A Bout with a Spout

Gargoyle by SarahLouiseHathaway

A Bout with a Spout

Tucked up under the eaves of the church
The gargoyles lurk upon their haunches,
Spindly fingers stroking their paunches.
Out the corners of my eye they lurch,
But when I turn, they’re stony still –
A sneer on every maul and bill.
“You can’t fool me by playing statue,
Because, one of these days, I’ll catch you !”

Craning up at the eaves of the church,
I’m staring-out their stones and mortar,
Gagging on their breath of fetid water.
Square is my gaze upon their perch,
Just waiting for their craggy blink
To prove they move as much as they stink.
But I stare in vain, and most unwise,
When one of them gurgles, and spits in my eyes.

To Niccolò

Niccolò Machiavelli by Santi di Tito

To Niccolò

See all of your princes who grasp at our lives
With their handshakes and greased palms and fists wrapped in cotton –
They claw for a kingdom where sleight-of-hand thrives,
But their fingers are crossed and their nails are all rotten.
You keep all your holdings tight under your thumb
As your signet-wrapped digits are stroking your beard –
But grips can be prised as the years render numb,
And the light-fingered upstarts are squeezing you plum,
And there’s no-one to catch you when ’last you succumb –
Your talons are chipped and too weak, in the end, to be feared.

Five Strangers Among Us

Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

Five Strangers Among Us

I counted them myself,
I’d never seen a-one before,
I’m sure of that –
But in my room, I saw them stay.

With all my hostly stealth
I spent with each a turn or more
To smile and chat,
And cautiously explore each stray.

The woman dressed in wealth,
Who lurked awhile too near the door –
She wore her hat,
And managed to ignore the fray.

The kid who coughed his health,
And sprayed hellos to all before.
This spore-filled brat
Has left his greeters sore and grey.

The petite pixie elf
Was charming praise and looks galore.
This purring cat
Was frolicking and luring prey.

The bloke with flashy pelf
Was boasting of his market lore.
We bored him flat,
Cos no-one’s keeping score today.

The geek upon the shelf
Who watches feet upon the floor.
Demure he sat,
Afraid to up and join our play.

I counted them myself,
I tried my best to build rapport,
Yet for all that,
They left my room, went on their way.

The Leaden Sky

Photo by Callum Hilton on Pexels.com

The Leaden Sky

When your nights are all too dark,
And your dawns are all too bright,
And your days are all too stark,
And your thoughts have lost their fight –
When nothing’s worth the heft,
When there’s precious little left
To sparkle in the rust,
And you’re holding on, but only just –
Before all hope is gone,
Hold on.

The Inertia of Tradition

The Inertia of Tradition

It always has to be that way, because it’s always been that way –
And if there were another way, already it would be that way.
You really think you can disclaim a thousand years of just-the-same ?
The lesson you will learn at last: your future lies all in the past.

A Life at the Living

i miss you most of all my darling...


A Life at the Living

Here we go again, another day,
Much like the day before,
Much like tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Leading on to evermore.
So here we go again, along the way –
At least we know the score,
As neither happiness nor sorrow,
But the daily drills that bore.

It shouldn’t be like this, we know,
This life, it shouldn’t be like this,
But where did all our future go,
With so few larks to reminisce ?
We cursed how Sundays crept so slow,
Now years of them have been and gone,
With precious little work to show –
Just what the hell was going on ?

I guess we had a time or two –
I bet we did, in all that time,
In all the endless pantomime,
We must have done what young folk do.
But things have settled down, of course,
Along the way, we’ve settled down
In quiet suburbs out-of-town,
And joined the lonely labour force.

And here we go again, another day,
Just like the year before,
Just like the way we always swore
We’d never let become this grey.
But we were young and so naive
To think that we were special then,
To never lose and never grieve –
Till slowly if turned into when.

It shouldn’t be like this, we know,
This life.  It needn’t be like this.
If we can just recall the bliss
Before the endless status quo.
If only for a moment, let us play
Upon a Sunday slow –
Tomorrows and tomorrows come and go,
But now is still today.



Bankrupt Holiday

Bankrupt Holiday

Bank Holiday Monday –
It’s just two Sundays in a row
Why must we clone the one day
Where the time ticks-by so slow ?
The world is closed by three,
As people lose their appetite –
And though we know tomorrow’s free,
We stay home Sunday night.
Then comes the dreaded day
When we have to do stuff, rain or gust,
We must not let it waste away
Without the National Trust.
But here’s a thought, I say,
When we need a break to stay ahead –
Let’s all take off a Friday,
And get two Saturdays instead !

Crew of the Revolution

photo of people on street
Photo by Oscar Chan on Pexels.com


Crew of the Revolution

Someone has to crank the presses,
Someone has to bang the drum,
Someone has to spread the whispers that will make them come.

Someone has to paint the banners,
Someone has to write the chants,
Someone has to weed out all the tourists and the plants.

Someone has to name the victims,
Someone has to plan the raids,
Someone has to source the furniture for barricades.

Someone has to dream the future,
Someone has to guard the flame,
Someone has to make sure ev’ryone knows who to blame.



Passing Through

steel underneath
Tattered Old Work Boots by Fantasy Stock


Passing Through

You came to escape a war,
And chose our shore as somewhere tame
Where quiet days don’t end in flame –
But now they are fighting no more,
And you must up and return to your nation –
Not an order, just an observation.
I needn’t ask what for,
And I note this not with pleasure, but alack –
For now your ravished country needs you back.



The Tower of Pisa

la torre non pendente di pisa

The Tower of Pisa

I know we love it as a symbol –
Hubris, cheap materials and failure,
While locals soak up tourist-dollars
Selling canting paraphernalia.
The crowds all prop it up in photos
Loving that its old and broke –
While laughing at the locals,
Who are all in on the joke.

And now the authorities
Have had to underpin the base,
While taking care to keep the tilt
That underpins their public face.
I guess we do not get to choose
What piques our int’rest, makes us smile –
But here’s a tower full of piquant int’rest
By the mile !

I think I am alone in wishing
That they’d take it down and start again.
I just want my cathedrals
To inspire me, not amuse me, in the main.
But here is a belfry
Far too weak for its bells and gravity’s demands –
It’s just a shell, a cynic’s dream
Who’s only wonder is how it still stands.

Ah, listen to me, what misery !
Just moaning off my sunstroke.
Can’t I shrug and let them be,
And maybe even get the joke ?
I guess we do not get to choose
What gets remembered, anyway –
But this one’s sure to loom in mind,
And hold us in its sway.