The Oncoming March

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The Oncoming March

We’ll do it without you,
And do it despite you,
But change will hurt less
If we don’t have to fight you.

Stop us today
And we’ll come back tomorrow –
So join us in peace,
Or you’ll join us in sorrow.

Don’t stand in the way of momentum –
We just have to let it run-out its course.
For there cannot be both an unmovable object
And irresistible force.

We’ll bring it with vigour,
And bring it with pride,
But we’d far rather bring it
With you by our side.

It cannot be stopped,
But it still can be steered –
So jump on and help us,
Or get what you feared.

Don’t stand in the way of progression,
The start of an age is the end of an era.
The past is one day older each day,
And the future is one day nearer.

A new world potential
Is straining its fetter –
Don’t let it be wasted,
Let’s mould it for better.

The outlook is scary,
And noisy, and strange –
Best hang-on together
And brace for the change.

Don’t stand in the way of transmission,
The shockwaves and echoes will rebound for years.
The levees are burst and the dykes overtopped,
And the flood will not notice our tears.

Scuttlebutt Scandals

Scuttlebutt Scandals

Rumour, gossip, and have-you-heard
Are back with a careless, venomous word.
Scurrilous whispers have their way –
They’re good enough for Salem and good enough today.
So who needs doubt or burden of proof,
When the tales are better than the boring truth ?
When even liberals are mongering fears,
With two-faced lattes and schadenfreud beers,
And even the press has dropped its mask
Of public int’rest, and sunk to the task.
Rumour, gossip, and feathers-and-tar
Has shown us all for the shits we are.
That’s you.  Yes, you.  With your bleeding heart,
You’re ev’ry bit the hypocrite as any old fart,
You Guardian readers, as catty as The Sun –
A few lives ruined, but you’ve had your fun.

New Year’s Daze

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New Year’s Daze

Some years will start out with a bang,
In such a hurry to begin –
While others wake-up with a tang,
A few days late from lying-in.
They can’t remember what they sang,
They can’t remember how much gin –
They never bounded, never sprang,
With more a grimace than a grin.

And some years open with a vow
Of trouble brewing, much mayhem,
As worries knit our fevered brow,
And gall is tasted in our phlegm.
But on they came, they’re here now –
Let’s not be too quick to condemn.
I’m sure that we’ll survive, somehow –
We’d best get on with living them.

Solo Carol

Lonely Snowman by Stanley Zimny

Solo Carol

Looks like we’re on our own this year,
Just us and a million others,
The eccentric and the volunteers,
Cut off from our human brothers.
Some in Antarctica, some in their cells,
And some in their quarantine –
In one-bed flats and empty hotels,
With the world reached through a screen.
For the rest of the year, there’s nothing wrong with it,
It suits us fine, or we make the best,
But when the world gets the holiday spirit,
Then we’re suddenly nobody’s guest.
Looks like we’re on our own this year,
Remote from the thoroughfares.
Let’s sing like nobody can hear,
And let others fill our empty chairs.

The Ghost of Christmas Present

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     The Ghost of Christmas Present

When we were young, before we earned a good wage,
Then presents were the thing.
Whatever toy was all the rage,
We’d write to Santa, page by page,
While fully knowing, any age,
That parents were the ones who gave the bling.

When we were young, and hoping for the good stuff,
Then presents were the thing.
We dropped our hints, we played it tough,
We wanted this, and sure enough,
They’d always get us something duff,
From parents clutching hard to apron string.

When we were young, and pocket money spent fast,
Then presents were the thing.
We’d waited long these six months past,
Our only chance was here at last –
But no !  Once more we were harassed
By suitable and sensible and bettering !

When we were young…but now we’re good and older,
And presents are a chore.
We pay our own way, we are bolder,
We don’t need a toothbrush-holder.
What we need’s a crying-shoulder,
Not the same old ritual as before.

Now we are old, we buy throughout the year,
Yet presents still want more !
What can you get me ?  Dear oh dear,
I have all that I need right here.
Should I hold off acquiring gear
To add it to a list you’ll just ignore ?

