Unwise in the Ys



Unwise in the Ys

We start the wars, we fight the wars,
We win them and we lose them;
We argue out the truces and the peace.
We write the laws, we break the laws,
We honour and abuse them;
And either way, our meddling shall increase.
For we are Men, alas, we’re Men,
We’re being masculine again:
We’ve got the whiskers, got the beer –
We’re patriarchitypes, my dear.
For we are He, alas, Himself;
We’ve got the jobs, we’ve got the wealth.
We must be heard !  We shall be heard !
We started with the final word.

At least, that’s how it’s always told
By critic and historian:
From hunter-gather days of old
To present times – the myth is sold
That ev’ry man is brute and bold,
And endlessly Victorian.
But we are more than legacy,
We’ve learned to share and redefine.
The mercy that you beg of me
Is yours these days as much as mine.
For we are us, thank god, ourselves,
We’ve equal now, not trolls and elves –
But that’s enough from me today,
I’d rather hear what you might say.




detail from Sistine Madonna by Raphael



There isn’t enough to do today,
There isn’t enough to do.
It isn’t as though I enjoy what I do,
The tiresome woe they employ me to do;
But wouldn’t you know, but my tedium grew
As soon as work withered away.
I’ve finished the paper, the internet’s gone,
I have to pretend that I’ve got something on,
I’m barely awake and I’m boozy-lunch tight,
I’m sharpening pencils with nothing to write.



Eyebrow Stroking

black and white optical illusion
Photo by Stas Knop on Pexels.com


Eyebrow Stroking

At school, they taught us poetry,
And how to read them, and what they meant,
And we recited dutif’ly –
And still I think they barely left a dent.

Strange, they never taught us songs,
But we understood them well enough:
Their loves, their hopes, their rights and wrongs –
Cheesy, sure – but boy, they were the stuff !

Poems once were fun and catchy,
Now they’re Worthy, now they’re Art.
My mem’ry of their lines is patchy,
Yet I know a thousand songs by heart.

At school they taught us poetry,
On long and stuffy afternoons –
But we learned far more humanity
From crappy lyrics with amazing tunes.



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.







To arms, comrades !
And hands and feet –
Let’s take this to the street,
Across the land,
By arm and foot and hand.
Mile by mile,
And brick by brick,
We’ll build and style the future quick,
We’ll sling the clay to see what sticks,
We’ll string the wire,
We’ll raze the spire,
We’ll kick the soil to drain the mire.
Let’s use our teeth to smile,
Our claws to pick,
Our boots to walk on fire.
Comrades !  Raise the alarms
In foundries and farms,
To lay down our guns
And ready our arms !




ballot boxes



A vote was held.
For all we say we do not like
The outcome it has spelled –
A vote was held.

It’s too late now to criticise,
Or grumble how the populace
Should leave such matters to the wise,
Or how they fell for clever lies.

Or claim opinion has moved,
And new votes must be undertook
To catch the latest public mood
To verify what polls have proved,
To show our ranks have swelled.
But no.  A vote was held.

If we should challenger ev’ry time
A vote should happen not to chime
With what we thought it ought to say,
We’d be about the booths all day !
And though the outcome couldn’t be much closer,
Nor, to our outlook, grosser,
One side had a slightly upper hand:

Their hand.
So there you go, and here we are, you understand ?
The rule of law is far more precious
Than a little politics.
A cynic’s tricks are less than gracious,
And the outcome must prevail –
To undermine the vote would be betrayal !
We cannot say “we won’t obey,
For just this once, but never more –
Just once, and then we promise that we shall !”
Too late to slam that stable door
When pitchforks march upon the Mall.

The day was theirs – the future too, for now.
It has to be this way.
Don’t pull the “it was only to advise” –
You know that’s lies, to disallow their say:
We asked them what they wanted,
All these working-hard civilians,
And on the day, undaunted,
So they told us in their millions !
Advisory ?  Then take advice:
It’s time to pay the price.

A vote was held, a course was set,
And even though we might regret,
The threat that half our nation has rebelled,
So be it, let it be.
For we, who claim to be their betters, lost the bet.
And if the future asks us why,
We can at least still meet its eye, and help it see:
“A vote was held –
And far, far better this, than anarchy.”