Valentine Sestina

image by Sandi Ward


Valentine Sestina

Carrots, caulis, spuds…I’ll need some more,
A pack of coffee – fairtrade ?  It should say.
They’ve haven’t any left ?  Well, that’s a bore.
A loaf of sliced should last till Saturday,
Three pints of milk, or should I get in four ?
It’s only sold in litres, anyway.

An rosy apple keeps the doc away,
Although, I ought to see the dentist more…
Oh yes, some roses for the special day,
And juicy steak – perhaps some sirloin boar.
The things we have to do to simply say
The things we’ve said so many times before.

Honestly, what do we do this for ?
Did great-great-grandmama, back in the day ?
And must our children’s children evermore,
Until the very Earth has given way ?
But who would ever wish to be that bore ?
And so we bite our tongues and never say.

Is money to be made from love ?  I’ll say !
It brings our brashful boasting to the fore:
We peacocks strut and dance the night away
And when we’ve had enough, we cry for more.
But better to be Caesar for a day,
And when the tide must rise, to ride its bore !

But don’t let bonhomie become the boor,
Who talks too loud and always gets his way
By swinging round a verbal two-be-four –
Instead, let your initials have their say
When paired upon a lovers’ sycamore.
But there I go, just jawing on all day.

Now strawberries are good for five-a-day –
Such passion-fruit the steamy hothouse bore…
Champagne, of course – is this a good one, say ?
No garlic, though…oh my, it’s almost four !
I need to get this supper underway,
To make my wife become my paramour.



Adders & Ladders

snake & ladder
Snake and Ladder by Cedric Sam


Adders & Ladders

Vivaporous vipers give me the vapours,
But I shall envelop these slitted-eyed scrapers.
Rapture enripens their serpentine stare:
J’adore l’addeurVive la vipère !

I’ll stick to the cutest constrictors for starters,
I’ll start with the threadsnakes, move upto the garters,
I’ll scale up the ladderbacks, slide down the smooths –
I’ll dice with your snake-eyes, I’ll slalom your grooves.

Vivaporous vipers are venomous vermin,
Yet I shall unfasten and welcome the worm in.
I’ll love ev’ry squeezer and cherish each fanger –
Ich liebe die Kreuzotter !  Heil die Schlange !



If Only We’d Known About Velociraptor, Too !

Velociraptor mongoliensis by Fred Wierum

If Only We’d Known About Velociraptor, Too !

My nephew is into his dinosaurs,
And he’s digging up mem’ries lain buried since school,
(But still neatly sorted in synaptic drawers),
With all of those crazy-long names by their scores,
Though actu’ly some of them sounded so cool !
The textbooks would show how to say it, not sweat it,
By spelling phonetic’ly, so’s we could get it.
But sometime’s a wrong ’un would lodge in all twisty –
And once it gets in there, it’s part of our hist’ry.

For instance, how much we all loved diplodocus,
And gave that third syllable all of our focus.
So never diplodocus, that sounded odd-i-cus.
And don’t get me started on cow-pat-a-saurus –
Your patsy falls flat, see – just hear how we chorus
This heavyweight’s name is – by god – brontosaurus !
As known in the bones of all schoolyards before us.
So pronto, restore us our sauropod’s nommus –
Don’t think you can plunder our thunderbeast from us !

Which brings us around to the puh-terodactyls;
To eight-year old boys they were neater than fractals !
Doubt they could flap much, but bet they soared high –
Though not dinosauruses…saur-iss-eez…saur-eye..?
Trexies and steggers and plessies abounded –
Though from diff’rent eras, so not all together;
Non-chronolog’onous, just to be clever.
We’d all have our favourites up for discussion
Like Dimetrodon, cos he sounded so Russian,
Or archaeopt’ryx, with the bestest name ever.