Now we are old, and hopefully we’re wise,
And presents lurk in drawers.
Let’s be honest, compromise,
And save our gifts for the little guys –
Let’s pay it forward, share the prize –
Even though we’ll get it wrong, of course…

Old Acquaintances

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Old Acquaintances

We never say goodbye
Because we never know we’re standing at the change –
For all that time must fly,
That’s always in the future, out of range.

We only see the end
In retrospect, once it has been and gone –
A few words with a friend
That don’t mean much, except they don’t go on.

We say we’ll see them soon,
Though in truth it’s less a promise, more a hope.
Before we know, it’s June,
And we notice they’re no longer in our scope.

Not ev’ry friend is ‘best’,
But the casual ones are needed just the same
Twice a year or less
We meet, but still we’re always glad they came.

Tomorrow never comes,
Until it does, and then a thousand slip on by.
Don’t fret about the sums –
The world moves on, that’s just the way things lie.

The Opiate of the Masses

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The Opiate of the Masses

Poppies on dresses, poppies on golf-clubs,
Poppies on penny-for-the-guys,
Poppies on the grills of Beamers and V-Dubs,
Poppies on Mowbury pies.
Round-up refuseniks, I hate the lot,
Let’s paint poppies on their doors –
For the poppy is the sign of the patriot,
And mine is bigger than yours.

The Chill in the Air

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The Chill in the Air

Breathe deep, my dear,
Fill your lungs
With the vapour of the day –
The hint of frost
That pricks your throat,
The faint tang of decay.
Breathe,
A little too rapidly –
In with a stutter,
Out with a rasp.
Breathe deep, my dear,
Breathe me in –
The better to scream,
The better to gasp.
Or try to hold me in,
Until your chest must heave
Its own desire –
For sooner, my dear,
Or later,
You know you must
Expire.

Requiems Retold

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Requiems Retold

It’s the orders of service that stick in my memory –
Always the same, just the name and the photo would change.
Funeral dues for my far-distant family,
Seconds and greats twice-removed, from the sticks or the Grange.

The organ would parp but the bells never tolled,
And the bunches of flowers were lilies or roses or daffodils.
The pews were so hard and the stones were so cold,
As, forcibly suited and combed, I was begged to sit still.

The Lord Is My Shepherd, The Old Rugged Cross,
The same old hymns, in the same old badly sung.
The same “so sorry for your loss”
And same “they had a good life/died too young”.

And even the eulogies followed a formula,
Strangers with unrehearsed mumblings delivered too fast –
The reminiscences couldn’t be warmer,
But too late to tell me now, their moment has passed.

Then it’s the Lord’s Prayer, and into the home straight
With one final blast of All Things Bright & Beautiful
Which always struck me as having the wrong weight,
Far too happy – though dirged into something more suitable.

But as I grow older, the deaths have grown closer,
And it falls to me for arrangements and guests to be planned –
When I’ve no time for grief, yet I need to bring closure,
I remember those orders of service, and I understand…

Ghosting

Alegretto by Michael Hayes

Ghosting

She surely must notice the calls that she’s missed,
Though why is she never beside her phone ?
I know that she knows it, that I exist,
But thinks, it would seem, that I’m best left alone.
Though when we’re together, I swear, it’s a blast,
But then ages shall pass before the next –
I sometimes wonder if this is the last,
Our drifting apart by unanswered text.

I mean, I’m not a creeper of anything,
Only call her once a month, I’d say,
To let her phone complete it’s ring
And leave a message that she’ll never play.
Is that too much ?  I don’t want to stalk her,
I don’t want to be a pest to her, or a joke.
I know she playfully calls me a ‘talker’,
But that’s cos it’s always so long since last we spoke.

It’s not that she is intention’ly callous,
But she lives such a busy, busy life –
There’s a definite absence of malice,
Although the accidental malice of absence is rife.
I wish I had so very many friends
That I wouldn’t mind to lose one to the void –
But I must work and must defend
My ev’ry closeness, forever a bit paranoid.

I know, I know, we all must share,
And we’re kind-of lucky to get her.
She’s like a cat, with her tail in the air
Who sometimes allows us to pet her.
We’re only friends, I say with a shrug,
At her drive-by company –
I must learn not to let her bug,
To ignore her ignoring me.