these are tees not crosses
The Cursed Field by Fyodor Bronnikov



“Tell me, Roman, what’s the plan
To execute this convict man ?
Of all the ways to make him dead,
Why hold up high with arms outspread ?
Seeing him now crucified
Just makes a martyr, gives him pride,
It lets the martyr die with pride,
So hero-like, so dignified.”

“But you are wrong.  Now look again:
The loincloth with its urine stain,
The drooling lips, the bloodshot eyes,
The excrement that cakes his thighs.
To hang for days in agony –
Now look again and show to me,
Just look up there and show to me,
The slightest shred of dignity.”

“Ah yes, I see the lolling head,
And yet…who cares once he is dead ?
And history may not recall
His wails and jerking fits at all.
Despite what we right here may find,
The crowd are of a diff’rent mind –
And what they see within their mind
Is all that you will leave behind.”

“Perhaps you’re right, and time will tell –
But who can say he’s dying well ?
And in three days, he lingers on
For no-one, once the crowd has gone.
Any execution can
Create a martyr from a man –
Yet here, we see he’s
just a man
that is why this Roman plan.”



Bringing Juvenilia Week to a close with a typically iconoclastic poke at religion with some Real Science.  Originally just the first two verses, it lacked the necessary back-and-forth to be the dialogue it wanted to be, so the latter two are new, though just as naff as a homage to the original.

Now, the perfect poem to follow with tomorrow would be this one, but it has already been posted.



The Uncarved Block

stones pebbles wellness balance
Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com


The Uncarved Block

Ancient wisdom always seems
To favour pure and nat’ral artefacts,
The stuff of philosophic dreams
Of unmined hills and untapped cataracts –
Yet crying for such simple ways
From modern lives of iron, wells and mills,
They lounge and think away their days,
While harder-working peers must hone their skills
To hew and dig and chop and grind,
And turn the world into a workshop floor –
To build the surplus so a mind
Has food enough to ponder nat’ral lore.



Insults are Written by the Winners

the last laugh


Insults are Written by the Winners

Don’t call me a philistine,
That’s racist !
Don’t call me a vandal or a thug.
Don’t think just because you’re lower-case-ist
That these words don’t have history to lug,
That each was once intended to be place-ist,
And keeping up old rivalries is strictly for the mug.

Or am I being studenty and smug ?
The slandered tribes are all long gone,
They’ve changed and merged and all moved on,
And only pedants care enough to bug.
Of course, the history involved
Is fascinating to behold,
Yet language doesn’t care, as it sweeps it all beneath the rug
But if you disagree, that’s fine,
You’re free to call me philistine –
And even though I’m not, I’ll only shrug.







Who burned down the Temple of Artemis ?
“I,” said a man, “I did it for fame.
I am proud to be the arsonist,
Forcing the world to know my name !
Whistle me in nervous breathiness,
Whisper me between your cheeks.
You’ll all remember Limpfart of Ephesus !
Carry my name on the wind where it sneaks !
Toot my horn till my name reeks !”







Ptolemy, he knew the skies –
At least, that much he saw of them
Of course, he only had his eyes,
And only words for drawing them.

He plotted out the vibrant stars
Upon each underlying figure,
But where ran the linking-bars
Were sketched with far less rigour.

And then there were the hinterlands,
The unincorporated flames
Between the cities – roguish bands
Too faint to ever warrant names.

He never saw the very South,
The depths beneath the Argo’s keel,
The Eridanus to its mouth,
The wings and scales which pole-wards wheel.

So later gazers filled the gaps
With modern and precision tools –
They’re lacking in some myths, perhaps,
A free-for-all where logic rules.

But Ptolemy has the last laugh,
Those empty spaces serve their turn –
For ev’ry dim and dull giraffe,
Shall help his bears to brightly burn,

And sailors through the years are wise,
From triremes to ships-of-the-line,
To just ignore the cluttered skies
And let Polaris shine.



I Can See Your House From Here

Photo by Felix Mittermeier on Pexels.com


I Can See Your House From Here

To appease our vengeful God, there’s this sacrifice
That really is no sacrifice at all,
Of a man who’s really God, and who knows he’s really God,
And who knows he’s coming back, as I recall.
I guess it must have hurt, but he’s pretty damn inert
To the pain, when he knows he’s really God.
So why was there the need for our saviour to bleed
To appease his other Self ?  So very odd.

I know why you think that it’s a sacrifice:
It’s all for Original damn Sin.
But Eve disobeyed when her questing was displayed;
She’s a hero – let our sciences begin !
We’d done nothing, it transpired, no apology required –
Just a god wracked with fetishistic pain.
But the Romans can take pride for their Friday deicide,
Thereby lengthening the weekend with their slain.




egyptian symbols
Photo by Lady Escabia on Pexels.com



We’ve seen them all on ev’ry wall
In Egypt – carved in profile style –
But here’s a game to try and name
The most – Let’s see, it’s been a while…
The eye of the Sun, I know that one,
The wavy lines that mean the Nile,
The ankh, the egg, the owl and leg,
The feather, sphinx, and crocodile,
The scarab of course…and was there a horse ?
The slug-like snake, that’s worth a smile…
The goose (or duck)…and then I’m stuck…
But the walls stretch on for mile on mile.



Ancient & Modern



Ancient & Modern

To tell the future we were here,
To tell our names and what we think,
What gods we praise and tribes we fear,
What bread we bake and wine we drink –
That we do more than just hunt deer
And gather fruits for year on year,
But proudly harvest grain for beer !-
Then build in stone, and write in ink.

Too many cultures vanish, gone,
Because they left nothing behind –
They were forever moving on
And left no footprints in the mind
But others carved and others built,
And others wrote in soot and gilt,
So we might know who worked the silt –
Because their names were proudly signed.



A Few Hours Spare



A Few Hours Spare

You come so soft, sweet Twenty-Ninth,
The sum of quarter-days –
You take unmissed those surplus whiles,
And solar-annual strays;
And whether you are bursting Spring
Or Winter’s final greys –
You come for free, or so it seems,
Through mathematic ways.
We owe it all to Julius,
Who’s clock the Earth obeys:
He holds in trust your orphan times,
And four years on, repays.



Corona Borealis

detail from Bacchus & Ariadne by Titian

Corona Borealis

“Come and let me love you, let me gaze upon your face,
Stranded on this lonely isle makes folly of such grace –
You shall wear my coronet, to sparkle in their eyes.
Naxos is no place for you, but up there in the skies.”

So promised Dionysus unto Ariadne fair
As she took his hand in marriage and his crown upon her hair.
After all these years marooned, this prison with no bars,
A wine-god comes to save her and to place her in the Stars.

Alas, first came Orion with his hounds and bovine foe,
Then Perseus and Hercules with entourage in tow,
And Booties and the Argo with their own supporting acts
Left precious little room up there for third-rate myths and hacks.
So only Ari’s crown could then be squeezed between those hunks.
The moral: never trust upon the promises of drunks.