Your False True-Colours



Your False True-Colours

America, no !  You’re doing it wrong !
It’s red on the left, and blue on the right.
The rest of the planet can all get along,
But you Yanks as usual are picking a fight.
For red are the hands that must labour and toil,
And blue is the blood that possesses the soil.

It hardly takes NYPD or the Feds
To spy just how blurred is the choice of your hues;
With red-meat Republicans labelled as Reds,
And New England Democrats down with the Blues.
But red is for passion, and rage, and hard knocks,
And blue is for loyalty, culture and stocks.

America, No !  What you practice today,
We follow tomorrow – and follow you blind:
Our system for centuries soon shall decay
As crimson and cobalt get quite misaligned:
Then blue are the collars that lefties much cite,
And red are the necks of the folks on the right.


I debated whether I should leave out the superfluous ‘u’ in colour in the title, but I just couldn’t let logic overcome my desperate need for identity.


turned on white and black torchiere lamp
Photo by Steve Johnson on



I love the way your halves combine.
I love the way you place each lung
With careless grace and good design
On either side your centre line,
And equidistant from your spine.
I love the way your ribs are strung.

I love the way your shoulders fit,
I love the way your arms construe.
I love the way your kidneys sit,
So each, the other mirrors it
To keep the couple quite legit.
I love the way your hips are two.

I love the way you wear your legs,
So nicely paired, and just enough:
For with a third, the question begs
Of where upon your frame it pegs.
I love the way you keep to regs.
I love the way you’re up to snuff.

I love your face with eye and eye,
I love the way they both are blue.
I love the way they flit and fly
In unison, to watch me pry
Upon thy tygrish symmet-try.
I love the way you’re balanced-through.


The penultimate line is inspired by how I always read the fourth line of a certain poem of William Blake’s.




ancient architecture building church
Photo by Pixabay on



How do churches stop the rain ?
And send the downpours down the drain ?
That’s pretty simple to explain –

The footings hold the buttress,
And the buttress holds the flyer,
And the flyer holds the springing,
And the springing takes the strain.
The spring ribs hold the keystone,
And the keystone holds the kingpost,
And the kingpost holds the rafters
Both the common and the main.
The rafters holds the purlins,
And the purlins holds the sheathing,
And the sheathing holds the shingles,
And the shingles stop the rain.



The High Cost of Knowledge

detail from Pandora by John waterhouse



The High Cost of Knowledge

Life is full of spoilers – there’s no way to avoid them,
However much we try to shut our ears and plug our eyes.
Upon the ether, through each chink –
These rumours reach us out-of-sync.
Life is full of spoilers – we just have to abide them
They leap out of the bushes and they creep up in disguise.
It’s rarely cruel, it’s never fate,
But sometimes warnings come too late.
We’re creatures with a mouth and with a will,
And if the price for censorship is never letting banter slip,
I’d rather keep the quips, for good and ill.

Life is full of spoilers, from those who steep the boilers,
And don’t cut back their stoking to preserve some heat for later –
And from these spendthrifts, gossip comes:
Sometimes whispers, sometimes drums.
So life is full of spoilers, and unintended foilers –
Annoying, yes, but don’t assume each blabber is a traitor:
With so much on the telegraph,
It’s no surprise we blow the gaff.
We are a talky species, let’s recall,
And if the price for ignorance is sharing no more than a glance,
I’d rather take my chance and hear it all.



Just Another Face in the Choir

Pleated Angel
an angel by Francesco Botticini


Just Another Face in the Choir

She rises to the golden glow
From ev’ry cloud beneath her feet,
And curls her hair in ringlets so,
In waves romantic, loose yet neat.
She pins each blossom into place
To form a halo round her tress,
And adds a paleness to her face,
And dons her fine and pleated dress.
She plucks her harp and tunes its strings,
And warms her voice to sweetermost.
And so, with flexed and polished wings,
She finally rejoins the host.


This poem was written in response to the painting shown above (sorry she’s so small).

Dusty Jackets

pile of assorted novel books
Photo by Min An on


Dusty Jackets

If we can’t judge a book by its cover,
Then doesn’t that just tell us that their marketing is junk ?
Amateur and changing with their ev’ry new edition –
How can they hope to build a brand when faced with corp’rate bunk ?
So why are all these authors acquiescing to the bland,
And hiding all their bindings ?, shied away behind such flimsy card
That creases up and tatters through the simple act of reading.
You wouldn’t catch a band conceding for such vagaries unkind,
That leave their babies ripped and scarred
Cos publishers won’t go the extra yard.
After all, who thinks that Sgt Pepper should be redesigned ?
Or Dark Side of the Moon, perhaps, or Bad, or Nevermind ?



Sunnis & Cartoonies

detail from Portrait of the Prophet Muhammad riding the Buraq, 1820-30 Indian


Sunnis & Cartoonies

Tell your children, tell your spouse,
Use a biro, use a mouse,
Ev’rybody in the house:
Doodle up Mohammed !
Take a minute, take a day,
When at your lunch or at your play,
Ev’rybody, sketch away !
Scribble down Mohammed !
Draw his eyes and draw his nose
Draw his fingers, draw his toes
What’s he look like ?  No-one knows !
Draw, you all, Mohammed !

Draw him as an analyst,
Draw him as a Knicks fan,
Draw him as an anarchist,
Draw him as a stick man,
Draw him seemly, draw him sleazy,
Draw him dreamy, draw him cheesy,
Draw him any way you pleasy
Draw your pen but not your blade.
Draw to show our common sense
Or draw to show we take offence
Or draw to show they try to censor.
Draw to show we’re not afraid.

Tell the Arabs, tell the Brits,
Use your pencils, use your wits,
Ev’rybody, Bics not blitz !
Don’t let’s awe him, let’s all draw him !
Ev’ry colleague, guest and mate,
Join the party, bring debate.
Ev’rybody: love not hate !
Come, let’s draw Mohammed !