And then there were the trillobites !
That’s how we called ’em in our local playground.
That’s how we called ’em, so that’s how they were –
And given a choice, then I’ll always prefer
Our primary version to t’other way round:
Brill-o-bites, thrill-o-bites, silly old trillobites,
Nobbly or spiky, or all armadillo–like !
From Cambrian glamour to Permian quitters,
Those three-lobal, pan-global, crystal-eyed critters –
Heroic, and stoic, and Palaeozoic !

I Spied a Spider

brown araneus cavaticus barn spider
Photo by Juan on

I Spied a Spider

I’ve seen this spider around, I’m sure…
Yes, yesterday or the day before –
Precisely where she’s hangs right now,
So there she was before, I vow.
Hasn’t she got webs to spin –
I wonder if she’s dead, or just a skin ?

I’ve seen that spider around, I know,
Maybe a weeks or two ago –
I’m rarely here about my biz,
But when I am, well, there she is –
Hasn’t she got legs to move ?
A gentle blow…and yes !, she lives, I prove.

I’ve seen that spider around, I bet,
From month to month, we’ve clearly met.
She lurked right there, and always will –
Just dangling from her strand, so still.
Hasn’t she got flies to catch ?
I guess she must keep guard upon her patch.

I’ve seen that spider around, I’d swear –
This year, last year, she was there !
Hanging from the self-same thread –
And all I know is, she’s not dead.
Hasn’t she got eggs to lay ?
But I’ll forget her once I’m on my way.

When I wrote this, I had quite forgotten that I had already dealt with this topic two years earlier in Daddy Longlegs, which is uncomfortably similar. I’m also not really happy with using biz, but rhyme-needs must.

The Book of Common Prayer

nature sky sunset the mountains
Photo by NO NAME on


The Book of Common Prayer

In the days of the week,
And the months of the year,
We’re clinging on yet to our Paganite past –
In the gods we don’t seek
And yet still keep so near:
Forgotten the stories, remembered the cast.

In holly and ivy,
And heather for luck,
They still work their magic on God-fearing hosts.
In gargoyles so lively,
In faerie and Puck:
Heretical heroes now villains and ghosts.

In the names of the planets,
And shapes in the stars,
They still rule the heavens, till night-time is done
They never will ban it,
Too deep are their scars –
We praise our new God on the Day of the Sun.



Appellation Celebration

name days
Swedish name day list for February 1712


Appellation Celebration

Name days – we don’t really do them in Britain,
They just feel too Cath’lic and rather mediaeval.
There’s no formal ban – the restraint is unwritten:
It just isn’t done, it would cause an upheaval.

Any anyway, what about Kylie and Kevin
And Tracey and Daisy and Scarlett and such ?
They haven’t a saint all between them in Heaven,
So no second birthdays for Dylan or Dutch.

Though don’t give ideas to Clintons and Hallmark !
They’ll bunch us together and round up each stray:
So Sepp bunks with Joe cos they’re in the same ballpark,
And Dawn and Aurora must share the new day.

But Jack is no Jacob, nor Denholm no Dennis –
Their origins differ, they don’t mean the same.
But who cares in Athens or Moscow or Venice,
Where Simon Says sharing’s the name of the game.

And actually, even within the whole region,
They cannot agree on which dates should apply:
So Emma is honoured in April in Dijon,
But over in Stockholm, she’s praised in July.

Name days – we don’t really do them in Britain,
It’s one of those rituals it’s best to ignore.
And somehow, I doubt we will ever be smitten –
Except, of course, Wodan and Freya and Thor.



Proem to a Poem



Proem to a Poem

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome, all –
We’ll shortly be commencing:
I promise we shall soon enthral
Those senses we’re suspensing.
So let me introduce, my friends,
This ev’ning’s main recital –
Where joy and anguish each contends,
And lovers crave requital.
An epic true, a ballad grand
As stanza follows stanza,
Heroic does this potent hand
Bring forth extravaganza:
The finest Truth on life and death
That verse has ever captured.
So hush the lights and stop the breath,
And brace up to be raptured.