To be a Rock and not a Roll

audience band concert crowd
Photo by Thibault Trillet on


To be a Rock and not a Roll

I know you want to be yourself,
I know you want to quit the dole,
I know you want some easy pelf
To split from squares for rounder holes,
You want the sex and drugs and fame,
You want to slay them at the Bowl,
But dude, the nature of this game
Is Rock, not Rock & Roll.

There ain’t no Elvis hereabout
So put away your blue suede shoes,
Don’t tutti-fruit, don’t twist & shout,
Don’t hit the road to G.I. blues,
Don’t rock around the clock tonight
With Johnny B and King Creole –
That stuff’s so old, it’s outasight,
It’s only Rock & Roll.

I know it is a mongrel beast,
That blends the pixie with the troll,
I know it often loves to feast
On blues and swing and folk and soul,
Yet from these breeds a diff’rent stock
That bends the riffs it stole:
So what you’re playing, dude, is Rock,
And Rock ain’t Rock & Roll.

So roll over Peggy Sue,
Smoke gets in my eyes for you,
Good golly, sweet sixteen,
It’s only Maybellene.
Amazing Grace, Chantilly Lace,
But this isn’t who you are –
So dude, put down the double-bass
And plug in your guitar !



Pens Down !

Exam Hall


Pens Down !

For all our tappy-typey lives,
For all the keyboards we must pound,
Still ev’ry Summer there survives
A world of scritchy-scratchy sound:
Ev’ry Summer, ev’ry school,
The wriggly-ragged spiders rule !

It seems we do not think exams
Are punishment enough –
Who cares if they know volts from grams,
Or pantaloons from ruffs ?
Their future jobs lie in the grip
Of under-pressure penmanship !

You know, I reckon if we’re honest,
Few of us could truly claim
Our efforts wouldn’t look the same.
For all they pressed upon us
Their italic script or copperplate,
Calligraphy was not our fate.

To all the pupils suffering
From writer’s cramp and knuckles rapped,
Your talents ever under-tapped –
At least you’re not alone.
To all ex-pupils struggleing
With inky hands that biros give,
Our meanings lost in hieroglyphs –
It’s time that we atone:

It’s keymanship that should be taught,
So crisp upon the pristine page,
With fingers fast as any thought –
It’s time to write the modern age !
For all that pens have served us well,
Let’s end their scribbly-scrawly hell –




worm s eye of white and black inside basket
Photo by Pixabay on



There’s a glassy ceiling above me,
Way up the greasy pole
But I’m still down in the basement
Just pence above the dole.
A fraction of us may hammer the ceiling,
Always demand more,
But most of us working stiffs are afraid
Of the rise of the quicksand floor.



The Last Post

architecture box brick wall city
Photo by Rhys James on


The Last Post

You used to be the kings of dawn,
Who brought us word from far beyond.
My friends, your greatest time is gone,
However much we’re fond.

You used to cause the heart to spring:
The letterbox’s breakfast clunk;
Alas, now most of what you bring
Is soul-destroying junk.

And all the parcels we still get ?
It’s never you nor Santa’s elves;
For all those gifts of internet
Will simply send themselves.

Alas, no more for Postmen Pat;
We must admit, you’re future’s frail.
Just keep you on through guilt ?  Why, that’s
The blackest kind of mail.



Saint Random’s Day

appointment black calendar countdown
Photo by Pixabay on


Saint Random’s Day

The 6th of June is ev’rywhere, it seems,
It always turns up sev’ral times a year.
This av’rage summer day has gained the fate
Of being ev’rybody’s av’rage date.
The 6th of June has crept into our dreams –
So was it Swedes who whispered in our ear ?,
Or maybe D-Day’s up to his old tricks ?,
Or has the Devil claimed oh-six-oh-six ?



Reflected Glory

Image by Backdrops Beautiful


Reflected Glory

We can always wish
For your easy charm,
And your good right arm,
And your follow through.
We can always wish
To be just like you –
And we always do,
For it does no harm.

And who wouldn’t want
To have fun like that,
Or to run like that,
Or to ride or to drive,
Or arrive like that –
And who wouldn’t want
To excite like you,
Or to fight like you,
Or to think or to gaze,
Or to blaze like you.

And who wouldn’t want to,
Who wouldn’t want
To be just like you
And the dreams you flaunt ?

We can always wish
For your matchless skill,
For your carefree thrill,
And your tried and true.
We can always wish
To be just like you –
And we always do,
Yet we never will.

For we shall never get
To attract like that,
Or to act like that,
Or to play or to sing,
Or to swing like that –
And we shall never get
To romance like you,
Or to dance like you,
Or to live or to dine,
Or to shine like you.

And we never shall get to,
We never shall get
To be just like you,
But we’re dreaming yet.