They may come knocking.



How to Recite Right

old scholar
An Old Scholar Sharpening his Pen by Gerrit Dou


How to Recite Right

“A poem that never has thoughts within lines, but which carries each phrase and each sentence about between one line and next, as its structure is cut into sliver and strand that looks hard to read out”

No.  You’ve done that wrong.
This is a poem – notice the lines.
They’re not just there to say this is a poem,
Or to make for pretty layout designs.
They are there to guide us along;
This is crucial – notice the pause –
The extra beats we don’t say, but we know ’em,
That little silence that underscores.
And the rhymes, the heart of the song,
Don’t bury them all in the throng.
So once again, and let ’em come strong –

“A poem that
never has thoughts within
lines but which carries
each phrase and each
sentence about between one
line and next as its
structure is cut into
sliver and
strand that looks
hard to read

No, you’re still not that tight how you’re fitting it,
No, it’s still not quite right how you’re hitting it,
You’ve really gotta recite as they’ve written it,
There’s no need to fight it to get it to knit –
The breaks, the breaks,
That break up each sentence
In separate takes
Of its clauses and thoughts.
Look to the breaks as the structure and entrance,
And look to the pauses that each line supports.
Trust in the poet not to blow it, but to know,
How to slow it, how to go it, and to show it all so.
Follow their signs, let their lines set the flow –

“A poem that never has
Lines within lines, but
Which carries each phrase and
Each sentence about
Between one line and next as
Its structure is cut
Into sliver and strand
That looks hard to read out”